TPM Cafe: Opinion

Last week, I spent lunch discussing sex with total strangers.

It’s not as titillating as it sounds. The stories I heard were about frustration and sadness, not orgasms and lubricant. The frustration came from medical professionals who want an FDA-regulated product to help the women and partners they treat every day. The sadness came from women who wanted a normal sex life again.

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If you need convincing that this entire country could use a remedial course on the difference between “consent” and “non-consent,” look no further than this sexting story coming out of New Jersey, where 20 middle and high school aged boys have been accused of participating in an electronic “trading card” ring involving nude photos of female students. Reading the coverage of it, it becomes immediately clear how these boys got their overblown sense of entitlement: Their parents and community have rushed forward to support the boys for their invasion of privacy —and have demanded, instead, that the girls be criminalized for being such alluring little temptresses.

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Virtually no one in the international diplomatic community wants an Israeli government that openly opposes the two-state solution—but the time has come to face the uncomfortable truth. While it has been clear for years that Netanyahu is stalling talks, building settlements and strengthening the hard right in Israel, the world has continued to hope that Netanyahu’s overt ambiguity over the two-state solution means he is willing to go there at the end of the day.

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With Rick Santorum and George Pataki set to announce candidacies this week, and with the ranks of proto-candidates rapidly converging on those who haven’t made it official strictly for fundraising purposes or day-job responsibilities, we are very likely looking at a field of 15 candidates or so, not counting those beyond the pale of party or media respectability. Bush, Carson, Christie, Cruz, Fiorina, Graham, Huckabee, Jindal, Kasich, Pataki, Paul, Perry, Rubio, Santorum, Walker: all are currently running. Add Donald Trump, former Maryland Gov. Bob Ehrlich and former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore, and we’ve got 18 candidates. For a point of comparison, there were nine candidates in 2012 (or ten if you count former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer, who announced late and was not invited to appear in the televised debates).

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The nation's attention has been focused on the recent riots in Baltimore, but the harsh truth is that they could have happened in any major city. Indeed, we could see a long hot summer of urban (and, as in places like Ferguson, Missouri, suburban) riots that would make the two-day disturbances in Baltimore seem trivial in comparison.

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In an era when our wars seem too often fought far away, literally and figuratively, from the majority of Americans’ lives, Memorial Day serves a vital purpose: providing cultural space for those who have lost loved ones in war. It offers us images and commemorations of fallen soldiers—a communal chance to remember and honor the lost.

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In a speech delivered to the Coast Guard Academy on Wednesday, President Obama displayed a dramatic shift in rhetoric on an issue he has defined as one of the biggest of our era: climate change. Recognizing that many Americans remain skeptical of the environmental impacts of global warming, he instead argued for action on the grounds of national security.

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Recently released records show that Cleveland Police would have wanted to charge 12-year-old Tamir Rice with inducing panic and being an “aggravated menace.” He was shot and killed by an officer in less than two seconds while playing in the park with a toy gun. This development is juxtaposed with the news that a violent biker gang in Waco, Texas shot up a restaurant parking lot. Nine biker gang members were killed. Police arrested 170 gang members, and confiscated countless weapons. Apparently those 170 weren’t an aggravated menace worthy of immediate death.

Tamir Rice was an African American, while the biker gangs were not.

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On Tuesday, the Los Angeles City Council voted 14 to 1 to adopt a citywide minimum wage of $15 an hour by 2020. The next day, marching behind a giant banner that read, "McDonald's: $15 and Union Rights, Not Food Stamps," 5,000 cooks and cashiers show up at the company's corporate headquarters in Oak Brook, Illinois, to kick off the largest-ever protest to hit the burger giant's annual shareholder meeting.

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