Why Even Some Liberals and Independents Are Refusing to Sign Up For Obamacare

Published: mic (March 31, 2014)

The Obamacare deadline is Monday, and a flurry of reports, headlines and talking heads are weighing in its success or failure. But sometimes politics cannot be understood without a human touch.

One of the most devastating aspects of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) implementation, flying under the radar, is the unwillingness of Republican-led states to accept the Medicaid expansion provision included in Obama’s legislation. This, and not the law, is making health insurance cost prohibitive for many — forcing people to choose the annual fine rather than accept the costs of even the cheapest plans.

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Which Famous President Is Just Like You? Take the Quiz

Published: mic (March 24, 2014)

We all probably have a favorite president or two, but which of them is most like you in their beliefs? Not every president is included (sorry Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt), but this quick quiz should help you discover which of our many leaders is a kindred spirit.

The points have nothing to do with whether one is “winning” or “losing,” just add them up as you go. They’ll come into play at the end.

Questions:

1. Which of these traits do you value most?

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11 Quirky Things You Never Knew About America’s Presidents

Published: mic (March 18, 2014)

It’s easy to recite well-known presidential trivia — Washington was our first president, Cleveland was the only president to serve nonconsecutive terms, etc. — but do you know the quirkier facts?

As an American history aficionado, it was hard for me to pick favorites from among the countless “quirky” presidential factoids. But …

1. Only one president had to learn English as a second language.

Martin Van Buren‘s first language was Dutch. Along with being America’s first New Yorker president, Van Buren was raised in Kinderhook, a small town in Columbia County whose residents were descended from New York’s original Dutch colonizers.

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The Creator of Westboro Baptist Used to Be a Die-Hard Civil Rights Fighter – What Happened?

Published: mic (March 16, 2014)

Reverend Fred Phelps, the founder of the notorious Westboro Baptist Church, is reportedly “on the edge of death” at a hospice in Kansas.

In case your memory needs refreshing, Phelps is best known for organizing protests at the funerals of anti-LGBT hate crime victims, soldiers, and celebrities under the slogan “God Hates Fags.”

He also used to be a champion of civil rights.

That may be hard to believe now, but the evidence is undeniable. After moving to Topeka in 1954, Phelps developed a reputation for taking civil rights cases that other attorneys — black as well as white — refused handle. As fellow Kansas civil rights activist Jack Alexander later explained, most lawyers believed that anti-discrimination cases were risky because of “the chance they wouldn’t get paid.” Not only was Phelps an exception to that rule, but his reputation as a lawyer reached the point that he became the go-to litigator for victims of racist persecution. His most prominent cases included that of a black student who Phelps claimed was receiving an inferior education in Topeka schools, a class-action lawsuit against an elementary school for discriminating against non-white students, and a defense of the Jordan-Patterson American Legion Post after it was raided by law enforcement officers who had racially profiled its members.

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10 Ways Ronald Reagan Isn’t the Hero the GOP Thinks He Is

Published: mic (March 14, 2014)

A CPAC attendee wearing a Ronald Reagan mask. 

Republicans sure love to talk about Ronald Reagan. Just look at some of these quotes from the Conservative Political Action Conference last week:

“Once again, the GOP is where the action is, just as it was in Jack Kemp’s day at the beginning of the Reagan Revolution.” – Congressman Paul Ryan (WI)

“It’s time for the Republican Party to stop talking about Ronald Reagan and start acting like him.” – Senator Mike Lee (UT)

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Obama’s FunnyOrDie Sketch Proves There Are Other Ways To Push Ideas In Beyond Fear And Anger

Published: mic (March 11, 2014)

If you haven’t seen President Obama’s appearance on “Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis,” stop everything you’re doing and watch it now.

There is a lesson to be learned from this video: Fear and anger aren’t the only effective methods for spreading a political message.

Obama’s right-wing opponents have spent the bulk of his presidency trying to destroy him with shrill accusations, inflammatory rhetoric and hyperbolic distortions of his agenda. The fact that these critics are so often wrong is less important here than the simple reality that they are so overwhelmingly, hysterically vitriolic. But this time, Obama responded with laughter.

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Rand Paul and Libertarians Are Looking More and More Like the Future Of the Republican Party

Published: mic (March 9, 2014)

The annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) has held its annual straw poll. For the second year in a row, the winner was Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. What does his victory mean? What does it tell us about the future of the Republican Party?

Here are the four things you need to know:

1. This is a great day for Rand Paul.

This is the fourth year out of five in which a libertarian has won the CPAC presidential straw poll. In 2010 and 2011, that honor went to Ron Paul, a Congressman from Texas and Rand’s father. Last year Rand Paul picked up the top honor for the first time. In 2014, Rand Paul not only earned his second consecutive win, but he far outpaced any of his rivals.

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There Are 939 Active Hate Groups in the United States. Here’s Where They Live.

Published: mic (March 7, 2014)

You don’t have to go far to find racism. It turns out President Obama’s election was a boon to bigots, as can be seen on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s recently-released “Hate Map.”

In the year before Obama was elected, there were only 888 organized hate groups on record. Although the total number dropped from 1,007 in 2012 to 939 in 2013, that is still a disturbing increase. Black separatists do comprise a small part of this list, of course, but the rest includes a range of white supremacists (the Ku Klux Klan, Neo-Nazis, White Nationalists, Racist Skinheads, Neo-Confederates) and Christian Identity movements. It should be noted that there is a heavy concentration of these groups below the Mason-Dixon Line, although California technically has more than any other state.

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