This is funny, right?

I just received a “news” alert from our good friends at The Washington Post, and LOL’d.

Trump changes course and tells senators to stay in Washington to finish health-care bill

Hoping to avoid a humiliating political defeat, President Trump on Wednesday demanded that Republican senators resume their efforts to approve a plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, insisting that lawmakers are “very close.”

Umm, failing to repeal and/or replace the ACA is the very least of Trump’s “humiliating” political defeats. And I hate to be the one to break it to him (lol no I loooove it) but in the United States Senate, “very close” is NOT the same thing as “winning a majority of votes.”

“People should not leave town unless we have a health insurance plan, unless we give our people great health care,” Trump said at the beginning of a lunch with GOP senators at the White House. “We’re close, very close… We have to hammer this out and get it done.”

YES! We’re soooo close to everyone having the Greatest Health Care That Ever Health Cared! Let’s git ‘er done!!!

The president’s effort to resurrect negotiations came a day after he declared it was time to give up on the contentious process to overturn President Obama’s signature legislative achievement and “let Obamacare fail.”

*snort* *snort* *snicker* BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

A day after giving up on it. Well I for one cannot wait to hear the president’s position on healthcare legislation tomorrow. Or perhaps Friday?

Ooh! Ooh! I hope it’s single payer!

News from the Texas Republic of Gilead.

Via AP:

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Lawmakers in Texas largely failed to take any significant action to address the state’s skyrocketing rate of pregnancy-related deaths just months after researchers found it to be the highest in not only the U.S., but the developed world.

Conservatives are pro-life, everyone. FYI.

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I guess these are the conservatives with whom we’re supposed to “compromise”? Haha no.

[CONTENT NOTE: graphic descriptions of fetal remains and menstrual blood; no images.]

Via Rewire:

Texas Officials to Force Burial, Cremation of ‘Fetal Remains’

Texas health officials on Monday filed the final version of proposed rules requiring the remains of aborted or miscarried fetuses to be buried or cremated, despite criticism from funeral homes, abortion providers, and reproductive rights advocates.

The regulations will apply to all fetal remains, regardless of the period of gestation when the miscarriage or abortion occurred.

O.o

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Jerry Coyne at BHA 2016—Part 2: NOPE.

(Part 1 is here.)

[CONTENT NOTE: While this post contains no graphic descriptions or images of violence, it does contain discussion of: child sexual assault, abuse and death; suicide; hostility to consent, bodily autonomy and agency; homophobia; sex- and gender-based discrimination.]

Just a reminder: in the intro to Part 1, I noted that while Dr. Coyne communicates some very useful and interesting things in this lecture (and elsewhere) that readers may find worthwhile, he is exasperatingly prone to poo flinging, and I fully respect the decision of anyone who decides to pay him no attention whatsoever on this basis alone. As I said, FWIW I do not allow Coyne’s poo flinging in the remaining portions of the transcript to go unrebutted.

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Jerry Coyne at BHA 2016—Part 1: YES!

In February Jerry Coyne delivered the British Humanist Association’s annual Darwin Day Lecture in London. For those unfamiliar, Coyne is an evolutionary biologist, a professor emeritus at the University of Chicago, and the author of Why Evolution is True (which I have read) and Faith vs Fact (which I have not). He is a fierce critic of creationism and a fiery proponent of atheism; he blogs prolifically about these and other topics at Why Evolution Is True.

I genuinely like Jerry Coyne. He comes across as knowledgeable and affable, the kind of person I’d really enjoy sitting next to at a dinner party. Of course that doesn’t mean I agree with him all of the time, and in fact his annoying propensity to shit all over straw feminists is fucking exasperating (more on that in Part 2), as is his comical obliviousness to his own privilege (more on that later too).

But hey, nobody’s perfect. We can all decide for ourselves who we will expose ourselves to, on which topic(s) and under what circumstances. For example, Richard Dawkins is dead to me, barring his (highly unlikely) resurrection into a state of semi-self-awareness minimally capable of basic human decency and rationality. On the other hand, when a good friend recommends Jerry Coyne’s Darwin Day Lecture to me, I might be inclined to put on my (metaphorical) biohazard suit so as not to get splattered with (metaphorical) shit, and check it out. Those with less privilege are always making such calls: suit up and wade into the muck, or maybe sit this one out. Otherwise we would consistently miss out on some interesting and useful knowledge, and worse, we would hardly ever go to any dinner parties at all.

I get the Spidey-Sense that anyone reading this who is in some marginalized group(s)—i.e., not white, male, straight, cis-, able, etc.—is nodding along with me, because microaggressions are A Thing to which those privileged along these axes tend to remain haplessly oblivious. So I completely respect your making a different call about paying any attention whatsoever to Coyne (or Dawkins or anyone else).

But I found (some of) Coyne’s lecture, entitled Evolution and atheism: best friends forever?, fascinating. Moreover, he provides support for my point in this post, namely that:

there is a growing body of evidence that suggests that a robust welfare state (especially quality universal single-payer health care) decreases religiosity, while economic insecurity (with respect to wages, housing, food, etc.) increases it. See, e.g., Phil Zuckerman’s book “Society Without God.” Fiscal conservatism in the form of [American Atheists president] Dave Silverman’s “small government, low taxes, a free market” is entirely antithetical to taking the path most likely to get us to the very outcome he seeks: the death of religion.

I transcribed portions of Coyne’s lecture because I think readers may be genuinely infotained by it, but mainly because I’d like to have an easy link to it in order to help shut down the font of incoherent nonsense that is conservative movement atheism. In case it helps you decide whether to continue reading: I do not allow Coyne’s aforementioned (metaphorical) poo flinging in these portions of the transcript to stand unrebutted, and in any case no poo is flung in Part 1.

Tl;dr:

TRIGGER WARNING: Jerry Coyne.
(especially Part 2.)

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US health care is sickening.

The theme of my day yesterday was health care. First, I read this blood pressure spiking article from Pro Publica. Remember when I mentioned payday lending? Well, it’s the same idea—leeching off of the very people who can least afford it—except with medical debt.

In 2013, 79,000 debt collection lawsuits were filed in Nebraska, a state with fewer than 2 million residents. One collection agency in the state files an average of 120 lawsuits a day. The charges are often less than $100, but the judgements tack on court costs, attorney fees and interest, so for example one bill for $66 became $275. The collection agency then proceeds to relentlessly seize meager bank accounts and garnish the wages of low income people. Nice racket, right?

Nebraska may be the most egregious outlier among the 50 states, but it is hardly alone. The number one cause of personal bankruptcy in the US is medical debt; it results in more collection actions than credit cards. And the majority of bankruptcy filers have some type of health insurance.

This is your health care on capitalism.

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