1. Walton County in Florida has removed 58 books from its public-school libraries for "the welfare of all involved," according to the superintendent. Included on the list was the baby book "Everywhere Babies," apparently because its street scenes include same-sex couples.
2. The ban on "Everywhere Babies" has, understandably, garnered a lot of attention. What's garnered less attention - but is more important and revealing of what's happening in Florida - is that the superintendent also removed a book called "My Two Dads," by Carolyn Robertson.
3. "My Two Dads" is a picture book narrated by a boy who has, yes, two dads, who talks about what his life is like. That's it. There's nothing about gay identity. The word "gay" doesn't appear. It's just a book showing that some kids have two dads, and they have fine lives.
4. Given this, there is no possible justification for the superintendent to remove this book from a public-school library unless he is also removing every book depicting life with a mom and dad.
5. Same-sex couples have the same legal status as opposite-sex couples in the U.S. They can get married and adopt in every state in the country. There's no acceptable basis for a public-school library to discriminate against them in the way it spends its public funds.
6. But that's exactly what the superintendent in Walton County is doing. He removed that book simply because it depicts a same-sex couple raising a child as something that's okay.
7. And this tells you what's driving legislation like Florida's HB1557: a backlash against gay rights generally, and a profound opposition, and fear of, the "normalization" of being gay. It's offensive and unconstitutional, but it's a dominant sentiment within the GOP.
Washington Post article about the ban on "Everywhere Babies" below, along with the full list of books Walton County removed from its libraries.
washingtonpost.com/parenting/2022…

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More from @JamesSurowiecki

Apr 21
Batya writes an entire piece about Libsoftiktok, claiming that no one’s against gay rights anymore, and that only trans issues are controversial. But somehow she fails to mention that Libsoftiktok wants any gay teacher who comes out to their students to be fired “on the spot.”
If Batya really thinks consevatives are in favor of gay rights, she should look at my mentions. She’ll find plenty of people saying otherwise. Or she could just have looked at Libsoftiktok’s homophobic record, and her insistence that gay teachers should stay closeted or be fired.
I do not understand how you can write a whole piece on LOTT, making the argument that since everybody’s cool with gay rights, progressives could only be angry with her because she’s anti-trans, and ignore the fact that she has literally called for openly gay teachers to be fired.
Read 4 tweets
Apr 20
1. This is a nonsensical take, and it's the reason the DoJ has to appeal the decision overturning the mask mandate. The executive branch - of which the CDC is part - is a co-equal branch of government, and Congress has explicitly given it power over public health.
2. All of the discussion over the lifting of the mask mandate has centered on whether it's a good idea, and nowhere near enough attention has been paid to the abysmal logic of the judge's decision overturning the mandate.
3. The Public Health Service Act of 1944 gives the executive branch the power to "make and enforce such regulations" it deems necessary "to prevent the spread of communicable diseases...from one State into any other State."
Read 7 tweets
Apr 17
This seems fine - if the WHCD is actually requiring people to have a negative test (even a negative one rapid one) before attending, which the Gridiron Dinner did not. Is it?
Obviously, rapid tests are imperfect. But all mitigation measures are about reducing, not eliminating, risk, and if the person who would have been a superspreader tests positive and doesn't attend, the risk to other attendees drops significantly.
One common argument against requiring testing was that it created a false sense of security. But it's obvious at this point that people are going to attend these big events regardless, so better to try to identify people who have Covid and keep them from attending.
Read 4 tweets
Apr 14
1. This story about House Republicans voting down a proposal to honor the first black judge on the Florida Supreme Court is nuts, and says a lot about the power of the hard right over the GOP. But it's gotten almost no attention.
nytimes.com/2022/04/12/us/…
2. The House was all set to name a federal courthouse after Joseph Hatchett, who was the first black judge on any state supreme court south of the Mason-Dixon Line. The bill was sponsored by Florida's two Republican senators, and endorsed by all of its representatives.
3. That's when a right-wing congressman from Georgia brought up an appeals-court opinion Hatchett had written in which he held, quite reasonably, that the 1st Amendment barred schools from allowing students to choose to have a prayer delivered as an official graduation message.
Read 7 tweets
Apr 12
The logic of this, about the Gridiron Dinner, is a little mysterious. You have a bunch of people who had never had Covid and had mostly avoided large maskless events in times of spread. They go to a large event, maskless, and catch Covid. And the conclusion is: Nothing works!
I agree with Prasad that we should be doing RCTs of N95s. But it's very peculiar to point to a superspreader event held in the middle of rising cases where people were not wearing masks as evidence that all restrictions are pointless.
More generally, I don't understand the point of talking about illness in these absolute terms.

Yes, living with other people means getting sick. That doesn't mean going to work or school with the flu is a good idea.
Read 6 tweets
Apr 12
Setting questions of gender identity aside, how are gender-specific dress codes at work not sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act?
I should clarify that I mean not just dress codes, but also "grooming and appearance" rules, like rules that require men to have short hair or women to wear makeup.
Courts traditionally held that gender-specific dress/appearance codes were OK if they didn't impose an undue burden on one gender. That has led to absurd decisions concluding, for instance, that having to wear makeup and styled hair didn't impose an undue burden on women.
Read 5 tweets

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