TGIF: Taco Night With the First Lady
Plus: inflation, abortion and kimchi.
It’s Friday! Welcome back to the headlines we follow and a quick summary of what you missed on Common Sense this week. See you in the comments.
→ Inflation hits a shocking new high, up 9.1% year over year: Inflation clocked in for June significantly worse than expected. At 9.1%, our inflation rate is at the highest level it’s been in nearly 41 years. This is a crisis, and it is the direct result of an over-the-top stimulus. Meanwhile, our leaders are blasé, insisting it’s always about to be over. Biden back in December was telling people: “I think it's the peak of the crisis.” Hardly. Now this week, here’s Nancy Pelosi: “I think we’re peaking. I think we’re going to be going down from here.” And the White House press secretary: “We are stronger economically than we have been in history.”
Don’t expect a mea culpa from the press, which has sounded much like the White House. It’s helpful to remember headlines like this one from Mother Jones in July 2021: “How Inflation Became the Gasbags’ Favorite Moral Panic.” All those crazy moderates worrying about the cash hose! Or this from the New York Times’s Binyamin Appelbaum: “Inflation Isn’t Lurking Around the Corner. This Isn’t the 1970s: Democrats need to shelve the memory of stagflation.” Right, yes, of course. We were all just dumb gasbags.
And printing more cash to end student debt will help cool inflation, you see.
→ In the abortion debate, everyone is looking really bad: Another week and another thousand instances of insanity on this issue. Nancy Pelosi today is, once again, putting up for a vote the doomed Women’s Health Act, which essentially allows abortion until birth. Meanwhile, the pro-life movement jumped on the tragic case of a 10-year-old girl who was raped and became pregnant. A lot of folks argued the case seemed too improbable to be true—or “too good to confirm,” according to the Wall Street Journal editorial page.
But it is very true. And now very confirmed.
A young girl in Ohio was raped by 27-year-old Gerson Fuentes, who is reportedly an undocumented immigrant. She had to be transported to Indiana for an abortion since abortion in Ohio is banned at six-weeks, when many women—let alone a 10-year-old girl—would have no idea they’re pregnant. She was six weeks and three days pregnant, according to her doctor. National Right to Life’s legal counsel had this to say: “She would have had the baby, and as many women who have had babies as a result of rape, we would hope that she would understand the reason and ultimately the benefit of having the child.” There is so much wrong in this sentence. Starting with the idea that a 10-year-old child is a woman.
Meanwhile, high profile pro-choice advocates remain unconvincing. If you haven’t seen it, here’s the viral video of UC Berkeley School of Law professor Khiara Bridges sparring with Senator Josh Hawley. She insisted on using the phrase “people with the capacity for pregnancy,” rather than the verboten word women. When Hawley said, well then, “this isn’t really a women’s rights issue,” the Berkeley professor balked. Yes, of course it is!
→ Here’s a smart argument: One clever Texas woman is arguing that she ought to be able to use the carpool lane even as a solo driver. Why? She’s pregnant. And if Texas is going to consider a fetus a living child, then she ought to be able to as well. I support this.
→ Line of the week: “Jill Biden’s attempt to compliment the Hispanic community at an event in Texas backfired spectacularly when she likened them to tacos.” – Bloomberg
Oh Jill. On Monday, the First Lady went to “a LatinX IncluXion Luncheon” (sponsored by Amazon, Google, Marriott, UPS, and Wells Fargo). No one wants to be called Latinx even for incluXion. Progressives add Xs to words like lesbians add granola to recipes: It feels right, even if everyone is saying stop. At the luncheon, she said the following: “The diversity of this community—as distinct as the bodegas of the Bronx, as beautiful as the blossoms of Miami and as unique as the breakfast tacos here in San Antonio—is your strength.”
“We are not tacos,” responded the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. Which leads us to our next item:
→ Dems are now officially the party of affluent whites: Democrats have a larger share of support among white college graduates than among nonwhite voters, according to a new Times/Siena College national survey. That long-awaited multi-racial working-class coalition is indeed happening. But funny enough, it’s on the right.
→ But broadly, voters are swaying slightly back toward Dems: Whether it’s due to the January 6 Committee hearings or because of some of the hardline views about abortion and gun control on the right that we’re starting to hear a lot of, voters are swaying back toward Democrats ahead of the midterms, according to that same new poll, which shows Dems closing the gap with Republicans.
→ Here’s a winning message: Is there still a constituency for the old school Democrat? The Democrats who support school choice and parents rights and are realistic about crime? I think so. We’re rooting for Maud Maron:
→ Innovation must be stopped: Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are trying to prevent tech companies from improving on charging technology. To reduce expenses and waste, the senators want to have universal charging standards, so the government will determine when and if a company is allowed to roll out a new charging capability. A few guesses how often the government would approve of improvements (the answer is never, they would never approve).
→ Brad Parscale’s unsurprising texts: Texts between former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale and Trump campaign spokeswoman Katrina Pierson show him regretting the work he did to elect the president: “A sitting president asking for civil war,” Parscale texted on January 6th. “This week I feel guilty for helping him win.”
→ Wait, did Biden just get Mexico to pay for the wall? Mexico has agreed to pay $1.5 billion to upgrade some of the U.S.-Mexico border security systems. It’s a good start and is a testament to Biden’s calmer, more productive, less erratic-tweet-based relationship with Mexico. In other news: Migrants continue to flow through. And U.S. border patrol agents have officially been cleared of whipping migrants—a bit of viral fake news based on journalists being unfamiliar with what horse reins look like.
→ Shinzo Abe’s legacy: No sooner had Japan’s former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe been assassinated than a thousand nasty pieces spun out about how very, very bad he was. NPR called him “a divisive arch-conservative” etc., etc., etc. A good piece about his actual legacy—and the challenges the former Prime Minister faced—comes from Bloomberg: “Abe dreamed of revising Japan’s pacifist constitution, but subsequent events show how necessary that is. Since then, we have seen North Korea come into possession of not just regular nuclear weapons but hydrogen bombs; Russia has annexed Crimea and then invaded Ukraine; and the regime in China has let its mask slip with its determination to extinguish basic freedoms in Hong Kong.” Abe's tenure, like that of Angela Merkel in Germany, raises the question: Is it really in the United States’ interest for a former enemy that has spent the past decades atoning for its innumerable sins to remain dependent on American protection?
→ Another serial attacker targets the homeless: The trendy argument of the day is that letting people camp on the sidewalk is empathetic, and only heartless fascists would want to force someone into housing. And yet leaving society’s most vulnerable people exposed on America’s sidewalks means leaving them exposed to, among many other things, horrific violence. In Manhattan, there’s another case of a man seeming to take pleasure in stabbing the homeless while they sleep, injuring several and killing at least one. NYPD released video of the suspect stalking the streets. He’s been taken into custody—he is homeless too. And don’t worry, the victims are being properly referred to as “people experiencing homelessness,” which is no doubt very helpful to them.
→ Starbucks closing 16 locations, citing crime: Starbucks is closing sixteen locations, citing “a high volume of challenging incidents that make it unsafe to continue to operate.” Where are those locations? Portland, Washington, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles. Now you might not care about Starbucks. Personally I love their egg bites. But the cafés closing is another bad omen about the safety of our cities. It’s hard to imagine some sweet local coffee shop replacing Starbucks—it’s not as though they can more easily tolerate having staff roughed up or storefronts broken into.
Meanwhile in Los Angeles, the hardcore reformist District Attorney George Gascón is dismantling the parole unit, a group of lawyers who alerted a victim when their convicted assailant was up for parole and often attended hearings with the victims. You might want to know about parole status if the person raped you or shot you, for example. But that practice is being dropped—Gascon says it shouldn’t be the DA’s job. In some American cities, there’s only one victim in any crime: the attacker, silly!
→ New York’s bodega owners stand up: The bodega owners of the Big Apple are gathering after one of their own was put in Rikers for fighting back against an attacker. “Bottom line— in Florida, this is what you would consider Stand Your Ground,” said United Bodegas of America spokesman Fernando Mateo at a press conference. “That’s what New York City needs.”
→ Leave Anne Frank out of your fights, please: For the blissfully unaware, I have something terrible to tell you: Among a certain set of internet-addled activists, it’s become important to argue that Anne Frank, in particular, had white privilege. Yes, that Anne Frank. The child killed in the Holocaust. This argument has been going for a few years now, kicked up again recently. “How is calling Anne Frank white antisemitic?” asked one prominent New York Times writer (she deleted the message and said, no, Anne Frank did not have white privilege). The whole conversation went on for a few strange days. How could anyone suggest that the Jews murdered by the Nazis were, in fact, privileged in any way? This is your brain on modern American race theory.
→ Kimchi biscuit activism: You might be settling in to read a new recipe for kimchi cheddar biscuits thinking you’ll have a nice time and maybe try something new. To cook the biscuits is to show care, the author writes. That sounds lovely . . . but, no. No, these are special biscuits. These biscuits are queer activism! “This idea of care feels particularly queer, and crucial among queer folks.” Making these biscuits is in part about “supporting trans kids navigating cultures of harm throughout the country.” I guess I’d be called queer by the recipe writer (I prefer the term old dyke), but sometimes I just want to make a biscuit.