On this, the day after we celebrate the birth of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., we should consider, as Michael Harriot does at The Guardian, how the real Dr. King would be received by today's America. Of course, Dr. King's approval ratings with whites were underwater every day of his life, and a lot of folks who venerate him today would have claimed the Fair Housing Act "went too far" in the '60s, but Dr. King also vocally fought police brutality whereas too many of today's Americans respond to yet another police killing of a Black man for brandishing a cellphone with I SUPPORTZ TEH POLICEZ!!!! He also railed against poverty and the Vietnam War, to which too many folks back then responded we gave them the vote; what more do they want? And they'd respond the same way today.
And now perhaps the best headline of 2022 so far, from Janine Jackson at FAIR: "Elite Media Remember Lani Guinier as 'Embattled' — and Forget How They Battled Her." You may remember Ms. Guinier, who passed on January 8, as the Clinton nominee who voiced "extreme" opinions about voting, redistricting, and affirmative action; if you do not remember her as the first Black woman to get tenure at Harvard, for example, that may be because our "liberal" media repeated all the right-wing whining about her 1993 nomination to head our Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division, only evaluating her writings more honestly after the drama prompted President Clinton to withdraw the nomination. (And I suspect he nominated her more to help create all that drama than solve problems in America, but Ms. Guinier would probably disagree with me.)
I've blamed the unvaccinated in America for most of the problems we're facing today, but Sarah Lazare at In These Times suggests that blaming the unvaccinated may be a way of failing to blame the Biden Administration for its leadership failures, such as failing to overcome intellectual property barriers in getting vaccines out to the rest of the world, which will allow new COVID variants to flourish, and failing to extend safety net programs (like hazard pay for those we all call "essential" workers!) that help a civilization endure a pandemic. And yet I can't stop blaming those folks who remain unvaccinated because they're still throwing their tantrums about Joe Biden winning the 2020 election. I remember how many vaccine slots were open in red states this past summer, and while I wouldn't expect poor folks from blue states to be able to scarf those up, I still think we should expend some effort blaming and shaming those close to us who have failed us.
Good news: DirecTV will stop carrying the so-called One America News (or OAN) network when their contract expires in April. AT&T is still OAN's sugar daddy, and Verizon FIOS still carries OAN, and all the cable corporations still carry the Fox News Channel, so we have more work to do to Make America Less Toxic Again (hey, that spells an actual word! Ring my promoter!), but we should celebrate our successes as we achieve them, and even though we hear that DirecTV wants to provide fewer offerings as a way to offer lower prices and compete with streaming services, this success definitely belongs to us.
Did Mike Pence really compare Democratic efforts to end the filibuster with the January 6 attempted coup? Yes, Virginia, he did, in that they are both "tragic." For Mr. Pence, of course, voter fraud is a real thing, and not just a slab of racist booga-booga Republicans always trot out because they don't have any ideas worth sharing. Even worse, state efforts to curb mail-in ballots are, for Mr. Pence, "common sense" reforms, even if they're not the "common sense" reforms he'll actually enumerate -- or, indeed, are not actually "common sense" in a world where Colorado has run its elections entirely through the mail for years.
Finally, swing-district Democrats want to break up the Build Back Better Act into elements that might pass because they're so popular, and that's not a bad strategy! They mention "curbing prescription drug costs and extending the child tax credit," and though they didn't say "let Medicare negotiate drug prices" and "extend the CTC expansion that was plopping $250 checks in millions of bank accounts every month," I would find it profoundly useful to force votes on these individual initiatives -- plus paid family medical leave, though the swingsters didn't mention that, apparently. And even though all of these bills will die in our Senate (unless they decide to pass them under reconciliation rules), at least then we can all see, once again, exactly which Senators are creating all the drama. Put these folks on the spot again and again and again until they yield, that's what I say.