As you may have heard, Republicans in the House passed their bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act yesterday. No longer will kids with cancer, women who had C-sections, and other drains on the system force the cost of their care onto real Americans by buying health insurance. No longer will insurers labor under the burdensome system of regulations that has depressed their soaring profits since 2010. Now freedom rings. Before doing the deed, the GOP caucus pumped itself up with a basement rendition of “Taking Care of Business”—fortunately, no one present could perceive irony—and celebrated afterward with Bud Light and a bus trip to the White House. Never mind that the Senate plans to scrap their bill and start over. The important thing is that House Republicans sent a message. Today is Friday, and America’s only functioning political party is hell-bent on cashing in while it can. Won’t you try not to get sick with me?
Patrick Young, Esq. is one of several to report that a high school student has disproven University of Illinois professor’s Richard Jensen’s claim that signs reading “no Irish need apply” were a historical myth. Originally published in the Journal of Social History in December 2002, Jensen’s “‘No Irish Need Apply’: A Myth of Victimization” argues that the signs forbidding employment to Irish immigrants in the 19th century were “an enhancement of political solidarity against a hostile Other; and a way to insulate a preindustrial non-individualistic group-oriented work culture from the individualism rampant in American culture.” That’s kind of a bigoted thesis, bro. Unfortunately, Rebecca Fried’s article—which is extremely commendable and impressive for a high school student—doesn’t seem to disprove it.
Look at the kicker in that ad: “Deliberate discrimination against Christians is now the official—or unofficial, but actual—policy at an increasing number of publicly funded colleges and universities.” It’s like the copywriter caught himself lying and then convinced himself what he was saying was basically true anyway, all in the space of one sentence. Welcome to the age of creeping mendacity, where telling the truth is less important than getting people to believe what’s true. It’s a subtle difference—so subtle you can use it to trick yourself. Today is Friday, and the truth is too important to let other people sort it out for themselves. Won’t you conflate “correct” and “honest” with me?
Last week, we took brief pause at a report that the Tea Party was “even less popular than much-maligned groups like atheists and Muslims.” It’s nice to know that those of us who profess no religion are still beating those who profess religion loudly at school board meetings, but man—Muslims? They’re holding Congressional hearings about those guys. Then, on Sunday, as I was resting, Smick sent me this blog post about plans to compile a national registry of atheists. The unattributed “they”—”they are comparing atheists to child molesters” and “they want a list of all the atheists in their area”—is the kind of ace reporting that has made the reputation of the Daily Kos. “They” turn out to be various Christians on internet message boards, but the phenomenon is still troubling. They are the same people who published George Tiller’s home address, after all. Putting aside the betting line on a list-making and planning war between evangelical Christians and atheists in this country, I think it’s time to address a salient question: do we get minority status now?