NFL Players Getting Fined for Racial Slurs Exposes a Massive Oversight

Published: mic (February 28, 2014)

It’s the NFL off-season and while players are on vacation and there’s no good excuse to get debauched on a Sunday any longer, something else is afoot — NFL rule changes.

On Feb. 22, news broke that the NFL’s Competition Committee is considering an automatic 15-yard penalty for use of the “n-word” on the field and presumably other racial slurs. This opens up a glaring hole: What about the Redskins? The name of an entire football team is considered by many to be a racial slur with no good arguments against changing it. Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner, and Daniel Snyder, Washington Redskins owner, need to wake up. read more

What The Research Really Says About Gay Parents and Kids

Published: mic (February 25, 2014)

To determine the fate of Michigan’s constitutional ban on gay marriage, a federal court in Detroit is holding hearings on whether having same-sex parents is harmful to children.

It’s a tricky question (for some), but here’s the truth.

The Heritage Foundation held meetings to discuss “the need for new studies and research to back up claims that same-sex marriage is actually bad for the family.” Because the vast majority of social scientists do not share this view, the foundation fought fact with financing. They gave a grant of $785,000 to anti-LGBT sociologist Dr. Mark Regnerus of the University of Texas, who two years later produced a paper arguing that same-sex marriage was harmful to children. This study, along with others financed by conservative and/or religious think tanks, is the foundation of Michigan’s case against the parenting abilities of homosexual couples. read more

The Pentagon Just Announced Something No Millennial Has Ever Experienced

Published: mic (February 24, 2014), Appearance on Channel 69 – WFMZ (February 25, 2014)

The news: Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel plans to announce billions of dollars in military spending cuts, reducing our armed forces to troop levels unseen since 1940— before America entered World War II. In addition to reducing the size of our standing army, he will also propose limiting pay raises, increasing health care premiums, reducing benefits like housing allowances, and eliminating the use of A-10 “tank killer” aircraft and the U-2 spy plane. That said, current pay scales and previously earned and/or promised soldiers’ benefits will not be impacted. read more

What the 20-Something Nostalgia Obsession Means About Growing Up

Published: mic (February 21, 2014)

Jean-Luc Godard once said that the best way to criticize a movie is to make another one. But our generation has put a strange twist on his aphorism: Even when we make new movies, we only seem to do so as a way of seeing old ones again.

Don’t believe me? Just look at the top box office hits of the past 14 years. With the exception of Avatarevery film was an adaptation, prequel or sequel. In fact, with the exception of Pirates of the Caribbeanall of them are based on characters and franchises who were already well-known to the public by the late ’90s — from favorite superheroes like Batman to the toys in Toy Story 3. read more

Rand Paul’s Republican Revolution Should Be a Wake-Up Call For Democrats

Published: mic (February 19, 2014)

The news. In a recent interview with Politico, Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) discussed how the Republican Party could attract minority voters by focusing on a new slate of issues. These included reforming the war on drugs, opposing indefinite detention of detainees at military bases, and shifting the immigration debate away from border security and toward “find[ing] a place” for illegal residents who are willing to find work. He also repeated his earlier criticisms of the NSA’s domestic spying programs, which culminated last week in a class-action lawsuit against the agency. read more

If “You Pay a Million in Taxes, You Get A Million Votes.” Yes, a U.S. Billionaire Just Said That.

Published: mic (February 14, 2014)

Billionaire Tom Perkins, who once compared the Occupy movement with Nazism, is again at the center of a storm of controversy. His comment?

“The Tom Perkins system is: You don’t get to vote unless you pay a dollar of taxes… You pay a million dollars in taxes, you get a million votes.”

There is something instructive in Perkins’s ideas, albeit not in the way that he intends. For one thing, as a recent Huffington Post article explained, there are plenty of millionaires and billionaires who share Perkins’s views. Even without Mitt Romney’s infamous “47 percent” speech as a reference point, it’s an open secret that large sections of the wealthy upper class believe their voices should carry more weight than those of their fellow citizens. Usually they go about realizing this goal by selling voters on conservative and/or libertarian ideas through McCarthyist hysteria and exploitation of cultural reactionismbuying politicians with excessive campaign contributions, funding astroturf right-wing movements, and subsidizing sympathetic think tanks. That said, aside from covertly disenfranchising the poor through new voter ID laws, they have rarely attempted to outright prevent lower income Americans from participating in the democratic process. read more

A HUGE Gay Rights Battle Was Just Won in Kentucky. This is a Really Big Deal.

Published: mic (February 12, 2014)

A federal judge has struck down Kentucky’s law banning gay marriages from other states.

This historic decision, which is being rightly celebrated by the pro-LGBT community, sets an important precedent. By establishing that the constitutional guarantee to equal protection under the law applies to gay couples, it exposes the lie in the “states’ rights” rhetoric embraced for so long by ideological homophobes like those that originally created the Kentucky legislation. A federally-protected right, after all, cannot be compromised by the caprice of politicians. While other federal courts may contradict the ruling by U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II, he has laid an important building block in what will hopefully become an edifice of full legal equality for the gay community. read more

5 Ways Conservative Media Is Getting ‘The Hillary Papers’ All Wrong

Published:mic (February 11, 2014)

Let’s dispense with a necessary disclaimer: I believe Hillary Rodham Clinton is going to be the next President of the United States. The “Hillary Papers” that have been flying around the conservative blogosphere this week are just the latest effort by the right to do anything they can to prevent that from happening.