Some delightfully revealing developments out of Wisconsin, where Scott Walker's Republican legislative majorities have passed out of committee a provision canceling Wisconsin's 'open records' law, some form of which exists in almost every state, though more comprehensively than most in Wisconsin. As the State Journal puts it, "The proposal blocks the public from reviewing nearly all records created by lawmakers, state and local officials or their aides, including electronic communications and the drafting files of legislation. The language was included in the final version of the state’s 2015-17 budget, which passed the Legislature’s budget committee on a party-line vote late Thursday. The budget bill next goes to the full Assembly and Senate."
July 4th, 1876: First newspaper report of General Custer killed at Little Big Horn.
Where did the Pledge of Allegiance come from and when did we start doing it? Here's the story.
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Jindal's massive resistance enters Monty Python/Holy Grail phase.
A look at two 1939 political rallies, one by German-American Bund (effectively the American pro-Nazi or simply Nazi party) at Madison Square Garden and another by the Communist Party USA in Chicago. See how each appropriated one US President (Washington for the Nazis and Lincoln for the Communists) as their claim to embody American history.
GOP mega-donor's channel picks up Trump's Miss USA Pageant. “The decision on the part of REELZ to acquire the rights to the MISS USA Pageant was based on our belief that this special event, and the women who compete in it, are an integral part of American tradition,” said Stan Hubbard, CEO of Reelz, in a statement emailed to TPM.
Key facts you should know on the fires at black churches in the South.
Fascinating look at what looks like the end of for-profit colleges - and how a movement that originally served a legitimate need got turbo-charged by Wall Street money into what amounted to a pump-and-dump educational scheme that is now biting the dust.
In response to last week's High Court decision, Indiana women posts spellbinding anti-same sex marriage rant to Facebook while doing house cleaning, after the jump ...
Here's an (fun in a surreal, macabre way) article about a recent example of how Twitter has dramatically increased the velocity at which bullshit is able to travel at sea level and at higher altitudes. In fact, the increase is so great that Twitter has become a self-contained, frictionless bullshit perpetual motion machine capable of making an episode like this possible. This is the story of Zandria Robinson, an African-American assistant professor of sociology at the University of Memphis who made some that were both genuinely outrageous and also a peerless example of jargony academic nonsense-speak, became a target of right-wing media and twitter-hounds, then got fired by the University of Memphis because of the controversy, thus making the University a target of left-wingers on Twitter and driving Twitter to cross-partisan paroxysms of outrage and self-congratulation.
Except that she wasn't fired and actually wasn't even an employee of the University of Memphis in the first place.
Mandating the right to marry to same sex couples on par with opposite sex couples across the United States is a very, very big deal, as the jubilant celebrations last week well attest. So I guess I should not be that surprised that the resistance to the decision is not merely rhetorical but that a non-trivial number of judges, town and county clerks and elected officials are continuing to resist the decision. Even after it is all over. You have a mix of clerks who are simply refusing to issue any marriage licenses, officials who are resigning, delaying tactics and more. Tierney Sneed catalogs the top strategies here.
Facebook has just inadvertently reminded me how much time I spend on Facebook by at least temporarily (hopefully temporarily?) destroying the service. Big social networks routinely test out new algorithms on small subsets of users. And I think that as of like an hour ago I've been selected to be one of those tests. As of right now, my entire Facebook feed is made up of pictures, comments, life events and more of people I've never heard of before - almost exclusively people I've never heard of or seen before. It seems to be an experiment where my entire feed is populated by posts by people who I do not know but ones that my Facebook friends have liked or commented on. This has always been part of the Facebook algorithm. But usually the majority of things you see are from people you know.
It sucks. But more than that it is eye-opening and a little jarring to me just how disconcerting and unpleasant it is. Sartre said that hell is other people; actually it turns out to be the life events of people you don't know. By way of painful contrast it shows me just how affirming and comfortable my normal experience visiting the site is or at least how habituated I have become to it.
Is anyone else also in this test?
My friend Jeff Goldberg goes to great lengths in this new article to get us to take Michael Oren and his new book ('Ally') seriously and not be led astray by the book's publicity campaign or the opeds Oren himself has written in support of it, which are apparently far less nuanced than the book itself. And yet, in Jeff's interview, Oren comes off as precisely the over-clever asshole Goldberg wants him not to be. We hear again and again from Oren's defenders (and to be clear, Goldberg isn't really defending him, as much as he'd clearly like to) that the former Israeli ambassador wanted to write a book about the fatal shortcomings of President Obama's Iran diplomacy and yet somehow accidentally wrote a book in which he not only psychoanalyzes President Obama but all of American Jewry. The latter are too conflicted and defensive about their identity as Jews not to give thanks that they were born in the same era as Benjamin Netanyahu, the embodiment of the Jewish people who brings together both Maimonides and Herzl into one unified, deluxe Jewish person. (I hate it when that happens!) Because there is no possible reason other than a psychological one why American Jews might not genuflect at the Netanyahu altar.