TPM Cafe: Opinion

It’s hard to believe that there could be new developments in the Bill Cosby story, considering that the alleged rapes happened years, often decades ago, but here we are: The Associated Press managed to get a court to release documents, despite Cosby’s lawyers fighting them tooth and nail, that reveal that Cosby admitted to premeditated drugging of women for sex. The documents, from a 2005 lawsuit from one of his alleged victims, show that Cosby admitted to buying Quaaludes for this purpose in the past and to drugging at least one woman with three half-pills of Benadryl.

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It’s been a wild couple of weeks at the Supreme Court, as a notoriously conservative court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, upheld the Fair Housing Act, and preserved Obamacare subsidies for millions of Americans. Progressives were stunned and delighted at the Supreme Court’s seemingly leftward tilt, cheering Justice Anthony Kennedy for his decisive vote for marriage equality and commending Chief Justice John Roberts for strengthening Obamacare’s judicial footing.

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As with so many debates in our 21st century moment, the question of race and the Declaration of Independence has become a divided and often overtly partisan one. Those working to highlight and challenge injustice will note that Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration and its “All men are created equal” sentiment, was like many of his fellow founders a slave-owner, and moreover one who might well have fathered illegitimate children with one of his slaves. In responses, those looking to defend Jefferson and the nation’s founding ideals will push back on these histories as anachronistic, overly simplistic, exemplifying the worst form of “revisionist history.”

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When President Barack Obama signed the Trade Promotion Authority bill last week, he set a precedent. The bill included a provision that “requires the U.S. Trade Representative to discourage European Union countries from boycotting ‘Israel or persons doing business in Israel or Israeli-controlled territories’ during free-trade negotiations between the U.S. and the EU.”

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For 15 years the University of Phoenix conducted an incredible experiment. Fueled by the Internet and a take-all-comers approach, the private for-profit college became a massive national institution, earning hundreds of millions of dollars in the process. But on Monday, executives at Phoenix’s parent company, Apollo Education Group, declared the experiment a failure that had to end. The rest of the for-profit college community should be terrified of what that means for them.

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For decades, as private sector unionism has steadily diminished, public sector unions have grown. Traditionally, public sector unions have been easier to organize because the employer—federal, state, and local governments—is in a poor position to bust unions. The government cannot secretly spend millions on anti-union consultants, violate workers’ rights, and discipline or fire workers for their union sympathies. The result is that a third of public sector workers are currently members of a union, whereas only six percent of their private sector counterparts are similarly union members.

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Nearly a week after the Supreme Court’s landmark decisions in King v. Burwell and Obergefell v. Hodges, it’s a good time to take stock of the Republican party’s reactions to what was by most accounts a one-two punch to its values and interests, all the more powerful because it came from an ostensibly conservative Roberts Court.

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In a speech last year in Kansas City, President Barack Obama said he received a letter from a nine-year-old girl that included a list of possible women to put on America’s paper bills and coins, “which I thought was a pretty good idea." In March of this year, Barbara Ortiz Howard and Susan Ades Stone started a campaign called Women on 20s to demand that the government replace former President Andrew Jackson’s image on the $20 bill with a woman from history.

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Of all the sour grapes conservatives chewed this past weekend over the same-sex marriage ruling, perhaps Ross Douthat’s was the sourest. While other conservatives moved on to incoherent babbling about “religious liberty”, Douthat used his New York Times column to dig his heels into the argument soundly rejected by Anthony Kennedy’s opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges: that same-sex marriage is somehow an assault on traditional marriage.

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Marriage went viral yesterday—and no I did not leave a word out. I’ve never seen so much discussion, so many gifs, so many memes and pull-quotes and hashtags (#lovewins), so much liking and celebrating over matrimony. Sure, ostensibly yesterday’s social media bonanza was a celebration of the Supreme Court’s decision to award same-sex couples the right to marry, but what the court did, and what we’re all celebrating, isn’t equality, but the institution of marriage itself.

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