Cole Stangler

Union Jack: Beyond marriage equality


Last week, many liberals were ecstatic after hearing the news that Senator Rob Portman, the reactionary Republican junior senator from Ohio, had changed his stance to become supportive of gay marriage. The abrupt volte-face was apparently provoked by family reasons; after his college-aged son came out to him, Portman came to the realization that he…

Union Jack: Obama’s subtle betrayal


Crises often create opportunities to push for unpopular and regressive reforms that would otherwise be met with more skepticism by the public and their elected representatives. The latest showdown over the budget sequester—the $85 billion in across-the-board cuts set to take effect on March 1 unless Congress can pass an alternative—is no exception. As part…

Union Jack: Drones finally face scrutiny


For the first time ever, the so-called “drone wars” are under intense scrutiny and it is a welcome development that his legacy is being examined. However it seems more appropriate than ever to actually question the core priorities of the War on Terror—whether or not drones have more congressional oversight.

Union Jack: Labor under attack (as usual)


Last week, organized labor was dealt a major blow on the federal level, when a federal appeals court ruled that President Barack Obama’s recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board last January were invalid.

The decision, handed down by three Reagan appointees on a D.C. Circuit Appellate Court, which breaks with over 150 years of precedent on recess appointments from Republican and Democratic presidents alike, could invalidate all decisions going back to when the three board members in question were appointed.

Union Jack: Gun control is an incomplete solution at best


I count myself among the millions of Americans whose immediate reactions to the Sandy Hook massacre were horror, sadness, and then outrage that the nation’s laws regarding firearms ownership are so dreadfully inadequate. I was repulsed by White House Press Secretary Jay Carney’s deadpan declaration on the afternoon of the shooting that “today is not…

Union Jack: Minimal progress on the minimum wage


Back in 2008, when incoming President Barack Obama still seemed to incarnate progressive aspirations for a wide-reaching wave of social and economic reforms, he spoke about a very basic policy move to improve the lives of the working poor: an increase in the federal minimum wage. As part of the “Obama-Biden Plan” to tackle poverty—which noted that the former Illinois Senator was a “lifelong advocate for the poor”—the President-elect promised to raise the minimum wage to $9.50 an hour by 2011, and index it to inflation.

Union Jack: When faced with two evils, vote neither


In the summer of 2004, Michael Moore got down on his knees and begged his fellow guest on Real Time with Bill Maher, then-presidential candidate Ralph Nader, to drop out of the race. At that time, Bush and Kerry were in a dead heat in the polls—and just four years before that, Nader had led an energetic left-wing campaign that won almost three percent of the popular vote, resulting in a wave of accusations from liberals that the consumer advocate was directly responsible for Al Gore’s failure to carry Florida, and thus, the electoral college. Proponents of the “spoiler” argument pointed to Bush’s razor-thin margin of victory in the state as evidence that Gore would have won the election had Nader not been on the ballot.

The unhappy consensus


Keeping in line with the ritual of every election over the last 40 years or so, this fall’s contest is the most important one yet. At odds, we’re told, are two fundamentally different visions of America.

Union Jack: Scab shenanigans


Last Monday’s “Fail Mary” will forever be inscribed into NFL lore, with the contradicting hand motions of the replacement referees—one signaling interception, the other incorrectly signaling touchdown—encapsulating the utter incompetence and confusion that has overshadowed the opening weeks of the 2012 season.

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