It's an end-of-day Nice Time! Hooray!
Attention, Democratic candidates running in 2020 -- not just for president, but for ANYTHING: Get on board with the American Family Act, introduced today in the Senate by Michael Bennet of Colorado and Sherrod Brown of Ohio. In the House, it's been introduced by Democratic Congresswomen Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut and Suzan DelBene of Washington. It's a ridiculously simple way to make middle-class and working families better off through fairly simple tweaks to the existing child tax credit, as Dylan Matthews explains at Vox.
Currently, the Child Tax Credit (CTC) helps out fairly well-off people, but does little for families with low income. The American Family Act would change that significantly, turning the CTC into a monthly child allowance available to every family with children (and phasing out for families at the high end of the income scale). The benefit would pay:
-- $3,000 per year, or $250 per month, per child ages 6 to 16
-- $3,600 per year, or $300 per month, per child ages 0 to 5
The benefits would be distributed monthly, in advance, so families could pace out their spending and smooth their incomes. Because the CTC, like the earned income tax credit, is currently paid out through tax refunds, it sometimes leads to a perverse situation in which families use it to pay down debt they never would've had to incur if they'd gotten the money earlier.
And what would this accomplish? It would boost the available income for families with kids, immediately, and particularly when kids tend to be especially expensive, in the first years of life, when, unfortunately, young parents tend to have their lowest earning power, too.
Researchers project this child allowance would have some amazing bang for the buck in terms of lifting kids out of poverty:
Poverty among children would fall from 14.8 percent to 9.5 percent, meaning 4 million kids would escape poverty. Deep poverty — the share of kids living on half the poverty line or less — would fall almost by half, from 4.6 percent to 2.4 percent.
Is there more, in terms of overall benefit for US America? You bet your sweet Great Society ass there is! How about improvements in health, reductions in crime, and overall benefits for education?
Pearls on swine.
Moms Demand Action is a grassroots organization that advocates for sensible solutions to gun violence (i.e. not more guns). Concerned citizens came out to the New Hampshire State House today to show their support for House Bill 687. The "red flag" legislation would help keep guns out of the hands of people who are an immediate threat to themselves and others. Gun rights advocates hate HB687, probably because it would keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, whose money is as good as anyone else's.
Women shared heart-rending stories about the personal impact of gun violence on their lives. Meanwhile, some of the male pro-gun lawmakers thought it would be cool to wear strings of cheap pearls to mock the Moms Demand Action volunteers. Happy Women's History Month! We guess Turning Points USA bogarted the diapers.
Trump's humps a flag, Bernie's back, and Fox News is calling from INSIDE the White House. Your morning news brief!
Morning Wonketariat! Here's some of the things we may be talking about today.
Yeah, but is she also over-prepared?
Kamala Harris's presidential campaign was clipping along nicely. She was introducing herself to voters at packed rallies with overflow crowds. She tried on fierce jackets. She spoke of the joy of dinkie dow. Yet concern-trolling publication Politico wonders if Harris is connecting too well with people.
This is the latest in Politico's series of "What's Wrong with the Lady-Parts-Having Democrat?" non-think pieces. A couple months ago, Politico wondered if Elizabeth Warren's campaign could survive if people like the staff at Politico kept saying she was as "unlikable" as Hillary Clinton. Clinton has won the popular vote in every race she's ran (yes, even the 2008 primary). We should all be so unlikeable. Still, Clinton was a boring policy wonk with no compelling rationale for her campaign other than her many qualifications. Now Warren is too "divisive." Harris is apparently taking a different approach because she's a different person, as we understand women sometimes are. Politico points out the folly in this strategy.
In interviews, two dozen political strategists, elected officials and Democratic activists and voters — most of whom watched Harris' events in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina — said she's shown promise as someone who can connect with voters at an emotional level. The excitement she's generating and her profile as a charismatic, mixed-race progressive, they said, is creating a sense that she may be the candidate who best matches the mood of Democratic voters at this moment.
"Mixed-race progressive"? People still say "mixed-race" like they're talking about the offspring of a poodle and a dalmatian? This article's not getting any better from here, is it?
Florida House Speaker José Oliva made a real splash on CBS Miami on Thursday morning when he popped by to discuss several anti-abortion bills being introduced in the state.
Though Oliva describes himself as a "libertarian" who thinks people should be able to do what they want without government interference, he said he just wasn't so sure about reproductive rights and subsequently went on a bizarre rant in which he repeatedly referred to human women as "host bodies."
Yes, that's right, HOST BODIES.
The majority opinion, which he wrote, was not published until 11 days after his death.
The Supreme Court has decided to send back a ruling by the Ninth Circuit court because the majority opinion in the case was published 11 days after the death of its author, Judge Stephen Reinhardt.
In an unsigned opinion issued on Monday, the high court suggested that allowing the ruling to stand would have been akin to Judge Reinhardt ruling from beyond the grave (insert scary ghost sounds here), stating that "federal judges are appointed for life, not for eternity."
The court wrote that by counting Judge Reinhardt's vote, the Ninth Circuit "effectively allowed a deceased judge to exercise the judicial power of the United States after his death." (Spooky ghost sounds continue, obviously.)
Although the other judges stated that Judge Reinhardt "fully participated in this case," and that voting had been done and all the opinions written before he died, the court invalidated the ruling because he would have had up to the day it was published to change his mind entirely, which seems unlikely given that he wrote the majority opinion. It's hardly as if they used a Ouija board to get his final say.
Hey! You know what prevents abortion? Birth control!
On Friday, the Trump administration announced a new rule that would bar family planning centers that offer abortion or provide referrals to doctors that perform them. This is bad. Very, very bad. And it's also extremely unlikely that the Supreme Court, in its current state, will be striking this down.
The $286 million will be redirected to "faith-based" programs like crisis pregnancy centers. You know, those shady places that lure women in by pretending to be abortion clinics and then try to talk them out of having abortions? And also don't offer birth control or condoms or STD tests or anything else remotely related to family planning? Yeah. Those. They're getting $286 million for, I suppose, especially ritzy Bible studies or something. Because that is a thing that is very helpful to people and a good use of our taxpayer dollars.
The ex-Fox News 'doctor' is accused of sexual assault by three patients.
For over five years, at least, Dr. Keith Ablow has raged against leggings. Boy, does he ever hate leggings! He railed against them as a Fox News contributor on The Five, where he suggested that girls who were getting sexually harassed at school were actually "provoking" the poor, innocent boys who were forced to spend their time sexually harassing them, instead of learning. Then later, on some blog called "Respvblica" when he claimed that Victoria's Secret and, of course, leggings were turning young boys into future Harvey Weinsteins.
In my opinion, Victoria's Secret, Aerie and every woman who buys any item of clothing at either of them (or at many more racy retailers), is contributing to a new generation of Harvey Weinsteins. The idea that women think nothing of being plastered nearly naked in public displays all over the world, while expecting males to still take them absolutely seriously in board rooms, is irrational. [...]
Think how many teenagers who go to the mall are also going to high schools where young women show up in leggings—which aren't really designed for comfort, but to tantalize young men, sexually. How can a 15-year-old really take 15-year-old females entirely seriously when they want to wear the equivalent of tights to school?
Leggings are comfortable as hell, you weirdo. That is why we wear them.
And it is not okay!
Matt Gaetz is an asshole. Before you protest that I'm unfair, just consider the fact that the Florida congressman managed to be the ONLY no vote against a human trafficking bill, because "mission creep." Ironically, Matt is known for his own creep missions where he does anything he possibly can, including shameless political prostitution or straight up lying, just to get his name out there and get noticed. He brings Faux-Nazis to the State of the Union Address, because they happened to stop by one day. Why would a Congressman bring his own Nazi when we already had a hard breathing, snorting, orange-faced Nazi yelling at us from the podium. Why subject us to two Nazis? Cause Matt ain't shit. That's why.
But lately his hotcatshit approach to coalition building, or dating, or whatever he thought he was doing when he sent out a Jerry Madison inspired tweet to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, flies straight past the border of ridiculous and into the realm of the absurd. Because not only is Matt a right wing shithead who she would never be into; he is a right wing shit head who is a borderline stalker when it come to AOC.
Trump STILL can't get his wall money, Alex Acosta broke the law, and Dame Peggington hates commie kids. Your morning news brief!
Morning Wonketariat! Here's some of the things we may be talking about today!
No one needs another Ghostbusters-related sideplot this election.
As you may recall, a lot of bad shit happened in the year 2016.
One of those bad things (though nowhere close to the worst) was the extreme outrage from whiny misogynists over LADY GHOSTBUSTERS. Which, by the way, was a very good movie that I enjoyed very much. For over a year leading up to the premiere, meninists across the internet screamed and wailed and cried over the horror of a bunch of women starring in a not-quite-remake of a film that starred a bunch of dudes. Feminism has gone too far! There isn't even any ghost sex in this film! Everyone knows vaginas can't bust ghosts! they cried. They issued reviews of the film without having even seen it. In short, they lost their ever-loving minds.
And because this is a thing we definitely all feel like dealing with again, Jason Reitman, son of original director Ivan Reitman, went on Bill Burr's podcast this week to talk about how he is doing another reboot ... and this time, it will be a reboot for "the fans."
Even better, you can get your own publicly funded Aunt Bee!
Elizabeth Warren rolled out a very solid plan for universal childcare today, and we're impressed. Looks like Democrats are going to have a serious debate about family, work, and how the two should fit together, which as plenty of advocates have noted, they currently do not, no not at all. We're excited, even though our own childcare days are well past, because damn it, this is about fairness for everyone, especially the kids.
Warren starts her pitch by emphasizing she's been there, noting that when she was raising her kids and teaching at a law school in Houston, the babysitter quit. She looked for other arrangements, and didn't find anything she could afford that provided good care:
I tried all sorts of child care options: another babysitter, a neighbor with kids, and a couple of daycare centers. One day I picked up my son Alex from daycare and found that he had been left in a dirty diaper for who knows how long. I was upset with the daycare but, more than anything, angry with myself for failing my baby.
Eventually, she called her Aunt Bee in Oklahoma and told her everything was falling apart and she feared she'd have to quit to take care of her children.
Then Aunt Bee said eleven words that changed my life forever: "I can't get there tomorrow, but I can come on Thursday." Two days later, she arrived at the airport with seven suitcases and a Pekingese named Buddy — and stayed for 16 years.
Elizabeth Warren wants everyone to have an Aunt Bee, or at least affordable childcare. Unfortunately, leaving childcare solely up to the private sector just hasn't worked, and that has contributed to poverty for lots of working parents, who may not even be able to afford the cheapest shoddiest care and end up not working as a result. Warren notes, "in more than half the states in the country, a year of child care costs more than a year of in-state college tuition."
It's not great!
The story we posted today was from 2014 and we've deleted it. Our apologies!
This again. Seriously.
Presidential contender Kamala Harris held her first official campaign event in South Carolina, a key state in the upcoming Democratic primaries. Friday night, she spoke to a crowd of roughly 1,000 at a town hall at Royal Missionary Baptist Church in North Charleston. She reaffirmed her support for sensible gun safety laws, including universal background checks and closing the "Charleston loophole." She fielded questions from voters about how she'd address mass incarceration. Actual issues were discussed, but then she went and spoiled it all by doing something stupid like eating in public.
Harris filled her tummy with Lowcountry goodness at Rodney Scott's BBQ. Later her press secretary, Ian Sams, tweeted a photo of the senator adding a hefty dollop of Texas Pete to her collard greens because she's civilized. Some chose to interpret this as "pandering." Because some are literally killing us with this.
Go read some excellent longform journamalism and essays! Also, horror movies and race! And MORE!
If it's Sunday, this must be Nice Things, our weekly escape from the quotidian awfulness. Our featured doggo this week comes via a photo by Wonkette reader "Teecha," and we don't think Teecha mentioned a name for this lovely old rescue dog. If it is a dog at all: I think it may actually be one of Sia's more inventive disguises, like that time she was a little pony.
In no way should this surprise you.
The producers of your favorite live-action Jack Chick pamphlet, "God's Not Dead" -- you know, the one where the Hercules dude plays an evil philosophy professor who tells all of his students on the first day that they are no longer allowed to believe in god? As all secular professors do? -- have come out with a thrilling new movie, all about how abortion is bad or whatever.
The movie tells the "true" story of Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood clinic worker turned professional anti-choicer. Johnson has been a darling of the forced birth circuit ever since she made up ridiculous and provably false reasons for quitting the Planned Parenthood that was about to fire her for being bad at her job.
Basically, she claims that Planned Parenthood was pushing her to make more abortions happen so they could reel in more dough, and also that she witnessed (for the first time ever!) an ultrasound-guided abortion and saw the baby move from the light and then immediately realized that what she was doing was wrong.
The thing is, however -- no ultrasound-guided abortions were performed on the day she said it happened, and the only reason there was an uptick in abortions at her clinic was because they started offering the abortion pill on a daily basis (and had previously only been performing surgical abortions every other Saturday).
As you may have guessed, the movie does not address any of these things. It also looks very, very bad.
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