Archive for the ‘Two Parties — Not the Same’ category

Inequality Kills. Policy Drives Inequality. Elections Matter

March 16, 2014

Annie Lowrey in The New York Times today:

Fairfax is a place of the haves, and McDowell of the have-nots. Just outside of Washington, fat government contracts and a growing technology sector buoy the median household income in Fairfax County up to $107,000, one of the highest in the nation. McDowell, with the decline of coal, has little in the way of industry. Unemployment is high. Drug abuse is rampant. Median household income is about one-fifth that of Fairfax.

One of the starkest consequences of that divide is seen in the life expectancies of the people there. Residents of Fairfax County are among the longest-lived in the country: Men have an average life expectancy of 82 years and women, 85, about the same as in Sweden. In McDowell, the averages are 64 and 73, about the same as in Iraq.

There have long been stark economic differences between Fairfax County and McDowell. But as their fortunes have diverged even further over the past generation, their life expectancies have diverged, too. In McDowell, women’s life expectancy has actually fallen by two years since 1985; it grew five years in Fairfax. [Links in the original]

Albrecht_Dürer_013

Lowrey is careful to note that the causal connection between poverty and longevity (or its absence) is hard to establish, and the data are both incomplete and fraught with co- and confounding factors.  But such caution does not in the end distract her from the basic point of her reporting:

It is hard to prove causality with the available information. County-level data is the most detailed available, but it is not perfect. People move, and that is a confounding factor. McDowell’s population has dropped by more than half since the late 1970s, whereas Fairfax’s has roughly doubled. Perhaps more educated and healthier people have been relocating from places like McDowell to places like Fairfax. In that case, life expectancy would not have changed; how Americans arrange themselves geographically would have.

“These things are not nearly as clear as they seem, or as clear as epidemiologists seem to think,” said Angus Deaton, an economist at Princeton.

Further, there is nothing to suggest that, for a given individual, getting a raise in pay or moving between counties would mean outliving her peers.

“The statistical term is the ecological fallacy,” Mr. Kindig said. “We can’t apply aggregate data to an individual, and that’s underappreciated when you’re looking at these numbers.” But, “having said that, I still think that the averages and the variation across counties tells us a lot,” he added. “We don’t want to let the perfect be the enemy of the good here.”

Despite the statistical murk, many epidemiologists, economists and other researchers say that rising income inequality may be playing into the rising disparity in health and longevity. “We can’t say that there is no effect, just because we don’t have clear methods to test the effect,” said Hui Zheng, a sociologist at Ohio State University…

Mr. Zheng has also posited that inequality, by socially disenfranchising certain groups and making them distrustful of public systems, may have a long-range effect on health.

To some extent, the broad expansion of health insurance to low-income communities, as called for under Obamacare, may help to mitigate this stark divide, experts say. And it is encouraging that both Republicans and Democrats have recently elevated the issues of poverty, economic mobility and inequality, But the contrast between McDowell and Fairfax shows just how deeply entrenched these trends are, with consequences reaching all the way from people’s pocketbooks to their graves.

I’ll mostly pass over Lowrey’s seeming willingness to take as hopeful recent Republican rhetoric on poverty absent any policy proposals that would do anything about it, whilst continuing to propose, inter alia, the destruction of Obamacare, the one program she cites as having the potential to help.  This kind of both-sides-ism seems to be an ineradicable MSM pathology.

What matters much more is the basic point to draw from the evidence within Lowrey’s piece:  poverty kills — or perhaps better, wealth saves. Increases in inequality correlate with an increasing gap between rich and poor on the most basic of measures, how long we all get to enjoy the pursuits of life, liberty and happiness.  Policies that drive such inequality, or do nothing to mitigate, are implicated in those lost years, in deaths before time.  Those policies are the current program of the Republican Party.

Literally:  Vote like your live depends on it.

Image: Albrecht Dürer, The Death of Crescentia Pirckheimer, 1504.

Spread The News: The GOP Objectively Hates Veterans. Tell Every Vet (And Family) You Know

February 27, 2014

Once upon a time there was a bill in Congress.  It had a number: SB 1982.  It had a title: “Comprehensive Veterans Health and Benefits and Military Retirement Pay Restoration Act of 2014.”  It had a sponsor, Senator Bernard Sanders, I-VT, and 28 co-sponsors, all Democrats, from among the most conservative members of that caucus to some of the most liberal.

It does or would do things, supporting health care needs for veterans, including mental health and family/caregiver support for those aiding vets with mental health disorders, and health care related to sexual trauma.  It provides support for veterans seeking jobs and more.

It is, in other words, the kind of measure you support if you take seriously the easily-said words in praise of Americans who serve in our armed forces.

Which is why it’s important to tell every last veteran, family member of a vet, friend of a vet, dog or cat or sentient robot pet of a vet exactly why it failed to advance through the Senate today.  Here’s the roll call, but no peeking.  Guess what happened. No prizes; the question answers itself.

Rembrandt_-_Old_Soldier_-_WGA19196

I’ll tell ya:  the vote to suspend budgetary rules (the procedural step at hand) was 56 to 41 in favor.  In our dysfunctional Senate, that rump minority was sufficient to block further action on the bill.  Every Democrat voted in favor of proceeding.  One Two Republicans did: Senator Moran of Kansas and Senator Heller of Nevada.*  All 41 “nays” were Republican, including, of course, the loud crowd of war-first types as Lindsay Graham and John McCain — so often eager to send men and women in harms way, so strangely reluctant to pay the debts they thus incur.

Democrats:  better for the economy.  Better for kids.  And, as here we see, walking the walk for vets, while the Republicans hope that talking the talk as loudly as possible will obscure the damage they do.

Tell your families; tell anyone affected by this; tell them to pass it on….

Remember: Friends don’t let friends (and vets) vote Republican in 2014.

Last:  a side note. Soonergrunt and I had a brief exchange on this on Twitter.  He said this would only matter if the Democrats had the guts to pound the GOP on this from now to November.  I hope the folks in Congress do.  But we can spread the word ourselves, and should.

Image: Workshop of Rembrandt, Old Warrior, c. 1630

*I missed Senator Heller in my eyeballing of the roll call.  I regret the error.

It’s Always Projection With These Guys

December 31, 2013

So, Dr. Strangelove Charles Krauthammer weighs in on the latest news out of Benghazi — which is to say the non-news that there was no conspiracy to cover-up whatever evil Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama are supposed to have done in this latest round of conspiracy mongers.

You may recall that a few days ago, The New York Times showed what real newspapers can do when they put some muscle into a story, and dug into the events that led up to the four American diplomats’/intelligence officers’ last hours in Benghazi.  They concluded that it was a confusing situation, that (as reported at the time) an incendiary video helped gin up a crowd, and that (as President Obama noted, to Romney’s eternal embarrassment, the next day) local Islamic militants were also involved.  The key finding: no meaningful al Qaeda link, as the Benghazi dead enders have been trumpeting for a while now.

So, if you are such a dead ender — that is to say, if you are a member of the modern GOP and/or part of its supportive claque in the DC media — what do you do?

Sane people might say, OK, nothing to see here, let’s move along.  I mean, even the Birthers (in office — not the Orly Taitz variety) finally gave up.  Also: Benghazi does have a real political downside.  The more it becomes obvious that there is, in fact, nothing to see here, that bad things happen in the world and not even a Kenyan Moooslim arsenal of superpowers can prevent them all, then the blowback for using American dead for such obvious political purposes starts to bite.

Hell, it already did.  See, again, Mr. Romney, burned not once but twice on the campaign trail for overeager Benghazi baiting.

But, of course, the set of sanity does not overlap with the set of those professionally committed to the destruction of all things the Democratic Party might support, a gang which includes much if not all of the GOP congressional delegation.

Cold_Shower_by_Georgios_Iakovidis

For example, consider this, from Congressman Lynn Westmoreland, a shining light of Georgia’s delegation to the Capitol:

“Of course Secretary Clinton was in charge at the time, and you know there are just now a lot of rumors going and pushing about her running for president in 2016,” he said on Fox News, as recorded by the Hill. “So I think they are already laying the groundwork.”

OK — so utterances of rabid partisanship have become SOP in the House GOP, so I suppose I shouldn’t be too shocked,  But what about that class of folks who consider themselves above the grubby world of politics — AKA the grandees of Washington’s media village.  Enter Charles Krauthammer.  There are none who combine the unmerited mantle of authoritative judgment and sheer malice more completely than our man Krauthammer — inexplicably treated as a serious analyst of modern politics and wholly engaged in the construction of the One True Narrative, reality be damned.

Hence, reacting to the news that the NYT op-ed editor had ridiculed Westmorland et al.’s claims Krauthammer erupted:

“By being defensive about this, he’s making it quite obvious the reason that the Times invested all the effort and time in this and put it on the front page is precisely a way to protect the Democrats, to deflect the issue, to protect Hillary, who was exposed on this issue as almost no issue in her tenure in the administration. It is obviously a political move.”

I actually think that’s what Krauthammer believes, along with Westmoreland and the rest of the GOP officeholders chasing down the Benghazi “truther” rabbit hole.  Why shouldn’t they? It’s what they would do.

Hell, it’s what they are doing:  to belabor the obvious, crying “Politics” avoids the necessity of parsing what the Times actually reported.  It saves having to defend the various claims of whatever it is that Clinton or Obama is said to have done wrong. Most of all, it ducks the obligation to take on what did happen in Benghazi with enough thought to inform deliberations that lead to, for example, not blowing up stuff in Syria.  Much easier to accuse the other side of doing exactly the vicious shit you would have.

These are not people to be allowed near the reins of government. They probably shouldn’t be allowed near scissors.  Danger to self and others and all that.

Image: Georgios Jakobides, “Cold Shower” 1898

 

Today in GOP Sociopathology

December 20, 2013

We’ve got two headliners today.

First up, child labor cheerleader Jack Kingston, a congressman from Georgia now looking for a promotion to the Senate, claimed that he’s no hater of the poor for saying this:

“Why don’t you have the kids pay a dime, pay a nickel to instill in them that there is, in fact, no such thing as a free lunch? Or maybe sweep the floor of the cafeteria — and yes, I understand that that would be an administrative problem, and I understand that it would probably lose you money,” Kingston said at a Jackson County Republican Party meeting, according to video surfaced by the Huffington Post. “But think what we would gain as a society in getting people — getting the myth out of their head that there is such a thing as a free lunch.”

But nah, that wasn’t aimed at shaming and constraining the poor, swears Kingston (R-eternally misunderstood).  Rather,

“This is not targeted to any one group,” Kingston said. “It would be very helpful for kids in any socio-economic group to do chores and learn the work ethic….I never did say poor kids.”

Over to you, M. Anatole France:

Thomas_kennington_orphans_1885

The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.

And then there is that noted scholar of the Civil Rights era, Ian Bayne, a Republican candidate running for the nomination to challenge Rep. Bill Foster, an actual smart person and a Democrat representing Illinois’s 11th district.  Mr Bayne identifies the ties that bind two characters most observers of lesser penetration would never have uncovered:

“In December 1955, Rosa Parks took a stand against an unjust societal persecution of black people, and in December 2013, Robertson took a stand against persecution of Christians,” Bayne wrote in the email. “What Parks did was courageous.”

Bayne added in the email that “what Robertson did was courageous too.”

That would be Duck Dynast Phil Robertson, who, as we all know, is convinced that African Americans with whom he worked in the pre-Civil Rights era were, as he put it “Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”  And who says in the context of a current civil rights struggle, that gay men and women are bound not for equality before the law, but for Sheol:

“Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers–they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right. [via Ta-Nehisi Coates]

So, let’s recap:  Rosa Parks risks jail, bodily harm, quite possibly death to secure the minimal rights of citizenship for Americans who have been subjugated through a reign of terror for a century since the end of outright chattel slavery.  Some guy spouts hate at blacks and gays.

Just the same.

Ladles and Jellyspoons:  Your modern GOP.  A party that does not vomit out such characters cannot be allowed anywhere near the reins of power.

Or, as my man Cato would say, Factio Grandaeva Delenda Est

Image: Thomas Kennington, Orphans,1885.

Cue the World’s Tiniest Violin, Ted Cruz (Office) Style

October 16, 2013

Ambrogio_de_Predis_007

Via Brad Friedman, we learn that Sen. Ted Cruz’ speech writer and senior communications adviser Amanda Carpenter put this up on the Twitter machine:

It’s almost November and I have no idea what my health plan will be or what it will cost in January. This. Is. Awful.

Well, maybe if you hadn’t spent the last whatever helping your boss help the GOP conspire to take away your congressional staff health benefits…

…Aww.  Fekkit.  Not even going to try to argue the logic.  Just — if you don’t want gov’t. to help you, don’t kvetch when it doesn’t.

Or, to put it another way:

BWAHAHAHAHAHAH!

Image:  Associate of Leonardo da Vinci (Francesco Napoletano?), Angel with violin / Panels from the S. Francesco Altarpiece, Milan, between 1490 and 1499.

The Difference Between Democrats and Republicans

October 1, 2013

In California, a Democratic Party-run state:

Dozens of workers at a call center in the Sacramento suburb of Rancho Cordova began fielding calls after a countdown to 8 a.m. Tuesday, the time the state’s health exchange opened for business. The agency that runs the exchange, Covered California, reported on Twitter that more than 30,000 telephone calls were received during the first 90 minutes of operations. Another 1,200 were on hold and about 4 percent had hung up.

Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California…said Tuesday was just the starting point, and it was evident that exchange officials had work to do after the website and phone system were hit with a crush of inquiries.

Gov. Jerry Brown, meanwhile, announced he had signed a package of bills to help implement the new law and expand the state’s Medi-Cal program for those who are too poor to pay for the subsidized insurance.

“While extreme radicals in Washington shut down our government, here in California we’re taking action to extend decent health care to millions of families,” Brown said in a statement, referring to the impasse in Congress that has led to a partial shutdown of federal government operations.

Meanwhile, as a result of the government shut down triggered by those GOP extremists, there’s this news:

Cecil_Beaton_Photographs-_General;_China_1944,_Canadian_Mission_Hospital_in_Chengtu_IB2569C

At the National Institutes of Health, nearly three-quarters of the staff was furloughed. One result: director Francis Collins said about 200 patients who otherwise would be admitted to the NIH Clinical Center into clinical trials each week will be turned away. This includes about 30 children, most of them cancer patients, he said. (From behind the WSJ paywall via the Atlantic) (h/t a tweet from science writer extraordinaire Steve Silberman aka @stevesilberman.)

So there you have it:  Democrats strive to get sick people care (and the well, protected), and labor to fix  the bits that don’t work.

Republicans leave kids with cancer on the street.

Update:  H/t commenter Baud, it turns out   that Americans in those (GOP-led) states that have chosen to abandon their responsibility to their citizens actually do twant healthcare from the Feds (via TPM):

Nearly three million people have visited the federal health insurance marketplace created by Obamacare on its first day, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Since midnight, 2.8 million people have visited the website, which will serve consumers in more than 30 states, and 81,000 have called the marketplace’s call center. Those numbers were current as of late Tuesday afternoon.

Image:  Cecil Beaton, A mother resting her head on her sick child’s pillow in the Canadian Mission Hospital in Chengtu, 1944.

Why We Can’t Have Nice Things…Part (n)

August 1, 2013

Via TPM, exhibit A:

As expected, Senate Republicans filibustered legislation Thursday to simultaneously keep the federal government open and invest in infrastructure and housing projects — a significant setback for efforts to bridge budget disagreements and avert a shutdown this fall.

The vote was 54 in favor, 43 against, falling short of the 60 votes needed to move forward. The only member to cross party lines was Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), who helped write the bill and urged colleagues not to block it — to no avail.

Six Republicans voted with Democrats on the higher spending levels when the bill was before the Appropriations Committee: Sens. Collins, Thad Cochran (MS), Lisa Murkowski (AK), Mark Kirk (IL), John Hoeven (ND) and Jerry Moran (KS), who chairs the Senate GOP’s election arm. But a concerted whipping effort by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) compelled all but Collins to vote to filibuster the transportation, housing and urban development bill.

At a Capitol press conference immediately after the vote, Democrats, flanked by construction workers, fumed over the filibuster, accusing McConnell of arm-twisting his members and letting concerns about his reelection drive the outcome. The vote comes one day after House Republicans abruptly pulled THUD legislation from the floor, which cuts deeply into housing and transportation programs, after deciding it lacked the votes to pass.

 

Magnasco,_Alessandro_and_Spera,_Clemente_-_Bacchanalian_Scene_-_1710s

Who needs a government shut down when you can just, shut down government?

Exhibit B:

Yesterday’s abrupt decision to yank a bill to fund the Departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development off the floor, in addition to similar snags for the farm bill and a health care bill pushed by Majority Leader Eric Cantor earlier this year, amounts to a series of recent setbacks for a party struggling to adhere to spending levels outlined in Paul Ryan’s budget.

Asked by a reporter if he was concerned that his party’s recent stumbles on bills funding the government may instill a notion that his caucus is unable to govern properly, Boehner said he was “not the least bit concerned” about perception.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) didn’t mince words after Wednesday’s THUD bill failure, however, lashing out at leadership for pulling the bill.

“I am extremely disappointed with the decision to pull the bill from the House calendar today,” Rogers said in a statement. “The prospects for passing this bill in September are bleak at best, given the vote count on passage that was apparent this afternoon. With this action, the House has declined to proceed on the implementation of the very budget it adopted just three months ago.”

I don’t think this ends well for the Republicans as a party or for McConnell himself.  I even think the MSM is beginning to notice what’s actually going on in Washington.  But we’re all collateral damage until this hash gets settled.

Image:  Alessandro Magnasco and Clemente Spera, Bacchanalian Scene,  c.1710

Senator Patrick Leahy Does Not Love The Smell Of Bacon In The Morning

June 21, 2013

The Vermonter doesn’t miss much (via TPM):

Senators have been negotiating for days and late into the night trying to gain more Republican support for this important immigration reform legislation.  Senators Hoeven and Corker have put together an aggressive package that will add new Republican support to our bipartisan effort and for that progress, I am grateful.

However, it is an understatement to say that this is not the amendment I would have drafted.  It is a disappointment to me and to many.  The modification to my amendment reads like a Christmas wish list for Halliburton.  I am sure there are federal contracting firms high-fiving at the prospect of all of the spending demanded by Senate Republicans in this amendment.  The litany of expensive services, technology, and hardware mandated by this package is combined with an inexplicable waiver of many normal contracting rules.  This is a potential recipe for waste, fraud and abuse.

Just in case anyone had forgotten how the “party of fiscal responsibility” handles the cookie jar whenever it gets its grasping, grubby paws on it, Sen. Leahy is here to remind us:

It is astounding to me how far in the past the hard lessons we learned in Iraq appear to be.  All of us should remember the disgraceful conduct demonstrated by some private companies in Iraq which was uncovered by the work of the Special Inspector General for Iraq.

Oh, and about that compassionate conservatism thing (or whatever they’re rebranding it as now)?  Senator Leahy has been around that block once or twice before, and along with the pork, he smells the horseshit:

It is a cruel irony that when my friends on the other side of the aisle talk about border security, the high cost of implementing their favorite projects are absent from their discussion.  Yet, when we are talking about programs that help children who live near the poverty line, then suddenly, fiscal concerns are paramount.

Yup. That’s your modern Republican Party in a nutshell.  Millions for the defense of the comfortable.  Not one penny that could be seen as honoring the legacy of the man who talked of camels and needles’ eyes.

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Leahy’s still voting in favor, because he’s a Democrat, which means he’s actually got an interest in governing, and serving the interests of this country.  He concludes his statement thusly:

One of the reasons I decided to continue chairing the Senate Judiciary Committee is because of this once-in-a-generation chance for us to truly reform our broken immigration system.  It is a tragic problem that calls out for a comprehensive solution.  There are too many families kept apart because of our broken immigration system, and there are too many people living in the shadows who should be allowed to earn their citizenship for us to fail them now.  We owe it to them, to people like Jose and Gaby and so many others, to get legislation passed.  So while I do not agree with the Republicans’ border demands, I will support this modification of my amendment because it is one of many tough choices necessary to continue making progress toward passage of this crucial bill.

That’s a good man, and a realistic one.  Be nice to have a few of those on the far side of the aisle.

Image:  Jacob Jordaens, Flight of the Holy Family into Egypt, 1647

Outreach

June 20, 2013

Via TPM…I guess the Reagan Rule doesn’t apply if you are Republicaning while Black*:

From: Jim Allen <jimallen@consolidated.net>
Sent: 06/18/13 10:59 PM
To: [Doug Ibendahl]
Subject: 13th Congressional District reply

Rodney Davis will win and the love child of the D.N.C. will be back in Shitcago by May of 2014 working for some law firm that needs to meet their quota for minority hires.

Yup, that’s the actual first line of an email about Erika Harold, a Republican mounting a primary challenge — from the Montgomery County’s Republican party chairman, Jim Allen.  You can find the complete text here. PSA:  it doesn’t get any better from its opening.  One more choice little number — it seems that Ms. Harold is not just someone born out of wedlock and all that, she is, to Mr. Allen, something else:

Now, miss queen is being used like a street walker and her pimps are the DEMOCRAT PARTY and RINO REPUBLICANS…These pimps want something they can’t get,,, the seat held by a conservative REPUBLICAN

L_Fontana_Gesù_appare_Maddalena

Ladies and Gentlemen: your modern GOP. Treasure it.

I got just two thoughts to add to a message that I think speaks just fine for itself.

First, there is one detail you should know: Allen actually sent his email to a journalist, Doug Ibendahl, the editor of Republican News Watch, the site linked above.

Now, in general (and even before the NSA revelations) it’s a good idea to assume any message on which you press “send” is essentially a public utterance.  But to write to a ink-stained wretch?

Oy.

Even if, to steal Molly Ivins’ immortal phrase, you are in fact so dumb they have to water you twice a day, c’mon!  You have to know you’ve just shouted whatever it is from the rooftops.  If Allen represents the best Montgomery County Republicans have to offer, then…

…hell, fill in your own disaster du jour.

The only other thing I have to say follows from the above.  I’m guessing that in fact Mr. Allen can tie his own shoes, navigate a knife and fork and all that.  He’s stupid — mind numbingly, catastrophically moronic — but only in a narrow way.  Whatever internal circuit that might have suggested to him that the message above might not be a wise thing to say has been deactivated.  And that’s really the issue, at least in a political sense.

Here’s the thing:  obviously what Allen wrote is hateful, racist, scummy, craptastic…I’m wishing now I knew one of those languages whose vocabulary of invective was much richer than my own.  (Yiddish!  I wish I really had Yiddish in my bones.  See, e.g. this one — relevant to the need to vet those who may speak for your team: Dos hitl iz gut nor der kop iz tsu kleyn — The hat is fine but the head is too small.) But the truly amazing thing to me is not that he thought such vile thoughts, but that he was willing to say so in a very public way.

This is what makes this little glimpse of nastiness something more than just an insight into one crappy excuse for a human being.  That Allen didn’t have enough sense to realize that what he was saying should have been un-sayable tells you that the environment in which he lives and breathes does not view such sentiments as out of bounds.  Calling a young African American woman taking part in the political process a bastard and a whore is OK where Allen lives…

…and, of course, his home is inside the Republican party.

Now, disclaimer:  I’m not suggesting, for example, that John McCain or Mitt Romney or Mitch McConnell or John Boehner or whoever are sitting behind their desks saying to themselves daily that Barack Obama as a N*clang!, or Nancy Pelosi as a pimp or whatever.

But they and others are leaders of a party that — with seemingly growing intensity since 2008 — has tolerated within its ranks the use of grotesque racial and sexist crap that garners, most often, only the weakest of pro-forma rebuke coming from the actual voices that could shape the culture of the party.  If party NCOs (and Allen’s hardly the first) feel comfortable enough to spout as above, it’s in large measure because the Republican party — their own tribe — hasn’t made it clear that there is no place for such words and such beliefs in the party of Lincoln.

Shorter:  if you want people who don’t look exactly like you to think that you don’t hate them, you have to make sure your folks don’t say out loud how much they, in fact, do despise the other.

Hence how much this one, brief email tells you why the current incarnation of the Republican Party must, and likely will, immolate itself.  For the rest of the country?  We just have to hope is that the GOP does not manage its exit by murder-suicide.

Factio Grandaeva Delenda Est.

*It’s important to note one more thing:  for all of Allen’s racial code-talking, Erika Harold is, as reported here, about as 21st century American as it’s possible to imagine: “Harold’s heritage is complex—her mother is African American and Native American while her father is Greek, German, and English.”

That comprehensively rich heritage — to me, at least — makes Allen’s zeroing in on Harold value as quota-bait for “minority hires” even more grotesque, if that were possible.  I’m betting I’m not the only one hearing the “one drop” dog whistle.

Image:  Lavinia Fontana, Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene, 1581.

Reality Bites

May 29, 2013

Credit where credit is due:  an  an elected Oklahoma Republican is making sense:

All of the new Oklahoma laws aimed at limiting abortion and contraception are great for the Republican family that lives in a gingerbread house with a two-car garage, two planned kids and a dog. In the real world, they are less than perfect.

I see your problem here, but do go on:

As a practicing physician (who never has or will perform an abortion), I deal with the real world. In the real world, 15- and 16-year-olds get pregnant (sadly, 12-, 13- and 14-year-olds do also). In the real world, 62 percent of women ages 20 to 24 who give birth are unmarried. And in the world I work and live in, an unplanned pregnancy can throw up a real roadblock on a woman’s path to escaping the shackles of poverty.

Gustav_Klimt_Schwangere_mit_Mann

But what about those who don’t live where you do?

Yet I cannot convince my Republican colleagues that one of the best ways to eliminate abortions is to ensure access to contraception.  [via]

Kudos to OK Rep. Doug Cox.  He is — as his op-ed makes clear — no fan of abortion.  But he’s pretty damn blunt on both the what actually happens in the world and he’s on the right side of the argument on the basic right of individuals to make their own damn decisions.  So good on him; he’s the kind of opposition we need if a two party system is ever to function again, and he’s absolutely right on the practical and moral value that comes from treating women and girls as actual autonomous…you know…people.

One more thing — I was going to call Cox a bit of a naif for this:

What happened to the Republican Party that I joined? The party where conservative presidential candidate Barry Goldwater felt women should have the right to control their own destiny? The party where President Ronald Reagan said a poor person showing up in the emergency room deserved needed treatment regardless of ability to pay? What happened to the Republican Party that felt government should not overregulate people until (as we say in Oklahoma) “you have walked a mile in their moccasins”?

But, follow the jump, and you’ll see that Cox has no problem handling the concept of a rhetorical question:

Is my thinking too clouded by my experiences in the real world? Experiences like having a preacher, in the privacy of an exam room say, “Doc, you have heard me preach against abortion but now my 15-year-old daughter is pregnant, where can I send her?” Or maybe it was that 17-year-old foreign exchange student who said, “I really made a mistake last night. Can you prescribe a morning-after pill for me? If I return to my home country pregnant, life as I know it will be over.”

Yup, Representative Cox.  You got it right.

Too much reality doth not a good Republican make.

Image:  Gustav Klimt, Sketch outline pregnant woman with man1903/4


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