TIME state of the union

The Curse of the State of the Union Response

After the president gives the State of the Union, the opposing party typically gives a rebuttal speech. But the person tasked with that job has often had bad luck afterward. Here's a look.

Freshman Sen. Joni Ernst will give the Republican response to President Obama’s State of the Union next week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Thursday.

The Iowa senator, who won a closely watched race in November, is the first woman to represent Iowa in either chamber in Congress.

“She is a perfect choice,” McConnell said. “Americans voted for change and Senator Ernst will explain what the new Congress will do and what it is already doing to return Washington’s focus to the concerns of the middle class and away from the demands of the political class.”

The assignment is not an easy one. The State of the Union carries with it all of the pageantry of the imperial presidency, making the response often seem lackluster by comparison.

Since the tradition started in 1966, the response has varied in format, with the speaker sometimes talking to a small group, alone in front of a camera, in a more informal setting or even at a governor’s mansion.

Ernst said she was “humbled and honored” to give the response.

“It is a long way from Red Oak to Washington, D.C.,” she said. “Growing up on a southwest Iowa farm years ago, I never, never would have imagined that I would have this opportunity.”

— With Alex Rogers

TIME Drugs

Maine to Test Some Welfare Recipients for Drugs

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Elizabeth Renstrom—TIME

New law requires testing for those with prior drug convictions within the past 20 years who indicate potential for drug dependency

Maine will soon begin to drug-test some welfare recipients with prior drug convictions as a condition to receive government aid, the state’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) announced Wednesday.

The new rule calls for testing of recipients with a drug conviction from the past 20 years who also indicate potential drug dependency on a separate self-assessment. People who test positive for drugs, or refuse to take the test, will be required to enter a rehabilitation program to continue receiving aid.

“[Governor Paul LePage] is respecting the wishes of hardworking taxpayers who want to know that the hand up they provide is being used appropriately,” said Maine DHHS commissioner Mary Mayhew in a statement. “The goal of these benefits is not to subsidize poor lifestyle choices, but to help Mainers transition from a life of poverty to a life of prosperity.”

The new drug-testing rule, which applies to federal funding provided through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, will go into force within weeks, and has been years in the making. The legislature approved it overwhelmingly in 2011, but implementation was delayed as the state’s attorney general considered how to implement it while minimizing litigation. Attorney General Janet Mills approved a modified version of the rule last week.

The state is one 18 across the country that has enacted some form of legislation calling for drug testing for welfare recipients, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Such policies, while politically popular in some areas, have been criticized as bad regulations that are potentially unconstitutional.

DHHS spokesman David Sorensen maintains that Maine’s law is a “middle ground” when compared to the policies elsewhere. “The whole goal is an overall effort to ensure that welfare is getting people from welfare to work,” Sorensen said. “We’re not interested in helping people to maintain a lifestyle of welfare dependency.”

TIME politics

How Elizabeth Warren Is Yanking Hillary Clinton to the Left

Rana Foroohar is TIME's assistant managing editor in charge of economics and business.

She may not run, but she’s already exerting a gravitational pull

Elizabeth Warren, the famously anti–Wall Street Senator from Massachusetts, has become the lunar goddess of liberal politics. Just as the moon pulls the tides, Warren is slowly but steadily towing the economic conversation in the Democratic Party to the left. Witness the barn-burning speech she gave on the Senate floor in December, railing against the fact that lobbyists from Citigroup and other big banks had been allowed to squeeze a rider into the latest congressional budget bill that would make it easier for federally insured banks to keep trading derivatives, which Warren Buffett once described as the “financial weapons of mass destruction” that sparked the 2008 crisis. Then there was her opposition to President Obama’s most recent Treasury nominee, Antonio Weiss, a banker who Warren told me “has no background to justify his nomination other than working for a big Wall Street firm.” (Weiss dropped out shortly after Warren began denouncing him.) Couple that with her continued calls to break up the big banks and criticism of policies espoused by longtime Democratic economic advisers like Bob Rubin and Larry Summers, and you’ve the makings of a consequential gravitational pull.

Warren is more than just a dogged critic. The former Harvard law professor’s influence comes in large part because she’s tapped into an existential crisis on the left: namely, liberals’ belated anxiety over the capture of the Democratic Party by high finance, which began two decades ago. Ronald Reagan might be the President most closely associated with laissez-faire economics, but both Republicans and Democrats have frequently turned to finance to generate quick-hit growth in tough times, deregulating markets or loosening monetary policy rather than focusing on underlying fixes for the real economy. Shrugging and citing a market-knows-best philosophy to avoid difficult political decisions has been a bipartisan exercise for quite a long time now.

And the anxiety is deepened because democrats, like Republicans, bear blame for the financial crisis of 2008. Jimmy Carter deregulated interest rates in 1980, a move that pacified consumers and financiers grappling with stagflation but also helped set the stage for the home-mortgage implosion. In 1999, as President Bill Clinton’s Treasury Secretary, Rubin signed off on the Glass-Steagall banking-regulation death certificate, a move that many, Warren included, believe was a key factor in worsening the crisis. Loose accounting standards supported by many Democrats during the Clinton years also encouraged the growth of stock options as the main form of corporate compensation, a trend that French academic Thomas Piketty, Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz and many other economists believe exacerbated the staggering gap between rich and poor in the U.S. today. I asked Warren whether she blamed such policies for our current wage stagnation, which has persisted despite robust economic growth. “I’d lay it right at the feet of trickle-down economics, yes,” she says. “We’ve tried that experiment for 35 years, and it hasn’t worked.”

Speculation has been rife that Warren might consider a presidential run of her own, taking on front runner Hillary Clinton just to make sure the same trickle-down team doesn’t end up in office again. When I ask her flatly if she’d run if she thought a Rubin or Summers would be making economic policy for the next four years, she paused. “I tell you … I’m going to do everything I can. I’m going to fight as hard as I have to. This has to change.”

Change won’t come easily. Resetting the economic table is not just about breaking up big banks or raising the minimum wage. Real change would mean grappling with a deep, multidecade shift from a society in which the state, the private sector and the individual all shared responsibility for economic risks to one in which individuals are now increasingly left on their own to pay for the trappings of a middle-class life–health care, education and retirement–while corporations capture a record share of the country’s prosperity without necessarily reinvesting in the common good. Complaining about too-big-to-fail banks, sleazy lobbyists and the 1% is easier than crafting an entirely new, inclusive growth policy.

Warren is likely to conjure more change by being a progressive foil to Clinton than by running herself. Her sway has old economists scrambling to learn new tricks. The Center for American Progress, a think tank with close ties to the Clintons, is releasing a new report on wages and the plight of the middle classes on Jan. 15. Its chief author: none other than Summers. Meanwhile, Clinton recently took an ideas meeting with Stiglitz, once considered too far left to touch. In politics, stars may rise, but the moon is constant.


This appears in the January 26, 2015 issue of TIME.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME leadership

Only 20% of Republican Women Call It Important to See a Female President in Their Lifetime

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Hero Images—Getty Images/Hero Images Businesswoman looking out office window

But most people think women are effective business and political leaders, says a new Pew study

Correction appended, Jan. 14

The glass ceiling may not have shattered, but it is a lot less invisible than it used to be. Women make up only 20% of the Senate, 10% of governors, and 5.2% of Fortune 500 Business leaders. But at least Americans are beginning to understand why: sexist doubts about women’s competence are being slowly replaced by acknowledgement of the tough hand dealt to women leaders.

Not everybody feels that situation should change: A new Pew study says only 20% of women who identify as Republican consider it “personally important” to see a female president in their lifetime.

Mostly, however, Americans attribute the gender gap in leadership roles to structural inequalities, and sexist perceptions of female performance are actually relatively uncommon, says the study: 43% said that double standards keep women from achieving top business positions, and 38% said that kept them from political office. Meanwhile, fewer than 10% of people think women aren’t achieving these positions because they’re not tough enough or they make bad managers.

When it comes to gender equality in the business world, there’s a wide perception that women perform just as well as men, if not better. Most people said they saw no difference between how men and women perform in top business positions, but those that did see a difference tended to give women the edge: 31% said they thought women were more ethical and 30% said women would give fairer pay (although 34% said they thought men would be more likely to take risks.) Respondents said they thought women would do a better job running a hospital, a retail chain, or a large bank, while men would have better skills for running a professional sports team, an energy company, or a tech company.

But “soft skills” aside, 52% of women say the reason there aren’t more women running companies is because female CEOs are held to to higher standards than men. And it’s unclear whether these standards will ever disappear completely: 53% of respondents said men will dominate corporate leadership forever, while 44% said the gender gap at the top will eventually close.

Politics is a little different. A full 73% of Americans expect to see a female president in their lifetime, and while most respondents still thought men and women would do equally well in top political positions, 34% say women are better at working out compromises and are more ethical than men. Yet the double standard persists—47% of women believe that women don’t achieve high political office because they’re held to higher standards than men.

Unsurprisingly, the political opinions break down among party lines as well. Democrats are consistently more likely to attribute positive leadership skills to women: 40% of Democrats said women politicians are more honest than men while only 31% of Republicans agreed.

In both business and politics, women seem to be much more aware of the challenges facing female leaders than men are. Almost three quarters of women think it’s easier for men to become CEOs, compared to 61% of men, and 73% of women think it’s easier for men to be elected to political office, compared to 58% of men. Women were also much more likely to recognize gender discrimination by almost a 2o point margin (65% of women, compared to 48% of men,) but of that group, only 15% of women said there was “a lot” of discrimination. Both men and women said they saw more discrimination against gay people, African-Americans, and Hispanics: 28% said there is “a lot” of discrimination against gays and lesbians.

When asked whether more women in leadership roles would approve the quality of life for all women, 38% of women said that more female politicians would help them “a lot.” Only half as many men agreed.

Correction: The original version of this story incorrectly described one of the findings of the Pew study. It found that 20% of Republican women “personally hope” to see the United States elect a female president during their lifetime.

TIME

Why Mitt Romney Won’t Win (Again)

Will this iteration of the two-time presidential candidate come equipped with a backbone?

It is always wonderful to see a twice-failed politician suck it up and sort of announce he’s going to be running for President again. Mitt Romney’s allies say he will be different this time. There is talk of a new personal style that was really his old personal style—as seen in the Netflix documentary Mitt—but was brutally suppressed by his … political consultants, most of whom seem back on board. There is talk of Romney emphasizing the eradication of poverty as one of his three campaign pillars. There is talk about his being less gaffe-prone this time. (Translation of last two sentences: he will try to act like a rich guy who cares for the 47%.) He will “position” himself just to the right of Jeb Bush.

These are the things politicians and horse-race reporters talk about.

What they don’t talk about is whether this iteration of Romney will come equipped with a backbone. The last two certainly didn’t, to the point of embarrassment. In neither campaign did Romney take a position that was even vaguely controversial with his party’s rabid base. He was disgraceful on immigration, “self-deporting” himself to Dantean circles of chicanery. He was craven on fiscal sanity, opposing in one debate—along with all his fellow candidates—a budget proposal that would include 90% cuts and 10% revenue increases. Worst of all, he self-lobotomized on the subject of health care, dumbing himself down egregiously, denying that his (successful) universal-health-coverage program in Massachusetts was the exact same thing as Barack Obama’s (increasingly successful) national version. He never expressed a real emotion—not anger, not sadness, not unscripted laughter. His manner was as slick as his hair.

That was why he lost. Not because of gaffes or because he wasn’t conservative enough (as extreme conservatives claim) or because he was just too rich. He lost because he seemed computer-animated. There was nothing real to him. He was “positioned.” And so he was deemed untrustworthy by the crucial sliver of attention-paying voters in the middle of the spectrum who decide most elections.

So now he’s back and will be successful this time—his backers say—because he’ll be even slicker. No more gaffes. He’ll also be more personal—although it has yet to be determined whether he’ll be an actual person (many market tests to come before such a crucial decision is made). He will try to compete in the moderate primary along with Jeb Bush and Chris Christie, and perhaps a few others. This will be difficult. His only competition to the left of Attila the Hun last time was Jon Huntsman, who spoke Chinese in one of the debates—not a wise choice in a party of xenophobes—and presented a credible plan for the “too big to fail” Wall Street banks to be dismantled … in the party of bankers.

Bush is immediately more credible than Romney. He opposed his party’s positions on immigration and educational testing. He is also bilingual—Spanish!—and seems a man who has actually existed in the America of the past quarter-century, suffering family problems along with the rest of us. We still don’t know all that much about him. He was a very good governor. I’ve found him to be a smart and bold policy wonk when we’ve spoken one-on-one. (Tragically, I felt the same way about Romney—in the days before his advisers prohibited one-on-ones.) The biggest question about Bush in my mind is whether he returns to his father’s brilliantly sophisticated foreign policy or to his brother’s disastrous Cheney-dominated first term in office, or to George W.’s more reasonable second term, marked by realistic aides like National Security Adviser Steve Hadley and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Does he think strategically or tactically?

As for Christie, who may be left behind in the high-powered race to come, his greatest appeal is that he is the exact opposite of Mitt Romney. No political consultant could make him up. As a human being from the greater New York metropolitan area, I will enjoy every moment of his campaign if he doesn’t try to Romnify himself.

Does this mean Mitt is pretoasted? I wouldn’t say that. He could surprise us all and come out in favor of breaking up the big banks—ending “moral hazard”—and for reforms that would take the tax advantages away from the financial sector (including his own self). In fact, I suspect that if he had done that in 2012, he might be President today. But think of the speech he could give …

 

TIME Opinion

Should the Federal Government Be in the Business of Policing History?

MLK-Voting Rights Bill
PhotoQuest / Getty Images President Lyndon Johnson hands a souvenir pen to the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr after signing the Voting Rights Bill at the US Capital, Washington DC, in 1965.

Defenders of LBJ are less interested in history than in hagiography

History News Network

This post is in partnership with the History News Network, the website that puts the news into historical perspective. The article below was originally published at HNN.

Mark Updegrove, the federal director of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library & Museum in Austin, Texas, is one of the instigators of the current backlash against Selma, the widely-praised film that depicts a crucial series of events in the Civil Rights Movement. Leaving others to engage in the historical debate about the film’s portrayal of LBJ, I would like instead to examine the campaign to discredit the film based on that portrayal. Waged by those intent on protecting and promoting Lyndon Johnson’s image, the efforts are part of a larger trend to use presidential libraries in ways far outside their initial objectives and Congressional intent, and to hire “legacy managers” rather than credentialed archivists and historians to run them.

Updegrove, who also serves, ex-officio, as a trustee of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library Foundation, began the wave of criticism in an article last month in Politico (which is published by Robert Allbritton, another trustee of the LBJ Foundation). Updegrove wrote that the film’s “mischaracterization” of LBJ “matters now” because “racial tension is once again high” and that “it does no good to bastardize one of the most hallowed chapters in the Civil Rights Movement by suggesting that the President himself stood in the way of progress.”

A few days later, former LBJ White House aide Joseph A. Califano, Jr. – also a trustee of the LBJ Foundation – in an angry op-ed in the Washington Post (which is published by Politico co-founder Fred Ryan, chairman of the board of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library Foundation) claimed that the Selma marches actually were Johnson’s idea. While this notion has been labeled false and outrageous by, among others, historian Peniel Joseph, in an illuminating NPR piece, the clamor may harm the film’s reputation, business, and, reportedly, its chances during the upcoming awards season.

From the significant, apparently coordinated endeavors of Updegrove, Califano, and others – and the negative attention they have brought to bear on an otherwise broadly-lauded work – it would seem as if, to them, Johnson was, and is, the point. But, like the movement as a whole, Selma the movie is not, and Selma the historical events were not, about Lyndon Johnson. By trying to make them about LBJ, and by rigorously policing any negative representations of him, those entrusted with managing the legacy of our nation’s 36th president reveal the motivations of the private organizations that build, donate, and utilize presidential libraries for their own purposes.

This manufactured controversy sadly diverts proper attention from the film and its powerful message. It also underscores the main theme of my upcoming book, The Last Campaign: How Presidents Rewrite History, Run for Posterity & Enshrine Their Legacies. In the book, I explore the extent to which former chief executives, their families, supporters, and foundations go in order to, as in a campaign, present only the most positive – while ignoring all of the negative – elements of a president’s life, career, and administration. Instead of selling a candidate for office, they’re selling an image for posterity. And like a presidential campaign, image is more important than substance; the reality is more complicated – and less heroic – than the image-makers would have us believe. That doesn’t prevent them from rewriting history, and waging a concerted, and, at times, aggressive, campaign to rectify what they consider to be misrepresentations of their president.

Selling that image takes more than cheery messaging; it also requires the elimination of anything that may harm what often is a fragile narrative, based more on admiring rhapsodies than documented, historical facts. And like a campaign communications staff, members of the late president’s team feel they must hit back, hard, at criticism, negative facts, or even personal opinions that even slightly deviate from the message they have carefully crafted.

To Updegrove, the suggestion that the man whose legacy he was hired to rescue was anything less than heroic, and motivated by anything other than saintly, selfless, devotion to a just cause, is unacceptable, and swiftly must be “corrected.”

In a CNN blog post in February, 2014, Updegrove was quoted as saying, “We want people to know what this President did – what he got done and how it continues to affect us.” That’s a perfectly acceptable desire for a presidential family member or an official of a private foundation dedicated to promoting a president’s legacy to express, but not a mid-level federal employee responsible for administering a nonpartisan government archival facility.

On the January 4, 2015 edition of Face the Nation, host Bob Schieffer commented on critics’ assertion that the movie was “dead wrong” on its portrayal of LBJ, asking Updegrove – as if he were a disinterested arbiter of the truth, rather than a tender of LBJ’s flame and a leader of that very criticism – “What happened here?” Updegrove answered, “Well, unfortunately, there’s no litmus test for movies that — based on history. There’s no standard that says that you got this wrong, you have got to correct that.”

Apparently, though, Updegrove believes there is such a litmus test, and that he is the one designated to administer it.

An insistence that LBJ was so central to the movement that this film “bastardizes” it conveniently ignores his earlier role in successfully blocking civil rights legislation as Senate Majority Leader – a neat trick replicated in the recently-renovated LBJ Library museum. There, in exhibits depicting his pre-presidential career, Vietnam, foreign affairs, domestic programs, and the Civil Rights Movement, the narrative is clean, simple, and undeviating: Lyndon Baines Johnson Was A Great Man Who Did Nothing Other Than Great Things And Only For Great Reasons.

The LBJ presented in the renovated exhibits – which were overseen by Updegrove – bears little resemblance to the meticulously-detailed and extraordinarily well-documented LBJ of Robert Caro’s multi-volume, Pulitzer Prize-winning biography. The museum’s adulatory portrayal differs little from those in recent presidential libraries, but it is quite different from the other mature museums in the National Archives system, which have, over time, begun to develop more thorough, balanced, and nuanced views of the men to whom they are dedicated. Instead of echoing that progress, the recent changes to the LBJ exhibits go backwards; that they are less factual and more flattering is unprecedented in the history of presidential libraries – as is Updegrove’s assertive campaigning, as a federal employee, to rehabilitate a president’s image.

Will Updegrove’s public scolding of Selma director Ava DuVernay have a chilling effect? Will future filmmakers think twice before daring to express an opinion about a former president with taxpayer-funded legacy managers to rescue their legacy? Will researchers at the Johnson Library worry the director might charge them with “mischaracterizing” Johnson? That our government now appears to be in the business not only of administering these legacy-burnishing shrines but of “correcting” others’ views of history should be unacceptable to the citizens who fund the operation of our presidential libraries.

While it would be a shame if Updegrove’s and his colleagues’ need to police and sanitize Johnson’s image deprives this transformative film of deserved accolades and awards, it would be a greater misfortune if their attempts to discredit Selma prevented it from being seen by a broad audience. It is my hope that the film and the filmmakers succeed in spite of these negative efforts, and, in the face of this latest example of the last campaign, overcome.

Anthony Clark, a former speechwriter and legislative director in the U.S. House of Representatives, was responsible for hearings and investigations of the National Archives and presidential libraries for the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in the 111th Congress.

TIME Opinion

History Shows How 2 Million Workers Lost Rights

US-LABOR-PROTEST-WAGE
Robyn Beck—AFP/Getty Images Fast food workers, healthcare workers and their supporters march to demand an increase of the minimum wage, in Los Angeles on Dec. 4, 2014

Home attendants and aides have historically been singled out for denial of basic labor rights

Over the last year, the nation has seen a tumultuous wave of low-wage workers contesting terms of employment that perpetually leave them impoverished and economically insecure. It’s a fight in which home-care workers—one of the fastest growing labor forces—have long participated, as home attendants and aides have historically been singled out for denial of basic labor rights. Their work is becoming ever more important in our economy, with over 40 million elderly Americans today and baby boomers aging into their 70s and 80s; the demand for such workers is projected to nearly double over the next seven years. And yet, this week a federal judge is likely to put up just the latest obstacle to their receiving the minimum wage and overtime compensation granted to other workers through the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

The story of how home-care workers ended up without rights begins in the Great Depression. Home care first originated as a distinct occupation during the New Deal, and evolved after World War II as part of welfare and health policy aimed at developing alternatives to institutionalization of the elderly and people with disabilities. Prior to the mid-1970s, public agencies provided or coordinated homemaker and home-attendant services. Fiscal constraints subsequently led state and local governments to contract home care first to non-profit and later to for-profit agencies. In 1974, Congress extended FLSA wage and hour standards to long-excluded private household workers. A year later, however, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) interpreted the new amendment to exempt home-care workers, even employees of for-profit entities, by misclassifying them as elder companions, akin to babysitters. It provided no explicit reasoning for introducing this new terminology, beyond the need for uniform definitions of domestic service and employer. This exclusion became known as the “companionship rule.”

The rule was a boon for employers. Amid nursing-home scandals and an emergent disability-rights movement, demand for home-based care burgeoned, but the women actually performing the labor were invisible. A distinct home-health industry began to grow following the 1975 exemption, as the rule freed staffing and home-health agencies from paying minimum wages and overtime. Opening Medicaid and other programs to for-profit providers after 1980 led to a tenfold increase in for-profit agencies during the next half decade. By 2000, for-profit groups employed over 60 per cent of all workers. Today, the home franchise industry is worth $90 billion.

Care workers, however, were never just casual friendly neighbors; even before this expansion, home-care workers were middle-aged, disproportionately African American, female wage earners—neither nurse nor maid, but a combination of both. Despite changes in their title since the 1930s, these workers always performed a combination of bodily care work (bathing, dressing, feeding) and housekeeping necessary to maintain someone at home. They increasingly have become a trained workforce.

With the expansion of the industry, service sector unions and domestic worker associations lobbied to change the “companionship rule.” Recently, they seemed to have won: After extensive public comment, the DOL issued a new rule in September of 2013, which would have finally included home-care workers under FLSA coverage. The Obama Administration also updated the definition of domestic service to match the job as performed by nearly 2 million workers who belong to one of the fastest growing, but lowest paid, occupations, with median hourly wages under $10. It recognized aid with activities of daily living as care, and care as a form of domestic labor. Whereas companionship services had previously included even those who spent more than 20 hours engaged in care, the new rule narrowed the meaning of companionship to mere “fellowship and protection” in order to close the loophole that for-profit agencies were deploying to profit by underpaying live-in home attendants. It was to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2015, though enforcement was delayed until June.

Then, in late December, at the urging of for-profit home care franchise operators, led by the Home Care Association of America, Judge Richard J. Leon (a George W. Bush appointee) of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia struck down a key element of the revision. The decision vacated the responsibility of third-party employers (such as home-care businesses) to pay minimum wage and overtime for so-called companionship services. In his opinion, the judge charged the DOL with “arrogance,” “unprecedented authority” and “a wholesale abrogation of Congress’s authority in this area.”

A historical perspective suggests otherwise. In the 1970s, Congress never intended to enhance corporate profits by narrowing wage and hour protections; to the contrary, it expanded them. Granted, the Senate Committee on Labor and Public Welfare refused “to include within the terms ‘domestic service’ such activities as babysitting and acting as a companion”—but it distinguished teenage sitters and friendly visitors from domestic workers by adding “casual” to those exempted from labor standards. It explicitly did not refer to “regular breadwinners,” those “responsible for their families.” Moreover, the Supreme Court has repeatedly reaffirmed the supposition that where Congressional intent is ambiguous, executive agencies—including the DOL—have leeway. In the 2007 case Long Island Care at Home, Ltd. v. Coke, a unanimous Supreme Court commended the expertise of the agency to determine the meaning of undefined phrases like “domestic service employment” and “companionship services.”

During oral argument in Coke, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg suggested that the proper way to amend the exemption was either a new rule through the DOL, which is what ended up happening, or legislation. Judge Leon reads back Congressional intent from the fact that legislative fixes have stalled in committee in the years following Coke. But there are many reasons why bills go nowhere in our gridlocked government.

The temporary restraining order from Judge Leon effectively blocked implementation of the new DOL rule in totality, setting off a ripple effect against this primarily female workforce. California, for example, instantly suspended implementation for some 80,000 workers. Then on Jan. 9, he heard oral arguments on whether to strike down the redefinition of the companionship classification. Given his prior decisions, the bet is that his next ruling on Jan. 14 will do so. Continuous litigation is in the offering, as the DOL is likely to appeal his decisions all the way to the Supreme Court.

For over 40 years, we’ve relied on cheap labor for care. The structure of home-care has exemplified a broader trend of reconfiguring work throughout the economy as casualized and low-waged, outside of labor standards and immune from unionization. But stopping the correction of this injustice means distorting history—and devaluing the care that someday most of us will need.

Eileen Boris is Hull Professor of Feminist Studies and Professor of History, Black Studies, and Global Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Jennifer Klein is Professor of History at Yale and a Public Voices Fellow. They are the authors of Caring For America: Home Health Workers in the Shadow of the Welfare State.

TIME foreign affairs

Sen. Ted Cruz: ‘Our President Should Have Been There’

French President Francois Hollande is surrounded by head of states including Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Mali's President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, European Council President Donald Tusk and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as they attend the solidarity march in the streets of Paris Jan. 11, 2015.
Philippe Wojazer—Reuters French President Francois Hollande is surrounded by head of states including Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Mali's President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, European Council President Donald Tusk and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as they attend the solidarity march in the streets of Paris Jan. 11, 2015.

Cruz is the junior U.S. Senator for Texas.

We must never hesitate to stand with our allies. We should never hesitate to speak the truth. In Paris or anywhere else in the world.

On Sunday, leaders representing Europe, Israel, Africa, Russia, and the Middle East linked arms and marched together down Place de la Concorde in Paris. But, sadly, no one from the White House was found among the more than 40 Presidents and Prime Ministers who walked the streets with hundreds of thousands of French citizens demonstrating their solidarity against radical Islamic terrorists.

The absence is symbolic of the lack of American leadership on the world stage, and it is dangerous. The attack on Paris, just like previous assaults on Israel and other allies, is an attack on our shared values. And, we are stronger when we stand together, as French President François Hollande said, for “liberty, equality, and fraternity.”

Radical Islamic terrorists are targeting all of those who do not share their radical ideology, escalating their attacks in shocking ways.

In the last year alone, the world has become a much more dangerous place for Westerners, as terrorists have deliberately aimed their campaign of murder against those, most notably innocent civilians, who represent a free and open society.

We witnessed American, British, and Israeli aid workers and journalists savagely beheaded by ISIS in Syria.

We saw a sympathizing radical attack the Canadian parliament.

We saw Hamas terrorists butchering Israeli-American rabbis in their Jerusalem synagogue while they went about their morning prayers.

We saw New York policemen attacked by an axe-wielding terrorist.

We saw commuters in Sydney held captive for hours in a coffee shop by yet another radical Islamist.

And, now we have all watched, horrified, as a pair of al Qaeda terrorists attacked a satirical newspaper in Paris and executed 10 members of its staff and two of the policemen who came to their defense.

That same day, one of their co-conspirators shot a police woman and a jogger, then the next day attacked a kosher grocery store to terrorize Jewish patrons preparing for what they had hoped would be a peaceful Shabbat. By the time the siege was over, four more innocents were dead.

Aid workers, members of the media, government, cafés, law enforcement, Christians, Jews, and even other Muslims—these are the targets of radical Islamists. They want to destroy civil society.

Their grievances are not against any particular government or policy; they are offended by the very notion of a free society where individuals have the right to worship, vote, and express themselves as they please—rights that are defended by security forces whose job is not to persecute or coerce citizens, but to protect them.

Our freedoms are anathema to the radical Islamists, and they are willing to sacrifice their very lives to attack us with anything from meat cleavers to Kalashnikovs—anything to terrorize us into submitting to their brutal, totalitarian, warped version of Islam.

Our choice now is either to confront this intolerable threat to our liberty, or to continue to respond to the attacks as if they are isolated incidents that we might be able to prevent if we would only stop somehow “provoking” them.

If events in Paris teach us anything, it is the utter failure of the latter approach. It has not made things better. It has made them worse.

It is not Israel’s fault, or the fault of the Jews of Paris or Jerusalem.

It is not the fault of journalists or aid workers trying to document or lend assistance to the cruel civil war in Syria. It is not the NYPD’s fault.

It is not Charlie Hebdo’s fault.

It is not the fault of the commuters of Sydney, nor the freely elected government of Canada, any more than it was the fault of the runners in the Boston Marathon or the soldiers of Fort Hood in my home state of Texas—or for that matter of the 3,000 people who died on that sunny September day in 2001.

It is not the fault of America.

The scourge of radical Islamic terrorism is the exclusive fault of those who launch the attacks.

We must, as Americans, demand that our nation summon the will to stand up and lead the effort.

Recently, the President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, a Muslim, gave a remarkable speech at Al-Azhar University in Cairo in which he challenged peaceful Muslims to confront what is happening to their religion—to stand up those who would twist faith into a mandate to murder.

This is where we can find our strength—by coordinating closely with our allies who are fighting this common threat. We can reject attempts to draw a moral equivalence between our friends and those who support or condone the terrorists. Instead, we should condemn and shun state sponsors of terrorism. We should encourage Muslim nations like Egypt and Saudi Arabia to join us and aspire to freedom in their own societies.

And, we should make it clear to the radical Islamic terrorists that the United States is not going to simply “move on” from Paris in the hopes that they will leave us alone, but rather that we are going to call them out by name as we stand strong and lead the fight against them.

Many of our allies gathered together in Paris yesterday in an admirable display of determination. Our President should have been there, because we must never hesitate to stand with our allies. We should never hesitate to speak the truth. In Paris or anywhere else in the world.

Cruz is the junior U.S. Senator for Texas.

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TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME space

Senator Ted Cruz to Head Senate Subcommittee on Space

Conservatives Speak At Values Voters Summit In Washington
Andrew Burton—Getty Images Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), speaks at the 2013 Values Voter Summit, held by the Family Research Council, on October 11, 2013 in Washington, DC.

The appointment is part of a broader reshuffle

Texas Senator Ted Cruz was appointed the chair of the Senate subcommittee on Space, Science and Competitiveness last week — which means he will be in charge of overseeing space agency NASA in Congress.

The Republican lawmaker’s appointment is part of a larger reshuffle following the GOP’s win in the 2014 Congressional election.

The Verge reports that Cruz has previously denied climate change exists and also unsuccessfully attempted to reduce NASA’s funding in July 2013.

But Cruz, whose role at the subcommittee’s helm will be confirmed later this month, has also previously said that it was “critical that the United States ensure its continued leadership in space.”

TIME Civil Rights

The North’s Shameful Refusal to Face Its Own Tangled Racial Past

Abraham A. Ribicoff
Howard Sochurek—The LIFE Picture Collection/Gett Then Governor of Connecticut Abraham A. Ribicoff speaking at the Democratic Convention in 1960

What we should learn from Senator Abraham Ribicoff’s failed attempt

History News Network

This post is in partnership with the History News Network, the website that puts the news into historical perspective. The article below was originally published at HNN.

The Northeast has been a region at war with itself, pulled toward its higher ideals of democracy and equality yet bedeviled by racial segregation.

At some moments during the twentieth century, segregation and racism prevailed. At other times, movements for racial democracy carried the day. This presents a stark contrast with southern history, where the proponents of white supremacy strangled dissent and throttled almost every attempt to bring racial equality.

At the beginning of the 1970s, Senator Abraham Ribicoff of Connecticut illuminated all of these forces: northern racism, northern progress, and southern resistance.

This saga began in February 1970, when Ribicoff stood on the Senate floor and declared: “The North is guilty of monumental hypocrisy in its treatment of the black man.” Ribicoff’s speech came in response to an amendment proposed by Senator John Stennis of Mississippi, a longtime segregationist. The Stennis Amendment stipulated that school integration policies had to be uniform across the country. If the Senate wanted to pass a bill aimed at integrating southern schools, then northern cities would have to enact the same policies. Stennis hoped that if white northerners had to apply such policies to their own states, they would stop devising programs for school integration. Stennis had explained to his colleagues from the North: “If you have to integrate in your area, you will see what it means to us.” His amendment was a clever ruse.

Ribicoff saw an opening. By speaking in favor of the Stennis Amendment, he could give public expression to the segregation that plagued so many schools and neighborhoods above the Mason-Dixon line. He described the North’s thoroughly segregated landscape of cities and suburbs, and he denounced northern leaders for racial inequalities to deepen.

In the aftermath of Ribicoff’s speech, white southerners hailed him as a hero. Nothing warmed southern hearts more than the sight of a New England liberal who decried northern racism. Southern senators praised Ribicoff to the heavens. Dixie’s newspapers featured Ribicoff in editorials and political cartoons. A cartoon in the Richmond Times-Dispatch depicted a statue of Ribicoff on Richmond’s Monument Avenue – next to the statue of Robert E. Lee.

Yet there was one white southerner who did not join in the exaltation: the liberal journalist Robert Sherrill. In the pages of The Nation, Sherrill took the opportunity to skewer Ribicoff. And he pinpointed the vital racial differences between the North and the South. Sherrill acknowledged, “Everyone knows that the North has been no saintly station of racial benevolence…The North’s callousness toward Negroes … is long-standing.” Sherrill noted that white northerners “shoot Panthers, stuff blacks into slums,” and “flee integrated neighborhoods.” But those facts did not comprise the totality of the region’s racial practices. The North possessed other traditions. For instance, Northeastern states had passed fair employment laws and several cities had elected African American politicians. Relative to the South, “other sentiments do prevail in other regions and it is only these other sentiments in other regions – which the South calls hypocrisy – that have ever given the black man a chance in this country.” If the nation was ever to realize its dreams of democracy and freedom, it had to draw on the traditions of the North.

Many northern liberals also took Ribicoff to task. Jacob Javits jousted with his good friend on the Senate floor. Walter Mondale pointed out that the Senate had passed the Fair Housing Act in 1968, over the objections of southern senators. Indeed, during the 1960s, the nation had enacted landmark civil rights laws only because northern liberals stood strong in the face of the southerners’ filibusters. But in 1970, Ribicoff encouraged many northerners to stand with John Stennis. Ribicoff’s speech seemed to endanger efforts for integration, as it threatened to fracture the liberal bloc in the Senate. Thus the liberal Jew from New England was lionized in Virginia and scorned in New York.

One year later, Ribicoff put his money where his mouth was. He showed himself as no apologist for the South, but as someone deeply committed to desegregation. Ribicoff moved beyond mere rhetoric about northern hypocrisy. He channeled the region’s more noble traditions, and crafted a creative and forward-looking policy. In 1971, Ribicoff proposed a bill that would integrate every last urban and suburban school in America. The Urban Education Improvement Act left many of the details up to each locality. Ribicoff imagined that metropolitan areas might institute redistricting and busing, or build magnet schools and educational parks. His plan was grand, and it was to be implemented by 1983.

White southerners cried foul. Now that they were confronted with an actual integration plan – rather than just a speech exposing northern racism – they denounced Ribicoff. In turn, Ribicoff gained the support of many northerners who had previously eyed him with suspicion. His proposal suggested that northern liberals might not cede the future to John Stennis.

Yet many advocates for racial justice opposed the Urban Education Improvement Act of 1971. Leaders of the NAACP stood against the plan because they believed that 1983 was too long to wait for integration.

Ribicoff’s plan garnered mixed reactions from other northern senators. Southerners rose as one against it. The Senate defeated the bill easily in 1971, and again in 1972.

Ribicoff both laid bare the segregation that festered in northern cities and proposed a forceful plan to combat it. He exposed one powerful northern tradition: racial segregation. He also tried to revive the North’s other tradition – a commitment to racial equality. The two sides have coexisted in the Northeast, the progress together with the backlash. This is a messy history, and it can be difficult to assimilate. If we are to truly understand America’s racial history, we must reckon with the northern past – tangled and troubled as it is.

We can also recognize Ribicoff’s grand plan as one opportunity that the nation never seized. Our history is littered with roads not taken. The hope now is that Americans do not miss the opportunities presented in our own time. The moment for action is fleeting, and it can pass in the blink of an eye. Each protest in the streets presents us with a new opportunity to address the racial inequality that still shapes our society. Let us not look back, years from now, and remember this as a moment that we were too timid to seize.

Jason Sokol is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of New Hampshire and the author of “All Eyes Are Upon Us: Race and Politics from Boston to Brooklyn” (Basic Books)

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