Nice Time

Nice Time! Biden Announces Free Broadband For Working Families

Wingnuts fret it's Obamaphones all over again.

President Biden yesterday announced that 20 internet companies will start providing low-cost broadband internet service to low-income Americans, as part of a deal growing out of last year's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The infrastructure bill already offered $30-a-month subsidies to help low-income folks pay for internet (the subsidy increases to $75 in tribal areas). Those subsidies are available to millions of people. Now, the 20 internet providers will set up a new tier of broadband plans that cost just $30 per month, so with the subsidy, the plans will will be free for as many as 48 million families.

At a White House Rose Garden event yesterday, Biden said, "High speed internet is not a luxury any longer. It’s a necessity." The AP adds,

Biden noted that families of four earning about $55,000 annually — or those including someone eligible for Medicaid — will get a $30 monthly credit, meaning about 40 percent of Americans will qualify.

The subsidies, through the Affordable Connectivity Program, were a top goal for Biden and other supporters of the infrastructure bill, particularly as the pandemic highlighted the "digital divide" that means low-income homes don't have reliable internet access. That was dramatically illustrated by a viral August 2020 photo showing two little girls sitting on a curb outside a Taco Bell so they could use the restaurant's wifi to do homework on school-issued laptops.


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Abortion

If The Right Is Going To Criminalize Abortion, We Should Damn Well Use The Word

Shout it if you need to.

You may have noticed that in the last few days, Yr Wonkette has made a bit of a stink about the term "choice" as a euphemism for "abortion." We've praised Joe Biden and Stacey Abrams both for talking about the right to abortion, and Yr Editrix, in Thursday morning's Tabs, said it's high time we "stop with the focus-grouped, mealymouthed 'right to choose.' (Choose what, choose Jif?)"

A number of folks took issue with that in the comments we don't allow, while others also were none too happy with New York magazine's Rebecca Traister for taking Democratic leaders to task for their seeming unwillingness to say "abortion." (To be sure, a number of comments focused more on how it might be bad strategy to criticize Dem leaders in an election year, also too.)

So we figured this might be a job for a Doktor of Rhetoric. Words matter, language matters, and Crom knows that ever since Frank Luntz and Newt Gingrich teamed up in 1994 to talk about the "death tax" and to make "liberal" the dirtiest word in politics, Republicans have made a dark art of finding terms that will set off electric storms in the amygdalae of rightwing voters, inflaming their emotions with language that will move the base to support policies that help the party's big donors.

A quarter century later, it's starting to feel like framing abortion rights as the "right to choose" is perhaps tainted by the same defensive reflex that led Bill Clinton to proclaim that the "era of big government is over," as he caved to the Right on "welfare reform," ushering in a regime of harsh new barriers to helping people who needed help. Speaking of a "right to choose" almost feels like a concession to the Luntzians: Instead of whole-heartedly saying abortion is essential to freedom and bodily autonomy, "choice" seems to euphemize, as if accepting the Right's insistence that abortion is shameful, a moral failing, the choice of people who should have kept their legs shut and not gotten in trouble.

This isn't to say that "choice" or "pro choice" is a bad term in itself; it's a convenient shorthand that will likely stay around for some time. But it's also good to see the shift toward people talking about abortion without hesitation or guilt, too.

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Abortion

Supreme Court's Dobbs Decision Is SO BAD (How Bad Is It?) That It's Really Really Really Fucking Bad

Lawsplaining from this drunken puddle on the floor.

Welp. Roe v. Wade is dead.

This isn't surprising to anyone who has been paying attention. But it's still shocking.

For half a century, Roe has protected the right to terminate a pregnancy. By the end of June (the end of SCOTUS opinion season), that will be over.

The draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health comes out and says:

"We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled. The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision, including [...] the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment."

The usual suspects are in the majority, with John Roberts remaining the wildcard. "A person familiar with the court's deliberations" (unclear whether it's the same person who leaked the draft) told Politico that, unsurprisingly, Samuel Alito, Amy Coat Hanger, Kegs, Neil Gorsuch, and Clarence Thomas are in the majority that just can't wait to see women dying from unsafe back-alley abortions. Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan are dissenting. And no one has any idea WTF John Roberts is thinking, which sounds about right.

This is the first time in modern history that a draft opinion has been leaked. And who leaked it and why remains a mystery. But one thing is certain: It's just as bad as we thought it would be.

Sorry, women. Hope you weren't planning on having any rights in the years to come.

Okay, let's talk about just how bad this fucking thing is.

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Abortion

A Citizen's Guide To Hell: US Abortion Laws After Roe​

Not afraid to be servicey.

With the US Supreme Court preparing to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade and 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey decisions, the right to abortion will quickly be eliminated in more than half the states in the US. Assuming that the general shape of the draft opinion leaked to Politico remains in place, the Court isn't prepared to preserve any protections at all for those seeking abortions, either: No mandate to include exceptions for rape, incest, or even to save the life of the pregnant person, so those will also be left up to the states.

Further, as the Washington Post reported Monday, even before the Politico story broke, Republicans are already planning a national abortion ban (free link) for whenever they retake both houses of Congress and the presidency. Any states that have moved to protect the right to abortion will only be safe havens for the rest of the country until a minority of Americans produce a Republican majority in the Electoral College. With voting restrictions, gerrymanders, and the built-in Senate advantage for small states, a minority of Americans could also vote in a Republican takeover of Congress, too.

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