TPM Cafe: Opinion

Woody Allen's critics see his continued achievements as an affront. The chorus calling for his banishment from social influence has grown louder since last year, when Dylan Farrow wrote publicly about her sexual abuse allegations just as Allen received a lifetime achievement award at the Golden Globes. From the right, such criticism is to be expected as he has been mocking their mores and heroes on stage, page and screen for five decades. His well-intentioned critics on the left, however, are ignoring his decades of contributions to progressive thinking in the United States.

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Most discourse about rape prevention is stale at best and counterproductive at worst, so it was downright exciting to see a genuinely intriguing idea on how to prevent rape, coming not from a women’s studies department or a feminist blogger retreat, but from the sorority system. The New York Times reported earlier this week that many in the sorority sisterhood are starting to agitate to break the long-standing tradition of alcohol-free sorority houses, not because they are sick of having to wear shoes to parties but as a form of rape prevention.

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Last week, the bell sounded on a new round of education policy’s biggest battle—to almost no media fanfare at all. While most of the Beltway was fulminating over leaving tar sands behind in Canada and American leaders left out of the Charlie Hebdo protests in Paris, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) released his draft bill to roll back large sections of No Child Left Behind.

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It’s now been 42 years since the Supreme Court held that a woman’s right to privacy included the right to abortion. It’s hardly a secret that this right is slowly but surely eroding. From multi-day waiting periods to severe restrictions on certain forms of abortion to whatever’s happening in Texas this week, the assaults on Roe v. Wade are getting more creative every year.

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In this year’s State of the Union, President Obama presented a clear road map for ensuring that the United States will remain the predominant power in the world for generations to come. Foreign policy elites who lament the primary focus on “domestic issues” are missing the main point of this year’s address and indeed the Obama presidency: A strong, confident American middle class is a prerequisite for the exercise of American power and leadership on the world stage.

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In 2011, when South Dakota proposed the first 72-hour wait for a woman trying to get an abortion, the restriction was quickly seen for exactly what it was: an unprecedented attempt to create such a blatant roadblock that she would either leave the state or carry the pregnancy to term. While the South Dakota mandate (which also required a pregnant person to visit a crisis pregnancy center in between her two clinic appointments before she would be allowed to terminate) was held up in court, Utah passed a similar 72-hour wait, this time without a mandatory counseling session from an anti-abortion activist. Their bill went into effect in 2012.

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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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