TPM Cafe: Opinion

Now it’s not just one, but two extremely famous models who have added their names to the growing list of women accusing Bill Cosby of sexual abuse and misconduct. Beverly Johnson, in a piece referencing fellow model Janice Dickinson’s accusation, has published an article in Vanity Fair accusing Bill Cosby of drugging her in his home in the eighties, after luring her there with promises of a shot at being on The Cosby Show.

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One silver lining that some Democrats seem to be taking away from the 2014 midterm elections is that the party’s fortunes in “the South” have reached such abysmal levels that the troublesome region can finally be either icily ignored or angrily anathematized. I’d argue, as I have for decades, for an unsentimental view of southern politics that treats Dixie as just another collection of challenges and opportunities, and neither the great hope nor the evil temptation for the donkey party.

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It’s not about smart phones, selfies or social media. The reason Millennials aren’t making some of life’s biggest purchases is because we’re broke. As James Carville might say, “it’s the economy, stupid.”

Reading the money pages of popular publications as a Millennial can be infuriating. Every other article seems to stumble through clumsy speculation about my generation’s financial decisions, as if we’re so mysterious.

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Amidst the stories of nationwide protests in response to the grand jury decisions in the Mike Brown and Eric Garner shootings, actor Mark Wahlberg’s request to have his decades-old criminal record expunged is poorly timed, to say the least. But Wahlberg’s story nicely exposes a concept that's sometimes hard to pin down: white privilege in America.

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Since 2011, hundreds of anti-abortion legislative bills have been introduced and passed in the state legislatures across the country. They seek to regulate abortion in all kinds of creative ways, from bans on providing abortion via telemedicine, to mandating that clinics have local hospital admitting privileges, to requiring in-person followups for patients two weeks after their medical abortion. They focus on details like room temperature, door width, and scrub and locker room setups for abortion clinics.

These TRAP bills, or Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers, have all been drafted with the same purpose. The legislation isolates the medical act of purposefully terminating a pregnancy and requires it to have a completely different and unnecessary set of regulations and standards than any other medical procedure, regardless of whether the other procedures are more or less dangerous, common or invasive.

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#ICantBreathe. Actually, I can’t watch the videos.

I can’t look at the photographs without tensing and tearing up. I can’t put my hands up because my arms are so tired. And I am shot. Through the heart. Through the head. Through the soul. There have been so many people back to back, and there always are. The past few months have been different, though. The photographs and videos have circulated through social and traditional media. Images of the last moments of a father’s life. Of a son’s life. Of a child at play. Children with toys that are as American as apple pie. Their last moments, captured, witnessed, seen, shared with the world.

And here is the thing. These images aren’t new. They are as American as super-sized menu items. The skeleton in our closet has been kept in the historical record of lynching postcards, and shows that we’ve been here before. The only new thing is technology and our reaction to it.

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One of the cars parked on the streets near my house in Washington, D.C. has a magnet on the side reading: "Stop killing our black men. Jesus loves them and we need them." This has been a terrible year for police brutality against African-Americans.

Except it hasn't. Because before Eric Garner and Michael Brown, there was Kimani Gray. And Kendrec McDade. And before that Rodney King. And so many others. That magnet has been on that car in my neighborhood for years—as long as I've lived here. More African-Americans will be killed by American police officers before it is removed.

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Of the many disturbing details in Sabrina Rubin Erdely’s Rolling Stone expose of the poor administrative response to sexual assault reports at University of Virginia, one detail is shaping up to be the most controversial: Erdely’s accusation that the school used a soft-handed, even feminist-sounding approach to make the rape accusations disappear. Focusing on Dean Nicole Eramo, head of UVA's Sexual Misconduct Board, Erdely lays out a pattern wherein victims who report are given no real guidance, on the grounds that it might seem too pressuring, and, as a result, most choose not to report. Erdely suggests that, well-meaning as the neutral approach may be, the result is “coddling the victim into doing nothing.”

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It’s 20-20 hindsight time for pols and pundits, so naturally we are hearing a lot of woulda-shoulda-coulda about the Democratic Party. Never mind that the last election was a second-term midterm with a crazy-positive landscape for the GOP: The defeat was totally avoidable, we are asked to believe, if only Barack Obama and/or the Democratic Party had behaved differently!

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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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