Before Sarah Palin, Steve Bannon made a movie about Michele Bachmann. Could it push her over the top in Iowa?
One could make a fairly convincing case that Steve Bannon, the filmmaker who brought us the Sarah Palin bio pic "The Undefeated," has gotten at least as much attention these last few months as Palin herself. (We at The Atlantic have supplied a good deal of it.) But with Palin looking ever less likely to run, a different Bannon film could -- ironically -- wind up having a bigger impact on the Republican primaries. Last September, Bannon released "Fire From the Heartland," an admiring film about Michele Bachmann and other Tea Party-style conservative women. (One reviewer, who happens to be my editor, called it "An admixture of propaganda and documentary that gives a new view on conservative women and their role in the movement.") The movie was funded by the conservative group Citizens United, which, on Sunday, launched a $75,000 Iowa advertising campaign that includes television and billboards (like the one above) strategically placed near Des Moines and Ames. Per a Citizens United press release, the ad campaign will "culminate with a booth at the Ames Straw Poll on August 13th."
"Culminating with a booth" hardly quickens the pulse. But the obvious intent here is to boost Bachmann's showing at the straw poll -- and maybe make a few bucks in the process. Although the movie is about a group of conservative women, Bachmann has now been elevated to a starring role and Citizens United has recut the movie poster to feature her alone. I called Bannon to ask him about his "other" movie and who he'd prefer to see win the nomination, Palin or Bachmann. "Look, I'm very proud of ["Fire From the Heartland"], it's a great film, and it's got a lot about Gov. Palin in it," he told me. "It tells a terrific story and as many people ought to watch it as possible. It shows sides of Rep. Bachmann that haven't been seen before. The film really goes into her time as a tax litigator and how that changed her life."
Bannon didn't bite on my "Who would you prefer" line of questioning, though it's pretty clear he's a Palin guy. "They're two totally different people," he told me. "Bachmann is a firebrand, she's a Thomas Paine. Gov. Palin is completely different, an executive and a very hands-on leader. I couldn't think more highly of Rep. Bachmann, and although I did not make 'The Undefeated' for [Palin] to get in the race, I really did it as a mechanism so people would understand her true story. And I hope she does become a candidate."
But even she doesn't, Bannon may wind up with a film about the Republican nominee. Here's a trailer:
The House and Senate proposals benefit those at the top explicitly at the expense of the lower middle class—and voters are beginning to notice.
One key reason Senate Republicans have been forced to retract and retool their plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act is that the legislation favors one pole of the party’s modern coalition so emphatically over the other.
The teetering Senate repeal bill, like its predecessor the House passed in May, would shower a large tax cut almost exclusively on the very high earners who compose the party’s fundraising base. Simultaneously, the bill would impose deep benefit cuts—both in the private insurance market and Medicaid—on the older and blue-collar whites who now provide the largest share of the party’s votes.
To the frustration of liberal operatives and analysts (see: the best-seller What’s the Matter with Kansas?), Republicans have been able to surmount similar tensions for decades—in large part by appealing to blue-collar and older whites on cultural and racial grounds. With his brusque agenda of racially tinged nationalism, President Trump last November pushed that support to new heights.
A California company makes weed vaporizers to suit every mood—here’s what happened when I tried them.
I’d been traveling for work—to Europe then to Asia then to Europe again while pinging back-and-forth from L.A. to New York. For months my carryon contained the sneakers that I didn’t use in the hotel gyms I never visited. I was exhausted to the brink of tears since previous to this spate of travel. I had a schedule so rote I could give myself jetlag by sliding lunch up half an hour.
I’d gone straight to the weed store from LAX—ragged—trundling my suitcase past the spangly Turkish restaurant with the outline of a hookah on the sign, ducking into the alleyway with the Thai massage parlor on one end and my dispensary on the other. On the inside the shop looks like a cross between an Apple flagship and a Danish lighting boutique except there’s a security guard with a gun and a brown-haired girl who checks your I.D. and card and buzzes you through.
The ways some “healthy voice hearers” cope might be able to help people with psychotic disorders.
Jessica Dorner was lying in bed at her cousin’s house when her grandmother, a “pushy lady” in an apron who had been dead for several years, appeared in front of her. “I know you can see me,” Jessica heard her say, “and you need to do something about it.”
It was a lonely time in Jessica’s life. She was living away from home for the first time, and she thinks her grandmother was drawn by some sense of that. She eventually told her parents what happened, and according to her they were concerned, but not overly panicked. “My parents are probably the least judgmental people I know,” she said.
As Jessica tells it, over the next two years, spirits visited her every now and again. Her brother-in-law’s deceased father began forming before her, ghostlike, just as her grandmother did. And while the experiences were intense and at times made her feel “crazy,” she said, they were infrequent, and insists that they were never a real source of suffering.
The show, this season, with exploitative plotlines that treat racism as entertainment, is becoming harder and harder to defend.
This post reveals minor plot points for The Bachelorette Season 13 Episode 6.
A few years ago, in response to a combination of scientific studies, legal cases, and human tragedies, commentators began to question the morality of watching American football. We’d always known the sport was an especially dangerous one to play—that, indeed, is part of its brute appeal—but now there was undeniable evidence of that brutality, rendered in statistic and awful anecdote. To watch the violence play out, it became increasingly clear, was to be in some way complicit in it—to cast asilent vote, not with one’s pocketbook but with one’s attention, in favor of all that violence continuing.
The Bachelorette, of course, depicts a sport only in the loosest sense; the show is very rarely violent in the literal sense of the term. And yet it has recently adopted the same rough outlines that football acquired a few years before: The show, always questionable, has become in its latest season more troubling than it has even been before. Recent episodes of the long-running ABC show have laid bare just how craven and exploitative its producers have become. Problems that have long been simmering in its world have come to a boil. Watching it has become harder and harder to enjoy—and, like that other blood sport, harder and harder to defend.
Conservatives once warned that Obamacare would produce the Democratic Waterloo. Their inability to accept the principle of universal coverage has, instead, led to their own defeat.
Seven years and three days ago, the House of Representatives grumblingly voted to approve the Senate’s version of the Affordable Care Act. Democrats in the House were displeased by many of the changes introduced by Senate Democrats. But in the interval after Senate passage, the Republicans had gained a 41st seat in the Senate. Any further tinkering with the law could trigger a Republican filibuster. Rather than lose the whole thing, the House swallowed hard and accepted a bill that liberals regarded as a giveaway to insurance companies and other interest groups. The finished law proceeded to President Obama for signature on March 23, 2010.
A few minutes after the House vote, I wrote a short blog post for the website I edited in those days. The site had been founded early in 2009 to argue for a more modern and more moderate form of Republicanism. The timing could not have been worse. At precisely the moment we were urging the GOP to march in one direction, the great mass of conservatives and Republicans had turned on the double in the other, toward an ever more wild and even paranoid extremism. Those were the days of Glenn Beck’s 5 o’clock Fox News conspiracy rants, of Sarah Palin’s “death panels,” of Orly Taitz and her fellow Birthers, of Tea Party rallies at which men openly brandished assault rifles.
In dismantling Obamacare and slashing Medicaid, Republicans would strike a blow against signature victories for racial equality in America.
It was a cold March night when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. turned his pulpit towards health care. Speaking to a packed, mixed-race crowd of physicians and health-care workers in Chicago, King gave one of his most influential late-career speeches, blasting the American Medical Association and other organizations for a “conspiracy of inaction” in the maintenance of a medical apartheid that persisted even then in 1966.
There, King spoke words that have since become a maxim: “Of all the inequalities that exist, the injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhuman.” In the moment, it reflected the work that King and that organization, the Medical Committee for Human Rights (MCHR), were doing to advance one of the since-forgotten pillars of the civil-rights movement: the idea that health care is a right. To those heroes of the civil-rights movement, it was clear that the demons of inequality that have always haunted America could not be vanquished without the establishment and protection of that right.
And other tales from the intersection of science and airport security
When Martin Cohn passed through airport security at Ronald Reagan Airport, he figured that he’d probably get some questions about the 3-D-printed model of a mouse penis in his bag.
The model is 15 centimeters long, made of clear translucent plastic, and indisputably phallic— like the dismembered member of some monstrous, transparent, 11-foot rodent. One of Cohn’s colleagues had already been questioned about it when she carried it on an outward flight from Gainesville to Washington D.C. She put it through the security scanner, and the bag got pulled. A TSA official looked inside, winked at her, and let her go. She was amused but embarrassed, so Cohn offered to take the model home on the return flight.
Many educators cannot afford to live in the districts where they work, which is detrimental to school cohesion.
In San Francisco, the average one-bedroom apartment rents for over $3,000 a month. When I first heard that San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, inspired by the story of a homeless teacher, intends to allocate $44 million toward housing for public-school teachers, I imagined the Tyrell Corporation headquarters protruding from the center of an empty parking lot on the outskirts of the city. Each night, an army of tired teachers would slide into a few thousand utilitarian capsules wedged into its futuristic façade—skinny beds, hot plates, shared bathrooms, low ceilings.
The plan: a 130- to 150-unit building in a district with more than 3,600 full-time teachers who could, if a similar experiment in Los Angeles is any indication, actually end up earning too much to even qualify for the housing. While it’s unlikely to fix the problem, it’s certainly noble in spirit.
Adam Hamilton takes on controversial social issues from the pulpit, challenging his politically divided congregation to find common ground.
A recent study found that Methodism is one of America’s most politically divided denominations, with both congregants and their pastors roughly split between the Democratic and Republican Parties. That makes rising partisanship a particular challenge for pastors like Adam Hamilton, of the Church of the Resurrection in Kansas City. He estimates his congregants are perhaps 60 percent Republicans, and 40 percent Democrats—slightly more liberal than the communities from which they’re drawn, but still a decidedly red-state congregation. And, he argues, it gives the ways in which he navigates those tensions broader import.
Hamilton wanted to challenge his congregants to address pressing social challenges, despite their partisan divisions. “I’d like for them to look at the news every day, and think: ‘I wonder how the Gospel calls me to respond to this,’” he said.