TPM Cafe: Opinion

Princeton Mom is back.

Also known as Susan Patton, Princeton Mom is the woman who proclaimed, via a letter written “To the daughters I never had” and published last year in the Daily Princetonian (and, subsequently, everywhere), that women should view college as valuable insofar as it leads to one’s “MRS” degree. A Princeton grad herself, and mother to two Princetonian sons, Patton’s thoughts have been published in book form — not because she has anything new to say, but because mothers who obsessively fret over their daughters’ shriveling eggs and hate-clickers alike were so mollified/appalled that said letter went viral faster than crabs at a cheap hotel during Spring break. Thus a book deal was born.

Read More →

A remarkable thing happened in Arizona recently. Businesses from Marriott to Apple to American Airlines urged Governor Brewer to veto SB 1062, the bill that would have granted businesses religious rights to refuse services to gays and lesbians. Public figures and politicians like Mitt Romney, Arizona’s two Republican senators, and even several state legislators who had themselves voted for the bill urged the same.

Once the NFL began making noises about moving the Super Bowl out of Arizona, it became clear: the attempt to permit for-profit corporations to use religion to discriminate based on sexual orientation or other grounds was too politically toxic to become law.

Read More →

This is part of TPM Cafe Book Club for Jake Rosenfeld's What Unions No Longer Do.

One of the many things I like about Jake Rosenfeld new book, What Unions No Longer Do, is all the compelling data points he brings to bear on what used to be called with much portent, “the labor question.” Though I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about, reading, writing, and working in the labor movement, Rosenfeld’s research nevertheless told me many things I didn’t know.

Read More →

With immigration reform likely tabled for the rest of 2014, it’s as good time as any to take stock of what we know about how our current immigrant populations and their children are faring in today’s precarious economy.

In my book I explore how the economic incorporation of contemporary migrants and their offspring – especially those from Mexico and the rest of Latin America – mirror or diverge from those of the European immigrant populations of generations past. The successful economic incorporation of Italians, Poles, Russians, and others rested on a context of reception here in the U.S. that included a rapidly growing labor movement.

The growing labor movement provided millions of low-skill immigrants and their children with jobs that paid comparatively well, thus helping to propel whole populations into the rapidly expanding middle-class by the mid-20th Century.

Read More →

Eleven years ago today, the U.S. began a military action in Iraq – one that cost thousands of lives, American and Iraqi, and left us mired in a decade-long occupation.

There were a lot of reasons given, in those weeks leading up to the invasion, for why we had to send troops and treasure into Iraq. Over time, those reasons eroded away, as the intelligence behind the case for war proved false and we weren't greeted with rose petals. That leaves behind the saddest and most accurate explanation for why we actually did: because we had to be “tough.”

Read More →

This is part of TPM Cafe Book Club for Jake Rosenfeld's What Unions No Longer Do.

We hear a lot about “saving the labor movement” these days. If not because some state government or perhaps the Supreme Court is poised to dismantle yet another legal protection for labor unions in general or some specific set of unionized workers in particular, we're talking about some possible victory for workers and whether that win will revive the entire movement.

Read More →

Unions have long been active in politics, and unions’ political influence once extended to both political parties. When labor was strong, even during periods of Republican ascendancy, elected officials could not afford to disregard union leaders’ advice when devising policy.

Take the case of W. J. Usery Jr. (pictured, center) Usery was a longtime labor activist who got his start as a cofounder of a local branch of the International Association of Machinists (IAM) in Georgia. For years he rose through the ranks of the IAM before President Richard Nixon nominated him to be assistant secretary of labor in 1969. While Nixon was no great supporter of the labor movement (and that’s our understatement of the day), he understood that labor’s assistance was essential for his legislative program. As he put it, “No program works without Labor cooperation.”

President Ford followed Nixon’s precedent, promoting Usery to secretary of labor in 1976. It would be as if a President Paul Ryan decided to tap Randi Weingarten – current head of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) – to be the Secretary of Education.

Read More →

Late last week, President Obama issued an executive order expanding current overtime protections for U.S. workers. The move is critical for many in the U.S. who work more than 40 hours a week in sectors that pay little, but are nevertheless currently “exempt” from overtime pay.

Read More →

This is part of TPM Cafe Book Club for Jake Rosenfeld's What Unions No Longer Do. Rosenfeld's latest contribution to this here book club is especially timely. For the past few weeks, the liberal commentariat has been having one of its perennial debates over whether the labor movement is dying and, if so, whether we should mourn its passing. This particular iteration of the old back-and-forth was kicked off by Bloomberg View columnist Evan Soltas, who argued that American unions are as good as dead and that's pretty much okay.

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

TPMLivewire