Thursday ReadsPosted: September 30, 2021 Filed under: just because 16 Comments
It looks like an agreement to keep the government running has been reached at the last minute, but there’s no agreement on raising the debt limit as yet. CBS News: Schumer announces agreement to prevent government shutdown.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Wednesday night that an agreement to keep the government funded and prevent a government shutdown has been reached.
“We have an agreement on the C.R. — the continuing resolution — to prevent a government shutdown, and we should be voting on that tomorrow morning,” he said on the Senate floor. The majority leader said he hopes to hold a vote on final passage by midday — hours before government funding would have run out, at midnight Thursday.
The short-term government funding bill would keep federal agencies operating through December 3, but it does not address the looming deadline to raise the debt ceiling to avoid U.S. default. The bill includes $6.3 billion for relocation efforts for Afghan refugees, as well as $28.6 billion for disaster assistance following a spate of devastating hurricanes and wildfires.
Once the bill passes in the Senate, the House will take it up, so it can then be sent to President Biden to sign before government funding expires.
Next on the Congressional agenda: Biden’s infrastructure bills, which are being held hostage by “Democrats” Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema.
The Washington Post: Waiting for ‘Manchema’: House liberals grow exasperated with two Democratic senators as Biden agenda struggles.
A vote is scheduled in the House today, but no one knows what would be required for it to pass the Senate.
Late Wednesday, Manchin released the type of statement that has irritated large groups of Democrats in the past with its emphasis on slowing down and scaling back.
“At some point, all of us, regardless of party must ask the simple question — how much is enough?,” he wrote. Manchin didn’t provide more details on his views beyond concern over the package’s size, but he did emphasize that he wanted any new programs to have provisions that would establish limits on who could receive the benefits based on income….
Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Tex.), a moderate Democrat who wants to pass the infrastructure bill regardless of the state of negotiations on the other package, said he has spoken to Manchin, who told him his top line number, but Cuellar would not say what it was. Manchin has floated that something in the range of $1.5 trillion to $2 trillion could potentially work, but Sinema has not given any inclination of what she could support.
While Manchin often talks with reporters, puts out statements and writes op-eds, Sinema prefers to share as little as possible publicly and declines to answer reporters’ questions.
Some voters in Arizona are getting fed up with Sinema’s act. Kyrsten Sinema Is at the Center of It All. Some Arizonans Wish She Weren’t.
Jade Duran once spent her weekends knocking on doors to campaign for Senator Kyrsten Sinema, the stubbornly centrist Democrat whose vote could seal the fate of a vast Democratic effort to remake America’s social safety net. But no more.
When Ms. Sinema famously gave a thumbs down to a $15 minimum wage and refused to eliminate the filibuster to pass new voting rights laws this year, Ms. Duran, a Democrat and biomedical engineer from Phoenix, decided she was fed up. She joined dozens of liberal voters and civil rights activists in a rolling series of protests outside Ms. Sinema’s Phoenix offices, which have been taking place since the summer. Nearly 50 people have been arrested.
“It really feels like she does not care about her voters,” said Ms. Duran, 33, who was arrested in July at a protest. “I will never vote for her again.”
Ms. Sinema, a onetime school social worker and Green Party-aligned activist, vaulted through the ranks of Arizona politics by running as a zealous bipartisan willing to break with her fellow Democrats. She counts John McCain, the Republican senator who died in 2018, as a hero, and has found support from independent voters and moderate suburban women in a state where Maverick is practically its own party.
But now, Ms. Sinema is facing a growing political revolt at home from the voters who once counted themselves among her most devoted supporters. Many of the state’s most fervent Democrats now see her as an obstructionist whose refusal to sign on to a major social policy and climate change bill has helped imperil the party’s agenda.
Little can proceed without the approval of Ms. Sinema, one of two marquee Democratic moderates in an evenly divided Senate. While she has balked at the $3.5 trillion price tag and some of the tax-raising provisions of the bill, which is opposed by all Republicans in Congress, Democrats in Washington and back home in Arizona have grown exasperated.
According to NBC News, Sinema could even face a primary challenge.
And then there are the “progressives.” Sam Brodey at The Daily Beast: Progressives Come to Their Put-Up or Shut-Up Moment.
With a critical vote looming on a pivotal part of President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda, it’s a put-up or shut-up moment for every faction of the Democratic Party, but one particular group especially: the Progressive Caucus.
In recent years, liberal Democrats have often found themselves swallowing much of their discontent as watered-down policies and compromises were the norm in a divided government. But with Democrats now fully in control of Washington, progressives finally seem poised to fight.
There are two bills Biden has said he wants to get done: a bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure bill for things like roads and bridges, and a $3.5 trillion bill for social programs like childcare, elder care, climate change, and a host of other programs that Democrats would have to pass on their own through a special reconciliation process.
After the $1 trillion infrastructure bill passed the Senate in August, a small group of moderates in the House have been angling for ways to pass that bill and only that bill—the larger reconciliation package be damned. Progressives, realizing that this is the gambit, have sworn they will not support the infrastructure bill unless and until the $3.5 trillion package moves through Congress too.
On Thursday, progressives may finally get their chance to show moderates that they aren’t bluffing.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has promised a vote on the infrastructure bill, and though that plan has been rapidly in flux for days, progressives will get a chance to demonstrate to moderates that it’s all or nothing—either both bills pass, or none of them do.
Read more at the link. And at CBS News, see a summary of what’s in the $3.5 Trillion bill. While all this bickering goes on in Congress, Biden is remaining calm for now. The Washington Post: Biden sticks to his dealmaking strategy, as some Democrats want him to do more to bring holdouts on board.
More important stories to check out:
Fred Kaplan at Slate: We Now Know Why Biden Was in a Hurry to Exit Afghanistan. He made several missteps, but on the big picture, he was right.
Margaret Sullivan at The Washington Post: A Trump lawyer wrote an instruction manual for a coup. Why haven’t you seen it on the news?
CNN: January 6 committee targets organizers of Stop the Steal rally in latest batch of subpoenas.
David Leonhardt at The New York Times: The Right to Health
Ed Yong at The Atlantic: We’re Already Barreling Toward the Next Pandemic.
Have a good day!!!
Wednesday Reads: A brand new flag?Posted: September 29, 2021 Filed under: just because 11 Comments
Cartoons are from Cagle:
Just a couple words of interest…
This is an open thread.
Tuesday ReadsPosted: September 28, 2021 Filed under: just because 18 Comments
A quick update: I think I’m beginning to recover from my pain flare-up. I’ve found a good book on dealing with chronic pain along with an chronic pain app that is helping me better understand what is happening in my body and brain. I’ve been working on slowing down my breathing and letting go of my fear of the pain. So I’m working on being proactive.
Here are some stories that have captured my interested this morning:
The ACLU has apologized for it’s offensive editing of a famous quote by Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The New York Times: A.C.L.U. Apologizes for Tweet That Altered Quote by Justice Ginsburg.
Anthony Romero, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, said Monday that he regretted that a tweet sent out recently by his organization altered the words of a well-known quote by the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
The A.C.L.U. tweet, which was sent out Sept. 18, changed Justice Ginsburg’s words, replacing each of her references to women with “person,” “people” or a plural pronoun in brackets. Justice Ginsburg, who died last year, is a revered figure in liberal and feminist circles and directed the A.C.L.U.’s Women’s Rights Project from its founding in 1972 until she became a federal judge in 1980.
The tweet by the A.C.L.U. occasioned mockery and some anger on social media from feminists and others.
“We won’t be altering people’s quotes,” Mr. Romero said in an interview on Monday evening. “It was a mistake among the digital team. Changing quotes is not something we ever did.” Mr. Romero first noted his regrets in an interview with Michelle Goldberg, The New York Times columnist, who wrote a column that spoke to the danger of trying to “change the nature of reality through language alone.”
From Michelle Goldberg: The A.C.L.U. Errs on R.B.G.
Recently, on the anniversary of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, the American Civil Liberties Union set out to pay tribute to her pro-choice heroism, and ended up making the sort of self-parodic blunder the right salivates over.
One of R.B.G.’s iconic quotes came from her 1993 Senate confirmation hearings, when, instead of shying away from commenting on reproductive rights like most Supreme Court nominees, she made a forthright case for their indispensability to human flourishing.
“The decision whether or not to bear a child is central to a woman’s life, to her well-being and dignity. It is a decision she must make for herself. When government controls that decision for her, she is being treated as less than a fully adult human responsible for her own choices,” Ginsburg said.
In a ham-handed attempt to make the quote conform to current progressive norms around gender neutrality, the A.C.L.U. rendered it this way in a tweet: “The decision whether or not to bear a child is central to a [person’s] life, to [their] well-being and dignity … When the government controls that decision for [people], [they are] being treated as less than a fully adult human responsible for [their] own choices.”
This was a mistake for two reasons, one that’s easy to talk about, and one that’s hard.
The easy one is this: It’s somewhat Orwellian to rewrite historical utterances to conform to modern sensitivities. No one that I’m aware of used gender-neutral language to talk about pregnancy and abortion in 1993; it wasn’t until 2008 that Thomas Beatie became famous as what headlines sometimes called the “First Pregnant Man.” There’s a difference between substituting the phrase “pregnant people” for “pregnant women” now, and pretending that we have always spoken of “pregnant people.”
What’s more difficult to discuss is how making Ginsburg’s words gender-neutral alters their meaning. That requires coming to terms with a contentious shift in how progressives think and talk about sex and reproduction. Changing Ginsburg’s words treats what was once a core feminist insight — that women are oppressed on the basis of their reproductive capacity — as an embarrassing anachronism. The question then becomes: Is it? [….]
A gender-inclusive understanding of reproduction is in keeping with the goal of a society free of sex hierarchies. It is one thing to insist that women shouldn’t be relegated to second-class status because they can bear children. It’s perhaps more radical to define sex and gender so that childbearing is no longer women’s exclusive domain.
Yet I think there’s a difference between acknowledging that there are men who have children or need abortions — and expecting the health care system to treat these men with respect — and speaking as if the burden of reproduction does not overwhelmingly fall on women. You can’t change the nature of reality through language alone. Trying to do so can seem, to employ a horribly overused word, like a form of gaslighting.
“One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman,” Simone de Beauvoir wrote. You can interpret this to support the contemporary notion of sex and gender as largely matters of self-identification. Or you can interpret it as many older feminists have, as a statement about how the world molds you into a woman, of how certain biological experiences reveal your place in the social order, and how your identity develops in response to gender’s constraints.
Seen this way, a gender-neutral version of Ginsburg’s quote is unintelligible, because she was talking not about the right of all people to pursue their own reproductive destiny, but about how male control of women’s reproductive lives makes women part of a subordinate class. The erasure of gendered language can feel like an insult, because it takes away the terms generations of feminists used to articulate their predicament.
Read the whole thing at the NYT.
The Washington Post reports on a “revelation” from the new book by former Trump WH press secretary Stephanie Grisham: Trump played tough with Putin when cameras were around, while Putin toyed with his insecurities, a new book says.
Monday Reads: Right Wing America always thinks it’s All about them!Posted: September 27, 2021 Filed under: Afternoon Reads, Republican politics, Right Wing Angst, U.S. Politics 5 Comments
Good Afternoon Sky Dancers!
The Big Easy isn’t so easy at the moment. I lost my cable and internet again on Saturday. Right now, I have no water and probably won’t for a few hours. We’re a case study in aging infrastructure combined with Climate Change disasters and the Republicans aren’t interested in either. Plus, here we are still watching the neighboring states work really hard to kill people in the cause of crank science and white privilege masked as liberty. Right-wing grievance basted in white nationalist hatred has always been a problem in our country and always has a terrible cost in both life and liberty for others.
Here’s Michael Beschloss reminding us that it always hangs out in some of our key institutions. It’s been over 100 years since the communist scare struck their blessed little hearts with fear. Here’s a reminder of what it looked like around 60 years ago.
We’re well known for basically thinking everyone but a White Christianist male is subservient and not fully human. These white nationalist movements–egged on by the Trumpist regime today–are really frightened of losing the hegemony they’ve enforced for years. They’ve always used over-the-top rhetoric and boogymen. In those same years, communism was in charge of the fluoridation of water. Remember this scene from Dr. Stranglove?
Despite this seemingly inexorable progression, a vocal opposition has persisted—perhaps most famously embodied in the grizzled and gruff cigar-chomping and gun-toting General Jack Ripper of Dr. Strangelove. In that 1964 film Ripper explains his rationale for inciting nuclear war: “Have you ever heard of a thing called fluoridation? Fluoridation of water? Do you realize that fluoridation is the most monstrously conceived and dangerous Communist plot we have ever had to face?
Though General Ripper’s speech caricatured anti-Red paranoia, right-wing groups like the John Birch Society have long implied dark motives behind fluoridation. But more common are groups raising safety questions. Anti-fluoridation literature goes back over half a century, with titles like Robotry and Water: A Critique of Fluoridation (1959)
We suddenly see communism again in arguing that a past president should still have executive privilege among tons of other things. The Ghost of Roy Cohen should be pleased. Indicting Trump’s crime syndicate is communist too! Why do we keep coming back to this?
Now, see how David Leonhardt–writing for the New York Times–studies the patterns of death by thinking communism is in charge of a privately-developed set of vaccines. “Red Covid. Covid’s partisan pattern is growing more extreme.”
During the early months of Covid-19 vaccinations, several major demographic groups lagged in receiving shots, including Black Americans, Latino Americans and Republican voters.
More recently, the racial gaps — while still existing — have narrowed. The partisan gap, however, continues to be enormous. A Pew Research Center poll last month found that 86 percent of Democratic voters had received at least one shot, compared with 60 percent of Republican voters.
The political divide over vaccinations is so large that almost every reliably blue state now has a higher vaccination rate than almost every reliably red state …
How is it that every public health issue still shakes a few little people into thinking their superior genes protect them and jump straight to the communist plot rationale? Mask mandates are communistic too right?
Since Delta began circulating widely in the U.S., Covid has exacted a horrific death toll on red America: In counties where Donald Trump received at least 70 percent of the vote, the virus has killed about 47 out of every 100,000 people since the end of June, according to Charles Gaba, a health care analyst. In counties where Trump won less than 32 percent of the vote, the number is about 10 out of 100,000.
And the gap will probably keep growing…
I guess we’re not really joking when we say the Republican Party is killing its base.
It’s also trying to kill our democracy and economy. Senate Republics are full-on crazy-go-nuts if they think blocking the debt ceiling will do anything but cause chaos in the global economy. Maybe that is what they want. Joe Biden must fail for them to replace our democracy with some Trumpy autocrat. This is from The Washington Post and Tony Romm: “Senate Republicans prepare to block measure to fund government, stave off U.S. default. The expected vote Monday sets up a last-minute scramble ahead of two critical fiscal deadlines.
Senate Republicans on Monday prepared to block a bill that would fund the government, provide billions of dollars in hurricane relief and stave off a default in U.S. debts, part of the party’s renewed campaign to undermine President Biden’s broader economic agenda.
The GOP’s expected opposition is sure to deal a death blow to the measure, which had passed the House last week, and threatens to add to the pressure on Democrats to devise their own path forward ahead of a series of urgent fiscal deadlines. A failure to address the issues could cause severe financial calamity, the White House has warned, potentially plunging the United States into another recession.
They want a recession. Their political goals for the mid-terms demands everything be more awful than they and Trump left us.
Lee Brutman writes this for FiveThirtyEight: “Why Bipartisanship In The Senate Is Dying.”
-So, what changed? Well, pretty much the entire nature of American electoral party politics.
One way to clearly see this change is to map American partisan competition. From the 1960s through the early 2000s, both Democrats and Republicans were genuinely national parties in the Senate. That is, Senate Democrats and Republicans used to hail from all parts of the country.
This was important because it kept both parties politically diverse and thus moderate overall. Moreover, because Senate elections were more about local issues, both parties were able to compete nationally. Voters didn’t care as much whether they sent a Democrat or a Republican to Washington. What mattered was whether they sent somebody who could represent their state well. And senators could prove their worth by bringing home federal funding for roads and bridges — just the kind of issue that used to facilitate bipartisan dealmaking.
But today’s political campaigns and voters care far less about roads and bridges. They care far more about national culture-war issues — and which party controls the majority in Congress. As a result, Democrats can’t win in much of the Southeast and the Mountain West, and Republicans are now perpetual losers in the West and the Northeast. Only the Southwest and the Midwest remain competitive, and that’s only because state populations are currently balanced between liberal cities and conservative exurbs.
It’s also why bipartisanship in the Senate is waning. Republican senators in solidly Republican states do not have to worry about winning over some Democrats; the senators’ general election win is all but assured. Rather, the most likely way they could lose is if they face a primary challenge to their right. And the most likely way they could draw such a challenger is if they were to publicly work with Democrats.
In other words, a bipartisan record has become a liability in today’s electoral environment.
There are a lot of charts and numbers there showing the trends.
So let’s go back to the idea of a Constitutional Crisis as elucidated by The Washington Post Op-Ed Cited in that above tweet. This is ‘conservative’ Robert Kagan and has been hashed about for days.
I see that word chaos a lot these days and Republican obfuscation of every important issue of the day is at the root. Getting a vaccine should not be this big of a deal. Getting the debt ceiling raised or getting rid of that obscure law that demands it should not be that big of a deal. Free and Fair elections with expansive access to the vote should not be this big of a deal. Passing laws that protect women and children from Violence should not be that big of a deal. Passing gun safety laws that get weapons of war off the street should not be that big of all deal. All of these things have been done before but recently it’s been impossible to renew any of them. The only policy Mitch McConnell has is to ensure a train wreck every time a Democratic candidate gets the Presidency. This is an anti-democratic position and should be intolerable to any American.
So, that’s my Ted Talk for the day.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Sunday Reads: TruthPosted: September 26, 2021 Filed under: just because 10 Comments
Cartoons via Cagle:
Some tweets starting with an article from The Guardian that tells us something we already know:
According to analysis of FBI data, of all female homicides accounted for in 2018 where the relationship between perpetrator and victim could be identified, 92% of cases involved women or girls killed by a man they knew, 63% of whom were killed by current husbands, ex-husbands or current boyfriends.
I feel like pulling my hair, but then I think why bother.
These people are dangerous:
This is an open thread.