EDITOR’S PICK-Hamilton is the hottest show on Broadway, filled with hip-hop songs, R&B rhythms, and tri-cornered hats. Its multi-racial cast portrays the pantheon of Revolutionary greats, and for many a starry-eyed critic this sing-along with the founders offers “a factually rigorous historical drama.” Those are the words of Jody Rosen in The New York Times, and he is not alone. As an academic who spent years studying Aaron Burr before producing a scholarly biography, I can say emphatically that rules of historical rigor do not apply to Hamilton.
GELFAND’S WORLD--California is joining the states that allow physician assisted suicide. As of June 9, the right to die using legally prescribed pharmaceuticals will be the law. It is, admittedly, a limited sort of access to this form of chemistry, in that being terminally ill is the essential requirement. Society will still try to rescue people whose suicidal thoughts come from psychological turmoil. Still, the passage of this law signals a long term cultural trend.
EDITOR’S PICK--Technology is a wonderful thing. Think about all the things we can do online---you can buy practically anything. You can check out new vacation spots and you can register to vote.
EDITOR’S PICK--The neoliberal ideology that is the engine of corporate capitalism spews its poison around the globe. Constitutions are rewritten by judicial fiat in a mockery of democracy. Laws and regulations that impede corporate exploitation are abolished. Corporations orchestrate legally sanctioned tax boycotts. Free-trade deals destroy small farmers and businesses along with labor unions and government agencies designed to protect the public from contaminated air, water and food and from usurious creditors and lenders.
POLITICS--Fury in the GOP as the two leading candidates are two iconoclastic outsiders (Trump and Cruz), and fury in the Democratic Party as the Bernie Sanders folks decry a fair shake against the candidate who is "supposed to win" (even if she is the first potential female President).
TRANSITION POLITICS--Dear Caitlyn: Much as I'm reluctant to further any infighting within the transgender and gender nonconforming community, I also have a responsibility to speak truth to power. Your visibility has gone from mildly annoying, to problematic, to atrocious, to outright detrimental, and so I ask you, politely:
Stop trying to help though the media and public appearances. Please. Stop.
EDUCATION POLITICS-Someone once gave me this explanation of the Yiddish word ‘chutzpah’: "It's like killing your mother and father and then throwing yourself on the mercy of the court on the grounds that you're an orphan."
GELFAND’S WORLD--Americans are justly puzzled at the behavior of Donald Trump and his crowds of followers. Episodes of people being expelled from Trump rallies just for looking or dressing differently are common. References to violence, or at least threats of violence, appear with regularity.
GUEST COMMENTARY--Apologies to those of you understandably all Trumped out. But Holy Mother of God, this shall not pass. At a snarling, jabbing, invective-laden "rally" in Louisville, a mob of Trump supporters - following The Donald's vicious lead - jostled and heaved a black college student out of the building, calling her "nigger" and "cunt" as she passed.
EDITOR’S PICK--It all began with a college football game, a well-known, talented female sportscaster and a costly lapse of judgment on the part of the Nashville Marriott staff. You see, none of the emotional and psychological wounds that Erin Andrews has suffered over the past 80 or so months had to have happened. All she did was check into a generic chain hotel for a work event.
EDITOR’S PICK--A self-proclaimed socialist decides to run for high office. And, for practical political reasons, he becomes a Democrat to do so. Soon he attracts enthusiastic supporters to his cause with his unconventional ideas for transforming the economy.
EASTSIDER-Usually I stay away from national hot button topics, figuring that there’s already plenty of coverage from the pundits and TV’s talking heads. However…
EDITOR’S PICK--In my experience, good public policy is best shaped by the dispassionate analysis of what in practice has worked, or not. Policy based on common assumptions and popular sentiments can become a recipe for mistaken prescriptions and misguided interventions.
GUEST WORDS--One fact that has received little attention in the current encryption debate is that many categories of individuals rely on strong encryption for their own security.
MUSING WITH MIRISCH-After the news that Republican Senate leaders will not even consider any Supreme Court nominee until a new president is in office, President Obama is taking it to the streets in an effort to get his yet unnamed pick approved. Or at least to make some much-needed political hay.
NEW DEMOGRAPHY-Until now, the presidential campaign has largely been dominated by issues of class, driving the improbable rise of both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. But as we head toward Super Tuesday – which will focus largely on Southern states – racial issues may assume greater importance.
CALBUZZ--Kamala Harris simply crushed U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez at the California Democratic Party state convention over the weekend: the state Attorney General had a bigger, fancier, livelier reception for delegates; more energized and organized volunteers; an infinitely more polished and compelling speech to the general assembly, and a landslide 78% vote for the CDP’s endorsement for the U.S. Senate.
REPORT--Here are some other euphemisms for "racism" the Times used: ""deeply rooted racial attitudes," "explicit appeals to ethnocentrism." Ethan Miller/Getty Images
The New York Times took a dive into whether Donald Trump's supporters are unusually racist — or, in the newspaper's delicate phrasing, "responsive to religious, social and racial intolerance." And they came up with a stunning statistic: Nearly one in five Trump supporters didn't approve of freeing slaves in the Confederacy.
A YouGov/Economist poll in January asked respondents if they approved or disapproved of "the executive order that freed all slaves in the states that were in rebellion against the federal government."
That executive order is better known as the Emancipation Proclamation. Thirteen percent of respondents — and "nearly 20 percent of Trump supporters," the Times reports, compared with 5 percent of Marco Rubio's — said they disapproved of it.
It gets even worse. An additional 17 percent of respondents said they weren't sure.
Before asking about slavery, YouGov first asked two broader poll questions about executive orders: Do you approve of them, and do you think they're constitutional? Then they asked about specific presidential actions, including freeing the slaves, desegregating the military, interning Japanese Americans during World War II, and deferring deportation for some unauthorized immigrants.
Framing the question this way is a reminder that one of Lincoln's greatest acts, and a turning point in American history, was also a controversial exercise of presidential power. And it's stunning how many people can't bring themselves to say they approve of it.
(Libby Nelson is education reporter at Vox.com … where this piece originated.)
TRUTHDIG--In a May 2011 Newsweek column, the late film critic Roger Ebert exposed the bottom line behind Hollywood’s unquenchable appetite for remakes and sequels. “No movie executive has ever been fired for greenlighting a sequel,” he wrote. “Once a brand has been established in the marketplace, it makes sound business sense to repeat the formula. … [N]othing is harder to get financed than an original idea, or easier than a retread.”