I enjoy watching Sean Spicer have a bad time during his daily briefings.

A couple of quick things about Sean Spicer this morning. First, I cannot stop misspelling “Spicer” as “Spider.” I feel like that’s indicative of stuff.

Second, I kind of love how Spicer gets angrier and snottier the longer he’s on stage. Not, like, in an admiring way, though. Just because I like watching him have a bad time.

Third, I wonder how Spicer’s sleeping, since he has to carry all this water for a heinous administration. Today he had to justify an anti-semitic Holocaust Remembrance Day statement and imprisoning a five-year-old for Trump’s Muslim ban. Like, I wonder how many ulcers that gives a person. Or if it even bothers him at all.

If you’re looking for some good news after this weekend – and lord knows I am – you can take heart in the fact that donations to the ACLU and other organizations fighting the Muslim ban soared this weekend.

You can also rejoice at acting Attorney General Sally Yates announcing that the Justice Dept. won’t defend the Muslim ban in court. That’s probably a temporary thing since Yates will likely soon be replaced by a Trump appointee, but hey, take your wins where you can get ’em.

Also, Senate Foreign Relations Chair Bob Corker (R) says Congress might step in if something isn’t done about the Muslim ban.

Outcry works, people. Resist.

Now the House Republicans are going after Planned Parenthood.

Let’s see… Obamacare, Medicaid, Medicare, and now Planned Parenthood. Why does the GOP hate health care so much?

“Republicans plan to strip Planned Parenthood of hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding as part of their rapid push to repeal President Obama’s health-care overhaul, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said Thursday.” (Washington Post)

A couple of days ago a Republican special investigation panel recommended taking Medicaid reimbursements and access to federal family-planning funds away from Planned Parenthood, along with recommending that stated be allowed to exclude abortion providers from their Medicaid programs.

Just thinking about pulling together some arguments about this action makes me tired. We’ve been arguing about abortion for so long, so viciously, that I’m having a hard time scraping up any response deeper than two middle fingers and a dirty look.

Planned Parenthood, federal funding and Medicaid directly benefits poor women, working single mothers, working class women, and just, like, most women in general.

Let’s run over the PP facts again.

  • Since 1976 it has been illegal to use federal funding to finance abortions. It is illegal. It does not happen. Your federal tax dollars do not pay for abortions.
  • In the last two years, PP has received about $553 million in federal funding, which is about 43% of its budget. $553 million is barely a drop in the bucket in the federal budget. Like, that’s “dimes under the couch cushions” money to the government.
  • Abortions count for 3% of the services Planned Parenthood provides. A tiny amount of what PP does for women is abortions, and, because this cannot be made clear enough, your federal tax dollars do not pay for any of that 3%. Because it’s illegal. Since 1976.
  • STI testing and treatment accounts for 45% of the services PP provides, and contraception accounts for another 31% of PP’s services. By taking away 43% of PP’s funding, you are directly contributing to a rise in sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies.
  • Taking funding away from Planned Parenthood directly hurts women by decreasing access to treatments for things like cancer screenings, UTI treatments, adoption referrals and other general health aid, which accounts for the other 21% of what Planned Parenthood does.

When women don’t have easy, affordable access to the kinds of basic health care places like Planned Parenthood provide, they are sicker, die more often and earlier than they should, are poorer than they should be and have more unwanted children that they can’t take care of. This directly affects the economy. It makes us as a whole poorer, more in need of government-funded help, and makes our economy less efficient and less powerful.

Taking this kind of funding and help away from women hurts us all. And the Republicans are only doing it for quick headlines that they can use to score cheap points with conservatives. In the end, this action harms the whole country and helps no one.

Things You Can Do To Help

  • Call your senators and representatives to tell them that you don’t support Speaker Paul Ryan’s plan to repeal Obamacare and defund Planned Parenthood. Tell them that you support Planned Parenthood and easy, reasonably-priced access to health care for women. Find your senators and representatives here: WhoIsMyRepresentative.com.
  • Call Speaker Paul Ryan and tell him you don’t support his plan to repeal Obamacare and defund Planned Parenthood. Find his contact information here: www.Speaker.gov/Contact.
  • Donate to Planned Parenthood.

In the News: Walter Scott, Donald Trump, Pizzagate & More

Brace yourselves, kids. Let’s take a look at the news.

In April of 2015 a South Carolina cop, Michael Slager, shot Walter Scott eight times in the back, killing him. Slager pulled Scott over and Scott ran on foot. Slager caught him, there was a scuffle, and Slager claimed Scott took his taser, so he “felt threatened” and shot him while Scott was running away. Except there was a witness video that seemed to show that not only did Scott not take the taser, but that Slager shot him, and then planted the taser and lied about the incident.

In case you haven’t heard this song before, Slager was a white cop and Scott was a black man. Residents of the area where Slager policed, North Charleston, have accused the police of harassment, racially profiling African Americans, and using tasers all the time without cause.

The case went to court, obviously, and the jury, made up of 11 white people and one black man, couldn’t return a verdict, so a mistrial was declared today. The prosecutors in the case will probably try to bring it to trial again, but they might also try for a plea deal.

As you might imagine, folks are mad.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump nominated Ben Carson to run the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Carson has accepted. This would be the same Ben Carson who thought the pyramids in Egypt were used for storing grain, and also the same Ben Carson who, less than a month ago, said he wouldn’t take a cabinet position because he didn’t have any government experience. So… yeah. That’s happened.

If you haven’t been playing along at home, NPR has a running tally of Trump’s nominations, with bios and information. It’s kind of a horror show.

Of particular note today is retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who is now our National Security Adviser. This guy is a raving conspiracy theorist who, along with his son, Michael Flynn Jr., pushed the fake news story about “Pizzagate.” You can read more about that here and here.

I mention all this because, thanks to the conspiracy theory, some dude went into the pizzeria in question yesterday, with a gun, to “investigate.” He even got a shot off. Fortunately, no one was hurt. That’s how crazy the “Pizzagate” situation has gotten, and Flynn’s helping it along.

That’s the guy advising Trump on national security. I feel safe, don’t you?

In other news, Al Gore went to meet with Donald Trump and Ivanka Trump today about climate change. Yep. That happened. I think that fills my daily requirement for surrealism.

To wrap up, here’s a few good reads:

Featured Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Today’s Reading List: Trump, neanderthal sex, microaggressions and more.

It’s been a busy few days, and I expect it to stay that way, so here’s a quick list of some of the good reads I’ve stumbled across in the last few days. Of particular note is the SCOTUSBlog post, which is dry and textbooky but interesting, and the Washington Post article, which details the strategy women in the White House administration staff used to make themselves heard over the men in the room.

Gene Wilder died today & 2016 now sucks quantifiably more than it did yesterday.

Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka.

Guys? Gene Wilder died. Shit. Dammit. I liked Gene Wilder. Man, screw 2016. With something sharp.

I’m gonna watch Blazing Saddles tonight. Possibly also Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.

Stuff You Should Read Today

CodeSwitch: All Mixed Up: What Do We Call People Of Multiple Backgrounds?
CodeSwitch is one of my favorite NPR blogs – they cover some pretty neat topics. This particular post talks – obviously, re: the title – about what we should call people from multiple ethnicities. It goes over some of the old words we used that are now slurs, but mostly discusses calling people “mixed race.” The author always viewed calling people “mixed” as an insult, but discovered that a lot of people didn’t agree with her.

GQ: Why Angry White Men Love Calling People “Cucks”
“Cuck” is a word I started seeing, oh, about two years ago? Right around the same time GamerGate was happening.

It’s short for “cuckold” which is what you call a husband whose wife is stepping out on him (I think the implication is that the husband knows but is unable to stop the wife). It’s also a genre of porn.

“Cuckold” was adopted and shortened to “cuck” by the alt-right yahoos that infest the Internet and now it’s like their favorite insult to hurl at other men on the Internet. It’s a great tell for the kind of person you’re dealing with, by the way. If someone seriously calls you a cuck, you know immediately that you’re dealing with a racist little manbaby and you can block them and move on without wasting any more thought on the subject.

Anyway, GQ has a great article explaining the word, the etymology, the derivatives, and the kind of people who use it.

SCOTUSBlog: Challengers respond to North Carolina’s emergency voting rights request
North Carolina really, really wants to stop black people from voting this year.

Birth. Movies. Death.: No Pressure, But I Need STAR TREK: DISCOVERY To Save The World
BMD writer Devin Faraci needs Gene Roddenberry to return from the dead and teach us all how to be decent people again, but all he’s got is Brian Fuller’s upcoming Star Trek movie, so I think he’s going to have a bad time.

Sara Schaefer: Today’s Vagenda
This was apparently making the rounds on Facebook last week, but I missed it. Jim’s sister Kaci sent it to me and you need to stop what you’re doing and go read it right now.

Vox: Parents have been spanking children for millennia. 50 years of scientific evidence says they were wrong.
FYI, spanking doesn’t accomplish anything. Yeah, I know, I grew up thinking it helped, too. It does not. We did science at it and now we know. Stop spanking your kids. Also, while we’re on the topic, stop hitting your dog. That also doesn’t work.
Slate: Can smiling make you happier? Maybe. Maybe not. We have no idea.
Y’know, since we’re debunking things with science. Actually, this is more about how hard it is to replicate and verify results in sociological and psychological studies than debunking one particular study.

Collider: ‘Justice League Dark’ Moving Forward with Doug Liman Directing
This one’s about the live-action Justice League Dark movie we’re supposed to be getting from DC. I don’t believe for a hot second that this movie is actually going to happen, and if it does, it probably won’t have Matt Ryan, so it’s going in with points against it.

Daily Cute: This puppy is hungry.
Seriously, someone fill that puppy’s bowl right now.