Saturday, May 07, 2022

Saturday Night

Rock on. I remember Tom Jones was so old when he did this. 48.

A Nation Divided

Everything Changes

Even for rich white ladies.
For the really rich, it is true: Traveling to get an abortion and evading prosecution will more or less be a cinch. But the chasm between really rich and everyone else gets deeper every day, and it is simply not true that a suburban white mom of three in Missouri or the teenage daughter of well-off Christian conservatives in Alabama will be in a position to get the abortion she needs when she needs it with ease and without risk to herself, her family, or the people willing to help her. Even crossing to another state to obtain an abortion may entail legal jeopardy as states consider various means to prohibit and criminalize abortion travel.
And as I keep emphasizing, this isn't just about abortion. No OB/GYN related medical procedures - or anything else that could conceivably cause a miscarriage - will evade the state's glare. And impossible to hide things in a world of electronic records and endless insurance paperwork.

Of course law enforcement measures will always fall disproportionately on poor and minority women, but no one will really be able to escape.

Lunch Thread

Slacker Saturday continues.

No Big Whoop

Ignore the centrist hot takes about how getting rid of Roe isn't that big of a deal. It will be a nuke dropped on the country.

And ignore those people generally.

Saturday Morning

Slacker Saturday

Friday, May 06, 2022

Friday Night

Rock on.

Happy Hour


Afternoon Thread

Busy With stuff.

Defund Women's Health Care

A lot of focus over the past few years on bad messaging by people mostly not affiliated with the Democratic party. Democrats can't stop talking about it! Democratic pundits won't stop going on teevee reminding people about it!

Why can't centrists stop saying "defund the police"? I have been told it is very unpopular!

A timely intervention because they'd rather talk "defund" than abortion.

Can't control the people not on the payroll, but I do wish they'd give more thought to the people on the payroll.

In an interview with the San Antonio Report, Clyburn downplayed the significance of abortion among his party’s base.

“Does this issue carry more weight than voting [rights]? I don’t think so,” Clyburn said. “I think restoring the Voting Rights Act is a much weightier issue than this.”

I'm a bit confused by how these things are in competition, and what that has to do with anti-abortion Cuellar. Voting rights are certainly important! But "vote Dems if only because of the Supreme Court [which was always just code for abortion]" has been the text and subext of 30 years of politics! Can't just brush it away. "Abortion - Just Not That Important" is not good messaging!

Going to get a lot of this from centrist pundits, too, who are or aren't on the payroll depending on how you squint, but they're much more on the payroll than police reform activists.

Lunch Thread

Pho Friday.

Is It Bad When Women Die? Views Differs

Quite likely expressing the view that it is bad to die of from an ectopic pregnancy violates The Sacred Norms of Objective Journalism in a way that saying "the deficit is bad" does not.

Tiller The Baby Killer

Bill O'Reilly called George Tiller that regularly for years, with predictable results as Tiller was assasinated in 2009.

Despite that, Barack Obama gave a much touted "Super Bowl Interview" to Bill O'Reilly. OK, you're saying, sometimes you do these things for politics, to get elected. Yes, sure, smart guy, that was in 2014.

Not exactly O'Reilly's only abhorrent view, statement, or action either.

I do think a big part of vibe politics is communicating clearly which side you're on, and while CW in Dem circles is that this is alienating, I suspect there's already a party for O'Reilly fans.

Obama didn't actually have to hand it to the guy. Also, that was in 2014.


+428K. Should be good news but rich people hate it!

Friday Morning


Thursday, May 05, 2022

Thursday Night

Rock on.

Happy Hour

Thursday edition.

Happy Hour Thread

Once again.


Don't care much about the deatils, but the nuclear assault on him from the GOP is interesting!

Lies and the Lying Liars

Being overwhelmed with conservatives demanding that we pretend to believe that Alito and Roberts* (and the rest of the conservative legal movement) don't say what they clearly say, don't mean what they clearly mean, etc.

As I keep saying, a big problem in DC is that presumption of good faith by anyone with a nice suit and the right name tag. Journalists (and everybody else) feel obliged to pretend to believe people who are clearly lying (some might actually believe them!).

*Perhaps Roberts is marginally the "good guy" here but boy was he pissed about Obergefell. I don't mean that Obergefell is somehow more (or less) important than Roe (this is not meant to be a competition) just that it is clear they are coming for it all.

Off The Record

If you're a political reporter and, OFF THE RECORD, a senator says, "I fucking hate Donald Trump, the man should be tried for treason," and then 3 weeks later appears with Trump at a rally that you're covering and says, "I LOVE DONALD TRUMP HE IS AMERICA'S GREATEST PATRIOT," and then you print that quote without any other context, how exactly are you informing readers?

My little example is just an example to make a broader point. It's all like that.


Conservatives have been screaming about judicial overreach for years of course (at all levels of the judiciary), but institutionalist liberals, as the Democratic party (broadly, not just electeds) is filled with former law clerks and general products of Elite Law, are hesitant to.

We've long accepted some degree of disagreement about the balance of power between the legislative and executive branches. All those presidential signing statements, for one! (These were also encroaching on the judiciary, as they asserted answers to constitutional issues without rulings to back them). But the Supremos have just been left there doing their thing without any kind pushback whatsoever. Rulings without factual basis or with factual inaccuracies, rulings without oral arguments, rulings without any written justifications whatsoever... all seem like a bit of overstepping!

Maybe somebody should do something.

Getting Older

It is inevitable that priorities change as you age. I don't mean you inevitably stop caring about the things you did when you are young, but they shift around a bit. It is unlikely that, for example, abortion rights seem quite as important to people over 50 than it does for younger people.

I mean in general, on average. Of course there are leaders in all causes who care about and work for those causes throughout their lives. Of course there are people for whom age solidifies their dedication, for whom long life has granted perspective and wisdom.

But we're all a bit self-centered, and things that Might Affect Me Directly tend to get nudged up the ladder a bit. Suddenly the SALT deduction limit seems almost as important as abortion rights!

Has Anybody Been Planning For This

I'm sure there are exceptions, but one of my largely evidence-free theories about the top layer of people in government is that while they like to project an image of work-a-holism, they're mostly really lazy and certainly never miss a vacation.
But in marathon meetings and phone calls among White House officials, government lawyers, outside advisers and federal agency officials, a sobering reality settled in: There’s little the White House can do that will fundamentally alter a post-Roe landscape. Officials are discussing whether Medicaid funding could be made available to women to travel to other states for an abortion, according to outside advisers who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal discussions, but many doubt whether that is feasible.
Also the job of Dem lawyers is to tell you why you can't do things, and the job of Republican lawyers is to tell you (them) why they can.

Also, too, Dems have a "if you can't win, don't try" approach, instead of "keep trying to show what you're up against" attitude.


Thursdsy Is New Jobless Day

+200K new lucky duckies. Still ok!

Morning Thread

It's morning.

Wednesday, May 04, 2022

Wednesday Night

Rock on.

Happy Hour

How often were we treated to tributes to Scalia's brilliance? Just another loudmouth bullying dittohead.

Also, Slate's Best

If this draft opinion becomes precedent of the court, the results will be catastrophic for women, particularly for women in the states that will immediately make abortion unlawful, and in those places, particularly for young women, poor women, and Black and brown women who will not have the time, resources, or ability to travel out of state. The court’s staggering lack of regard for its own legitimacy is exceeded only by its vicious disregard for the real consequences for real pregnant people who are 14 times more likely to die in childbirth than from terminating a pregnancy. The Mississippi law—the law this opinion is upholding—has no exception for rape or incest. We will immediately see a raft of bans that give rights to fathers, including sexual assailants, and punish with evermore cruelty and violence women who miscarry or do harm to their fetuses. The days of pretending that women’s health and safety were of paramount concern are over.

The Best Person Dot Gif

Serwer is always good, unlike Shafer.
An entire industry of commentators has tied its legitimacy to the Court, and they will obfuscate, semanticize, and quibble. These figures have long forestalled any backlash to the Court’s right-wing radicalism by muddying the waters about the significance of an appointment, a decision, a precedent. They have lied to the public, so that it does not realize what is being taken from it. In response to this decision, they will insist that the unprecedented leak is more important than the world the draft threatens to create. It is not.
Right on cue, that fucking newspaper ("analysis" not "opinion"):
The court sustained collateral damage in March, when it emerged that Virginia Thomas, the wife of Justice Clarence Thomas, had sent incendiary text messages to the Trump White House in the weeks leading up to the Jan. 6 attack and that Justice Thomas not only had failed to disqualify himself from a related case but also had cast the sole noted dissent.

The harm from the leak was more direct, raising questions about whether the court is capable of functioning in an orderly way.

Imagine thinking the latter was worse than the former.

Adam Liptak is the Supreme Court correspondent for the New York Times. I'm actually very curious if he'd have published the leaked opinion, or if he would see it as not an appropriate step for a Royal Correspondent.

What is this if not playing defense? And making things up to do it?

Additional drafts have almost surely been produced since then, as Justice Alito refined his arguments, made changes to accommodate his allies, responded to criticisms in one or more draft concurrences or dissents — and, crucially, worked to make sure he did not lose his majority. The court’s actual decision is not likely to land until late June. Image

Worst Person Dot Gif

It's very rare that I agree with Jack Shafer (20 years of rarely agreeing with him!) but this is correct.
How has the Supreme Court kept a relatively tight lid on its workings compared to the CIA, the NSA, the Pentagon, the FBI and other government appendages? For one thing, it’s smaller by multiple degrees. The fewer secrets you handle, the easier the job. But the court has long occupied a sacred and mythic place in the national consciousness, a place that the court itself has cultivated. Although the justices are political appointees, the court pretends to rise above politics. It conducts its work under a veil and depends on the press to fetishize the mysteries of the temple.
The SCOTUS press may not be obviously on Team Roberts or Team Sotomayor, but they are on Team SCOTUS, the way that Royal Correspondents in Britain are certainly on Team Royal (if not necessarily Team Charles). Preservation of the majesty of the institution, and by association themselves, is always a priority. That anyone associated with journalism reacted to "the leak" with any other response than "good, if it's accurate" says much.

Lunch Thread

Lunch is good, not bad.


An often mocked word, but it is crucial in maintaining the integrity of a diverse coalition, and the last 4 years have seen, in various guises, a lot of blame-the-victim attempts to divide the general left of center coalition. Basically, minority concerns are not the concerns of the majority, therefore they should be ignored if not outright scorned (popularism!).

The project to eject pieces of the coalition while simultaneously arguing that those pieces are in fact to blame has been enraging to watch.  As with most things, the impact of this blog is usually tiny and I am unimportant, but part of the project I have long tried to be part of, in my own little way, is to knit that coalition together, and the people taking a sledgehammer to it do not, actually, have the best interests of The Left or even the Democratic party in mind.  That is not what they are paid for.

Republicans Are Bad

Occasional reminder that this is a given here at atrios dot blogspot dot com, that much of the criticisms of them don't need to be restated, that I don't yell at (for example) Mitt Romney for not being a staunch abortion rights supporter because he is not and I don't expect him to be, that I yell at Democrats quite a bit because I do, actually, expect better of them and they are the fighters we have.

I don't need to add "...buh buh buh the Republicans are worse!" to every post because I think we all understand that.


This is the mindset of the institutionalist. It is important that people retain faith in our institutions, which does not mean that our institutions should work to earn people’s faith, but instead that people shouldn’t hear about it when they don’t. This attitude is especially common in lawyers, who, as a profession, turned “nothing is true, everything is permitted” into a professional ethic. And of course, many elected officials, and especially many Democrats, are lawyers.
A lot of this was explicitly said after Bush v. Gore, a very small amount of (quiet voice) this is bullshit accompanied by a lot of THE IMPORTANT THING IS THE PEOPLE HAVE FAITH THAT THE INSTITUTIONS WORK AND THEY ARE GOOD. Criticizing Bush v. Gore was almost dangerous, as it might suggest our unelected corrupt priesthood that we have increasingly granted dictatorial powers might, somehow, be flawed in concept and execution.

But not just the Supreme Court. It is a general "protect the reputations of elites with this as an excuse" which seems to get worse and worse.

Morning Thread

Oh what a beautiful morning.

Tuesday, May 03, 2022

Tuesday Night

Rock on.

Tuesday Evening


America's Worst Political Institution

The Supreme Court 

And the Senate is right there, too!

Elder Care

Even a very rich person (as Feinstein is) would have a hard time hiring household staff to take care of her as well as her Senate staffers do.
One Democratic lawmaker who had an extended encounter with Ms. Feinstein in February said in an interview that the experience was akin to acting as a caregiver for a person in need of constant assistance. The lawmaker recalled having to reintroduce themself to the senator multiple times, helping her locate her purse repeatedly and answering the same set of basic, small-talk questions over and over again.
Aside from day to day issues, how can a person not in possession of their faculties consent to resign? There will come a day soon when she is unable to regularly appear for votes, and then...

I'm, Uh, Economically Conservative But, Uh, Socially Liberal

No one who has ever said this is actually socially liberal, other than in a 'let me watch porn and Tipper Gore annoyed me with the music lyrics stuff' sense.

All those people were extremely squishy, at best, on the two major "socially liberal" policy issues - abortion and gay rights - of the last few decades.

The kind of people who, if they had columns, would insist that there was some Grand Compromise on offer on abortion that was only being stopped by "radical feminists." No conservatives ever offered such a compromise, but they were sure!

The Hissy Fits Are So Predictable

Predicting that the press would focus on the leak rather than the fact that women will soon be unable to receive medical care in this country was the easiest correct prediction I ever made.

Abortion is a good example of an issue where the press treats clear support for one position as a "country divided" position. As I regularly say, sometimes the country is divided when an issue is 55-45! Sometimes 80-20! Sometimes the 45 and certainly the 20 are treated as fringe views! It depends on the issue, and how much reporters sympathize with the minority view.

Yes abortion polling is slightly fuzzy because the poll questions always give squishy people an out - "Should it be illegal in SOME cirumstances." But there is majority support for choice basically every other way the questions are asked, and strong majorities against criminalizing patients, making rape/incest cases illegal, etc...

Lunch Thread

Better blogging later hopefully.

What Crime Are We Pretending Has Happened

Just making it about the leak.

Coming For It All

With a 5-4 Court they might have done a "pretending not to overturn Roe while actually overturning it" thing but with 6-3 it was inevitable they'd just go for the whole thing. And not just Roe, of course, they'll come for everything else, too. This is their chance.

What I don't think enough people realize is that whatever one's thoughts about "abortion on demand" (this is not a good term, but it is a term of art that is used), it is impossible to give women basically any medical care, not just OB/GYN related care but certainly that, if it is a felony crime to cause an "abortion" (miscarriage). I don't know how doctors can practice medicine like this. At all.

Here on this very fine blog we tend to take it as given that Republicans/conservatives will do the worst thing they can get away with. Now, what are Dems going to do about it?

Susan Collins has learned her lesson.

I'm a bit busy at the moment, so I don't have a chance to survey it, but I bet 50% of the coverage is on THE LEAK and how this goes against DECADES OF SUPREME COURT OMERTA NORMS OH MY GOD SOME NERD LAW CLERK DID A BAD THING HOW DARE THEY. THAT IS THE REAL SCANDAL.

News orgs hate covering abortion and love covering palace intrigue.

Morning Thread

 Oh boy.

Monday, May 02, 2022

Monday Night

Rock on.

Happy Hour Thread

Get happy.

La Resistance Lives On

Sure to some extent it was "if the bad orange man does it then it is bad," but it is worth remembering, as various Democrats (some - not all!) attempt to sabotage Biden rolling back Trump's "unthinkable" border policies, that the first big mass popular resistances to Trump were about the Muslim ban and "kids in cages."

Related to my expressed disgust for elites, I actually think The People are better than elites give them credit for, as they are quite often projecting their own bigotry and general contempt for other people onto "the white working class" or "suburban moms" or whoever happens to be convenient at the moment.

Lots of people are assholes, but also lots of people have a healthy level of disgust against obvious injustices, and rarely require more than a slight nudge, if that, from respected leaders to get there. The people who went to fancy schools and run the country don't just think that they're the intellectual betters, but the moral ones too. Basically, "if I hate immigrants, then Bubba must REALLY hate immigrants," and, well, no, not necessarily.

BuT tHe bAsE rAtE fAlLaCy

Pointing out that a high (and apparently growing) share of people dying from covid are vaxxed/boosted made people about as mad as telling them that Elon's "self-driving cars" were a con.
The pandemic’s toll is no longer falling almost exclusively on those who chose not to or could not get shots, with vaccine protection waning over time and the elderly and immunocompromised — who are at greatest risk of succumbing to covid-19, even if vaccinated — having a harder time dodging increasingly contagious strains.

The vaccinated made up 42 percent of fatalities in January and February during the highly contagious omicron variant’s surge, compared with 23 percent of the dead in September, the peak of the delta wave, according to nationwide data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed by The Post. The data is based on the date of infection and limited to a sampling of cases in which vaccination status was known.

People learned about the "base rate fallacy" and started saying it in response to everything, supplanting "correlation doesn't mean causation" and "sir thouest hath ad homined me" as the most misused internet retorts.

Yes the vaccines and boosters work, but immunity wanes (as every other country has been trying to tell us) and they are not foolproof. A lot of people died in January and February, and a lot of those people were vaccinated. The "base rate fallacy" is a point about misusing these numbers to argue that the vaccines don't work; as a higher and higher share of the population is vaxxed, a higher share of deaths will tend to be from vaxxed people (if all people are vaxxed, then 100% of covid deaths will be from vaccinated people).

But the US vax rate is not that high and it has not been growing. Instead, immunity has been waning as boosters stalled.

Everybody Gets A Shiny New Dime

From a political perspective, better to not do student debt reduction at all than to do "$10,000, with conditions."


Without getting into silly arguments about whether the OPINION side of Fox is different from the NEWS side in some important way (it isn't), it's all one product and even if you think Bret Baier is a nice chap, or whatever, anyone, including elected Democrats and administration people, who go on this network that exists to perpetuate white supremacy is helping to prop up that agenda it.

One can make some arguments about going on Fox and treating them as the hostile actor that they are, but that's a "one and done" type situation. You get one shot to do that, and only if it's a live segment! And that in itself is reason not to continue to perpetuate the fraud that they are a legitimate news organization.

Lunch Thread

Get lunchin'


Our elite pundit class actually think the latter is worse, because all of this stuff is about embrace of hierarchies. Important people should exist with impunity and have access to power and microphones without criticism. Uppity students should know their places!

When the New York Times did their "freedom of speech means freedom from criticsm" editorial they certainly didn't mean that I - or you - should be free from criticism!

Ensuring Our Proper Places In The Praetorian Guard

The spate of sycophantic Elon Musk pieces from our centrist pundits depressed me. In addition to being dishonest, people in The Discourse frequently aren't as dumb as they pretend to be, and the reasons to kiss up to our billionaire overlords, to embrace plutocracy and its attached white supremacy, is to carve out a spot in a rather depressing future.

Like what is this shit from Ezra? 

I really never think of myself as a particularly good person, but the degree to which success and influence is attached to people who quite clearly are not is dispiriting.

Listen to people when they quite clearly tell you who they are.  

Always A Reason We Can't Have Nice Things

The latest one - oh no it's inflationary - is especially hilarious as applied to debt cancellation, as the same people are also arguing it's regressive, and these things are somewhat contradictory.

Inflation is just the new deficit. Trotted out when convenient, ignored when not. Spending money on CopsTroopsCIA is not inflationary, nice things are.

The other one, of course, is if we do a nice thing for THESE PEOPLE but not THOSE PEOPLE then THOSE PEOPLE will be mad.

Should we do a nice thing for THOSE PEOPLE TOO? Oh hell no. There's always a reason.

Anyway my general point is it is not worth engaging with transparently bad faith arguments from transparently bad faith actors. We are a rich country that can afford nice things, we choose to spend the money on hospital executive salaries and new yachts for defense contractors instead. That's it. That's the argument.

Perhaps I'm a surprisingly trusting soul, but I suppose it's taken me 20 years to realize that practically everybody in The Discourse has no qualms about lying in service of whatever agenda they are, for some reason, attached to. You can't refute bad arguments, because the people making them don't care, they'll just move on to the next bullshit.


Morning Thread

Huzzah. Monday.

Sunday, May 01, 2022

Sunday Night

Rock on.

Inland Empire

One of those "that can't possibly be true, can it?" stats.
Forty percent of the nation’s goods now travel through the Inland Empire, mainly in diesel trucks but also via trains and planes. Their combined emissions caused the Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario area to have the worst air quality in the United States as of 2019. This means we have more days of high ozone and particulate matter exposure than most places in the country.

Sounds Bad

Climate change is complicated, as the kids say, but "may lead to temperatures above livable" is part of it!
New Delhi: Surface land temperatures exceeded 60 degrees Celsius over some parts of northwest India, according to imagery captured by satellites on Saturday. Images of land surface captured by INSAT 3D, Copernicus Sentinel 3 and a NASA satellite indicated that land surface temperature over pockets of northwest India raised concerns among several scientists about the severe impacts of the ongoing heatwave.

Lunch Thread

Busy day for me.

Fuck The Young They Don't Vote Anyway

Over my very long life I have seen the narrative about The Kids Today and voting change in two ways.

1) "Wow if only young people voted more we should do somethig about that" to "fuck them for not voting'

2) "Young people" redefined from 18-24 to <45.

Young people do actually vote in large numbers, turnout in 2020 was  high, their vote both in turnout and % is critical.

"Fuck'em if they don't vote for us" is a very selectively applied sentiment!

Morning Thread

Slacker Sunday.