In just 12 days, the 2015 general election for the UK (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) takes place. On the surface, the math is simple: there are 650 seats, so winning 326 gives you a simple majority. In the previous parliament, governance was through a coalition of the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties. But this time, predicting who will be Prime Minister, or have the most seats, or what form the government will take, is ... complicated. [more inside]
Kochs Plan to Spend $900 Million on 2016 Campaign - "an unparalleled effort by coordinated outside groups to shape a presidential election that is already on track to be the most expensive in history... These donors represent the largest concentration of political money outside the party establishment, one that has achieved enormous power in Republican circles in recent years. Now the Kochs' network will embark on its largest drive ever to influence legislation and campaigns across the country, leveraging Republican control of Congress and the party's dominance of state capitols to push for deregulation, tax cuts and smaller government."
Oklahoma. This was a place where Kathryn's workplace had a cussing jar, a quarter per swear, and the words written on it, “Let Go and Let God.” Here, Christianity was the religion — Tracy and Kathryn were believers — and Oklahoma football was the religion — Tracy and Kathryn were believers — and people could be decent and kind and judgmental, sometimes all at once, which was why, when Tracy told some Rotary Club friends that she and Kathryn were getting married, she kept her eyes planted above their heads so she wouldn't have to look at their faces.
Republicans in state governments plan juggernaut of conservative legislation - "Enjoying a majority of unprecedented breadth, Republicans plan a new tide of conservative initiatives targeting the Common Core, abortion, income taxes, labor unions and the EPA." (via) [more inside]
How Liberal or Conservative is your name? A rare "what x are you?" online tool which is apparently based on real data. There is no need to search for the most liberal of all (past and present) MeFi moderator names, I've already done that for you.
"I'm hardcore and I know the score And I am disgusted by the poor..." [NSFWish lyrics] [more inside]
"I'm not sure whether it mattered. One young man very kindly said to me, 'You don’t understand, women are holier than men.' I said, 'That’s rubbish and it doesn't excuse the insult,' and then I added that I spent 13 years in yeshiva and there's nothing he could tell me that I haven't already heard. Then the original man, the one who refused to sit next to me, muttered to another man as he was walking away, 'She doesn't understand.' I said, 'I understand everything, and don't talk to me as if I'm not here.' He ignored me, and all the other men turned their backs and did not respond or even look at me." [Similar version at JewFem blog.]
Economist Robert Solow reviews Angus Burgin's history of laissez-faire thought The Great Persuasion [Amazon], and discusses the differing views and goals of the movement's two saints Hayek and Friedman. [more inside]
How Ronald Reagan Used An 'Invisible Bridge' To Win Over Americans - "Rick Perlstein's new book describes how Reagan emerged as the leader of a potent political movement during the turbulent mid-'70s. He says the soul of Reagan's appeal was how he made people feel good." [more inside]
“A bomb with a long fuse has been lit,” said Sylvie Guillaume, a French MEP supportive of abortion rights and LGBT rights, who recently stepped down as vice chair of the largest center-left bloc in the European Union’s parliament. “We don’t know what’s going to happen.” [more inside]
On his blog, biblical scholar Peter Enns is hosting a series of guest posts by other scholars about their "Aha!" moments--the "moments that convinced them they needed to find different ways of handling the Bible than how they had been taught." He has ten posts in the series so far, with more on the way. [more inside]
The Republican Party began selling new web domains ending in .gop today at www.join.gop. Public interest has definitely been sparked, but perhaps not for the reasons Republicans have hoped. [more inside]
Slate: "Prius Repellent is a perfect introduction to one of the Obama era’s great conservative subcultures: the men and women who “roll coal.” For as little as $500, anyone with a diesel truck and a dream can install a smoke stack and the equipment that lets a driver “trick the engine” into needing more fuel. The result is a burst of black smoke that doubles as a political or cultural statement—a protest against the EPA, a ritual shaming of hybrid “rice burners,” and a stellar source of truck memes." [more inside]
The New York Times reports the death of Richard Mellon Scaife, the Mellon heir and noted financial backer of conservative organizations and publications such as the Heritage Foundation, The American Spectator, and the Institute on Religion and Democracy, following his battle with cancer. Scaife is perhaps best known for funding a staggering number of anti-Clinton projects in the 1990s that set the stage for the Whitewater investigation, efforts which won him derision from some quarters and approbation from others. [more inside]
Welcome to Detroit's water war – in which upward of 150,000 customers, late on bills that have increased 119 percent in the last decade, are now threatened with shut-offs. Local activists estimate this could impact nearly half of Detroit's mostly poor and black population – between 200,000 and 300,000 people. [more inside]
Are Reform Conservatives Serious?
A crop of young thinkers trying to steer the right toward the future needs to both vanquish the Tea Party and show it has more than just a marketing campaign.
A crop of young thinkers trying to steer the right toward the future needs to both vanquish the Tea Party and show it has more than just a marketing campaign.
Frank Rich takes a look at conservative comedians and the late-night comedy landscape.
The Three Languages of Arts and Cultural Funding : It is a truth universally acknowledged that the public funding of arts and culture will cause political strife. Reasonable people just do not agree on this, and can be surprisingly quick to accuse others of ideological warmongering. An Australian application of The Three Languages of Politics [interview: podcast and transcript] by Arnold Kling. Via The Conversation.
In the past month since publishing his essay, "Checking My Privilege: Character as the Basis of Privilege," Princeton freshman Tal Fortgang has become a hero of many in right-wing politics for his refusal to believe that he enjoys privilege. [more inside]
The Color Of His Presidency
A few weeks ago, the liberal comedian Bill Maher and conservative strategist and pundit Bill Kristol had a brief spat on Maher’s HBO show, putatively over what instigated the tea party but ultimately over the psychic wound that has divided red America and blue America in the Obama years. The rise of the tea party, explained Maher in a let’s-get-real moment, closing his eyes for a second the way one does when saying something everybody knows but nobody wants to say, “was about a black president.” Both Maher and Kristol carry themselves with a weary cynicism that allows them to jovially spar with ideological rivals, but all of a sudden they both grew earnest and angry. Kristol interjected, shouting, “That’s bullshit! That is total bullshit!” After momentarily sputtering, Kristol recovered his calm, but his rare indignation remained, and there was no trace of the smirk he usually wears to distance himself slightly from his talking points. He almost pleaded to Maher, “Even you don’t believe that!” “I totally believe that,” Maher responded, which is no doubt true, because every Obama supporter believes deep down, or sometimes right on the surface, that the furious opposition marshaled against the first black president is a reaction to his race. Likewise, every Obama opponent believes with equal fervor that this is not only false but a smear concocted willfully to silence them.[more inside]
John Hibbing and his colleagues are pioneering research on the physiological underpinnings of political ideology. They also eat worms. - via Mother Jones
Hard right Conservative South Australian Senator Cory Bernardi, who in 2012 year was removed as parliamentary secretary and opposition whip to Tony Abbott as a result of arguing that same-sex marriages would lead to legalised polygamy and bestiality, is no stranger to controversy. A noted climate change sceptic, and critic of both Islam and publicly-funded broadcasting, Bernardi has just published his manifesto -- The Conservative Revolution -- calling for "a reversal back to sanity and reason". Reviews on Amazon have been less than favourable, but his book has put contentious issues such as abortion, the structure of the modern family and WorkChoices firmly at centrestage as the unpopular conservative government seeks to reconnect with voters who so comprehensively removed the Labor Party from Government in September 2013. Some argue that the danger in Bernardi's comments is that they shift the goalposts on what is considered outrageous, and re-ignite the culture wars. Or is it too late? The Prime Minister has again been forced to distance himself from Bernardi's views, and Warren Entch has criticised him for his "gay obsession". In 2012 the Global Mail called him Australia's Sarah Palin, but he also shares the Six Fs philosophy of Rick Santorum: Faith, Family, Flag, Free enterprise, Federation and Freedom.
State conservative groups plan US-wide assault on education, health and tax. The policy goals are contained in a set of funding proposals obtained by the Guardian. The proposals were co-ordinated by the State Policy Network, an alliance of groups that act as incubators of conservative strategy at state level.
The Nazi Anatomists. "How the corpses of Hitler's victims are still haunting modern science—and American abortion politics."
In Conversation: Antonin Scalia "On the eve of a new Supreme Court session, the firebrand justice discusses gay rights and media echo chambers, Seinfeld and the Devil, and how much he cares about his intellectual legacy ("I don’t")." [more inside]
After 500 years, the government of David Cameron has announced the unthinkable: from as early as today a majority stake in the Royal Mail of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland will be put up for sale into private hands. Some are not happy. The sale is expected to fetch between US$3-4.7 billion. But what does it mean? Should you invest? And what does it mean for other postal systems in, say, Australia or the USA? Postal services have been benefiting from the rise in online shopping, even as traditional mail declines.
Tom Yulsman on the ignorant, misrepresentative and fictitious claims promulgated by some conservative journalists.
"Believing they are losing the messaging war with progressives, a group of prominent conservatives in Washington—including the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and journalists from Breitbart News and the Washington Examiner — has been meeting privately since early this year to concoct talking points, coordinate messaging, and hatch plans for "a 30 front war seeking to fundamentally transform the nation," according to documents obtained by [David Corn and] Mother Jones." Photo Gallery: Meet Groundswell's Major Players. Also: Groundswell's Secret Crusade to Crush Karl Rove // (Via) [more inside]
According to a new survey by the Public Religion Research Institute [PDF], 1 in 5 Americans can now be defined as "religious progressives". These people, who eschew the current Republican agenda of religious social conservatism, have Republican leaders caught in the middle between an aging religious conservative majority and young religious progressives.
"Dallas can become the Hollywood of the faith-and-family movie market." So says former Pennsylvania Senator, Fox News contributor, and erstwhile presidential contender Rick Santorum, who has taken a new job as CEO of Echolight Studios, a "family-friendly" Christian movie studio based out of Dallas. Mother Jones asks the question, what does Santorum actually know about movies? [more inside]
He was an eighteenth-century Irish statesman, but Edmund Burke still has plenty to say today. Charles Hill reviews Edmund Burke: The First Conservative by Jesse Norman.
The Trials Of Nadia Naffe
Young, attractive, ambitious, conservative, and black, Nadia Naffe should have been a right-wing operative’s dream. For a time, she was. Naffe served as a campaign coordinator in Florida for George W. Bush’s re-election effort, hobnobbed with conservative superstars like Andrew Breitbart, and joined the production team of James O’Keefe, the shock-videographer whose pranks humiliated NPR and made ACORN a dirty word. ...And then, in a single night nearly two years after they first met, Naffe’s life became a nightmare.[more inside]
The national Republican Party still continues to oppose same-sex marriage, one of the factors of social conservatism that lost it the youth vote in the 2012 election and may have caused Romney's defeat. Many Republicans, however, have been arguing for a sea change to revitalize the party. They may have found it, in an unlikely appeal that "The party of Lincoln should stand with our best tradition of equality and support full civil marriage for all Americans.". A large number of prominent Republicans have signed onto an amicus brief opposing same-sex marriage bans in the Proposition 8 case currently before the Supreme Court - and some believe that the Republican support may allow the justices the political and legal support to rule for national marriage equality.
False memories of fabricated political events [ABSTRACT]. In the largest false memory study to date, 5,269 participants were asked about their memories for three true and one of five fabricated political events. Each fabricated event was accompanied by a photographic image purportedly depicting that event. Approximately half the participants falsely remembered that the false event happened, with 27% remembering that they saw the events happen on the news. Political orientation appeared to influence the formation of false memories, with conservatives more likely to falsely remember seeing Barack Obama shaking hands with the president of Iran, and liberals more likely to remember George W. Bush vacationing with a baseball celebrity during the Hurricane Katrina disaster. A follow-up study supported the explanation that events are more easily implanted in memory when they are congruent with a person's preexisting attitudes and evaluations, in part because attitude-congruent false events promote feelings of recognition and familiarity, which in turn interfere with source attributions. [FULL TEXT PDF AVAILABLE HERE] [more inside]
Bruce Bartlett tells the story of how he lost faith in the Republican Party.
5-part series from Conservative Home about weaknesses in how the UK conservative movement thinks and operates. 1: Polling not punditry. 2: The working class has different concerns in 2012. 3: Conservatives need a new attitude to government. 4: Thatcher and Reagan didn't tame the state. 5: Why does the right treat spending cuts as light entertainment?
The governments of the United Kingdom and Scotland agree on a framework for the latter to vote on independence. Other reporting in the Telegraph, Guardian and the Scottish Sun. The referendum, for this nation of 5.25 million people and a unicorn as its national animal, will be held before the end of 2014. [more inside]
"New Owner-employees will exchange some of their UK employment rights for rights of ownership in the form of shares in the business they work for, any gains on which will be exempt from capital gains tax." [more inside]
Pity the Billionaire (YT): Thomas Frank discusses how the American right pulled off a massive coup and successfully branded itself the party of rebellion and protest in the wake of the financial crisis.
The American Conservative and the Revolt of the Rich
No more "Hunger Games" in our District! [autoplaying music] Running for State Senate in Brooklyn on the Republican and Conservative tickets, Mindy Myers, 22 and an Orthodox Jew, is the self-proclaimed Diva of the District. In an interview with City and State she says “I’m trying to attract a young crowd and recruit more young people," [...] "People in politics are out of touch with the younger generation, who are not voting, are not registered.” [more inside]
Who could forget young Jonathan Krohn (previously), who dazzled the crowd at CPAC 2009 with his finely wrought rhetoric? Or perhaps you remember his classic tome Defining Conservatism. It will come as no surprise that he's still making waves at the grand old age of 17... by swinging left. "I think it was naive."
The prime minister has suggested that people under the age of 25 could lose the right to housing benefit, as part of moves to cut the welfare bill. Scrapping the benefit for that age group would save almost £2bn a year. via BBC News. Comments sortable and worth reading. [more inside]
Malcolm Gladwell says that he got into journalism by accident, that his real dream was to work for an ad agency. “I decided I wanted to be in advertising. I applied to eighteen advertising agencies in the city of Toronto and received eighteen rejection letters, which I taped in a row on my wall,” he wrote in his What the Dog Saw. If true, then Gladwell didn’t fail at all. Rather, he has achieved his dream of becoming an ad man beyond all expectation.The hidden histories of Malcolm Gladwell. [Previously.]
Kevin Roose's The Unlikely Disciple, in which Brown attends Jerry Falwell's evangelical Liberty University for a semester (excerpt), has been featured on MetaFilter previously, but it deserves to be looked at in more detail. What distinguishes the book is Roose's determination to look at the people behind the belief rather than just lampooning the belief itself; he writes about interviewing Falwell (and he was in fact the last person to interview Falwell before his death), and about his uneasiness about finding the likable, human elements that went alongside the fanaticism. After publication, Liberty University allowed the book in its bookstore, but inserted a
three-paragraph disclaimer warning readers of inaccuracies and telling them to be skeptical; Roose rebuts the disclaimer. An English professor at Liberty University offers an interesting perspective. Meanwhile, Roose runs a blog series called Meet Jerry's Kids, in which he interviews LU students, and The Jonah Project, where he encourages people who disagree politically or religiously to have reasoned, yelling-free discussions about the novel.
Long before he became a staff writer for The New Yorker and the bestselling author of The Tipping Point, Blink, and Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell began his career writing for a politically conservative monthly magazine. Some of his early work for The American Spectator is now available online.
On Thursday, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper was asked in the House of Commons whether he intended to keep Canadian troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014. Harper tried to deflect criticism from New Democratic Party leader Thomas Mulcair by saying that "Unlike the NDP, we are not going to ideologically have a position regardless of circumstances. The leader of the NDP, in 1939, did not even want to support war against Hitler." Members of the NDP were quick to reply that the NDP did not oppose Hitler in 1939 because the NDP was formed in 1961. [more inside]