TPM Cafe: Opinion

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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This Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, a film featuring Dr. King is making news. The recent controversy surrounding Ava DuVernay’s Selma has been the sense that it was snubbed in last week’s Academy Award nominees: The film received a Best Picture and Best Song nod, but no other nominations, with director DuVernay, star David Oyelowo, and screenwriter Paul Webb among those left out. People have made various arguments for why the film received so few nominations—from a relative lack of quality to an overall trend that saw no actors of color included among any of the 20 acting nominees—but it’s quite possible that the controversy over Selma’s portrayal of history contributed to the snubs.

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"I feel most colored when I am thrown against a sharp white background," Zora Neale Hurston wrote in her essay “How It Feels To Be Colored Me.” I remembered this line in the early moments of Ava DuVernay's Selma, when Annie Lee Cooper approaches the county clerk's window to attempt to register to vote in a not-so-distant past. The clerk's contempt is immediate and demands Cooper individually name 67 county clerks for the state of Alabama, before inevitably denying her application.

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This week, Tiffany & Co. published its first ad featuring a same-sex couple. The famed luxury jeweler, known for its iconic Robin’s Egg blue boxes, has joined a host of other American companies in not just embracing same-sex couples but actively featuring people who are gay, lesbian and transgender in their advertising. In 2014, Barney’s spring campaign starred transgender models. In 2012, JCPenney’s featured same-sex couples for Father’s Day (or Fathers’ Day) campaigns. And there are many more examples.

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In midst of the ongoing turmoil over the now two dozen women accusing Bill Cosby of sexual assault, another famous accused abuser—Woody Allen—announced that he will be writing and directing a TV show for Amazon’s streaming service. Allen has been famously accused of molesting his daughter Dylan Farrow, an accusation that resurfaced last year when his ex-partner Mia Farrow and son Ronan Farrow reminded everyone of the allegations during last year’s Golden Globes. But while Cosby is facing cancellation of his TV show and boycott pressure, Allen just sails along, signing a TV deal and even announcing a movie with the creepiest possible premise in light of his both alleged abuse and on-the-record marriage to one of Mia Farrow’s children. Why is Allen getting off scot-free while Cosby is facing late in life career turmoil?

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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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