TPM Cafe: Opinion

The saga of Kentucky clerk Kim Davis is an epic tale of courage for her supporters, who view her as a sort of Appalachian Thomas More—and perhaps even more courageous than the Tudor martyr because she’s refusing to resign her public office (More did lose his head and his life, of course, but those were cruel times). To many of her detractors she’s a joke—a thrice-divorced hillbilly who epitomizes the hypocrisy and self-righteousness of Bible thumpers everywhere.

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Just as prosecutors seem to be closing in on David Samson, the former chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey who is a close confidante of N.J. Gov. and presidential candidate Chris Christie, the chief executive officer of United Continental Holdings was today ousted from his job as the head of the nation’s second largest airline after an internal investigation into his relationship and dealings with the bi-state transportation agency.

Under Jeff Smisek, United had agreed to comply with a request from Samson to begin running a flight from Newark Liberty Airport, a facility owned and controlled by the Port Authority, to Columbia, South Carolina. The route was one of the airline’s least profitable, but happened to be convenient to Samson’s vacation home. According to a source the former Port Authority chief was fond of calling it “the chairman’s flight.”

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It’s become commonplace to complain about how the true meanings of our American holidays have been forgotten in favor of weekend sales, cookouts and family gatherings. But the problem is particularly clear when it comes to Labor Day. While holidays like Memorial Day or the Fourth of July still feature prominent collective and media reminders of their historical and cultural significance alongside the barbeques and beach trips, Labor Day has become almost entirely divorced from its origins and associated instead with one last burst of summer fun before the fall and new school year commence in earnest.

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Slowly but steadily, educational reformers are succeeding in destroying higher education in America much in the same way they did K-12. Its undoing is the product of well-intentioned but misguided liberals, conservatives, and accreditation bodies who are pushing agendas that collectively are undoing the intellectual conditions that made American universities the best in the world.

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It was a surprise to no one that Mitt Romney received just 27 percent of the Latino vote in the 2012 election. The hallmark of Romney’s immigration solution was “self-deportation,” and Latinos were not too keen on that strategy.

Today Romney’s idea sounds downright quaint in comparison to Donald Trump’s proposed immigration reform. Under a Trump administration all undocumented persons would be deported, no exceptions. And Trump has not been shy about adding insult to policy injury. Most recently, a 2015 Latino version of the Willie Horton ad was released, portraying Latino immigrants as criminal dregs.

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Donald Trump has spent the summer slandering Mexicans as rapists and drug dealers, calling for mass expulsion of undocumented immigrants (including U.S. citizen children), and proposing to disembowel the 14th Amendment. Over the weekend he leveled an attack on DREAMers—undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as young children—and on Monday he released a venomous Willie Horton-style race-baiting video attacking Jeb Bush for saying that undocumented immigration can be “an act of love” by using mugshots of undocumented immigrants linked to high-profile murders.

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If passed, the Iran Deal will be the biggest diplomatic achievement of the Obama presidency. Painstakingly negotiated over the course of two years between the United Kingdom, Russia, France, China, Germany, the U.S., and Iran, the deal prevents Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon in exchange for relief from financial sanctions that have crippled its economy.

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This week, an elected county clerk in Kentucky named Kim Davis is owning the news cycle with a ridiculous George Wallace act, where she refuses to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Even though the Supreme Court has ordered Davis to grow up and do her job, she’s continuing to refuse, putting herself in real danger of being held in contempt and possibly jailed.

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As the Invisible Primary for 2016 reaches its zenith in the months before formal voting begins, there is one Republican candidate doing very well despite a lack of media attention, a record in public office, an elaborate campaign apparatus or even a clearly articulated platform. In the latest survey of Iowa for the Des Moines Register and Bloomberg Politics by highly-regarded pollster Ann Selzer, Ben Carson is running second behind Donald Trump at 18 percent, triple the vote share of supposed Establishment favorite Jeb Bush, and more than twice the vote share of early Iowa frontrunner Scott Walker.

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While Lower 48 politicians might have partisan heartburn over President Barack Obama’s decision to change the name of Mount McKinley to its Koyukon Athabascan name, Denali, you’d be hard pressed to find many Alaskans, conservative or otherwise, with objections.

“We’ve been calling it Denali since I moved up here,” Dave Stieren, a conservative talk radio host for KFQD-AM in Anchorage told me. “To me it’s like happy holidays/merry Christmas. Anybody who cares about it too much is not someone I’d like to hang out with.”

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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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