TPM Cafe: Opinion

Shortly after my third wedding anniversary one year ago, I wrote in the Guardian about the gendered risks associated with my decision not to work while I finished my degree. I had become a de facto housewife, even though I was working toward my career as an economist rather than doing the more traditional housewife work of raising children or supporting a husband.

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As Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood have taken center stage, Planned Parenthood supporters are fighting back. Facebook pages like “Humans of Planned Parenthood” have sprung up, with people from across the country sharing their stories of how the organization provided them with quality care. Supporters and Planned Parenthood itself have been quick to note that the bulk of the care they provide—97 percent, in fact—isn’t abortion care. Most of what Planned Parenthood does is sexual and reproductive health care services like breast exams, STI screenings, contraception and gynecological care like PAP smears.

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Haters: They have always been with us, but never have they had more power than in our age of social media, where haters can draw their targets into ugly online pissing matches that end up making everyone look bad. The world got another excellent illustration of this phenomenon this week, when Tinder, the smartphone dating app, got drawn into a fight with writer Nancy Jo Sales. Sales, who has a long history of alarmist stories about how everyone younger than herself has lost their way, wrote a piece for Vanity Fair demonizing Tinder for supposedly making it too easy for men to get sex without commitment.

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TPM has already chronicled the long professional relationship, public friendship and in-ring head shaving of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and World Wrestling Entertainment chairman and chief executive Vincent K. McMahon. The men’s friendship makes sense. To a real estate mogul with live venues to fill, a professional wrestling company is a natural business partner. That both McMahon and Trump inherited their businesses from their fathers is another point in common. They also share a love of the carnivalesque, even if McMahon will tell you he’s built a multimedia entertainment company while Trump has fashioned himself a master of all business.

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Four years ago tomorrow, a Republican presidential nominating process was turned upside down by the late but very heavy entrance of a candidate who instantly became the front-runner: former Texas governor Rick Perry. He announced his candidacy in Charleston at the Red State Gathering, the annual meeting of very intense conservative activists convened by Erick Erickson. It all but eclipsed Michele Bachmann’s victory in the Iowa GOP Straw Poll the same day.

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Rick Perlstein is the national correspondent of The Washington Spectator, on whose site this article first appeared. This piece was updated by the Spectator on August 13 to remove the word "racist" from the headline, and has been similarly adjusted here. An apology from the author and a response from Spectator editor Lou Dubose were also appended to the original article and have been replicated here at the bottom of the piece.

You know that flag? The one that supposedly honors history but actually spreads a pernicious myth? And is useful only to venal right-wing politicians who wish to exploit hatred by calling it heritage? It’s past time to pull it down.

Oh, wait. You thought I was referring to the Confederate flag. Actually, I’m talking about this.

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Two weeks before the first GOP debate, when other presidential candidates were in Iowa or New Hampshire, two GOP contenders – Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz – were at a San Diego resort headlining the annual conference hosted by the American Legislative Exchange Council.

Commonly known as ALEC, the group is somewhat unique in American politics. It boasts more than 2,000 members of state legislatures, the vast majority of whom are Republican. And at its annual meetings and other sponsored retreats and events, it pairs those state lawmakers with lobbyists and executives from its roster of corporate members. Together, lawmakers and private interests jointly collaborate on subcommittees – ALEC calls them ‘task forces’ – to set the group’s legislative agenda and draft portable ‘model’ bills that can then be taken home to legislators’ home states to be introduced as their own initiatives. The private sector members of these task forces have veto power over each committee’s agenda and actions. ALEC’s agenda, therefore, always prioritizes the interests and voices of its donors over elected lawmakers.

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The conventional wisdom post the Republican Presidential Debate is that Donald Trump suffered a setback, due to the tough questioning he was run through by Rupert Murdoch’s minions. I’m not sure that is correct. The Trump partisan thinks the whole game is fixed, and so last week's debate looked just like one more attempt to fix the game by Murdoch and his consigliere, Roger Ailes. Trump refuses to spout Fox corporatist talking points, like in this exchange with Brett Baier:

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The first GOP presidential debate and Senator Chuck Schumer’s concurrent announcement that he will oppose the proposed deal with Iran are only the latest of many factors that have kept the Iran proposal atop the national and international headlines for weeks now. While the debate includes differing attitudes toward Iran, toward the prospect of further war in the Middle East, and toward the Obama administration’s foreign policies, it also reflects longstanding arguments about whether and how to limit the proliferation of nuclear weapons, along with who should be entrusted with regulating and inspecting them.

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Want to contribute to TPM Cafe? Email ideas for your pieces to us at talk@talkingpointsmemo.com
Want to contribute to TPM Cafe? Email ideas for your pieces to us at talk@talkingpointsmemo.com

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