TPM Cafe: Opinion

So last night marked the final primary night of 2014 (not counting Louisiana’s “Jungle Primary” that coincides with general Election Day), ending a cycle that began in Texas on March 4. Despite many efforts to impose a national “narrative” on the primaries, none really stuck. Some observers have insisted on a “Republican Establishment Defeats Tea Party” meme. But Eric Cantor’s loss, some ideologically ambiguous Senate winners, and a notable lurch to the Right by many “Establishment” candidates, make this claim questionable, and perhaps if true rather meaningless.

There were, however, plenty of mini-dramas throughout the year, not least on this final night. You could classify these as stories of a rebuke, a rebirth, a rematch and a rejection.

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In the wake of Ferguson protests, there's been an effort from some commentators to defend increasingly militarized police tactics in response to public backlash after Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson shot unarmed teen Michael Brown.

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New York City’s massive expansion of its pre-K program had its first day on the public stage last Thursday, when school doors opened for the first time. Since Mayor Bill de Blasio secured $300 million in state funding in late March, the administration has worked aggressively to scale up as quickly as possible. Meanwhile, de Blasio spent part of August on a victory lap. He addressed an adoring crowd at the Scholastic-sponsored Preschool Nation summit with a speech that sometimes slipped into referring to the city’s pre-K expansion in the past tense. It was a valedictory affair, a chance for de Blasio and his schools chancellor Carmen Fariña to lecture other cities' leaders on just how they successfully navigated political and practical challenges to dramatically expand pre-K access in NYC. Early in the speech, de Blasio said:

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A recent quote from Mindy Kaling, the writer/creator/star of Fox’s The Mindy Project, raised an interesting question: is abortion too serious a subject to address in a half-hour sitcom?

The issue came up in an interview Kaling did with Flare magazine. It has particular relevance because Kaling plays an OB/GYN on her show, which is set in an OB/GYN practice. But, in a parenthetical aside, Kaling makes it clear that the show has no plans to address abortion, one of the most common reproductive health procedures in this country: “It would be demeaning to the topic to talk about it in a half-hour sitcom.”

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This year’s Emmy’s proclaimed it a great time to be a woman on television. But the TV season ahead is showing signs of unraveling that progress. Women on the small screen are faced with a big question: do we get to follow our dreams?

As Julianna Margulies ascended the Emmy stage to accept her Best Actress award for The Good Wife, she triumphantly proclaimed, “What a great time to be a woman in television!” And in a sense, she’s absolutely correct. Women like her Alicia Florrick, Leslie Knope, Olivia Pope, and others are showing us that strong, successful, and beautiful women can exist on television as fully formed personalities.

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The image is indelible now — a bespangled and confident Beyonce, microphone in hand, standing before a light display that emblazoned the controversial word “FEMINIST” across the stage. As the ubiquitous performer, fresh off her co-headlining “On the Run” tour, presided over the crowd, she was joined by family. Her husband, Jay-Z held their often-hidden daughter Blue Ivy on his lap as she performed, and the Carter family embraced warmly after her performance as Mr. Carter presented his wife with her Video Vanguard Award. So much has been said about Beyonce’s role in the recent resurgence of the feminist movement. But far less has been said about the idea that Jay-Z could also be a feminist.

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We are slipping up on another presidential election cycle, and once again, threats that Democrats and Republicans would come together to deny Iowa and New Hampshire their irrationally privileged position in the nominating process have come to naught. Aside from having long passed the window for national rules changes, with nothing happening that in any way endangered the duopoly, it’s now getting a bit late for potential candidates to make their initial pay-the-dues appearances in the town halls and potlucks of these two not-exactly-typical states. Indeed, would-be presidents are popping up with some regularity not just in Iowa and New Hampshire but in the cities and towns of their two more diverse geopolitical wingmen, South Carolina and Nevada, with which the First-in-the-Nation Caucus and Primary have shrewdly shared some of their money and attention.

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It can be hard to be in love. At first, things are intoxicatingly new. Your object of desire changes everything about your life—you go on to everyone you know about how your life is fundamentally altered, about how you think that this time might really be the one.

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When Indiana woman Purvi Patel learned in mid-August that she was being charged with the crime of feticide, this wasn’t the first time she had been accused of “knowingly or intentionally terminating a human pregnancy with an intention other than to produce a live birth or to remove a dead fetus.” Patel received a preliminary feticide charge when she was first arrested over a year earlier, a charge that was dropped in exchange for felony neglect.

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