TPM Cafe: Opinion

One of the few missing ingredients in the film Selma is the centrality of music during the Selma-to-Montgomery, Alabama march. A tiny snippet of field recordings from the march can be heard at the very end of the movie's credits, but otherwise the movie ignores the constant singing that emboldened the marchers during the four-day, 54-mile trek.

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Since the tragic attacks in Paris earlier this month, voices on the right and left have been vigorously debating the issue of Muslims’ assimilation in the West. But this focus on assimilation is at best misleading and at worst disingenuous. What has attracted young men to the global jihad is not necessarily their incomplete assimilation, but rather estrangement from the values and aspirations of mainstream society and ruling elites.

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The judgments were virtually unanimous: The big winner of the first major “winnowing” event of the 2016 Republican presidential contest, the Iowa Freedom Summit, was Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. So said National Review’s John Fund, whose early account of the day of speechifying was festooned with Walker’s iconic shirtsleeves-rolled-up image. So said the influential editor-in-chief of the Iowa Republican website, Craig Robinson, who called the speech Walker’s “coming out party.” Some thought the fiery Ted Cruz was a close second, and some thought Ben Carson maintained his base-pleasing rep, and some thought Carly Fiorina did surprisingly well. But for a proto-candidate most often described as having potential “on paper,” it was a pretty big step forward.

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Let’s be honest: The feminist movement is not exactly known for its savvy design. Too many women’s organizations have cliché, homogenous logos and visual identities that reinforce stereotypes and do no favors to momentum-building. There are countless examples of organizations with forgettable icons of pink, leaping, curvaceous women as their brand stamp, and too few with design language that strikes and sticks.

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The last two years of Obama’s presidency will largely be defined by his defense of key legislation: the Affordable Care Act, caps on carbon emissions and Dodd-Frank. While the broad shape of the first two battles is already known, the war on financial regulation, because of its abstract nature, will often be waged outside of the public eye. In his State of the Union Address last week, Obama said he plans to veto future provisions that would unravel his regulations of Wall Street. These words are welcome, though not as strong as Elizabeth Warren’s call to go on the offensive against the bank lobby. If Obama sticks to his promise, he’ll have a lot of fighting to do, because Republicans are itching to repeal his most important financial reform legislation.

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Woody Allen's critics see his continued achievements as an affront. The chorus calling for his banishment from social influence has grown louder since last year, when Dylan Farrow wrote publicly about her sexual abuse allegations just as Allen received a lifetime achievement award at the Golden Globes. From the right, such criticism is to be expected as he has been mocking their mores and heroes on stage, page and screen for five decades. His well-intentioned critics on the left, however, are ignoring his decades of contributions to progressive thinking in the United States.

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Most discourse about rape prevention is stale at best and counterproductive at worst, so it was downright exciting to see a genuinely intriguing idea on how to prevent rape, coming not from a women’s studies department or a feminist blogger retreat, but from the sorority system. The New York Times reported earlier this week that many in the sorority sisterhood are starting to agitate to break the long-standing tradition of alcohol-free sorority houses, not because they are sick of having to wear shoes to parties but as a form of rape prevention.

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Last week, the bell sounded on a new round of education policy’s biggest battle—to almost no media fanfare at all. While most of the Beltway was fulminating over leaving tar sands behind in Canada and American leaders left out of the Charlie Hebdo protests in Paris, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) released his draft bill to roll back large sections of No Child Left Behind.

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