TPM Cafe: Opinion

In midst of the ongoing turmoil over the now two dozen women accusing Bill Cosby of sexual assault, another famous accused abuser—Woody Allen—announced that he will be writing and directing a TV show for Amazon’s streaming service. Allen has been famously accused of molesting his daughter Dylan Farrow, an accusation that resurfaced last year when his ex-partner Mia Farrow and son Ronan Farrow reminded everyone of the allegations during last year’s Golden Globes. But while Cosby is facing cancellation of his TV show and boycott pressure, Allen just sails along, signing a TV deal and even announcing a movie with the creepiest possible premise in light of his both alleged abuse and on-the-record marriage to one of Mia Farrow’s children. Why is Allen getting off scot-free while Cosby is facing late in life career turmoil?

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The prospect of a third consecutive presidential campaign by Mitt Romney suddenly became very real over the last few days, after the former governor first told a group of donors he still wanted to be president, and then spent a weekend burning up the phone lines tracking down former supporters and staffers to ask them to help, or at least avoiding joining any rival team. It’s theoretically possible it’s a head fake or trial balloon prompted by Jeb Bush’s equally surprising recent plunge into proto-candidate status, which by all accounts threatens the donor base of any Romney run. But there’s a frantic and very personal quality to Romney’s activities the last few days that make them appear less cool and calculated than, say, a Bain raid on a troubled company.

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Last week, Senator Barbara Boxer announced she wouldn’t be running for reelection. Politics can be heartbreaking (the inertia, the hypocrisy, the futility, the shattered hopes!), but Sen. Boxer gave many on the left courage during some very dark days in the course of her long career, providing a genuinely progressive voice on women's rights and climate change and most of all, on national security. In sharp contrast to her fellow California Senator Dianne Feinstein, who voted with the Republicans in favor of war with Iraq in 2002, Boxer was, from the first thump of the war drums after 9/11, a staunch and absolute opponent to that three-trillion-dollar folly. She called out the hawks, including, gratifyingly, Condoleeza Rice in 2005: "I personally believe," she told a visibly furious Rice, "that your loyalty to the mission you were given, to sell this war, overwhelmed your respect for the truth." (We were informed last week that Condoleeza Rice will not seek Boxer's Senate seat.)

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Over the Christmas holiday, using #BlackLivesMatter, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei tweeted an incendiary critique of American race relations. Pointing to recent protest over police treatment of Americans of color, Khamenei compared the unrest in New York and Missouri to conflicts in the Middle East, and called on “Jesus followers” to defend the oppressed. It is doubtful that the impetus behind the Ayatollah’s tweet is a genuine concern for the lives of black Americans. His sanctimonious taunting, however, is illustrative of the powerful opening that recent events offer to America’s adversaries and detractors.

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A swearing-in featuring Joe Biden is gaffe-porn, when both the Vice President’s best and worst are on full display. It’s when Biden is in his truest form—“unleashed,” as they say—and the chamber is his stage. But are these really just “aw, shucks, dad” moments, another blunder we have come to expect from Uncle Joe? Or is it…kinda creepy? And why does he get a pass from progressives?

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The recent attack on Charlie Hebdo, a weekly satirical French newspaper featuring acerbic cartoons and comics, is shocking. Twelve people are dead, 11 injured. These attacks threaten the freedom of the press. But the media’s response has been troubling. Coverage lionizes Charlie Hebdo as an institution, while also taking advantage of the cartooning community.

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PARIS -- The mood in Paris’ 11th Arrondissement was subdued late Wednesday afternoon, as fans of Charlie Hebdo came to pay their respects. Demonstrators held up signs and placards exclaiming “Je suis Charlie” (I am Charlie) at the scene of the tragedy, as thousands of French people posted the phrase on social media. Scrums of news crews waited, though it was not clear what for. Save for the constant wail of sirens, the rest of the city seemed remarkably normal, despite an increased police presence at major transit and commerce centers.

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