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Dispatches From the Culture Wars – March 12, 2024

Hiroshima, Nagasaki and “Oppenheimer”

Jen Sorensen
  1. After Dobbs, a War on Birth Control
  2. Uncommitted in Hawaii
  3. Finding Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Oppenheimer
  4. Scripture Over Science
  5. RuPaul: None of Your Business
  6. ADL Chief is on the Spot
  7. Flo Cofer Takes on Sacramento’s City Fathers
  8. The Money Behind Mark Robinson
  9. Proud Boys Church
  10. Diabolical SNAP Plan


After Dobbs, a War on Birth Control

By Gabrielle Gurley
The American Prospect

Access to over-the-counter birth control pills and opening a new front in the battle over the right to contraception promises to reveal how much credence the Republican Party has in its race to turn back time, and whether American voters believe that they’ll move ahead with more restrictions this time around.

Uncommitted in Hawaii

By Jeremy Yurow
USA Today

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While Hawaii Democrats acknowledged that Biden would almost certainly win the party’s nomination, the select handful of voters who took to the polls described the contest as a “referendum.” The choices? Stand with the incumbent president or send a message to his administration for its foreign policy in the Middle East. “Uncommitted” received 29.1% of the vote.

Finding Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Oppenheimer

By Joseph Gerson
Common Dreams

Since the first reviews of the Oppenheimer film appeared, a question has been floating in the ether: Why don’t we see substantial images of the destruction and victims of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki A-Bombs? Days before the Academy Awards, I had the opportunity to learn the answers to that question. 

Scripture Over Science

By Robert Reich

The recent ruling by the Alabama Supreme Court that frozen embryos are “children” reveals the growing importance of state supreme courts in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision overruling Roe v. Wade. So far this year, at least 14 states have introduced fetal personhood legislation — extending not only to fetuses, but also to embryos and eggs.

RuPaul: None of Your Business

By Ronan Farrow
The New Yorker

“Drag Race” often focusses on competitors who are profoundly marginalized. Almost all the drag queens on the show are queer, and many are people of color, who come from backgrounds where they faced homophobia, racism, or transphobia. For them, drag can be a lifeline, affording a sense of community and an opportunity to transmute stigmatized traits into something exuberant. 

ADL Chief is on the Spot

By Luke Tress
Jewish Telegraphic Agency

At the opening of its annual conference on fighting antisemitism, the Anti-Defamation League’s CEO defended the decision to honor Donald Trump’s son-in-law and former senior adviser, Jared Kushner. Jonathan Greenblatt, the ADL’s chief, presented Kushner with an award recognizing his Middle East diplomacy.

Flo Cofer Takes on Sacramento’s City Fathers

By Andee Sunderland

With an activist background and a left-wing perspective, Sacramento mayoral candidate Flo Cofer bears the markers of an outsider candidate. But backed by big unions, sitting councilmembers, and the city paper, she’s giving the Sac elite a run for their money.

The Money Behind Mark Robinson

By Judd Legum, Tesnim Zekeria, and Rebecca Crosby
Popular Information

Major corporations, not eager to associate themselves with Robinson’s toxic brand, have refrained from donating directly to Robinson’s campaign for governor. Nevertheless, these same corporations are funneling millions in revenue that can and will be deployed to help Robinson win his race. 

Proud Boys Church

By Tess Owen

A man dressed in basketball shorts and a black and yellow T-shirt that read “FIGHT CLUB” was baptized at a hired event space in Pomona, California. The baptism, which was streamed on Facebook, was led by Pastor Hansel Orzame, a 44-year-old southern Californian and a self-identified Christian Nationalist who leads “Ekklesia; The Unwoke Church.” 

Diabolical SNAP Plan

By Ashlie D. Stevens

In exchange for funding WIC, Congressional Republicans want to to add two major provisions to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): One would create a pilot program to catalog and restrict what SNAP participants can purchase with their benefits, while the other “would collect SNAP purchasing data with the goal of eventually restricting SNAP purchases.”