While I was watching regrettable late-night TV recently, an interview caught my attention: Ultra-conservative Florida Senator Marco Rubio discussing his admiration of the music of Tupac Shakur and NWA.
This isn't breaking news; Rubio has been openly discussing his love of hip-hop since a December 2012 GQ interview. To be clear, Rubio says he only knows about Wu Tang from The Dave Chapelle Show, which I am pretty sure is the main reason why Chappelle stopped doing that show in the middle of its third season.
It's entirely possible that Rubio is just pandering to a younger crowd by proclaiming his love of rap. It's no secret that the GOP has high hopes that Rubio will be their Barack Obama in 2016. Obama loves Jay-Z, so maybe Rubio's banking on dropping Tupac's name to win youth votes.
• South Dakota is attempting to amend its 72-hour waiting period for an abortion so that weekends and holidays don't count as part of those hours, thereby lengthening the wait considerably. Perhaps they're counting on a lot of women being like, "Huh, it's Labor Day, guess I'll go through with this after all." [Think Progress]
• Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop died this week at the age of 96. This remembrance praises his rational, science-based, and nonsensational approach to public health—among other things, it notes that while Koop himself was prolife, he refused political pressure to declare that abortion caused detrimental health effects in women. [RH Reality Check]
Supporting survivors of domestic violence should be an easy political issue. And yet! For months, the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act has been derailed by Republican opposition to the bill's plans to expand protections for Native American, LGBT, and immigrant communities.
In our most recent print issue, writer Maya Dusenbery spells out why violence against women is such a crucial issue for the government to address—but why focusing efforts primarily on putting abusers in jail is problematic:
While ostensibly committed to building a "coordinated community response" to violence against women, the law privileges a pro-criminalization strategy. The original legislation was wrapped in the largest crime bill in U.S. history, and more than half of the initial funding was allocated to law-enforcement efforts. This focus means, for example, that U visas are only available to undocumented survivors who are willing to cooperate with a criminal investigation. Critics of the legislation have argued that relying on the state to protect women from violence can be counterproductive, particularly for poor communities of color. As Angela Davis asked in 2000, "Can a state that is thoroughly infused with racism, male dominance, class-bias, and homophobia, and that constructs itself in and through violence act to minimize violence in the lives of women?"
Yesterday, in a 222-205 vote, the House of Representatives voted to approve the Republican-authored version of the 2012 Violence Against Women Act. This version significantly strips the resources of undocumented, Native, and homosexual victims of violence, among others. Joe Biden, one of the original authors of the VAWA, says the revision will "roll back critical provisions to help victims of abuse." A Douchebag Decree doesn't even begin to cover the authors and defenders of this act, which appears to solely help privileged white people.