A caricature of Senator Joe Manchin (D — WV) by artist DonkeyHotey

Joe Manchin’s announcement over the weekend that he would not support either ending the filibuster nor the For The People Act — Democrats’ sweeping voting rights bill — rocked the political world. “…[V]oting and election reform that is done in a partisan manner will all but ensure partisan divisions continue to deepen… I believe that partisan voting legislation will destroy the already weakening binds of our democracy, and for that reason, I will vote against the For the People Act,” Manchin wrote in an op-ed for home state newspaper the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

This has infuriated progressives, but it is hardly…


The author (center) with friends on a typical night at his college apartment. (Photo: unknown)

Last weekend, approximately 20 drunk and belligerent men tried to gain access to Fran’s House, an LGBT living community on the campus of Bucknell University in Pennsylvania. The police were called, though the students in Fran’s House allege it took them an unreasonably long time to arrive and that, once they did, the cops were overly friendly with the intruders, laughing and shaking hands with them.

My first reaction upon reading this — as yours may well have been — was outrage. That the cops would act so blasé towards a marauding group of homophobic thugs was galling. But upon…


Jackie Weaver exercising her authority to kick shouty men out of the meeting. Photo: Steven Morgan/YouTube

“It’s like watching an episode of a British remake of Parks and Rec,” I tweeted last night while streaming the now-infamous Handforth Parish Council meeting. If you haven’t seen it — and you really should — here’s a recap: two parish councillors called a meeting via Zoom, but other councillors were quite cross about this and shouted down the clerk, a woman called Jackie Weaver. The best way to describe it is like watching the dog who finally caught the car: proud of himself, until he realises exactly what that means. By that point it’s too late, and Jackie Weaver…


Photo: Edward Orde

I bloody love Britain. That may seem a bit twee to you, but I come by it honestly. The sense of fair play, the dry wit, the “mustn’t grumble, best get on with it” attitude that saw the nation through the darkest days of the Blitz and the self-deprecation that I can only assume is a product of the cool, damp climate. I love it all.

So why can’t Labour?

That’s the question being debated in light of a leaked internal strategy presentation obtained by The Guardian. “The use of the flag, veterans, dressing smartly at the war memorial etc…


Photo: Pixabay

Dear Trump voters,

I know how you are feeling right now. Four years ago, on the day Donald Trump was inaugurated as President of the United States, I wrote this open letter to him. “I cannot wish you success, though, Mr President,” I wrote, “because your success would come at the expense of too many people I love and too many values I cherish.” That was true in 2017. It remains true now.

This letter is not to convince you to do what I could not. I try not to be hypocritical, so that means I do not…


There’s a line in the film Cold Mountain, about a western North Carolina village during the Civil War, that has always stood out to me. In it, Ruby (Renee Zellweger) laments the current crisis engulfing their land. “Every piece of this is man’s bullshit,” she sobs. “They call this war a cloud over the land, but they made the weather and then they stand in the rain and say ‘shit, it’s raining!’”

That line has been on my mind a lot lately as I’ve seen reports — like this from CNN’s Jamie Gangel — that House Republicans want to…


“Sparks Press” by Sarah a Chrisman. Photo: Skylar Baker-Jordan

When last year I interviewed the author Sarah A Chrisman, I walked away with only one word to describe her: warm. Talking to her was like drinking a delicious cup of hot cocoa: sweet, comforting, and immensely satisfying. I wasn’t surprised. The Tales of Chetzemoka — Chrisman’s series of historical novels set in the Pacific Northwest during the late 19th century — got me through the pandemic with their tenderness and companionship.

Cosy and familiar like a warm handmade jumper, the friends of the Chetzemoka Wheelmen — the fictional bicycling club at the heart of the series — became my…


Jean Stapleton, Rob Reiner, Carroll O’Connor, and Sally Struthers in “All in the Family.” Photo: CBS/Pinterest

Archie Bunker was a bigot. Whether bemoaning the Black family who lived next door or refusing to accept his friend is gay or his casual misogyny or his frequent attempts at — to borrow a phrase from the modern right — “own the libs,” he was a deeply flawed and prejudiced man. Yet, half a century since he first appeared on our screens, singing an off-key ode to Herbert Hoover and life before the New Deal, he remains a crucial and iconic pop culture figure.

Through Archie, series creator Norman Lear managed to provide a humorous and insightful glimpse into…


Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call via Getty via Vox

Watching what is happening in Congress is heartbreaking to me, as a small-d democrat, and as an American. That our elected representatives would attempt to undermine a free and fair election is frightening. What has our country come to?

Whatever it has come to, it has been a long road to get here. Listening to Mitch McConnell wax lyrical about American democracy and our institutions and advise his Republican colleagues against “partisan vengeance” is so rich I could gag. This is the man who has spent the past decade engaging in partisan vengeance, from saying “the single most important…

Skylar Baker-Jordan

Skylar Baker-Jordan has been writing about UK and US politics and culture for more than a decade. His work has appeared at The Independent, Salon, and elsewhere

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