An Agenda for Occupy Wall Street

Published: The Newark Star-Ledger (October 14, 2011)

The pundits are claiming that Occupy Wall Street lacks a coherent agenda. I have one for them that can be summed up in two words: Rebuild America.

Although Occupy Wall Street’s anger has been targeted at the American plutocracy (a term best defined by Theodore Roosevelt as “government by men very powerful in certain lines and gifted with the ‘money touch,’ but with ideals which in their essence are merely those of so many glorified pawnbrokers”), it would be a mistake to assume, as many right-wingers have done, that this movement is driven by a desire to wage war against a particular class. People are taking to the streets not because they wish to punish the wealthy for being successful, but because the working class is being deprived of the opportunity to achieve similar success. read more

Civil Rights History in High School Education

Published: The Express Times (October 3, 2011)

Can you identify the source of this quote?

“We conclude that in the field of public education separate but equal has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.”

If you can’t, don’t worry. Not even today’s high school students are expected to know that it came from the Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. In fact, when 12,000 12-graders last year took the National Assessment of Educational Progress U.S. History Exam, all they were asked to do was identify school segregation as the problem being addressed in that passage. read more

Rick Santorum and Gay Rights

Published: The Morning Call (October 2, 2011)

In a recent interview with Politico, Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum issued a scathing denunciation of Google. “If you’re a responsible business,” he remarked, “you don’t let things like that happen in your business that have an impact on the country.”

One might expect such strong words to be reserved for the greatest rascals of American capitalism – you know, like the Wall Street firms whose chicanery plunged our nation into its current economic mess, or perhaps the corporate executives who throw hardworking employees onto the unemployment rolls instead of accepting modest cuts to their own massive salaries. What could Google have done to provoke such a condemnation from the erstwhile senator? read more