This intriguing but limited Democratic agenda focuses on a pro-business economic platform.

THE OPPORTUNITY AGENDA

A BOLD DEMOCRATIC PLAN TO GROW THE MIDDLE CLASS

A political work offers a new vision for the Democratic Party centered on economic opportunities for the middle class.

“Had Democrats been successful in prioritizing and implementing” an economic agenda focused on middle-class Americans, Fisher and James contend, “the economic impact of COVID-19 would have been far less.” Fisher, a New York City real estate entrepreneur and co-chair of the governor’s Regional Economic Development Council, and James, the former mayor of Kansas City, Missouri, are not Donald Trump supporters, but they save their harshest critiques for their own party. Rather than developing a long-term plan to help middle-class Americans, today’s Democratic politicians too often lean on “the public’s revulsion to Trump” as the center of their electoral strategy. In place of the party’s vague, anti-Trump approach, the authors propose an “Opportunity Agenda” revolving around economic uplift for the middle class. Believing that Americans elected Trump out of “their frustration with a brain-dead government,” the authors contend that a new generation of “Opportunity Democrats” who prioritize the economic needs of the middle class has the potential to revitalize America. They note, for instance, that Crawfordsville, Indiana, a nearly all-White, blue-collar town that voted overwhelmingly for Trump, has a “glaring lack of affordable childcare.” Government-supported day care, paid family leave, and other policies geared toward working families would have an immediate economic impact on small towns like Crawfordsville. Other items listed in their innovative agenda include a “new paradigm” in public education that emphasizes skills-based training, infrastructure improvements, and portable benefits that provide a safety net in today’s gig economy. Though the authors’ ambitious and cogent ideas will appeal to independents and moderate Democrats, many liberals may be put off by the book’s use of phrases like “return on investment” and its embrace of businesses (one idea, for example, is corporate control over high school curriculums in order to produce skilled laborers that best serve industry needs). In addition, some Democrats and independents may be unhappy that the social injustices clearly highlighted by the Black Lives Matter movement—including systemic racism, police brutality, and mass incarceration—are left out of the authors’ plan.

This intriguing but limited Democratic agenda focuses on a pro-business economic platform. (acknowledgments, author bios, endnotes, index)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64543-081-0

Page Count: 232

Publisher: Amplify Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 10, 2020

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The choir is sure to enjoy this impassioned preaching on familiar progressive themes.

SORRY NOT SORRY

Essays on current political topics by a high-profile actor and activist.

Milano explains in an introduction that she began writing this uneven collection while dealing with a severe case of Covid-19 and suffering from "persistent brain fog.” In the first essay, "On Being Unapologetically Fucked Up,” the author begins by fuming over a February 2019 incident in which she compared MAGA caps worn by high school kids to KKK hoods. She then runs through a grab bag of flash-point news items (police shootings, border crimes, sexual predators in government), deploying the F-bomb with abandon and concluding, "What I know is that fucked up is as fundamental a state of the world as night and day. But I know there is better. I know that ‘less fucked up’ is a state we can live in.” The second essay, "Believe Women," discusses Milano’s seminal role in the MeToo movement; unfortunately, it is similarly conversational in tone and predictable in content. One of the few truly personal essays, "David," about the author's marriage, refutes the old saw about love meaning never having to say you're sorry, replacing it with "Love means you can suggest a national sex strike and your husband doesn't run away screaming." Milano assumes, perhaps rightly, that her audience is composed of followers and fans; perhaps these readers will know what she is talking about in the seemingly allegorical "By Any Other Name," about her bad experience with a certain rosebush. "Holy shit, giving birth sucked," begins one essay. "Words are weird, right?" begins the next. "Welp, this is going to piss some of you off. Hang in there," opens a screed about cancel culture—though she’s entirely correct that “it’s childish, divisive, conceited, and Trumpian to its core.” By the end, however, Milano's intelligence, compassion, integrity, and endurance somewhat compensate for her lack of literary polish.

The choir is sure to enjoy this impassioned preaching on familiar progressive themes.

Pub Date: Oct. 26, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-18329-8

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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