Category Archives: Current Events

Risk and Reason/The Wrong Side of History: On the Yale University Unionization Efforts

By Sarah BrouilletteAnnie McClanahan,  and Snehal Shingavi

In the following two essays, writers Sarah Brouillette, Annie McClanahan, and Snehal Shingavi address the Yale unionization efforts and hunger strike, in response to Amy Hungerford’s recent piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Continue reading

The Problem with Invoking Down Syndrome in Support of the American Health Care Act

By George Estreich

From the moment the American Health Care Act won passage in the House of Representatives, a child with Down syndrome was going to be marshaled in its favor: supporters of the bill needed a sentimental distraction from the AHCA’s likely impact on people with disabilities.

What I didn’t expect was that the first example would come from a parent who voted for the bill. Continue reading

America The Beautiful: The Disconnect Between Conservatism and Conservation

By Henry Godinez

“Words, words, words,” says the young prince in Hamlet, arguably the greatest play ever written in any language. Perhaps part of why it has remained influential for 400 years is that it can be a kind of blueprint for us, or at least a mirror. As a mirror turned to our society today, it reflects our political turmoil, our corruption, and frankly, our hypocrisy. Continue reading

Stop Comparing Marine Le Pen to Donald Trump

By Russell Porter-Follows

On May 7, voters will head to the polls to elect the next President of France. France’s avidly anti-immigrant and Eurocentric National Front party, led by Marine Le Pen, has ascended from the fringes of French politics to the mainstream by riding a wave of toxic nationalism. After receiving 21.4% of the popular vote, Le Pen advanced to the runoff election in late April against centrist candidate, political novice, and former investment banker Emmanuel Macron. Continue reading

Finding Mercy in Merciless Times

By David Kyuman Kim

“We forgive him.” “I have no animosity in my heart for him.” This is what the family of Robert Godwin Sr. said to Anderson Cooper on CNN two days after Steve Stephens murdered their father on Easter and broadcasted the awful act on Facebook. The shock of seeing a murder on social media was only surpassed by the moral witness of a grieving family saying “We forgive.” The expressions of forgiveness and mercy would be astonishing arguably at any time, but in this American moment, one rife with animosity, hatred, and the dramatic resurgence in racially-motivated crimes, forgiveness comes as a shock to an unforgiving system. Continue reading

The Violence of Ageism

By Margaret Morgranroth Gullette

As the entire world now knows, Dr. David Dao is the passenger who was dragged off a United Airlines Flight on April 9th by Chicago police who broke his nose, gave him a concussion and smashed two of his teeth. He may need restorative surgery. Some media have treated this as a horror perpetrated by a single airline that bullies passengers, or by a business model that forces overbooking. It is a mistake to look so narrowly at the sources of harm. A few reports, and many Asian American social media users, have mentioned the possibility of racism. As I write, no mainstream news source or commentary has mentioned ageism.
Continue reading

The Ego Budget

By Benjamin Reeves

Common wisdom says that the “skinny budget” presented by the president to Congress every year is essentially a political document. It doesn’t define what the budget will actually be since Congress — not the president — is responsible for drafting and passing the budget; rather, its purpose is to provide a guide to the president’s priorities for the country, and traditionally, the president’s party uses it as a baseline when drafting their budget. Given the skinny budget’s role as a primarily political document, it’s not surprising that presidents use its opening statement, in which they address Congress and the American people, as a rhetorical opportunity before getting down to dollars and cents. Continue reading

The Berth of Biopolitics

By Matt Seybold

While coverage of Dr. David Dao’s involuntary deplaning has focused on United’s ineffective PR response, procedural failures, and various forms of victim-shaming, it is also a stark example of the failure of neoliberal political economy to abide its own purported logic. In 1978, a coalition of so-called “Deltacrats,” with the blessing of President Carter, pushed through the Airline Deregulation Act on the dubious grounds it would help address two persistent bugbears of the era: inflation, and rising fuel prices. Milton Friedman, figurehead of what Michel Foucault would call “anarcho-liberalism” and the academic face of the Reagan Revolution, called the ADA “the first major move in any area away from government control and toward greater freedom.” The largest commercial airlines, particularly Delta and United, had lobbied hard for deregulation, which would hasten the process of oligopolistic amalgamation. The legislation’s primary sponsor and spokesperson, Senator Howard Cannon, would be rewarded with the Tony Jannus Award for “outstanding achievement in commercial aviation,” a recognition generally reserved for airline executives, but would lose his seat in ‘82 to a challenger who argued, ironically, that Chairman of the Commerce Committee Cannon was not business-friendly enough. Continue reading