June 28, 2022

Sunrise — 5:25, 5:47, 5:48.

IMG_1343X

IMG_1355D

IMG_1356D

Talk about whatever you like in the comments.

I've got 6 TikToks for you tonight. Let me know what you like best.

1. Your girlfriend who has a boyfriend is really annoying

2. The coffee is the perfect color and the paper towel is repurposed.

3. Moby is displeased with President Biden.

4. Helena Bonham Carter has a poem she sends to people she feels are a bit lonely.

5. In the 80s, Ricky Gervais aimed to be something of a David Bowie.

6. If you want a really sweet relationship....

"Preoccupied with spiritualism and the occult as well as with her painting, Ms. Keane said nothing publicly even after discovering what her husband was up to..."

"... remaining passively complicit in the fraud for a decade. She even sat through press interviews, nodding approvingly while he told of his own artistic struggles and virtuosities. 'The whole thing just snowballed, and it was too late to say it wasn’t him who painted them,' Ms. Keane told The Times years later. 'I’ll always regret that I wasn’t strong enough to stand up for my rights.'"

"Hey pal, it’s Dad. It’s 8:15 on Wednesday night. If you get a chance just give me a call. Nothing urgent. I just wanted to talk to you. I thought the article released online, it’s going to be printed tomorrow in the Times, was good. I think you’re clear. And anyway if you get a chance give me a call, I love you."

Said Joe Biden, in a voicemail in late 2018, quoted in "Voicemail indicates Joe Biden knew of Hunter deals with 'spy chief of China'" (NY Post).

During a campaign appearance in Iowa in September 2019, Joe Biden said, “I have never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings.” His former press secretary, Jen Psaki, and his chief of staff, Ron Klain, have both repeatedly echoed that sentiment.

The Biden voicemail followed a Times report on Dec. 12, 2018, detailing Hunter’s dealings with Ye Jianming, a “fast-rising” Chinese oil tycoon who headed CEFC China Energy Company in 2016 before being arrested two years later amid allegations of economic crimes.

"Stardust, an astrology-focused menstrual tracking app that launched on the App Store last year... one of Apple’s top three most-downloaded free apps right now... [had] put in writing that it will voluntarily..."

"... without even being legally required to—comply with law enforcement if it’s asked to share user data.... A widely-shared concern is that law enforcement can use personal data created in apps against people who’ve sought or gotten abortions illegally."

That went up at Vice yesterday, but there's an update saying that "Stardust changed its privacy policy to omit the phrase about cooperating with law enforcement 'whether or not legally required.'" 

 You can attempt to comprehend a TikTok from Stardust, which I'll put after the jump. It's pretty complicated — includes the phrase: "We're not an evil corporation...."

Is it paranoid to imagine that the government would aim to keep track of women's menstrual cycles for the purpose of detecting abortions? We're often chided for not caring enough about how much privacy we sacrifice by using apps, and this one is really intrusive, and it's luring in young women who have the gullibility to want to connect their period to astrology. 

"In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade, former vice president Mike Pence says abortion should be banned nationwide..."

"... and is planning behind the scenes to focus on the issue in the coming weeks, according to advisers.... On Friday, Pence’s organization, Advancing American Freedom, shared a video highlighting that record.... Some Republican strategists called the end of Roe an opportunity for Pence.... 'He just needs an issue set that he can really dig into that’s not about January 6 or Trump or anything,' said Republican strategist David Kochel, who has worked on six presidential campaigns. 'He’s comfortable talking about [abortion],' he added. But Kochel said Trump still has the simplest message to voters about the Supreme Court ruling: 'You’re welcome.'... Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich on Friday disputed that Trump has privately expressed misgivings about overturning Roe.... Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R)... said in a recent statement that the state would 'work to expand pro-life protections' but did not chart out specifics.... Former secretary of state Mike Pompeo called for increased support for pregnancy care centers, organizations that counsel people against abortions and provide them with resources..... Nikki Haley... said in a statement that she hopes for 'a renewed commitment from elected lawmakers to support and protect mothers and their pre-born babies.'"

"A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 50% of Likely U.S. voters approve of the Supreme Court abortion ruling, including 38% who Strongly Approve..."

"Forty-five percent (45%) disapprove of the Supreme Court’s new ruling, including 38% who Strongly Disapprove."

38% in the opposing strongly categories. Exactly balanced.

But in the larger groups — combining stronglys with other degrees of feeling including the passionless and the utterly bored — there are 5 more percentage points on the side of approving of what the Court did. 

Why might that be? It could be that some people approve of whatever the Supreme Court does. They're the experts! They ought to know. That said, 50% is way less that the total percentage that know absolutely that they personally will never need an abortion. Maybe there are a lot of people who just want to be rid of the unpleasant subject — either way. Don't ask me. Ask the Supreme Court. 

Well, it goes right along with the loss of the right to abortion.

I'm reading "Every branch of the military is struggling to make its 2022 recruiting goals, officials say/With a record low number of Americans eligible to serve, and few of those willing to do it, this 'is the year we question the sustainability of the all-volunteer force,' said an expert" (WaPo).

And you thought your body was yours.

But wait!

"Roe v. Wade... invited no dialogue with legislators. Instead, it seemed entirely to remove the ball from the legislators’ court."

"In 1973, when Roe issued, abortion law was in a state of change across the nation. As the Supreme Court itself noted, there was a marked trend in state legislatures 'toward liberalization of abortion statutes.' That movement for legislative change ran parallel to another law revision effort then underway — the change from fault to no-fault divorce regimes, a reform that swept through the state legislatures and captured all of them by the mid-1980s. No measured motion, the Roe decision left virtually no state with laws fully conforming to the Court’s delineation of abortion regulation still permissible. Around that extraordinary decision, a well-organized and vocal right-to-life movement rallied and succeeded, for a considerable time, in turning the legislative tide in the opposite direction."

Said Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in 1992, shortly before Bill Clinton nominated her to the Supreme Court, quoted yesterday, in Aaron Blake's WaPo column, "What Ruth Bader Ginsburg really said about Roe v. Wade."

Blake is quoting that to correct people who might think Ginsburg thought that Roe was wrong about the existence of a right to abortion. 

"The bodies of 46 migrants were found in the back of a sweltering tractor-trailer in San Antonio on Monday..."

"... the deadliest smuggling incident of its kind in U.S. history.... Rescuers pulled 16 people from the truck who were still alive and conscious, including four minors, San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood told reporters.... According to Hood, the bodies removed from the truck 'were hot to the touch.'... The deaths come amid a surge in migration at the border, with the latest U.S. Customs and Border Protection figures showing that immigration arrests there in May rose to the highest levels ever recorded.... Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) was quick to blame the president for the tragedy, writing that 'these deaths are on Biden' in a tweet.... The deaths 'are the result of his deadly open border policies,' Abbott wrote. 'They show the deadly consequences of his refusal to enforce the law.'"

WaPo reports.

The previous record number of deaths in one incident — in the United States — was 19.

"[Elizabeth] Warren called on Biden to declare a national medical emergency, and she said the administration could establish Planned Parenthood outposts on the edge of national parks."

"'The point is the acknowledgment of the emergency situation and the urgency of getting help out,' she said in an interview. 'People need help immediately.' Biden and his team have signaled discomfort with many of these ideas.... A senior White House official said Biden is simply being honest with the public about what he can do unilaterally.... The official said that while the proposal to set up abortion clinics on federal lands was 'well-intentioned,' it could put pregnant people and providers at risk, and that in states where abortion is illegal, women and providers who are not federal employees could be prosecuted. Some legal experts have also raised questions about whether such a proposal would stand up in court, and White House officials worry it would violate the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits the use of federal funds for abortion except if a pregnant person’s life is in danger or if the pregnancy results from rape or incest.... If Biden pursued aggressive executive actions to expand abortion access, even if those moves were ultimately overturned by a court, it would energize supporters and signal to voters that Democrats are putting up a fight, advocates said.... Some Democrats... say it’s critical to show voters what the party would do if it had even slightly bigger majorities...."

ADDED: She should have said national forests

June 27, 2022

At the Milkweed Café...

IMG_1312D

... you can talk about anything you want.

"One frustrated Title IX coordinator told me she sometimes thought of her job as running 'The Break Up Office.'"

"She said many young people lacked the skills to navigate relationships themselves, and often didn’t want to. Why should they? Instead of focusing on punishing students who commit truly bad acts and aiding their victims, campus administrators transmitted the message that recasting any sexual experience as malign, and then reporting it to school authorities, is an act of bravery."

"We’re never going to be the ones to cross the police barrier or cross something in order to get to somebody."

Said Enrique Tarrio, the chairman of Proud Boys, in a recorded video conference on Dec. 30, 2020, quoted in "Proud Boys Ignored Orders Given at Pre-Jan. 6 Meeting/The directives, given during a video conference, included obeying police lines and keeping away from ordinary protesters. But members of the far-right group played aggressive roles in several breaches at the Capitol" (NYT).

"More than 1 million voters across 43 states have switched to the Republican Party over the last year..."

"...  according to voter registration data analyzed by The Associated Press. The previously unreported number reflects a phenomenon that is playing out in virtually every region of the country — Democratic and Republican states along with cities and small towns — in the period since President Joe Biden replaced former President Donald Trump. But nowhere is the shift more pronounced — and dangerous for Democrats — than in the suburbs, where well-educated swing voters who turned against Trump’s Republican Party in recent years appear to be swinging back."

"A law that would have allowed noncitizens to vote in local elections in New York City was struck down by a State Supreme Court justice in Staten Island who said it violated the State Constitution...."

"The legislation placed New York City at the forefront of a national debate about voting rights, as some states began to expand eligibility while others went in the other direction, moving to explicitly bar noncitizens from voting."

"In the end, the [School] District’s case hinges on the need to generate conflict between an individual’s rights under the Free Exercise and Free Speech Clauses and its own Establishment Clause duties..."

"... and then develop some explanation why one of these Clauses in the First Amendment should '"trum[p]"' the other two. But the project falters badly. Not only does the District fail to offer a sound reason to prefer one constitutional guarantee over another. It cannot even show that they are at odds. In truth, there is no conflict between the constitutional commands before us. There is only the 'mere shadow' of a conflict, a false choice premised on a misconstruction of the Establishment Clause. And in no world may a government entity’s concerns about phantom constitutional violations justify actual violations of an individual’s First Amendment rights. Respect for religious expressions is indispensable to life in a free and diverse Republic—whether those expressions take place in a sanctuary or on a [football] field, and whether they manifest through the spoken word or a bowed head. Here, a government entity sought to punish an individual for engaging in a brief, quiet, personal religious observance doubly protected by the Free Exercise and Free Speech Clauses of the First Amendment. And the only meaningful justification the government offered for its reprisal rested on a mistaken view that it had a duty to ferret out and suppress religious observances even as it allows comparable secular speech. The Constitution neither mandates nor tolerates that kind of discrimination."

From Kennedy v. Bremerton School District, announced just now, written by Justice Gorsuch and joined by the 5 Justices most likely to join Gorsuch.

Oh! I'd forgotten the Supreme Court is doing new case announcements this morning!

They haven't started yet, but the 5-minute-warning buzzer just sounded.

Watch the roll out of new cases at SCOTUSblog, here.

1. "The Court holds that both the free exercise and free speech clauses protect [a coach's] right to pray at midfield following high school football games." Here's the opinion, Kennedy v. Bremerton School District. From the syllabus of the opinion:

"If we can’t safely go out and have sex and know that we will have a choice after that, then why should we be expected to?"

Such a crazy question, asked by Caroline Healey, "a 22-year-old event coordinator," quoted in "Sex Strike! Abstinence trends on Twitter in wake of Roe v. Wade ruling" (NY Post).

It's not just on Twitter. The Post encountered Healy at a protest. She also said:

“I think it’s absolutely valid for us to be withholding the Holy Grail that men seem to think is important... Why shouldn’t we withhold it if we’re always worried that they’re not going put a condom on, that they’re going take one off after we ask them to...."

That's hath wrought.

I'm trying to read "How Susan Collins can repair the damage she has wrought." It's Washington Post column by Jennifer Rubin. 

The "damage" she wrought was voting for Trump's Supreme Court nominees. By her own statement, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh conned her:
After the ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health was released, she asserted in a statement, “This decision is inconsistent with what Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh said in their testimony and their meetings with me, where they both were insistent on the importance of supporting long-standing precedents that the country has relied upon.” She then declared that she wanted to preserve Roe in statute, citing her support for the Reproductive Choice Act, which she introduced. (When a similar, Democratic bill came to the floor, she voted no. Her excuse: “It doesn’t protect the right of a Catholic hospital to not perform abortions.” In other words, millions of women whose rights she pledged to defend should take a back seat to … Catholic hospitals?)

Hmm. How about the damage wrought by Democrats who have refused to pass Collin's Reproductive Choice Act because they're keen on depriving Catholic hospitals of the right not to perform abortions?

ADDED: "Wrought" is archaic and it's used these days for effect, so what effect is intended? It's not jocose. Is it Biblical — a grand pronouncement? 

But I must concede that you don't have to use "hath" for "have" whenever you think "wrought" is better than "done." The OED has this quote from the Psalterium Carolinum of 1657:

The war our sins have wrought, With Peace, which Christ hath bought.

ACTUALLY: The Psalterium Carolinum had to use "have" with "sins," because "hath" is singular. That's why it's "hath" with Christ. So that quote doesn't require my concession! 

"Twenty-one teenagers were found dead early Sunday morning in a tavern in the coastal city of East London, South Africa... in a tragedy that remains something of a mystery..."

"Initial reports were that the teenagers, who the police say ranged in age from 13 to 17, died from a stampede.... [A government spokesman] said the tavern had hosted a large party on Saturday night, featuring two DJs who were celebrating their birthdays. The party was also billed as a celebration of South Africa’s dropping its mask mandate for public places... Bouncers told investigators that in an effort to control the crowd, they closed the doors to the venue.... But the theory of a stampede seemed inconsistent with what forensic experts had found so far in terms of injuries to the victims.... Victims were found sprawled on the gray tile floor, but also on a sofa and a coffee table. 'In terms of physical evidence, nothing points to a stampede'...."

Why was there a 6-point drop in support for abortion rights in the month that the Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade?

I'm trying to understand this new Marist poll, which was conducted on June 24th and 25th. The Supreme Court decision came out on the morning of June 24th. Of course, there was also the leak of what turned out to be the majority opinion. That happened on May 2nd.

 

Is the Court's opinion — or the press coverage of it — moving people against abortion rights? I don't know, but if I did know, I can think of reasons why that might happen.

It might be that some people accept the word of the Supreme Court, and if the Court says there is a right, they believe that, and if the Court says there is no right, they believe that too. Similarly, some people might feel influenced by the views of these other people, the Justices, because they are smarter and more educated and have immersed themselves deeply in the subject.

June 26, 2022

Sunrise — 5:07, 5:22.

IMG_1297

IMG_1313

Write about whatever you want in the comments.

I have 6 TikToks for you tonight. Let me know what you like best.

1. You may have mixed feelings about child labor.

2. The child's song: "Please Stop Bugging Me."

3. Harmonizing on "Creep."

4. The North Carolinian in experiences the weirdness of Wisconsin.

5. Saving a sheep.

6. That fevered email written in a Covid fervor.

"Several years back, you offered a stunning reading of the Rapunzel story. You looked at the beginning, in which a pregnant woman..."

"... so craves the parsley growing in a witch’s garden that she steals some, and the witch punishes her by taking her baby. The baby grows up to be Rapunzel, the girl with long hair who is locked in a tower. I’m thinking of the story now because our Supreme Court seems poised to strike down Roe v. Wade."


Warner answers:

"Before he goes out to hunt, Brian Leydet pulls on his hiking boots and his all-white jumpsuit, fetches a homemade flannel flag..."

"... out of his car and then, most importantly, duct-tapes his socks to his pant legs. Then he heads into the undergrowth, dragging his flag around like a morose matador.... Mr. Leydet’s quarry is quick to attach to the white flannel, using its tiny hooks on their legs to grab hold....."

"Destruction begins with small details. What is happening is not just a matter of food, but a way of mocking the people’s heritage."

"And when you mock the heritage of a people in this way, it is a prelude to trivializing what is most important and diluting or dissolving identity."

Mansaf is a rice-and-mutton dish traditionally eaten from a large, shared platter using one's bare hand. We're told "Often, the sheep’s head is placed at the center of the platter. Its cheeks, eyes, brain and tongue are highly prized and intended for the table’s most important guest."

Perhaps the traditional style of eating is more important than the food itself, but does that mean you shouldn't eat the food without the traditional behavior, that it's a mockery to eat it in some other way? I can see why you might want to deprive people of the food unless they follow the tradition, because that would cause people who crave the food to slow down, gather together, and interact with each other. But it's hard to understand that eating the food — with a spoon — from a paper cup is mockery.

The only thing I could think of is if someone were to sell communion wafers for people to snack on like a roll of Necco wafers.

"Nearly 70 abortion procedures with Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin scheduled for Friday and Saturday had to be canceled..."

"Lucy Marshall, president of Women's Medical Fund in Madison, said no clinics in Wisconsin are providing abortion care as of Friday morning.... After a draft opinion indicating the court was poised to overturn Roe was leaked, [Wisconsin Attorney General Josh] Kaul said he would not enforce the state's abortion ban. Still, local law enforcement officials could choose to do so. Gov. Tony Evers attempted to repeal the state's abortion ban prior to the SCOTUS decision. But Republican lawmakers rejected the special session Wednesday, gaveling in and out within seconds.... In a Marquette Law School poll this month that surveyed just Wisconsin residents, 58 percent of respondents said they are 'very concerned' about abortion policy. The June poll also shows 31 percent said abortion should be legal in most cases, 27 percent legal in all cases and 24 percent illegal in most cases."

The abortion ban Kaul refers to dates back to 1849, and it makes abortion a felony (unless it is needed to save the woman's life).

"Men really need to consider what losing access to safe and legal abortion means for them."

Said Joe Colon-Uvalles, an organizer at Planned Parenthood, quoted in "The Voices of Men Affected by Abortion/In light of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, advocates from all sides of the issue have called for men to be part of the conversation. The Times heard from hundreds who wanted to share their stories" (NYT).

The NYT solicited "stories" from "men who have grappled with abortion in their own lives." From the "hundreds" of responses, the Times made it's selections, and I'll just cut that down to various men's feelings without giving you the details of names, ages, and circumstances. Each quote is from a different man:

"In many states, including Wisconsin, Ohio, Georgia and Florida, abortion’s new battleground is decidedly unlevel, tilted by years of Republican efforts to gerrymander state legislatures..."

"... while Democrats largely focused on federal politics. As abortion becomes illegal in half of the country, democratic self-governance may be nearly out of reach for some voters.... Democrats may have won the popular presidential vote in five out of the last six elections, but Republicans control 23 state legislatures while Democrats lead 14 — with 12 bicameral state legislatures divided between the parties. (Nebraska’s legislature is elected on a nonpartisan basis.)... Unshackled by the Supreme Court and often largely unopposed by Democrats, conservative organizations backed by billionaires like Charles Koch — including the American Legislative Exchange Council and the Republican State Leadership Committee — set out more than a decade ago to dominate policymaking at the state level.... In Wisconsin, Democrats hold virtually every statewide office, including governor. Yet, waves of gerrymandering have left Republicans with close to a supermajority in the State Senate and Assembly. That means an abortion ban that was passed in 1849, when only white men could vote, is set to go back into force now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned. 'Because the structure of Wisconsin’s ultragerrymandered maps are so rigged against small-d democracy, we are going to have a law on the books that the overwhelming majority of Wisconsinites oppose,' said Ben Wikler, the chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.'"

I went to a theater to see a movie for the first time in over a year.

It's been over a year since we went out to see a movie. We saw "Nomadland" in April 2021, and when we saw that it had been over a year since we'd gone out to see a movie. Covid has been part of these long gaps, but not all of it.

I'm not sure I will ever want to see a movie in the theater again. My #1 problem is that you are bound to sit through it. You can't pause. You can't walk away and come back later. That can be a positive. You've committed to sit through it and you almost certainly will. It's now or never.


Ha ha. Guess what move we saw? Yes, you're right. It was Baz Luhrman's "Elvis":


I would have enjoyed this so much more on my TV. In fact, I would have enjoyed it much more if it had been made as a TV mini-series with 5 or 6 hour-long episodes. Because this movie was too long and too short. There were so many ideas that could have been worked through. There were 2 big themes: Elvis's relationship to black people and their music and Elvis's bondage to Colonel Tom Parker. That had to be compressed in the movie, and the movie was still 2 hours and 39 minutes. 

June 25, 2022

Sunrise.

At 4:56, I took this picture...

IMG_1248

... while Meade took this picture of me...

IMG_4559

These pictures are such a deep blue — with fresh, cheerful pink — but by 5:22, as the sun emerged, the colors had shifted to golden brown....

IMG_1283X

Please use the comments section to write about anything you want.

The great blue heron at sunrise.

IMG_1258

"Kleinfeld began taking the women out of the waiting room, one by one, to deliver the news.... Since she opened Houston Women’s Reproductive Services in 2019, Kleinfeld had worked hard..."

"... to create a space where her patients would feel comfortable. She keeps a vase of lilies in the waiting room and lines the walls with motivational posters in various pastel shades. As Kleinfeld told patients about the ruling, a Spotify playlist called 'Peaceful Guitar' played in the background. Meanwhile, other patient advocates turned to the phones: They had 35 scheduled patients to call.... Some of the patients took the news in stride, calmly asking questions about various clinics in other states. Others asked if she was sure about the ruling. One begged. 'I can pay extra,' the woman said.... The phones kept ringing through much of the morning with new patients calling to schedule appointments, completely unaware of the Supreme Court’s ruling.... Finally, Kleinfeld decided that she needed to record a new outgoing message. 'I’m sorry to report that as of today, Friday, June 24, 2022, Roe v. Wade, the right to legalized abortion, has been overturned,' Kleinfeld recited. 'As of today, we are no longer able to provide abortion services.' She paused, then added one more thought. 'We hope you all remember this when it’s time to vote.'"

Long sentence of the day.

IMG_2516

Is the author just dumping his thoughts on the page raw — expecting us to follow along? Or is this form perfection? Are you a strong enough reader to understand it on first read? Or is it better to read it, wander around in it, go over and over your favorite parts, then sweep through the whole thing?

When you do finally grasp it — sooner or later — does it seem to relate to American politics today? That's a whole second matter I'd like to discuss.

That paragraph was photographed by my son Chris. He and I have had conversations about the perceived problem of reading slowly, and I have taken the position that the best reading experiences have to do with slowing way down inside a single sentence. Of course, the worst writing slows you down too. The question is whether there's really something in there worth the journey.

Althouse photographs a sandhill crane great blue heron.

Meade's photo of me:
 
IMG_4564

My photo of the crane in flight:

IMG_1281

UPDATE: As explained in the comments to my other post about this bird, it is not a sandhill crane but a great blue heron. I see a lot of sandhill cranes, and I am too quick to see something this shape as a sandhill crane. But I know the sandhill crane has a red patch on its head and doesn't have those spiking feathers at the nape of the neck.

"Is OREO in today’s #NYTXW?"

That's a Twitter account: Is OREO in today’s #NYTXW?

But: spoiler alert if you have done today's puzzle (and you care).

I got there from Rex Parker's write-up of today's puzzle.

"There are a lot of things that are too cowy to run on National Public Radio, like talking about cow poop too much. For example, I can have someone slip in poop, but not have someone slapped in the face with it."

Said Baxter Black, quoted in "Baxter Black, Who Elevated Cowboy Poetry to Folk Art, Dies at 77/His wide-ranging work, including books, speeches and regular appearances on NPR, celebrated cowpokes, feed lots and life on the range" (NYT).

"As President, I will codify Roe v. Wade and my Justice Department will do everything in its power to stop the rash of state laws that so blatantly violate a woman’s protected, constitutional right to choose."

Wrote Joe Biden, June 29, 2020. 

Later that year, Biden was elected President. 

Two years from that date, the Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade. 

Because Roe v. Wade was not codified, abortion is now illegal in many of the states.

"It feels like Democrats owe their people an apology for being bad at their jobs..." — writes Andrew Yang, taking for granted that Democrats have the "job" of doing the things they have not done.

A key I use to understanding puzzles like this is: People do what they want to do. What have they done? Begin with the hypothesis that what they did is what they wanted to do. If they postured that they wanted to do something else, regard that as a con. Work from there. The world will make much more sense.

So Yang is only half way there. Apologies are not enough. They would necessarily be premised on an assurance that Democrats really did mean to do what they said they wanted. It's just as bad as a plea for votes to "undo our failures." If you use my key, these were not failures. These were achievements — achievements of ends that were kept hidden.

***

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

June 24, 2022

At the Milkweed Café...

IMG_1223

... you can talk about whatever you want.

"I want to get out and protest right the fuck now - thinking of heading to the Capitol with a sign + my rage and hoping others join in."

Said one commenter — an hour ago — in the r/madisonwi discussion at Reddit.

An hour ago is about exactly when I walked through the Wisconsin Capitol Square, past the "Forward!" statue, loomed over by the spire of the Episcopal church:

IMG_1246X

I thought I'd find at least a few people with signs, getting the protests rolling, but there was no one (other than a state employee watering the nearby flowers).

But you'll find some links at that Reddit link post. One goes to Facebook, where there's an announcement of a march to begin at the spot you see in my photo, beginning at 5 p.m. You're told to "[b]ring your loved ones, your rage, and your grief."

UPDATE: We drove up to the Capitol around 5 and there were lots of people with signs converging on the place. Traffic was blocked off.

"The dissent, which would retain the viability line, offers no justification for it either...."

Writes Chief Justice Roberts in his concurring opinion, rejecting the viability line without rejecting the right to abortion or finding a new line to replace the old line.
The viability line is a relic of a time when we recognized only two state interests warranting regulation of abortion: maternal health and protection of “potential life.” Roe, 410 U. S., at 162–163. That changed with Gonzales v. Carhart, 550 U. S. 124 (2007). There, we recognized a broader array of interests, such as drawing “a bright line that clearly distinguishes abortion and infanticide,” maintaining societal ethics, and preserving the integrity of the medical profession. Id., at 157–160. The viability line has nothing to do with advancing such permissible goals. Cf. id., at 171 (Ginsburg, J., dissenting) (Gonzales “blur[red] the line, firmly drawn in Casey, between previability and postviability abortions”).... 

"The dissent is very candid that it cannot show that a constitutional right to abortion has any foundation, let alone a '"deeply rooted'" one, '"in this Nation’s history and tradition."'"

"The dissent does not identify any pre-Roe authority that supports such a right—no state constitutional provision or statute, no federal or state judicial precedent, not even a scholarly treatise. Nor does the dissent dispute the fact that abortion was illegal at common law at least after quickening; that the 19th century saw a trend toward criminalization of pre-quickening abortions; that by 1868, a supermajority of States (at least 26 of 37) had enacted statutes criminalizing abortion at all stages of pregnancy; that by the late 1950s at least 46 States prohibited abortion 'however and whenever performed' except if necessary to save 'the life of the mother,' and that when Roe was decided in 1973 similar statutes were still in effect in 30 States. The dissent’s failure to engage with this long tradition is devastating to its position. We have held that the 'established method of substantive-due-process analysis' requires that an unenumerated right be '"deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition"' before it can be recognized as a component of the 'liberty' protected in the Due Process Clause. But despite the dissent’s professed fidelity to stare decisis, it fails to seriously engage with that important precedent—which it cannot possibly satisfy."

Writes Justice Alito in the majority opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization (citations omitted).

"The Supreme Court on Friday overruled Roe v. Wade, eliminating the constitutional right to abortion after almost 50 years in a decision that will transform American life, reshape the nation’s politics and lead to all but total bans on the procedure in about half of the states."

"The ruling will test the legitimacy of the court and vindicate a decades-long Republican project of installing conservative justices prepared to reject the precedent, which had been repeatedly reaffirmed by earlier courts. It will also be one of the signal legacies of President Donald J. Trump, who vowed to name justices who would overrule Roe. All three of his appointees were in the majority in the 6-to-3 ruling. The decision, which echoed a leaked draft opinion published by Politico in early May, will result in a starkly divided country in which abortion is severely restricted or forbidden in many red states but remains freely available in most blue ones."



ADDED: What's most interesting at this point, other than examining Alito's opinion to see what differences there may be from the leaked draft, is the Chief Justice's concurring opinion. What was this elusive middle position that he struggled to identify at oral argument and failed to sell to any of the other Justices?

SCOTUSblog has just gone live, covering the Supreme Court's case announcements.

Here.
Nine cases still remain to be decided, with more opinions coming a half hour from now.... 
I am not expecting all nine remaining opinions to be issued today. But I think there is an outside chance we get the press release at the end telling us that the next session will be the last, when the court would announce all remaining opinions "ready" from this term.

ADDED: The first case, Becerra, is too complicated to discuss here. It's about Medicare payments. But it's interesting that it's a 5-4 case, written by Kagan and joined by Thomas, Breyer, Sotomayor and Barrett. It's only the second case this term where Roberts and Kavanaugh haven't been in the majority. If Kagan is writing, that means she was assigned the task by Thomas (the senior Justice in the majority).

AND: Roe and Casey are overruled! 

Alito writes — here.

Roberts concurs.

"Thomas writes separately to reiterate his view that the due process clause also does not protect a right to an abortion."

"The Court says that only gun laws which have historical precedent are constitutionally permissible, and then the Court dismisses..."

"... all of the historical precedents for heavy restrictions on concealed-carry laws as outliers. The Court says that it is going to look to history, but dismisses early English common law as too old. The Court says that it is going to look to history, but dismisses any laws that were adopted after the mid-eighteen-hundreds as too young. The Court says that it is looking to history, but also says that shall-issue permitting is constitutional, even though shall-issue permitting is a twentieth-century invention. So the Court says that it is doing history and tradition analysis, but conveniently ignores any history it doesn’t like."

"People talk about the fact that we’re coming in and ruining women’s sports — but there are way bigger issues that women’s sports face...."

"The idea that a few trans women coming into a sport – and often times not even winning – and that’s what’s going to ruin women’s sports is pretty horrifying.... Because people are so focused on the advantages, they kind of ignore the fact that there actually are disadvantages that also come along with a transition.... Beyond all of this, as a society we need to build understanding and acceptance for queer people before we should even worry about sports."

Said "Transgender mountain biker Kate Weatherly slams ‘horrifying’ new rules on trans athletes" (NY Post). Weatherly was talking about the new rules in swimming and anticipating a similar development in mountain biking.

Within this argument sports are both very important and very not important. Similarly, gender difference is considered very important and, simultaneously, very not important. 

"In the early 1970s, Burton preached that members needed to immerse themselves in high art, such as opera and literature, in order to get rid of negative thinking.”

"He relied on ‘44 Angels’ — who included the spirits of historical figures such as William Shakespeare, Benjamin Franklin and Italian poet Dante Alighieri — to lead him in enlightenment." 

From "Inside the ‘love fest’ cult that’s allegedly infiltrated Google headquarters" (NY Post)("Google has been infiltrated by a 'destructive' California cult led by a 'pedophilic' leader, according to a lawsuit").

If you remember "Trap-house-gate"...

... you might want to read "A Controversial Dean's Departure From Yale Law/Dean Ellen Cosgrove, at the center of many recent YLS scandals, is retiring" by David Lat (at Original Jurisdiction).

"Pitt’s hair is slicked back, he’s wearing a gold medallion and an extremely flammable-looking shirt, lying down on a bed of artificial flowers."

"His eyes are open. He’s wearing mascara. He looks, not to put this indelicately, like some undertakers have tried to pretty up his corpse before his family arrives for a visit. Oh, and there’s a lizard crawling across him... Scroll through the interview and you’ll see Pitt dressed like a Jim Morrison waxwork having a stroke, chewing his finger while dressed in a bright yellow safari suit and hiding out in the spot where they dug up Billy Batts in Goodfellas, dressed like the Czech Republic’s 14th-best stage magician, and doing an A+ impression of Tino the Artistic Mouse from Hey Duggee.... Still, GQ has done a very thorough job of taking one of the world’s most photogenic men and making him staggeringly unphotogenic."

From "Fright club: Brad Pitt’s GQ photoshoot is an embarrassment of pictures" by Stuart Heritage (in The Guardian).
ADDED: Cultural reference I had to look up:

Ha ha. The man tries to defend himself. In public. I'm amused because I have the same foible...

... but I wouldn't excuse it.

I'm reading "You be the judge: should my boyfriend close the kitchen cupboards after himself?" in The Guardian. I'll skip "the prosecution" section, where the girlfriend complains that it not only looks disorderly, she knocks her head on the open doors. (She's only 5' tall.) 

Here's the guy:
I see no issue with leaving kitchen cupboards open.

If this were Reddit, they wouldn't be saying he's wrong. They'd be saying this means so much and she should leave him now. But this is The Guardian, so let's read on: 

He's back.

I found that after reading "Anthony Weiner returns to Twitter after 9 years away — but followers say ‘just don’t’" (NY Post), which says "Though the competition was stiff, “Just don’t” was the clear winner, rising to the top of the poll as the choice of 62% of respondents." 

I voted for the least popular choice: "Update your bio, then run." He pleaded guilty to a crime and served his sentence. He's a registered sex offender. But he has a right to free speech and social media is for everyone. 

I'm assuming "then run" means get on with tweeting. Not run for office.

ADDED: I wondered, how's Huma Abedin these days. I see she filed for divorce in 2017, when he pled guilty, but she withdrew the case in 2018. Years later, there is still no divorce. The Guardian published an interview with her last month:

"Discord over gun rights erupted within the law firm that secured Thursday’s Second Amendment victory at the Supreme Court..."

"... with Kirkland & Ellis LLP announcing shortly after the decision that it would no longer take firearms cases and that it was parting ways with the two star partners who won the case. After a Kirkland news release praising Paul Clement, a former U.S. solicitor general in the George W. Bush administration, and Erin Murphy, the two announced they were opening their own firm. 'Unfortunately, we were given a stark choice: either withdraw from ongoing representations or withdraw from the firm,' Mr. Clement said. 'Anyone who knows us and our views regarding professional responsibility and client loyalty knows there was only one course open to us: We could not abandon ongoing representations just because a client’s position is unpopular in some circles.'... After recent mass shootings, other Kirkland clients began expressing reservations over the firm’s work for the gun movement, a person familiar with the matter said. Kirkland 'started getting a lot of pressure post-Uvalde, hearing from several big-dollar clients that they were uncomfortable,' this person said. 'Several partners agreed that they should drop that representation.'"

June 23, 2022

Sunrise with waning crescent moon.

At 5:12 a.m.:

IMG_1212D

And here's the sun, at 5:21:

IMG_1227 

And a milkweed update:

The hypocrisy montage you've been waiting for. Or fearing.


ADDED: Why did the GOP take so long to put this together? Did the Gillum arrest finally light a fire under their sedentary ass? (The reference to Gillum comes at 9:48.) It's just amazing that they let Democrats go on so long about how horrible it is to deny the results of an election. They've been allowed to deny that they too are deniers. They've been denier deniers.

For tonight, I've curated 10 TikTok videos. Let me know what you like best.

1. Joke meets cancel culture.

2. Top skill — embroidery with coriander

3. The shortest, looniest video.

4. Miming looking for your wife in a room full of women.

5. Hearing negativity.

6. What his hair this morning is giving.

7. When Harry and Ringo wrote their disco joke into a song.

8. Must Dad say that every time the server brings the bill? 

9. If European-Americans were the traditionally subordinated group: First day at work sketch.

"Is it perverse to find magnificence in the most parodied element of Elvis’s style evolution? That is, his famous jumpsuits..."

"... the costume default of impersonators and trick-or-treaters on Halloween. Typically treated as sartorial jokes, these jumpsuits emblematize the star at his apogee, that moment before his fame and his life collapsed on him and he crumpled to earth. Those glittering garments with their embroideries and nailhead patterns or paste gem barnacles were precursors to the stage-wear worn by every pop star — Prince, David Bowie, Harry Styles — who ever invited his fans to feast their eyes on him erotically."

Writes Guy Trebay, in "Elvis Broke Fashion Boundaries, Too/He was many things, as a new biopic illustrates, but one of the least appreciated was his role as a gender pioneer" (NYT).

This makes me want to retell my Elvis's jumpsuit story. Back in 2005, I blogged a 7-point list of notes from my visit to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. This was the 7th item:

"If I don’t know the area, if I don’t know the people, I always carry my handgun."

Said Jaymar Del Rosario, of Elk Grove, California, quoted by the NYT, in "Never Mind Your Wallet. Armed Robbers Want Your French Bulldog. The popular breed has become one of the most expensive in the United States. Some owners have started carrying guns for protection."

Del Rosario is a breeder of French bulldogs, including one named Cashew, which is the new “fluffy” kind, which he seems to be able to sell for $30,000.

Now, I would have thought that bringing a dog along with you would work as an alternative to the gun, that the dog would protect you. But here you see the dog is making you a target for robbery, and you need a gun to protect you from robbers. Be careful about shooting thieves though! You can't use deadly force against someone who is only trying to steal your property. But maybe the thieves will threaten you with their gun, and then perhaps you'll be in self-defense territory.

Much of the article is taken up with information about the breed: It has the shortest life span (4.5 years) and lots of medical problems (what with that flat face people find so cute because it reminds them of themselves).

"Starting in 2020 she began having mysterious bouts of illness where she would throw up over and over again."

"At first she and her parents — and even her doctors — were baffled. During one episode, Elysse said, she threw up in a mall bathroom for an hour. 'I felt like my body was levitating.' Another time she estimated that she threw up at least 20 times in the span of two hours. It wasn’t until 2021, after a half dozen trips to the emergency room for stomach illness, including some hospital stays, that a gastroenterologist diagnosed her with cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, a condition that causes recurrent vomiting in heavy marijuana users."

From "Psychosis, Addiction, Chronic Vomiting: As Weed Becomes More Potent, Teens Are Getting Sick With THC levels close to 100 percent, today’s cannabis products are making some teenagers highly dependent and dangerously ill" (NYT). 

About that psychosis: "Psychotic symptoms while high can include hallucinations, trouble distinguishing between fantasy and reality, strange behaviors (one young man would spend his days tying plastic bags into knots) or voices talking to them in their head...."

"The Biden rules expand the definition of what constitutes sexual harassment, and expand the types of episodes..."

"... such as incidents reported outside of their educational programming, that schools are obligated to investigate. The rules would also make live hearings optional, no longer a requirement, and allow schools to employ a process that establishes the credibility of the parties and witnesses, though it doesn’t require cross-examination. But one of the major changes in the Biden rule is the inclusion of sex-based harassment to include, 'stereotypes, sex characteristics, pregnancy or related conditions, sexual orientation, and gender identity,' according to the proposed rules. The department will issue a separate regulation on how Title IX applies to athletics, including how schools should determine a students’ eligibility to participate on a male or female athletics team....  'The department recognizes that standards for students participating in male and female athletic teams are evolving in real time,' [Education Secretary Miguel A.] Cardona said. 'And so we decided to do a separate rule-making on how schools may determine eligibility while upholding Title IX’s nondiscrimination guarantee. I firmly reject efforts to politicize these protections and sow division in our schools'...."

I love how Cardona is taking a hard-core position — not for or against inclusion of transgender women in women's sports, but just against politicization and sowing division. That's bold.

"In 6-3 ruling, court strikes down New York’s concealed-carry law."

 SCOTUSblog reports.

The state law at the heart of New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen required anyone who wants to carry a concealed handgun outside the home to show “proper cause” for the license. New York courts interpreted that phrase to require applicants to show more than a general desire to protect themselves or their property. Instead, applicants must demonstrate a special need for self-defense – for example, a pattern of physical threats. Several other states, including California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New Jersey, impose similar restrictions, as do many cities.

ADDED: The majority opinion is written by Justice Thomas, and he is joined by the Chief Justice and Justices Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett. From the Thomas opinion: 

"What is offensive to me is the insinuation that the kids who work hard to gain admission into theses schools are..."

"... somehow not deserving of their success. That they are testing/studying robots whose parents 'gamed' the process. Many of these kids come from very poor, immigrant backgrounds, and it’s telling that we would deprive them further of the one advantage they seem to possess — devoted parents. I was one of them. My parents saved to buy a set of encyclopedias for us. We never owned a television. When did good parenting become something to 'equalize'?

That's the highest-rated comment on "N.Y.C. Tried to Fix High School Admissions. Some Parents Are Furious. In an attempt to democratize schools, the city is focusing less on grades, attendance and test scores. Instead, it relies heavily on a lottery" (NYT).

From the article:

"If a political candidate for office says they believe the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Donald Trump, are you more likely to vote for that candidate, or less likely to vote for that candidate, or doesn’t it make a difference?"

That's a question asked on a new Quinnipiac poll of registered voters. The word "stolen" skews the question. You're not asked about a political candidate who merely questions the results of the election, worries about fraud, thinks there were problems, or thinks the investigations and legal proceedings were cut short. You're only asked about a candidate who believes the election was stolen

Anyway, with respect to that hypothetical and extreme candidate, only 45% of registered voters said they were less likely to vote for him/her — not that they'd definitely refuse to vote for him, but only they were less likely to vote for him. That is, the belief alone would not cancel him. He is not by virtue of that one belief a crazy/evil person. 

"John Hinkley's Music, Whitey Bulger, and MKUltra."

What is MKUltra? "Project MKUltra (or MK-Ultra) was the code name of an illegal human experimentation program designed and undertaken by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The experiments were intended to develop procedures and identify drugs such as LSD that could be used in interrogations to weaken individuals and force confessions through brainwashing and psychological torture. MKUltra used numerous methods to manipulate its subjects' mental states and brain functions, such as the covert administration of high doses of psychoactive drugs (especially LSD) and other chemicals, electroshocks, hypnosis, sensory deprivation, isolation, and verbal and sexual abuse, in addition to other forms of torture." (Much more at the link.)

"I don't know what he eats, but if it's human leg, I had a close call."

"Andrew Gillum, the Democrat who lost the 2018 Florida governor’s race to Ron DeSantis, surrendered to federal authorities in Tallahassee on Wednesday ..."

"... after he and a close associate were charged with conspiracy and 19 counts of fraud over how they raised and used funds when he was mayor of Tallahassee and a candidate for governor. He pleaded not guilty in a court appearance on Wednesday afternoon. Mr. Gillum, dressed in a navy suit with a dark tie and face mask, was cuffed around his wrists and ankles, with a chain around his waist.... The once-ascendant Democrat, Mr. Gillum came within 32,000 votes of the governorship in 2018 — which would have made him Florida’s first Black governor and a future White House hopeful — only to lose his political direction and face personal struggles. In 2020, the police found him in a Miami Beach hotel room where another man was suffering from a possible drug overdose."

Looking into my own archive, I see:

"I propose a New Deal for women’s sports — with a women-first approach."

Writes Lindsay Crouse in "We Can Do Better Than Title IX" (NYT). 
This must go beyond creating entitlements and enforcing parity, as Title IX does. We must dismantle the grandfathered-in systemic advantages that male athletes and male-dominated sports infrastructures continue to enjoy. We must cultivate tastes for other sports, the ones that women excel in and even dominate. And we must broaden our definition of what athletic prowess looks like.... 
Men’s bodies are different from women’s; men are generally bigger, faster and stronger. And currently, the sports that make the most money and see the largest audiences in the United States are suited to a male body’s physical strengths: football tackles, basketball dunks. Sports built for women’s bodies would be different. Compared with men, women have superior flexibility and resilience. Women excel at enduring.... 
That reminds me of the letter I wrote to the NYT in 1989 (published here):
By the way, the NYT gives us no comments section for that Lindsay Crouse piece. If it did, surely someone would puzzle over the failure to consider transgender athletes. Crouse forefronts the reality that "Men’s bodies are different from women’s." In sports, bodies matter, not inward feelings. Or is that just another matter of taste — cultivated and amenable to reculturation?

UPDATE: The NYT has now added a comments section. Here's one that addresses transgenderism:

June 22, 2022

At the Sunrise Café...

IMG_1197D

... you can write about whatever you want.

IMG_1202X

Here are 6 TikToks I've selected for you. Let me know what you like.

1. A downplayed gift.

2. Fear of heights.

3. The opposite of fear of heights.

4. Paul McCartney, on horseback, shows you his sequoia.

5. A man imitates that chickadee you liked so much yesterday.

6. Is it too weird to skip small talk?

"Since my bypass surgery I’ve been haunted by the presence of a terrible knowledge that is just out of reach..."

"... my brain can’t access this pain but my nerves, bone, muscle, tissue keep the fact of it with them, I feel.... I had been... reading three newspapers a day, reading many magazines, and in general, trying to stay informed. But more or less overnight, staying informed ceased to matter to me. Though I subscribed to the New York Times in three cities I put it aside one day and didn’t read another issue for seven months. From being a living person with a distinct personality I began to feel more or less like an outline of that person—and then even the outline began to fade, erased by what had happened inside. I felt as if I was vanishing—or more accurately, had vanished.... The thing, more than any other, that convinced me I had in some sense died was that I couldn’t read. I went to my bookshops but could not connect with the books.... I had read every day of my life... It was the stablest of all pleasures, and now it was gone. The fact was that even then I could read professionally.... But read for pleasure, no. I had floated down the Nile and out to sea.... The problem, I eventually realized, was that reading is a form of looking outward, beyond the self, and that, for a long time, I couldn’t do—the protest from inside was too powerful. My inability to externalize seemed to be organ based, as if the organs to which violence had been done were protesting so much that I couldn’t attend to anything else."

"On every trail leading to the high country in the Whites, there are signs prominently posted that state, 'STOP. The area ahead has the worst weather in America. Many have died there...'"

"'... from exposure, even in the summer. Turn back now if the weather is bad.' The high country forecast for last weekend was for snow, ice, and winds over 60 mph. It was accurate.... I've only been hiking the Whites for about 50 years, so I'm still learning about them, but I have learned through hard experience to respect the Presidential Range in particular. Last weekend was clearly a time to stay low. My condolences to this man's family.

That's the highest rated comment on "Hiker who texted his wife he was ‘in trouble’ dies after rescue" (WaPo). 

"Whites" = White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire.

"Afghanistan was rocked by its deadliest earthquake in decades on Wednesday when a magnitude 5.9 earthquake struck the country's east, killing more than 1,000 people..."

"... and wounding many more, according to a regional official.... This comes as almost half the country's population -- 20 million people -- are experiencing acute hunger, according to a United Nations-backed report in May. It is a situation compounded by the Taliban seizing power in August 2021, which led the United States and its allies freezing about $7 billion of the country's foreign reserves and cutting off international funding."

 CNN reports.

"[T]he most preposterously priced mattress, a king-size Grande Vivius, costs $539,000...."

"When Drake bought one, in 2020, it was merely $400,000. For non-Grammy winners, there’s a waiting list. Handcrafted by a team of artisans in Sweden, each mattress takes up to six hundred hours to assemble and stitch and is wrapped in checked cotton ticking....  Gwyneth Paltrow partnered with Avocado on the Goop x Avocado mattress... which starts at $24,000 and is available on demand.... While I waited for the couple chilling out on the Eco Organic model to move on, I asked a sales associate named Desi (long hair, leggings) if customers ever fall asleep. 'All the time,' she said. 'The longest was four and a half hours. He was so embarrassed that he bought the mattress.'... The Casper Nova Hybrid ($2,295) is awfully cozy, and I also like the Casper Original, both the all-foam ($1,295) and the hybrid foam with springs ($1,695). Staring at the ceiling in Bloomingdale’s, listening to the Four Seasons sing 'Oh, what a night' over the sound system, I wanted to answer 'Both' to the salesperson’s question: Which is more comfortable? Some of this confusion is deliberate....  Amid all the shadiness and hyped marketing, how to choose?"

"[R]esearchers... concluded that 'online reservation systems present the unintended consequence of excluding low-income, and perhaps nonwhite, would-be campers.'"

"The reason involves socioeconomic factors that correlate with the requirements of booking online, the study’s lead author, Will Rice, a parks management specialist, told me. For example, lower-income groups are less likely to have access to high-speed internet — a must for the most sought-after campsites. 'You have to be online to reserve them right when the window opens. You have to have really high-speed internet so you can be one of the few people who get those reservations.' To put that in perspective, in one remarkable instance cited last year by Recreation.gov, almost 19,000 people competed to book 57 campsites for the same dates."

"China has these QR codes. Everybody has one on their phone. Red if you have COVID, green if you don't have COVID."

"Now theirs were red, meaning they wouldn't be able to go into any building or store or office or just anywhere when lockdown ended. That's the thing they thought the quarantine center could cure for them."

Explains Ira Glass, talking to Yang Yi, a podcast producer in Shanghai, in the newest episode of "This American Life." 

Yang Yi goes to the quarantine center, even though his self-test is reading negative. He says: "And at that point, my thought is we want a healthy social identity back, not a healthy body." The quarantine center is in a high school building:

"[I]f I am being canceled I want my friends — and this includes not only my closest associates, but anyone who considers themselves friendly to me — to stand by, remain silent, and do nothing."

"If you care about me, let them eat me alive.... Anyone who writes for the public, and who maintains a social media presence, must accept some measure of risk.... My plan, if I am being canceled, is not to fight it. If I can quickly put an end to the accusations with some clarifying explanation, I will: the public deserves to hear the truth. But my efforts to rehabilitate myself will cease before I get to the point of reorganizing my public persona around the battle to do so.... I want friends whose minds are not tethered to my own in bonds of allegiance, but spin freely of their own accord.... I want friends, not allies. I value my public persona, but not enough to sacrifice the liberty of my friendships at its altar.... [L]ike Odysseus, am tying myself to the mast in advance. I commit now, publicly, in print: please don’t fight on my behalf. Don’t stand up for me. Don’t rescue my good name. Let it be tarnished. Let my reputation die."

Writes philosophy professor Agnes Callard, in "If I Get Canceled, Let Them Eat Me Alive" (NYT).

"The... teacher... said, 'O.K., everyone, now we’re going to check in with how we feel we are doing in the "Best Self" exercise.'"

"A self-assessment of the self-assessment.... Afterward, a group left with one of the teachers to visit the 'sensory hallway,' an obstacle course of self-examination. On the way, they passed relics of previous emotional inquiries. A large poster board with the word 'Anxious' hung outside a classroom. One student had written, 'What if nobody likes me. What if that happens.' The first activity was emotional hopscotch—students jumped on a square that represented how they were feeling. The first few jumped on 'Happy!' A boy named JJ jumped on the square that said 'Sad.'... Next activity: a 'disposition board,' where the kids had to hop to positive-attitude words on the floor and say them out loud: 'Generosity!' 'Forgiveness!' 'Presence!' The last hallway station was an oversized Scrabble board attached to the wall, where students would decide on a collective mood.... After a brief but earnest deliberation, the kids decided on 'upbeat.' There was one dissenter. 'I am not upbeat,' JJ declared. He carried some giant letters to a faraway spot on the board and spelled out 'd-i-s-a-p-o-n-t-e-d.'"

From "Readin’, Writin’, and Regulatin’ Emotions/As Eric Adams, who has advocated for daily meditation in public schools, pushes mindfulness classes, the third graders at P.S. 60 in Staten Island assembled for a lesson on identifying and coping with their feelings" (The New Yorker).

"Dan pressed a button, and in less than a second the computer produced a poem in the style of Philip Larkin that was so much like a Philip Larkin poem, we thought it was a poem by Philip Larkin."

"We Googled the first line, expecting it to be an existing Philip Larkin poem, but we couldn’t find it on the Internet. It was an original work, composed by the A.I. in less time than it takes a man to sneeze.... In the minutes (and days and weeks) ahead, we requested more poems from the A.I., on a variety of subjects. We watched in real time as the computer whipped them up to order, cranking them out in the style of whichever poets we suggested. Growing greedy, we requested an intro to our poems by Mark Twain and a 'cautionary epilogue' by George Orwell. The computer obliged us instantaneously.... Gradually, we began to think of the A.I. not as a computer program but as an artist in its own right. And so it occurred to us: why not let the computer write poems in its own voice, not as 'Shakespeare' or 'Dickinson' but simply as code-davinci-002?..."

From "The New Poem-Making Machinery/Shall code-davinci-002 compare thee to a summer’s day?" by Simon Rich (The New Yorker).

Lots of computer-written poems at the link. I'll just quote the "cautionary epilogue by George Orwell":

June 21, 2022

At the Fallen Tree Café...

IMG_1195

... you can write about anything you want.

It's amazing how often I encounter big trees that have fallen across a path where I frequently walk. I do avoid the woods when it's windy, but still....

Tonight, I have 6 TikTok videos for you. Let me know what you like.

1. Mandy Patinkin sings "Over the Rainbow."

2. Enough with the breweries.

3. The chickadee wants salted peanuts.

4. The blue accordion.

5. The dog under the table.

6. Speaking of singers in their 80s: Gordon Lightfoot.

"One of Elon Musk's children wants nothing to do with him.... Xavier Musk... says she wants her name to be Vivian Jenna Wilson."

"In the docs, she says she wants to be recognized as female -- but the name change isn't just about her transitioning.... Vivian lists her reason for the name change as ... 'Gender Identity and the fact that I no longer live with or wish to be related to my biological father in any way, shape or form.'"

TMZ reports.

The Supreme Court issues an important freedom of religion case: "Maine’s 'nonsectarian' requirement for otherwise generally available tuition assistance payments violates the Free Exercise Clause."

Here's the opinion, Carson v. Makin.

Chief Justice Roberts writes the opinion, joined by Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett, and Breyer dissents, joined by Kagan and (in part) Sotomayor. Sotomayor has a separate dissenting opinion.

This is what I expected based on the Court's recent history with cases like this, but I'm eager to read it and will update this post.

ADDED: From the majority opinion:
Maine has enacted a program of tuition assistance for parents who live in school districts that do not operate a secondary school of their own. Under the program, parents designate the secondary school they would like their child to attend—public or private—and the school district transmits payments to that school to help defray the costs of tuition. Most private schools are eligible to receive the payments, so long as they are “nonsectarian.” The question presented is whether this restriction violates the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.

"The rollout of instrumented mouthguards to top-flight men’s and women’s leagues and international teams this season will add significantly to our understanding..."

"... of the number and magnitude of head impacts and accelerations and how these can be reduced in both training and match settings."

Said the RFU medical services director, quoted in "Smart mouthguards to be offered to all elite players in effort to curb rising concussions" (London Times).

RFU = The Rugby Football Union... "the national governing body for rugby union in England." 

I had to look it up in Wikipedia, where I was interested to see the recent history of its "Royal Patrons":

Queen Elizabeth II 1952 – December 2016
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex December 2016 – February 2021
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge February 2022 – Present

Here's where the RFU expressed thanks to Harry for his 5 years of service. The Queen served as their patron for 64 years before giving that to Harry. Oh, Harry!

Anyway... I hope the smart mouthguards help with the brain damage problem. 

ADDED: The term "rugby union" seemed odd to me, but I see it's the actual name of the sport that we usual refer to as rugby. It is, we are told, not to be confused with "rugby league." I am still confusing them, though I am now enlightened to the level where I know you're not supposed to confuse them.

"This reminds me of the time I got thrown out of my local swimming pool for urinating in the water. 'But everybody does it!,' said I."

"'That's as maybe,' said they, 'But you're the only one to do it standing on the high board!'"

Comments somebody who calls himself Stoobs, at "Spanish city of Vigo introduces £645 fine for urinating in the sea" (London Times).

"For many Texans who have needed abortions since September, the law has been a major inconvenience, forcing them to drive hundreds of miles, and pay hundreds of dollars..."

"... for a legal procedure they once could have had at home. But not everyone has been able to leave the state. Some people couldn’t take time away from work or afford gas, while others, faced with a long journey, decided to stay pregnant. Nearly 10 months into the Texas law, they have started having the babies they never planned to carry to term. Texas offers a glimpse of what much of the country would face if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade this summer... Sometimes Brooke imagined her life if she hadn’t gotten pregnant, and if Texas hadn’t banned abortion just days after she decided that she wanted one. She would have been in school, rushing from class to her shift at Texas Roadhouse, eyes on a real estate license that would finally get her out of Corpus Christi. She pictured an apartment in Austin and enough money for a trip to Hawaii, where she would swim with dolphins in water so clear she could see her toes. When both babies finally started eating, Brooke took out her phone and restarted the timer that had been running almost continuously since the day they were born. She had two and a half hours until they’d have to eat again."

From "This Texas teen wanted an abortion. She now has twins. Brooke Alexander found out she was pregnant 48 hours before the Texas abortion ban took effect" (WaPo). This is a long piece by Caroline Kitchener that has lots of details about one 18-year-old who has her babies and lives with and has married their father. The father, also a teenager, is joining the Air Force.

I anticipate that many of my readers will see those first words — "For many Texans who have needed abortions..." — and set to work writing comments about the word "needed." 

Also, today is an opinion announcement day at the Supreme Court. There is only one more announcement day after today, so there's a good chance that today could be the day for the abortion case. I like to follow the live-blogging of announcements at SCOTUSblog.

If you're wondering why you haven't made more friends, this may put your mind at rest.

I'm reading "The Six Forces That Fuel Friendship/I’ve spent more than three years interviewing friends for 'The Friendship Files.' Here’s what I’ve learned" by Julie Beck (in The Atlantic).

I don't know about all "six forces" but the first one is terribly daunting:

The simplest and most obvious force that forms and sustains friendships is time spent together. One study estimates that it takes spending 40 to 60 hours together within the first six weeks of meeting to turn an acquaintance into a casual friend, and about 80 to 100 hours to become more than that....

It's good to have friends, but it's essential to have time. Do you have enough time that you could give 40 hours within 6 weeks to someone new that you meet today? The clock starts running. You're in the first 6 weeks. You need to put 40-60 hours into that relationship just to make a casual friend, and 80 to 100 to have a close friend. 

I know. It's just "one study." That can't be right, can it? Well, it would explain why it's so easy to make a lot of friends at college and much harder after that.

Agathokakological..

The Oxford English Dictionary declares "agathokakological" the Word of the Day.

Origin: A borrowing from Greek, combined with a borrowing from Greek, combined with an English element.... Etymology: < ancient Greek ἀγαθός good (see agathism n.) + κακός bad (see caco- comb. form) + -logical comb. form.

It means "Composed of both good and evil."

1834 R. Southey Doctor II. 170 For indeed upon the agathokakological globe there are opposite qualities always to be found.

It's a rare word, though it's obviously useful, so please try to use it!

"Things were bad financially then, but now it's really under water."

Writes a commenter at WaPo, reacting to "Hong Kong’s landmark Jumbo floating restaurant sinks at sea": "Even before the pandemic, the restaurant, which served Cantonese fare, was accumulating debt. But Hong Kong’s early move to ban tourists hit Jumbo Kingdom and other attractions hard."

ADDED: I was curious about the origin of the term "under water" (or "underwater") to refer to negative equity, and I surprised to see that the earliest example in the OED is from Madison, Wisconsin's own Capital Times (and as recent at 1975):

Every foreclosure of an underwater real estate mortgage..is greeted with cheers. Evidence that the economy is doing less to help itself is taken as a guarantee that the Fed will do more.

I couldn't find an explanation of why this figurative use became standard, but perhaps water metaphors are common in discussions of money. We speak of sinking or staying afloat. There's "liquidity."

Is "solvent" a water image? I see that "solvent," meaning "Able to pay all one's debts or liabilities," goes back to the 1600s:

1653 H. Cogan tr. F. M. Pinto Voy. & Adventures lxxviii. 315 Certain Chineses, who were not men solvent, but became bankrupts.
1664 Addit. to Life Mede in Mede Wks. (1672) p. xxxvi Mr. Mede began..to refuse.., and objected, How shall I be able to be solvent in convenient time?

"Solvent" is the present participle of the Latin word "solvĕre," which means to explain or clear up or answer. But "solvent" has also meant "Dissolving; causing solution" or a substance that turns other substances to liquid. This is the same entry, so it's the same word.

Interestingly, "solvent" itself has a figurative use. For example, Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: "Silence is a solvent that destroys personality" (1841).

AND: Here's Emerson's essay, "Intellect":

June 20, 2022

Sunrise with milkweed.

Here's how the sun looked at 5:22 on this, the last day of spring. 

IMG_1191 

And it's time for a new wildflower to take the lead. The golden alexander is fading, and milkweed is on the rise:

 IMG_1192 

Write about anything you want in the comments.