Topics for today:
- A flat-earth judge ruled against globes in public schools… or did I imagine that?
- Perhaps I’m confusing it with the mean-spirited rulings in Texas about abortion and in Florida about everything;
- Republicans in Missouri want to defund public libraries;
- Republicans in Montana want to change election rules to give themselves a better chance at winning;
- And a reality check from Paul Krugman explains how unemployment rates are really good news that conservatives will not acknowledge.
I thought I saw something about how Republicans, as they continually dumb-down political discourse and appeal to the dimmest bulbs in the population, have found a judge in some specific jurisdiction who is known to be sympathetic to Flat-Earthers. And how he has ruled in favor of a lawsuit brought by a group of flat-earthers against NASA and the entire scientific establishment claiming that the evidence for a globular Earth is weak, and didn’t take into account the confusion of people trying to think about other people living on the other side of the supposed “globe” and why they would not fall off. And so this judge has ruled that all government agencies must remove any mention of the Earth being any shape whatsoever, and oh by the way, ordered the removal of all globes from public school classrooms.
But now I can’t find the link.
Or maybe I’m confusing this with the story about the FDA-approved “abortion pill,” in which a judge in some specific jurisdiction in Texas presumed to know better than the FDA, and made a decision that affects the entire nation. Or the increasing number of forbidden topics identified by the Florida governor and his administration. So many stories like this. Where will they all end?
Salon, Amanda Marcotte, 11 Apr 2023: Abortion pill decision: Medical abortions will just be more painful, subtitled “The abortion pill decision proves, yet again, that there’s nothing “pro-life” about Republicans”
The most crucial thing to understand in the aftermath of Friday’s decision to rescind the FDA approval of Mifepristone by Donald Trump-appointed Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk is this: It is not a ban on medication abortion in the U.S. Pill-induced abortions will still be available, even if this decision is allowed to stand. They will continue to be safe. But aborting a pregnancy without Mifepristone will just be a more miserable experience than it was before the far-right district court judge ignored all law and science to impose his anti-choice ideology on the health care access of millions of Americans.
AlterNet, Brandon Gage, 11 Apr 2023: Missouri House Republicans defund public libraries: report
The move appears to be a retaliatory response to legal action taken by the American Civil Liberties Union. …
“The lawsuit — filed by the ACLU of Missouri on behalf of the Missouri Association of School Librarians and the Missouri Library Association — seeks to declare Senate Bill 775 unconstitutional, a bill that has resulted in over 300 books getting banned from school libraries, many of which include LGBTQ characters or racial justice themes,” the outlet added.
It’s long been noted that public libraries, like many other public services and functions (such as the interstate highway system, NASA, and so on) could be condemned as “socialist” especially by conservatives and libertarians. This is not that; it’s another example of conservatives seeking to suppress certain information that they don’t like.
The Hill, Al Weaver, 9 Apr 2023: Montana Republicans aim to change election rules — for one key Senate race
Republicans in Montana are trying to change the rules for next year’s Senate primary to make it easier to defeat Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and win back the Senate majority.
As widely noted, that Republicans think they can win only by changing the rules indicates that they realize they can’t win based on policies and ideas.
Finally a dose of reality.
NY Times, Paul Krugman, 10 Apr 2023: The Meaning of an Awesome Employment Report
Americans, they said, just don’t want to work. Socialism has made them lazy. They’d rather play video games. They don’t have the skills required by a 21st-century economy. High unemployment is “structural” and can’t be solved with monetary and fiscal stimulus.
All of these stories received wide circulation during the long employment slump that followed the 2008 financial crisis and again in the aftermath of the pandemic recession. They were pushed by billionaires, captains of industry and prominent economists.
And none of them were true.
Krugman goes on to explain why the current low unemployment rates are so significant. Despite which, partisans will see whatever they want to see among all the statistics. (Alas, it will forever be so.)
Now, today’s column isn’t directly about politics, although people who insisted that we couldn’t possibly hope to achieve full employment because American workers don’t have what it takes tended to be on the political right. But it is worth noting that Republicans keep insisting President Biden’s policies have been an economic disaster, and that even the mainstream news media has tended to emphasize inflation — which has been a nasty shock, even though it may be subsiding — rather than job gains.
So it does seem worth pointing out that at this point Biden is presiding over the best job market America has seen in a generation — specifically since the boom of the late Clinton years. And that, as Biden himself might (almost) say, is a big something deal.
So beware of hearing only what you want to hear, even though it’s elemental in human nature to do exactly that.