Red Blooded

Following yet another election night drubbing in Iowa, it’s easy to feel despair.

I feel it. Not 2016 feel it, but it stings.

Iowa, as we longtime residents on the left are fond of saying, isn’t the place we fell in love with. It’s clearly bathed in red, rewarding culture warriors who run on dog whistles.

The bright side is that over the last few cycles, I’ve learned to set my expectations at absolute rock bottom so I can be pleased that maybe someone I voted for in a statewide race is clinging to a 2,000-vote lead.

A Post-Roe World

My wife and I were in our mid-30s, financially secure with good careers and a safety net, and parents of a happy, healthy 9-year-old when we first considered abortion.

We did not want a bigger family and, despite being stable and secure, were scared and uncertain.

So on a weekend, we sent our kid to their grandparents to spend the night, took a pregnancy test and got rip roaring drunk in the wash of relief that followed its coming back negative.

I booked a vasectomy following a simple conversation with my doctor and a referral to a urologist. The hardest part was figuring out paying a bill through some third-party system since my primary provider was affiliated with the Catholic Church. (You know.)

Today, we are now in the shocking-but-not-surprising place that our world is officially a post-Roe world. It hurts. It’s infuriating. It’s a lot of other things I don’t have words for.


Whatever emotional pain I feel pales in comparison to physical and emotional hurt, and entirely predictable disfigurement and death, that will come with abortion bans in Republican states across the nation.

There will still be abortions. These abortions will be more dangerous for those who cannot travel to states where the medical procedure remains legal, and our neighbors and loved ones and friends will feel less safe, less in control and less cared for, no mater their station.


Fuck these illegitimate, undemocratic, lying justices.

Jan. 6 in June 2022

Revisiting footage from Jan. 6, 2021, in June 2022, even just this was more powerful, more terrifying, than I thought it would be. Just this 10-minute clip, part of the first two-hour hearing, took me back 17 months.

I used the word “coup” then. The Select Committee used the word “coup” yesterday.

Many members of the GOP are trying to change the subject because it’s hard to see it as anything but an attempted coup.

How San Francisco Became a Failed City

Nellie Bowles writing in The Atlantic:

These are parables of a sort of progressive-libertarian nihilism, of the belief that any intervention that has to be imposed on a vulnerable person is so fundamentally flawed and problematic that the best thing to do is nothing at all. Anyone offended by the sight of the suffering is just judging someone who’s having a mental-health episode, and any liberal who argues that the state can and should take control of someone in the throes of drugs and psychosis is basically a Republican. If and when the vulnerable person dies, that was his choice, and in San Francisco we congratulate ourselves on being very accepting of that choice.

Iowa City is not San Francisco, but our politics, and, I suspect, our problems, share some similarities.

The Inadequacy of the CDC

Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo:

To paraphrase Sonny Corleone, during a pandemic we need a wartime CDC. And it’s clear we don’t have one. The institutional apparatus designed for managing ‘ordinary’ infectious diseases, researching and improving care for chronic maladies simply isn’t designed for what we’ve confronted in the last two years.

This was my takeaway from reading Michael Lewis’ The Premonition, which felt both premature and prescient when I read it, too.

In my view, public service involves two, at times competing, calls. One is to leverage expertise. A second is to advocate for the best option. The political part of public service is about making calls — often really tough ones and sometime really unpopular ones — is the face of competing demands.

We’ve put the CDC in the place of having to issue perfect decisions or do the work of political leaders by including the balance in their work.

Voters with Uncounted Ballots on Rita Hart’s Challenge Withdrawal

Zachary Oren Smith reporting for the Press-Citizen:

After filling out her ballot, Loetz said she was preparing to put it into her secrecy envelope but she’s allergic to the glue in some envelopes, so rather than licking it, used a bit of water to seal it. In the process, she said, the envelope ripped. Rather than starting over, she decided to take it to the Scott County Auditor’s Office to see if it would work. According to Loetz, she asked the elections worker if the envelope would be a problem, but says she was told it would work.

These are stories that got lost in the both-sides reporting of Iowa’s Second Congressional District: 22 people whose votes were not counted for technical reasons.

This wasn’t an attempt to steal an election like Donald Trump, who was demanding ballots from precincts that went heavily Democrat Joe Biden be tossed in bulk. Rita Hart was asking — consistently — to have specific ballots considered in a recount.

Hart was asking that voters, including those who voted for her opponent, not be disenfranchised.

Rita Hart Had to Take One for the Team

John Deeth on the historically close Second Congressional District race after Rita Hart dropped her challenge, pushing to count 22 ballots in a race she lost by six-vote margin:

Hart had the worst possible luck. It wasn’t just that she had the closest congressional race in at least 40 years, and that it turned on minor clerical errors. It was that this happened at the same time as a defeated president lied about massive voter fraud, refused to concede, and gave aid and comfort to criminals who invaded our Capitol and murdered police officers. If it weren’t for that, the 2nd District challenge would still have been bitter and partisan and controversial. But it would have been possible. Instead, we had an environment where immeasurable imaginary fraud and 22 very specific examples of minor mistakes were treated as Both Sides Identical.

It’s always worth reading Deeth on Iowa politics, but I want to call attention to the media piece here, because this is what stuck out to me. “Both sides do it” is, in this case, malpractice.

The Republicans who were pushing this through a “Pelosi is trying to steal a seat” tale where many of the same characters who were silent or vocally supportive of Trump’s Big Lie and deadly riot incitement. And, yet, they got their he-said turn uncritically reported.