• USA Today’s “Deadly Deliveries” series reminds me, again, of all the talk I heard from pre-Reaganist evangelical women warning against Catholic hospitals. There are consequences to treating pregnant people as dubious, untrustworthy, and morally inferior. There are consequences — sometimes lethal consequences — to a faith-defining, politics-defining ideology that elevates “unborn babies” above and against those who carry them. “Pro-liferism” is a bad tree that bears bad fruit:
The vast majority of women in America give birth without incident. But each year, more than 50,000 are severely injured. About 700 mothers die. The best estimates say that half of these deaths could be prevented and half the injuries reduced or eliminated with better care.
Instead, the U.S. continues to watch other countries improve as it falls behind. Today, this is the most dangerous place in the developed world to give birth.
Also too: capitalism.
• Those of us who loved and learned from Rachel Held Evans have struggled with realizing that we now have to get along without her. As it turns out, those who refused to love or to learn from her are now struggling with the same thing. For now, they’re just trying to get by and make out the best they can by pretending that Beth Moore might be a substitute designated bogeyman.
That’s not quite working for the patriarchal white evangelical men desperately trying to maintain their control. They’re having trouble painting Moore as the embodiment of everything that should terrify their fearful followers because they themselves aren’t terrified of Moore the way they were (and still are) of Rachel.
• It was 25 years ago today that Dwight Ozard, Nick Giaconia and I got home from a Phillies game to watch Game 5 of the Knicks-Rockets NBA finals series. They showed the game in a tiny split-screen box, with most of the screen showing, instead, this:
Happy White Bronco Day everyone.
• Remember the Sony Pictures hack? That was (probably) a North Korean operation in which hacked emails and personal information led to the disgrace and downfall of several prominent Hollywood executives.
A refresher on that recent bit of history is a necessary background for reading Nancy LeTourneau’s post “Why Did Trump Flip-Flop So Dramatically on North Korea?” Here’s her concluding paragraph:
We can only speculate about what happened that changed the president’s tune so dramatically. What can be eliminated as an explanation is the possibility that North Korea has made any real concessions that prompted this reversal. So, given what we know about this president, it is hard to avoid questions about whether Kim Jong Un has something on Trump.
Those questions are especially hard to avoid given that even Trump’s most vocal defenders all seem to agree that he’s the kind of person for whom there’s surely a vast multitude of “something” to “have on” him.
• I found this next piece via John Fea who, like me, is from Central Jersey — a somewhat disputed region: “Central New Jersey Doesn’t Exist, But Don’t Tell Central Jerseyans That,” Dan Nosowitz writes for Atlas Obscura.
The North Jersey/South Jersey division has become fuzzier with the decline of broadcast TV. It used to be channels 2,4,5,7,9,11, and 13 was North and 3,6,10,12,29, and 57 was South (with sports allegiances and regional lingo — sub/hoagie, Italian ice/wooder ice, etc. — in line with that). By that standard, most of “Central Jersey” should count as North Jersey.
But I think Nosowitz’s approach misses the real dynamic at work in constructing “Central Jersey.” It’s not so much a regional category asserted by Central Jerseyans for themselves as one assigned to them by residents of both North and South Jersey. If you’re from Middlesex or Monmouth County, say, from Princeton or Piscataway or Freehold or Flemington or Bridgewater, and you meet someone from Hackensack or Hoboken, they will tell you — emphatically — that “that ain’t North Jersey.” Having thus been informed that your town is not a part of North Jersey, you can then turn to someone from Cherry Hill or Vineland or Mt. Laurel and have them insist — even more emphatically — that you’ve got nothing to do with South Jersey.
In any case, I was once a paper boy for the Courier News, so I know Central Jersey exists — it said so right there on the front page every day.
• I think I posted this Guy Clark classic just a few months ago, but it seems like a necessary choice again now on White Bronco Day: