Defend Equality: Gays Are Arming Themselves

Defend Equality
Members of Rainbow Reload, an LGBTQ gun group, see firearms as a way to protect themselves from growing threats. (Todd Bookman/NHPR)

NPR: “Amid the hikers and snowmobilers in the park today, these are members of a group called Rainbow Reload, an LGBTQ gun club that offers experts and the gun-curious a chance to practice firearms skills in a supportive environment.

“Similar groups exist across the country, often under the name ‘Pink Pistols.’ Rainbow Reload members stress that their mission goes beyond mere hobby: The goal is to prepare and protect themselves from a rising chorus of threats against LGBTQ+ people, including those stemming from hate groups.

“’If the world is dangerous, then you have to be dangerous back,’ says [Fin Smith, Rainbow Reload organizer], who, like everyone interviewed, requested some level of anonymity citing concerns about their safety. ‘And that very much has pushed me to where I am now.’”

Pew Research Reports on Demographics of the 118th U.S. Congress

Pew Research Center accesses the demographic makeup of the newly elected Congress every two years. They consider lawmakers’ race and ethnicity, gender, age, educational background and religion. Pew also assesses how the demographic profile of Congress has changed over time and how it compares with the nation. Here’s some of what they found:

The 118th Congress achieved several demographic milestones when it was sworn in this past January. It is the most racially and ethnically diverse Congress to date, has more women lawmakers than any Congress before it, and reached a new high for lawmakers who are gay, lesbian or bisexual. Religiously, the 118th Congress remains overwhelmingly Christian, with 469 lawmakers identifying this way, but this is the lowest total since at least 2009.

These demographic changes in Congress reflect shifts that are happening in the broader nation. But as you might expect, Congress still looks quite different from the country it was elected to represent. Women account for 28% of all members of Congress, for example, but around half of the overall population. And only one member of Congress – independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona – identifies as religiously unaffiliated, compared with 29% of U.S. adults who identify that way.

Pew Research Center studies the demographic composition of Congress for several reasons. One is that this research fits in with our long-term focus on demographic change in the United States. Another is that demographic shifts in Congress can have important consequences for politics and policy. New lawmakers often bring new perspectives, and their voices can be influential as Congress tackles the public’s long to-do list for the coming year and beyond.

Fascism Expert: Ron DeSantis ‘Will Destroy Our Democracy’

“Ron DeSantis will destroy our democracy with deadly precision. I cannot emphasize enough how dangerous he is.”

– Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a professor of history and Italian studies at New York University who has written several books on propaganda, authoritarianism, and dictators such as Benito Mussolini, in a tweet reacting to a Fox News interview with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush praising DeSantis.

Marianne Williamson Brings on the Entertainment for 2024

“So apparently only those who’ve had careers entrenched in the machine that drove us into the ditch should possibly be considered ‘qualified’ to lead us out of it. (They’re done such a bang up job and all.) Squirm, darlings. We see you.”

— Marianne Williamson, on Twitter, taking a shot at critics of her Democratic primary challenge to President Biden.

New Yorkers of All Political Persuasions Want Santos Out of Congress


A poll of New York voters has found that people right across the political spectrum agree on one thing: Rep. George Santos should resign, reports Politico. A poll of Republicans, Democrats, and independents found that 66 percent of voters around the state believe the lawmaker in New York’s 3rd Congressional District should step down, according to the Siena College Research Institute Survey. The figure represents a 7 percent rise from last month’s tally of voters in the state saying he should go. Now 72 percent of Democrats, 63 percent of independents, and even 58 percent of Republicans want the GOP representative out.

Brookings: Young Voters Poised to Energize the Democratic Party for Years to Come

The Democratic Advantage Among Young Voters Is True Among Key Racial and Ethnic Groups
The Democratic Advantage Among Young Voters Is True Among Key Racial and Ethnic Groups

Bookings: “Political scientists and forward-looking politicians have been debating the ultimate impact of the two youngest American generations — Plurals (Gen Z) and Millennials — on the nation’s partisan future for some time. With these two generations scheduled to become a majority of the American electorate later this decade, election results and a spate of recent data from Pew research are providing an increasingly persuasive answer. Younger voters should be a source of electoral strength for Democrats for some years to come.”