No, GOP, You Can’t Win Over Millennials With GIFs

Millennial GOP

The Article: Why the GOP can’t win millennials with GIFs by Alex Seitz-Wald in Salon.

The Text: The Heritage Foundation’s GIF-tastic listicle on BuzzFeed explaining why young people should hate Obamacare is coming in for mocking, thanks to its heavy-handed attempt to appeal to the youths much like, Tommy Christopher quips, “a narc walking around a frat party asking ‘fellow young people, where can I obtain an enjoyable reefer cigarette.’”

The post is actually kind of funny and nails the BuzzFeed style. And it was probably even made by a real live young person, since Heritage has enough of them around to necessitate having a dorm next door for its interns. But just as a narc would still be a narc even if he blended in perfectly with the stoners, Heritage’s message on Obamacare will never sell to young people as long as Obamacare helps young people. Just as with the social conservative plan to “make abortion funny,” the medium only goes so far if the message is wrong.

It’s easy to see why conservatives need to enlist the youth in their fight against Obamcare. The fate of the law is dependent upon enough young adults enrolling in insurance programs to keep the costs down for everyone else. Since they’re cheaper to insure, young and healthy people effectively subsidize older and sick people. If lots of young people leave the pool, premiums will go up, pushing more young people out, thus raising premiums once again, and so on in a premium “death spiral.”

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The Incarceration Business

Prison Business

The Article: The Business of Mass Incarceration by Chris Hedges in Truth Dig.

The Text: Debbie Bourne, 45, was at her apartment in the Liberty Village housing projects in Plainfield, N.J., on the afternoon of April 30 when police banged on the door and pushed their way inside. The officers ordered her, her daughter, 14, and her son, 22, who suffers from autism, to sit down and not move and then began ransacking the home. Bourne’s husband, from whom she was estranged and who was in the process of moving out, was the target of the police, who suspected him of dealing cocaine. As it turned out, the raid would cast a deep shadow over the lives of three innocents—Bourne and her children.

* * *

The murder of a teenage boy by an armed vigilante, George Zimmerman, is only one crime set within a legal and penal system that has criminalized poverty. Poor people, especially those of color, are worth nothing to corporations and private contractors if they are on the street. In jails and prisons, however, they each can generate corporate revenues of $30,000 to $40,000 a year. This use of the bodies of the poor to make money for corporations fuels the system of neoslavery that defines our prison system.

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Gay Marriage In The Year 100 AD

Gay Marriage

The Article: Gay marriage in the year 100 AD by Annalee Newitz in i09.

The Text: Gay marriage sounds like an ultra-contemporary idea. But almost twenty years ago, a Catholic scholar at Yale shocked the world by publishing a book packed with evidence that same-sex marriages were sanctioned by the early Christian Church during an era commonly called the Dark Ages.

John Boswell was a historian and religious Catholic who dedicated much of his scholarly life to studying the late Roman Empire and early Christian Church. Poring over legal and church documents from this era, he discovered something incredible. There were dozens of records of church ceremonies where two men were joined in unions that used the same rituals as heterosexual marriages. (He found almost no records of lesbian unions, which is probably an artifact of a culture which kept more records about the lives of men generally.)

Bolstered by this evidence, Boswell published a book in 1994, the year before his death from AIDS, called Same-Sex Unions in Pre-Modern Europe. The book comes out next month for the first time in a digital edition. It was an instant lightening rod for controversy, drawing criticism from both the Catholic Church and sex pundit Camille Paglia. Given the Church’s present-day views on gay marriage, these detractors argued, Boswell’s history seemed like wishful thinking.

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The Drone That Killed My Grandson

Drone That Killed My Grandson

The Article: The Drone That Killed My Grandson by Nasser al-Awlaki in The New York Times.

The Text: I LEARNED that my 16-year-old grandson, Abdulrahman — a United States citizen — had been killed by an American drone strike from news reports the morning after he died.

The missile killed him, his teenage cousin and at least five other civilians on Oct. 14, 2011, while the boys were eating dinner at an open-air restaurant in southern Yemen.

I visited the site later, once I was able to bear the pain of seeing where he sat in his final moments. Local residents told me his body was blown to pieces. They showed me the grave where they buried his remains. I stood over it, asking why my grandchild was dead.

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Mind Rape And The Christian Right

Christian Right

The Article: Mind Rape and the Christian Right by Chris Hedges in TruthDig.

The Text: Noel Lyons, a member of the U.S. Ski Team from 1976 to 1981 and once one of the country’s top professional skiers, found herself in a Vail, Colo., hospital in the spring of 2010 after another round of binge drinking. “I had given up on myself,” she would say later. Her boyfriend and sister decided she needed rehabilitative help. Because their resources were limited, they turned to the free Total Freedom Program, a Florida ministry for women and men that identifies itself as Christian.

Cate Iannello, the wife of the leader of Total Freedom Program, “Pastor Guy,” met Lyons in July 2010 at the Orlando airport and drove her to what she called “the girls’ house,” a yellow ranch house in a nondescript neighborhood of nearby Ocoee. Lyons says she arrived “scared out of my mind” and holding a decorative pillow with the image of a buffalo on it. Because the pillow had “past associations” that could evoke demons, she was soon told to put it in the trash.

Lyons walked into the living room with the pastor’s wife. She met a woman there who introduced herself as Connie Prince, “the house mom”—a position Lyons herself would assume eventually. She was introduced to about five other “girls,” all white and ranging in age from the 20s into the 50s, who lived in the house.

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