Only cars got bullet holes in them this time, so hooray America!
Dozens of gunshots interrupted a Dixie Youth League baseball game in North Charleston, South Carolina, Monday evening, with little kids and parents running for cover or throwing themselves to the ground as the sound of nearby gunfire rang out. The video, thank Crom, is not graphic because despite all the gunfire, no one was wounded. It's still terrifying to see, with confused kids running for cover, kids and adults crawling on the grass to stay low, and people calling for their children:
The shooting started around 8:45; North Charleston Police later confirmed that nobody appears to have been injured. WCSC-TV reports that
A police report released Tuesday states witnesses told responding officers that a “large group” of teenagers pulled into the parking lot and began fistfighting. Witnesses then told officers the teenagers began shooting at each other before they fled in their vehicles where it appeared shots were fired from one vehicle towards another, the report states.
Police spokesperson Harve Jacobs said that the gunfire had no connection to the operations of the park or the several baseball games underway at the time, and pledged that police "will leave no stone unturned in bringing these suspects to justice." North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey announced Tuesday a $10,000 reward would be given for information leading to an arrest in the case. He added that the award was not contingent on a conviction, which we're reading as a not very subtle acknowledgement that witnesses might be reluctant to actually testify against teenaged hotheads with guns.
The parent who took the video, Blake Ferguson, told WCSC that his son was pitching when the shooting began, and estimated he heard between 50 and 75 shots coming from the park's parking lot.
Lori Ferguson said she heard the booms and initially thought someone was setting off fireworks.
“And then all of a sudden, boom, boom, and ‘Get down, everybody, get down!’ And you’re at a park. My kids are not with me directly and you just see everybody scattering,” she said. “And my son’s on the pitcher mound by himself and it was just the most traumatic thing as a mother, as a citizen of this city, that you just feel helpless. I felt completely helpless.”
The Fergusons said that several parents' cars in the parking lot had bullet holes in them; Lori Ferguson said that when police responded, they didn't come into the baseball field area to check on families or to help them leave safely. “But nobody ever came and checked like, ‘Hey, are these kids okay?’” she said.
She added that the gunfire had left her kids traumatized, and unwilling to even take a shower Monday night for fear of being alone.
As of yet, we have no word on which of the two armed groups of teens were the good guys with guns. It's entirely possible, we suppose, that nobody in the gun battle was actually a good guy, difficult though that is to imagine. Clearly, the only answer is to make sure more and more people are packing heat, so they can take on both sides and prevail.
The shooting near the baseball fields Monday came just a day after a 16-year-old and a 19-year-old died in a separate shooting in North Charleston early Sunday morning. No arrests or determinations of good-guy status have been made in that case.
In the meantime, if children in North Charleston would like to be less traumatized, maybe they should study real hard and become exchange students in a country like Australia, Japan, or the UK, where you can participate in sportsball with far less risk of having a gun battle break out nearby.
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Now with 10 years in the slammer for doctors.
The Oklahoma legislature has passed yet another bill almost completely banning abortion, in hopes this will be the year the Supreme Court finally overturns Roe v. Wade, allowing states to seize control of the means of reproduction. (Why do you think it's called a Red state?)
As the New York Times explains (free linky!),
The measure, Senate Bill 612, would make performing an abortion “except to save the life of a pregnant woman in a medical emergency” a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $100,000.
The Oklahoma House voted 70 to 14 to send the bill, which passed the Senate last year, to Gov. Kevin Stitt, a Republican whose office responded by noting that Mr. Stitt vowed in September to sign “every piece of pro-life legislation” that came to his desk.
If Stitt signs the bill — and that sure sounds like he intends to sign every abortion ban, no matter how insane — it'll go into effect on August 26, by which time the Supremes will have decided the Mississippi case that may completely overturn Roe, or may simply gut it and encourage even more extreme bills, like the one from Oklahoma. Once that happens, Oklahoma will no longer provide any refuge to women leaving Texas to escape that state's own terrible six-week "bounty hunter" ban on abortion that passed last fall.
The Republican sponsor of the Oklahoma bill, state Rep. Jim Olson, said he'd introduced it in hopes the Supreme Court would overturn Roe and usher in the Republic of Gilead.
“Obviously, I’m thrilled because we have the potential of seeing many lives of babies saved — part of that depends on future court rulings” like the one in the Mississippi case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Mr. Olsen said.
He said the bill passed without any floor debate.
“Nobody debated and nobody asked any questions,” he said. “I was actually kind of shocked.”
As for the people who would have to carry unwanted pregnancies to term — even in cases of rape or incest, or in cases where a pregnancy might cause permanent but non-life-threatening injury, or in which a fetus is nonviable, we'll assume Olson was also "thrilled" that they might come to know Jesus and repent for the sin of failing to see their pregnancy as a precious gift from God. These ghouls tend to be thrilled primarily by telling women what they can do with their bodies.
Another forced birth advocate, Mallory Carroll, a spokesperson for the antiabortion group "Susan B. Anthony List," praised Oklahoma as being one of the "most pro-life states in the country,” and insisted this is all part of a great movement to
keep women in their place "do lifey things unto America:
“This latest bill passage is yet another sign of the continued pro-life momentum we’re seeing nationwide as lawmakers and pro-life Americans await a decision from the Supreme Court in the Dobbs case,” Ms. Carroll said.
We'd note that Oklahoma has a long track record of trying to completely ban abortion. Back in 2016, the state Lege passed a bill that made performing the still-legal procedure a felony, punishable by revocation of a doctor's medical license. We can only assume that six years later, merely revoking a medical license was far too lax on doctors; hence the prison term and fine. Surprisingly, then-GOP Gov. Mary Fallin vetoed the bill merely because it was "unconstitutional." Imagine that!
In 2018, another Oklahoma bill sought to define abortion as a felony homicide, punishable by life in prison. Shouldn't be long before Oklahoma finally goes full Handmaid's Tale with public executions for everyone involved in providing abortions.
Following yesterday's passage of SB 612, Emily Wales, the interim president and chief executive of Planned Parenthood Great Plains, said her organization would challenge the bill in court, noting that
"This ban is more in line with the traditional bans that have been blocked in the past. So we are fairly confident that, as long as Roe remains the law of the land, there is a path to blocking this."
Wales added that the bill was just one of several abortion bans getting traction in the state Lege, including a bill that would, like Texas's SB 8, rely on lawsuits by private citizens to enforce it, in an attempt to avoid judicial review. Idaho recently passed a similar bill, which GOP Gov. Brad Little signed into law despite his own concerns that it was "unwise" and "unconstitutional." But Little is facing a primary challenge from the Right, so better an unconstitutional abortion ban than no abortion ban at all.
At this rate, we assume it's only a matter of time until some other Republican-led state grants full citizenship rights to zygotes and elects one as governor, the end.
[NYT (no paywall)]
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But the shelves are ... oh, full. Something has to be terrible about this!
The monthly jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics is out for March 2022, and it shows the economy gained 431,000 jobs. The unemployment rate declined again, to 3.6 percent, down from 3.8 percent for February. In addition, the February jobs report, which had been pretty damned impressive already, was revised upward, from the initial report of 678,000 new jobs to a nice round 750,000.
As we've been saying pretty much every time the jobs report comes out, the initial numbers will almost always be revised (sometimes up, sometimes down) because of the way the BLS collects the data. It's not a glitch; it's just how the stats come in from employers. So it's entirely likely that March's numbers will also see a revision, come the next monthly report on the first Friday of May.
We want you to keep that in mind, because already this morning we're seeing reporting like this bullshit at CNBC, suggesting that nearly half a million new jobs is somehow terrible news for Joe Biden, because the initial number is just a bit shy of the Dow Jones forecast of 490,000 new jobs, and a lot less than the revised February report.
You know, the one that was revised upward, as has happened with jobs reports for several months now. But this one, wow, it's so disappointing, and it arrives "Amid soaring inflation and worries about a looming recession," to boot. Fuck lazy financial journalists when they pull that shit, because if a dopey liberal arts major like me knows that any given month's jobs report is at best a first draft, there's no excuse for alleged financial reporters to act like it's a clear portent of doom.
By contrast, here's the lede from the New York Times story on the March jobs report:
A continued torrent of consumer demand, paired with an emerging atmosphere of normalcy as coronavirus caseloads and health restrictions fade away, led to a burst of new jobs last month, giving reason for optimism despite the year’s increasingly uncertain economic outlook. [...]
The unemployment rate was 3.6 percent, down from 3.8 percent a month earlier and just a touch higher than its levels right before the pandemic.
The Times also notes right up front that the report revised the previous two months' reports upward by 95,000 jobs. Thanks for the helpful perspective there!
Even more irritating? That CNBC story, after suggesting in the first paragraph that we're steering full speed onto the rocks of a recession, also says just a few paragraphs later that the economic waters are smooth and pretty inviting:
Average hourly earnings, a closely watched inflation metric, increased 0.4% on the month, in line with expectations. On a 12-month basis, pay increased nearly 5.6%, just above the estimate. [...]
“All in all, nothing shocking about this report. There was nothing that was really surprising,” said Simona Mocuta, chief economist at State Street Global Advisors. “Even if this report came in at zero, I would still say this is a very healthy labor market.”
Oh. Good to mention that, we guess! So maybe we'll hold off on that crate of End Times Freeze Dried Meals, then.
The Times notes that the labor market is pretty darn strong, in fact:
Job openings and the number of workers voluntarily leaving their positions remain near record levels, among the measures showing that demand for workers is the highest in decades. [...]
More urban office workers appear to be headed back to their desks, giving a boost to hard-hit downtown economies, and the drop in coronavirus cases has prompted many people to resume tourism and in-person entertainment.
The average gain for the last six months is 600,000. The economy has recuperated more than 90 percent of the 22 million jobs lost at the peak of the pandemic’s impact on the economy in the spring of 2020 — a far swifter rebound than forecasters initially expected.
We can only assume, then, that Fox News will report tonight that trans kids learning critical race theory are making the price of milk skyrocket somehow.
Speaking of rightwing economic takes, we received an email today from the weirdo cat ladies without cats at the antifeminist "Independent Women's Forum," who offer their own unique take on the good economic news: Today's jobs report, the Ladies Against Women say, is proof that "Women Are Returning To Work Without Democrats’ Universal Childcare Plans," so stick that in your socialism and smoke it, Joe Biden!
Patrice Onwuka, the "director of the Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO) at Independent Women’s Forum," offered a statement that celebrated the report's small uptick in women's labor force participation (58.2 percent, still below pre-pandemic levels), and also noted that if women never return to work that's simply because the pandemic has given them so much time with their wonderful children that they've realized how much they love being mommies. It certainly can't mean that women need childcare, heavens no!
Onwuka insists that all the growth in the economy is simply the natural result of the end of the pandemic downturn, and is absolutely "not the result of the White House’s over-the-top spending agenda."
Mmm-hmm, sure. This is where we remind you that real economists credit Biden's pandemic relief bill with saving the middle and working classes from devastation, and for that matter, with the faster than expected pace of recovery.
And since schools are open again, says Onwuka, every parent who wants to work can now send the kids to school, so therefore nobody will ever need universal pre-K or federally funded childcare, either. PROBLEM SOLVED, PANDEMIC OVER, no thanks to Joe Biden, OK?
For perspective, however, you may want to remember that the Independent Women's Forum got its start as an astroturf group called "Women for Clarence Thomas," to suggest that ladies loved the filthy sexual harasser, and that it's funded by a bunch of rightwing pro-business foundations, including of course the Koch network of dark money.
The IWF has opposed the Violence Against Women Act (which keeps women from being strong on their own, you know), insists working families would be better off if we scrapped the minimum wage, and explains that women thrive most when corporations are unfettered by regulations of any kind. After all, the less McDonalds has to pay, the more women can get jobs, and if daycare centers aren't burdened by limits on child-to-staff ratios, they'll be more affordable! One or two people to look after 30 or 50 toddlers in a basement should be plenty, especially if they turn up the TV loud enough.
You'll pardon us if we aren't terribly convinced, then, that women are doing just great post-pandemic, and that the American family would be destroyed by universal pre-K and affordable childcare.
Anyway, here's Joe Biden to talk about the positive jobs report. We've cued it up to the start of his remarks:
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