Residents of suburbia and exurbia who live in gated communities and drive trucks and own boats with Blue Lives Matters stickers are most likely to believe America has become Baghdad in 2005, respected pollsters have learned. Continue reading
Although bolder about going indoors in public, I still mask if I’m going to linger someplace: the library, the bookstore, Target, that sort of thing. So long as a chance exists, however small, that a lying unmasked customer can transmit the highly infectious Delta variant of COVID, I cover up. Cases are rising among the unvaccinated. In Appalachia, the unvaccinated thank Jesus before the nurses who save their parents’ lives. Consider the lizard brains cogitating this bullshit: Continue reading
Elated by the sight of students seated in a classroom for the first time since March 2020, I threw myself on the filthy, COVID-saturated carpet to demonstrate how Gregg Toland used low angle shots on Orson Welles in Citizen Kane. Continue reading
In the summer of 2009 a coordinated series of demonstrations against so-called federal overreach scared the hell out of Democrats and the few Republicans who dared to show affection in public to the first Black president in American history. Conservative mountebanks a dozen years later think they’ve found a way to shake the Biden administration with equally well-coordinated demonstrations over critical race theory. Continue reading
Briefly carless and living at home, I relied on my mom to drive me to a bookstore job many years ago. This period marked my first concentrated adult exposure to Cuban talk radio. She was particularly taken with Agustin Acosta. An autodidact who began as a FM deejay on dance stations for most of the eighties, he found his crisp enunciation a virtue when he joined a morning show with Bernadette Pardo on 1140 AM. Continue reading
Seven months after elections whose mail-in and in-person components worked with a precision expected of the *World’s Greatest Representative Democracy, the supplicants and toadies clambering at the feet of the former president work like Santa’s elves in state legislatures to ensure that the Democratic Party’s victories in 2020 are short-lived. Corey Robin defines conservative tradition as a “meditation” on the “felt experience of having power, seeing it threatened, and trying to win it back.” Conservatives have long been not-so-secret fascists and opposed to democracy — at least since 1964 — and Donald Trump finally gave them a Moloch to worship. Continue reading
“A society that lets George W. Bush go anywhere without a shrieking Greek chorus to remind him of his body count isn’t good for much at all,” Sarah Jones writes. The wretched thing about the shrieking excrescence that rotted in the Oval Office between January 2017 and January 2020 is how living Republicans before Bush look acceptable, even avuncular. Continue reading
Republicans insist on home rule unless they think besieged minorities are getting uppity. Behold the Florida House:
Florida’s House bill is similar to legislation passed in Idaho, which was quickly challenged in federal court and is now on hold after a judge ruled the state cannot ban transgender students from sports teams. Similar bans have been signed into law by Republican governors in Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee. Lawmakers are debating them in dozens of other states.
The Senate version would allow transgender athletes to join girls’ or women’s teams if their testosterone levels are below a certain limit for a year before they begin competition.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Kaylee Tuck, R-Lake Placid, denied that the bill would ban transgender girls from playing. She argued that the bill “does not even mention the transgender language” and repeatedly referred to transgender girls using an anti-trans slur: “biological males.”
Having discarded with the relief of the morally constipated the fiction of believing in “fiscal conservatism” when Donald Trump raided the public larder, Republicans can turn their attention to what animates them: wanton cruelty to American citizens they can caricature. The attitude is not new. Writing during the Clinton impeachment about a political press whose nepotism and venality didn’t prevent them from affecting an unearned sanctimony, Greil Marcus remarked, “The secret weapon was that some belong in the United States, and some people don’t; that some are worthy, and some are worthless; that certain ideas and opinions are sanctified, and some are evil.”
No GOP legislator can point to a case where the boogeyman of a rapist preys on girls in bathrooms by pretending to be trans. “Perhaps they believe that, in picking a fight with children, they’ve chosen a war they can actually win,” Adam Serwer writes.
Conflicts between civil rights and religious freedom can certainly present thorny legal dilemmas, but most of what I’m describing here involves Republicans consciously choosing not to leave people alone. There was no threat to life or liberty that demanded same-sex-marriage bans, Sharia bans, or draconian state-level immigration laws. They embraced these causes because they believed that picking on these particular groups of people was good politics, because of their supporters’ animus toward them, and because they believed that their targets lacked the votes or political allies to properly fight back.
He refers to the attacks on trans Americans taking place in state after state with Republicans in the governor’s seat and majorities in legislatures. Thanks to ghouls like Samuel Alito, “religious freedom,” a concept as foreign to the Constitution as “liberty of contract,” has turned into a considerable weapon.
Finally, the human cost. To be queer is to dislike oxygen because it tastes like fear; to be queer is to dwell in a world where relatives and friends know its language and have learned its habits without sharing either with you. Transgender adolescents deal with an additional layer of disruption. “The capacity to invoke fear, whether of gods or humans, is all about power: who can act coercively, who can control thoughts and behaviors,” Ashon Crawley writes this week in a marvelous piece about the impact of Lil Nas X’s “Montero” video on her. It’s as if conservative legislators had indeed watched the video, and felt afraid themselves: their assumptions, appeals to an old order, and perhaps their own suppressed desires stirred by forces they can stifle with pieces of paper signed by governors.
Behold what John Roberts and His Furious Five, particularly Samuel Alito, have wrought: legislation in Arkansas awaiting the governor’s signature which will allow health care providers to cite “religious liberty” as an excuse to deny treatment.
Opponents have said types of health care that could be cut off include maintaining hormone treatments for transgender patients needing in-patient care for an infection, or grief counseling for a same-sex couple. They’ve also said it could also be used to refuse to fill prescriptions for birth control, or by physicians assistants to override patient directives on end of life care
“There is no sugarcoating this: this bill is another brazen attempt to make it easier to discriminate against people and deny Arkansans the health care services they need,” ACLU of Arkansas Executive Director Holly Dickson said in a statement. The ACLU did not say whether it planned any legal action to try and block the law before it takes effect.
The law is among several measures targeting transgender people that have easily advanced through the majority-Republican Legislature this year. Hutchinson on Thursday signed a law that will prohibit transgender women and girls from playing on sports teams consistent with their gender identity.
Transgender Americans are not citizens to the GOP. They’re not even people. Consider this: in most states the police can arrest you for denying an animal medical care.