TPM Cafe: Opinion

At the White House summit on countering violent extremism this week, President Obama challenged the American Muslim community to counter the “Islam versus the West” narrative that helps ISIS recruit young Muslims in America. The president is right in that this is a responsibility of the American Muslim community, and leaders are working to advance this message every day. Nonetheless, counternarratives from the American Muslim community alone will not stanch the appeal of ISIS’ propaganda. We, as a nation, must do more.

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The last time we had anything like the recent wave of Republican takeovers of state governments was in 1994, when the GOP picked up ten net governorships and took control of fifteen new state legislative chambers. The officeholders who benefited from this shift were for the most part very lucky people, assuming their positions just as the Long Boom of the mid-to-late 1990s began to gain momentum. The resulting revenue bonanza made it easy for Republicans at the state level to keep tax cut promises without unpopular spending reductions. Remember that large group of GOP governors who backed George W. Bush when he ran for president in 2000 as a “reformer with results?” They all, including Bush, owed a big debt of thanks to the drivers of the national economy, including Bill Clinton.

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Asking colleges how they feel about federal higher education regulation is a bit like asking six-year-olds what they think about broccoli—of course they don't like it. The difference is Congress would never call children to testify as part of political theater.

Today the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee held a hearing on a recently released report it commissioned on the burden of federal regulations. The report does not paint a pretty picture of the Department of Education, sayings colleges are “enmeshed in a jungle of red tape,” and playing right into a narrative advanced by Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), the HELP committee chair, that the burden of regulations are responsible for college costs increasing.

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In accepting her Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress on Sunday night, Patricia Arquette made an impassioned plea for women’s rights and equal pay. She did so, somewhat strangely, by pitting the women’s movement again others: “We have fought for everybody else’s equal rights. It’s time to have our wage equality once and for all, and equal rights for women in the United States of America.” And in her subsequent backstage remarks, according to the official transcript, Arquette took that contrast one step further: “It’s time for all the women in America and all the men that love women, and all the gay people, and all the people of color that we’ve all fought for to fight for us now.”

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Yitzhak Rabin made his most important pleading in 1992 to the Israeli parliament: “Israel is no longer a people that dwells alone,” he said in his inaugural speech to the Knesset in his second term as prime minister.

Benjamin Netanyahu says his most important pleading will be to the American parliament, and when he addresses Congress on March 3, his message will be as clear as Rabin’s was, if also its polar opposite in tone: Israel faces extinction.

“I'm going to Washington because as Prime Minister of Israel, it's my obligation to do everything in my power to prevent the conclusion of a bad deal that could threaten the survival of the State of Israel,” he said February 16, addressing American Jewish leaders and referring to the Iran nuclear talks backed by the Obama administration.

The differences in style, in outlook, indeed, in Zionisms, are well known: Rabin was the cautious optimist who embraced Yasser Arafat, reviled for decades in Israel as a terrorist. Netanyahu is the pessimist who abides by a certainty that the neighborhood he lives in is not ready for peace.

Equally as telling, however, is the venue each man chose for what they hoped would be pronouncements that would shift the gears of history: Rabin, his beloved home turf, the cradle of Zionism; Netanyahu, the Washington whose language and customs he has embraced with preternatural fluency.

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It appears that Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin believes he can shrug his way into being the Republican nominee for president. Journalists are quickly learning that if you ask Walker to comment on any of the issues that are riling up the fundamentalists, birthers or other right wingnuts these days, Walker will be respond with his impression of a popular emoticon: ¯\(ツ)/¯.

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Last night at the Oscars, Jennifer Lopez, the Latina singer and actress from the Bronx reportedly worth $300 million dollars, cheered enthusiastically for women’s wage equality (women still make around 77 cents on the dollar). J. Lo has never been considered a feminist by the media; indeed, she’s never even been subject to the obligatory “Are you a feminist?” question every reporter asks female stars nowadays. But even though this may have been Lopez’s only public moment as an arbiter of women’s equality, it certainly wasn’t her first foray into gender equality. J. Lo has been a stealth feminist all along.

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In the run-up to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to the U.S. Congress, many pundits have focused on how Netanyahu turned Israel into a partisan issue in Washington. Some like to talk about Netanyahu's terrible relationship with President Obama and his disrespect of internal American politics. Others claim thatNetanyahu and the Republican Party are attempting to sabotage Obama's foreign policy on Iran, a dynamic that creates a partisan split with respect to Israel, as well. These arguments are surely true; Netanyahu is putting Israel in a difficult position. But this is not only a conversation about politics, it’s also about policy. And while support for Israel's right to defend its citizens should remain bipartisan, many issues within Israel are by their very nature partisan. Moreover, how to achieve Israel's security, and what a secure Israel means is also intrinsicallya partisan question.

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In 2013 Emily Lindin began putting her diary entries online. The pages that she posted detailed her experience, between the ages of 11 and 14, of being labeled the school slut and slut-shamed.

Since that first entry went live, The UnSlut Project has grown to include the stories of teens, women and men who have had experience with this particular form of harassment and bullying. Lindin is currently working on “Slut: A Documentary Film,” a movie that expands on some of these stories and looks at the larger implications of slut-shaming and what the term says about female sexuality and how it is viewed, discussed and judged in contemporary society. (Lindin is currently in the midst of a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for post-production.)

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Earlier this month, Mauro Mujica, the head of the organization U.S. English, praised West Virginia's H.B. 2573, which would require that all official state business be conducted in English, calling it an “important policy for the good of all state residents." This is the same man who wrote a disturbing editorial in which he said:

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