Tag Archives: Megan McArdle

If providing free tampons is woke, I don’t want to be asleep.

Back in 2020, some lawmakers in Tennessee freaked out at a proposal to add menstrual products to items on the annual sales-tax holiday: my god, what if they bought a whole year’s supply at once! Of course that’s possible with any item during the holiday but someone the thought of women getting a tax break on tampons pushed their buttons.

In Idaho more recently, Democrats proposed providing free tampons to girls in school because (I gather) not everyone has a steady supply and having to worry about it makes it harder to focus on schools. According to State Rep. Barbara Ehardt (who’s also pushing a new forced-birth policy) , talk of “period poverty” is too woke for her. Her Republican colleague Heather Scott complained the policy was absurd and asked if the nanny staters planned to provide free deodorant as well.

I can’t help but think of the outrage many conservatives have expressed that under Obamacare, insurance automatically covers ob/gyn stuff. The late Charles Krauthammer freaked out about it, as have Sean Hannity  — why should he subsidize birth control when he’s not having sex? — and Paul Ryan, who complained that under the ACA, “the people who are healthy pay for the people who are sick.” Um, that’s how insurance works, dude. Fellow bullshit artist Megan McArdle similarly argued that saying company health insurance policies should cover birth control is as silly as demanding your employer buy you a car (I dissect her non-logic at the link).

Of course I’m sure these attacks fall into “any bullshit that can destroy Obamacare is good bullshit” category but it’s telling how many right-wingers focus their criticism specifically on ob/gyn stuff, as opposed to women buying policies that guarantee coverage for prostate cancer or Viagra (or in the case of Krauthammer, a paraplegic, that abled people’s policies cover wheelchairs and similar necessities like he relies on). Or that someone like me, who has a glass of red wine daily and doesn’t smoke, still has a policy that covers alcoholism and lung cancer. That’s all cool, but not the ob/gyn stuff.

Part of that may be simple prudery because the ACA includes birth control. If women want daily birth control pills it must be because they want sex every day; Mike Huckabee says it’s insulting the ACA covers this since it implies American women can’t control their libido. Of course it implies nothing of the sort: taking birth control regularly simply guarantees that if the circumstances for sex arrive, you don’t have to worry about pregnancy. But forced birthers hate the idea that women can have sex and refuse motherhood.

This may relate to why Republican judge Reed O’Connor just struck down the ACA requirement insurers cover preventive care, including much ob/gyn care, birth control (apparently not all forms) and cancer and HIV screenings (the government can appeal this). HIV and contraceptives, according to the post at the link, are his big bugaboos (the plaintiff in the case is a homophobe anti-vaxxer).

Some conservatives also hate the idea of treating pregnancy as a health condition rather than the magical miracle of women’s nature. Never mind that we have the highest maternal death rate in the developed world, misogynist Matt Walsh thinks “If a woman’s reproductive powers were seen as powers, rather than a disease or a burden or an oppression, I think conservatives and liberals alike could find many common reasons to reject the pill.” Here’s an idea Mr. Walsh: let each woman decide for herself whether a specific pregnancy is a burden or a blessing. Walsh thinks we should “get past the notion that a woman must be liberated from her nature” but neither he nor I get to define an individual woman’s (or man’s) nature for them.

I’m quite sure Walsh wouldn’t tolerate anyone defining his for him. And I’m just as sure that in his eyes (and Huckabee’s, Krauthammer’s, etc.) That’s Different.

You can read more of my work about misogyny in Undead Sexist Cliches, available as a Amazon paperback, an ebook and from several other retailers. Cover by Kemp Ward.

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Republicans think people should pay their debts. Oh, wait.

As the White House is pointing out, multiple Republicans in Congress who are shocked — shocked! — that students might get out of paying their loans were fine accepting debt forgiveness for PPP loans, which helped keep companies afloat during the pandemic.  Curt Schilling, an ex-baseball star, is likewise shocked —never mind that he was fine with defaulting on a $75 million state loan from Rhode Island for his now defunct business.

Hell, for that matter they’re fine with Trump filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy — the “I don’t want to pay my debts but I don’t want to shut down my business” version — six times. Republicans are squealing a lot about how forgiving student loans leaves hardworking blue collar types on the hook for unemployed liberal arts majors but they’re fine voting for a god king who leaves contractors with unpaid bills.

All the emphasis on how hardworking truckers will pay tax to support unemployed philosophy majors ignores, as a friend of mine pointed out on FB, that a lot of these loans cover trucking school, paramedic training, construction training and lots of other employment. Training on the job isn’t as common as it used to be and not everyone who takes out student loans is white collar or rich.

Megan McArdle is horrified the program, rather than helping those in need, is a giveaway so that people can “have nice clothes and go out a lot.” Of course, McArdle also believes that poverty is always the result of bad life decisions so it’s the individual’s own fault they’re poor. And that blacks commit more crimes and get more welfare, both incorrect. So I am somewhat unimpressed she thinks Biden’s program is too generous.

Right-wing pundit Timothy Carney proposes this is all a diabolical conspiracy: mocking the PPP moochers is saying that anyone who gets some sort of benefit from government isn’t allowed to criticize the government. That’s why government is constantly expanding benefits, to silence us! But no, that’s not it: it’s criticism of people whose cries of Pay Your Debts, Don’t Burden Taxpayers don’t apply to themselves. That’s legit.


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Republicans: how misogynistic can they get? Very.

Some Republicans are loudly protesting that Of Course that 10-year-old rape victim in Ohio could have gotten an abortion legally under the state’s risk-to-the-mother exemption. Never mind that Indiana’s Republicans attorney general immediately launched an investigation into the doctor who provided the abortion, so apparently he doesn’t think it’s cut-and-dried (he describes her at the link as “an activist acting as a doctor” — no, she’s a doctor).

“Of course they would prefer that the story was a fiction. Admitting that the story was true would require admitting that there are some cases in which abortion is not only a necessity, it is a mercy. It is not only acceptable, it can be moral.” — Monica Hesse on why so many conservatives refused to admit a 10 year old rape victim needed an abortion. And New York Times to the contrary, there was no heated political debate, it was one side lying. Or casting needless suspicion on the story’s truth. Or Megan McArdle claiming that as only 52 under-14s got abortions in Ohio last year, it’s no big deal if underage girls can’t get abortions.

Lying, for example, that abortion is never necessary to save the life of the mother (it often is). This is a common right-wing belief/claim and you know what? It makes me doubt they’ll be very supportive of anyone getting a life-saving abortion. Right-wing writer Georgi Boorman wrote that even ectopic pregnancies can be treated without abortion which is bullshit. She admitted later she was wrong but The Federalist still has the article on its website.

And now here comes Idaho Republican Scott Herndon who pushed for language in the state party platform declaring no exceptions, not even to save the mother. Herndon argued that making exceptions nullifies the force of their argument : “For the last 49 years we have essentially lost the argument in the culture because we have focused on abortion as the termination of a pregnancy and not the termination of a living human being.” And it’s the intentional taking of a life, which is never acceptable!

Newsflash, bozo: Your side has been screaming about it being murder for decades. And you’re losing the culture war because American culture accepts that abortion is moral. On Twitter, Herndon declares these claims about the platform are misinformation, but they aren’t. Presumably like so many Republican Death Cult politicians, he’s horrified at being caught out saying the quiet parts of abortion policy out loud.

Oh, and did you know Idaho is one of six states that allows parents to kill children by withholding medical care for religious reasons. Somehow I don’t see Herndon rushing to protect those innocent children. Herndon is quite right that the religious right is losing the culture war, but there’s a reason they get no respect.

In other misogynistic news:

Joe Biden has told doctors that federal law requires they provide medically necessary abortion and trumps state law. So Texas AG Ken Paxton is suing the feds. More detail here.

“The womb is the only organ in a woman’s body that serves no specific purpose to her life or well-being,” according to Montana Republican Brad Tschida, so clearly she gets no say about it. I’m reminded once again of neo-Nazi Andrew Anglin declaring women’s wombs really belong to men.

Shitbag harasses A-OC by complimenting her “big booty.” Marjorie Taylor Greene says A-OC should be flattered. She’s not only a female misogynist, she’s recycling old sexist talking points.

“At least seven abortion funds in Texas have shut down and stopped paying for procedures and travel assistance since the June 24 Supreme Court decision, fearing their staff and volunteers would face criminal prosecution — even for abortions obtained out-of-state.”

Pope Francis is working to prevent priestly abuse scandals in the developing world. A case from Congo shows it’s not going well.

I get into this bullshit more in Undead Sexist Cliches, available as a Amazon paperback, an ebook and from several other retailers. Cover by Kemp Ward, all rights remain with current holder.


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This seems like a good time for a link post about abortion, does it not?

Yes, it can get worse.

Republicans have lied in the past and pretended women who get abortions won’t ever be prosecuted. Now, though? Conservative Louisiana politicians are already looking at making abortion a homicide and charging the mother. The Missouri legislature was looking at a bill that would criminalize aborting ectopic pregnancies, even though the fetus can’t be saved. The sponsor, Brian Seitz objects the bill wouldn’t affect ectopic abortions because they’re legal — but then what was the point of the ban?

My guess is that he does want to criminalize them — it’s not like this would be unique — but backed off when the opposition got intense. Of course, even laws which don’t flat out ban treating them can intimidate doctors — is it a life-threatening emergency yet, or not?

Ohio Republican Jean Schmidt thinks forcing teenage rape victims to bear their rapist’s baby is a personal growth opportunity. Again, this is a standard-issue right-wing viewpoint. So are lies about ob/gyn science and abortion.

The son of an ob/gyn who performed abortions says the media and medical professionals trying to pacify forced-birthers hasn’t worked out well.

Adoption is not the miracle solution to replacing abortion.

If abortion is illegal we’ll see more doctors reporting patients to the cops, even when not required.

Neither is Republican Senator Susan Collins saying she’s really, really upset that judges she voted to appoint didn’t tell the truth about their abortion views. It’s her MO in most awkward political situations — wring her hands and then do absolutely nothing. Other Republicans are focusing their outrage on whoever leaked the draft.

Alito’s draft opinion says gosh, his reasoning doesn’t apply to any rights or prior decisions but Roe, but the same logic could easily apply to rights of gay marriage, birth control and interracial marriage. LGM thinks gay marriage is the only one immediately at risk but I think the poster underestimates right-wing hostility to sexually active women. Though Republican pundits such as Megan McArdle are very loud that it’ll never happen.

But it can get better. Stopping medical abortions will be a lot tougher than surgical procedures. Voting pro-choice Dems into office or keeping them in office can help protect our rights (the Activate America campaign I’m working on now has that goal).

Some abortion providers in blue states are looking at other ways to help. Connecticut just passed a bill refusing to accept the various “sue a provider even out of state” laws red states are passing. More like this, please.

For more on the misogynist reasoning and lies of the forced-birth movement, read Undead Sexist Cliches, available as a Amazon paperback, an ebook and from several other retailers. Cover by Kemp Ward, all rights remain with current holder.

Cover by Kemp Ward, all rights remain with current holder.

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The Republican Party is pro-covid (and other links)

That’s Paul Campos’ argument: treating social distancing, masks and vaccination as personal lifestyle choices is no different from someone who argues drunk driving is a personal lifestyle choice, not any of the government’s business.

We know masks and social distancing help control the Trump Virus, but some right-wingers are still peddling the “don’t be afraid of covid” bullshit — and getting to do it in major mainstream outlets. As a subsequent LGM post says, the problem with the post is not an argument “people don’t care about covid policy” but liberals are fools for caring. 

“I want, oh god I want, to tell them that if we are the ones responsible for killing their loved ones, then why the hell have they brought them to the hospital? Why throw them into our clutches? I know the answer: They know it is all lies. But their egos are so huge they cant bring themselves to admit it.”

New York governor Kathy Hochul referenced people claiming a religious mandate exemption as “people out there who aren’t listening to God and what God wants.” That’s a fairly standard religious sentiment, routinely uttered on the right but to Neal Gorsuch it’s proof of anti-religious bias. As noted at the link, this didn’t bother the Supreme Court when it was bias against Muslims at issue.

Another anti-vax Republican dies of something, hmm I wonder what?

Why even Trump can’t get his voters to reverse course on the vaccine.

Anti-maskters left a blistering review of a Durham’s Luna Rotisserie, grumbling its mask policy shows the place is “full of Satanic activity.” Which is now the logo on the restaurant’s T-shirt.

I anticipate The Former Guy’s new social network, Truth Social, will crash and burn. But even though it’s not yet live, he’s already using it to fleece the flock.

Balloon Juice argues the Jan. 6 investigation is hitting harder than I thought with things like finding Mark Meadows in criminal contempt. Time will tell, but there’s only so much time left. On the plus side, using felony obstruction against the insurrectionists has passed its first court test. Oh, and when the hearing brought up Fox News, Fox News doesn’t mention its own anchors’ ties to the coup.

The DC attorney general is suing Proud Boys and Oath Keepers over their 1/6 involvement.

Trump is suing the New York state AG to stop her investigating his business.

Similarly the Supremes permitting Texas “anyone can sue an abortion doctor” won’t stop them ruling a proposed California “anyone can sue over guns” law unconstitutional. As discussed in this comments thread, though, there may be a political gain in showing non-Republican voters how the game is rigged.

More Republicans are more openly white supremacist. At the link, one bigot notes that “great replacement theory” plays much better in the mainstream than “white genocide.”

I linked to this earlier but here it is again: former Stockton mayor Michael Tubbs offers an example of how to fight poverty and how to stop talking about the poor as if it’s all their own fault. By contrast we have Megan McArdle explaining that sure, Scandinavian countries might cover your education and health expenses, but you can’t afford servants — as if the average American family had maid service, or might not think that was a fair trade off. In contrast to Tubbs, McArdle has claimed when poor people are poor, it’s always their own fault.

Electric companies “don’t make money off of solar power generated from rooftops” which is why one Florida company is trying to make rooftop panels less of an investment.

Ever heard those Facebook rants about how Dems being men forced Republicans to elect Trump? Tucker Carlson’s a believer.

The right-wing never tires of the lie that Democrats are setting up concentration camps. Presumably because that’s what they’d do if they could.

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Reaching across the abortion aisle

In an LGM comments thread about the imminent end of Roe rights, someone made the point that liberals have been asked since the 1990s to reach across the aisle. Respect that the right-to-life side is driven by sincere religious beliefs. Show we get it. Maybe compromise and allow a certain amount of restrictions, so that abortion is “safe, legal and rare” in Bill Clinton’s phrase. That way we can preserve the right to abortion and probably turn all those forced-birthers into committed Democratic voters!

Nobody ever suggests that the forced birth side should compromise and say, guarantee the right to abortion for rape victims as proof that they’re not anti-women. It’s always pro-choice who have to reach across the aisle (much like Democratic leaders are supposed to prove their independence by striking a conservative pose — nobody suggests Republican leaders should stand up to their voters by supporting gay rights or women’s equality).

And yes, the forced-birth side is indeed anti-woman. For all the claims that abortion is the American Holocaust, they aren’t willing to stop it by, say, making it easier for women to work and care for kids or making it easier to obtain birth control — that’s irresponsible! Better they take a stand against premarital sex that has no effect on abortion rates.

Nor do they give a crap about miscarriage, even though that means half of all children die in the womb (no, I don’t think they’re children, but going by right-wing logic …). They will, however, happily use miscarriages as an excuse to punish women.

Part of Mississippi’s argument is that with all the progress made in women’s rights, not being able to abort won’t hurt their careers or future plans. The evidence says otherwise. Amy Coney Barrett suggests that killing abortion is no big deal because it’s legal to give up your baby right after birth. But that won’t help with the costs of ob/gyn care, the emotional trauma of rape or incest or the health risks to some women of carrying to term. Let’s not forget, some Republicans believe that even if a fetus is dead or guaranteed to be born dead, women shouldn’t be allowed to abort. The right to give up the baby won’t help. Nor will it help if a court forces a woman to take bed rest or otherwise strips her of her rights.

The ever useless excresence Megan McArdle argues outlawing abortion is only an issue for elitists who worry about planning their career: the simple, working-class woman has has higher values than the option to have sex without pregnancy. And McArdle has a point — it’s not like an hourly wage worker would have money problems if they were off work for a couple of months due to an unplanned pregnancy. Of course, McArgleBargle claims poor people are all poor because of bad lifestyle decisions — a conclusion she argued showed her respect for the working class.

Justice Sotamayor has vented freely, asking “will this institution survive the stench that this creates in the public perception that the Constitution and its reading are just political acts?” Of course, it is — Republicans have been working toward a court decision against abortion for decades. Through the rancid luck of 2016 and various other factors, they can now do it. Nevertheless, Reason magazine — nominally libertarian, conservative in lots of ways — thinks the real problem is Sotamayor’s uncivil language.

But she has the right to be uncivil: Barrett, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh all lied about their views on abortion when they were confirmed. This was always the right-wing’s dream. If there was ever a chance for compromise (I doubt it) it vanished long ago. Unfortunately too many Democratic politicians waited too long to realize it.

I’ll close with a reminder that anti-abortion as a major right-wing issue is younger than the Happy Meal.


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A few quick links

A new high-water mark in predation: Raphael Sanchez, ICE chief counsel, helped build his $700,000 net worth by stealing the identities of immigrants in the ICE files, including murder victims and people his office was deporting

No, Trump is not a political genius and his tweets do not increase his support (except among people who already support him).

President Fistula’s vision of America hasn’t moved on from 1989.

Apparently you can’t play dodgeball while black.

Donald Trump lies about 9/11 (like he does everything).

Mitch McConnell is “arguably more than any other American, doing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s bidding.” But he’s very, very hurt that people are now calling him Moscow Mitch.

Is the right to teenage sex constitutional? From stuff I’ve read elsewhere, I’d say that’s not a crazy question, but when child-molester Jeffrey Epstein’s attorney Alan Dershowitz (who insists he only got one massage at Epstein’s mansion, and from a really old woman) makes the argument, I don’t think his interest is the abstract principle.

Sex vouchers for immigrants? Fake news.

Hate-mongering attorney Mat Staver comes up with a new theory against gay rights: it will protect Jeffrey Epstein from prosecution (never mind that his jailbait seems to have been strictly hetero).

Catholics grab the headlines but the Protestant ministry has its own share of pedophiles.

Jonathan Weisman of the NYT says it’s ridiculous to describe Reps. Ihlan Omar and Rashida Tlaib as “from the midwest” — that’s like saying John Lewis, born to Alabama sharecroppers, is “from the deep south!” Crazy right?

On Twitter Megan McArdle describes white communities that want to stay white as not racist but having “a preference for ethnic homogeneity.”

It turns out Blockbuster’s online offerings were holding their own with Netflix, until …

A top Border Patrol official refuses to rule out the possibility three-year-olds are security threats.

An autistic woman tells anti-vaxxers she’s not their scare tactic.

Finland is successfully fights back against fake news and Russian disinformation.

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Some political links for your perusal

So the Atlantic, after learning that Kevin Williamson wants women who get abortions to hang, dropped him like a hot potato. Joining the right-wing freakout at that link, pundit Ben Domenech warns this is just another step in liberals’ crushing free speech (for reasons why it’s not, check either link). And here’s some rumination on why

Idaho gubernatorial candidate Bob Nonini agrees with Williamson that women who have abortions must die. But when pressed, he says he doesn’t actually want to put women to death, he just wants to scare them into not having abortions. So no big, right?

If Nohini and Williamson support an absolute abortion ban, does that mean they’re okay with a 14-year-old rape victim dying in pregnancy?

Roseanne Barr endorses a conspiracy theory that Trump is covertly smashing an international pedophile ring.

South Carolina’s legislature is debating whether to secede if the feds take guns from lawful gun-owners. I’m willing to bet that if the federal government banned minorities’ equal voting rights, we would not see the same level of outrage. And of course, since none of the proposals on the table or close to the table involve gun confiscations, it’s pretty much posturing anyway.

Ivanka Trump tried to convince Planned Parenthood to give up its abortion services because they’re “political.” PP didn’t, which was wise, as plenty of opponents hate birth control too.

Arkansas Libertarian Justin Jones thinks gays (not the term he used) are disgusting.

Ex-lesbian Lisa Miller kidnapped her daughter some years back (her partner won full custody after Miller refused to accept the visitation terms). Anti-gay activists want Trump to pardon Miller and everyone who helped her.

Unsurprisingly, many conservatives are outraged that George Washington University is conducting a discussion of Christian privilege.

Another look at how Megan McArdle succeeds at falling upwards.

The Supreme Court says a cop who shot a woman in her front yard can’t be sued by her family.

A former MS-13 member who helped the feds bust MS-13 is being deported for ever belonging to MS-13.

One of the right-wing charges against the Parkland students is that they could have stopped Nikolas Cruz’s rampage if they’d been nicer to him. A student answers: Wrong. Lance Manion looks at a Florida Republican who thinks the kids should just shut up and listen to their betters. Esquire points out child activism has a long history. Rod Dreher insists that liberals are once again shooting themselves in the head.

Trump’s claims the FBI are corrupt has become a terrorist defense tactic in court. More here.

Blake Rollins shot Jaelynn Riley, then shot himself. The NRA claims that because a security guard shot at Rollins, it’s a Good Man With a Gun Stopped a Bad Man. Never mind the guard didn’t stop Rollins or kill him.

So a right-winger assumes a bearded dark-skinned man is a terrorist based purely on appearance. Said conservative, John Guandolo, wants everyone to know that’s totally logical and not at all profiling.

Christopher Cantwell, the crying Nazi, claims that he’s only collaborating with the government to help the alt-right cause. Yes, I’m sure.

Slacktivist discusses how young-earth creationism leads to complete disbelief.

I generally have no use for right-winger Matt Walsh, but I’ll give him credit for calling out the Trump Is King David argument (David was a sinner, God used him; so obviously, no need for Christians to criticize Trump)


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