TPM Cafe: Opinion

Three men at a house party in Columbus, Georgia, made the local news after a female lyricist outperformed them in a freestyle rap battle. The men, upset, decided to “avenge their humiliation for losing to a female” by kidnapping, gang raping, and shooting her, then setting her on fire and leaving her for dead.

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As the college admissions season winds down, I hav­e some hard choices to make, but my dilemma is not about choosing where to enroll. It’s about how many adjunct instructors I will hire to teach required courses next fall.

As a department chair at Columbia University, I am compelled to hire many people on a part-time basis, although they want and deserve full-time jobs. These adjuncts are among the finest, longest-serving instructors in many universities, and it’s well known that their lasting contributions can transform the lives of their students.

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So now it’s official: Hillary Clinton is running for president. Unlike last time around, there are no viable candidates to run against her in the primary, which means, for better or worse, she’s what Democratic voters have to look forward to. The only question is what kind of campaign she’s going to run this time around, and whether she will build on her momentum or second guess her campaign into the ground.

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Senator Rand Paul came out of the gates swinging this week, and one of his biggest swipes was at foreign aid, development and diplomacy funding. While his stated reason of cost doesn’t pass the sniff test—foreign aid costs about what Americans spent on $1 smartphone apps last year—that isn’t the worst thing about Paul’s plan. The real problem is that Rand Paul’s national security policy is a mismatch both for the world we live in and public opinion about what America’s role should be.

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Michael Thomas Slager did everything by the book. The South Carolina police officer’s only mistake was being filmed. But his approach in killing Walter Scott, seeming to plant evidence, and initiating a cover-up was a classic scenario of how cops get away with murder. Given what we know about police shootings, it wouldn't surprise me if Slager was coached after he shot and killed Walter Scott. But judging by his dispatch call following the shooting, he was already pretty skilled at using the system to his advantage.

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Another white police officer has shot and killed yet another black person—this time it’s Walter Scott, who was killed by now-former officer Michael Slager in North Charleston, South Carolina. As the body count of black lives and level of trauma inflicted on the black community continue to climb, we are confronted with a critical question: Why do the police keep shooting and killing unarmed black men and women?

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Maybe Jeb Bush really did just check the wrong box on his 2009 Florida voter registration form when he self-identified as “Hispanic.” There’d be some serious cosmic irony in a Bush brother being penalized for Florida electoral confusion, after all, and the universe does occasionally have a sense of humor. But Bush would certainly have motives for purposefully self-identifying in that way, from the personal (he is married to the Mexican-born Columba Gallo) to the political (his sustained efforts to appeal to Hispanic voters). And if he did choose to define himself as Hispanic, American culture and history include contexts that both support and complicate that choice.

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