Monday, April 15, 2013

Last Call

I've been thinking about the horrific Kermit Gosnell case in Pennsylvania for the last several days, having now gone to trial.  Dr. Gosnell is being charged with basically running the equivalent of an unsanctioned abortion clinic, a last chance step above the back-alley hell women have gone through over the decades.  Dr. Gosnell's medical horror show is awful and disgusting, and as Salon's Irin Carmon points out, progressive feminist bloggers and columnists have been covering the case for some time now, but have largely been ignored.

Now though the case has exploded all over the conservative noise machine, with hollow cries that the case has been deliberately spiked by the "liberal media".  The upshot is that if only the world knew the "truth" about Dr. Gosnell, there would be a huge, crushing backlash that would end abortion forever in America.  The real "truth" is of course limiting abortions so that only the privileged and wealthy few can get them (or in the case of states like North Dakota, attempting to outlaw it completely) is exactly what created the Gosnell monster in the first place, and conservatives know it.

So-called TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) laws are designed to put such onerous regulatory burden on abortion providers that they cannot remain open, regulating everything from parking lot sizes to demanding larger hallways, requiring multiple hospital admission rights for all providers at the clinic, requiring invasive vaginal ultrasound procedures, requiring clinics meet the same standards as surgical clinics, and more.

The entire Gosnell paradigm is working as intended.  States have been trying to shut down abortion clinics at the state level, limiting access for a great many women.  In 2009 that was up 87% of counties.  It's 90% or higher now.  Making abortion impossible to get, impossible to provide, has always been the goal for the anti-choice faction.  The entire point is to create more Gosnells and use them as empirical evidence that abortion needs to be outlawed by equating anyone who supports a woman's right to choose as being no different from Gosnell himself.

Already, Republicans are taking advantage of the manufactured outrage to plan to push for more regulations and restrictions if not outright federal implementation of more TRAP laws.  More Gosnells lead to more outrage, leading to more regulations, leading to more Gosnells.  That's the real story here, not the fake cover-up narrative.

Moving On Up (Again)

Just a short note for readers:  Imani, Bon, myself, and the rest of the Angry Black Lady Chronicles contributor crew will be moving over to join Elon James White and the fabulous cultural juggernaut that is This Week In Blackness starting today.  I'm pretty damn excited to go along for the ride on this as the crew's KY/OH/IN tri-state correspondent, which is just a fancy name for doing what I do now: calling out the GOP in my area as I have been doing for Imani for three years now.

Hopefully this means a wider audience for our work, and you may even occasionally hear me as a guest over at a TWiB podcast or two.  Maybe.  No promises:  TWiB podcasts are a hell of an act to follow.

Also joining ABLC as part of the TWiB empire of awesome is Jack and Jill Politics, one of the most thoughtful political blogs out there (black or otherwise.)  Be sure to say hello to Baratunde Thurston and Cheryl Contee, two of the best writers I've had the pleasure of reading.

One will need to step us his hat game to hang with these cats, for sure.

The Inside Job On The Jobless Continues

Just a friendly reminder from The Atlantic's Matt O'Brien that the number one threat to America right now is long-term unemployment becoming structural because Republicans keep blocking every single effort to put Americans back to work.

There are two labor markets nowadays. There's the market for people who have been out of work for less than six months, and the market for people who have been out of work longer. The former is working pretty normally, and the latter is horribly dysfunctional. That was the conclusion of recent research I highlighted a few months ago by Rand Ghayad, a visiting scholar at the Boston Fed, and William Dickens, a professor of economics at Northeastern University, that looked at Beveridge curves for different ages, industries, and education levels to see who the recovery is leaving behind.

Okay, so what is a Beveridge curve? Well, it just shows the relationship between job openings and unemployment. There should be a pretty stable relationship between the two, assuming the labor market isn't broken. The more openings there are, the less unemployment there should be. If that isn't true, if the Beveridge curve "shifts up" as more openings don't translate into less unemployment, then it might be a sign of "structural" unemployment. That is, the unemployed just might not have the right skills. Now, what Ghayad and Dickens found is that the Beveridge curves look normal across all ages, industries, and education levels, as long as you haven't been out of work for more than six months. But the curves shift up for everybody if you've been unemployed longer than six months. In other words, it doesn't matter whether you're young or old, a blue-collar or white-collar worker, or a high school or college grad; all that matters is how long you've been out of work.
And these are the folks falling off the labor participation rate at the rate of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands per month.  What's horrible is that both sides recognize the problem, but that only one side wants to do anything about it, and the other side is blocking all efforts.

President Obama proposes large-scale infrastructure projects which will put Americans to work, and proposes large-scale job training efforts to get Americans the skills they need to fill the new jobs.   Republicans blocked them both.  Instead, they figure if they can cut taxes and then cut government spending on jobs programs, jobs will magically be created.

Republicans are keeping Americans unemployed on purpose. They hope you'll blame Obama and either stay home or vote GOP as a result.

Please let that sink in.


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