Danny Duncan Collum, a Sojourners contributing writer, teaches writing at Kentucky State University in Frankfort, Kentucky. He is the author of the novel White Boy.
Posts By This Author
Wanted: Presidential Backbone
Here's some 2010 midterm election commentary ripped straight from the headlines—of 1886.
As we all know by now, the story of the 2010 campaign season was the torrent of secret, unaccountable corporate cash used to saturate the airwaves with false, or nearly false, pro-Republican advertising. I live in an upper South border region, prime natural habitat for Blue Dog Dems, and here the commercials aimed at southern Indiana's Baron Hill and central Kentucky's Ben Chandler rendered even the World Series almost unwatchable.
Overall campaign spending made 2010 the third most expensive election ever, behind 2004 and 2008. Fred Wertheimer, president of the nonprofit Democracy 21, told Politico that about $200 million was being spent by outside groups that did not disclose the sources of their money.
It is generally acknowledged that the deluge of midterm campaign cash was unleashed by a conveniently timed January 2010 Supreme Court ruling, in the Citizens United case, which enshrined corporations' right to spend money in political campaigns as an essential First Amendment protection. Adding his voice to the majority in that case, Justice Antonin Scalia gushed, "To exclude or impede corporate speech is to muzzle the principal agents of the modern free economy. We should celebrate rather than condemn the addition of this speech to the public debate."
Slate magazine's legal correspondent, Dalia Lithwick, cleverly dubbed Citizens United "The Pinocchio Project" because it sought to turn an artificial corporation into a real boy. But the Pinocchio Project has been going on for a long time. In fact it goes back to—you guessed it—1886.
What's Wrong with Privatizing the Internet?
For a while it looked like the battle for "Net neutrality" was won when President Obama appointed his own chair of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
It happens every summer. Newsmakers go on vacation, real news gets slow, and novelty stories rush in to fill the vacuum. One summer it's child abductions; the next it's shark attacks.
Gaming the Curriculum
Why Does Glenn Beck Hate Community Organizers?
The Main Reason: They upend the power structure to give people at the bottom a better chance.
Corporate Country's Sell-Out
Once Was Lost
A Virtual Monopoly
Johnny Cash's Final Songs
Corporate Blocks on Broadband
High-speed Internet service arrived at our home this week. We’re only one decade late for the 21st century, and the rejoicing has reached the heavens.
The Voiceless Majority
I have a relative up in the Rust Belt who owns a small machine tool company and watches Fox News.
My oldest child is applying to colleges, so there’s been a lot of talk around my house this year about the underlying purpose and real value of education.
America's Rebel Artist
Was Jack Kerouac a keeper of visions or a self-destructive individualist?
Our politically mad times.
Fat Cats and Failed Systems
Seeing is Believing
God's Word for the Pint-Sized
Long Live Gravity
Smart people concocted a fantasy empire based on investing in other people’s debt.
Changing Our Minds
When I began writing this column back in 1985, my page could hold up to 1,000 words. Over the years that number has shrunk, first to 800, then 700.