Politics right now are a f*cking embarrassment -- and it's only going to get worse

I was chatting with a friend recently – a successful actor who does abortion-rights advocacy on the side – about a big pro-choice fundraiser she’s currently orchestrating. It was past midnight at her house, but she was still up, still working, clacking away at her laptop, tying up loose ends, pushing ticket sales, gathering auction items – her “side” project looking suspiciously like a second full-time job.

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Women deserve better than two clowns turning a presidential race into a hottest wife contest

I’ve been keeping a list, as this election season shambles toward its climax, of things that might mount a more dignified, qualified, intellectually rigorous fight for the presidency of the US than our two Republican frontrunners, Ted Cruz and Donald Trump. At this point, I have:

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Legal rape activist now on the receiving end of harassment after anti-woman meetings collapse

Four years ago, out of morbid curiosity, I clicked on the homepage of a stranger who had been saying aggressive, repulsive things to me on Twitter, and found my way to his personal YouTube channel. I was relatively new to blogging on a national platform, and struggling to get my bearings in the thick of my first large-scale hate mob – hundreds of people flooding my social media feeds with cruel, frightening messages – in retaliation for what, exactly, I can’t even remember. I’d written something that some men didn’t like, and they felt the need, en masse, to shut me up. As a fat feminist, it happens to me all the time.

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The extremist anti-Muslim views of today's GOP makes George W. Bush look like a progressive

When the planes hit the towers on 11 September 2001, I was asleep in my dorm room in Los Angeles. The phone woke me – it was a friend, frantic, repeating, “Nine-one-one! Nine-one-one!” over and over. “Oh my god, nine-one-one! Turn on the TV!” Nine-one-one is the number for American emergency services; it was also, obviously, the date – a meaningless coincidence that nevertheless felt surreal and foreboding on that incomprehensible morning.

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Black American lives are being erased. The victors still rewrite history

This past weekend, a massive photograph of Cecil the lion (the beloved animal whose illegal death at the hands of a dweeby American dentist inspired a global outpouring of grief) was projected on to the Empire State Building. The installation was part of a campaign to raise awareness about endangered animals – usually a fairly benign and uncontroversial cause (yes, alive lions good, dead lions bad) – that struck a sour, nearly satirical chord with many US activists. “I’m personally going to start wearing a lion costume when I leave my house so if I get shot, people will care,” writer Roxane Gay tweeted last week .

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Monica Lewinsky, sadistic robots and secret billionaires: what I learned at TED 2015

What can you learn from talks about slavery, justice, space travel and 3D-printed robots? Lindy West joins the activists, dreamers and mysterious billionaires at this year’s TED conference in Vancouver

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Why it is time to shut down poisonous US college fraternities

The University of Oklahoma announced this week that it has severed all ties and affiliations with the Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) fraternity, after a video surfaced of frat members singing a racist chant . The video, which was released on Twitter by a campus black student alliance, shows SAE brothers on a bus, using the N-word and chanting, “You can hang him from a tree, but he can never sign with me.”

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Could we please not forgive Sarah Palin? She is an unrepentant nightmare

Conservative pundit Sarah Palin made a cute, sporting little cameo on Saturday Night Live’s 40th anniversary show this weekend – winking at her own disastrous 2008 vice-presidential run, which was memorably skewered at the time by SNL’s Tina Fey. In the bit on Sunday night, Palin piped up during a Q&A with Jerry Seinfeld to ask, “Just curious, Jerry, how much do you think [SNL producer] Lorne Michaels would pay me if I were to run in 2016 with Donald Trump as my running mate?”

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Real 'American Sniper' was a hate-filled killer -- why are simplistic patriots treating him as a hero?

I have to confess: I was suckered by the trailer for American Sniper . It’s a masterpiece of short-form tension – a confluence of sound and image so viscerally evocative it feels almost domineering. You cannot resist. You will be stressed out. You will feel. Or, as I believe I put it in a blog about the trailer , “Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper trailer will ruin your pants.”

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