TPM Cafe: Opinion

Welcome to the future. A time when you can use technology to edit anything about yourself—your location, occupation, status, style, face and even your race. While some people grow accustomed to the sights and sounds of diversity and the ideal of equality, others experience “wrong skin,” significant discontent with the racial identities they’ve been assigned at birth and the stereotypical roles associated with those racial identities. NAACP spokesperson and Africana Studies professor Rachel Dolezal may be among the latter group. If that’s true, her story has much to teach us about how race looks and feels in our techno-driven world.

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When former Rhode Island governor and senator Lincoln Davenport “Linc” Chafee declared he was running for president earlier last week, he opened yet another stanza in a distinctly American poem about two dynastic Republican political families—the Bushes and the Chafees—that diverged in a New England wood. One road led to the South and Right, a path blazed by George Herbert Walker Bush and continued by his even more conservative (and authentically “Southern”) sons. The other led, well, right back where it began in Southern New England. But the Republican Party lurched so far to the right that the Chafee brand first became RINO, then Independent, and now to a presidential run as a Democrat in many ways to the left of Hillary Clinton.

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I can’t say it surprises me to see that Jerry Seinfeld, whose “observational” comedy felt dated when he was at the height of his popularity, has drifted right into cranky old man territory with a string of broadsides about how he and his are oppressed by the kids these days and their “political correctness.” Earlier this week, Seinfeld, on “The Herd with Colin Cowherd”, complained that colleges are too politically correct for comedians of his generation to play. His evidence of this was an anecdote about his 14-year-old daughter.

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One of the questions the early 2016 presidential campaign is raising is simple enough: Who is Martin O’Malley? Is the former Baltimore mayor and Maryland governor a true-blue progressive appealing to the same constituency as Bernie Sanders? Or is he really a centrist, triangulating DLC Democrat whose main legacy in Baltimore is a policing strategy based on arresting everything that walks?

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It’s a new week, and N.J. Gov. Chris Christie isn’t in New Jersey but New Hampshire. Unfortunately for him, he’s also in the New York Times facing new allegations.

On Sunday night the Times reported that David Wildstein, who was once Gov. Chris Christie’s No. 2 appointee at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and who pled guilty in early May to two federal felonies in connection to Bridgegate, filed a sworn statement in a federal civil suit alleging that Christie disclosed secret grand jury information to him and other political aides dating back to Christie’s time as the top federal prosecutor in the state.

Ordinarily, Wildstein’s charge would be easy to miss. It was buried in a sworn statement he signed on Friday before his attorney forwarded it to lawyers representing Gerald Speziale, a former Port Authority deputy police superintendent who in 2014 filed a federal civil lawsuit against the Port alleging that he was intimidated and harassed after reporting corruption at the agency.
Wildstein is a co-defendant in that case.

Confused? Well, that's New Jersey politics for you. And Chris Christie seems to have more legal headaches by the day. But here's how it all fits together.

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An officer in McKinney, Texas, dashes down a sidewalk, losing his flashlight as he runs past a teenage videographer toward an emergency. Seconds later, the teen with the camera walks up to another officer, one who is standing with a group of kids. “I’m just saying,” the officer is saying in a calm, corrective tone that parents and school teachers everywhere will recognize. “Don’t take off running when the cops get here.”

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Toward the end of many days last summer, with my boys home from camp and still needing to expend their youthful energy, they would run outside and play war games with their remarkably authentic-looking squirt guns. As they roamed the nearby yards and streets in my Waltham, MA apartment complex, I never for a moment feared that someone would call 911 and report them as threatening men with guns, never worried that an arriving police officer might shoot first and ask questions later (if at all).

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Are you an Amazon Mom or an Amazon Family? The answer depends on where you live. While Amazon offers special perks to families who register for “Amazon Mom” prime memberships in the U.S., they offer the same perks of membership under the title “Amazon family” in the UK, Canada, Germany, Austria, France and Japan. Nearly 13,000 people have signed the Change.org petition to Amazon, requesting that they change Amazon Mom to Amazon Family in the U.S. And yet, the issue has failed to gain consumer traction.

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This piece originally appeared on TheNation.com.

John Davis remembers a meeting in 1986 when Bernie Sanders, then the mayor of Burlington, Vermont, confronted the owners of the city’s largest affordable-housing complex. The federal program that had subsidized the Northgate Apartments for 20 years had a loophole that allowed the landlords to convert the buildings into market rentals or luxury condos.

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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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