Gabriel Arana is a senior editor at The American Prospect. His articles on gay rights, immigration, and media have appeared in publications including The Nation, Salon, The Advocate, and The Daily Beast. To contact him, visit his website.
Democrats have long had trouble understanding why certain people who stand to benefit from the social safety net vote for Republicans. Many chock it up to "values" and identity interests trumping economics. Last year, Tom Jacobs at Alternetargued that conservatives live in a different "moral universe" from liberals, which makes them immune to liberal rhetoric.
Today, Obamatold members of the National Governor's Association that his administration plans to require states to adopt "college and career-readiness" standards to qualify for $14.5 billion in Title 1 funding, which supports school districts with a high percentage of low-income, high-minority students. Under No Child Left Behind, schools had to meet state standards, but these were adopted with little input from the federal government. Because NCLB penalized schools that failed to meet the self-imposed standards, many just lowered them.
Far away from the hullabaloo and homophobia of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), gay-rights supporters and culture warriors gathered at the Cato Institute for a more sustained debate about the place of gay people in conservatism. In one corner, bewhiskered blogger titan and gay conservative Andrew Sullivan. In the other, National Organization for Marriage president and anti-gay crusader Maggie Gallagher.
At its annual meeting, the American Bar Association (ABA) called for an overhaul of the immigration court system. Currently, immigration courts operate under the aegis of the attorney general, which the ABA says leads to conflicts of interest. As Dana Marks, president of the National Association of Immigration Judges, told the Times, "There have been increasing concerns about the propriety of housing a neutral court in the law-enforcement arm of the government." The ABA has proposed setting up special courts to hear immigration cases -- like those that hear tax cases -- to avoid these conflicts.