If Period Discussions In Health Class Are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will ... What The HELL FLORIDA?
This is your reproductive rights roundup!
Florida Republican Admits His Bill Would Bar Young Girls From Discussing Their Periods In School
One day in fifth grade, the school nurse sent all the boys to go play baseball outside and gathered the girls to watch several instructive but weirdly outdated videos about menstruation, including this one, starring Andrea McArdle and the cast of Annie, many, many years after the show closed on Broadway.
And then my friend Angela and I went around singing "Your period will come, tomorrow! When you're wearing white shorts and it's gym day! You'll get cramps!" for the rest of the year. Naturally.
Florida state Rep. Stan McClain (R) has a bill, however, that would make all of that illegal. HB 1069, which he introduced on Wednesday, would bar all instruction and discussion of sexual health related issues before sixth grade.
“Does this bill prohibit conversations about menstrual cycles ― because we know that typically the ages is between 10 and 15 ― so if little girls experience their menstrual cycle in fifth grade or fourth grade, will that prohibit conversations from them since they are in the grade lower than sixth grade?” Rep. Ashley Viola Gantt (D) asked McClain during the hearing.
Rep. Gantt later asked McClain if teachers would be penalized if girls, say, came to them with period-related issues. He says it would but that he was "amenable" to considering amending the bill so that teachers wouldn't lose their jobs if a kid came up to them and asked for a menstrual pad or whatever. How very gracious of him.
The bill also petulantly insists that children must be taught "that sex is determined by biology and reproductive function at birth: that biological males impregnate biological females by fertilizing the female egg with male sperm; that the female then gestates the offspring; and that these reproductive roles are binary, stable, and unchangeable." Because that's totally going to stop trans people from existing, right? That's a thing that it is possible to do, right along with barring girls from getting their periods until the sixth grade.
Of course, that's not the purpose of this shit. The purpose of this is to inspire other children to be shitty to trans children, so Rep. McClain doesn't have to worry about a scary future world where people don't share his ridiculous ideas about human sexuality.
It's actually pretty important for kids to get age-appropriate instruction in sexual health, at the very least so that if godforbid they are being sexually abused they understand that it's wrong and have the language to describe what is happening to them. Though this might also bar them from discussing that with teachers right along with questions about menstruation.
North Dakota Supreme Court Says North Dakota Can't Ban Abortion (For Now, Anyway)
The North Dakota supreme court this week upheld a lower court's decision to bar the state's abortion ban from going into effect. While the court was technically only ruling on whether or not the judge in that case could block the law from going into effect before the case was decided, the majority opinion included an analysis of the state constitution suggesting that it at least protects the right to abortion in cases where the mother's health or safety may be at risk.
Via New York Times:
In a majority opinion, the ruling said that judge was within his rights but added that the state Constitution protects “the right to enjoy and defend life and a right to pursue and obtain safety,” which includes the right of a pregnant woman to “obtain an abortion to preserve her life or her health.” [...]
The court also said the state legislature had the authority to regulate abortion but that the abortion rights advocates in the case seeking to overturn the ban “demonstrated likely success on the merits that there is a fundamental right to an abortion in the limited instances of life-saving and health-preserving circumstances, and the statute is not narrowly tailored to satisfy strict scrutiny.”
So it's not great, but it's something?
Mississippi Gov. Finally Gets Around To Signing Medicaid Expansion Covering Postpartum Care For 12 Months
Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves signed legislation this week that would finally extend the amount of postpartum care provided by Medicaid from two months to 12 months, after practically every other state had extended it, while suggesting that signing it was part of his big "pro-life" agenda. Reeves had stalled on signing it for months, because of how pro-life he is, demanding to see data that giving mothers more health care after pregnancy would improve their health outcomes.
He also wanted to be very clear that he would absolutely not be expanding Medicaid in any other ways, probably also because of how pro-life he is.
“I’ve been against Medicaid expansion since it was first proposed by Barack Obama. I still am. And, as what many would call the leading advocate fighting against Obamacare expansion, I have plenty of scars to show for it,” Reeves said in a statement. Surely, the people of Mississippi who need affordable healthcare are very grateful to him for making sure they can't get it and are more than willing to pay for those scars to be taken care of by funding his healthcare with their taxes.
Mississippi still has the highest infant mortality rate in the nation.
'Pro-Life' Mobile Phone Company Employee Allegedly Fired For Not Aborting Her Boss's Baby
A 34-year-old woman says she was fired from Patriot Mobile, the mobile phone company/PAC frequently shilled for by rightwing pundits who tell fans that they should have a mobile phone company that "shares their values," after she got pregnant with her married boss's baby and refused to get an abortion.
Kara Cunningham says her boss at the company Everett Trost "groomed" her and eventually persuaded her to have an affair with him — and that when she got pregnant with his child he cried and cried and begged her to have an abortion. He said he'd pay for it but that she would have to go alone, probably on account of the fact that he is a married executive at a "pro-life family values" cell phone company. When she refused, she says, he had her fired and barred anyone from the company from speaking to her.
Cunningham's story is backed up by another former employee, Rodney Banks, a former customer service manager who was fired for speaking out against racism at the company and says she wasn't the first girl Trost had gone after.
About a young Black woman Trost allegedly groomed before Cunningham, Banks claims Trost “would leave money under [her] keyboard for nude pictures” of the young woman who wishes to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation.
Asked if she knew this young woman, Cunningham said, “I heard people talking about it, especially the pics, but every time I asked [Trost] about her, he would just get mad and deny it, all angry because the girl was Black and everyone knows how racist he is.”
What a peach.
Banks also said he was "floored" by the culture of white supremacy at the company, though the name "Patriot Mobile" should have been a big hint there.
Cunningham says the affair became sexual in September of 2022 — well after Texas had outlawed abortion — and that she was pregnant and fired for refusing to have an abortion by Thanksgiving. Because "pro-life family values." She now has no income and no health insurance. Because "pro-life family values."
The company, which calls itself the only "Christian, conservative" mobile phone company, was a proud sponsor of CPAC this year, specifically hosting Lauren Boebert and Jack Posobiec.
To be fair, this is the party of Donald Trump, so Patriot Mobile is not actually lying when it says it shares the values of its consumer base.
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Proposed Florida Textbooks Won't Say Why Rosa Parks Stayed Seated. Maybe She Was Stubborn, Who Knows?
She probably should've taken an Uber.
Now that Ron DeSantis has scrubbed all the woke out of Florida math textbooks, it's time for the state's social studies textbooks to be winnowed, so that no traces of critical race theory remains, and so no children feel guilty or sad about history. The New York Times reports (gift link) that as part of the periodic review of textbooks this year,
a small army of state experts, teachers, parents and political activists have combed thousands of pages of text — not only evaluating academic content, but also flagging anything that could hint, for instance, at critical race theory.
Remember, of course, that while in academia, critical race theory is a graduate-level topic of study, on the right, CRT means anything that makes white people fretting about The Blacks uncomfortable.
One group involved in the effort, the Florida Citizens Alliance, determined that 29 of the 38 textbooks its volunteers examined were simply inappropriate for use in Florida, and urged the Florida Department of Education to reject them. The Times notes that the group's co-founders helped out with education policy during DeSantis's transition (to governor, not in a trans kind of way, heavens!), and that it has "helped lead a sweeping effort to remove school library books deemed as inappropriate, including many with L.G.B.T.Q. characters."
We bet the books they rejected were just full of critical racecars and critical footraces! Just how bad were these awful textbooks?
In a summary of its findings submitted to the state last month, the group complained that a McGraw Hill fifth-grade textbook, for example, mentioned slavery 189 times within a few chapters alone. Another objection: An eighth-grade book gave outsize attention to the “negative side” of the treatment of Native Americans, while failing to give a fuller account of their own acts of violence, such as the Jamestown Massacre of 1622, in which Powhatan warriors killed more than 300 English colonists.
Good call, because while Native Americans may have been genocided by disease — and later by US federal policy — some fought back, and that evens everything out.
Hilariously, the Times also notes that that the
White Citizens Council Florida Citizens Alliance is "pushing the state to add curriculum from Hillsdale College, a small Christian school in Michigan that is active in conservative politics." There's just one little problem, though, because what Hillsdale offers for K-12 history and civics isn't in any sense a "textbook," but instead a set of guidelines for teachers, with recommended primary readings like the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and probably Rush Limbaugh's awful children's books (we're guessing on that one). But it's from Hillsdale so that's what the kids need.
The Times simply notes that "The curriculum was not included in Florida’s official review, and the state did not comment on the group’s recommendations."
Rush Limbaugh's Crappy Books Will Save Kids From A.P. History
Biden Just Deleted The Stupid Ahistorical Bullsh*ts Of T---p's '1776 Commission Report'
Florida Takes Its Turn On 'Please Don't Make White People Uncomfortable' Bandwagon
Ask The Gay Penguins How 'Limited' Florida's 'Don't Say Gay' Law Is. YOU CAN'T THEY'RE BANNED
Florida's Education Department actually does require that schools teach Black history, although how exactly that's supposed to be done in a way that won't upset any hypervigilant rightwing parents isn't entirely clear. The Times says the department
emphasized that the requirements were recently expanded, including to ensure students understood “the ramifications of prejudice, racism and stereotyping on individual freedoms.”
As we all know, slavery and Jim Crow were bad because they were regrettable departures from America's founding ideas of freedom and equality, which were always the norm except in certain unfortunate moments (from 1619 through 1965 and elsewhere).
In a very sad attempt to win favor with Florida, an outfit called "Studies Weekly," a minor-league publisher of weekly social-studies pamphlets mostly for early elementary grades, attempted to completely remove race from its first-grade lessons on Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott. That took some doing!
The absolutely essential progressive parent group the Florida Freedom to Read Project provided the Times with three different versions of Studies Weekly's very brief lessons on Parks. The first is currently used in Florida schools, and is pretty accurate:
"In 1955, Rosa Parks broke the law. In her city, the law said African Americans had to give up their seats on the bus if a white person wanted to sit down. She would not give up her seat. The police came and took her to jail."
There were also two versions created for the new textbook review; the Times points out it's not clear which one the company submitted, and as it turns out, Studies Weekly was rejected because it messed up its paperwork, so we'll never know what the Florida Department of Education thought of the Rosa Parks lessons.
One version mentions race only indirectly:
"Rosa Parks showed courage. One day, she rode the bus. She was told to move to a different seat because of the color of her skin. She did not. She did what she believed was right."
Another version eliminates race altogether, making it really unclear whether Parks was a hero or just kind of a jerk.
"Rosa Parks showed courage. One day, she rode the bus. She was told to move to a different seat. She did not. She did what she believed was right."
It's really something of a wonder that there wasn't a third revision that simply said "Rosa Parks showed courage. She rode a bus. Good for her! Buses are big and scary!"
A fourth-grade lesson about discrimination following the Civil War and Reconstruction had similarly bizarre edits. In the initial version, the lesson explained that even after the war, many people in former Confederate states "believed African-Americans should be enslaved" and that they were "not equal to anyone in their community." (Yes, that's already problematic since it suggests white is the norm, but oh my, it gets very much worse.)
That got revised to the far weirder observation that "many communities in the South held on to former belief systems that some people should have more rights than others in their community."
And where the initial discussion of Southern "Black Codes" made very clear that African Americans were regularly denied their basic rights, the second version still uses the term "Black Codes," but says only that it became "a crime for men of certain groups to be unemployed" and that "certain groups of people" were prevented from serving on juries. Sounds like members of those certain groups were treated like they were particular individuals.
For the little it's worth, the Times also adds that
The Florida Department of Education suggested that Studies Weekly had overreached. Any publisher that “avoids the topic of race when teaching the Civil Rights movement, slavery, segregation, etc. would not be adhering to Florida law,” the department said in a statement.
The story also notes that it's not clear yet whether other publishers attempted similar decolorization; to find out, we may have to wait until Florida announces the textbooks that passed muster.
Until then, we'll just have to hope none of the textbooks explain that the Voting Rights Act was passed after John Lewis and a certain group of his friends took a leisurely Sunday stroll across a bridge.
[NYT (gift link)]
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Is Tucker Malfunctioning? Is It The Woke Banks' Fault? Can Somebody Restart Tucker?
This bank thing appears to have fried all his circuits.
On Tucker Carlson's show last night, he said that January 6 is "second only to the 2020 election as the biggest scam in my lifetime."
We feel like those kinds of lies lose their bite now that we have 100 percent confirmation that Tucker Carlson is the biggest scam of our lives, and that he knows he is lying to his viewers. That he hates Donald Trump. Tucker publicly admitted once that he lies when he feels cornered, and we replied at the time that the poor guy must just be feeling like a terrified animal every time he goes on the TV. But these texts and emails revealed by the Dominion Voting Systems suit tell us so much more.
We know that one of his producers compared dealing with people skeptical of the 2020 election results as akin to "negotiating with terrorists, but especially dumb ones. Cousin fucking types not saudi royalty.”
Tucker knows he's lying.
That said, his show last night was bugfuck, even for him, and reading his monologue it's hard to tell whether he's lying or feeling cornered or sniffing glue or what even is going on. Even those whose job it is to watch his show in real time, who do this every night, were likehuh?
Like we said.
Here is our attempt to summarize the text, to follow the bouncing Tucker and the misfiring synapses and see if we can decipher what the hell his point was. Obviously the subject was Woke Gay Homosexual Transgender Pronoun Banks Black Lives Matters Ukraine.
1. Politicians held guns to people's heads and made them lock down for COVID and that made the internet very rich.
2. It was not possible for Silicon Valley Bank to loan its riches out, so it and all the other woke banks invested hundreds of millions of dollars in "woke" instead.
3. Why did Signature Bank fail? "We could give you the technical, math-based answer, but here's the real reason," said Tucker to his viewers he lies to. (Here's a good explainer why the two banks failed.)
4. Why did Signature Bank fail? Because Barney Frank is on the board and Barney Frank is gay. Here is a video of Signature Bank doing woke transgender gay pronoun things.
TUCKER: This video is from last December, just months before Signature Bank slipped beneath the waves, and the Pride Council in question, as you will see in a moment, featured a self-described gender-queer, transmasculine person called Finn Brigham, who arrived to teach employees about pronoun use.
5. Tucker spent several long sentences making fun of the pronoun expert, because Tucker has well-documented masculinity issues.
6. How did Signature Bank have the money to pay its trans pronoun expert? Trans pronoun experts are very expensive! It had a lot of money because the feds printed all the money.
7. Signature Bank made a woke music video with its trans pronoun printed Fed money.
8. Lots of banks make woke music videos with their trans pronoun printed Fed money.
9. The board of Silicon Valley Bank were "silly rich ladies." They did a lot of "fashionable rich girl politics" there. They didn't do much banking.
10. "[G]uess someone should've been paying attention, but no, they're visiting Shinto shrines to make dance party with the pronouns."
11. The risk management person for Silicon Valley Bank UK said they are a "queer person of color from a working-class background." WHAT A NARCISSIST.
12. Banks are bad when they try to support Black-owned businesses or try to help Hispanic communities. What is this, a MORAL LECTURE FROM A BANK?
13. Occupy Wall Street seemed real, unlike Black Lives Matter, which is fake.
14. Silicon Valley Bank loves Black Lives Matter.
15. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is friends with banks.
16. "So, we're getting moral lectures from the banks and we're getting a lecture on capitalism from some Ukrainian oligarch in a sweatshirt. OK, now."
17. THE END! Seriously, that was the end of the monologue. All finished!
What have we learned?
No for real, does anybody know what we've learned? Because we feel like the little insecure Caucasian Klan-hoodie AI demon who writes Tucker's monologues (allegedly!) might have brain syphilis or something. (Two allegedlies!)
Or maybe that was just a fluid explanation of the economics of bank collapses and we are the dumb ones.
We report, you decide.
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Joe Biden: Ron DeSantis Going To Hell For Bullying Trans Kids (OK, It's *Implied*)
President Joe Biden sat down for an interview on "The Daily Show" last night, with Kal Penn, the actor/comedy guy and former Obama White House aide, to talk about climate change, the youth vote, student loan forgiveness, and the awful GOP attempts to attack LGBTQ+ folks for political gain. And while he stopped short of endorsing anyone to replace Trevor Noah as permanent host of the "Daily Show," Biden still made some news by saying he thinks Republican efforts to restrict the rights of trans people is "close to sinful," by which I think he meant "actually sinful."
Here's the full interview; the discussion of the appalling backlash against LGBTQ+ rights comes at 13:40.
We'll mostly focus on that, although we'll note that, early on, when Penn asked what made it possible for the US to finally take serious action on climate (Hello Inflation Reduction Act!), Biden didn't hesitate at all: "Young people. Young people." Because hell yes, they have been wonderfully noisy on that.
Biden's defense of the LGBTQ+ community was especially heartening, and let's also take a moment to remember that on marriage equality, Joe was actually well ahead of Barack Obama — thanks to his dad, a story he repeated during the interview with Penn.
Misty Water-Color Memories: The Time Young Handsome Joe Biden Fell In Love With Gay Marriage
Penn noted that he's been engaged to his boyfriend for five years, thanked Biden for signing into law the Respect for Marriage Act last year, and asked what Biden thinks about red state efforts to demonize trans kids — and what the federal government can do to protect LGBTQ+ rights in this dangerous environment.
Biden recalled when he was a senior in high school; one day when his dad drove him to pick up a job application, he saw two "well-dressed men in suits" kiss each other. He turned to his dad, who said, "Joey, it's simple. They love each other." And now we are definitely not crying, again, just like we didn't cry at his longer version of the story in 2015.
Biden also recalled his Meet the Press interview in 2012 when he said that of course people should be able to marry whomever they love (assuming it's not a 1971 Renault 4), when he said it's really "a simple proposition. Who do you love? Who do you love? And will you be loyal to the person you love?"
Coming back to today, Biden added, "So what is the problem?"
Then he moved on to the attempts by red states (he named Florida, but as synecdoche for the whole mess) to erase trans people and ban gender-affirming medical care for trans youth:
What’s going on in Florida is, as my mother would say, close to sinful. I mean, it’s just terrible what they’re doing. It’s not like a kid wakes up one morning and says, "You know, I decided I want to become a man or I want to become a woman or I want to change."
I mean, what are they thinking about here? They are human beings. They love. They have feelings. They have inclinations that are …it just to me, is, I don’t know is, it’s cruel.
Biden added that the best approach to protect trans kids would be to "pass legislation like we passed on same-sex marriage. You mess with that, you’re breaking the law, and you’re going to be held accountable."
Also too, Biden touched on comments Penn had made earlier when mentioning his family has been very frustrated by that five-year engagement: "Listen to your auntie and your uncle! Get married. Do it now. Don’t wait!"
Sounded like an executive order to us.
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