It’s almost impossible to get your mind around how much is currently being sacrificed in favor of a Senate procedural rule that appears nowhere in the Constitution and emerged to buttress segregation.

Ben Rhodes

This week’s featured post is “A Dozen Observations about Texas, Abortion, and the Supreme Court“.

This week everybody was talking about the Texas abortion law

That’s the subject of the featured post.

and the cost of the filibuster

The Texas abortion law could be undone if Congress passed the Women’s Health Protection Act. But it won’t, of course, because the WHPA can’t muster 60 votes to get past a Republican filibuster.

So we can add one more item to the bill America pays to maintain the filibuster. Similarly, all the hoops and hurdles Republican legislatures have put in the way of voting could be reversed if Congress passed the For the People Act, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, or some watered-down version of either bill. Even Joe Manchin claims to want to pass something to protect voting rights, but again, unified Republican opposition makes the filibuster an insuperable roadblock.

Similarly, the filibuster dooms the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, a $15 minimum wage, and statehood for D.C. and Puerto Rico. It’s the reason January 6 is being investigated by a House committee rather than a bipartisan commission.

Historically, the filibuster protected segregation in the South, preserving Jim Crow for decades.

Filibuster defenders need to be challenged to answer: What victories balance all these losses? At what moment in American history was the Republic saved from a catastrophic mistake because some prescient minority filibustered? I don’t know of one.

and the growing Republican acceptance of gangsterism and violence

Thursday, CNN reported that the House committee investigating the January 6 insurrection had asked telecommunication companies to preserve the phone records of a number of Republican congresspeople, including Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

Notice: preserve, not turn over. If the committee eventually decides that it needs some of those records, it will presumably subpoena them. At that point, McCarthy et al might challenge the subpoenas in court, and I assume the companies will do whatever the courts tell them. All perfectly normal.

Kevin McCarthy responded like a Mafia don.

If these companies comply with the Democrat order to turn over private information, they are in violation of federal law and subject to losing their ability to operate in the United States. If companies still choose to violate a federal law, a Republican majority will not forget and will stand with Americans to hold them fully accountable under the law.

An appropriate response to this tweet might be: WTF? Or more specifically, WFL: what federal law?

McCarthy’s office has not responded to CNN’s request for clarification on what law McCarthy believes the telecommunication companies would be violating.

Marjorie Taylor Greene was more explicit about the threat, if not the law:

These cell phone companies, they better not play with these Democrats, because Republicans are coming back into the majority in 2022, and we will take this very serious.

When you warn people not to cooperate with investigators, or else — that’s pretty much the definition of obstruction. But for congressional Republicans, it’s just Tuesday.

A week ago yesterday, North Carolina Republican Congressman Madison Cawthorn issued this threat:

If our election systems continue to be rigged, and continue to be stolen, then it’s going to lead to one place, and it’s bloodshed.

He went on to say that he dreads “having to pick up arms against a fellow American.” Not that he wouldn’t do it, but that he doesn’t look forward to it. You don’t “dread” things that you know you aren’t going to do.

Cawthorn’s spokesman claimed he was opposing violence. But when a conditional threat is based on a lie, the result is just a naked threat. Democrats can’t stop rigging and stealing elections, because they haven’t done that in the first place. If I tell you I’m going to burn your house down unless your dog stops peeing on my lawn, and you don’t have a dog, then the bottom line is that I’m threatening to burn your house down.

As we’ve seen again and again, Trump claims fraud whenever he loses. He claimed that fraud prevented him from winning the popular vote against Hillary Clinton in 2016, and he also claimed Ted Cruz committed fraud when he beat Trump in the 2016 Iowa caucuses, tweeting: “Based on the fraud committed by Senator Ted Cruz during the Iowa Caucus, either a new election should take place or Cruz results nullified.”

Given that history and Cawthorn’s devoted Trumpism, the only conclusion to draw is that Cawthorn is regretting in advance all the Americans he will kill if his side loses again. If they lose, they will claim fraud again and get violent again, but with more bloodshed this time.

A Republican candidate for county executive in Northampton County, Pennsylvania, explained how he plans to handle schools boards that impose mask mandates.

Forget going into these school boards with frigging data. You go into school boards to remove ’em! That’s what you do! They don’t follow the law! You go in and you remove ’em. I’m going in there with 20 strong men, I’m going to speak to the school board and I’m going to give them an option. They can leave or they can be removed.

No attempt to convince, no organizing for the next election, no petitions or marches or sit-ins. Just “20 strong men”. Increasingly, that’s how the GOP wants to handle things.

All across the country, there are reports of the Proud Boys joining anti-mask protests outside of schools and school board meetings. Explicit threats are often part of these demonstrations.

and the pandemic

I’m not sure I trust this week’s numbers. On the one hand, they follow the recent trend of slowing growth: New cases are up only 8% over the last two weeks, compared to last week’s 20%, preceded by 36% and 60%. On the other hand, the biggest drop is 51% in Louisiana, with even bigger drops in the coastal counties where Ida hit. It could just be that the hurricane interrupted testing and reporting of new cases. But if these numbers are accurate, we could hit a peak this week.

and you also might be interested in …

It’s weirdly ironic that Covid-related unemployment benefits are expiring on Labor Day.

My part of the northeast got some rain, but no serious flooding when the remnants of Ida blew through Wednesday night and Thursday morning. South of here, though, particularly in Philadelphia and New York, things got ugly, and more than 40 people died.

Meanwhile, Louisiana is still recovering from when Ida hit there eight days ago.

In addition to the abortion ban, Texas now has open carry of firearms, without permits or training. So if you want to shoot up a Texas school or shopping mall, you aren’t breaking any laws until you pull the trigger.

The anti-voting law that Texas Democrats delayed by leaving the state? It passed. Harris County is suing to keep it from being enforced.

You’ll be pleased to know that Rudy Giuliani reports that he is “not an alcoholic” and functions “more effectively than 90% of the population”.

Trump Tower is having trouble finding tenants, but it has one really reliable, deep-pocketed one: the Make America Great Again PAC that Trump runs himself. It rents a space that could accommodate 30 employees, but it only lists three, and they’re not there most days. The high-priced lease appears to be a simple way to turn donors’ money into personal income for Trump, but it’s all perfectly legal.

and let’s close with something explosive

I’ve previously closed with videos of elaborate domino constructions that fall in amazing and beautiful ways. An even more kinetic version of the same basic idea is the stick bomb. The elasticity of tongue depressors is used to store potential energy, which can be released in a chain reaction.

If you want to build your own, here’s a tutorial.

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  • Anonymous  On September 6, 2021 at 12:01 pm

    Good timing (stick bomb). I’m getting ready to talk about potential and kinetic energy in class.

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