The importance of fighting with someone on something

February 8, 2016 at 12:53 pm

Students from Texas Tech University build a house for Habitat for Humanity in 2010. Students from Texas Tech University build a house for Habitat for Humanity in 2010. (

In 1954, social psychologist Muzafer Sherif ran an experiment that could not be repeated today. Sherif was investigating prejudice and contesting Freud’s model of prejudice as an acting out of unresolved childhood conflicts.

At the Robbers Cave Boy Scout camp, Sherif wanted to test whether he could take a group of people, without any inherently hostile attitudes towards each other, and create conflict by introducing competition.

What Sherif found was not only that he could, but that he could also resolve the conflict if he introduced a shared goal. As I talk to people about politics and work for change, I always try to remember the importance of fighting with someone on something.

A Christmas story: Christians and atheists talk about values

December 23, 2015 at 3:38 pm

Over the summer, I had a great conversation with an evangelical pastor about values that led to an experiment in trust.

A couple weeks ago, a group of us that have been kicking around some interfaith ideas decided to try this experiment. One of the things we talked about as a group was getting past some of the stereotypes that are thrown around so often about atheists and Christians.

From the Christian side, an example often heard is that Christians are “stupid” for believing in a God. From the atheist side, an example is that atheists are “immoral” because they don’t believe in God. There’s others, but you get the idea.

Our goal with this experiment was simply to see if we could use this exercise to help break down and get past these stereotypes and walls.

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12 pics of #lovewins from the Kim Davis hearing

September 4, 2015 at 2:02 pm

We didn’t know what to expect when we drove down to Ashland, KY for the Kim Davis hearing. We figured the religious right would be there with their megaphones and hate signs. And they were. As were the media.

The pleasant surprise, however, was the number of equality supporters.

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Thought you might enjoy a few pics over Friday morning coffee.

An experiment in trust: Lunch with Tim Tripp, family minister at Leelah Alcorn’s church

July 2, 2015 at 10:12 am

Many of you here are familiar with the tragedy of Leelah Alcorn, the transgender teen who committed suicide in Cincinnati this winter by throwing herself in front of an oncoming tractor trailer. Because I live in Cincinnati, I was the first person to write about it here at Daily Kos. […]

“I would rather stand in an unemployment line than harm the children in my care.”

February 9, 2015 at 6:27 pm

Elyria 5th-grade teacher Dawn Neely Randall finally spoke out over fears of reprisal against the 20 hours of tests designed for Ohio public school students.

From her Facebook post:

Well, I did it. I addressed our school board. I had packets for each member as well as our superintendent and walked them through sample PARCC passages that had no clear articulation through the grades and shared with them information straight from the website that proved that the maturity matrix of many passages were well beyond the students’ grade levels.

Randall encouraged the school board to stand up to Columbus and for Elyria students. The Lorain County Chronicle featured her story here.

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Chris Rock parody destroys the NFL Ray Rice narrative in single tweet

September 16, 2014 at 11:12 pm

When I first saw this tweet, my first thought was: “Yes! Finally someone nails it. And of course, it’s Chris Rock.”

#Rally4Equality: If we care about equality, we should care about democracy

September 4, 2014 at 12:54 pm

Some friends of mine are helping to put together the #Rally4Equality next week in Washington, D.C.

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They asked me if I’d ever written anything about equality. I’ve written about economic equality, I said.

To be quite honest, the idea scared the crap out of me.

Why? I typically write about economics and framing. What could I say about women’s rights that hasn’t been said by several generations of women activists and suffragist leaders?

Of course I was also intrigued. What could I say?

So I told them I’d think about it.

One question that kept coming up: How would I explain women’s rights and equality to my conservative friends? Could I even talk about this issue with conservatives? Could I convince conservatives that equality was an issue worth fighting for?

Below are my early attempts and what I learned.

Justin Jeffre on Supportive Housing

December 19, 2013 at 7:33 pm

As part of a recent discussion on the Green Party forum about the Alaska Project, Justin Jeffre responded with a particularly well-framed argument in favor of supportive housing.

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I thought this might be helpful if anyone is calling or writing city council (or anyone else for that matter) in support of the project. It seems particularly relevant in light of resident testimony yesterday claiming that the project would be a “haven” for drug dealers.

Interviews with Famous People #26: Matteo Brunetta, Director of “The Highest Cost”

December 10, 2013 at 10:07 am

Matteo Brunetta is an Italian-born documentary film maker who lives in New York City.

His film The Highest Cost looks at the fight of two 9/11 first responders against cancer developed from months of working at Ground Zero.

The Highest Cost TRAILER from Matteo Brunetta on Vimeo.

On Saturday, I had the pleasure of speaking with him.

The Food Stamp Response: What Dems Said and What They Should Have Said

February 8, 2012 at 12:04 am

By now, you’ve heard the Gingrich line about Obama being the “food stamp” President.

Tuesday in Cincinnati, he repeated the claim:

That’s why I’ve said over and over again that this is the best food stamp President in American history.

Here’s how Democrats responded and here’s how they should have responded.