The DNC’s 100-Day Cash Haul
Tim Scott Optimistic on Police Reform
India Sets Pandemic Record for New Infections
Kamala Harris to Chair National Space Council
Biden Oversees Surge In Optimism
Fact-Checking Joe Biden
Even by the usually very eclectic standards of the mailbag, this one is particularly eclectic.
P.M. in Simi Valley, CA, writes: Reading the preamble to the U.S. Constitution, these words stand out: "in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity." I submit to all that the Republican Party has failed miserably on each and every one of these precepts, beginning with Ronald Reagan. He ran on a platform antithetical to each of them and defined the Republican approach to governance. Simply put, Republicans rejected the stated purpose of the preamble to the Constitution, and consequently, the Constitution itself. Reagan proposed a regime of non-governance and bizarre economic policy that had the effect of entirely subverting the stated purpose for establishing the United States and consequently the Constitution.
President Biden, in stark contrast, is following a doctrine of governance that precisely addresses the precepts laid out in the Preamble. That is why his programs have majority support from the populace. We the People sense that his administration is intent on serving the People of the United States and promoting our general Welfare. Any argument that President Biden is leftist, socialist, communist or any similar epithet is abhorrently specious and must be rejected.
S.K. in Chappaqua, NY, writes: My "takeaway" from Joe Biden's speech to Congress differs from those of everyone else (except, arguably, CNN's). Most American voters are unknowing socialists! As you have pointed out, American voters love, love, love Social Security and Medicare, but never think of them as "socialism" because that word has come to be conflated with Communism and Communism is associated with the failed governments of Russia and its satellites, which actually failed due to their corrupt leaders, and not due to their economic philosophy. Biden is tapping into the public's belief in progressive taxation and "all People are created equal" and are entitled to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." For him, "life" includes government-provided life-saving health care and "pursuit of happiness" includes government-provided education; just don't call it socialism.
J.M. in Portland, OR, writes: "The (most terrifying) BEST part of his speech, and the Democrats' agenda, is H.R. 1, the 'For the People Act,' which takes the (most hideous) BEST parts of California's voting laws (universal absentee ballots, extended early voting, ballot harvesting, same-day registration) national. It's not hyperbole to say that if this bill is passed and fully enacted, it would guarantee permanent Democrat Party rule."
There. Fixed that for you, Jennifer Van Laar.
O.E. in Greenville, SC, writes: In regards to the decline of live TV ratings, the same thing can be said about lots of items. Music sales have also declined with the move to digital streaming and sales. If you want a specific example to confound right-wingers, imagine an album from an interracial music group, with a protest song about racism and the Confederate flag, and an expletive thrown in. How many copies would you think it would sell? If you guessed below ten million in the first year alone, you'd be wrong. The album in question is Hootie and the Blowfish's "Cracked Rear View", with the song in question being "Drowning." Those sales are unmatched by most albums of today; even the most successful take years to get to that point.
J.T. in Greensboro, NC, writes: As a person who teaches rhetoric to first-year college students, I have plenty of occasions to talk to "the youth" about their news consumption habits. Once a semester we actually devote a class or two to discussing how we know what we know, and how we make informed decisions about politics. I usually ask my students: "Do any of you watch TV news?" The responses range from "lol" to "yeah, when my dad has it on."
I'll confess that I'm an elder millennial and I really only watch TV news during debates and election returns, and other times of national crisis. During the Trump administration I would, occasionally, tune in and watch a speech live out of masochism or morbid curiosity.
Despite the way that MSNBC, CNN and Fox seem to dominate our public discourse about news reportage, nobody under 40 is watching.
P.B. in Gainesville, FL, writes: There have been several people who wrote in recently (last week, B.B. in Bangor and M.Y. in San Jose, plus others earlier) to advocate strongly for replacing petroleum-powered vehicles with EVs, citing the reduction in pollution and CO2 generation as major imperatives. But in fact, this argument is at least 60% nonsense (and maybe 80%)!
This is because, averaged across the whole U.S. power grid, you'd be replacing the gasoline burned with energy sources that power utility-scale energy plants—that is, the facilities that provide the electricity that all these EVs will need to recharge. According to the Energy Information Administration, in 2020 approximately 40% of the grid-supplied energy came from natural gas plants; about 20% from coal plants; another 20% from nuclear power; and, rounding it all out, about 20% from renewables (most of which is hydro and wind).
By comparison, U.S. petroleum use in 2020 equates to about 38% of this total annual power-grid consumption of 4 PWh (peta-watt hours = trillion kWh). Yes, this is bad! It means that more than 75% of our total energy consumption is based on fossil fuels. But, to support our new EV habit, not only would we need to engineer another roughly 1.5 PWh annual capacity to substitute for this petroleum use, but we'd be replacing 60% of this consumption with other fossil fuels, for a net gain (I would argue) of not-a-whole-lot of anything good. And while the 20% from nuclear does get us cleaner air, it has other long-term drawbacks, and to some people at least is not much more desirable than fossil fuels.
Also, this is not even considering the appalling environmental and societal impact of the rare-earth minerals needed for our current battery technology.
So based only on the numbers, I find this a very poor use of our time, money, and effort—despite Joe Biden and the auto industry being on the same page. What would be far more effective is to focus on sunsetting the coal-fired plants to anything else as quickly as is economically feasible, and secondarily, supplanting the gas-fired plants with anything non-fossil. The further this develops, the more beneficial it will be for the transportation industry to also transition to EVs. But switching everyone to EVs will not, by itself, avoid the looming global warming catastrophe.
This is one of several reasons I commute by bicycle (the other two reasons are the fantastic amount of money I've saved by not wasting it on cars at all, and for fitness). Each year I commute about 3,000 miles, which avoids generating maybe 4.5 MWh/yr of energy from gasoline (or similar amounts from other sources). If a million more people switched to bicycles tomorrow, that would save us 4.5 TWh of gasoline energy per year, a great start! Save your money, save your health, save your planet.
J.D.M. in Cottonwood Shores, TX, writes: I agree with B.B. in Bangor's point that government policies regarding transportation have had numerous negative, unintended consequences for the environment. As an environmental engineer, I have long argued for improvements in those policies myself. But the government is better suited to provide the intermeshed transportation system than a disjointed and profit-prioritized mishmash of streets, roads and highways built (and maintained?) by a disjointed and profit-prioritized mishmash of companies that may not even stay in business.
Also, I have a suggestion for improving how we talk about Joe Biden's big, bold bills: use a standardized spending unit based on one year of the military budget, which is currently $720 Billion. So, for example, the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan would be 2.6 spending units. Whereas the $1.9 Trillion infrastructure bill, spread over 8 years, would only be 0.33 spending units per year. Since the human brain can't really register the difference between 1,000 (which goes in the "large number" space in the brain) and 720,000,000,000 (which goes into that same space in the brain), I think this would help all of us get a better grasp on what we are talking about...unless, of course, you are a USC graduate.
V & Z respond: How many USC freshmen does it take to screw in a light bulb? Ah! It's a trick question. You can't take that class at USC until you're a sophomore.
Whither the Republicans
G.R. in Basel, Switzerland, writes: I was fascinated by Joe Biden's address and Sen. Tim Scott's (R-SC) "Republican response," as reviewed in detail by you this week.
There was much justified criticism of the Scott "official Republican response" speech, but I actually think he did very well. He perfectly presented, and summarized, the GOP response: They have no idea how to cope with or effectively oppose Biden's initiatives.
Like many commentators, I thought "Trump drama and noise is distracting the GOP and keeping party disorganized, helping Biden." After carefully listening to Scott, I no longer think that is true. Biden's proposals are: (a) addressing real needs, (b) already popular, and (c) being paid for, unlike anything the "borrow and spend" GOP ever does when in power.
Normally the GOP moves to (a) declare the problems need no solutions, (b) screech that Democrats' plans are not widely popular, with PAC and corporate demonization storming in as needed to make the bills less popular, and (c) claim Democrats will run up the deficit with no plan to fund their spending proposals. None of these arguments work in this case, so Scott produced gibberish.
Biden and the Democrats already cut the GOP off at the pass on any possible response. They are not apologizing that solutions to big problems carry big price tags, and they are not being wimpy about finding ways to fund their solutions. Unlike the ClintonCare attempt or ObamaCare, the corporations and Big Money people are generally on board with infrastructure and even family spending (child care, education, etc); the GOP has no strong allies to fight on their behalf.
Trump's screeching, the Jan. 6 terror attack fallout, GOP morons' competition to be offensive in Congress, GOP civil war over whether to convict Trump for insurrection—these are all just further details keeping Republicans in disarray. But the Biden proposals were carefully selected and crafted to resist standard GOP attacks of the past.
We're not giving Biden or Democratic leaders enough credit for brilliant strategy; it is not entirely the GOP's fault that they are left gasping, with only weak, lame, and illogical arguments in opposition, as so carefully presented by Scott (who got them from Newsmax, Fox, etc).
Where the GOP squabbling and disarray does play a role, it is in preventing the GOP from making minor changes and taking some credit on Biden's plans—these programs will remain very popular and the GOP will later regret not giving token support for the bills producing the coming Biden Boom. Democrats will correctly get all the credit and grudging respect for using power for positive goals with such narrow majorities.
J.A. in Redwood City, CA, writes: Some additional reflections on your excellent "Whither the Republicans?" series of posts:
In your response to the follow-up question from G.R. of Basel, Switzerland, you posited "that the GOP is pretty badly lost" right now, and that, even though the party will remain competitive in a number of races, winning back full control of both the White House and Congress is unlikely any time soon.
That assessment feels a bit overly-optimistic to me. I expect that Republican voters will remain fully energized to support just about any candidate with an "R" by their name in future elections, regardless of any present weaknesses within the GOP itself.
First and foremost, conservative media exerts a pervasive influence over that part of the electorate. Whether or not the right-wing commentariat explicitly moves on from Trump and Trumpism, Republican voters will continue supporting whichever candidates those conservative media outlets endorse—and those endorsements won't be for Democratic candidates.
Moreover, antipathy towards Democrats remains at an all-time high among Republican voters. Some of that is fueled by conservative media, and some of it is just lifelong habit. The 2020 election set records for turnout, cementing a motivational trend that was already underway: Voters now cast ballots at least as much to "hurt the other party" as they do in favor of their own. And which voting bloc is angrier right now, Democrats or Republicans?
Also, negative campaigning is highly effective. There are plenty of issues/grievances that Republican candidates can seize upon (and, if necessary, exaggerate) to further motivate the conservative voter base.
Finally, let's also note that the Republican Party still holds some significant structural advantages, including the Electoral College, gerrymandered Congressional districts, and whatever new voter-suppression laws aimed at Democratic voters that red states will enact between now and the next elections. (I'm not convinced that the Democratic-sponsored For the People Act will get through the Senate. And even if it does, the Supreme Court could easily overturn any part of it that infringes on the states' ability to set their own local election laws.)
The outcome of future elections will continue to be decided by levels of turnout among the different voting blocs. As we head into the 2022 elections, strong enthusiasm among conservative voters for Republican candidates will continue. And that means that the GOP will remain relevant, and contentious for Democrats. Democratic voters who mistake the current troubles within the Republican Party as a sign of inherent weakness of any Republican candidate, do so at their own peril.
J.M. in Seattle, WA, writes: Regarding potentially Withering Republicans, I think rumors of their impending deaths have been greatly exaggerated and the Democrats underestimate them at their peril. That said, I think the GOP has some other key vulnerabilities and opportunities for the near- to mid-future.
Having grown up in Tennessee, I think abortion is still the linchpin of evangelical support. I actually think the Republican Party at large has a bit of a weakness when it comes to anti-LGBTQ issues and diversity (especially with younger evangelicals who are more socially liberal and are more likely to have friends who are LGBTQ and/or people of color, and interact with them on social media). However, "murdering babies" remains a huge Trump card. That said, if the Democrats found some way to humanize abortion and destigmatize it even slightly (in the same ways they've been able to for LGBTQ people), I think a lot of younger evangelicals would be sympathetic to the environmental, economic, and social policies of Democrats.
At the same time, I think an opportunity for conservatives is with older, religious Democrats/conservative immigrants/people of color. As the Democrats become more secular and progressive, I think there's a tension where they don't want to alienate religious groups inside the party. But if conservatives gave up their xenophobia, they could make significant inroads with religious conservative Democrats, using religion as a wedge issue. I think white, conservative Democrats have significantly already split, but I could very well see the GOP shifting rapidly to a multicultural Christian conservatism that could be very viable mid-21st century. I think we saw some of this in 2020 with lessening support for Democrats among people of color, and I think there are sizable numbers of people who vote Democratic because the GOP is so racist, but who would reconsider because of aversion to socialism/secularism/LGBTQ people if the racism wasn't an obstacle.
K.F.W. in El Dorado Hills, CA, writes: I get all the changing demographics. I get the "wedge issues." I get the evangelicals. I get gerrymandering. I get that many people "hated" Hillary (or the Clintons in general). I get all that. And yet—Mr. Nice Guy Biden, whom Trump could not stick a negative issue on, and who is on the "right side" (that is the side the majority of Americans are on, by poll numbers) of wedge issues, and ran a really good campaign, and etc. etc. still managed to "lose" over 74 million votes to Agent Orange. 74 million Americans voted for the worst President we have ever had.
And yet you (and "everybody" else) talks about how the Republicans are in crisis, or declining, or at a crossroads, or a demographic dead-end (albeit several years from now). Take all the data from demographics, gerrymandering, wedge issues, Clinton hate, etc. and throw it all together and Agent Orange still got 74 million votes!
While I would love to believe all this analysis is correct, the data says that, election after election, we are evenly enough divided (and have been for close to 30 years) that the rhetoric that "Republicans must change or die" just seems to not ring true. They keep squeaking out wins. After Bush 43, there was talk that the Republicans might never win again. Yes, the Electoral College is at "fault" for some of this, but the electoral college doesn't explain 74 million votes!
G.S. in Raleigh, NC, writes: The attitude of the Republican party to the COVID-19 pandemic continues to defy rational explanation. It was just a little over a week ago when Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) asked about the COVID-19 vaccine: "Why do you care if your neighbor has one or not?" Former rock star Ted Nugent, self-appointed GOP mouthpiece for our Second Amendment rights, admitted that contracting COVID-19 left him crawling across the floor, feeling like he was dying, and as scared for his life as he had ever been, and yet he refused to change his anti-mask tune. In Florida, David and Leila Centner, who have donated over $1 million to Republican campaigns, announced that the Centner Academy would actively discriminate against teachers who had been vaccinated.
These latest nuggets of ignorance continue the year-old story of the Republican Party opposing every means we have to fight this pandemic. Social distancing? We mustn't do anything to risk our economy! Requiring people to wear masks? That's a violation of our personal liberties, apparently even if a private business is involved! Herd immunity with the COVID-19 vaccine? All of the vaccines are too new, too untested, too dangerous!
We should put these arguments into perspective. I see our fight against the pandemic as equivalent to a war. SARS-CoV-2 is our enemy. So far, it has killed over 590,000 Americans, while 33.1 million have tested positive. I've seen recent news stories that a third of the U.S. has actually contracted COVID-19, which would put the fatality rate for this disease at 0.5%. Assuming that we plateau at 60% of the population vaccinated, extrapolating to a population of 330 million means that 990,000 people will ultimately die, because eventually everyone who is not vaccinated is going to get it. That number works out to 0.3% of the U.S. population, and it doesn't even account for the possibility that COVID-19 variants might emerge that would bypass our vaccines and start us back at square one.
For perspective, consider World War II. In 1940, the U.S. had a population of 132 million. Of that number, 17.9 million, or 13.6%, volunteered or were drafted. A total of 418,000 Americans died in the conflict, or 0.3% of the population. That's pretty much the same percentage estimated in the previous paragraph to die from COVID-19.
World War II was a war fought against existential threats from militaristic dictatorships on both sides of the globe, and yet the United States found the means to organize, sacrifice, and defeat its enemies. The comparison to today is just sad.
Regardless of official lockdowns, enough Americans will avoid business as usual that our economy will remain in a grim state until we defeat this disease. The irony is that as long as the GOP prevents us from fighting it effectively, because they're trying to protect the economy, they are dooming the economy to remain anemic indefinitely. They were once a pro-business party, but apparently not anymore.
As for masks, 75 years ago, roughly one in ten Americans committed to years of their lives away from their homes, their family, and their futures to fight our enemies, and out of those who served, 2.3% would never come home. Today, a sizable chunk of the GOP can't even put a mask on their face. When I see someone without a mask, I want to ask them how they felt about people who refused to serve in our previous wars.
Finally, we come to the vaccines that invoke fear in the hearts of anti-vaxxers (which the GOP now embraces as their own). The CDC reports 230 million vaccines administered as of 26 April, with 3,848 deaths reported in their Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System. Most of those deaths are probably not causally related to the vaccine, but for the sake of argument, let's pretend that they are. If every one of those deaths were a result of the vaccines, then the rate of death would be 0.0017%, which is about 1/100th the odds of COVID-19 killing them.
What on Earth is the Republican Party thinking? Why would they work so hard to doom the United States to a COVID-19 purgatory? Is any political gain worth sacrificing hundreds of thousands of American lives? I do not think that history will judge them kindly.
S.R. in Ottawa, ON, Canada, writes: Last weekend, D.E. in Lancaster responded to my comments regarding Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's possible future in politics.
The Trump years should have certainly taught us something, but I'm not certain that the lessons D.E. augurs are the only ones. D.E. tries to paint all celebrities-turned-politicians with the same brush, and argues that Ronald Reagan, Jesse Ventura, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Donald Trump, and The Rock are, in many ways, the same. I couldn't disagree more. (Also, attacking "low-brow entertainments" reeks of snobbery, and to D.E., formerly of chocolate-collar Lititz, from S.R., formerly of snooty white-collar Wyomissing, that's saying something.) We all knew what Trump was and saw it coming. His administration was no surprise, and the lesson we take from it can't be "celebrities make bad politicians." Perhaps it should just be "spiteful, immature, hateful wannabe celebrity demagogues make bad politicians, unless you're a grievance-filled authoritarian and like that sort of thing."
Even for one who disagrees with their politics, Reagan, Ventura, and Schwarzenegger weren't unmitigated disasters—certainly, some seasoned politicians could've done worse, and both Reagan and Schwarzenegger were re-elected by wide margins (we must also respect democracy, even if we sometimes dislike its results). Let us not forget that some of our most disastrous presidents like James Buchanan and Richard Nixon were the ultimate insiders. Other celebrities have also done well—John Glenn (despite being a celebrity of a different sort) and Sonny Bono were well-regarded in Congress. The Rock, as noted before, endorsed Biden/Harris in 2020, he's spoken of being proud of his "strong, badass women" daughters and wife. He's supported LGBT and minority rights (he is, after all, half-Black, half-Samoan). He's lived abroad. We could do a lot worse.
D.E. might see The Rock as an updated iteration of The Governator, but whereas Schwarzenegger's machoism of the 1980s was clearly serious, anyone who has followed Johnson knows that his is tongue-in-cheek; he's even been called a feminist in multiple articles. Could D.E. be right, and might The Rock be a terrible politician? Sure. But it's definitely not a certainty.
R.C. In Eagleville, PA, writes: D.E. in Lancaster wrote: "I can't speak to The Rock's political viewpoints, because they are not known."
During the summer of 2000, I volunteered to assist disabled delegates at the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia. I looked up from the crowded convention floor to see The Rock on the jumbo screen. He was at the podium addressing the RNC faithful. It must have been celebrity night at the RNC, because just then Bo Derek pressed up against me as she squeezed by, stepping on my foot in the process. A lot has happened since the summer of 2000; I changed my party affiliation, perhaps The Rock has too. As for Bo, I'm pretty sure she's still a "10."
C.P. in Santa Cruz, CA, writes: California voter registration:
Registered Voters Republicans Democrats Unaffiliated 2003 15,380,536 5,429,356 6,718,111 2,466,369 2021 22,154,304 5,347,377 10,228,144 5,258,223 Change +6,773,768 -81,979 +3,510,033 +2,791,854
The mountain Republicans had to climb in 2003 to depose Gray Davis was much smaller than the mountain they need to climb now to depose Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA). In the past, they just had to hope for a low turnout election. Now they need to persuade a large number of Democrats and independents and hope for a low turnout.
The chart also shows the futility of a general election strategy for Republicans. They have yet to find a candidate who can get through a statewide Republican primary and yet win in a general election. Not terribly plausible. So they have gone back to Hiram Johnson for a referendum, recall, and initiative strategy. They've done pretty well with initiatives.
The Presidential election results for 2020 paint California as deep blue. The initiative results paint it more light blue. In 2020, California voters soundly rejected progressive efforts to allow 17 year olds to vote in primaries, to expand rent control authority, and to eliminate the money bail system.
In 2003, only 8% of voters made a decision on recall but declined to vote for a replacement. Most people, when given a choice, will make a choice. I think most Democrats will vote to retain Newsom and will vote for Caitlyn Jenner as the replacement. They won't do this to replace Newsom, but rather to annoy Republicans.
A.B. in Wendell, NC, writes: It may come as a surprise—then again, maybe not—that this transgender person absolutely does not support Caitlyn Jenner. What may surprise you is that it has nothing to do with her being a Republican, and everything to do with her being who she is.
To this trans person, at least, Jenner is a "Jenny Come Lately," if you will, who has never paid her dues and thinks she is entitled to move to the front of our bus because of her celebrity status and hold herself out as some sort of a "representative" of our community. I know I am not the only trans person who categorically rejects her as any sort of "representative" of our community. If we MUST have a celebrity representative, then my vote goes to Chaz Bono.
Take the whole Arthur Ashe Award For Courage—give me a freaking BREAK!! Without counting my own self, who has fought this battle very publicly for thirty years, I could name 1,000 trans people more qualified for that award than Jenner.
Where's the courage? She waited until she was in her sixties to transition, after those of us fighting for decades smoothed the path enough for her, and her money and celebrity have insulated her from 99-44/100% of the unmitigated bulls**t we trans face every damn day. I know hundreds of trans people with more courage in their little finger than Jenner has in her entire body!
I will never deny Jenner her identity. As a self-declared trans woman, she is my sister. She is female, and always will be. She is trans, and always will be. She is Caitlyn, or Cait, and always will be (incidentally, even though it is common knowledge, it's in bad taste to deadname a trans, even one such as Cait where everyone knows her deadname). But Cait will never have my support for any kind of a leadership role in our government or in my community until she sits down, shuts up, and pays her god damned dues like the rest of us have.
S.B. in New Castle, DE, writes: I think this is what most of us in the LGBTQ+ community think of Caitlyn Jenner:
D.L. in Uslar, Germany, writes: Your list of inexperienced celebrities run by Republicans for statewide office in California is missing a fairly obvious name, a fellow named Reagan. Less obvious is the man Reagan referred to as his John the Baptist, George Murphy. Murphy had been a song-and-dance leading man, but was elected to the Senate in 1964, beating Pierre Salinger. Tom Lehrer even wrote a song about him for "That Was the Week That Was":Hollywood's often tried to mix
Show business with politics,
From Helen Gahagan
To Ronald Reagan.
But Mister Murphy is the star
Who's done the best by far.
V & Z respond: Many people wrote in to note the omission of Murphy, but you're the only one who included song lyrics.
A.H. in Monterey, MA, writes: Surely the biggest argument for D.C. statehood is that, under the current system, D.C. is a colony. Its residents are heavily taxed to support the United States but are denied a say in how those monies are spent; its residents live under a system of government that, because of Congress's veto on any measures passed by its local officials, has no real power; its residents are largely characterized by their colonial rulers (the U.S. Congress) as undeserving of control over their affairs if, at any time and in any way, that control can be judged to be contrary to the interests of those rulers.
Yes, it's a colony that happens to lie within the mainland borders of the United States (a country that, despite all the evidence to the contrary—think Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands—likes to pretend it is not the colonial power it so manifestly is). And, for that reason alone, D.C. should have long since become the 51st state.
L.S. in Greensboro, NC, writes: I'm surprised no one is pointing out the real reason Republicans want D.C. absorbed into Maryland. Today, the two have a combined 13 Electoral Votes, all reliably Democratic. If the two are combined, that would drop to 11 Electoral Votes, which would cost Democrats 2 of the then 268 Electoral Votes needed to win, thus increasing the natural Republican advantage in the Electoral College. I'm assuming, of course, that the new, expanded Maryland would gain one House seat.
S.S. in Athens, OH, writes: As someone whose day job involves the categorization and mapping of things by state and ZIP code, the question of postal abbreviation for the 51st state is close to my heart. I had assumed that the reason for the awkward name "Douglass Commonwealth" was so that the new state could continue to use the DC postal abbreviation, leaving the remains of the District to use something else.
And what about ZIP codes? DC's ZIP codes are a complex patchwork of Federal government buildings and facilities (202xx through 206xx) vs. "general" areas where people live (200xx). But there's no corresponding geographic segregation, so many government ZIP codes exist as enclaves within other codes. Take a look at 20024, for example. It encompasses, among other things, most—but not all—of the National Mall. Unless the Post Office decides to allow the existing ZIP codes to cross state lines, as it were, some of these will have to change. (There are a handful of ZIP codes that cover areas in two adjacent states, usually because the post office in one state serves a small border community in the other state.)
A.H. in Newberg, OR, writes: You wrote: "Among the nicknames remaining, the one that makes the most sense is 'The American Rome.'"
Although I have usually heard it used in reference to the Pentagon, might I recommend "The Puzzle Palace on the Potomac"?
P.N. in Austin, TX, writes: If we're talking nicknames for D.C., I think it only right that we listen to the doctor—Doctor Funkenstein, that is. Clearly the best nickname is Chocolate City.
V & Z respond: Bow-wow-wow-yippie-yo-yippie-yeah.
H.M. in East Lansing, MI, writes: I disagree with your assessment that Michigan redistricting is a "toss-up" for loss of a congressional seat due to our new redistricting commission.
Six of seven metro Detroit seats are held by Democrats, and the 7th Democrat represents Flint. Metro Detroit's population is stagnant at best, and has probably declined over the past 10 years in the city proper. The same can be said of Flint, which is just one county north of metro Detroit.
Relative to the rest of the state, population growth has occurred on the west side of the state, which is still Republican, although not as overwhelmingly so as it was 20-30 years ago. And 6 of 7 outstate districts there are represented by Republicans.
Given the likely relative population change around the state, I think it is inevitable that the commission will knock out one of the metro Detroit seats, and chances are 6 out of 7 that it will be a Democratic seat that gets knocked out.
E.B. in Seattle, WA, writes: The Democrats did better than expected in the reapportionment of House seats on a state-by-state basis. Looking at the current maps, the Democrats have a solid chance to pick up another House seat in Washington, even though the maps will be drawn by a bipartisan commission.
The underpopulated (blue) House districts are mostly in the eastern, western, and southern parts of the state, while most of the overpopulated districts are in the central Puget Sound region. As it happens, the liberals in Washington are also concentrated in the central Puget Sound region. Districts 3, 4, and 5 in eastern and southern Washington are the only ones represented by Republicans (Jaime Herrera Beutler, Dan Newhouse, and Cathy McMorris-Rogers, respectively.
With D5 underpopulated, it will have to take some territory from D4. That leaves the Republican members of the redistricting commission a pretty awful choice. They can take the conservatives out of D8, making that a safe D district instead of a swing district and/or take conservatives out of D4. They might have to do both to make the population distribution work. Regardless, D3 is likely to become swingier than it is right now. Given that Herrera-Beutler was one of the few Republican votes for Trump's second impeachment, the Republican side is going to be badly fractured. If Herrera Beutler makes it through the primary, she probably won't have the deep red support she needs to win the general. If she doesn't, a hard core Trumpist is going to have trouble in a swing district.
J.B.C. in Philipsburg, MT, writes: Long time reader (10+ years) first time writer. Why? Because I think I can help bring some reality into the mostly baseless assertions about Montana's new house seat.
An independent commission will impede gerrymandering, so, I believe the most likely split, as is the case culturally and politically in Montana, is the Rocky Mountains splitting us into Western and Eastern Montana congressional districts. To approximate the two districts, it would be the western third of the state, and the eastern two-thirds. I am originally from rural Eastern Montana, so I can say it's more like West Dakota. That seat will be ruby red. R+20 at minimum is my guess.
So if we cut off the reddest part of a state that recently had two Democratic U.S. Senators (Baucus and Tester from 2007-14) my belief (and hope) is the other seat would be a reliably blue seat. Like Baucus and Tester, a more moderate candidate would be needed to win this seat. But, as Montana is growing more like Colorado than Idaho, the future of this house seat looks bright (and blue).
V & Z respond: Note that it is Charlie Cook's opinion, which we summarized, that Montana will have two red districts. Our opinion was "it won't be easy to chop Montana in two and end up with two solidly Republican districts."
B.P. in Pensacola, FL, writes: You've lumped Florida several times into the wide-open-to-gerrymandering group of states, but that's not entirely correct. While we do not have an independent commission, there was an amendment to our constitution in 2010 which set "Standards for establishing congressional district boundaries." It was enacted by petition, and of course heavily opposed by the legislature. Nevertheless, it passed.
It was pretty new for the last decennial redistricting, so there was not a lot of precedent on what was permissible and what wasn't. But it did take until, I think, 2015 for the squabbling to be done. That said, I don't trust the current Florida legislature much to follow the constitution. My suspicion is that one of the Federal Judges in Tallahassee is going to end up as the drafter.
R.E.M. in Brooklyn, NY, writes: I've long wondered what something like this would feel like to say—others seem to have such fun doing it—and now I get to find out:STOP THE STEAL (of NY's congressional seat)!
I DEMAND A RECOUNT (of everybody in New York State)!
RALLY AND PRESS CONFERENCE TOMORROW AT THE PLAZA (Auto Mall on Nostrand Avenue in Brooklyn)!
Eh, it was fun for a moment, but only the profoundly stupid or psychotically deranged could keep that up week after week. Where's Rudy when you actually do need him?
J.F. in Houston, TX, writes: P.M. in Currituck, NC, wrote:
"In the coverage of the Derek Chauvin trial, I think a supremely important topic is being completely missed ... The root issue is the militarization of the police and a move away from the sense of the community policeman."
Numbness and hoarseness-inducing applause and shouting to P.M.'s hitting the nail on the head. On this we see eye-to-eye. I will only add that I think that a television climate that has a steady diet of police and special-ops procedurals that involve members of the American SchutzStaffel chumming it up and praising their magically error-free intelligence-gathering before and after they smash residential and other doors with guns drawn in full body armor does not do anything to teach a police officer who might watch them that before the actors from both major political parties conspired to abrogate the entire Constitution—except Article II and the Second Amendment—the Fourth Amendment used to be there to protect against unreasonable searches and seizures.
T.W. in Marlboro, VT, writes: I have read P.M. from Currituck's letters with interest for months now. Though I generally disagree with most of what P.M. says, they seem to be a person of good will who is wrestling, as we all do, with the limitations of our own backgrounds and preconceptions. Last week, P.M. said something with which I very much agree, that the militarization of our police forces is a profound problem.
Twenty years ago, a disturbed young man (white) with delusions of persecution by the CIA and the police took over the pulpit in a local church and asked the congregation for asylum to protect him. He took out a knife and pointed it at himself and threatened that if they did not grant his request he would kill himself. The children and several of the adults left the room, but twenty people remained. Someone called 911, suggesting that they send officers not in uniform.
One of the congregants asked him to put away the knife, saying that he was scaring people, and he did. Another congregant offered to call someone for him, and the young man sat down with him for the call. Then three policemen arrived, in uniform, and the young man grew desperately agitated, stood up and took out his knife again, now pointing it at his eye and threatening to put out his own eye if the police came in. They came in nonetheless, and two of them moved rapidly to the front of the room and within seconds shot the young man, who died shortly thereafter in the hospital.
The state police interviewed all 20 of those present, 16 of whom had been watching the young man and the policemen at the moment of the shooting. They interviewed the officers the following day, after they had been sent back to the station together to sit in the same room to write up their reports. All but one of the interviews were taped and transcribed, and the remaining interview is represented by thorough notes. None of the witnesses who were watching what happened could understand why the police had fired; most were outraged, and some imagined that perhaps they failed to understand policework, but no one saw any threat toward the police or the congregation.
The local state's attorney withdrew from the investigation, though only after considerable public protest because he knew the officers and worked with them in court regularly. The attorney general of the state, with three assistants from his office, took over the investigation and three months later interviewed most of the original witnesses. Those interviews were not recorded, and the sketchy notes taken by the assistants are frequently inconsistent with each other and with the witness statements from the day of the shooting.
The AG issued a report clearing the officers, who had claimed that the young man had lowered the knife and charged them (though their statements were inconsistent even with each other and flatly contradicted by 16 witnesses). The report was on its face pretty implausible in its interpretation of events, so I requested and months later received the transcripts of all the interviews, including the sloppy notes from the AG's office.
It was clear in reading all the statements, the transcript of the 911 call and the radio calls among the police, the statements from the EMTs and treating physicians (including one from among the congregation) that the Attorney General misstated the chronology of events, misrepresented how he used the evidence, and misrepresented the evidence itself.
I wrote an analysis of the incident and a critique of the AG's report. I presented it twice in public lectures. I sent copies to the Chief of Police, the Select Board of the town, and the Attorney General offering to correct any error they could identify. I received no corrections. I wrote numerous letters to the local paper correcting reporting based on misunderstanding of the evidence or upon a credulous reading of the AG's report. I provided the Judiciary Committee in the Vermont legislature with copies and met with them. No one found fault with my analysis, but no one did a thing.
So I agree with P.M. that we have a deep underlying problem with police, for whom the solution to too many problems is firepower and escalation, and with a political system and society unwilling to confront that truth and to undertake corrective action. Like P.M., I have heard the issue before us now characterized on NPR and other news sources as a racial problem. But unlike P.M., I do not believe that the existence of an underlying problem means that the racial problem is a misdirection. I believe that systemic racism can and does exist on top of the other problem; I do not believe for a moment that Derek Chauvin would have put his full weight on the back and neck of a handcuffed white man for more than nine minutes or that his fellow officers would have tolerated his doing so.
I.D. in Richmond, VA, writes: Although P.M. from Currituck is certainly correct that the offloading of excess military hardware produced for use in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to police departments around the country at fire sale prices (or even for free) is a huge problem, I am quite sure they are off base on lumping veterans turned police officers into the criticism. Veterans are vastly more likely to understand proper use of force protocols and respect rules of engagement because they were taught to do so in no uncertain terms.
Many veterans struggle with depression, substance addiction, post traumatic stress, and serious health issues brought on by their time in service to our country, but the overwhelming majority cope with these problems well enough to be productive members of society, and those who do not or cannot often have been failed by lack of institutional investment in veterans' support. As the saying goes, we support the troops—the trouble is once they're back, they're not troops anymore.
Loath as I am to turn this into a full-blown P.M. rebuttal, NPR has covered this very topic, but did so when the discussion was salient to current events. Discussion of institutional racism in policing is, in fact, salient to the current moment in which a white police officer has recently been convicted of murdering a Black man. Had the verdict gone the other way, P.M. may well have heard this broadcast or a similar one when highly militarized police were called out to suppress protests (although Uncle Joe and Merrick Garland might've had a little bit to say about that). I'll admit I'd be quite interested in a comparison of the use of force against protesters last summer as opposed to what was brought to bear against the Capitol insurrectionists—maybe we should get in touch with Terry Gross!
B.P. in Salt Lake City, UT, writes: P.M. in Currituck is wrong, there has been lots of coverage of police militarization. But even if militarization is a factor, that doesn't mean that race isn't. It suddenly reminds me of a book. It might not be reproducible now, with the scrutiny blackface appropriately receives, but I wonder if P.M. would be just as content to be Black as white in all of his interactions with the police.
J.E. in Brooklyn, NY, writes: There were no Iraqi veterans on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in 1965. Our current circumstances are just an extension of the same prejudices and fears that permeate our racist culture. To distract from such is merely an attempt to cover for one's own racism and/or protect one's own fragility.
You can throw the likes of Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson under the (back of the) bus all you like, but it just looks like an obvious attempt to deflect from the real root of the problem.
The media should continue to focus on systemic racism and with time focus on the secondary, contemporary issues that P.M. points to. But these issues are not "root" issues.
B.C. in Forest Park, IL, writes: P.M. in Currituck raised an excellent point regarding police militarization and the decline of community policing. They also pointed out that the issue is being overlooked by the media in favor of coverage on race.
P.M. is correct on both counts, but most police departments were not militarized until fairly recently, and police violence toward people of color has been endemic in this country for centuries, as has unequal enforcement of existing laws, leading to the disproportionate arrest, prosecution and incarceration of people of color.
When the actor Will Smith appeared on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" in August 2016, he observed that "Racism is not getting worse, it's getting filmed." It is certainly important to address police militarization, but to say that it is the "root issue" ignores our country's long history of systemic racism.
A.H. in Columbus, OH, writes: I imagine the letter from P.M. in Currituck will elicit many reactions, so I will try to be brief. Were militarization the "root cause" of police violence and police shootings, one would expect violent outcomes to be evenly distributed across races. But that is not the reality. This article is just one example that shows police violence impacts BIPOC significantly more than white folk. The study it cites found that Black people were killed at 2.6 times the rate of white people. 2.6 times. That's mighty clear evidence to me that racism is much more the "root cause" than militarization. This is not to say militarization isn't a problem. It sure is. As is warrior training, police unions who refuse to allow bad cops to be held accountable, district attorneys who are pals with the police and also refuse to hold them accountable, supposed "good cops" that protect bad ones, and media that report everything the police say as fact even when it's shown time and time again that police reports are frequently falsified, among other things. But none of those things are root causes: racism is.
I know P.M. is sick of hearing about race and racism; but that's just their privilege showing. Now, perhaps I am one of those condescending liberals P.M. is so irritated by and can be dismissed. Then again, perhaps it's easy to dismiss hard truths one isn't interested in when you can rationalize it away the moment you hear buzzwords like "privilege" and can use that to blame the messenger.
Racism is foundational to and systemic in policing in America and until we face that, talk about it, and look at real ways to fix it, nothing will get fixed. I submit it's P.M.'s own biases that prevents them from seeing this. They dismiss the racist element almost as an aside ("...combined with inherent racism prevalent among many...") as though racism is only a small part of the problem. In doing so, P.M. is missing the bigger picture...by 260%.
P.M. closes with a missive about the media being able to look past their own prejudices, which I find rich. I don't recall if P.M. has stated specifically their religious beliefs, if any, but I would point them to Matthew 7:3-5. Racism isn't going to get better as long as people deny, dismiss, or minimize it, and find other "root causes" to explain away racist issues. We all must look in the mirror and try to understand the part we play. After all, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist.
But seriously, for a better understanding of how and why race is so tied up in police violence, I recommend all EV readers start here to explore the many resources available for learning and teaching about the history of policing in America, its racist roots, and how that persists to this day. Maybe then they'll start to understand why so many, in and out of the media, are still trying to get people like them to talk about racism and think about their role in perpetuating it, no matter how uncomfortable that makes them. And instead of rolling their eyes and thinking "Oh, here they go on about racism again," perhaps they'll actually listen.
J.S. in Pittsburgh, PA, writes: It's frustrating reading P.M. in Currituck's comments on the Chauvin trial. Yes! The militarization of the local police forces is a major issue, and helped lead to the incident with George Floyd. Common ground on both sides!
P.M. almost has it! But then they blame the media, writing: "but they are so blinded by their race fixation that they can't get past that." George Floyd was accused of using a counterfeit $20 dollar bill. Why would that make him an "enemy" that must be exterminated? In no way should it then escalate pointing a gun at him in this situation. No violent crime has been committed.
It would seem to me that P.M.'s insistence on race not being an issue causes them to ignore any discrimination or racism involved.
E.H. in Westford, MA, writes: You wrote:[T]he GOP weaponized opposition to gay marriage. The most notable, and successful, implementation of this approach came in 2004, when anti-gay-marriage ballot propositions were used to get evangelicals to the polls. The Republican Party knew that while the evangelicals were there to vote against the gay folks, they would also vote a straight Republican ticket. But here is the difference and, to us, the mystery. The folks in Florida and Arkansas and West Virginia aren't talking about putting these proposals on the ballot in 2022. No, they're just enshrining them into law. And we're struggling to see where the political benefit is here.
My take is that the "folks," living as they do in the right wing mediasphere, have become shortsighted enough to believe that they are simply delivering what their base wants. To them, blows struck in the culture war are not a turnout strategy, they are the true party position. With any luck, they are overreaching and trans rights will prove to be another area, along with issues like the census citizenship question, where, as Jennifer Rubin put it, "Republicans are raising self sabotage to an art form."
J.H. in Seminole, FL, writes: I can't say enough how much I appreciate the attention you have paid (four times recently, by my count) to the current onslaught of anti-trans legislation. It's certainly something I am losing a lot of sleep over. Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) will soon sign Florida's trans youth athletics ban, if he hasn't by the time this appears. I worry that the youth ban will lead to others questioning whether adults like me should be allowed to continue in the sports we compete in. All without evidence of any trans youth or adult problems in sports.
You wrote that you were struggling to see what political benefit is sought through this legislative wave. You offered four possible theories, and I pick your second one, "so they have a record to run on in 2022." I'm in agreement with what openly transgender Virginia Delegate Danica Roem (D) said in a recent New York Times interview. "If you are in a (Republican) trifecta state, your goal isn't to necessarily pass good governance bills. It's: What gets people animated the most, so I can be in this seat for the longest amount of time?"
And this strategy appears to be effective. A recent Rolling Stone article explains how the American Principles Project tested it in the 2019 Kentucky governor's race and found their candidate picked up "nearly 13,000 new votes." Based on that, APP felt it was "proof enough that it could work in the Trump campaign" and took the strategy national.
And the strategy is definitely simple. The case against trans people can often be made on one simple uninformed tweet. The case for trans people requires multiple tweets, and the average person today just doesn't have a long enough attention span for that.
J.F. in Fort Worth, TX, writes: You commented on the recent wave of anti-transgender laws being passed, mostly in the South, and wondered where the political benefit is. As someone who has lived in the South all my life, let me suggest that the correct answer is the simplest one: they're not doing it for political benefit. They're passing these laws because the laws represent what they truly, sincerely believe. There is no political calculation beyond that.
In the past, the GOP may have had master planners like Karl Rove who could convince the national party and the state legislatures to delay their gratification (perhaps indefinitely) until the most opportune moment, but I don't believe they have such people right now. And in the absence of that level of planning and leadership, the red states are quickly acting upon what they believe: they do not want LGBTQ people to have rights, they do not want minorities to vote, and they truly, deeply, sincerely do not want women to be able to terminate a pregnancy without dire consequences.
This last point is why I believe you are quite wrong when you say that Republicans don't "really" want Roe vs. Wade overturned because it would deprive them of a great fundraising issue. Having known people who entered politics specifically to see Roe defeated, let me tell you that a large percentage of Republican politicians are absolutely sincere in wanting abortion eradicated entirely. There will always be other hot-button issues to fundraise off of (e.g. 2nd Amendment rights, anti-gay legislation, anti-Sharia law initiatives, anti-immigration laws, etc., etc., etc.).
These people are not playing three-dimensional chess; they're enacting what they believe is right.
D.M in Fulton, MO, writes: In your musings on what advantage the Republican Party thinks it will get from the recent batch of anti-trans laws, I think perhaps you look for more calculation than is there. The culture of the GOP is now defined primarily by a desire to thwart and insult "liberals" (a.k.a., the majority of Americans, who do not identify as conservative). It has become reflexive, even when it is politically counterproductive for them. That spiteful antagonism is what keeps the operation going. At some level, I think they know that if they don't keep stoking the anger, the whole shebang will collapse like a bad soufflé. I think they also know that they have to keep the anger directed where they want it to go, or it will turn on them. They're holding a live wire and they can't put it down; they want to make sure it's someone else who gets shocked.
A.B. in Wendell, NC, writes: Your use of "translash" tells me you do know exactly what is going on.
These politicians have zeroed in on my community, because we are the last group that it is still acceptable to crap on.
No more complicated than that.
B.J. in Chicago, IL, writes: It could just be that the people that get to stock GOP legislatures are a bunch of knee-jerk bigots who aren't particularly interested in strategic political thinking, but just like punching down.
C.S. in Newport, Wales, UK, writes: Concerning trans-rights, on Friday you compared the banning transgender student-athletes (which I guess specifically means transwomen participating in women sports) with gay marriage. I am not sure that is a valid comparison. With gay marriage, it was clearly very difficult to see who was the injured party if it is allowed. Sure, opponents of gay marriage had their (religious?) feelings injured, but they didn't suffer any real loss, did they? In the case of women sports, given that transwomen do inherit some of the physical advantages of male bodies even if they take hormones, I wonder if born women could claim discrimination? (And don't say that born women can simply continue to participate in competitions, competing against transwomen, because surely with that argument you can just stop women sports and ask all women to compete against men.)
Furthermore, concerning "gender-affirming medical treatments for trans minors" please note that the British High Court has just temporarily banned various treatments including puberty blockers for under 16 year olds because it doubted such young people can make informed decisions on such invasive treatment. (Though it has been suggested the judgement had more to do with the fact that the clinic, which is the only one offering such treatment in the UK, struggled badly to explain its treatment plans. The case will go to the UK Appeals Court soon.)
V & Z respond: Note that the comparison was specific to one thing, namely the use of gay marriage/trans rights as a wedge issue.
J.R. in Miami, FL, writes: I am afraid your joke about Caitlyn Jenner being the "the 800-pound trans woman in the room" was completely and hopelessly lost on me (and probably not just me). Replacing the gorilla with "trans woman" in that expression was a risky move, and I think it failed. I personally read it as problematic on several levels. Again, I am almost positive other regular readers will write to let you know why and how it was problematic, so I won't to go into that.
V & Z respond: It wasn't really a joke, it was an attempt to characterize the situation as quickly and efficiently as possible. We think carefully about what we write, and while we are happy to be warned when he have misstepped, we don't see the argument here. Jenner is not a person of color, and so "gorilla" does not evoke any racial stereotypes. And she's always been slim, so there's no fat-shaming element. For what it is worth, we got approving messages from a few trans readers.
D.B.F. in Regina, SK, Canada, writes: You wrote: "Specifically, Jenner is a Republican and there are more than a few Republicans whose views on trans people are less than positive. If she were running as a liberal Democrat, that might be different, but she is a Republican who supported Donald Trump until she broke with him in 2018 over his definition of gender. He saw it as a hardware issue; she saw it as a software issue."
Maybe it's neither hardware nor software, but firmware.
B.C. in Walpole, ME, writes: I concur with J.C. in the Philippines on the meaning of the term "evangelical." I too am a graduate of an evangelical seminary (Westminster). The term's current usage is rooted in the mid-20th century effort in the U.S. to define a common version of Christianity that represented a middle way between liberal mainline Protestantism on the left and fundamentalism on the right. Key leadership came from people like Billy Graham, his magazine Christianity Today, and institutions like Wheaton College and Fuller Seminary.
However, sometime beginning in the mid-70s, post-Roe v. Wade, "evangelicalism" took a right turn toward fundamentalism, in my view. Originally conceived as a big-tent effort to include a wide range of Christians who could agree on a simple version of the Gospel message, it became harder, narrower, and especially political. An example of this would be Dr. Adrian Rogers who, as president of the Southern Baptist Convention, tried to enforce a sectarian/doctrinal discipline on Southern Baptist churches and seminaries that was alien to the Baptist tradition. Similar attempts to bring into line colleges, seminaries, and churches occurred among Presbyterians and others. It was at this time that evangelicalism became a political force to be reckoned with.
R.B. in Hanover, NH, writes: I have a three-part-trinitarian-definition of "evangelical", although it's important to stipulate that the term has changed in meaning over history. The term, strictly speaking, refers to the first four books of the New Testament, the Gospels written by the evangelists: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
With the Protestant Reformation and Luther's "rediscovery of the gospel" in the sixteenth century, evangelicalism came to be associated with Protestantism. Here in North America, a particular strain of evangelicalism emerged from the confluence of the three Ps in the middle decades of the eighteenth century: Puritanism, Presbyterianism, and Pietism. It's still possible to discern vestiges of each strain in contemporary evangelicalism: the obsessive introspection of the Puritans, the doctrinal precisionism of the Presbyterians, and the emphasis on a warm-hearted piety from the Pietists.
Now to the definition:
- A conviction that the Bible is God's revelation to humanity and therefore should be taken seriously, even to the point of literal interpretation—although evangelicals, like other believers, engage in what I call the ruse of selective literalism.
- The centrality of a conversion or "born again" experience. This derives from Jesus' meeting with Nicodemus, where he tells Nicodemus that in order to enter the kingdom of heaven he must be "born again" (or, in some translations, "born from above").
- The impulse to bring others into the faith, or to evangelize. This comes from the so-called Great Commission in the New Testament. (My observation over the past half century is that evangelicals, while putatively committed to evangelism, tend to hire others—missionaries, visitation pastors, et al.—to do it for them.)
P.S. in Plano, TX, writes: I think you guys are much too confident in your answer about jurisdiction stripping. The outer limits of Congress's power to strip jurisdiction from the Supreme Court have not been tested, and there are different views on said outer limits. One view, in a now-famous treatment of the subject by Henry Hart, concluded that the Supreme Court has an "essential role" in our constitutional system and that this role may not be taken away from them by Congress. Hart termed your view as nonsensical because it would mean "reading the Constitution as authorizing its own destruction."
Is Hart's view right? I, for one, hope we never find out, because I hope our system never disintegrates to the point where Congress tries to do such a thing. But the Supreme Court would decide that question when it took an appeal from the "Constitutional Court" and the appellee argued the Supreme Court didn't have jurisdiction to hear the appeal. So, Hart is right unless you expect the Supreme Court to read the Constitution as authorizing the Supreme Court's own destruction. I think the justices would be a little more protective of their own institution than that.
B.R. in Union, NJ, writes: In your response yesterday to the question about a Constitutional Court and whether it would necessarily be subject to review by the Supreme Court, you made some misstatements about court jurisdiction—admittedly a very technical and highly quirky topic. As a practicing attorney with familiarity with the issues, I felt it appropriate to offer some observations.
Your reference to Brown v. Board reflects that confusion. You indicate that the Court could not hear that case as an exercise of its original jurisdiction because the parties weren't diverse (of different states). There were any number of reasons why the Court would not hear the case on original jurisdiction. The first is that the State of Kansas was not a party—and indeed given how the Court has understood jurisdiction of cases against governmental entities could not have been a direct party (the Court's rulings dictate that usually civil rights actions are brought against the responsible officials, not the entity). An action against a governmental entity created by the State (there, the Board of Ed) is not an action against the state directly. Indeed, Brown did not involve diversity jurisdiction at all—even when SCOTUS heard it on appeal. Instead, it fell in the other of the main types of federal court's general jurisdiction—the type known as federal question jurisdiction. This is established in the Constitution in the first sentence of Section 2, which provides that the federal courts can hear cases "arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority." Specifically, the argument was that the decision of the school board refusing to allow Linda Brown to attend the neighborhood elementary school, and instead requiring her to attend a more distant segregated school, violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The fact that the case presented a federal question was the reason that the initial action could be filed in the U.S. District Court in Kansas, and why SCOTUS could then exercise jurisdiction over the appeal.
Also, your discussion of the rights of Congress with regard to the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court suggests that Congress's power is essentially unlimited. While on its face that might seem true looking just at the language of Article III, that is actually a highly debated question. It came up in the early Reagan years, in fact. This was the time when the Court's more liberal wing (Brennan, Marshall and Blackmun, with Stevens and Powell as the swing justices) still tended to exercise control. So, there was major concern that Congress might adopt a law limiting the Court's jurisdiction in certain subject areas (school prayer was a hot-button issue in that era's version of the culture wars), in order to limit the ability of the liberals to make rulings. In fact, I attended the American Bar Association Convention in August 1981, and this was the topic of a seminar (probably the best attended of any that convention), in which the presenters included some of the leading constitutional lawyers of the time. The panel members disagreed about the constitutional validity of such measures. The strongest argument presented against such laws was that they would violate the rights of the litigants in such cases to due process and equal protection that are protected by the 5th Amendment (these being federal laws), at least if the laws differentiated what could be heard based on the type of right being addressed. I'm sure that this will be one of the topics addressed by the special panel recently appointed to consider changes to SCOTUS, as well as in the upcoming academic legal publications, and I suspect that just like in 1981 there will be a split on the issue.
Kerry's Loose Lips
R.M. in Baltimore, MD, writes: Having worked in the Foreign Service, I know something about security clearances. A couple thoughts regarding John Kerry and his alleged leaks to Iran:
- It has to be shown that Kerry actually said that information.
- It is unclear if Kerry actually gave false information or even knew the correct information. Giving false information is not a security issue.
- Any information disclosed has to be clear and actionable for it to be a security risk. Saying obvious stuff is meaningless (e.g., The CIA has operations in X country) but specific stuff, even innocuous, can get your security clearance revoked (e.g., The ambassador will be at that McDonald's tomorrow morning) if it was not pre-approved or not on official sources like a website. If Kerry said Israel is mucking about in Iran, that is not news because we all know it. Saying there are 200 attacks on Iranians interests isn't very actionable because it is unclear what constitutes an attack or how to defend against it. If Kerry said Israel has gained access to a specific database or is affecting a specific program, that is actionable intelligence and is considered treason.
- Disclosures of information that are preapproved is not a problem. In Kerry's case, his only boss was Barack Obama so if Barack Obama said he could reveal information, then it is fine. The same way Trump had the "right" to disclose any information to anyone he wanted.
If I were a Republican member of Congress, I would pull Kerry in front of an open hearing and ask: "Did you give this information to the Iranian government, yes or no?"
- Just having him in front of Congress makes him look like he did something wrong.
- If he says "yes," he looks bad.
- If he says "no," The New York Times looks bad.
- If he gives qualifications, or even context, it looks really bad. "Obama approved it," "it was useless info," "I was clueless and made it up," or "it was intentionally false" are all bad paths for him to go down, with different implications.
- If Kerry says something not quite true to Congress and another tape comes up, he could be charged with lying to Congress even if both tapes are based on false information.
A whole circus could be made out of the testimony, whether or not anything interesting is actually said. Fox can put some scary music or have stark "if" statements in front of pictures. You can also carefully cut answers to unrelated questions and it looks bad. If it looks like he gave unapproved information, he would have to step down from his job as his security clearance would be revoked. I can't see that happening with such an experienced and careful person and I really can't see him risking it over Iran, as he knows the Isaelis have many sources.
If there was even the possibility of real info leaked to Iran, Israeli intelligence would have known long before the Times, and would have refused to deal with Kerry over anything for the last ten years. CIA, NSA, etc., also have sources and would hear of anything inappropriate and be very unhappy and inappropriate disclosures would be reported to Congress very quickly.
L.V.A. in Idaho Falls, ID, writes: There has been a battle in the "Project 1619" culture wars that seems to have flown largely under the radar except locally here in Idaho. Idaho lawmakers have passed, and the governor has signed into law, legislation that would prohibit public schools, including public universities, from teaching "any sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, or national origin is inherently superior or inferior," which, according to the bill, is often found in "critical race theory." It also bans teaching that "individuals, by virtue of sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, or national origin, are inherently responsible for actions committed in the past by other members of the same sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, or national origin."
I look forward to seeing two things coming out of this. First, some snowflake (pronounced Re-pub-li-can) will see any historical mention of slavery as casting blame on God-fearing, patriotic 'Mericans (who in their zeal to protect the 2nd Amendment somehow missed the 1st). Second, and in my time living in Texas in the 1980's I saw this happen several times, some entity with resources (ACLU) will take Idaho to federal court where the law will be promptly struck down.
G.T. in Tracy, CA, writes: Having an undergraduate degree in history hardly makes me an expert. Yet I couldn't let the discussion about Missourians' not considering their state as part of the "South" pass without comment. While I get that geographically Missouri could be considered a Midwestern state, culturally it most certainly isn't.
The definition of the South was created and made by the ancestors of today's Missourians and the ancestors of the region in general. Missouri was a slave state. While the border states did not rebel, they still maintained slave state status from their admission to the Union, to the end of the Civil War.
While it's convenient to "forget" about this fact for modern Missourians, it still remains. A region of the country held slaves until a war ended slave holding. Missouri was part of that region.
The simple rule of thumb for determining if a state is a "Southern" state is not its geography. The determining factor should always be if it was a slave state. Missouri fits that category and from a historical perspective, should be considered a Southern state.
V & Z respond: Anytime this comes up, there is literally no way of describing Missouri that does not generate messages telling us how wrong we are.
L.B. in Savannah, GA, writes: I was surprised at your dismissal of the U.S. government's treatment of Native Americans as not being a genocide ("outside of what happened in California"). It meets every definition of the term, both in direct government actions and in encouraging private citizens to ethnically cleanse or attempt to obliterate the original inhabitants of what is now the United States. I don't see how anyone could read a thorough history of the treatment of Native Americans and conclude that it was anything but genocide.
A.M. in Miami Beach, FL, writes: I'd suggest an event in American History could qualify as genocide: the forced displacement of Cherokees and other tribes along the Trail of Tears over roughly 20 years, which resulted in the deaths of perhaps 16,000 or more over the period of 1831 to 1847.
V & Z respond: We will have a piece on this subject very soon.
More Bad Immigrants
M.G. in Indianapolis, IN, writes: The worst immigrant ever was Christopher Columbus. However, if the rules were worst immigrant after 1776, perhaps there was some immigrant out there that treated the Native Americans the worst?
Also, I am afraid I disagree with T.R. in Los Angeles naming Anna Chennault and Henry Kissinger. It is not easy to prove that the 1968 Vietnam peace talks would have succeeded if not for Anna's involvement. And I am not sure if Kissinger has any direct blood on his hands. We could use the same logic that Madeleine Albright or Zbigniew Brzezinski are killers as well. Recall Noam Chomsky's observation that, "If the Nuremberg laws were applied, then every post-war American president would have been hanged." If the president is responsible for the killing, do we blame them or the person who works for them?
S.S. in Detroit, MI, writes: From a certain perspective, the worst immigrant was the first person off the boat at Plymouth Rock.
V & Z respond: Note that the folks in Jamestown, VA, got there first, and were generally much more harsh in their treatment of Native Americans.
P.B. in Gainesville, FL, writes: About Rupert Murdoch being one of the worst immigrants to the U.S.: I couldn't agree more with you and your readers. However, in my opinion, none of you went far enough. As an (otherwise) proud (and usually polite, like our Canadian friends) Australian, I think he's the most truly awful and disgraceful excuse for a human being that our sunburnt country has ever produced, and a stain on our national reputation. So on behalf of all of Australia, please accept my abject apologies. I can assure you he is antithetical to almost everything we stand for.
R.H. in Middleton, MA, writes: I have long opposed capital punishment but I make an exception for one crime whose ill-effects plague society longer than any other crime (sometimes for centuries): bad architecture.
With that in mind, how could you omit Frank Gehry? Plus, he's Canadian.
V & Z respond: (Z) lives just a couple of miles from the eyesore he calls a house. Every time (Z) passes it, he is tempted to move to another city.
B.M. in Sanford, NC, writes: I nominate Nido Qubein (Lebanon), the president of High Point University. He made a fortune turning a small Baptist regional college into a student resort and fleecing the insecure parents with outrageous tuition. He is the third-highest-paid college president in America. It's the Amway of higher education. The marketing and mass psychology behind the messaging is incredibly manipulative and effective. He is to education what Trump is to democracy.
Political Foods (Real)
F.L. in Denton, TX, writes: In response to your request for foods named after politicians...it probably doesn't technically qualify, but there is Oysters Bienville, which is baked oysters with a shrimp sauce.
It is named for Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, who was governor of the Louisiana territory (on four occasions) and the founder of New Orleans. He was appointed, not elected, but I think it could be argued that his position and actions were clearly influenced by politics—and we are talking about the French. Although he did die in 1767 (in Paris), well before the U.S. was established, he was born in Montreal (evidence of an early Canadian invasion) and spent most of his life in North America.
A.B. in Denver, CO, writes: Dolly Madison ice cream. Good stuff since 1922.
J.M.P. in Asheville, NC, writes: Though certainly not a dessert or salad, there is a well known floral item named for a U.S. politician. Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first U.S. Minister to Mexico, brought back some particularly bright red festive plants from that country in the 1820s. I hear they're quite popular around Christmas.
S.M. in Bexley, OH, writes: No recipes, but an apple with some political roots.
1n 1817, farmer and Federalist Joel Gillett received an order of apple seedlings for planting. He and son Alanson were sorting the shipment when the elder Gillette came across a small, gnarly stick of a seedling that he didn't have much hope for. He gave it to his son, saying, "Here, son, is a Democrat. You may have it." The son nurtured it and the tree became the ancestor of every Rome Beauty Apple. First called Gillett's Seedling, it was renamed several years later after Rome Township, OH where the family resided. Now considered an heirloom variety, it is still widely available and is a highly regarded cooking apple.
K.S. in Traverse City, MI, writes: It's my understanding that the McKinley's Delight cocktail was named after William McKinley. If there's a higher honor than having a cocktail named after you, I don't know what it is.
V & Z respond: Getting a letter published by E-V.com?
P.N. in Austin, TX, writes: There's already a drink named after our 45th president: The Peach Mint Moscow Mule.
J.E.S. in Sedona, AZ, writes: I had the opportunity to live in Iowa for six years, over two separate stints, involving two utterly embarrassing presidential caucuses: 2012, when the State "oopsed" on the GOP side and publicly mis-named Mitt Romney as the winner before changing their minds and dubbing Rick Santorum the actual victor once they found some missing counties' tallies; and 2020, about which the less said, the better. As a writer from outside the State, I spent a lot of time trying to process and share my Iowa experiences in the public domain, and I published a couple of Iowa Caucus Guides that seemed to hit the spot for a lot of folks.
Despite its reputation as an ever-more Christian, right-wing, conservative State, Iowa and Iowans seemed incredibly committed to the copious, conspicuous, and constant consumption of alcohol, even when it was not crafted from corn, hog, or soy byproducts. I decided the State needed some new signature cocktails accordingly, most of which took their names from then (and now) prominent members of the State's electoral caste. Here are some suggested recipes from that project.
J.S. in Elkhart, Indiana, writes: My mother makes something called "Watergate Salad." Some sort of mix of gelatin, fruit, and marshmallows. Direct from the 1970's. (Love you, Mom! Happy 50th Anniversary!)
V & Z respond: Quite a few folks wrote in about Watergate Salad, which is quite delicious, but is probably not directly connected to Richard Nixon. And our best regards to your mother on such an auspicious occasion!
S.S. in Columbia, SC, writes: I am not sure about foods named after politicians, but I have heard that on Fridays the Pope has Holy Mackerel.
V & Z respond: Prepared by the fish friar, as we understand it. Sometimes accompanied by french fries made by the chip monk.
K.H. in Ypsilanti, MI, writes: Does it count that kids would chew on their Lincoln Logs?
V & Z respond: Would you happen to know one of these kids? Say, on a same-name basis?
Political Foods (Maybe Not So Real)
D.E. in Lancaster, PA, writes: Challenge accepted, and with advertising campaigns included! First, for some local Pennsylvanian flavor:
Lloyd Smucker's (PA-11) Jam: "With a name like Smucker's, it has to be dumb!"
And now for some national brands:
Palin Word Salad: "You Betcha!"
Nunes' Steaks: "Almost too stupid to believe!"
Jared's Nothing Burgers: "Where's the beef?"
And last, but certainly not least, Donnie's Bleach-O Shots: "Hey, Donnie likes it!"
I'm stopping now before I get into trouble.
H.R. in Pittsburgh, PA, writes: Food for thought (for those who think), with marketing slogans for the target audience (who can't/don't/won't):
Hawley Lolly: "It sucks!"
Gohmert Yogurt: "All White, Alt-Right."
Cotton Mutton: "The Right goat for you."
Barr's Dark Choc-o-Bar: "Trumps the bitter, beats the sweet."
Lummis' Gummies: "Yummies for Dummies."
Pompeo Oleo: "No better butter to grease your own palm."
Zinke's Stinky Cheese: "More Interior holes than Swiss, more exterior stink than Stilton."
D.H. in Portland, OR, writes: The Bernie Sando: "Twice the meat and totally free."
Marjorie Taylor Greene Eggs and Ham: "Cancel culture can't stop me!"
M.J. in Indianapolis, IN, writes: My suggestion for a politician themed dessert is Trump Meringue Pie. Both the filling and meringue have artificial orange coloring, and the overall concoction tastes like sour grapes.
B.F. in Nashville, TN, writes: Trumpbrosia: Mandarin oranges laced with Clorox.
G.F. in Manchester, VT, writes: I would like to suggest Trump à l'orange. Baked in a tanning bed, using only the most unnatural and inorganic orange.
T.B. in Durham, NC, writes: Pence Banana Cream Pie (with banana slices on top), because flies like to land on the white parts.
K.M. in Jacksonville, FL, writes: Add some Bourbon to the stock to make turtle soup à la McConnell.
S.B. in New Castle, DE, writes: Peaches Pelosi: Sweet peaches and flaky crust are cobbled together in an unusual coalition of flavor designed to pit progressive peach fans against apple pie traditionalists. A sharp bite of cinnamon grabs your attention, and then melts into a social smile as the ripe refreshment of summer fruits reaped from long labor melt into your mouth and soul. Best served with blue table settings.
B.C. in Walpole, ME, writes: Newt Gingrich Fruitcake: Nobody likes it, yet it's ubiquitous. The ingredients—cake, fruit—are popular, but nobody likes the resulting combination.
Watch the punctuation. It's Newt Gingrich Fruitcake, not Newt Gingrich, Fruitcake.
G.M. in Laurence Harbor, NJ, writes: How about Ford Fudge? It promises to unite the country but has a secret pardon in the center.
What's in a Name?
D.G. in Los Angeles, CA, writes: When I was a child with an eye problem overseas, my parents took me to the leading professor of ophthalmology, the most renowned German-born eye doctor, named Dr. Blinder (which in German means Dr. Blind).
D.J. in Akron, OH, writes: My ophthalmologist is Dr. See.
V & Z respond: If your doctor married D.G.'s doctor, then they would be able to say, "I was Blind, but now I'm See."
J.L. in Los Angeles, CA, writes: As I was reading your latest "What's in a Name?" entries, I had a stray thought and just had to do an Internet search for urologists specializing in erectile dysfunction. Sure enough, the results did indeed come up with a Dr. Hardigan! Let's all rise and give him a round of applause.
V & Z respond: There is also an OB/GYN in the Los Angeles area named Dr. Hyman.
V.B.G. in Decatur, GA, writes: When I was an ensign in the U.S. Navy, one of my classmates at surface warfare school was another ensign whose last name was Ensign.
I encountered him again a few years later and learned that he had since become Lieutenant Ensign. I lost track of him after that, but even if he never made admiral, I suspect he remained the highest-ranking Ensign in the Navy.
V & Z respond: We are reminded of one of the more memorable characters in Joseph Heller's book Catch-22. When he was drafted, he was Lieutenant Major Major Major, but of course they quickly had to promote him to Major Major Major Major.
M.H. in Omaha, NE, writes: An Omaha bar association member is named Dean Suing.
D.P. in Las Cruces, NM, writes: At a university where I once taught, the Faculty Senate had a Committee on Committees, chaired by Dr. Muchmore.
A.S. in Renton, WA, writes: I work in accounting. We increasingly receive fraudulent mail directing us to update payment information. We always call a known phone number to confirm. I was surprised the other day to learn that the V.P. of a local company is, indeed, named Ms. Cashdollar.
D.C. in Brentwood, CA, writes: There's an anti-LGBTQ legislator in Arkansas called Jack Ladyman. Perhaps he doth protest too much.
D.E. in San Diego, CA, writes: Another real name that was fine in its time but has unfortunate connotations in this era:
V & Z respond: Oh, it gets worse than that. Imagine a father who blessed his child with the same name, but who also happened to be related to a fellow in the home country who became rather notorious. We give you Dr. Gay Hitler.
L.S. in Fulton, MS, writes: I worked in an office with a lady named Vernella French. Of course, on our cubicle farm-style doors, everyone was listed last name first so she became, "French, Vernella."
M.O. in Copenhagen, Denmark, writes: In Denmark the largest utility company was called DONG Energy (Danish Oil and Natural Gas).
They changed the name a couple of years ago since they went into wind power on an international scale and the name didn't fit anymore and made for some funny situations.
D.R. in Omaha, NE, writes: When I was in high school, we so-called mature adolescents would giggle like schoolchildren when the intersection shown in the attached photo, was mentioned. This is in the Inwood section of Manhattan:
V & Z respond: We hate to think what would have happened if DONG Energy had moved their headquarters there.
D.M. in Burnsville, MN, writes: In response to the story about wacky California gubernatorial candidates, you wrote, "We suspect there may be a double entendre or two in there, but unfortunately, our staff linguist is hiding out from the Star Whackers."
How cunning of that linguist!
OK, I did my trick. Can I have my treat now?
E.W. in Skaneateles, NY, writes: My, my, it sounds like you have a cunning linguist!
Apologies if I'm the nth person to send that in (n>1).
V & Z respond: It would seem that some jokes really do write themselves.
K.H. in Maryville, TN, writes: I took this picture the other night—you still feeling lucky?
C.M. in Frisco, TX, writes: You wrote: "The speech is scheduled for 9:00 p.m. ET, and will be televised by all the news networks, as well as by Fox."
I see what you did there.
B.C. in Walpole, ME, writes: You wrote: "And maybe don't tell him that if you are speaking only of yourself, and you are male, you are a 'proud UCLA alumnus' and not a 'proud UCLA alumni.'"
I am in tears. This is the only web site left that will even bother to correct someone's Latin. You came, you saw, you corrected. It may be the only web site left that even has the capability.
D.J. in Philadelphia, PA, writes: You wrote: [Texans] love to flog their meat."
Another goodie. Thank you.
M.V., San Francisco, CA, writes: You wrote: "Oh, and note that the main library at USC was funded by and named for Doheny, despite his being a crook. Feel free to keep that in mind when judging the moral character of the university."
I bet you knew you were taking a risk with such a comment. My brother got a Masters and Ph.D. at USC in Electrical Engineering, currently works at Qualcomm—co-founded by Andrew Viterbi, namesake of USC's school of engineering.
How about mine (and V's) alma mater, M.I.T.? The Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research is named after the Koch brothers. Feel free to keep that in mind when judging the moral character of the university.
The thing is, universities will take money, and the line of how much of it was legal and how much was not is, in my view, not the university's business. I bet most universities have taken money from people with dubious moral reputations, and named a building after the donor. Is it fair to heavily criticize USC for something they did in...wait...1932?
V & Z respond: It is 100% fair. We are as serious about our criticism of USC as we are about our deep and abiding concern that a Canadian takeover of the U.S. is imminent.
Also, for the record, the late David Koch received a bachelors and masters degree from M.I.T., and taking money from rich alumni is not unheard of in academia.
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Apr30 The Takeaways Are In
Apr30 The Reviews are In, Part I: Joe Biden
Apr30 The Reviews are In, Part II: Tim Scott
Apr30 The Ratings Are In
Apr30 100 Days
Apr30 Trump Says He Would Consider DeSantis for VP
Apr30 Zinke's Back
Apr30 It Would Seem that Trans Rights Are the New Gay Marriage...Maybe
Apr29 Biden Addresses (a Small Bit of) Congress
Apr29 Redistricting Revisited
Apr29 MacDonough Has Become K Street's New Star
Apr29 Two Key Biden Judicial Nominees Testify
Apr29 Feds Search Giuliani's Apartment
Apr29 Fed Will Keep Interest Rates Near Zero
Apr29 Poll: Americans Approve of Biden
Apr29 Kelly and Warnock Are Bellwethers
Apr29 Budd's Bid
Apr28 This Is Not a State of the Union Address
Apr28 This House Isn't Big Enough for the Both of Us?
Apr28 Hundreds of Prominent Businesses Support LGBTQ Equality
Apr28 Send in the Clowns
Apr28 More on the Census
Apr28 More on Crying Wolf
Apr28 No More "Op-Eds" in The New York Times
Apr27 The Returns Are In
Apr27 Supreme Court Pulls the Trigger on Concealed-Carry Case
Apr27 Kerry Enmeshed in Scandal...Maybe
Apr27 And Speaking of Crying Wolf
Apr27 Armenian Genocide Is Now Official (at Least in the U.S.)
Apr27 California Recall Is a Go
Apr27 Trump Endorses Wright in Texas
Apr27 Collins Is Out
Apr26 Biden's Next $2 Trillion "American Families Plan" Will Be Released This Week
Apr26 Redistricting Is Upon Us
Apr26 Biden Is Still Popular
Apr26 Poll: Reaction to Chauvin Verdict Is Partisan
Apr26 Walker Freezes Georgia
Apr26 Caitlyn Jenner Is Running for Governor of California
Apr26 Carter Beats Peterson in Louisiana
Apr26 The "Great Replacement Theory" Has It Backwards
Apr25 Sunday Mailbag
Apr24 Saturday Q&A
Apr23 House Passes D.C. Statehood Bill
Apr23 Biden Announces Ambitious Plans on Climate Change
Apr23 Democrats Are Also Working to Change the Voting Laws
Apr23 Black Democrats Prioritize H.R. 4 over H.R. 1
Apr23 Montana Restricts Voting Rights
Apr23 Democrats' Ambitions Are Succumbing to Reality
Apr23 Vanita Gupta Confirmed as Associate Attorney General