Time to review the current incarnation of the Supreme Court

Well, with the release of the latest West Virginia v. EPA decision (details here), it seems to me that once the rulings have begun to demonstrate clearly appalling consequences for the safety of US citizens and for the planet, as well as send an overt signal that may prevent federal agencies from properly regulating their charged duties, it’s time to consider reining in this court to prevent future erroneous actions.    See Ezra Klein’s excellent podcast interview with Columbia Law professor Jamal Greene for a wonderful discussion on the subject of improving the court – and not just changing it for reasons of partisanship.

2022-06-30T10:41:48-05:00June 30th, 2022|Home, Musings|

Addled Alito

From the Dobbs v. Jackson majority opinion overturning Roe v Wade:

“Held: The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives.”

From the Ninth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:

“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

Seems contradictory, no? Consider that the mortality rate for a term pregnancy of a black woman in Mississippi is more than 100 times the mortality rate for a first term abortion. Shouldn’t the right to life be retained by the people who are living? How ironic.

The NEJM editors have published a relevant editorial dated June 26, 2022: Lawmakers v. The Scientific Realities of Human Reproduction

2022-06-26T11:06:37-05:00June 26th, 2022|Home, Musings|

Voices from the Dissent

John Gruber at the always excellent Daring Fireball pulls some sadly relevant language from the dissent of the all-too-erroneous Dobbs v. Jackson Supreme Court Decision.  John’s last quote from that dissent (it starts on page 148 of the decision), written by justices, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan follows:

“One of us once said that “[i]t is not often in the law that so few have so quickly changed so much.” For all of us, in our time on this Court, that has never been more true than today. In overruling Roe and Casey, this Court betrays its guiding principles.

With sorrow — for this Court, but more, for the many millions of American women who have today lost a fundamental constitutional protection — we dissent.”

2022-06-25T19:05:42-05:00June 25th, 2022|Home, Musings|

A very sad day for women’s autonomy

• Once again, Linda Greenhouse says it all, and says it well in her NYT piece Requiem for the Supreme Court.  A pertinent excerpt:

“With the stroke of a pen, Justice Samuel Alito and four other justices, all chosen by Republican presidents running on successive party platforms committed to overturning Roe v. Wade, erased the constitutional right to reproductive autonomy that the Supreme Court recognized more than 49 years ago. As the dissenting opinion — written by Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan — observed, never before had the court rescinded an individual right and left it up to the states whether to respect what had once been anchored in the Constitution.

The practical consequences of the decision, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, are enormous and severe.”

Definitely worth reading.

2022-06-25T10:42:24-05:00June 25th, 2022|HomeRecommended|

TikTok Users Beware

From the You Should Have Known Better Department; Emily Baker-White, writing in BuzzFeed, notes that TikTok US User Data Has Been Repeatedly Accessed From China.”  No surprise at all there, kinda like the crypto crashes.  An excerpt:

“I feel like with these tools, there’s some backdoor to access user data in almost all of them,” said an external auditor hired to help TikTok close off Chinese access to sensitive information, like Americans’ birthdays and phone numbers.

Many of these access attempts have supposedly been from a team assigned to check security, but there is not yet any such absolute block to Chinese data access. Be careful out there…

2022-06-22T13:50:51-05:00June 22nd, 2022|Home, Musings|

More concerning republican sentiments, this time from Texas

It’s most unsettling to me how many Americans seem that they would be happier living in Margaret Atwood’s Republic of Gilead, and are intent on driving the bus in that direction.  See the latest Texas Republican Party’s platform and resolutions, here.  For a selection of some of the more egregious examples, [popup_anything id=”2255″]

2022-06-19T14:35:53-05:00June 19th, 2022|Home, Musings|

Retired Federal Judge Luttig’s statement

• Some excerpts below from the conservative now-retired Federal Judge J Michael Luttig’s statement to the House Select Committee investigating January 6 (his complete statement can be found here).  He recognizes full well the ongoing risks to our democracy related to republican efforts to subvert the role of the electorate.  The bolded emphasis is my own.

“The war on democracy instigated by the former president and his political party allies on January 6 was the natural and foreseeable culmination of the war for America. It was the final fateful day for the execution of a well-developed plan by the former president to overturn the 2020 presidential election at any cost, so that he could cling to power that the American People had decided to confer upon his successor, the next president of the United States instead. Knowing full well that he had lost the 2020 presidential election, the former president and his allies and supporters falsely claimed and proclaimed to the nation that he had won the election, and then he and they set about to overturn the election that he and they knew the former president had lost...

The treacherous plan was no less ambitious than to steal America’s democracy…

Over a year and a half later, in continued defiance of our democracy, both the former president and his political party allies still maintain that the 2020 presidential election was “stolen” from him, despite all evidence — all evidence now –that that is simply false. All the while, this false and reckless insistence that the former president won the 2020 presidential election has laid waste to Americans’ confidence in their national elections. More alarming still is that the former president pledges that his reelection will not be “stolen” from him next time around, and his Republican Party allies and supporters obeisantly pledge the same. False claims that our elections have been stolen from us corrupt our democracy, as they corrupt us. To continue to insist and persist in the false claim that the 2020 presidential election was stolen is itself an affront to our democracy and to the Constitution of the United States — an affront without precedent…

Irrespective of the merits of the legal arguments that fueled the former president’s efforts to overturn that election — irrespective of them, though there were none — those arguments, and therefore those efforts, by the former president were the product of the most reckless, insidious, and calamitous failures in both legal and political judgment in American history

The former president’s party cynically and embarrassingly rationalizes January 6 as having been something between hallowed, legitimate public discourse and a visitors tour of the Capitol that got out of hand. January 6, of course, was neither, and the former president and his party know that. It was not legitimate public discourse by any definition. Nor was it a civics tour of the Capitol Building — though that day proved to be an eye-opening civics lesson for all Americans…

No American ought to turn away from January 6, 2021, until all of America comes to grips with what befell our country that day, and we decide what we want for our democracy from this day, forward.

2022-06-17T14:30:58-05:00June 17th, 2022|HomeRecommended|

Corporations vs Democracy

• An important opinion piece from Alex Kingsbury in the NY Times — Who Is Financing Trump’s ‘Big Lie’ Caucus? Corporations You Know.; an excerpt:

“All told, as of this week, corporations and industry groups gave almost $32 million to the House and Senate members who voted to overturn the election and to the G.O.P. committees focused on the party’s congressional campaigns. The top 10 companies that gave money to those members, according to CREW’s analysis of campaign finance disclosures, are Koch Industries, Boeing, Home Depot, Valero Energy, Lockheed Martin, UPS, Raytheon, Marathon Petroleum, General Motors and FedEx. All of those companies, with the exception of Koch Industries and FedEx, once said they’d refrain from donating to politicians who voted to reject the election results.

Of the 249 companies that promised not to fund the 147 senators and representatives who voted against any of the results, fewer than half have stuck to their promise, according to CREW.

Kudos aplenty to the 85 corporations that stuck to their guns and still refuse to fund the seditious, including Nike, PepsiCo, Lyft, Cisco, Prudential, Marriott, Target and Zillow. That’s what responsible corporate citizenship looks like. It’s also patriotic.”

2022-06-16T19:06:17-05:00June 16th, 2022|HomeRecommended|

Recent Covid Vaccination Rates and Mortality

Some positive information, this from David Leonhardt’s NYT Morning Newsletter of June 9.  An excerpt:

“…Covid’s racial gaps have narrowed and, more recently, even flipped. Over the past year, the Covid death rate for white Americans has been 14 percent higher than the rate for Black Americans and 72 percent higher than the Latino rate, according to the latest C.D.C. data.”


“The successful part of the story is the rapid increase in vaccination among Black and Latino Americans since last year. Today, the vaccination rate for both groups is slightly higher than it is for white Americans, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s surveys.”

Gosh, it seems that getting vaccinated against Covid may save lives…

2022-06-09T14:55:18-05:00June 9th, 2022|Home, Musings|

Ministry for the Future – Redux

As I had noted in a previous post, Kim Stanley Robinson does a superb job of rendering climate change’s near future earth in his novel The Ministry for the Future.  The harrowing first chapter I mentioned back then foreshadowed this year’s heat wave in India. And now Bill Gates has joined Ezra Klein, Barack Obama, and Bill McKibben in recommending the novel.  I urge you to give it a read.

2022-06-06T15:22:51-05:00June 6th, 2022|Home, Musings|
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