Thursday, June 30, 2022
The Supreme Court has spoken. From Roberts majority opinion:
Capping carbon dioxide emissions at a level that will force a nationwide transition away from the use of coal to generate electricity may be a sensible "solution to the crisis of the day." New York v. United States, 505 U. S. 144, 187 (1992). But it is not plausible that Congress gave EPA the authority to adopt on its own such a regulatory scheme in Section 111(d). A decision of such magnitude and consequence rests with Congress itself, or an agency acting pursuant to a clear delegation from that representative body. The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is reversed, and the cases are remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.
Justice Kagan wrote an excellent dissent in today's SCOTUS ruling West Virginia v. E.P.A. It starts on page 57. If you have time, give it a read.
Congress charged EPA with addressing those potentially catastrophic harms, including through regulation of fossil fuel-fired power plants. Section 111 of the Clean Air Act directs EPA to regulate stationary sources of any substance that “causes, or contributes significantly to, air pollution”and that “may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare.” 42 U. S. C. §7411(b)(1)(A). Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases fit that description....And let’s say the obvious:The stakes here are high. Yet the Court today prevents congressionally authorized agency action to curb power plants’ carbon dioxide emissions. The Court appoints itself—instead of Congress or the expert agency—the decision maker on climate policy. I cannot think of many things more frightening. Respectfully, I dissent.
Once again the conservative majority grants its industry and big energy funders a license to pollute and hamstrings and emasculates the EPA. This ruling will hurt all citizens of the nation and globe. These rulings tend to fall hardest on poor, minority neighborhoods, where it is easiest for polluters to get permits, but int he end I fear that it will hurt all of us, as our climate continues to warm.
Asking this divided congress to act on the matter is laughable, when the Manchin type "dinos" are sucking the tit of the energy companies, and the Republicans are only too happy to preserve the status quo. Gorsuch, concurring with the majority, gets to help his mother Anne Burford's master plan to dismantle the EPA. The majority will be content to dicker and rearrange the deck chairs on the titanic while the earth burns to a crackly crisp.
It seems frankly suicidal to stay on this course. You have to wonder if the justices consider the effects of climate change and pollution on their own families? And I have to think that perhaps it is not an ideological split but a theological split at heart. I saw the following comments on TPM and they gave me reason to pause.
Wednesday, June 29, 2022
I had a whirlwind trip up to Sonoma and back. Three days. Bought and sold a couple nice paintings, purchased a wonderful Native American basket. Saw a bunch of friends, Renee, Big Dave, Rick, Anne, Warmboe and Michael. Stayed in Sebastopol the first night, woke up to Stellar's jays and orioles, mobs of band tailed pigeons. I watched a violet green swallow feed its young.
Second night I stayed in Sausalito, at Renee's. I had brought a large painting of hers up to her northern home in my van. I wouldn't have much of a problem living in Sonoma, although they are having a real drought crisis there.
Sausalito would be harder for me. Beautiful, incredible views but I don't think I could handle that level of compression living on a side of a hill with all those humans. I have lived on the edge of nowhere for too long.
There was an erector type set in the room and it was shaped into a perfectly good structure.
I took care of that.
I asked her if I could play, used every available part and sort of went off before bed.
About seven foot tall. A bit out of the box. Might have stretched a few rules of physics.
Interesting shadow play in the darkness of night.
I sent a picture to Shawn in Thailand that night and got this message back:
Doug battled COPD and pulmonary fibrosis valiantly for many years, lived for much longer than his expected prognosis but finally succumbed to complications from a recent stroke.
I don't know where to start when talking about my longtime friend.
A brilliant ophthalmologist, he was sweet and caring and an ace diagnostician.
A fit and handsome man, blessed with a great head of hair.
Loved his wife, kids and grandchildren tremendously.
He had the greatest voice I have ever heard, would have been perfect in radio or the stage.
Civic minded, a long time Rotarian.
He was a navy officer, a patriot, a photographer, a man of deep faith, a renaissance man who, along with his wonderful wife Rose Lynn, was a serious collector and lover of art nouveau and chromolithography as well as many other areas of interest in antiques and fine art.
I love Doug, cherish the time I was able to spend with him during the last year. He, like our mutual friend, the late Tony Duchi, will be impossible to replace in my life. First time he ever opened up to me was coming back from Tony's funeral.
I realized during that car ride that my sweet doctor could cuss a blue streak like the long time Navy man he was if you got him in the right situation. Maybe it was the stress of the funeral? Shocked the heck out of me but honestly I couldn't stop laughing. A gentleman, I still loved telling him slightly off color jokes when we were alone, he had a great sense of humor and was not averse to sharing an occasional nip with me.
We had differing politics but he was also always gentlemanly about our ideological differences and never less than wonderful to me.
Saturday, June 25, 2022
The last time a Republican Senate confirmed a Democrat's Supreme Court nominee was way back in 1895, during the Grover Cleveland administration. Contrast that with the fact that since that time a Democratic senate has confirmed 12 Republican nominees in six different Republican administrations.
Gives you a good idea about which party acts fairly and objectively and who does not. I guess it pays to be an asshole.
I was triggered this morning when I read this pollyannaish screed by one Denise Burke, Women will thrive in a post- Roe world. Burke is senior counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom (@ADFLegal), where she is a member of the Center for Legislative Advocacy.
She engages in some outright bullshit here, a lot of dissembling and sleight of hand. I will not go through it line by line but I could. But let's look at this paragraph, which I have shortened to rid us of a non sequitur:
Abortion rights advocates imply that women are not strong enough or capable enough to manage motherhood and a job, school or other interests. But Americans never fully believed this...
They also argued that American women wanted unrestricted and unregulated access to abortion paid for at taxpayer expense. This bold assertion purposely ignores that many vulnerable women only reluctantly “choose” abortion after the financially incentivized abortion lobby convinces them that abortion is their only choice.
I call this the "You can have it all" speech. The Marlo Thomas effect. A woman can work, have a big family and everything is going to be wonderful. But women don't believe this because they have been brainwashed by a financially incentivized abortion lobby.
Two things. Look at the statistics of who is actually getting an abortion. The great majority are already parents.
|Dorothea Lange - 1936|
Friday, June 24, 2022
What a day, what a week. I am emotionally spent. They are doing their customary victory laps over in rightwingdom. I have been reading National Review and Reason, the self congratulation over finally killing Roe is overwhelming. Between the god squad and the Josh Blackman's of this world it honestly makes we want to hurl.
If you are personally against abortion, there is a simple fix, don't have one. But that is obviously not enough, wayward women must be controlled and punished. They will birth even if it costs them their lives and it is definitely more likely that they will now in certain circumstances. Now that we are more like Malta than a free and secular republic.
RICHMOND — A liberal activist released a video late Wednesday of GOP gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin saying that he has to limit his antiabortion comments on the campaign trail for fear of alienating Virginia's independent voters but that he would go "on offense" if he wins office and Republicans take a majority in the House of Delegates.
For that reason, in future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold [contraception], Lawrence [sodomy], and Obergefell [same sex marriage]. Because any substantive due process decision is “demonstrably erroneous,” we have a duty to “correct the error” established in those precedents.
Wonder why Clarence left out the Loving v. Virginia case, which allowed mixed race marriages? They're not mentioned in the constitution, are they? Sounds like the Justices like to pick and choose when it is politically convenient for them. What a surprise.
Thursday, June 23, 2022
|Photo by Leonard Ortiz - OCR|
|Jason got nuked on the inside bowl at Pohiki today.|
My right headlight went out recently. I noticed in the middle of the night when we were driving to Long Beach to do the flea market. The brights worked, so lucky for us but maybe not so lucky for everybody else, we kept them engaged for the trip.
There has been moisture in the light for months. Apparently it is a normal failing in the Ram Promaster and there is much written about it online. Ram says that the moisture will go away in time, many claim that it is a design defect that the manufacturer just didn't want to deal with.
There are diy schemes to cure it, most involve using a variety of silicone gels in the interior plugs. I took my ram to my personal mechanic the other day and he was afraid he would break the housing trying to remove it and suggested I take it to a dealer. He told me that there was four inches of water on the bottom of the bulb. I was afraid what the moisture might be doing to the electronics and housing but whatever.
The Ram dealer in Temecula is no longer certified to work on these, or so they told me on the phone, but I managed to finagle an appointment in Escondido today after a day on the telephones.
I convinced him to drill a hole on the bottom and drain the water, lose the goldfish (not sure how they got in there) and send me on my way. Grand total with bulb replacement - $146. I can live with that.
Interestingly enough, he says he sees these all the time and it is always the right headlight. He has no idea why and neither do I. But now I can get back on the road again and I have a long drive in store to Sonoma to pick up a very large painting. As soon as I am up to it anyway.
I spent yesterday on the business end of a flexible scope traveling through my most private appendage. My doctor saw something she doesn't like in my bladder diverticuli, she shared it with me on the screen, white lump with some branches.
I need another biopsy but will have to wait a bit as I am extremely busy. Might well be nothing. As I said the other day, you never know when you are going to get that knock on the door and honestly I am not too surprised. Disappointed, yes, surprised, no. Will cross my fingers. Please don't pray just yet, I am not a believer and don't want to be a hypocrite. If I change my mind I will let you know and I will be right there with you.
We will see how it all shakes down.
Wednesday, June 22, 2022
Tuesday, June 21, 2022
In a way my life is still measured in six month increments. I blissfully go my merry way until the bi-yearly cancer checkup. With my history there is never any surety. One has to be emotionally ready for anything. Lost my friend Allan last night after a long term battle. He fought the good fight. Sucks, so unfair. The most wonderful person. I was telling somebody that I laugh whenever I hear a person say they beat cancer. Well, knock on wood. After thirty eight years of back and forth with the big ugly c I know enough to know that you can hold it at bay and that is pretty much it. Hope for a truce. You never stop looking over your shoulder or I never have anyway. Cystoscopy tomorrow afternoon. Been hard to focus today for some reason. I feel pretty good, think everything will be fine.
I created the composite collage this afternoon and had to laugh when I was finished. The alligators and the clock made me wonder if I was subconsciously channeling Peter Pan. Onwards to tomorrowland! Not intentional...
Not content to obliterate the last fifty years of reproductive rights freedoms, today the SCOTUS went after the separation of church and state. Now, if you are a taxpayer in Maine, your tax dollars will go directly to religious schools, including funding those schools that choose to discriminate against same sex teachers and students. You may not believe in discrimination against LGBQT but they do, so tough for you. You're paying.
Writing a dissent joined by Justice Elena Kagan and in part by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Justice Stephen Breyer said the court had “never previously held what the Court holds today, namely, that a State must (not may) use state funds to pay for religious education as part of a tuition program designed to ensure the provision of free statewide public school education.”
And what defines a religion nowadays anyway? Some christian religions think that blacks and jews are subhuman species, but I am sure that they can get the government gelt too. Or is there a proscribed and government certified religious litmus test? No matter Mainers, you are footing the bill. Even if they are teaching what many of us consider to be second rate science fiction. Or maybe slaughtering goats for voodoo rites.
This comes on the heels of a 2020 ruling that religious institutions like churches and schools are shielded from employment discrimination lawsuits.
The ruling arose from separate lawsuits brought by teachers Agnes Morrissey-Berru and Kristen Biel against two private schools that operate under the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
Biel accused St. James School in Torrance of unlawfully dismissing her when she requested time off to undergo surgery and chemotherapy for breast cancer. Biel died last year but her husband has continued the litigation on her behalf.
Morrissey-Berru brought an age discrimination case against Our Lady of Guadalupe School in Hermosa Beach after being told in 2015, just before her 65th birthday, that her contract would not be renewed.
Morrissey-Berru and Biel taught their students religion several days a week in addition to secular subjects.
Federal judges concluded that the ministerial exception barred both claims. The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals subsequently ruled that both lawsuits could proceed.
Rachel Laser, president of the advocacy group Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said Wednesday’s ruling “demonstrates how the Supreme Court continues to redefine religious freedom - twisting what is meant to be a shield that protects us into a sword to harm others. The court elevates a distorted notion of religious freedom over fundamental civil rights.”
In a separate dispute affecting religious schools, the court on June 30 endorsed Montana tax credits that helped pay for students to attend religious schools, a decision paving the way for more public funding of faith-based institutions.
In another ruling on Wednesday, the Supreme Court endorsed a Trump administration plan to give employers broad religious and moral exemptions from a federal mandate that health insurance they provide to their workers includes coverage for women’s birth control.
Soon another ruling will come down the pike; the high school coach who likes to pray on the field after a game. There can't be any undue pressure on the players to join him, can there? Say if they want to play...
In the leaked draft overturning Roe v. Wade, Samuel Alito said that “The inescapable conclusion is that a right to abortion is not deeply rooted in the Nation’s history and traditions.”
This is hogwash of course. No less a founding patriot as Benjamin Franklin wrote a missive on women's health in Philadelphia in 1748 that included a "how to" home abortifacient.
The pamphlet was titled "The Instructor" and written under the pseudonym George Fisher.
And it was not the first such book to include a home abortion remedy, William Mather's Young Man's Companion also had one back in 1699.
Franklin recommended mustard, horseradish, nutmeg, garden cress chased with beer brewed with sorrel leaves.
It also recommends angelica, an herb used for abortions for thousands of years, highland flagg and pennyroyal water.
Abortion goes back far in man's history, the first abortions reported in Egypt in 1550 b.c.e. in the Ebers Papyrus. They were mentioned favorably later by both Plato and Aristophanes. They have been mentioned in sanskrit texts back in the eighth century.
The bible clearly discriminates between the life of the fetus and a born human being. In Exodus 21:22-25 a pregnant woman becomes involved in a brawl between 2 men and has a miscarriage. A distinction is then made between the penalty that is to be exacted for the loss of the fetus and injury to the woman. For the fetus, a fine is paid as determined by the husband and the judges. However, if the woman is injured or dies, "lex talionis" is applied -- life for life, eye for eye, etc.
The Talmud explains that for the first 40 days of a woman’s pregnancy, the fetus is considered “mere fluid” and considered part of the mother until birth. The baby is considered a nefesh – Hebrew for “soul” or “spirit” – once its head has emerged, and not before.
The Hebrews, whose religion was the basis for both Christianity and Islam, believed that a person became a human when they drew their first breath.
Interestingly, abortions were also once held normal by early Christian theologians and thinkers.
Tertullian, a 2nd- and 3rd-century Christian theologian, described surgical implements which were used in a procedure similar to the modern dilation and evacuation. One tool had a "nicely adjusted flexible frame" used for dilation, an "annular blade" used to curette, and a "blunted or covered hook" used for extraction. The other was a "copper needle or spike". He attributed ownership of such items to Hippocrates, Asclepiades, Erasistratus, Herophilus, and Soranus.
Aulus Cornelius Celsus, a 1st-century Roman encyclopedist, offered an extremely detailed account of a procedure to extract an already-dead fetus in his only surviving work, De Medicina. In Book 9 of Refutation of all Heresies, Hippolytus of Rome, another Christian theologian of the 3rd century, wrote of women tightly binding themselves around the middle so as to "expel what was being conceived".
Methinks Judge Alito needs to reread his history.
Monday, June 20, 2022
Based on the wonderful books by the late Tony Hillerman, the incredible Dineh policemen Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee will come back to life in the new series.
I think three episodes are already streaming. I loved these characters and reading these stories and am really looking forward to watching this production.
With the producers involved I bet it will be amazing. I could not get enough of the books and know that the cinematography should be wonderful.
Amy Coney Barrett gave a speech a few months ago, where was it, the Reagan Library in Simi Valley? Anyway, she warned the crowd that a lot of decisions were coming down the pike that looked political but if you you read the language of the decisions you would see that it actually was just good, old fashioned jurisprudence. If you are to believe the newest member of the Supreme Court, nobody is trying for a "policy result."
Which is, of course, complete bullshit. The Federalist Society and their cohorts have been gunning for reproductive rights for the last fifty years. They have done nothing but gun for policy results. They have conspired with people like Mitch McConnell to not grant hearings to the Merrick Garlands of this world and they have been very successful. This is the most slanted court in memory and Kavanaugh and Barrett were coached by their handlers to be evasive and manipulate certain Senators.
Congratulations to them. You now have the political and theologically homogeneous court of your dreams, the current majority appointed by a succession of Presidents who have themselves failed to win a majority of popular votes. Any liberal decision of the last fifty years can now be similarly squashed for not being "historic" enough or lacking papal dispensation.
This is the most politicized court I have ever seen, you have the wife of one jurist openly involved in patently illegal schemes to throw Presidential elections. The guy in the top middle in the picture above, the one lone dissenter who voted to shield Donald Trump's communication with his co-conspirators from public light.
Support for reproductive rights and a woman's right to choose has never been stronger in America and it grows daily. What is it now, 65%? So you conservatives have managed to get your plum. Good for you. It will be interesting to see how America and women in particular respond at the ballot box.
Doctors are said to be afraid to treat expectant mothers with birth abnormalities and risk prosecution if the fetus dies, watch women's health suffer and casualty rates soar. Also watch rapists and family members who have committed incest sue women over their paternal rights to their children. The effects of this ruling is certain to fall hardest and most disproportionately on minority women.
So be it. God's plan, I suppose. You have caught the abortion car, now let's see what you do with it. And what a mockery you have made of our nation's constitutional order and any respect for law, fairness and decency. A pox on your house, I hope that the blowback is swift.
I was talking to a friend today who said something interesting to me. We were talking about our divorces and I mentioned that it was a good thing that my ex wife had left me because I didn't have the emotional strength to admit that it was over.
Had been awful for two or three years but I didn't want to see it. Some serious personality defect on my part. The writing was on the wall and I was apparently a specialist in lost causes.
I ended up traveling to a war zone and praying that a missile fall on my head and it actually got close a couple times. Short story, war ended, I came home and thankfully she left a couple weeks later. His story was similar, he was in Vietnam when it happened the first time.
"Anyway," he said, "three most difficult things for a man to lose, a wife, a job and his hair." My friend is bald and I snickered, hopefully not too loudly, he was being totally honest and he told me that he lost his hair at twenty and it obviously did a number on him. Never seemed like such a big deal to me.
But I am with him, at least on the first two. I have never lost a job and didn't feel like a failure afterward, even a job that I hated. Sort of like Stockholm syndrome, not sure why.
I have only been married one other time, to a woman who was sleeping with one of my best friends and at least several other gentlemen during the last several years of our tumultuous relationship and pretty much extorted me for all my worldly possessions and yet I still found myself hurting and bemoaning my fate and missing the few good times we had together. Perhaps it was less about her than my own ego. Could not admit that things had completely fallen apart and that the end was indeed nigh.
Left me dead broke with t
he our dogs and her horses. Said that I was a millionaire, that I would become one again. I could never understand anyone that would run out on their pets, she had owned the horse since she was 12, but hey, people throw their own kids off of bridges, people are just no damn good. Some people leave on good terms with their ex spouses. Not me. Haven't seen her in thirty years and have no desire to ever again. Love can turn to hate so fast. Luckily I found the right one later, 32 years and running.
It was a tough week for me. A good friend who is a doctor and has been on hospice had a serious stroke. I visited him in the hospital, he can't talk real well, right side impacted by the clot on the left side of the brain. They had to take him out of hospice to work on him. I visited him in the hospital. Wife said he wouldn't be real happy, he would have preferred to die but I get it. I would have done the same thing she did. Sometimes you are just not ready to say good bye to the person you love.
A man called me Friday and asked if he could have a consigned painting back. His wife had died and he was redecorating the condo. "Sure," I said, and confided that I didn't know she was sick. "She wasn't," he said. She evidently went on a drinking binge and took her own life on pills last weekend. Left a note and blamed him for her starting drinking again. What a way to go out and leave somebody you have loved.
All in all, with my late brother's birthday and all the mishegoss, a very strange and depressing couple of days. Still got my hair.
Saturday, June 18, 2022
The present government of the United States has never taken away and never will take away any liberty from any minority, unless it be a minority which so abuses its liberty as to do positive and definite harm to its neighbors constituting the majority. But the government of the United States refuses to forget that the Bill of Rights was put into the Constitution not only to protect minorities against intolerance of majorities, but to protect majorities against the enthronement of minorities.
Who was prescient on Ukraine five years ago? Hate to say I saw it coming but the writing was on the wall.
Good article at HuffPo, Trump faithful swirl down the rabbit hole. No, it's not CGI.
Jordan Sather, a leading proponent of the QAnon theory, claims both Barr and Ivanka Trump lied during their testimony on Trump’s orders, part of an elaborate scheme to defeat Trump’s enemies by confusing Congress and the American public.
“I can just imagine Donald Trump telling Ivanka: ’Hey, go to this hearing, say these things. Screw with their heads,’” Sather said last week on his online show.
Some Trump supporters dismissed Ivanka Trump’s testimony entirely by questioning whether any of it was real. That’s another common refrain seen on far-right message boards. Many posters say they don’t even believe the hearings are happening, but are a Hollywood production starring stand-ins for the former president’s daughter and others.
“She looks different in a big way,” one poster asked on Telegram. “CGI?”
In other news, Trump is thinking about pardoning the Jan 6 insurrectionists if he gets re-elected. After all they were only parading, blowing off a little steam.
I don't particularly like the Republican Governor of Montana, Greg Gianforte, but he is getting unfairly attacked for being on vacation when his state was flooding. Dude was on a long planned Italian vacation. He came home. Give him a break.
Forgive me for not having a Juneteenth celebration. It's not mandatory yet, is it? Feel the same way about most holidays, Kwaanza, Easter, Hannukah, Christmas, Solstice, Druid, what have you. They don't have a lot of relevance in my life, seem sort of artificial and forced, frankly. I get that some people believe that it is time for equal time but when it gets pushed real fast it breeds resentment. Feels like social engineering and mandated groupthink.
I hang with a group of octo and septuagenarians in the morning and I hear the same thing frequently. Why does practically every commercial nowadays have to feature a same sex, mixed race nuclear family? I personally have no problem with either but some feel like they are getting hit over the head with the stuff. Would it be so bad to show a straight and non tattooed caucasian or same race couple once in a while or would the censors have a fit? Social scientists have found that such advertising provokes a negative response among many people, ill founded or not.
Let's face it, the boomers are on the way out. The newer generations do not share their bigotry or homophobia and that is a good thing. Advertisers are not catering to the old guard, they are focusing on Gens x, y and z. Get used to it.
Bitcoin is crashing hard. I hate to even write about it because some of the people I love are really into it and are losing a ton of money. But I never believed in it and am still really confused by it. It seems like vaporwear to me, or a giant ponzi scheme, it has no secondary utility and stands for nothing but a lot of processing time, as far as I can figure. You can't wear it around your neck like gold or silver, or use its parts like other commodities, it is just an abstract conceptual currency. I guess you could say the same thing about paper money, maybe I am just showing my age but I am not a believer and think things might even get worse with the stuff before they get better. But once again, what do I know? Not much... Make a zillion and show me how wrong I am.
A few questions for Ginni Thomas - Above the Law.
Medical abortion - the next battleground.
Libertarians back negative stereotyping and denigrating jokes.
Send the blog out to 3397 of your closest friends and we can put this 4 million view puppy to bed tomorrow.
Friday, June 17, 2022
Were they actually looking for hookers?
My friends Bob and Lynne were on their way to Yellowstone for the first time when the floods hit. They had to cancel their trip. Leslie and I know the area very well, have made a lot of trips there. Pains me to think what the people that are now cut off in the outlying communities like Cooke City, Livingston and Gardiner are going through.
And amazing to think that the mighty rivers up there may have permanently changed course in this 1000 year flood. The massive earthly forces that created the park are obviously still at work.
This is a picture I took one early morning at my favorite geothermal pool, Morning Glory. Doesn't get any prettier than that. Looks like a giant psychedelic bat ray. Hope the area stabilizes soon.