One of the most enduring images of the early Reagan years is the "welfare queen." The not entirely apocryphal story of a woman making a six-figure income on welfare became for conservatives a symbol of everything that was wrong with the welfare state -- and for liberals a symbol of everything that was wrong with conservatives.
Twenty years later, is the new welfare queen General Motors, General Electric, Boeing, and other big corporations receiving taxpayer funds? Have Claribel Ventura and Linda Taylor been replaced by federally financed flops like Solyndra?
How do you ensure that you won't be ostracized, denounced, or fired if you are a media celebrity, captain of industry, or high public official?
For some, sexist banter is certainly no problem. Stand-up comedian Bill Maher called Sarah Palin a ct and a tw-t, but suffered no ill consequences. David Letterman joked on air that Sarah Palin's 14-year-old daughter had had sex with Alex Rodriguez during a New York Yankees game. There was no downside to that either. President Obama tosses around "sweetie" as he wishes. No problem with that. No one believes Barack could be condescending to women.
It is not just that sloppy speech can, with the right ideological insurance, become irrelevant. Inconvenient truths can be insured against too...
We can all have a good laugh at the expense of the ignorant kids, but of course, if they are truly undereducated (and these surveys can exaggerate), it's largely the fault of our schools.
It's nice to be reminded, from time to time, about what good schools and good teachers can achieve. read more
Here's a radical notion: It is simultaneously possible to believe that women are entitled to equal pay and to not support the Paycheck Fairness Act.
Not that you'd know it from the rhetoric President Obama and fellow Democrat are happily flinging at Republicans who dare to oppose the measure.
Many early twentieth century American Progressives, who previously were indifferent or hostile to freedom of speech, discovered its importance during World War I and the post-War Red Scare, when the government prosecuted pacifists, pro-German activists, and radicals of various stripes. The idea that such persecution could occur in the U.S., and by an overtly Progressive (Wilson) Administration no less, was profoundly disturbing.
The problem for Progressives with a newfound interest in freedom of speech was that many of them were skeptical of the notion of rights more generally, finding the American tradition of natural rights to be reactionary, unscientific, and anti-democratic. But how could one protect the right to freedom of speech if one did note believe in rights to begin with?
Moreover, Progressives were adamantly opposed to a strong role for the judiciary in enforcing constitutional norms...