Thursday, June 30, 2022

Right before I take a 4 day week end in the Hudson Valley, this for you.

 


At first, I was confused

At first, I was not afraid, I was not petrified but just confused (a mixed metaphor if ever there was one.

So, I see this car the other day, and I am very confused. Because I thought the Y was for Brigham Young University. But then I remembered that in Connecticut, Y is for Yale.

So what to make of this driver?

Well, we know he is gay - the Human Rights Council blue and yellow sticker is the subtle "I am gay" flag. It's like the pride sticker for older, richer gays.

And we know it is a he, because he is driving an older, cute Saab convertible and leaving it on the street. The SAAB 9-3 is a zoom zoom car long out of production. And it is clearly a turbo that is well taken care of. A smarter female Yalie would get a newer car with a warranty.

The HRC sticker says older gay with money.

The Y says - Yale. (and money)

The DK, obviously, is Denmark.

And the fish means Christian, usually born again.

So we have an older Danish male, who is a gay Yale Alumni that is also a big Christian believer. I would have to see him to know if he is a catch (for someone else) or a sugar daddy waving his preferences in New York to find a guy.


Republicans Say the Darnedest Things

Ah, the Republicans. Never happy just to take the win,  they insist on spiking the ball.


Here are some post-Roe comments from the best of them.

Yesli Vega a congressional candidate running in Virginia is an ex-Police Officer. 

She said pregnancy from rape wasn’t a problem, because women don’t get pregnant from Rape. ““The left will say, ‘What about in cases of rape or incest?” and then claimed that, in her years in law enforcement, she only saw one rape case in which a woman became pregnant. And the old saw to the question, “I heard it’s harder for women to get pregnant from rape. Her answer, was “Have you heard that?” To which Vega responded that she didn’t know, but it wouldn’t surprise me. Because it’s not something that’s happening organically. You’re forcing it. The individual, the male, is doing it as quickly – it’s not like, you know – and so I can see why there is truth to that. It’s unfortunate.”

She doesn't seem that intelligent on how babies are made.


Last fall, Ohio US Senate candidate JD Vance called pregnancies from rape merely “inconvenient” and emphasized that in matters relating to pregnancy resulting from rape, “The question to me is really about the baby.” (Apparently the woman matters very little, if at all.) 

Ohio Republican Rep. Jean Schmidt said that her state’s law criminalizing abortion gave child rape victims the opportunity” to “help that life be a productive human being.”



Rep. Warren Davidson of Ohio applauded his state’s strict anti-abortion law, which outlaws abortion roughly six weeks after the first day of a woman’s last menstrual period with few exceptions and without any exemption for rape or incest.

“What happens when a twelve-year-old girl falls pregnant after being raped?” Brown asked him. “Are you ok with her being forced to carry that fetus to term?”

You don’t know you were raped for two months? Warren asked, as if women and girls seeking abortions after rape are either liars, idiots or irresponsible. “I think it’s a great law,” he said.

In a since-deleted tweet (preserved by ProPublica’s Politwoops), NC Republican Congressman Greg Murphy insisted on Sunday that abortion is unnecessary because “no one forces anyone to have sex.” So, there is no rape anymore in the country? Or just eastern North Carolina?

Buckle up kids, it's only going to get worse.

Hamlet at the Park Ave Armory

I will have to post pictures later (it hasn't officially opened yet - so no pictures). One of the amazing things that the Park Ave Armory does is stage many shows in a more immersive way with unique means because the Drill Hall is so damn big. That doesn't make a show automatically great, but makes it possible to open the show in large ways.

So I saw Hamlet there with Alex Lawther. You may (but may not) know him from the TV show "End of the Fucking World". As you can see, he looks very young. He's 27, but seems young and waifish. Even more so in person.


I have seen the show with Jude Law previously (and others, but Jude hops to the front of mind). Hamlet is a great tragedy of Shakespeare's.  And young Hamlet is a tortured and angry protagonist 

I will give a recap of the a small part of the show so the following makes sense. At its most basic, Hamlet is the young Prince of Denmark, his father (Old Hamlet) was the King. Old Hamlet's brother kills the King and marries his widow. Denmark, and Hamlet, are now ruled by his Uncle and his Mother. And Hamlet knows that his uncle killed his father.

With Jude Law, and many others, Hamlet is tortured, bitter and angry, but held back from revenge by circumstances and Hamlet's own self-doubt (and self-pity to be honest) from acting on his anger.

What young Alex Lawther brings is a younger, more ineffectual Hamlet. Still furious at his mother and hateful of his uncle, his youth and inexperience leave him to act out as a rebellious teenager calculating to annoy and frustrate his parents - just as much as he seeks revenge. Many older actors of Hamlet can seem like the main figure in an Oedipus Complex, actively fixated on his mother.

With Lawther as Hamlet here, his relationship with his mother is organic and real because of his youth. He no longer seems jealous of his Uncle / King / new step-father's marriage to his mother. Instead Hamlet is full of rage against his mother's own actions in this quick remarriage and his loss of her time and affection.

Hamlet is hurt and lashes out in a youthful teenage way at his mother as authority figure. And here the casting of Hamlet's mother works very well. Played by the extremely talented American, Jennifer Ehle, she has won two Tonys and yet still seems to posses the qualities of an undiscovered star. She is oldish and looks much more the mother than many actresses who are way too young to be Hamlet's mother. Here the mother / son relationship still keeps the dynamic of power tilted away from Hamlet. Don't get me wrong, she is lovely and amorous with her husband but you can believe she is the young prince's mother.

As for the play setting, it is still set in Denmark. But this, time a modern Denmark in scenes, clothes and technology. But the language is still Shakespeare - and like all Shakespeare takes a while to get into it. Even longer here with a crush of British accents from London's stage.

And this version is LONG. It is 3 hours and 40 minutes, with two intermissions. It was draining physically, but it did allow the pace of the play to be more natural. There are pauses where it makes sense. There are funny bits and sub-plots. These types of moments are usually cut out of Hamlet to bring it in around 2 hours. Here it was in its full glory, if a long time getting there. 

Anywho I liked it. I loved Hamlet, the Queen Gertrude and the usurper King Claudius - who was played by Angus Wright not as hateful as in many shows.

AND, this time Covid worked in my favor. The first show I was suppose to attend was moved. And the moved my ticket automatically. And then the afternoon show was cancelled so they moved my ticket to the evening show. But somehow, in all this, I got moved to better and better seats - probably because I was a single seat. Anyway, I sat centerstage, 3rd row. Amazing.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

I Would Like to Conclude this Tuesday of News with This from Esquire...

 


And now.. Some Good UCLA Tennis News

Today three UCLA players (at least) advanced at Wimbledon into the 2nd round. Listed below, and at the bottom in their UCLA duds back in the day.


Makenzie Macdonald (Mackie)

My favorite, of course, is Mackenzie Macdonald. He is a short (for tennis) at only 5'10", so he is at a definite disadvantage. But he is a cute ass boy with Irish / Korean heritage (I assume Korean, might be Chinese, but he is cute enough to make me think Korean.

Today he was supposed to play Marin Cilic, but Cilic had to pull out due to Covid. So he played Nuno Borges, another Bruin!  That is cool.

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Bruin alum Maxim Cressy

But a much bigger story, and huge upset, was Bruin Maxim Cressy's win over Felix Auger-Aliassime, the 6th rated player in the world. Cressy has moved up in the ratings well, but is about 40 tennis player rankings below Felix.

Oddly the original language growing up for both men was French. Felix is a French Canadian and Cressy was raised in France, he has dual citizenship via one parent.

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Cutie Holger Rune (Norway) and Marcos Giron (UCLA Bruin and CA guy from Thousand Oaks)

The third Bruin is Marcos Giron. Yes, I am thrilled he won. But... at the same time he did beat hottie Holger Rune, Norway's best. And, shallow as it sounds, I did want to see Holger in his little Wimbledon whites. However upon investigation, Marcos is not slouch in the cutie department as well.

-----

Jenson Brooksby ( could not find a Wimbledon picture as of now).

Also, even thought he is not a Bruin, he is a Californian (Sacremento, so just barely). Jenson Brooksby has moved up the rankings quickly and it playing better and better. It helped that he has grown significantly taller than when I watched him 3 years ago at his first open.

It is great to see him do well.

Lots of good young Americans advancing.

--------

Mackie

Maxim

Marcos



Dobbs (outlawing Abortion) prompts Catholic Hierarchy and Democrat Base

(Trigger Warning: This post contains foul language and a disrespect for the Catholic Hierarchy

So now that Abortion has been outlawed in 13 going on 26 states, the Catholic Priests have thanked god and said:

"It is a time for healing wounds and repairing social divisions; it is a time for reasoned reflection and civil dialogue, and for coming together to build a society and economy that supports marriages and families, and where every woman has the support and resources she needs to bring her child into this world in love," they said.

To which the only answer is fuck you. Fuck you that NOW you would like reasoned reflection and civil dialogue. Fuck you and your happiness in returning the control of women's bodies to men. Fuck you and your fight against marriage (Cardinal Dolan described New York after a law allowing gay marriage as North Korea on the Hudson). Fuck you and your stand against contraception. Fuck you and your stand on divorce and the ostracizing of entire families based on a man's wandering dick.

And many real Democrats in the base are not thrilled with our Party. Count me as one. 

We gave money, we voted, called other voters, manned public registering stations and all we got was this lazy fucked up party in control. So right now and for the last 18 months Democrats have had the majority in the Senate, House and Presidency. You know what they did about this, fuck all nothing!

And, their reaction after the vote was even more sad and pathetic. 

One Democratic Congressman tweeted out pictures of him doing yoga. Nancy Pelosi read a poem. Maybe it was a great poem, but it did nothing about women's rights AND nobody heard it. You know what was carried on the news "Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi read a poem."

I can return the poem favor you bestowed on us.

Their once was a woman from Texas
Who was raped by one her exes.
She must have the baby
Said the state, which was crazy
And now she is screwed

Supreme Court and Overturning of Precedent (it's Tuesday, I can say this)

For the Supreme Court, “Precedent” refers to the court’s previous decisions. It also refers to the idea that Supreme Court Justices defer to decisions a precious Supreme Court has made in the past. 

During nominations all Justices claim to respect Precedents. These 3 decisions (4 cases) show that these new Conservatives simply lied about their deferral to Precedence. They all said that these Precedents were “settled law”. 

But no. As seen below, the new conservative Justices are rolling back pretty much any precedents for things they do not like. This is a massive change for the actions of the Supreme Court. Previously they, at the most, chipped away at the edges of Precedent.

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Abortion

Roe v Wade was the Supreme Court decision made 50 years ago that a right to privacy extended to women and the right to an abortion. The original decision also made reference to the 14th Amendment which talks about equality.

That decision had been modified a couple of decades ago so that states were allowed to regulate abortion, but only up until viability of the fetus – about 20 weeks. 

The case in which they overturned Precedent was about Alabama’s ban on abortion at 15 weeks. Before the case was argued on appeal, Alabama’s defendants requested to expanded the case to include the right to regulate any abortions. This occurred only after Trump made his 3rd pick and had a conservative supermajority. 

So now the right to force a woman to bring a pregnancy to term is up to the various states. And will be in place for 13 states now and about 13 more states in the next few months. Many of these states do NOT allow for an exception in the case of rape or incest.

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Gun Safety

The 2nd Amendment guarantees the “Right to Bear Arms” in this manner:

Second Amendment: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Up until 2008, there was not an individual’s right to bear arms. Weapons only HAD to be allowed by people militias (army, national guard, etc.). All states allowed guns – mainly for hunting. The District of Columbia outlawed handguns for safety and in 2008 that was overturned. It was overturned about MUCH discussion of the "commas" in the Amendment. Did the commas define this as a sub clause explaining Militia, or the sub clause that referred only to Militias. (A rather esoteric discussion that allowed for over 100,000 million more guns, past hunting.)

Up until last week, states and cities could impose reasonable limitations on gun ownership. In New York City, you needed a valid reason to be given a concealed carry permit. The idea was to keep guns off the fucking subway and freely floating around in a city of 10 million people.

This court told New York (as California, Hawaii, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and others who have similar laws) to fuck off. From the Supreme Courts view, neither states nor cities are allowed to impose a “reason” to obtain a concealed (gun) carry permit. 

This goes along with the rollback of gun safety In Trump’s first year. The Republicans in office overturned rules that disallowed:

  • Psychiatric patients from owning a gun (“Maybe they were wrongly diagnosed”)
  • Violent gun crime felons couldn’t get guns (“They paid their time”) 
  • People on the terrorist watch list couldn’t get guns (“Maybe they shouldn’t be on the watch list”).

The limitations on gun possession and where they can openly be displayed also overturned Precedent.

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Religion in Public

Two decisions made in the past 2 weeks have reversed decades of Precedence in the State Support of Religion. The Constitution has this to say about religion in First Amendment, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; ...

Precedent based on the First Amendment has always been (until last week) that the state (i.e. the USA or individual states) cannot give money to support religion. And public institutions, particularly schools, cannot host religious displays or require religious participation.

This precedent lead to many things the Conservatives hate: Banning of prayer in school, banning funding of religions, banning religious displays on public land and requiring that access to one religion must then allow access to another religion.*

But last week the Supreme Court overturned previous rules about funding religious schools. The idea is that in rural Maine, the states pays for children’s private school where there is no public schools. But, in keeping with Constitutional Precedent, the state would not pay for private schools. A conservative majority (one with 5 Catholics) overturned Precedent here and said not only could Maine pay for these schools, Maine was REQUIRED to pay these religious schools.

This week, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of a coach that held prayers after a football game and he invited players to join. In previous cases, ones that followed Precedent, the Supreme Court has disallowed this as Prayer in School. This court ruled that Precedent calling this a display of Freedom of Religion because the coach did not require any one of his players to join. 

But think for a moment, a coach of players prayed with his team. How much playing time would you get if you didn’t pray? And remember, this exact action were ruled unconstitutional previously. It was considered coercion for prayer. This court (again with 5 Catholic Conservatives) said, nah – prayer from an authority figure PAID by the state government is just aokay.


* This one can from an interesting case. One of the southern states (Alabama? Mississippi? – anyway one of those that hates blacks and fags) allowed Christian preachers to be with the condemned at an execution, but did not allow the religious official to be Hindu, Muslim or Jewish.)

First, some background on the workings of the Supreme Court (for non-Americans)

I see a couple of problems right now, given the Supreme Court and its make up. For my non-American friends, let’s take a look at the Supreme Court members (new) and how they got there. This has made a massive impact on our laws.

First, an overview of our how our Supreme Court operates. The Supreme Court is made of 9 justices. After some early wiggles, the Supreme Court was determined to be the ultimate arbiter as to whether or not a law is Constitutional. That is, does the law violate the Constitution. That duty to rule on the laws has, over time, has expanded wildly over what is covered.*

Second, the Supreme Court is called the Supreme Court because there are quite a few lower courts. 

There are nine Circuit Courts that manage these Constitutional questions at a group of states level  which look at appeals from the District Courts.

These "districts" were determined when populations were much lower and have not been adjusted. For example the 10th Circuit Court covers sates with a combined population of 18.6 million people. The 9th Circuit Court covers states with a combined population of 56.3 million people. These Courts are the backbone of Constitutional questions. 

Below the Circuit Courts are 94 District Courts. They report up into the Circuit Courts by district. These handle the 400,000 Federal lawsuits a year. 

Third, of the Circuit Courts and District Court decisions, about 7,000 are requested to be reviewed by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court usually only takes 100 – 150. Therefore, Supreme Court usually only takes cases it wants to resolve a decision on. It is also required to take on cases where two or more Circuit Courts have come to different decisions.

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Okay, now about the Justices. They are appointed for life. One can argue that life has gotten longer, so maybe this doesn’t make sense anymore. That seems a lame argument to me. BUT a good argument is that new members are assigned as young as possible to sit on the court as long as possible. Two of Trump’s Judges have a great change of staying there for 40 years. 

The justices are also much more ideological now than they were. This is on both the liberal side (the correct side) and the conservative side (the wrong side) – that was a joke.

But this appointment process has given us some very very unexpected outcomes. 

The three latest Justices were appointed by Donald Trump – who did not win a majority of votes, but a majority of states. And they were confirmed by the Senate by more Senators, but who represented a much smaller population than the losing side (remember each state gets 2 Senators. Wyoming’s 567,000 people get 2 and California’s 39 ,300,000 get 2). So a third of the current court was appointed and approved by representatives of a minority of the population. In 2 of the 3 cases, the appointment process itself was stalled or hurried so Trump could appoint conservatives. This is one reason people are upset. Two of those minority appointments changed the make up from middle of the road to very conservative.

So these are the Presidents that nominated the Current Court.

  1. Clarence Thomas – George Bush #1 – a Republican
  2. Stephen Breyer – Bill Clinton – a Democrat (1)
  3. John Roberts – George Bush #2 – a Republican
  4. Samuel Alito – George Bush #2 – a Republican
  5. Sonia Sotomayor – Barak Obama – a Democrat
  6. Elena Kagan – Barak Obama – a Democrat
  7. Neil Gorsuch – Trump – a Republican (2)
  8. Brett Kavanaugh – Trump – a Republican
  9. Amy Coney Barrett – Trump – a Republican (3)

Notes:

  1. Steven Breyer, a liberal, is retiring at the end of this session. His replacement is a Biden appointee - Ketanji Brown Jackson.
  2. Neil Gorsuch was appointed by Trump, after Obama's pick of Merrick Garland was held up for 11 months until after the 2016 election by the Republican Senators. Supposedly to let the public decide.
  3. Amy Coney Barrett was appointed by Trump in the last 2 months of his administration before the Presidential vote by Republican Senators in a direct contradiction to their earlier reason for not holding a vote for Garland.
  4. If either the Gorsuch or Barrett nominations followed the Republican's own promises, the Supreme court would be 4 liberals, 4 Conservatives and 1 Middle Ground


The political leanings of the Justices are:

  • Liberal
    • Breyer
    • Sotomayor
    • Kagan
  • Conservative
    • Thomas
    • Alito
    • Gorsuch
    • Kavanaugh
    • Barrett
  • Conservative-ish but not crazy
    • Chief Justice Roberts

It was the 5 Conservatives who decided to overturn Roe v Wade (Roberts wanted a more limited change).

It was all 6 conservatives that decided anyone can have a right to concealed carry guns anywhere

So, with that baseline of understand – you get how the Supreme Court works.

*One of the largest changes include the “interstate” commerce, which now covers a host of ways the states must have a common set of requirements. It is most easily explained in an example. Hairdressers and therapist have varying requirements per state. For example, in Arizona, to be a marriage counselor, you hang up a sign that says marriage counselor. In California right over the state line, you need a Masters in Psychology, and hundreds of hours of supervised therapy work

On the other hand, any company that has business is more than one state is governed by Federal Law. Everything from airplane requirements to ingredients in Siracha is overseen by the United States.

Monday, June 27, 2022

The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures

 While Ed and I were out in LA for the doctor visits, we went to see the new Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. Which is a mouthful so I will shorten it here to Academy Museum, like they do.

First, it was so much better than I thought it would be. I expected either a pean to the Academy OR a general overview of the movies, which have plenty of museums. It was different.

First, you have to love that they put it in the old deco May Company Department store flagship. Here is a comparison of then and now.

Then there are some excellent exhibits.

In the first area they take 6 film makers in different areas and walk through their details. I don't remember them all, but they used Orson Wells as the director and Bruce Lee as the actor. Somehow I missed takingmost pictures

This was one of the three original - Rosebuds. The first burnt in the fire for the movie, but wasn't a good shot. The second was perfect, so they kept the third sled.

Then there was a section on making of The Wizard of Oz. It wasn't the lore, but how each department contributed to it.

Yes, these are the slippers, but behind this was the mat painting section.

First attempt at the Wicked Witch was a glamorous Gale Sondergard

The Wizard of Oz technicolor camera

Then there was the costume section. I liked this because of the costumes they used.

Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall's outfits from the fabulous The Big Sleep

Taron Egerton as Elton Jone in Rocketman

Brad Pitt's outfit from Once Upon a time in Hollywood

Brad's costume was how it was used in Once...Hollywood.
That is one handsome 55 year old (at the time of the movie)

Brad's costume was how it was used in Once...Hollywood.

And of course there was the section where each year they spoke of a different Academy Award winner, highlighting less know departments. But they had to show Cher's original Bob Mackie dress.

Ed. For scale. FYI - Orange wrist band meant you paid. Red was you were vaccinated.

It was a little odd how strict they were on vaccinations. A couple from Las Vegas were not vaccinated, and the Museum would not let them in! This despite the wife complaining (loudly) that this was the only thing she really wanted to do in LA. They were unmoved.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Discontinued Desk I Want

 Eddie and I went to Room and Board shopping one day (this was over a year ago) and I found the perfect desk. You can stand or sit, have a place for the printer, and put all your crap in one convenient tower.

I asked and the Room and board folks said it used to be a product, but it didn't sell well, so they discontinued it. I looked on eBay, furniture apps in NYC - but bupkis. 

Anyway, I loved it.



Once More, Puffins to Make me Happy

 Once more. After all the shit right now, let's make Scooter happy.



These are the mounds puffins make to lay eggs and raise their young


Eddie and a mound of puffins!


I can barely believe this is at the Arctic Circle!

This was the walk out to the puffins.
`

Now to get to the puffins, we had to park on a small dirt side road, and hop a fence that said "No trespassing" . But since the locals (and local old people) were popping over, we did too.

Turns out the "no trespassing" was because it was closed about a month earlier for the breeding season of an endangered duck. The duck breeding season has passed by about a month, and no one had unlocked the gate yet.

It was a calming place. Although after a while, Ed thought it was calming enough and we left.

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Let's Talk Honestly for a Moment about Abortion

Let's have a tiny discussion about abortion. I am sure my take isn't unique, but it is real.

My grandfather and grandmother - Albert and Zela

First, I don't think this is something old white men should legislate. I mean, seriously I don't men should be allowed to tell women what to do with their own bodies. There is a time after which I don't agree with abortion (about 16 weeks), but again it isn't really my decision. As a gay man, I have even less input on this.

I nowI now that  I have shared my aunt was downs syndrome. But after my aunt's funeral service, Zela and I spoke. It was a discussion she couldn't really have with someone else.

She told me that Martha was a very late child. Back then they didn't know why kids were born with downs syndrome. But she did not want another child. The family was already struggling with money and dealing with my father (not a great teenager).

She told me that, while she never wanted to be rid of Martha the person, she would have had an abortion if she could have. Martha put a massive strain on the family. Zela blamed herself (and my grandfather a bit) because of her attention had to be focussed on Martha. She thought that was the reason my father was such an asshole. While she loved Martha, she knew that it changed her marriage to be all about Martha, because what else could you do? It blew up her and my grandfather's relationship and dynamic.

She felt guilt because the preacher at Martha's service preached to the crowd how great she was. And he said how "nowadays people would just abort the child once they found out." So she felt terrible that, knowing everything she knew and the effect on her and her loved ones lives, she would have had an abortion. 

Worse, she had tried to give herself a self-abortion. It did not work, but for years (until science caught up) she thought that Martha was down syndrome BECAUSE of her failed abortion attempt.

Abortion is a decision that a woman makes for reasons we may never know. It doesn't make those reasons less valid. And abortion isn't about "killing a child" it is about making choices long before a fertilized egg or undeveloped fetus is alive. It is a personal choice that is usually the hardest a woman will ever make. I have seen women who lost pregnancies early and it wrecks some of them.

But having a child that is unwanted may be worse for everyone involved. We (men) should just shut the fuck up and get out of the way. 

Good News on Gun Safety

I am glad to be proven wrong. A gun safety bill was passed in Congress (with Republican votes too!). It isn't a particularly good bill, but it is a break through. It is the first gun safety law of ANY type in 30 years. Take the good news when you get it. Itpisses off the NRA and still passed.

Slate has a great overview about how it passed

The cross-messaging that got a gun bill passed.

Congress this week really did pass a bipartisan gun violence, mental health, and school safety bill that’s heading to President Joe Biden’s desk. The senators correctly called the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act the most significant such package Congress has passed in 30 years—which is simultaneously a real accomplishment and a real indictment of the Congresses of the past 30 years. What was the key to overriding the NRA’s opposition and passing it, aside from the rawness in the wake of mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas? We may have more to say on this later, but one thing that struck us in reading the statements following Senate passage is that Republicans and Democrats were saying the bill did entirely separate things. Consider the press email from the office of Texas Sen. John Cornyn, Republicans’ lead negotiator: “Senate Passes Cornyn’s Mental Health and School Safety Bill One Month After Uvalde.” A mental health and school safety bill! Meanwhile, statements from Democrats, like New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassan and Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, commended passage of the “Gun Safety” and “Gun Violence Prevention Bill.” All 50 Senate Democrats voted for a gun safety bill, and 15 Senate Republicans voted for a mental health and school safety bill. Thirty-three Republicans, meanwhile, at least agreed with Democrats that this was—in the words of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz—a “gun” bill, but they voted against it. Anyway, let’s see what survives of this gun(-ish?) bill after Justice Clarence Thomas has had a few months to ruminate about how it would’ve played with Colonial musket owners.

Friday, June 24, 2022

The Incapacity to Anger

 It has taken a long time, but I am almost at the end of my ability to anger at our politics and politicians. our system has changed so much, and so few people care. And we are at a loss about what to do.

No, I am at a loss of what to do.

Since 2016 it has been a non-stop trash fire that is focused on fucking any non-Maga people left. (And giving corporations more power and money).

Let's Review This Term's big Supreme Court Decisions (opinions all mine)

Supreme Court Score:

Good Guys 1 | Bad Guys 8 |Tie  -1



Overruling Voting Rights Act: Bad Guys +1
The Supreme court overturned a District Court that was required to review Alabama House Districts. The court (with a Trump appointed majority) ruled it was not legal under the voting rights act and put the new districts on hold until this is fixed. The Supreme Court issued a Shadow Docket ruling that A) agreed to take this up next term but B) reinstated the illegal districts until then, which is well after the primary and general election. Thereby gutting the Voting Rights Act further. An Act that was passed legally by Congress.

Emergency Stop of the Texas Abortion Ban: Bad Guys +1
Everyone has their opinion on the Abortion Cases, I understand that. For me, a woman’s right to choose is a matter of body autonomy, at least until the 16th week. The Supreme Court refused to strike down an unconstitutional law. The law might be changed this year, but the law is unconstitutional as of today (1/1/22) (Note: Supreme Court has not ruled on the bounty hunter provision of this and copy cat laws).

Donald Trump use of Executive Privilege: Good Guys +1
Yesterday the Supreme Court ruled not to take the case of Donald Trump and upheld the lower courts’ ruling to release documents. The result is not a major surprise, it follows the precedent of the Nixon Tapes. However, rejecting it out of hand is a major surprise. This means that he documents will be released now. Not after a lengthy review process that might stretch out until the mid-term elections are complete.

Use of Mandates via OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and Money: Tie
A stupid as hell tie, but a tie none the less.
One part of the government is allowed to withhold money from Hospitals that do not enforce a mask mandate. 
The other part disallowed a rule to enforce a mask or test mandate on larger companies. The opinion, crafted in a unique way, apparently to not rule on an aspect of the bill that would overturn thousands of laws, said that OSHA could not mandate this for safety. To get here, the court ruled that OSHA, in charge of worker safety, overstepped its bounds since Covid is not a workplace safety risk. Since it is a risk for the entire country, it is out of OSHA’s permit.

“State Secrets” New 4Mar22: Bad Guys 1
In March, the Supreme Court voted 6-3 that the very idea of “black sites” is a state secret. This comes from a Polish case and the lawyers there asked to question the CIA torturer that handled this man in a Polish Black Site. Now, everyone the CIA operates Black Sites around the world. And we used them during the Afghan War to “interrogate” people. But the US government did not want to say what they did to people – which is what the case is about. So the US Government declared in front of the Supreme Court that just because everyone knows about the “Black Sites” doesn’t mean that the US will support this lawsuit. In fact, the black sites are technically a secret that the US will neither confirm nor deny. But the US has confirmed the existence of these sites before. But this allows the government to hide behind a transparent lie. But it doesn’t have to say what we did. 

Overturning Roe v Wade: Bad Guys 1
Yeah, you get it.
Previously: The Court is considering overturning Roe v Wade. This would be against precedent and at odds with what the nominees said during nomination. It is a big ass deal, and possible huge if the Court rules that body autonomy is not absolute. It depends on how they overturn it. Not only would it end Roe v Wade, the ruling could also overturn an old law that allows birth control in the states. The ruling would also allow the Courts and legislatures to pass laws to “protect” people, like anti-gay laws and anti-single parent / surrogate laws. It may not, but it would open the door.
It also makes the case that Gay Marriage can be overturned. New updated, this decision also effects birth control (which they are attacking as causing abortions), marriage between races and, as Teas is trying, perhaps education of undocumented children.

Allow Nearly Unrestricted Handgun Carry: Bad Buys 1
In a case involving the states that severely limit the carry of handguns as legal. An affirmative result for the plaintiffs (which the Court seemed inclined to rule for) would force states to adopt unlimited ease of use for handgun carry laws, either open or concealed carry. It would overturn laws in New York and California among others.

Requiring the State to Fund Religion: Bad Guys 1
This court has been very supportive of religious rights, often to the detriment of laws banning discrimination. This particular case involves Maine, a sparsely populated state. In rural Maine there aren’t enough public schools in the north. So the state pays for education at private schools. The state will not pay for education at religious schools referring to the establishment clause of First Amendment “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
This has traditionally meant the state cannot support religion, and if they do, must support all religions equally (which is why some city support nativity scenes also have a Minora nearby).

Campaign Money to Candidates: Bad Guys 1
At the present time, any moneys raised during a campaign must go to the actual campaign or (if not) transferred to another campaign. Ted Cruz is spearheading a challenge that would allow candidates to scoop excess money. He brought this test case now, not after he leaves office. This would enable a quid-pro-quo donation system – or legal bribery. If passed, companies might donate a million dollars to a campaign (like Senator Cruz’) and any unspent money would go to the candidate.
No surprise, Supreme Court agrees with Cruz. Decides that if you can’t pull extra money from your campaign to yourself, you are stopping free speech?

Right to retrial is there was a Bad Court Appointed Attorney and there IS evidence of innocence: Bad Guys 1
The court overturned a precedent that if you have a bad lawyer that screwed up, you cannot appeal with new information. Even if that information shows you are innocent. You can only use the information that the attorney brought up, even if the attorney sucked! This overturns a 2012 precedent that allowed convicted people to sue if their attorneys screwed up badly. Oh well, the guy is on death row despite any amount of contrary information. You can only sue and bring up the evidence that the horrible attorney introduced.

Well: That Tuesday Thursday thing failed quickly....

I am trying, really trying, to only discuss our fucked up government on Tuesdays and Thursdays. And that is still my hope. Someday soon.

But Supreme Court decisions has come to pass and so I must break my rule. Normally the Supreme Court announces rulings quickly, or late in the term (June) - usually on Mondays, sometimes Mondays and Thursdays when busy.

This year, the have bunched them all up in a shorter time. We had decisions on Tue, Wed, Thur and Fri (today). Monday was a Federal Workers Holiday.

So here we are. Women have no control over their bodies - re pregnancy - in 26 states. The Supreme Court has overturned the federal (national) right to abortion ("Roe"). It now goes to the states. And a majority have already outlawed abortion. Including the entire deep south.

But wait, there's more. 

Normally taciturn Clarence Thomas (the husband of Ginni Thomas a Jan 6th insurrectionist) has published a "Concurring" opinion. Concurring Opinions occur when a Justice wants to explain why they voted yes, and where they do or do not agree with the Majority. there is also the idea of a Dissenting Opinion - where a Justice or Justices say why they did not agree.

Justice Thomas' opinion is scary as fuck. Okay maybe just for me. And we have no idea of what the other 5 concurring Justices think (well, we know Amy CB is from a cult of Catholics, so we know she hates fags).

Thomas thinks that the 14th Amendment (equal justice under the law) does not relate to 3 rulings that should also be overturned.

"Obergefell" refers to the right for gay people to marry.

"Lawerance" refers to the right to legislate what sex acts private parties can do in private. This refers to reintroducing criminal laws for gay sex and, in many states, oral or anal sex for straight people.

"Griswald" refers to the right for access to contraception.

Merry Fascist State to all, and to all a goodnight.

A Pic of Us and a Question

 So first a question, then a picture of Ed and I in Cancun.

This is the patch for the national futbool team of Japan. I might have posted this before (hence, now starting labels). Look to see if you can spot the issue. Answer below:

The bird has three feet! Three. I have yet to see a bird with three feet (except for those radioactive birds).

Okay, now me and Ed in Cancun from earlier this year.



Yesterday at Bletchley Park

Doesn't look like a military installation does it?  We went to Bletchley Park a few days ago for a second visit. We had gone years ago w...