Monthly Archives: February 2016

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Bernie Sanders is right: Bill Clinton’s welfare law doubled extreme poverty

By Max Ehrenfreund

COLUMBIA, SC - JANUARY 18: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) (C) listens to a speaker during the King Day at the Dome rally at the S.C. State House January 18, 2016 in Columbia, South Carolina. The event drew appearances from Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and Hillary Clinton. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

Bernie Sanders seeks to broaden his appeal among voters of color ahead of imminent primaries in several Southern states. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

After 20 years, Bernie Sanders wants to put welfare back on the national agenda, seeing a chance to use his message of economic equality to undermine Hillary Clinton’s base of support among black voters.

Primaries across the South over the next few days give him what might be the best chance he’ll get. Hundreds of thousands of Southern families are living on less than $2 in cash a day as a result of legislation President Bill Clinton signed in 1996, according to new research by Johns Hopkins University’s Kathryn Edin and University of Michigan’s Luke Shaefer.

In South Carolina this week, ahead of that state’s primary election on Saturday, Sanders brought up the 20-year-old law in a press conference. “What welfare reform did, in my view, was to go after some of the weakest and most vulnerable people in this country,” he said on Wednesday, noting that Hillary Clinton, the former first lady and his rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, supported the legislation.

Black voters will be crucial in the upcoming contests — 55 percent of Democratic primary voters in South Carolina in 2008 were black, : What it’s like to live on $2 a day in America]

“It’s a disgrace,” Edin said.

Getting an accurate estimate of the cash available to households that have so little is difficult, but the federal Survey of Income and Program Participation suggests that their numbers have steadily increased.

Edin and Shaefer SIPP

To some degree, expansions of other government assistance …read more


How Lands’ End ended up in America’s vicious abortion fight

By Danielle Paquette

Gloria Steinem of the National Organization for Women attends an Equal Right Amendment rally outside the White House Saturday,July 4, 1981 in Washington. (AP Photo/Scott Applewhite)

Forty-three years after the Supreme Court established a woman’s constitutional right to abortion, debate over whether the procedure should remain legal still rages on, exploding this week onto … the Facebook page for Lands’ End?

Yes, that Lands’ End, the Wisconsin-based retailer that offers sensibly priced blouses and fleece dog jackets. The company, founded in 1963, has long embraced soft pastels, sea-sprayed golden retrievers and a safe distance from controversy.

Chief executive Federica Marchionni, a former Dolce & Gabbana leader who took over the business last year, wanted to shake up this snoozy aesthetic. So she put in the latest catalog the feminist icon Gloria Steinem, who built her career fighting for equal pay, the end of domestic violence and, among six decades of other things, access to safe abortions.

The backlash was swift and intense:

“You obviously don’t know who shops with you, or maybe you do and don’t care,” wrote one shopper on Facebook. “In the midst of the celebration of Easter (life), you interview and glorify a woman who fosters a culture of death.”

“Those of us who love family, love children, are completely puzzled why you would promote a very vocal pro abortion celebrity,” wrote another. “Is this who you are LandsEnd? Are you anti-child?

“How could you not understand that your family-friendly customer base does not want to see a rabidly pro-abortion woman (Steinem) honored as a hero?”

Lands’ End, a company that has likely never practiced crisis management, apologized on Facebook and removed any online trace of the Steinem’s catalog appearance.

“It was never our intention to raise a divisive political or religious issue, so …read more


Republicans have a new strategy to defeat Donald Trump: Treat him like he’s Michael Jordan

By Jim Tankersley

Chicago Bulls’ Michael Jordan smiles as he heads to the bench late in the game Tuesday, May 7, 1996, in Chicago. Jordan led the Bulls with 28 points in a playoff game with the New York Knicks. The Bulls beat the Knicks 91-80 to take a 2-0 lead in the series. (AP Photo/Beth A. Keiser)

Republicans finally found a way to rattle Donald Trump on Thursday night, in the melee that was the final televised debate before Super Tuesday. First Marco Rubio, and then Ted Cruz, smashed into the front-runner businessman relentlessly, with attacks that varied in tone, content and approach.

Rubio and Cruz hit Trump on immigration, an issue that is very much his strength, and on Planned Parenthood, an issue that sure looks like a weakness for him with GOP primary voters. They smacked at his business record – go ahead and Google “Trump Polish workers” if you haven’t already – and at the many times he’s found himself in court.

They were grave. They made jokes. Cruz interrogated him like a prosecutor. Rubio peppered him like a wire reporter from an old movie, mocking him as a policy lightweight and even talking over him like, well, Trump.

First maybe the first time this campaign, they put Trump on his heels on stage.

Know who they looked like? The Bad Boy Pistons.

[Winners and losers from Thursday’s GOP debate]

In 1989 and 1990, Isaiah Thomas, Dennis Rodman and their Detroit teammates won consecutive NBA championships. To do it, they had to get past the greatest player in league history, Michael Jordan, as he was entering his prime. They had a strategy for that, which came to be called the “Jordan Rules.” It included attacking Jordan with shifting defenses depending on …read more