Old Bernie/New Bernie
If asked today, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., would no doubt say he has grown.
But 30 years ago, the socialist senator who last week called for "Medicare for all," said such an idea would "bankrupt the nation."
Then the mayor of Burlington, Vt., Sanders was filming a show called "Bernie Speaks with the Community" and had as his guest an apparent Canadian doctor.
"One of the points that we understand and I think was reinforced when we went to Canada," he told Dr. Milton Terris, "number one, you want to guarantee that all people have access to health care as you do in Canada.
"But," he said, "I think what we understand is that [we must] change the funding system and the control mechanism in this country to do that," he said. "For example, if we expanded Medicaid [to] everybody. Give everybody a Medicaid card — we would be spending such an astronomical sum of money that, you know, we would bankrupt the nation."
Sanders, as a master of hyperbole, has found himself at the top of some recent Democratic Party presidential preference polls. His ideas sound simple and doable to voters whose ideas of political thinkers run from George Clooney to Jennifer Lawrence.
For instance, he compared the potential fallout from a Republican health care plan in July to the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001.
"Now obviously nobody can predict exactly how many people will die if they lose their coverage," he said. "Nobody can make that prediction. But what experts at the Harvard School of Public Health estimate, is that if 23 million Americans were to be thrown off the insurance they currently have up to 28,000 Americans every single year could die.
"That is nine times more than the tragic losses of we suffered on 9/11, every single year." Sanders said.
The truth is the Vermont senator knows now what he knew in 1987. But the siren song of higher political office has clouded his vision.
Prepare to be destabilized
Duke University is looking for a few good men — to have their "masculine privilege" destabilized.
The Duke University Men's Project, now in it second year, wants to help men understand how their masculinities exist "often in toxic ways" while they begin "the work of unlearning violence."
In the nine-week program, according to a course description, men will participate in weekly discussion groups conducted through an "intersectional feminist lens," with the hope of helping male students learn an "intersectional understanding of masculinity."
The discussions, potential participants are warned, "will be challenging," will make men feel "vulnerable" and should be "taken seriously."
Once trained, the men will be dispatched across campus to host events for other students on topics such as "pornography and rape culture, male privilege and taking up space, and gender disparities in emotional labor."
The program held at the university Women's Center, whose mission is to help men and women "resist patriarchal oppression," asks applicants to describe how their "privilege operates to create inequality on Duke's campus" and to list their preferred gender.
Fifteen apparently violent, toxic men enrolled in the program last year.
Shown up in the Show-Me State
An intolerant Democrat received a rare comeuppance last week when she was censured by the Missouri Senate for hoping President Donald Trump would be assassinated.
Maria Chappelle-Nadal, a state senator from St. Louis, was chatting on Facebook last month with Christopher Gagné, who mentioned that his cousin, a Secret Service agent "did his first 4 [years] with Obama and has two to go with this idiot." His next post noted, "[N]ow I'll probably get a visit from the secret service "
The lawmaker replied, "No. I will. I hope Trump is assassinated!"
Missouri Republicans removed her from her committee assignments and wanted to oust her from the body. Their resolution called for her to resign and warned that she could still be kicked out later. Nevertheless, the full Senate voted to censure her.
Gang? What gang?
The Portland, Ore., police department is eliminating its gang databases because they unfairly target minorities. Yes, you read that right.
The department, according to The Oregonian, said 81 percent of its 359 "criminal gang affiliates" — that is those who self-identify as a gang member, participated in gang imitation activity or committed a crime in a display of gang membership — were ethnic.
Previously, a name run on the databases would come up with a red flag if the name had a gang affiliation. Beginning Oct. 15, those flags will go away, and police will send out letters telling those on the list they're being undesignated as a gang member.
The databases now will flag only criminal conduct, police said.
"Gang violence isn't going to go away," said Capt. Mike Krantz. "There are still crimes attributed to known gang sets. There are still criminal gang members. That doesn't go away because we don't have a gang designation. We're not pretending gang violence doesn't exist. We're just taking this one thing away."
A former member of the Bloods gang who is now a mentor called the gesture a "beautiful thing."