Morning Links for October 29, 2014.

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The South.

  1. The Advocate features a post from Sarah Young (who also writes for this blog) and Michael Hansen on the ridiculous notion that the South is a “new frontier” for organizing around LGBTQ+ issues.
  2. The latest Texas Tribune/University of Texas Poll shows conditional support for both marriage equality and abortion. A plurality of Texans support marriage equality if there is also an option for civil unions in the poll, while Texans come out narrowly opposed in a Yes/No poll question on marriage equality. Likewise, Texans support abortion if there is medical reasoning behind it, but oppose it based on the personal choices of the woman. The abortion question makes sense, but I do not know that the marriage equality question does. While it shows that there is complexity to opinions on the issue, I do not know that civil unions are, at this point, a realistic policy option that is on the table when LGBTQ+ folks are getting married in Utah and North Carolina.
  3. In the city of New Braunfels, Texas, one city councilwoman is facing backlash over coming out as LGBTQ+. John Wright writes at The Texas Observer about the story of Aja Edwards, who became a target for harassment after she revealed that she was seeking to build a community to support LGBTQ+ youth. New Braunfels is described as a “tea party stronghold”, which is surprising; I only knew it as a water park stronghold.
  4. National Organization for Marriage and James O’Keefe. What could go wrong there?
  5. KnoxViews discusses Amendment 3, a proposal that would ban the Tennessee General Assembly from creating an income tax, and the reasons why it would be a disaster for the Volunteer State were it to pass. State governments in the South seem hellbent on doing all they can to prevent the necessary raising of tax revenue for education, transportation, social welfare, and the like. The only people who will suffer is the working class, who will not only lack the infrastructure needed to improve their lot, but will also bear the burden of ever higher tax inequalities as states look to their paychecks to balance state budgets. It is immoral and wrong.


  1. While the Working Families Party betrayed its entire raison d’etre by endorsing Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) for re-election, it is good to know that there are unions that are still willing to stand up for the best interests of their members. Six teachers unions have endorsed Howie Hawkins, the Green Party’s candidate for Governor of New York, including the Buffalo Teachers Federation, reports Kevin Solari at In These Times. UPDATE: Methinks this might be good reason for teachers to endorse Hawkins-Jones in the general election. I mean, does anyone other than Republicans and empty-suit liberals really think this guy deserves four more years in Albany?


  1. Alan Pyke writes about John Arnold, the hedge fund billionaire who is spending millions trying to shrink the pensions of public employees across America, at ThinkProgress. He found a willing partner in Gina Raimondo, the Democratic State Treasurer of Rhode Island. In case you are not up on the nitty-gritty of politics in America’s smallest state, Raimondo is likely to become Rhode Island’s next governor. Then again, considering that it was all Democrats who pushed Voter ID in Rhode Island, perhaps it is not too surprising that the state has one of the most conservative Democratic Party units in the nation.
  2. Laura Clawson blasts Gov. Scott Walker’s (R-WI) new ad on women’s pay at Daily Kos Labor. The ad, featuring Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, is a pretty shameful attempt to cover up the fact that Walker and his Republican Party allies in the Wisconsin State Assembly have worked to roll back equal pay protections since they came to power in 2010.


  1. The always brilliant and incisive Allison Sparling writes on the Jian Ghomeshi controversy at her blog Always Something, as does Toula Dramanis for Ricochet. Ghomeshi, who hosted the popular show Q for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, was terminated from his employment at the CBC after allegations of sexual assault and abuse were made by no fewer than four of his former girlfriends. Ghomeshi has chalked this up to “jilted ex-lovers” and is suing the CBC for $50 million. I have to agree with the two aforementioned authors: the whole “they’re all just crazy” line is extremely disappointing coming from Ghomeshi, and people are using their fanhoods to guide them on the merits of this thing rather than just sitting back and waiting to see how it all shakes out. It is always interesting to see how people defend the powerful in moments like this; I just wish we did not have so many examples to choose from.
  2. The Ford era of Toronto politics is over….sorta. John Tory, former leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party and failed 2003 candidate for Mayor of Toronto, staged a successful comeback bid in his second try for the office. He secured just over 40 percent of the vote, besting City Councillor Doug Ford, who earned 34 percent of the vote, and Olivia Chow, former MP for Trinity-Spadina and widow of former New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton, who received 23 percent of the vote. Tory ran ahead in the wealthiest wards in Toronto, Ford ran ahead in the poorest wards, while Chow basically won the area in and around her parliamentary constituency in downtown Toronto. But while Doug Ford failed to create a family dynasty in the Mayor’s Office, there will still be a Ford in City Hall: outgoing Mayor Rob Ford handily outpaced his nearest rival by more than a 5-1 margin in returning to Etobicoke North’s Ward 2 council seat, which he held before becoming Mayor in 2010.

The World.

  1. Zambia now has the first white leader in its history, and the first white leader of an African nation since F.W. de Klerk stepped down following the end of apartheid, after Vice-President Guy Scott was appointed interim President following the death of President Michael Sata at 77, the BBC reports. However, he may not be eligible to run for the office at the next elections due to his not being born in Zambia and his parents being of Scottish descent (Zambian law requires that you be at least a third-generation Zambian to qualify for the office).
  2. Scotland should get veto power over any move by the Conservative Party to take the United Kingdom out of the European Union, says incoming First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in a report for The Guardian. The new leader of the Scottish National Party in Holyrood says that the party’s Westminster MPs will place in amendment on the schedule should anyone table a bill that would allow for a referendum on EU membership in 2017, as has been promised by Prime Minister David Cameron. Should be interesting to see how this will affect independence politics in Scotland, as a rejection of the EU in England would certainly give impetus to the feeling that Scotland might not be as Better Together as the Westminster Troika promised they would be.
  3. Jacobin Magazine features a great article on the ways that the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela has brought the poor out of the shadows and into political and administrative power. George Ciccariello-Maher’s discussion goes through a history of violent neoliberal suppression of working-class voices in the country, and discusses how the Chavez-Maduro era has worked to overturn the generations of dominance enjoyed by the white elite at the expense of all other Venezuelans. A fantastic read if you are interested in a discussion of Chavismo that is not mediated by multinational media conglomerates.