TPM Cafe: Opinion

When President Barack Obama signed the Trade Promotion Authority bill last week, he set a precedent. The bill included a provision that “requires the U.S. Trade Representative to discourage European Union countries from boycotting ‘Israel or persons doing business in Israel or Israeli-controlled territories’ during free-trade negotiations between the U.S. and the EU.”

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For 15 years the University of Phoenix conducted an incredible experiment. Fueled by the Internet and a take-all-comers approach, the private for-profit college became a massive national institution, earning hundreds of millions of dollars in the process. But on Monday, executives at Phoenix’s parent company, Apollo Education Group, declared the experiment a failure that had to end. The rest of the for-profit college community should be terrified of what that means for them.

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For decades, as private sector unionism has steadily diminished, public sector unions have grown. Traditionally, public sector unions have been easier to organize because the employer—federal, state, and local governments—is in a poor position to bust unions. The government cannot secretly spend millions on anti-union consultants, violate workers’ rights, and discipline or fire workers for their union sympathies. The result is that a third of public sector workers are currently members of a union, whereas only six percent of their private sector counterparts are similarly union members.

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Nearly a week after the Supreme Court’s landmark decisions in King v. Burwell and Obergefell v. Hodges, it’s a good time to take stock of the Republican party’s reactions to what was by most accounts a one-two punch to its values and interests, all the more powerful because it came from an ostensibly conservative Roberts Court.

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In a speech last year in Kansas City, President Barack Obama said he received a letter from a nine-year-old girl that included a list of possible women to put on America’s paper bills and coins, “which I thought was a pretty good idea." In March of this year, Barbara Ortiz Howard and Susan Ades Stone started a campaign called Women on 20s to demand that the government replace former President Andrew Jackson’s image on the $20 bill with a woman from history.

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Of all the sour grapes conservatives chewed this past weekend over the same-sex marriage ruling, perhaps Ross Douthat’s was the sourest. While other conservatives moved on to incoherent babbling about “religious liberty”, Douthat used his New York Times column to dig his heels into the argument soundly rejected by Anthony Kennedy’s opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges: that same-sex marriage is somehow an assault on traditional marriage.

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Marriage went viral yesterday—and no I did not leave a word out. I’ve never seen so much discussion, so many gifs, so many memes and pull-quotes and hashtags (#lovewins), so much liking and celebrating over matrimony. Sure, ostensibly yesterday’s social media bonanza was a celebration of the Supreme Court’s decision to award same-sex couples the right to marry, but what the court did, and what we’re all celebrating, isn’t equality, but the institution of marriage itself.

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This is an exciting day. We are standing in the middle of history, and we are celebrating a victory for human rights. For years to come, on this date, we will remember that five out of nine Supreme Court justices stood up for marriage equality, civil liberty and the LGBTQ community. For some, today marks a new beginning as a legally equal citizen of these Unites States of America. Others stand in the shadow of that enduring rainbow of justice. For them, today is not about celebration or pride, but the end of a long-held ruse.

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If the Supreme Court doesn’t step in by the end of June, almost every abortion clinic in Texas will stop providing terminations, leaving only eight clinics in six cities to offer services to the 27 million people in its borders. That scenario is devastating. It also might not be the worst thing we see happening as July unfolds. July 1 is also the implementation date of a number of laws that were passed this legislative session, and depending on certain judicial decisions the state of abortion access may be dramatically changing starting in just a few more days.

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Want to contribute to TPM Cafe? Email ideas for your pieces to us at talk@talkingpointsmemo.com

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