The Oink Factor

chill women

Congrats to Senator Bernie Sanders for his trio of yoooodge caucus victories yesterday! It’ll be interesting to see how the primary shakes out in places like Pennsylvania and New York, the latter of which Sanders and Clinton can both plausibly claim as home turf.

Interesting piece at TPM from Josh Marshall about the likelihood that women voters will hand Trump a crushing defeat if he’s the nominee. I think Marshall is onto something.

Nothing is certain in this wild and weird election year. But bone-deep misogyny is one of the few things Trump has been consistent about throughout his career. And if it turns out that a woman is all that stands between him and the ultimate power-grab, I don’t think he has the discipline to avoid going full-blown sexist pig. It’s his nature.

Anyhoo. Happy Easter to those who celebrate it. Did you get anything good in your baskets?

Open thread!



Open Thread: Judged

After the Male Punditocracy decided last night to remind Hillary Clinton that there is nothing more important for a woman than presenting an appealing facade, I’ll admit this made me LOL:

Speaking of appearances, His Royal Vulgarity decided he didn’t wish to do any more debates, and Fox News meekly acquiesced.

Imagine the universal media outrage if Clinton announced “I think we’ve had enough debates. How many times can the same people ask you the same question?”



The Supreme Court thoughts

Here are a few thoughts on the Supreme Court vacancy as my kids are slowly quieting down for the night.

First, a 4-4 court from a liberal perspective is no worse than the current situation.  Crappy decisions like the DACA decision out of the 5th Circuit will continue to be affirmed.  However the affirmation will be on because the court can not come to a majority decision therefore the appeals court ruling holds only for that circuit and not for the nation.  Questions coming out of liberal rulings in the appeals courts where the four liberal votes are voting to uphold and where there is a conservative swing vote (Kennedy or Roberts most likely) do not change in their outcome as the alignment would be a 5-3  or 6-2 ruling with a clear majority.  The cases where Scalia would have been a member of a five person majority are the cases that are now being tossed back to the appeals courts as unresolved.

As of this year, most of the Appeals circuits including the DC circuit have a Democratic appointed judge majority.  Cases which were granted cert from these circuits and would have been 5-4 reactionary judgments will be kicked back to the circuits.  Those circuits will either have ruled with fairly liberal judges on the initial ruling or if the case was important enough and the randomly selected appeals panel was significantly out of line with the circuit consensus, en banc hearings would have final say.

If there is a long stretch of an 8 member court that can’t decide anything controversial, I predict that there will be a significantly higher number of en banc hearings conducting mini-reversals.  The probability of a Supreme Court bench-slapping goes down dramatically.

Now onto healthcare.  There are only two major healthcare cases on the docket right now.  The first case is a technical discussion as to whether or not ERISA pre-emption regulations prohibit states from requiring self-insured companies from providing data to all payer claims databases.  I don’t know if this was lining up to be a 5-4 decision nor what the configuration would have been.  My preference is that the Supreme Court rules that all payer claims databases can require self-insured companies to submit data without running afoul of ERISA.

The other major healthcare case is the Little Sisters of the Poor et al.   This is a birth control cases for religiously affiliated non-profits that think the mere act of signing a piece paper that states birth control is icky and the damn sluts should have the risk of pregnancy every time they spread their legs is an infringement on their rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.  This is a continuation of the line of logic that powered Hobby Lobby but it attacks the work-around that a third party administrator pays for birth control instead of the employer sponsor of the plan.  This would have been a priori a 5-4 loss for PPACA and the notion that female reproductive autonomy is between a woman and her doctor.  Now it is most likely a 4-4 case where the appeals courts have been slapping down the argument that the Little Sisters and others are making: signing a piece of paper is too much effort on their part.

As far as nominations, the only scenario where a nominee to the right of Atilla the Hun goes through is if by mid-May early polling and indicators show that the Democrats will most likely hold onto the White House and pick up at least four if not five or six Senate seats in November.  At that point, the calculation could be that from a policy perspective, a Republican majority in the Senate could not get any better than having some say in a nominee instead of seeing a Democratic president nominate a choice constrained by Manchin instead of Grassley and a 51 or 53 vote Democratic Senate effectively say that if the Republicans want to run the Senate like Parliament, then by god they’ll get that.



Excellent Read: “Progressive”

Much as I agreed with Sady Doyle’s post, I wasn’t going to front-page it until a commentor on a late-night thread here expressed great astonishment that calling someone “hysterical” could possibly be construed as sexist. But I can attest, from personal experience, that male Progressives can be… well…

… “We’re a progressive site,” the man across the table begins, “And our readership, as with most progressive sites, is mostly men. You’ve focused a lot on women’s issues. Would you be comfortable writing something that men would be able to read?”

I’m silent for a second. I keep smiling — always smile at the job interview — but I cannot speak. Largely because I believe that what I just heard cannot possibly be what he really said. I misinterpreted something. I missed a word, misheard a word. He can’t actually be telling me that I would have to stop being so feminist to get a job at his “progressive” site. Or that “progressive” media is mostly for men.

“I read your most recent article,” he adds, helpfully. “That seemed very sympathetic to the male character.”

Okay. So I heard him right…

“Secretary Clinton, first ladies, as you well know, have used their position to work on important causes like literacy and drug abuse,” the moderator says. “But they also supervise the menus, the flowers, the holiday ornaments and White House decor. I know you think you know where I’m going here.”

I watch Hillary Clinton’s face. She smiles. You always smile at the job interview. She smiles like a motherfucker, that woman.

She smiles while she assures the moderator that she won’t make her husband do stupid lady things like – ick! – decorating. She smiles while assuring the world she won’t forsake her duty as a woman, that she will still “pick the flowers and the china for state dinners and stuff like that.” She smiles while answering the question of whether female Presidents are fundamentally unnatural, whether she is fundamentally unnatural, whether electing her will emasculate not only Bill Clinton but the nation itself. And she has been the second-most popular Secretary of State in history, and she has been the member of the Obama administration with the highest approval rating, and she has been one of the most liberal Senators in Congress, and she has been an early pioneer whose work laid the ground for both CHIP and eventually Obamacare, and she has been one of the single most visible advocates for feminism globally and in the United States since the mid-90s, and she has done the work, the basic work level of the work, the coming-in-when-you’re-sick-don’t-be-late-don’t-take-a-vacation work, and she still has to answer this fucking question – the one that’s not about her, but about her gender; the one that’s not about policy, but whether she could govern in a way men can accept – but smiling is just what you do, if you’re a woman, and a feminist, and you have to field questions like these. You don’t challenge the premises. You don’t tell them to fuck off. You let them test you to see if you’re an angry feminist, and you pass the test by letting them insult you to your face and not getting angry. Because after everything you’ve done, everything you’ve fought for, that’s still what most men want to know. They want to know they can insult you and get away with it. They won’t work with you if they can’t.

Hillary Clinton lets them insult her with a smile on her face, because she wants the job. Because there is no way to just flip a table, throw the coffee, walk out of this bitch in protest, and get the job she wants. There never is. Not for her, not for me, not for any of us. She smiles…

I know some of you remember Clarence Thomas’s confirmation to the Supreme Court, and the intense vitriol directed at Anita Hill and every other woman who cautioned that Thomas would be a terrible, terrible choice. One of the things I remember is how astonished a lot of otherwise thoughtful, progressive men — and quite a few less-thoughtful, unprogressive ones as well — were, to discover the level of mistreatment and abuse that women in the workplace were exposed to as a matter of course. Their wives, their moms, their daughters: The women who never said anything about the filthy ‘jokes’ and the body-touching and the assumption that every woman (whatever her credentials or gifts or relationships) could be, should be, treated like a barely-housebroken domestic animal whose only real value was its sexual attractiveness.

Anita Hill failed to deter the revanchists determined to put Clarence Thomas on the only Supreme Court we have, but when she spoke up, she changed the conversation around “sexual harrassment in the workplace.” And whether or not Hillary Rodham Clinton is elected President in November (and I most sincerely hope she is), she’s already changing the conversation around whether “feminist” is a component to any genuine use of the word “progressive”.



Open Thread: Clown Shoes, A Master Class

Before anyone asks: I’m using the ‘Vagina Outrage’ tag because the RoK guys seem to be very, very outraged by even the thought of vaginas.

‘SJW’ is ‘social justice warriors’, meaning ‘women and men who don’t hate/fear women’, and yes the guys slinging that phrase around do think it is a clever insult. ‘MRA’ is ‘men’s rights activists’, meaning… well, I think you can figure that part out.

Speaking of silly people, how’s the New Year’s Even preps going in your neighborhood(s)?



Saturday Morning Open Thread: Think Harriet Tubman Will Ever Get “A Moment”?

Since I grew up in New York City, where hustler-immigrant ODB Alex was our Founding Father, having people demand I listen to the latest fascinating news concerning a certain hot musical can feel like being an animation fan whose middle-school second cousin wants to bring me up to speed on this amazing unknown historical genius Chuck Jones (“way more significant than Disney, dude!”). But as a Tubman partisan, I’m glad Jack Lew has decided to do a bit of a walkback on his June decree…

The Wall Street Journal reports the “Treasury Will Delay Announcement on $10 Bill Redesign to 2016”:

The Treasury Department will delay until 2016 the announcement of which woman will be selected for the redesigned $10 bill after an unexpectedly large volume of public feedback prompted officials to extend their months long review, a spokeswoman said Friday.

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew announced plans in June to put a woman’s portrait on the $10 bill, a spot that has been occupied by Alexander Hamilton, the nation’s founding Treasury secretary, since the 1920s. The department said in June that a decision would be announced by the end of this year following a public campaign to solicit ideas.

They received more than they bargained for from that campaign. While many applauded the decision to put a woman on the bill, some said they were disappointed that a woman wasn’t being put on the more prestigious $20.

The decision also drew surprisingly intense criticism from finance types that revere Mr. Hamilton, who is having something of a moment. A 2004 biography of the financier inspired a critically acclaimed Broadway musical that debuted this summer…

In response to the specific uproar over Mr. Hamilton, Mr. Lew has said Mr. Hamilton won’t come off the currency, creating a subplot that has at times overshadowed the bigger question of which woman will ultimately be featured on the bill…

Currency redesigns are driven primarily by security needs, and a redesign of the $10 bill was already in the works as part of an upgrade that will include tactile features on bills to assist the blind and visually impaired. Government agencies that oversee currency design and security recommended starting with the $10 bill in 2013, and outlined a timetable that could have the bill in circulation as early as 2020, which coincides with the centennial of women’s suffrage.

Mr. Lew hasn’t said whether Mr. Hamilton might ultimately find a home on a separate bill, but he has noted that the entire suite of paper bills is being redesigned. “It will ultimately be the whole series,” he said in July.

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Apart from picking apart every damned concession (as us women always do), what’s on the agenda for the day?



Call It What It Is: Terrorism

From the Washington Post:

COLORADO SPRINGS — The gunman suspected of storming a Planned Parenthood clinic and killing a police officer and two others used the phrase “no more baby parts’’ to explain his actions, according to a law enforcement official, a comment likely to further inflame the heated rhetoric surrounding abortion.

The attack on the clinic, allegedly by Robert Lewis Dear Jr., was “definitely politically motivated,’’ said the official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is still underway. NBC News, which first reported the comment, said that Dear also mentioned President Obama in a range of statements to investigators that left his precise motivation unclear.

Yet even as authorities released few details about Friday’s shootings, the politics of the highly charged abortion issue seemed to outstrip their efforts to be methodical. Antiabortion activists denied any knowledge of Dear and said he is not affiliated with their movement, but abortion rights advocates countered that comments by conservatives against Planned Parenthood had precipitated the violence…

“Everybody’s entitled to their own opinion. And their own arsenal, as well.”

Dr. Jennifer Conti, at Slate, “Anti-Abortion Terrorism Must Be Stopped“:

We can speculate long and hard about the gunman’s motives or targets, but what is more significant—what keeps me up at night as an OB/GYN physician—is the concern that we as a nation have become complacent. Was it truly a shock that something so horrific emerged only weeks after anti–Planned Parenthood rhetoric dominated the presidential candidate debates? What was all of this manipulative campaigning if not an invitation to incite hate? And now this.

A few people were injured and only a few people died, some headlines will say. That’s not so many compared to the recent acts of terrorism in Paris. But here’s the irony: This is a homegrown terrorist, one that no amount of passport authentication or refugee rejection could have stopped. We spend all this effort agonizing over external threats, all the while overlooking the extremism, bigotry, and hatred that lives down the street. And now this.

This is a sign of crisis. When women are too scared to seek medical care for fear of being shot on the way to clinic, we are in crisis mode. This is beyond bullying and this is no longer simply a politicizing issue. This is a runaway train on which nobody is pulling the brakes. How far does this have to play out before we can stop pretending that abortion care is not real health care? Since 1977, there have been eight murders, 17 attempted murders, 42 bombings, 186 arsons, and thousands of incidents of criminal activity associated with U.S. abortion clinics. These numbers do not include what happened in Colorado Springs… Read more