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Word Salad of the Day

Or, if you prefer, mixed metaphors of the day.

From The Hill:

GOP Pennsylvania Senate candidate Kathy Barnette said in an interview with Breitbart News she would not support the Republican nominee in the state’s race for the Senate if she does not win Tuesday’s primary. 

“I believe we have ran out of room on this runway for this spaceship. I believe we have very little rope left to just roll the dice and we’ll see how it all works out on the other end. I believe our country is in trouble,” Barnette said in the interview, explaining why she would not vote for one of her primary rivals if they win the race.

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The Wisdom of Seth Meyers

“We live in a country, and I don’t know when it happened, where an 18-year-old boy goes into a gun dealership to buy an assault weapon, and it’s a routine transaction. Under the same legal system that won’t let a person buy a six-pack of Bud Light because it would be dangerous, but an assault rifle, that’s routine. Now, the implication is that 18-year-old boys go into that gun dealer and buy weapons of war regularly. When a cable news host opens his show with a red-faced rant about white people being replaced, that’s considered a typical episode of that show — routine and typical.

Why don’t you just do some journalism and find out it’s easy to just ask open-ended questions without answering them — anyone can do that. This dude’s like a search engine that just answers your questions with a series of more questions. He’s ‘Don’t Ask Jeeves.’

First of all, you don’t have to be a card-carrying member of a white supremacist organization to be a white supremacist. It’s not Costco — you can be a white supremacist without being an official member the same way you can watch movies without having a Blockbuster card.

Second, and more important, the so-called replacement theory is obviously racist, dangerous and dehumanizing. But on top of everything else, it’s also incredibly stupid. I mean, just think about it for, like, half a second — no one’s being replaced. There’s no capacity limit here. It’s not like there’s a bouncer who only lets two in when two leave.” 

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Don’t Be Fooled. It’s All About Women and Sex.

From The New York Times, by Gail Collins:

When I was back in high school — a Catholic girls’ school in Cincinnati at the beginning of the sexual revolution — our religion class covered the abortion issue in approximately 45 seconds.

“Abortion is murder,” said the priest who was giving the lesson, before moving on to more controversial topics, like necking and heavy petting. I still have a vivid memory of being marched into the auditorium for a lecture from a visiting cleric who assured us that when Jesus was dying on the cross, he was tortured by a vision of the sins of mankind — notably adolescent girls “making out with boys in the back seat of a car.”

Now, that was a long time ago, and the bottom line was at least clear and consistent: no sex except for married couples who want to have babies. You don’t hear that specific message too much in today’s political debates about reproduction, but as a way of thinking, it’s most definitely still there.

On Wednesday the Senate failed to pass a Democratic bill supporting women’s right to choose in anticipation of a Supreme Court decision going in the other direction.

During the debate, Republicans claimed most Americans are opposed to late-term abortion, while Democrats noted that polls show the public wants abortion to be a matter between a woman and her doctor. Easy to imagine both being true — most people are uncomfortable with the idea of ending a pregnancy when the fetus is well developed, but there’s long been a deeply reasonable yearning to keep the government out of a matter so private and personal.

It’s pretty clear where we’re going. The Supreme Court’s Trump-constructed majority will reject the by-now-longstanding understanding that a woman has the constitutional right to decide whether she wants to end a pregnancy. In at least 13 states, laws banning abortion could kick into place almost immediately.

Welcome to the land of my high school religion classes, people. The governor of Mississippi, when asked whether the state would move on to a ban on contraception, said, rather unnervingly, that it’s “not what we’re focused on at this time.” And the dreaded Tennessee senator Marsha Blackburn has denounced the Supreme Court decision in Griswold v. Connecticut, which covers the use of contraceptives for married couples under the constitutional right to privacy.

Blackburn says Griswold is “constitutionally unsound.” Not the only unnerving position — when Republican candidates for Michigan attorney general were asked about Griswold in a debate earlier this year, they didn’t seem to know what it was about. (One pulled out a mobile device to look it up while another complained, “I didn’t know we could have our phones up here.”)

Anyhow, the question is whether states that are able to ban abortion will march further into anti-birth-control territory. There’s bound to be a next step. The many, many activists who have focused their political careers on constraining women’s sexual activity aren’t going to just declare victory and go home.

In Louisiana, lawmakers are considering a proposal to classify ending a pregnancy at any point from the moment of fertilization as homicide. And the Idaho State Legislature may hold hearings on outlawing emergency contraceptives, a reminder that when we’re talking about “states’ rights,” we should think about trusting your fate to a roomful of state legislators.

All this is basically about punishing women who want to have sex for pleasure. It’s a concept with a long tradition in American history. Back in 1873, Congress began to pass a series of laws prohibiting dissemination through the mail of birth control literature, drugs or devices. Later, when a journalist asked Anthony Comstock, founder of the New York Commission on the Suppression of Vice, whether it would be all right for a woman to use contraceptives if pregnancy would endanger her life, Comstock snapped: “Can they not use self-control? Or must they sink to the level of beasts?”

OK, the current debate is probably not going to get quite that far. But it’s important to note that the policies we’re talking about here are basically a matter of legislating the religious beliefs of just one segment of the public.

The goal of the Democratic Senate bill was mainly to get the public focused on the reproductive rights issue before the fall elections. And that certainly couldn’t hurt. There have to be voters out there who aren’t all that geared up about going to the polls but who might be moved if they got to hear the speech by Republican Steve Daines of Montana that praised anti-abortion laws as being similar to ones “that protect the eggs of a sea turtle or the eggs of eagles.”

Those sea turtles have been coming up a lot in this debate. Republican James Lankford of Oklahoma, in a long, emotional speech, recounted a confrontation with abortion rights demonstrators who pointed out there was a difference between laws protecting a woman’s right to choose and laws protecting endangered species.

“And I’m called the extremist,” Lankford declared. He added, “If people call me a radical for believing children are valuable — so be it.”

Actually, people call Lankford a radical for believing that the reproductive experiences of female water-dwelling reptiles are comparable to the experiences of human beings whose offspring will need and deserve many years of constant care and concern in order to prosper.

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If John Roberts Is a Shadow Puppet, It’s a Tragedy for the Nation

From Esquire, by Charles P. Pierce:

If some overeducated drone feels empowered enough to take such a drastic and unprecedented step [leaking the draft document] for the purpose of keeping people in the boat, then it’s clear that Roberts’ putative authority is that of a shadow puppet. Which would be tragic for the nation, because his colleagues really have let their freak flags fly. In his draft opinion, for example, Alito borrows an argument from Justice Amy Coney Barrett that not only was empirically bizarre on its face, but also is phrased in the draft opinion in a way barely recognizable as human thought.

Nearly 1 million women were seeking to adopt children in 2002 (i.e., they were in demand for a child), whereas the domestic supply of infants relinquished at birth or within the first month of life and available to be adopted had become virtually nonexistent.

“The domestic supply of infants” is the kind of phrase that stays with a fella. Not that I’m a professional strategist, but, were I working for a Democratic candidate this fall, I’d spend a big chunk of my ad revenue tattooing “domestic supply of infants” to the forehead of every Republican candidate running. Not that we’re saying there’s a Soylent Green scenario playing out here in the GOP, but it would be irresponsible not to speculate. Jesus, these really are the mole people.

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Quote of the Day

From The Recount:

Louisiana HB813 would charge women in the case of miscarriage or in fertility treatments like IVF. Attorney Gwyneth O’Neill explains the cruel bill: “This makes embryos people … Freezing an embryo would become a battery. Disposal of an embryo… would be a negligent homicide.”

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Here We Go Folks: Louisiana Republicans advance bill that would charge abortion as homicide

From The Washington Post:

Republicans in the Louisiana House advanced a bill Wednesday that would classify abortion as homicide and allow prosecutors to criminally charge patients, with supporters citing a draft opinion leaked this week showing the Supreme Court ready to overturn Roe v. Wade.

The legislation, which passed through a committee on a 7-to-2 vote, goes one step further than other antiabortion bans that have gained momentum in recent years, which focus on punishing abortion providers and others who help facilitate the procedure. Experts say the bill could also restrict in vitro fertilization and emergency contraception because it would grant constitutional rights to a person “from the moment of fertilization.”

Discussing the legislation less than 48 hours after the leaked Supreme Court draft proposing to overturn the 1973 ruling that has protected abortion rights, lawmakers and advocates who spoke in support of the bill appeared energized by the prospect of a long-sought imminent victory. One advocate who helped draft the bill specifically cited the draft opinion.

“The Supreme Court is poised to ignore Roe versus Wade,” said Bradley Pierce, executive director of the Foundation to Abolish Abortion.

He appeared at the committee hearing with the bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Danny McCormick (R).

“We’ve been waiting 50 years to get to this point,” said McCormick, who did not respond to a request for comment.

Although the antiabortion movement has traditionally embraced policies that claim to protect both the woman and the fetus — and avoided laws that criminalize those seeking abortions — abortion rights advocates worry that could change if Roe is overturned. Without the long-standing court precedent to temper state legislation, experts and advocates say, antiabortion lawmakers may begin targeting patients, especially in cases of medication abortions where pills are obtained by the patient illegally online.

Louisiana is one of 13 states that has a “trigger law,” which would make abortion illegal as soon as Roe is overturned. But antiabortion advocates on Wednesday said legislation did not go far enough.

“I know we have a trigger law,” said Brian Gunter, a pastor who helped draft the bill. “It says that abortion providers have to pay a $1,000 fine … that is woefully insufficient.”

“I just want to sort of level-set here first: This is a homicide statute,” said Ellie Schilling, a New Orleans-based attorney who represents abortion rights groups. “What this bill does is to specifically amend the crime of homicide and the crime of criminal battery to enable the state to charge people, including the pregnant mother, at any stage of fertilization.”

“For legislators in the movement, their agenda is to stop abortion,” said Mary Ziegler, a visiting professor at Harvard Law School specializing in the history of abortion law. “When there is a conflict between punishing pregnant people and stopping abortion, it’s clear what they’re going to do.”

While some in antiabortion circles occasionally discuss the idea of punishing abortion patients, Ziegler said, that idea has not gained much traction.

To see a bill like this moving through a state legislature is “definitely new,” she said.