Dingus of the Week: Joe Manchin
A rich white man who lives on a houseboat single-handedly ruined America
Hi! Welcome to the Weekly Dingus, my Friday newsletter, where I round up my internet reads, share a drink, and yell about a dingus. Is that dingus a politician? A boat in a canal? My dog? Or maybe it’s just pants. You can read about past weekly dinguses in the archives.
Also, through the end of the month, I’m having an anniversary sale on subscriptions. There are a lot of ways to waste your money. This is as good as any.
Well, it was only a matter of time. The senator from West Virginia, who publicly identifies as a Democrat but behaves like a ghoul, personally tanked paid family and medical leave for all Americans. During a pandemic, which has killed over 700,000 Americans and forced millions of women out of the workforce, Sen. Joe Manchin decided everyone was whining, so he dug in his heels on the paid-leave portion of Biden’s sweeping Build Back Better legislation, resulting in that part of the bill being scrapped.
Vicki Shabo, senior fellow at the New America Foundation, told the Huffington Post, “The fact that this one older white gentleman, who perhaps has never had to contend with family caregiving or the risk of losing his job or being unable to pay his bills, could stand in the way of paid leave for nearly 20 million people a year is shocking and upsetting.”
Just as a reminder. America is the only developed nation without a paid family and medical leave policy.
In sum, a very popular and necessary piece of legislation was flushed down the political toilet because a 74-year-old white man decided to throw a fit.
Great democracy we got here. Shame if it actually worked.
Right now, here is where things stand in America: Access to reproductive care is difficult, abortion is almost illegal, maternity wards are being shut down, and the maternal death rate is the highest in all the developed nations. So, should you survive having a child, you cannot care for that child. You can’t even stop bleeding postpartum before you are forced back to work. That is, if you even have a job.
But don’t worry. Joe Manchin, one of the richest people in the Senate, will be okay on his houseboat.
What a complete waste of a majority in the Senate if in a pandemic we can’t even pass an overwhelmingly popular piece of legislation that would help millions and millions of people.
What I Am Reading:
Jamelle Bouie wrote about Joe Manchin’s strategy for the New York Times. The majority of Americans support the separation of church and state. It took an act of Congress to reveal how bad the COVID-19 outbreaks were at meatpacking plants. Aubrey Hirsch made a list of very scary adult costumes for Halloween.
Sandra Newman wrote an very beautiful essay about haunted houses.
I wrote for the Huffington Post about how to sue a Nazi. And about the reality of racism in Iowa and everywhere. (Spoiler: It’s not just a Republican problem.)
What I Am Drinking:
On my flight to Charlotte, before heading to Charlottesville, I paid for the upgrade to first class and learned the secret of the fancies: they have their own menu of airline cocktails.
A flight attendant told me that they make fun little drinks for people in first class using the ingredients they have on hand. She shared a recipe with me.
Take one plastic cup and fill it with equal parts:
Watermelon lime seltzer
Amaretto or Champagne
I drank it. It was kind of terrible. But also, I was on an airplane. And nothing that happens in the air is real.
Men Yell at Me is a newsletter about the places where our bodies and politics collide and yes, the occasional yelling man. Learn more about it and me (Lyz) here. You can sign up to receive the free weekly email, which includes interviews, essays, and original reporting. The Friday email is a weekly round-up of dinguses, drinks, and links. On Monday I have a subscribers-only open thread where we discuss politics and our bodies and more.