Monthly Archives: September 2012
By Mandy Van Deven, AlterNet, 9/25/12
The author of “Delirium: The Politics of Sex in America” says the extreme right-wing is less popular yet more powerful than we imagine.
During the 2008 presidential election, historian and political commentator Nancy L. Cohen became interested in how sex has changed American politics. She was so intrigued by the gender issues that surfaced around Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin that she began working on what would become Delirium: The Politics of Sex in America. The book is a meticulously researched political history of the Democratic self-destruction and Republican stealth that has allowed many of the gains of the sexual revolution to be lost.
In a political climate where women have to debate scientific inaccuracies stated by Republican politicians about “legitimate rape,” where women who use birth control are maligned as “sluts,” and where all-male congressional hearings are held to determine women’s right to control their own bodies, Delirium is a welcome font of clarity. Although Cohen couldn’t have anticipated the degree to which sexual rights would be the focus of the 2012 election, her book provides germane guidance for progressive activists who wish to secure four more years of a Democratic presidency.
Mandy Van Deven: Why are we still talking about the legitimacy of birth control in America? …
see links and continue reading at AlterNet
Diane Ravitch’s blog, 9/21/12
The Washington Post has a good article about the aggressive way that the Obama administration has imposed its education agenda in the past three+ years.
The article notes, almost in passing, that there is no evidence for the success of any part of this agenda. No one will know for many years whether the Obama program of testing, accountability, and choice will improve education.
When reading the article, it is easy to forget that the U.S. Department of Education was not created to impose any “reforms” on the nation’s schools. It was created to send federal aid to hard-pressed districts that enrolled many poor children.
When the Department was created in 1980, there were vigorous debates about whether there might one day be federal control of the schools. The proponents of the idea argued that this would never happen. It has not happened until now because Democrats and Republicans agreed that they didn’t want the other party to control the nation’s schools.
But now that the Obama administration has embraced the traditional Republican ideas of competition, choice, testing and accountability, there is no more arguing about federal control. Republicans are quite willing to allow a Democratic administration to push the states to allow more privately managed schools, to impose additional testing, and to crush teachers’ unions.
Republicans would never have gotten away with this agenda at any time in the past three decades. The Democrats who controlled Congress would never have allowed it to happen.
Who would have imagined that it would take a Democratic President to promote privatization, for-profit schools, evaluating teachers by student test scores, and a host of other ideas (like rolling back the hard-won rights of teachers) that used to be only on the GOP wish-list?