Quick Takes

* It has been 64 days since President Obama nominated Merrick Garland to serve on the Supreme Court, and Republicans still refuse to hold a hearing. Recently Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee Chuck Grassley said this about the nominee:

Just based upon his personality, you’d say, ‘This is the type of person that ought to be on the Supreme Court.’ And you can’t help but like the guy.

They’re not even trying to pretend like this is about anything other than refusing to allow a legitimately-elected president the opportunity to do his job.

* Sen. Tom Cotton seems intent on challenging Ted Cruz for the title of “Worst Senator.” He is currently holding up progress on criminal justice reform. Here’s why:

Sen. Tom Cotton on Thursday slammed his colleagues’ efforts to pass sweeping criminal justice reforms, saying the United States is actually suffering from an “under-incarceration problem.”

Yeah, he really said that we have a “under-incarceration” problem. Apparently Cotton thinks we’re all living in a war zone.

“I saw this in Baghdad. We’ve seen it again in Afghanistan,” recalled Cotton, who served in the Army during both wars. “Security has to come first, whether you’re in a war zone or whether you’re in the United States of America.”

* Yesterday the United States International Trade Commission released a report on the economic impact of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement. Kevin Drum did us the favor of putting their findings in graph form.

Here is his conclusion:

Generally speaking, I’d say this means you should mostly ignore the economic aspects of TPP. The benefits will be minuscule and the damages will be minuscule. The error bars on a 30-year forecast are just too big to say anything more. Instead, you should focus on other aspects of the agreement. How will it affect poor countries in Asia? Is it a useful bulwark against the growing influence of China? What do you think of extending US patent and trademark rules throughout the world?

* Right wing Christians are currently engaged in fear-mongering about transgender people in bathrooms while they mostly ignore this:

Despite all those transgender bathroom laws GOP state legislatures keep passing, a child is far more likely to be molested at church.

In 2014 the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) came out with a report on sexual abuse in the Catholic church. It turns out that from 1950-2013, 17,259 victims made accusations and 6,427 clerics had been counted as “not implausibly” or “credibly” accused. This doesn’t even account for underreporting or include the unusually large number victims who came forward in 2003 in the wake of the Boston Globe‘s eye-opening report on sexual abuse in the Catholic church by their Spotlight team…

Meanwhile, for all of their yammering about gay marriage and public restrooms, evangelical protestant churches also have a lot to answer for. In 2015, the exposure of 19 and Counting‘s Josh Duggar’s sexual proclivities revealed not only that America’s favorite Christian family wasn’t as wholesome as they seem (and that their faith community helped enable him). In February, the Washingtonian broke a story revealing decades of sexual abuse against children in Sovereign Grace Ministries, a suburban megachurch network.

I can’t help but think of what Jesus said about this kind of thing.

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

– Matthew 7:3-5

* Finally, agree or disagree with him, how can you not love Joe Biden?

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.