Today’s Headlines, 8 Sept 2022

Queen and empire; Religious employers against health care; Republicans making fun of sick people; Lebanon as America’s future under Trumpers; MAGA invokes 1st century BC; Another lame right-wing movie; Why American lives are getting shorter; The indefensible claims of “2,000 Mules”; xkcd on Universe Price Tiers.

NYT, Maya Jasanoff, 8 Sep 2022: Mourn the Queen, Not Her Empire

(My comment: Vladimir Putin didn’t get the memo, but empires are rather old-fashioned these days, and definitely retrogressive. He’s making the world a worse place, apparently only to satisfy his vanity.)


Slate, Mark Joseph Stern, 8 Sept 2022: A Judge Let Employers Exclude HIV Prevention From Workers’ Insurance. That’s Not Even the Worst Part. Subtitled, “Subtitle: “An anti-gay attack on the Affordable Care Act could end in grievous harm to millions of Americans.”


Salon, Eleanor Klibanoff and Karen Brooks Harper, 8 Sept 2022: Religious employers need not cover PrEP in their health plans, federal judge rules, subtitled “The ruling could threaten access to sexual and reproductive health care for more than 150 million working Americans.”

(These employers aren’t “Christian,” are they? Oh, well, they probably are.)


Salon, Amanda Marcotte, 8 Sept 2022: GOP stuck with Pandora’s Box after Roe: Republicans run head first into the same-sex marriage trap, subtitled “Same-sex marriage doesn’t have ‘strong bipartisan support.’ Most Republicans in Congress reject it”

(Of course they do.)


Slate, Jim Newell, 8 Sept 2022: When, Exactly, Is It OK to Make Fun of a Political Opponent for Having a Stroke?, subtitled “Dr. Oz is attempting a strategy.”

(After all, Trump made fun of a disabled person, and his followers didn’t mind.)


Salon, Brian Karem, 8 Sept 2022: I’ve seen America’s future if the Trumpers win: It’s what Lebanon looks like right now, subtitled “Want to see a modern nation torn apart by violence and reduced to feudalism? You really don’t, but it could happen”

Billionaires own their own media outlets and truth is malleable depending on who does the reporting. It is a future where corruption and greed by mega-rich politicians has destroyed the culture. Authoritarianism reigns.

In this future, there is little infrastructure. Extended power outages like those that recently occurred in Texas are endemic, as are failing water systems like the ones we’ve seen in Jackson, Mississippi, and Flint, Michigan. If you want power, you have to buy or rent generators and then pay for fuel to keep them running. If you want fresh water, you have to buy it and store it in fiberglass towers on your roof.

And on and on. Quite gruesome. But at least they’re not “socialist”!


Washington Post, Dana Milbank, 7 Sept 2022: How reactionary is MAGA? Try the first century B.C.

J.D. Vance. Peter Navarro. Michael Anton. Judge Aileen Cannon. Newt Gingrich. Those who want to rewrite the Constitution. Constitutional sheriffs.


Salon, Andrew O’Hehir, 8 Sept 2022: “My Son Hunter”: There’s barely even a movie inside this deep-state right-wing grift, subtitled “Who are the real targets of this shameless, slipshod right-wing propaganda farce? Anybody who pays to watch it”

Comments on the social media site where the movie is streaming….

could be classed under the rubric of “useful instruction” or perhaps “there’s a sucker born every minute.” As we say these days, it’s not a bug of right-wing media that nothing works right and it’s all stuck together with the digital equivalent of duct tape. It’s a feature. That’s because right-wing media is a shameless grift and pretty much proud of that fact, and members of the general public who feed money into right-wing media hoping to get something beneficial or informative or at least entertaining out of it (such as, in this case, me) are marks being taught a lesson in predatory economics.


Vox, Siobhan McDonough, 7 Sept 2022: Why are American lives getting shorter?, subtitled “US life expectancy got worse during Covid-19, and then kept getting worse.”

Since 2019, for all groups, from 79 years to 76.

Core reason, apparently: the US lacks universal health care, so everything in the US is more expensive because less efficient. But universal healthcare would be socialism! so Americans can’t have that. (Also, the religious folks want to deliberately deny health care to some, per above. They are making things worse, as usual, not better.)

All estimates show that life expectancy in the US has continued to decline, even as almost all rich countries have bounced back from lower life expectancies in the first year of Covid. “[The US] is one of the richest countries on the face of the planet,” said Laudan Aron, a senior fellow in the Health Policy Center at the Urban Institute and one of the co-authors of the June paper. “The fact we cannot translate our economic wealth into protecting our population and ensuring that everybody has a fair chance to live a long and healthy and productive life is a real failure.”


NPR, Tom Dreisbach, 8 Sept 2022: A publisher abruptly recalled the “2,000 Mules” election denial book. NPR got a copy.

The book does not appear to suffer from an obvious production error which might explain the delay; a misaligned photo, incorrect page numbers or blank pages.

The book does, however, regurgitate the content of the film “2,000 Mules” including misleading claims, which have been thoroughly debunked by fact-checkers and critics across the political spectrum. Former Attorney General Bill Barr called the film’s underlying premise “indefensible.”

These things won’t matter to many readers, of course, because they will believe anything that supports their biases and prejudices (“per-judgements”).


Let’s try to end with something light.

xkcd 2666: Universe Price Tiers

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