• Married American actors Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall attend a cocktail party at the Calvados cabaret club on the Champs Elysees, Paris, 1951. (FPG/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

    She Knew the Score

    Lauren Bacall Was a Great Liberal

    Of course we know Bacall, who died Tuesday at 89, for her wonderful acting. But we should remember her also as a smart and sharp liberal and anti-communist.

    Lauren Bacall was an amazing actress. The great black-and-white films are fading now from our collective memory now that the video stores are gone, and with Netflix keeping just a fraction of them available to us. But Robert Osborne, the godhead of TCM, will certainly ensure that Bacall’s great films take up most of the channel’s next two days, and rightly so.

    You should know all that. But here’s something else you should know about Bacall. She was a great liberal. And Bogey, too, in fact. They were, in those days when things like this really mattered, deeply liberal and deeply anti-communist. Which was the right thing to be, after all, because communism is as illiberal as fascism. Bogart reportedly once said: “We’re about as in favor of communism as J. Edgar Hoover.”

  • Frank Polich/Getty Images


    Democrats Pay Black Staffers 30% Less

    Campaign staffers who are people of color routinely get paid less than their white counterparts, and are often given less glamorous jobs. How an antiquated understanding of race relations results in minority staffers getting the short shrift.

    If you’re a person of color hoping to get hired by a political campaign, here’s the ugly truth: You’ll probably get paid less than your white counterparts, if you’re even hired at all. 

    On both sides of the aisle, there is a racial pay gap in campaign politics. Asian, Black and Latino staffers are paid less than their white counterparts, according to an analysis by the New Organizing Institute. 

  • Reuters, AP


    The Death Penalty Is a Disaster

    The recent botched executions are just the tip of the iceberg. The death penalty is and always has been a financial and moral disaster.

    Another week, another botched killing under the legal euphemism of capital punishment. After macabre screw-ups in Oklahoma and Ohio, it was Arizona's turn last week, when double-murderer Joseph Rudolph Wood III took about two hours to die. The specific problem this time around was an apparently unreliable “cocktail” of the drugs used in the lethal injection process.

    But let’s face it: There’s no good way to kill a person, even one as completely unsympathetic as Wood (he killed his ex-girlfriend and her father, shooting them at point-blank range). As a libertarian, I’m not surprised that the state is so incompetent that it can’t even kill people efficiently. But I’m far more outraged by the idea that anyone anywhere seriously thinks the death penalty passes for good politics or sane policy. It’s expensive, ineffective, and most of all, deeply offensive to ideals of truly limited government.

  • Chip Somodevilla/Getty


    Congress Finally Moves on Sex Assault

    One in five women who attend college are sexually assaulted—and a bipartisan group of senators is launching a new bill to change that.

    Senators are rushing to pass campus sexual assault reforms, introducing a landmark bill designed to provide resources to victims and enforce accountability at institutions of higher learning.

    But the machinery of government will be slow to move. Even if the law were passed and signed into law today, it would take some time for colleges and universities to implement its required changes.

  • Elizabeth Warren waves to the crowd after her acceptance speech after beating incumbent U.S. Senator Scott Bown at the Copley Fairmont November 6, 2012 Boston, Massachusetts. (Darren McCollester/Getty)

    Donors Warn Warren: Do Not Run in ‘16

    As speculation about the Massachusetts senator’s presidential ambitions swells, her biggest donors have one thing to say: There’s no way on earth they’re backing her over Hillary.

    She “lit up” a gathering of liberal activists earlier this month with a barn-burner of a speech calling on Democrats to push back hard as thousands of attendees waved signs and chanted “Run, Liz, Run!” Her every denial that she will not run for president is parsed down to the verb tense for evidence that the door is open even a crack. She embarked on the kind of nationwide book tour that candidates-in-waiting always do as they drum up interest for a potential bid, and a “Ready for Elizabeth” draft movement is preparing to launch satellite chapters in states and cities around the country.

    But if Elizabeth Warren does in fact reverse her repeated denials of interest and decides to run for president, she will have to do so virtually alone. That’s because almost to a person, her earliest and most devoted backers do not want her to challenge Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination.

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    The Pill Is More Than Birth Control

    We need to a better job of explaining that women use birth control for much more than delaying or avoiding motherhood.

    Lena Dunham recently sparked an online frenzy by tweeting about something that doesn’t seem particularly controversial: birth control. Her tweet “I need birth control because I have endometriosis and it helps manage pain. Why do you?” went viral. And at first I couldn’t figure out why. 

    Haven’t we all known since the contraception mandate debate began that there are a “few” women who “occasionally” use contraception for reasons other than delaying, or avoiding, motherhood? Sandra Fluke, for instance, name-checked some of these women during the congressional testimony that turned her into a conservative target and then a feminist rock star.

  • Mark Makela/Reuters

    Voting Bloc

    How to Really Empower Black Voters

    Fifty years after the Freedom Summer, black voters are more powerful than ever. It’s time for both parties to realize this, and start competing for their support in earnest.

    For the first time in our history, according to the Census Bureau, blacks are now voting at a higher rate than whites. Roughly two out of three eligible blacks voted in the 2012 election, which is a greater percentage than the number of non-Hispanic whites who turned out to the polls. And while the presence of President Barack Obama on the ballot for re-election almost certainly drove up turnout, blacks are still the only ethnic group to show a significant increase in voting from 2008 to 2012.

    Nowhere is this trend more noteworthy than in the South where, as Nate Cohn recently argued in The New York Times, black voters may decide who controls the Senate next year. “If Democrats win the South and hold the Senate,” he wrote, “they will do so because of Southern black voters.”

  • The Daily Beast


    Hillary’s Gay-Marriage Limbo

    She’d leave the decision to states, though many activists—and a growing number of Americans—view it as a constitutional right. Can she keep everyone on board for 2016?

    In the midst of a relatively rocky return to the public stage, it may have been the roughest moment. Hillary Clinton, on NPR, struggling to explain to Terry Gross on Fresh Air how she went from a “No” to a “Yes” on the question of same-sex marriage.

    “No, I don’t think you are trying to clarify,” Clinton snapped at one point. “I think you are trying to say that I used to be opposed and now I am in favor and I did it for political reasons.”

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    Trouble Ahead

    The New Battle Over Reproductive Rights

    Why the pro-choice movement can’t get bogged down in a fight over laws to protect newborns.

    The reproductive rights debate has taken a startling turn over the past few years. Somehow abortion stopped being the preeminent issue, and was instead replaced by heated debates over birth control, insurance and a craft store called Hobby Lobby. But now the debate is preparing to enter a new phase, spurred by controversial new laws regulating what women can do while pregnant, and the impending legal battles could end up determining whether the pro-choice movement maintains any momentum or credibility in upcoming election cycles.

    Days ago, a woman named Mallory Loyola was arrested and charged under a new Tennessee law that criminalizes drug use by pregnant women that’s harmed their newborns. According to text of the bill, the law allows “a woman may be prosecuted for assault for the illegal use of a narcotic drug while pregnant, if her child is born addicted to or harmed by the narcotic drug.”

  • Diego Bervejillo/Getty

    The Front Lines

    We Always Need a Civil Rights Movement

    The civil rights movement is not some dusty antique—it’s alive and well today, and we need it as much as ever.

    When we hear the phrase “civil rights movement,” our minds automatically click into history mode and visualize those grainy and often searing black-and-white images from Birmingham and Selma. But that same energy and spirit—and urgency—are alive and well today, and as necessary as ever. 

    On Friday, July 11, 2014, a group of a hundred or so young and racially diverse leaders from across the United States sat in the Civil Rights Room of the Nashville Public Library and watched scenes from the legendary documentary film Eyes on the Prize. They focused on the portions that had local interest: Student leaders in Nashville in 1960 had been staging sit-ins to protest segregated lunch counters while tensions in the city steadily rose. On the morning of April 19, 1960, the home of a prominent black lawyer was bombed. 

  • Underwater Dreams Film

    Mandatory Viewing

    Outsmart M.I.T.—and Get Deported

    In ‘Underwater Dreams,’ undocumented Mexican teens beat MIT in a robotics contest but gradually have their lives destroyed by cruel laws.

    The subtext of the tough talk about the tens of thousands of child refugees flowing up from Central America is that like Mexicans they will be a drag on the American economy—wards of the state who suck taxpayers dry.

    Governments at all levels will face short-term costs, of course, but the economic fear of immigrants has never been warranted. Beyond the humanitarian imperative lies a stark historical truth: From Alexander Hamilton to Andy Grove to Elon Musk, new arrivals and their children—toughened by circumstance and self-selected for pluck—have give the United States the energy and drive that has made us great. 

  • Christine Baker/Landov


    Is the Campus Rape Crisis Overblown?

    The finding that one in five women are sexually assaulted in college may not be accurate.

    The finding that one in five women are sexually assaulted in college is as widely known as it is startling. Countless media reports repeat and recycle the alarming statistic, and it headlined the initial report introduced by Vice President Biden from the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Campus Assault.

    But how trustworthy is that figure of one in five? An earlier poll found it was more like 1 in 40, but should it matter whether the real number is closer to the high or low end of the scale?

  • Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

    Pushing Back

    Hillary’s Outside Enforcers

    She’s ostensibly not in campaign mode, but a staff of 20 at the outside group Correct the Record is busily working to defend the former secretary of state against right-wing attacks.

    On a recent sweltering Wednesday in Washington, D.C., when most of the town had cleared out for the upcoming Fourth of July weekend, Adrienne Elrod was at a desk piled high with books—among them both of Hillary Clinton’s memoirs and the 2008 campaign pot-boiler Game Change—emailing with a reporter from BuzzFeed about a small item running later that evening.

    Elrod is the communications director for Correct the Record, a 6-month-old outfit founded by David Brock, the one-time conservative dirty trickster who in the 1990s turned over a new leaf and started Media Matters, which keeps a watchful eye on the latest talk radio or Fox News outrage. The new group was created to, well, correct the record, particularly the right-wing attacks on Hillary Clinton as she mulls a 2016 presidential run.