Pop Goes The Political Culture, November 24, 2018
Greetings, MPU-inverse! It’s been a delightful week of feasting and giving thanks and shopping at small businesses over here. I was hoping that by shopping at Amazon, I would be supporting a future local business but no. No, Amazon decided northern Virginia, just a few miles from where I live was a better locale for a portion of their HQ2. Governor Hogan, Republican and commercial real estate expert couldn’t seal the deal on that big boost to economic growth, whereas Democrat Ralph Northam had no problem. GREAT JOB LARRY! Way to make sure Maryland continues to lag the region in jobs growth!
The gang and I will be talking a lot about state politics in the next episode so you’ll get to hear more about why I’m really annoyed that Larry “I can’t make economic growth happen” Hogan was re-elected. Until then, here’s all the news that’s not fit to ‘cast!
We Said “Stay Out!”: Many of you have probably read the story of the American who was killed by residents of Sentinel Island off the coast of India this week. The 26 year old called himself an explorer and adventurer and engaged in missionary work as well. But not the good kind of missionary work where he built shelters and dug wells or something useful. The kind where he showed up in a region where he was prohibited from visiting and tried to convert a group of uncontacted peoples with a history of killing intruders.
Christocentric patriarchal colonialism is a helluva a drug.
Opinion on what the guy was doing are mixed but I think we can all agree that the history of Sentinel Island is fascinating. Basically, it’s a small land mass where people live in neolithic conditions. It’s been overseen by various authorities over the centuries. Barring a period where a particularly foul British general was treating the residents as oddities that he could manipulate and “study” at his own whim, the island’s population have kept themselves apart from the rest of the world. They are, in fact, actively hostile to anyone wandering into their territory and they repsond by shooting arrows at them. They even shot arrows at aid helicopters airlifting supplies to them after a tsunami. They don’t like outsides at all.
I read a fascinating twitter thread on them here. They really have no good reason to trust outsiders and and they protect themselves accordingly.
I hope future busybodies like the missionary who died there take note that these people do not want to buy what they’re selling.
Every Pregnancy A Wanted Pregnancy: When the CDC isn’t doing the incredibly important work of making sure we don’t eat tainted romaine lettuce, they also track other significant health data. Last week, they released a report showing that the abortion rate had dropped to the lowest point in a decade. Before everyone starts crediting Trump policies for this situation, take note that the year for which the CDC was analyzing data was 2015. So, thanks Obama!
The CDC just presented data, not any explanation for why the abortion rate was lower in 2015. Much of the report is mind-bogglingly specific statistics and descriptions of methodology but this one phrase really stood out to me:
However, despite the multiple influences on abortion, because unintended pregnancy precedes nearly all cases of abortions,§§§§§§ efforts to help women avoid pregnancies that they do not desire might reduce the number of abortions (83–85).
Recent data indicate that the proportion of pregnancies in the United States that were unintended decreased from 51% in 2008 to 45% during 2011–2013, after a slight increase from 2001 to 2008 (52).
Seems pretty clear cut to me. When pregnancies are wanted or welcomed, they are completed. Create an environment in which more pregnancies are welcomed and fewer people will terminate them. That means better access to contraception for those who don’t want to be pregnant and better quality of life – including higher wages and lower housing, health care and childcare costs – for those who would raise children if the opportunities presented itself.
Those are the answers folks. Birth control or a pay raise. Either one of those things can stop an abortion. We just need the social will to provide them
Harry Potter and The More Perfect Union: Last week on the podcast Greg sullied my good name by saying my taste in Harry Potter books is faulty. He believes that Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is superior to Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I beg to differ. I also think JK Rowling is on my side on this matter. While she does not name a favorite book, she does admit that her favorite character is Dumbledore. Since Half-Blood Prince is basically ALL ABOUT DUMBLEDORE, we can infer that she also loves that book very, very much. There is hardly any Dumbledore in Goblet of Fire.
Take that, Greg.
The Once and Future Speaker: The Washington Post published a very good profile of Pelosi and her method of securing support in her run for Speaker in the 116th Congress. In her typical fashion, she is addressing each Member of her caucus and finding out what they need to get to yes, then giving it to them. This isn’t the first time she’s done this and it won’t be the last. This whole discussion reminded me of the last internal battle to pass the ACA. I talked about it in a series of tweets this week.
Nancy Pelosi is the most underrated politician and broker of power in Washington today. We have elevated Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Hillary Clinton to mythic status in the discussions of progressive women’s rise but Pelosi is sometimes overlooked.
This race for Speaker should show everyone that you underestimate her at your own peril.
Tune in for the podcast when it drops so you can hear us discuss all the important political news and for Greg’s rebuttal to my (excellent and undeniable) point about JK Rowling and Dumbledore.