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Archive for January, 2011

“Why Sputnik?”

January 27th, 2011

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“This is our generation’s Sputnik moment,” President Obama declared in his State of the Union speech Tuesday evening. Interesting metaphor. I was around for the launching of Sputnik in 1957. He wasn’t. Sputnik created a huge wave of shock and paranoia in the United States. The Soviets were beating us! We were losing the Space Race! And maybe the Cold War.

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Fixing Social Security is progressive

January 20th, 2011

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This piece was originally published in Politico.

Last week, 200 progressive organizations launched a public campaign directed toward President Barack Obama that argues against any fix to Social Security that would touch future benefits. This is not only bad for Social Security; it’s not particularly progressive.

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Asking for Your Hand in Marriage

January 19th, 2011

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This piece originally appeared in The Advocate.

“It’s going to happen. Whether you like it or not.” This quote from San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, among the nation’s fiercest equality advocates, became the tagline for one of the most frequently aired—and effective—ads run by marriage opponents in favor of Prop 8 during the 2008 battle in California.

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On The Gun Issue

January 10th, 2011

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This piece originally appeared in the New York Times.

We don’t yet know the motive of the shooter, but high profile mass killings usually lead to some talk of gun safety measures. It is one of the sad and unfortunate aspects of the gun issue that the issue only seems to arise when tragedies occur. Some of the hardest days of my life involved talking to a mother or father who lost a little boy or little girl and then lecturing them on what was possible in Congress. The activists on the gun rights side are gun enthusiasts; the activists on the gun control side had something very bad happen to someone very close to them.

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White-hot politics, cool president

January 10th, 2011

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This piece was originally published in Politico.

Jared Lee Loughner, who has now been charged in the Tucson, Ariz., shootings, has been described as a disturbed young man. Early scraps of evidence suggest his politics are a jumble. His list of “favorite books” veers from far left with “The Communist Manifesto” to far right with “Mein Kampf.” It includes dystopian literature, such as “Animal Farm,” “Brave New World” and “Fahrenheit 451,” rallying cries against authority with “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and fantasies that include “The Wizard of Oz” and “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.”

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Julian Assange and the WikiLeaks Attack on Progressive Values

January 7th, 2011

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This piece was originally posted on Huffington Post.

As Professor Geoffrey Stone made clear on this site and in the New York Times this week, Congress must be careful not to criminalize conduct that is constitutionally protected and vital to our democratic system, like rooting out and exposing government misconduct. For example, the two Times reporters who uncovered the Bush administration’s NSA wiretapping scheme were properly awarded the Pulitzer Prize; they should not now fear prosecution for their work to expose a classified — but illegal — rogue government operation.

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