June rambling: Until Proven Otherwise

green sneakers

Back In My Day
From https://wronghands1.com/2022/06/03/back-in-my-day-millennial-edition/

Assume Every Child Has PTSD These Days Until Proven Otherwise

Chaos in John Roberts’s Court

Dobbs Decision Punctures the Supreme Court’s Sacred Mythology

The 1883 Civil Rights Cases, the 14th Amendment, and Jim Crow New York?

Gov. Ron DeSantis begins recruiting for his own Florida army

How Diversity Became a Bad Word at One State’s Public Colleges

How Milton Friedman Fought Segregation through the American Economic Association

I miss our old futurists

New York’s Redistricting Chaos Is Part of Andrew Cuomo’s Legacy

Insinuendo

New York Passes Nation’s First Electronics Right-To-Repair Law cf  malicious compliance

Rocks: John Oliver

It’s Time to Bring Back the AIM Away Message

Measure Twice, Cut Once by Norm Abram

City Lights was the greatest film ever made

Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Keaton, Oscar Isaac, and the THR Drama Actor  Roundtable

THR Tony Nominees Roundtable: Hugh Jackman, Ruth Negga, Jesse Williams, Mary-Louise Parker, and Sam Rockwell on Broadway in the Time of COVID

Now I Know: The Town That Keeps Tooting Its Own Horn and Here’s Something About Gary and I Guess You Could Say He Was Too Sharp and When North Dakota (Briefly) Tried to Secede From the United States and
How to Turn Donuts into Dough?

Four days in the Finger Lakes

The Crooked Forest: A Mystery Worth Exploring

A backyard train layout

GUNS

America’s guns have changed in my lifetime. “Comparing the United States to other countries is one of the most powerful arguments for gun control. Recurring mass shootings are a problem unique to the US, requiring an equally unique explanation. Other industrialized countries also have… all the other factors NRA-sponsored politicians and pundits raise to divert attention from guns. “

Cruz’s suggestion of one door entrance to schools for safety is problematic. But having one EXIT to a building is a fire hazard. (See any number of factory and nightclub infernos.)

Cruz says, if we limit guns, it wouldn’t have changed the outcome in Uvalde or Buffalo and that we need to do more about mental health. What if we raised the age to 21 to buy these AK-15-type weapons? 18 y.o.’s brains are not developed. The shooters in Uvalde, Buffalo, Newtown, and too many others were under 21. New York State just passed such a law.

If banning them outright seems like too extreme a solution to be politically palatable – and the US even banned at least some assault weapons for ten years, from 1994 to 2004 – here’s another option: Reclassify semi-automatic rifles as Class 3 firearms. Still, The AR-15 Has No Business Being in the Hands of Civilians.

These weapons exist for exactly one reason — to kill multiple people as quickly and violently as possible. 60 Minutes reran a story about high-velocity guns such as the AR-15. Its use in the Uvalde, TX school massacre is why families needed to offer up their DNA and why one girl was identified only by her green sneakers.

Hit the fan

Yet the Congressional talks appear to be unserious, as though mass shootings are just “Something We Have to Accept”

Do we need an Emmett Till moment, or more likely, a variation on it?

What drives mass shooters? Grievance, despair, and anger are more likely triggers than mental health, experts say.

“Mass shooters’ desire for death and destruction, experts have found, stems from a variety of circumstances and is rooted in an entrenched grievance, despair, and anger, regardless of whether they experience symptoms of mental illness.”

School Police: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. NOT the end-all

MUSIC

Kate Bush’s 1985 classic Running Up That Hill has re-entered the chart at No. 8. The revival of the track is from the new fourth season of Netflix’s Stranger Things.

Returning Waves by Mieczysław Karłowicz.

Subterranean Homesick Blues – Bob Dylan (2022 Remake)

Le boeuf sur le toi by French composer Darius Milhaud.

Oye Como Va ft. Carlos Santana, Cindy Blackman Santana, and Becky G

Beethoven-Liszt Symphony No. 9, Op. 125 (Sheet Music) (Piano Reduction)

The Kids Are Alright – MonaLisa Twins

Coverville 1402: Cover Stories for Oasis, Fine Young Cannibals and Siouxsie and the Banshees and 1403: The Three Dog Night Cover Story II

Jungle Boogie – Muppets

Forty years of Come On Eileen – Dexys Midnight Runners

Themes from the Flintstones TV show with Lego stop motion animation

A Chinese reed instrument called the Sheng 

Pink Glasses – Randy Rainbow

Love theme Splash by Lee Holdridge

Sunday Stealing hodgepodge

2 Samuel

Sunday StealingThis Sunday Stealing hodgepodge was so detailed that I could have written whole posts about a few questions. And in fact, that’s why I’ve done it here a few times, link to items previously discussed.

1. Where do you get your news these days?

I’ve thought about this a lot. I get a lot of newsfeeds, “mainstream,” progressive, and what one might call rightwing. About the latest mass casualty event, I receive a dozen notices. Elon Musk dithering about whether to buy Twitter I read about ad nauseum.

Yet the first time I read that Bob Lanier, Hall of Fame basketball player and an apparently really good guy had died, it was in from Kelly’s blog. And the second was from a weekly newsletter that linked to this article. It’s more and more difficult to know everything.

2. Do you like crab meat? What makes you crabby?

It’s OK. People hijacking the Consitution and/or the Bible.

3. Does freedom mean more choices? Have you ever felt there were too many choices? Elaborate.

I think we have a gazillion choices of picking watching TV/movies, e.g. – so many platforms! Sometimes keeping track of the options is essentially impossible.

4. Barbara Millicent Roberts was introduced to the world on March 9, 1959…that’s Barbie to most of us. Did you have Barbies as a kid, or did you let your own children play with Barbies? What well-known Barbara (living or not) would you most like to meet?

I think my sisters may have had a Barbie. I can’t think of a famous living Barbara I’d like to meet, but maybe Barbra Streisand.

5. What are three things you value most in another person?

Integrity, intelligence, and compassion.

THEY are old…

6. How would you define “old.” At what age is a person old?

It’s always been true: 30 years older than I am.

7. A place you’ve been that’s “old.” Tell us something about your visit there.

My Grandma Williams’ house was old and is now non-existent. This is a picture of my parents in the backyard of 13 Maple Street, Binghamton, NY.

8. Something you miss about the “good old days.” When were they?

In the 1960s, there were a bunch of Supreme Court decisions that were making the United States a better place: Mapp v. Ohio, Baker v. Carr, Gideon v. Wainwright, New York Times v. Sullivan, Griswold v. Connecticut, Loving v. Virginia.

9. In what way are you a ‘chip off the old block’? Or if you’d rather, in what way is your child a ‘chip off the old block’?

My daughter understands my motivation in terms of time usage, way better than her mother does.

10. Old fashioned, Old Testament, old-timer, same old same old, old glory, good old boy, old wives tale…choose an ‘old’ phrase that relates to something in your life or the wider world currently and explain.

My Bible study has been slogging through the Old Testament histories, presently in 2 Samuel. While some of the theology is mystifying, it is an interesting reflection of human foibles.

A juicy mango

11. July 5th is National Hawaii Day…have you ever been to Hawaii? Any desire to visit or make a return trip? Pineapple, mango, or guava…what’s your pleasure?

Never been to Hawaii, though I’d like to. There’s a story about that. Pineapple, though I never had mango until the last decade or so.

12. Last time you were ‘thrown in at the deep end’? Explain.

The Gutenberg block editor on WordPress, which I wrote about here. Just this past week, I tried it again, but could not “get” it.

13. Sun, sea, sand, salt…your favorite when it comes to summer?

I’ve NEVER done sun for the sake of it – ixnay on the unbathingsay, and that was before I had the vitiligo.

14. Bury your head in the sand, the sands of time, draw a line in the sand, pound sand, shifting sands…pick one and tell us how the phrase currently relates to your life in some way.

Sands of time. I’m getting older, and achier.

15. On a scale of 1-10 (1 = make your own rules and 10=like a warden), how strict were your parents? If you’re a parent where on the scale do you land?

My dad was a 7.3, and my mom was about 2.3. I’m much closer to my mom’s score than my dad’s.

 

Post-Roe worse than pre-Roe?

Employing the logic of Plessy v. Ferguson

Being old enough to remember the pre-Roe v. Wade days, it was a time when people with means were able to get a safe abortion by going somewhere else. Some people went as far as Sweden if memory serves.

Others would utilize back-alley ‘practitioners” who utilized “alternative” methodologies, which would often leave women infected, permanently incapable of bearing children, or occasionally dead.

In a post-Roe country, it will be a time when people with the means will be able to get a safe abortion by going somewhere else. I saw on the news that a clinic in Mississippi was working on a way to get people to New Mexico to receive services.

From the LA Times: “Defiant California leaders stood ready… to protect residents and non-residents alike from any federal rollbacks of abortion rights, though they could face significant challenges in expanding the state’s capacity to serve as a haven for those arriving from outside its borders.”

And those who choose to flaunt the state laws in Texas and Oklahoma? The populace has been deputized and monetarily incentivized to report alleged perpetrators. (What happened to the right to privacy?)

Check out these maps from Axios and the New York Times, though I’ve noticed these maps vary a bit, especially regarding Pennsylvania.

Being the masochist that I am, I actually read Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion in  Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. OK, not the last 30 pages, which cataloged all the historical opposition laws to abortion in the states and pre-state territories. One could research similar opposition to contraception, interracial marriage, same-gender marriage, and other rights that were once considered controversial.

Tribe response

Here are some responses that resonate with me.

The new Supreme Court’s iron fist by Laurence H. Tribe, who, not incidentally, is cited in the opinion on page 46.

“If the right of a woman to decide whether to have a baby — a right that arises from the simple idea that everyone owns their own bodies — won’t qualify, then neither will most of the rights you have long assumed are yours. And not a word of the draft would prevent women who have abortions, or who miscarry in circumstances the state deems suspect, from being imprisoned as criminals.

“And this might not be a two-sided coin: A court capable of doing what the Alito opinion would do is equally capable of saying that a nationwide abortion ban would represent a legitimate exercise of Congress’s power to treat abortions as commerce and accordingly ban them all, while a nationwide attempt to codify Roe and Casey to protect the liberty of women would be a constitutional overreach…”

Tribe trashes Alto’s “tortured” reasoning. “Indeed, the most relevant text, the Ninth Amendment, instructs that the failure of the Constitution to ‘enumerate’ a right cannot be taken to ‘deny or disparage’ its existence.”

Also, check out the Boston Globe piece, The Supreme Court is coming after democracy itself by Adrian Walker.

The Atlantic

In The Atlantic, Alito’s Plan to Repeal the 20th Century by Adam Serwer. If the conservative justice’s draft opinion is adopted by the Court, key advances of the past hundred years could be rolled back.

“Alito’s writing reflects the current tone of right-wing discourse: grandiose and contemptuous, disingenuous and self-contradictory, with the necessary undertone of self-pity as justification…

“Alito claims to be sweeping away one of the great unjust Supreme Court precedents, such as… Plessy v. Ferguson, which upheld racial segregation. But in truth, Alito is employing the logic of Plessy, allowing the states to violate the individual rights of their residents in any way their legislatures deem ‘reasonable,’ as the opinion in Plessy put it.

“Aside from rights specifically mentioned in the text of the Constitution, Alito argues, only those rights “deeply rooted in the nation’s history in tradition” deserve its protections. This is as arbitrary as it is lawless. Alito is saying there is no freedom from state coercion that conservatives cannot strip away if conservatives find that freedom personally distasteful…

“This is total gaslighting; he knows as well as anyone that these other rights are like Roe, rooted in the right to privacy. If Roe is imperiled because it is unenumerated and not ‘rooted in our history and tradition,’ then these other rights are also subject to challenge,’ Melissa Murray, a law professor at NYU, said of Alito’s disclaimer. ‘Conservative lawyers are going to eat this up like catnip, and of course, they are going to challenge these other precedents.'”

Delegitimized

I know I’m having a difficult time accepting the legitimacy of this Supreme Court because of the chicanery of its composition manipulated by Senate Republicans. When Antonin Scalia died in February 2016, they said Obama couldn’t select Merrick Garland to replace him because of “precedent” involving picking a justice in the President’s final term in office.

Yet the Senate ran over such “precedent” when Ruth Bader Ginsburg died in September 2020 and Trump appointee Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed in near-record time.

Speaking of the upper chamber, Susan Collins (R-ME) is shocked, SHOCKED that Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, who suggested to her that Roe was “settled law” during their confirmation hearings would lie to her.

Interesting times. Ugh.

April rambling: shadow docket

1950 Census

John Roberts joins dissent blasting extremist Supreme Court conservatives for abusing the shadow docket

Ginni Thomas Debacle Is a Warning That Trumpism Lives On in the Halls of Power

Battle Against School Segregation in New Jersey

Weekly Sift: Elon and Twitter; will Elon regret the purchase?

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver:  Police Interrogations and
Data Brokers and Truckers and Harm Reduction

Florida Eliminates Disney’s Special District

He Was an Ex-FBI Serial Killer Profiler. Then His Lies Caught Up With Him

Viewers Feel Overwhelmed by Too Many Choices, Nielsen Survey Finds and What Happens When an Industry Becomes a Squid Game and Behind the Scenes of CNN+’S Stunning Fall

Lily Tomlin THR interview

Gilbert Gottfried, Comedian, ‘Aladdin’ Star Dies at 67 from a   condition called myotonic dystrophy. In the documentary called Life, Animated (2016), about a child who learned to communicate by watching Disney films, the young man Owen had a club and he invited Gilbert to one of their events. Gilbert was such a mensch.

Bobby Rydell, Pop Singer, ‘Bye Bye Birdie’ Actor, Dies at 79

Robert Morse, Two-Time Tony Winner, and ‘Mad Men’  Star, Dies at 90

Bruce Willis’ Aphasia

How Colorblind NHL Players See The Game

Comics For Ukraine

The Most Beloved Comic? How and Why Calvin and Hobbes Disappeared

The (Edited) Latecomer’s Guide to Crypto

Chuck Miller changes his name

Human connections light up This Brilliant Darkness by Jeff Sharlet

Making popcorn

The remarkable brain of a carpet cleaner who speaks 24 languages

How Come People Say ‘How Come’?

A poem about libraries

A puzzler from Presh Talwalkar.

That Old Twitchy Feeling – linkage to linkage

Information, please

The Census Is Broken. Can AI Fix It?

Fertility Rates: Declined for Younger Women, Increased for Older Women

Official 1950 Census Website

How Many Humans Have Ever Lived?

State Tax Collections per Capita, Fiscal Year 2020

100+ Statistics and Trends in Social Media

Maps of Albany

Now I Know

Indiana Jones and the Porcelain Throne? and When Belgium Flipped the Coin at France and We Shouldn’t Forget Ignaz Semmelweis and Why Doctors Wear Green (or Blue) Scrubs and The Walls (and Book) That Can Kill You and The $64,000 Fake New York City Tourist and Why You Shouldn’t Hold in a Sneeze and An Initial Reaction to Disaster Relief?

MUSIC

Rebecca Jade was gearing up for San Diego Music Awards performance; she won two awards, Best Video; and Best R and B, Funk, or Soul Song for What’s It Gonna Be.

Possibly Neil Diamond’s most significant Sweet Caroline performance, Fenway Park in Boston, April 20, 2013.

Elmer Bernstein at 100

Rest in peace, C.W. McCall

Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor by Sergei Rachmaninoff, performed by Khatia Buniatishvili

Good Day Sunshine – MonaLisa Twins

Three Visions by William Grant Still 

Town Of Tuxley Toymaker

Le Palais Hante by Florent Schmitt.

Coverville:  1396 – Tribute to Foo Fighters’ Taylor Hawkins and 
1397 – The Elton John Cover Story IV and 1398 – The Hollies Cover Story II

Appalachian Spring by Aaron Copland 

Twelve cellists from the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra play the theme from The Pink Panther

 The Crown of India by Edward Elgar

Introverting – The Holderness Family

Amadeus clip

All By Myself – Eric Carmen

John Denver

K-Chuck Radio: You mean they’re not related?

 

The SCOTUS abortion ballet

“enlisting private citizens to do what the State could not”

abortionIt’s not that I’m happy that the Texas state legislature passed legislation severely restricting abortion. It’s that I’m unsurprised. I’ve come to expect dreadful things from the Texas legislature – see its recent restrictive voting bill.

These bills were signed by its terrible, awful, not very good governor, Greg Abbott, who’s always in fierce contention with Florida’s Ron DeSantis as my least favorite state chief executive.

The latest bad law in Texas bans abortion as early as six weeks. For women with regular menstruation cycles, they have only two weeks after missing a period to determine pregnancy. This is before most people even know they are pregnant.

Vigilantes

Worse, the state law allows anyone to sue a person or organization that provides abortion care or even helps someone obtain an abortion. As Truthout notes: “The drafters of SB 8 established a novel scheme to prevent lawsuits against state officials by privatizing enforcement and deputizing private persons to sue people who provide abortions.

“The bill gives any non-governmental person the right to sue abortion providers and those who ‘aid and abet’ them, financially or otherwise… Defendants must pay plaintiffs who win their lawsuits a $10,000 bounty plus attorneys’ fees. In other words, Texas is bribing its residents to sue people who help women get abortions.”

This variation on vigilante justice is not only constitutionally dubious but potentially dangerous to the potential defendants. The targets “could include anyone — doctors, nurses, friends, spouses, parents, domestic violence counselors, clergy members or Uber drivers.” Given the rage people have over vaccine requirements and mask mandates, this is scary stuff. As VoteVets noted: “In a state with fewer restrictions on guns than on reproductive health care, that kind of vigilante justice is pretty terrifying.”

Supreme Court punts

So I’m furious with the SCOTUS abortion ballet. In a one-paragraph, unsigned order, the court acknowledged that the providers had “raised serious questions regarding the constitutionality of the Texas law.” But that was not enough to stop the law from going into effect. The court explained it’s because of the way the law operates.

Specifically, the court observed, it wasn’t clear whether the state officials – a judge and court clerk – and the anti-abortion activist whom the abortion providers had named as defendants “can or will seek to enforce the Texas law” against the providers in a way that would allow the court to get involved in the dispute at this stage.”

That’s legal mumbo jumbo for BS. As Chief Justice John Roberts notes, SCOTUS has allowed the state to allow the implementation of a law that could be unconstitutional. “The Court’s order is emphatic in making clear that it cannot be understood as sustaining the constitutionality of the law at issue.”

As Justice Sonia Sotomayor explained in dissent, the Texas “Legislature took the extraordinary step of enlisting private citizens to do what the State could not…The Court should not be so content to ignore its constitutional obligation to not only protect the rights of women but also the sanctity of its precedents and of the rule of law.”

Onerous

In a state that leads the country and much of the developed world in the rate of maternal mortality, women in Texas will now have to travel to another state to secure an abortion or resort to life-threatening back-alley coat-hanger abortions. There is no exception for rape or incest.

Biden said the Court’s [in]action in Woman’s Whole Health “unleashes unconstitutional chaos and empowers self-anointed enforcers to have devastating impacts.” He added, “Complete strangers will now be empowered to inject themselves in the most private and personal health decisions faced by women.”

Future

Does this mean that Roe v. Wade has been overturned? Not necessarily. This was a wuss non-action by SCOTUS. The Court will address Roe in a  Mississippi case soon. The Court’s actions in Texas DOES make me nervous about Roe’s future.

It’d be nice if Congress would pass the Women’s Health Protection Act, but I’m not encouraged. 

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