Monday: Hili dialogue

June 27, 2022 • 6:30 am

Note: I’ll continue to look at the “ask me anything” post for today in case anyone has more questions.

Good morning on the start of a summer week: it’s Monday, June 27, 2020: National Orange Blossom Day, which could honor either the flower or, more likely, the drink, made with gin, vermouth, and orange juice. It’s a breakfast cocktail, I suppose:

Source and recipe

It’s also Canadian Multiculturalism DayHelen Keller Day (she was born on this day in 1880), National HIV Testing Day, and National PTSD Awareness Day.

Stuff that happened on June 27 includes:

The charge was treason, but the Smiths were never tried. Here’s the gravesite of Joseph, Hyrum, and Joseph’s wife in Nauvoo, Illinois, not far from Carthage. I wonder if this is a Mormon pilgrimage spot:

It took Slocum three years to sail around the world in this sloop oyster boat named Spray (below). Later, he disappeared for good while sailing to the Caribbean in 1909.

The mutiny, in which most of the ship’s officers were killed, is often seen as the precursor of the Russian Revolution. Here’s the ship in 1906 after it was renamed Panteleimon. It was featured in Eisenstein’s famous silent film Battleship Potemkin (1925). Below is a trailer for the restored version, including the famous “Odessa Steps” scene (for the full scene, a masterpiece of early cinema, go here).

Five thousand of the survivors were sent on a “death train” for a week without food or water; here’s one with the bodies and survivors being unloaded. Of 5,000 people on one train (100 jammed in each car), only a thousand survived.

  • 1950 – The United States decides to send troops to fight in the Korean War.
  • 1954 – The FIFA World Cup quarterfinal match between Hungary and Brazil, highly anticipated to be exciting, instead turns violent, with three players ejected and further fighting continuing after the game.

Here’s nine minutes of “the Battle of Berne,” as it’s called.  The quality isn’t great, and it does look exciting, but I see only a couple of fouls and a couple of guys being ejected.  Hungary won 4-2. I guess you had to be there.

50 more were killed by the cult in an attack the next year on a Tokyo subway. Thirteen of the perps were executed. Here are Japanese anti-chemical police responding to the Tokyo attack:

  • 2007 – Tony Blair resigns as British Prime Minister, a position he had held since 1997. His Chancellor, Gordon Brown succeeds him.

And here’s Blair announcing his decision to resign:

Da Nooz:

*The anger and division over the repeal of Roe v. Wade has exploded. There’s too much to recount, but one interesting sidelight is how states will deal with the “Plan B” pills, which you can get in an adjacent state, but presumably not by mail. Will they be illegal to use? Presumably they already are, but how can a state track you? Can you go over a state line and take one? Can states ban pills that have been approved by the federal government? Much remains unresolved. The NYT goes over the issues.

Abortion pills, already used in more than half of recent abortions in the U.S., are becoming even more sought-after in the aftermath of Roe v. Wade being overturned, and they will likely be at the center of the legal battles that are expected to unfold as about half the states ban abortion and others take steps to increase access.

The method, known as medication abortion, is authorized by the Food and Drug Administration for use in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy. It involves taking two different drugs, 24 to 48 hours apart, to stop the development of a pregnancy and then to cause contractions similar to a miscarriage to expel the fetus, a process that usually causes bleeding similar to a heavy period.

Many patients choose medication abortion because it is less expensive, less invasive and affords more privacy than surgical abortions — the pills can be received by mail and taken at home, or anywhere, after an initial consultation with a doctor by video, phone, in person or even just by filling out an online form.

The patient must participate in the consultation from a state that allows abortion, even if it simply involves being on the phone in a car just over the border. The IP address of the computer or phone they use allows the clinic to identify where they are.

For states that ban all forms of abortion, medication abortion is likely to provide significant enforcement challenges. It is one thing to shut down a clinic; it is much harder to police activities like sending or receiving pills through the mail or traveling to a state where pills are legal to have a consultation and pick them up, legal experts say.

For states that ban all forms of abortion, medication abortion is likely to provide significant enforcement challenges. It is one thing to shut down a clinic; it is much harder to police activities like sending or receiving pills through the mail or traveling to a state where pills are legal to have a consultation and pick them up, legal experts say.

*Data worth knowing, from a NYT op-ed by Michele Goodwin (my emphasis):

Overturning the right to abortion reveals the court’s indefensible disregard for the lives of women, girls and people capable of pregnancy, given the possible side effects and consequences of pregnancy, including gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, hemorrhaging, gestational hypertension, ectopic pregnancy and death. State-mandated pregnancy will exacerbate what are already alarming health and dignity harms, especially in states with horrific records of maternal mortality and morbidity.

To understand the gravity of what is at stake, one need only turn to the Supreme Court’s own recent history. In 2016, Justice Stephen Breyer noted in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt that women are 14 times more likely to die by carrying a pregnancy to term than by having an abortion. The United States bears the chilling distinction of being the most dangerous place in the industrialized world to give birth, ranking 55th overall in the world.

*The NYT has a powerful editorial-board piece on the Dobbs decision, “The ruling overturning Roe is an insult to women and the judicial system.

The implications of this reversal will be devastating, throwing America into a new era of struggle over abortion laws — an era that will be marked by chaos, confusion and human suffering. About half the states in the United States are expected to enact laws that restrict or make abortion illegal in all or most cases. Many women may be forced by law to carry pregnancies to term, even, in some cases, those caused by rape or incest. Some will likely die, especially those with pregnancy complications that must be treated with abortion or those who resort to unsafe means of abortion because they can’t afford to travel to states where the procedure remains legal. Even those who are able to travel to other states could face the risk of criminal prosecution. Some could go to prison, as could the doctors who care for them. Miscarriages could be investigated as murders, which has already happened in several states, and may become only more common. Without full control over their bodies, women will lose their ability to function as equal members of American society.

The insult of Friday’s ruling is not only in its blithe dismissal of women’s dignity and equality. It lies, as well, in the overt rejection of a well-established legal standard that had managed for decades to balance and reflect Americans’ views on a fraught topic. A majority of the American public believes that women, not state or federal lawmakers, should have the legal right to decide whether to end a pregnancy in all or most cases. At the same time, Americans are weary of the decades-long fight over abortion, a fight that may feel far removed from their complex and deeply personal views about this issue.

*Before leaving this topic, read the WaPo op-ed by Greg Sargent and Paul Waldman, “5 big truths about the Supreme Court’s gutting of Roe” (the papers are increasingly making lists). I’m going to highlight just one:

4.) Democrats must make very clear promises about what’s next. 

In keeping with the above shift, Democrats have to be ultra-clear about this fall’s elections. They need to tell voters: If you let us keep the House and deliver us two more Senate seats, we will end the filibuster, pass a bill nationally codifying abortion rights, and undertake far-reaching Supreme Court reform.

Of course, the court could strike down such a national abortion bill. But as Moyn notes, Democrats can tell voters that they would reform the court to prevent this, vowing: “We will declare war on the Supreme Court to keep that law viable.”

Now it’s highly unlikely that Democrats will both keep the House and win two more Senate seats, much less reform the Supreme Court and end the filibuster, but some time in the future, a federal bill on abortion is what’s needed. As Jake said to Brett in The Sun Also Rises, “Isn’t it pretty to think so?”

*In the Harvard Crimson, Gemma Schneider, one of the editors, repudiates her paper’s endorsement of BDS, an antisemitic movement if ever there was one. Now it’s “Zionism” that is the target, a euphemism for Jews.

The Board admits, still in line with past precedent, that BDS is a “blunt tool.” I believe that this tool is finer than we realize. It has been sharpened by societal forces, and historical precedents, in order to wage what is, at its core, not a fundamentally economic war of boycotts and sanctions — but a more sinister and violent ideological one. People like me — a “f-cking Zionist,” a “smelly Jew,” a modern-day “Elder of Zion” — are not simply “collateral damage” in this war. We are targets — directly wounded by signals and signs of rhetorical weaponry, and dismissed when we respond to what we know has historically been the writing on the wall.

Writing this has not been easy — not just because of the complicated history, to which I have personal ties. It has also been difficult because BDS is the embodiment of everything that I have known the Board to stand against — and, in light of the Board’s failure to recognize that, I can’t help but feel a strange mix of sadness, disappointment, and fear. Back in February 2020, we opined as a Board that casting either group as “the evil one” in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a counterproductive approach, and we made an explicit call for nuance. Now, the Board has tacitly endorsed Israel’s demonization while maintaining that “we can’t nuance away” Palestinians’ lived realities. In my view, this is yet another testament to BDS’s chilling “artistry”; it is an embodiment of the fact that BDS’s messaging invokes an emotional reaction that bypasses thought at a visceral level. When nuance is present, it becomes harder to demonize one party — so BDS does all that it can to reject that complexity and thought.

Until the hyprocrites that endorse BDS admit the truth: that Palestine is the real apartheid state, demonizing gays, women, apostates, Jews, teaching violent antisemitism and terrorism to kids, and approving of the murder of innocent Jewish civilians. I have no use for the pro-BDS crowd, and the Crimson’s stand can, well, you know the rest.

*The BBC reports the discovery of a remarkably preserved baby mammoth in the Yukon. Presumably its morphology and DNA hold lots of interesting information.

A whole baby woolly mammoth has been found frozen in the permafrost of north-western Canada – the first such discovery in North America.

The mummified ice age mammoth is thought to be more than 30,000 years old. It was found by gold miners in Yukon’s Klondike region on Tuesday.

The area of the find belongs to the Tr’ondek Hwech’in First Nation.

The Yukon government compared it to Russia’s discovery of a baby mammoth in the permafrost of Siberia in 2007.

It said it was “the most complete mummified mammoth found in North America”, and only the second such find in the world.

The baby, thought to be female, has been named Nun cho ga, meaning “big baby animal” in the Han language spoken by Native Americans in the area.

Here it is, about 1.4 meters long, and complete with skin and hair

Photo by the Yukon Government.

Although the locals had a spiritual ceremony over the carcass, I’m hopeful that science will get a crack at this rare find rather than having it buried as “local property” as a relic. I’m heartened that scientific study is promised in the press release, which says:

Trʼondëk Hwëchʼin and the Yukon government are working together to “respectfully preserve and learn more about Nun cho ga,” the press release said.

*The NYT and other sources have reported on the crowning of “Mr. Happy,” the World’s Ugliest Dog.

Out of a field that included a “hairless mutant” with no teeth and a crooked face, a creature that resembled “a hyena or mandrill baboon,” and a canine with a “gorilla-looking head,” a Chihuahua mix named Mr. Happy Face emerged on Friday as the foulest of them all, winner of the 2022 World’s Ugliest Dog contest.

Mr. Happy Face, who once lived in abusive and neglectful conditions with a hoarder, has tumors and neurological issues, requires a diaper, struggles to stand upright or walk, and holds his head askew.

Yet he has reached the age of about 17, sports a natural mohawk and makes a sound “like a Dodge Ram diesel truck” revving its engine when he is happy, according to an online biography.

“It was clear and obvious Mr. Happy Face deserved to be champion,” Debra Mathy, one of the contest’s judges, said on Saturday, adding that the judges did not even bother debating who should win. “All the obstacles this dog overcame physically and in his past life — it’s amazing.”

Mr. Happy is a mess—he wasn’t even supposed to live more than a month after he was adopted—but you can’t help but like him and love the people who adopted him. And of course you want to see him. Is he that ugly? I say YES!

(From the NYT): Mr. Happy Face during the competition on Friday.Credit…Josh Edelson/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili reacts with alarm when she sees a movement, as she always does:

A: What do you see there?
Hili: Movement, and that is always alarming.
In Polish:
Ja: Co tam widzisz?
Hili: Ruch, a to zawsze jest niepokojące.

And here’s a photo of Szaron. Isn’t he handsome?


A Mike Luckovich cartoon from Sue:

From Merilee:

From Jesus of the Day. It’s a typo, but it’s accurate. I will eat none of that fake KRAB!

A video found on Facebook by Malcolm. Wonderful modification of pavement, walls, and benches. The artist wasn’t identified.

Two from Simon. First, Jansen has some new and stupendous “Beach Animals,” driven solely by the wind:

Rechavi’s take on academia (I don’t answer this way!)

It was Ricky Gervais’s birthday on Saturday. Here’s his (in)famous introduction as host of the Golden Globes. This guy has chutzpah!

From the Auschwitz Memorial:

Tweets from the famous Professor Cobb. First, an animal I don’t know. Can any reader identify it?

A margay (Leopardus weidi) is a small wild cat from Central and South America (I got to hold a pet one once in Costa Rica; the only wild felid I’ve ever held). Here’s one in the wild, and look at its speed!

Definitely worth hearing. Sound up, please. (Doesn’t it sound like “Help!”?)

Matthew describes this as “a great obituary”. It is—especially the penultimate paragraph.

59 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue

    1. I remember seeing a tayra in Venezuela years ago and wondering what this strange animal was. There were no other observers but when I next saw my Venezuelan wife’s family I asked whether they knew what it was but they didn’t. My less-than-perfect Spanish probably didn’t help. The Internet was in its infancy in those days. It took literally years before I discovered the animal’s identity.

    2. They are gutsy and vicious predators. Once I was imitating a stressed bird to try to bring birds out into the open so I could see them.. A tayra came down a tree trunk to attack the bird…it didn’t care I was standing there. The famous ornithologist Alexander Skutch once collected a bird (those were the bad old days) and a tayra tried to steal the dead bird from him. Skutch had to fight it off with his gun butt.

    3. Definitely a Tayra (Eira barbara) . It is a mustelid and is the only species in it’s genus Eira. They are reputed to be pretty badass predators, like so many mustelids.
      They are found from Southern Mexico to South Brazil, Paraguay and Northern Argentina. There are at least seven sub-species described though. The one shown, from the colouration and area (Guatemala), is probably the Eira barbara senex.
      Despite their shrinking habitat (they are basically forest dwellers), Tayras are classified as ‘least concern’.

  1. Let me get the obligatory disclaimer out of the way, and say that I think the laws should allows women to get abortions. That said, I think it is interesting that in all the clamor following Dobbs I haven’t seen anyone defending the original Constitutional basis of the Roe decision. No one seems to be arguing that Dobbs is wrong per se, but that it is Bad. The argument is that the Constitution should or must protect abortion as a right. If the Supreme Court begins, as it did in Roe to just make up rights based on the opinions of nine people, then there is no point in having a constitution and there is no real democracy. Their is just the private opinion of the Justices. If American’s think there should be a right to something, then get moving, and make an amendment to the Federal and State Constitutions. Stop expecting the courts to save you.

    1. As an aside I’ve noticed that there is far more resort to ‘lawfare’ in the Western world than there used to be. Now while you may achieve your aims far more swiftly by lawfare you may also fail just as swiftly when someone mounts an appeal or comes up with another contrary legal argument.

      Changing laws takes time, changing Constitutions even more so. But the results are likely to stick around longer.

    2. At the Politico site, historian Joshua Zeitz discusses how the abortion and guns decisions by the Supreme Court are based on the concept of originalism. That is, decision should be based on what the Founders thought and tradition. If one accepts the originalist viewpoint of how the Constitution should be interpreted (of course, many scholars and jurists do not) then one needs a sound grounding in understanding America history. Zeitz argues that the right-wing justices and their young law clerks lack totally any such grounding. For example, he discusses how in the early days of the Republic gun control was commonplace.

      Zeitz states regarding James Madison, the “father of the Constitution.”:

      “The author of the Second Amendment drafted statewide legislation that was effectively a forerunner to the New York state law that the Supreme Court just struck down. The bill, which was really aimed at regulating deer hunting, did not pass. But it clearly demonstrated that Madison viewed individual gun ownership as well within the state’s regulatory prerogative.”

      He goes on:

      “But by its own, shaky logic, there is simply no compelling, originalist argument for a constitutional right to individual gun ownership. Framers of the Bill of Rights firmly held that the right to own guns existed solely in concert with the obligation to fulfill militia service and preserve a well-regulated peace.”

      He continues with a similar discussion about abortion. His article presents a wonderful summary of the fraudulent arguments of the right-wing Court. The Court did what people do regularly when they have passionate beliefs about an issue. They don’t engage in a disinterested debate regarding the pros and cons of the belief. No, they simply look for and cherry pick any evidence, no matter how flimsy it may be, to confirm the belief.

      1. Yes, I find it incomprehensible that self proclaimed ‘originalists’ completely ignore the ‘well regulated militia’ context. That is not ‘originalism’, but blerry cherry picking. A militia of one to bear arms?
        The judgements on guns by the SC might have some good reasons (although I strongly doubt that), but they are definitely, positively not ‘originalist’.
        Was any SC judge candidate ever asked what they thought what that ‘well regulated militia’ clause meant?

        1. Oops, that article by Zeitz says it so much better. Should have read your link before posting, and just have recommended the link. Which I do herewith.

  2. 1556 – The thirteen Stratford Martyrs are burned at the stake near London for their Protestant beliefs.

    I am fascinated by how recent ‘history’ is. Less than 500 years ago people were being burned at the stake? Similarly how recent railways are. How recent jet passenger planes are. Antibiotics. Genetics. Vaccines. Genomes. Radio. Television. The Interweb. Mobile Phones. Smart Phones.

    I go into museums (particularly of technology) and find exhibits which I had (and still have) in my life. Sheesh.

    1. During my lifetime they carpet bombed Cambodia (I just missed the ‘Great Leap Forward’, but not the “Cultural Revolution”), the genocides in Kampuchea, Timor leste, Bosnia, Rwanda and Darfur (and I probably left out a few), the senseless Iran Iraq war, the second Gulf war, and the Ukraine war. Yet the Pinkah shows that all this was less than before, and he shows it convincingly too. I still think we’re making progress.

      And yes, I had the same experience in museums. Phones with dials, enameled grey-and-white colanders, black and white big tube TVs, tin toys, record players and transistor radios (not to mention the big tube radios) , Pac man and Space invaders, “Château migraine” wines, Optic, often excellent, cameras using film rolls, all that has disappeared. Only unintelligible intercom (as unintelligible now as 40 years ago), ball points & pencils and heavy unwieldy car batteries appear not to have changed much (and the cosmetics racket, of course).

      1. “During my lifetime they [the U.S. spring, 1970] carpet bombed Cambodia . . . .”

        Had the U.S. not carpet-bombed Cambodia, maybe the U.S. could have maintained some sort of naval base access there.


        The article (U.S. Gov’t) avers that the Chinese wish to create a world-wide system of military bases. (Their only other base currently is in east Africa. After the U.S.’s early 90’s experience in Somalia, I don’t suppose that Mogadishu is a possibility for the U.S.) The effrontery of a country presuming to thusly expand. Ah do declahr, Ah’ve never heard the like.

  3. The mummified ice age mammoth … was found by gold miners in Yukon’s Klondike region on Tuesday.

    Not by “[a] bunch of the boys [who] were whooping it up in the Malamute saloon,” I take it?

    1. Thanks to strict gun control enforced at the border by the North West Mounted Police (later the RCMP) and maintained in Dawson City, violent crime was rare in the Klondike itself, despite it being over-run by frenetic, hard-drinking American prospectors crazed by gold fever and embittered by failure. So rare that Service had to invent the shooting of Dan McGrew (a real person) for his epic poem.

      Skagway, the Alaskan port of entry, was another matter entirely….

      1. Ah, well, Sam McGee probably wasn’t cremated on the marge of Lake Lebarge in a derelict called the “Alice May,” either.

        1. Several years ago my dear wife and I took a cruise to the lower part of Alaska, going on “shore leave” to explore here and there. We were on a tour bus. The young feller driving had been quite taken with Alaska several years earlier, to the extent that while he drove he held forth on Robert Service’s life and recited the tale of Sam McGee. I thought that a quite notable and serendipitous blessing.

          Some bread-and-circuses “Exceptional ‘Murican” mouthy Philistine wench on the bus presumed to speak for the group assembled, calling out and interrupting him, “We don’t want to hear that.” I generally try to hold my tongue and bend over backward so as to Keep The Peace, but not that time, let the chips fall where they might. I yelled, “Speak for yourself!” How often is one blessed with a literary blithe spirit conveying one through the Yukon wilderness?

          1. Great story!

            My great-uncle George used to recite McGee to my sister and me. He had never been north of Kapuskasing (where he had worked in the forest) but it seemed like the other side of the earth to us kids who’d never been out of New Brunswick. He would hold us spell-bound, maybe because we knew he actually had seen the Northern Lights. I was delighted to find it in a school reader a few years later. No, I haven’t memorized it but I could. My grandchildren deserve it.

  4. (Not quite on topic, but a response to a comment I saw here a few days ago. I don’t remember who posted it where.)

    Someone had asked about how the post-Civil War Reconstruction had failed, and if that failure led to today’s fractured politics. I just had a thought that could have smoothed the Reconstruction if it had been implemented.

    A Constitutional Amendment granting the federal government the power to regulate education. The Constitution currently doesn’t give the feds any power to regulate education, so it’s left to the states. If that amendment had been implemented in the 1860s, if public schools had all been centralized, if there were one single federal curriculum, it’s possible that people from all states would have integrated their identities as Americans, rather than as Texans and Californians. Mandate the same history and civics classes for everyone. Make schoolteachers federal employees.

    What do people here think? Would it have worked?

    1. Very little legislation is only federal or only states, even in the areas people claim that is the case.

  5. Just to clarify, Plan B (Levonorgestrel) is not an abortion pill, it is a single-dose oral contraceptive that prevents pregnancy/fertilization/ovulation AFTER unprotected sex, and is only useful in the immediate aftermath. It doesn’t constitute a form of actual abortion, unlike the medical abortifacients that seem to be discussed in the quoted article, and as such should legally (or at least logically) be no different than taking other oral contraceptives.

    1. … should legally (or at least logically) be no different than taking other oral contraceptives.

      Which, if the Court picks up the gauntlet thrown down by Clarence Thomas in his concurring opinion in Dobbs to overrule Griswold v. Connecticut, states may soon be free to prohibit as well.

      1. Yeah, that’s why I felt the need for my parenthetical. It’s an obscene situation. To think that people were once upon a time (or so I’ve been told) worried that JFK would let his Catholicism affect his role as President…

        1. As a candidate, JFK had to make a haj to Houston to speak at the Southern Baptist ministers’ convention to disavow that there would be a “pipeline” between White House and Vatican if he were elected.

          Now we’ve got four and a half Catholics on the High Court (Gorsuch being the one with one foot in Catholicism and another in evangelical Protestantism — a precarious place to be for Religion Clause purposes) who are to the Right of Pope Frankie the First on church-state issues.

          The Lord ain’t the only one who works in mysterious ways.

          1. If memory serves me, the righteous Reverend Doctor Norman Vincent Peale helped organize this opposition to JFK. (I take it that Catholics were not part of the Houston Ministerial Association.)

            Adlai Stevenson: “I find the Apostle Paul appealing and the Apostle Peale appalling.”

      2. Why was the Roe case styled “Roe v. Wade” instead of “Roe v. Texas,” a la Griswold v. Connecticut?

        1. Wade was the infamous Henry Wade, the district attorney of Dallas County, TX. The case was styled Roe v. Wade because it arose as an action seeking an injunction to prohibit DA Wade from enforcing the Texas anti-abortion law.

    2. They prevent pregnancy, but to some zealots a human person starts before pregnancy, at the moment (well that takes few hours too) a zygote is formed. I have never heard at what stage of zygote formation they would consider it an actual human person, when ‘ensoulment’ occurs, in other words. So we might have a few hours.

      1. But surely, if Gaad can see and know all things in the future etc., then ensoulment happened at the beginning of time, long before the zygote’s parents were even a twinkle in…actually, let me shut up, someone might steal that and use it, actually taking it seriously, even though I’m attempting to point out the absurdity.

        1. No, on the contrary, it is an excellent point. Life begins well before conception, sperm and eggs are life (and human life at that in humans). Life started 3.5 billion years ago. I find no fault whatsoever there.
          Every ejaculation, kills millions of lives, all potential humans, every period kills a potential human. And 9 out of 10 ‘conceptions’ do not lead to pregnancy or abort spontaneously. Strong argument.

      2. The Louisiana law, which has just been blocked in the state courts, criminalizes the performance or prescription of abortion after fertilization, defined as penetration of the sperm into the zona pellucida of the ovum.

        -anything done before pregnancy has been detected by usual medical testing is exempted, so Plan B, the IUD, and ordinary contraception remain legal to prescribe or implant.
        -prosecution is limited to healthcare providers. The pregnant woman is specifically exempted from prosecution. Critics worry that because the zygote, embryo, and fetus are all defined as human beings, the pregnant woman could still be charged as an accessory to murder despite the law’s exempting language. Is this propaganda?
        -travel out of state to obtain an abortion is not prohibited.

  6. I’m pretty tired of obituaries of saints. I want my obituary to point out all my flaws, which may well outnumber my good points. You know, like an actual person. That type of obit could be done humorously, too.

  7. On abortion and the R v W result:

    1. Having read quite a few articles and news stories etc, I find it aggravating that the reactions tend to simply assume their side of the debate’s argument to move on to expressions of outrage or joy over the overturning of R v W. Left conspicuously off stage are the actual arguments from the other side, making for a “it’s just so obvious the other side is wrong we don’t have to go through the reasons why…”

    2. The same goes for much of the “heat” over the fundamental, ostensible justification given for the decision to overturn R v W. The justification I’ve seen is essentially this:

    Abortion goes very deep in to the fundamentals of people’s moral beliefs. There is truly deep moral disagreement about the nature of abortion. To some it is a form of murder, which means it goes beyond “hey, I don’t like rock climbing, but if you do…go for it!” Rather it’s asking some people to give their consent to let other people murder children!

    If Americans are deeply divided on this issue, does it really make sense to force almost 1/2 (ok 40 percent, but still) of America to agree to laws they find deeply immoral?

    Does it not make sense, in a democracy, to as much as possible give The People the power to have their views represented? And isn’t passing the issue to individual states doing just that? Where the majority will of a people in each state will end up represented in their particular laws on this issue?

    I can imagine one would say “but that just puts the same problem at the state level. You’ll have some minority, e.g. pro choice, whose deeply felt views on abortion are ruled over by a majority, just as when it was done at the Federal level.”

    Yes, that’s the nature of democracy. But allowing individual states to vet the issue at least allows for a finer grained approach to democracy on this issue, with laws that track what majorities believe in different areas, across the country.

    I’m admittedly not terribly savvy with politics so the above is just my attempt to understand or represent that argument.

    And I can certainly see the arguments based on the practicality of, at least for a transition period, banning abortion in one state, having it legal in another.

    But in principle: Can someone explain why it’s wrong to send an issue of such fundamental “moral conscience” to the state level, for a finer grained representation of The Will Of The People on the subject?


    1. A lot of people want “enlightened judges” to make the rules because they don’t trust their fellow citizens to vote the “right” way. This plan then comes rather unstuck when they get un-enlightened judges.

      Traditionally, the SCOTUS has been rather more liberal than the average US voter, so “liberals” have rather liked the idea of SCOTUS making the rules rather than leaving it to elected representatives. But now that SCOTUS is distinctly more conservative than the US average, they’re disliking it.

      1. I agree to a certain extent; but I think that “SCOTUS has been rather more liberal than the average US voter” may not be quite right. If you were to have said “”SCOTUS has been rather more liberal than the average US state legislator”, I would definitely agree.
        When polls show that significantly more than 50% of the US population say that Roe v. Wade should have remained, and support the right to abortion; and yet a bunch of states have put anti-abortion laws in place, I think that what we are seeing is a disconnect between popular opinion and legislatures.
        Will that (can that) change? It’s unclear to me, because legislatures in Red states particularly have been embedding themselves by some blatant gerrymandering, and SCOTUS has refused to intervene. The principle of “one person, one vote” has been significantly eroded; and unless/until courts intervene to protect that, I fear that the US will be more and more subject to authoritarian minority governments. It’s possible that we’ll see enough popular dissatisfaction that even gerrymandered legislatures can be overturned just by vote, but I don’t know what we’ll have to live through before that happens.

      2. Does it not make sense, in a democracy, to as much as possible give The People the power to have their views represented? And isn’t passing the issue to individual states doing just that? Where the majority will of a people in each state will end up represented in their particular laws on this issue?

        Probably a lot easier to say for someone who isn’t a woman between the ages of menarche and menopause living in a red state where an unwanted pregnancy may have an inalterable impact on the rest of your life.

    2. A couple of points that may, or may not, be useful.

      According to some recent polling it is as low as 9% of the population that thinks abortion should be outlawed, period, under all circumstances. Despite the common remarks that not all people that are against abortion are inspired to be so by religion, anyone want to be that a large majority of that 9ish% are not motivated by their religious beliefs? IMO I don’t think their moral outrage should be considered.

      On finer grained democracy, in some model system I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad argument to leave the issue of abortion, or many other issues, to the states. But in this particular instance, in these circumstances, consider the specific history of the past leading up to this, I really don’t think this argument is valid. This isn’t just a philosophical or ethical problem on the very narrow question of abortion. Consider the actual actions that state governments are taking, the laws they are passing and the effects they are having. Not to mention the wider context of lawmaking motivated by religious beliefs / views. Allowing abortion, and then contraception, to be determined by the states, and what then? What’s next? Renewed sodomy laws? Interracial marriage? Bounty laws to encourage people to sue their fellow citizens for all these? State religious schools? Creationism in public school science classes? These are the things that are actually happening, or are likely to, by handing these things back to the states.

      Lots of people argue that Roe vs Wade was the wrong way to protect abortion rights, that it should have been done via legislation. And that the Constitution doesn’t mention abortion, or that the SC decision in the case is weak. I don’t agree with any of those arguments.

      I won’t bother arguing against the “abortion isn’t mentioned in the Constitution” argument as it’s ludicrous at best.

      Given the RPs stance on abortion it is unlikely that legislation would have ever worked. Even if legislation ever managed to get passed during one of the short periods in the past 30 + years that the RP didn’t have the ability to block it, they would have done away with it as soon as they had the ability, i.e. as soon as they had both houses of Congress. Another point most people don’t consider when arguing how things should have been done differently on issues like this is that the other side would have reacted to oppose the issue in ways and results that are difficult to predict. For example who, even just a few years before it happened, would predict that the RP would refuse to even hold confirmation hearings for a SC nominee until the end of the President’s term (for months)?

      Regarding the claims that the reasoning in RvW, that the Constitution protects a right to abortion, are weak, I just don’t buy it. If this reasoning is weak then there are dozens, perhaps hundreds, of rights that are presently considered to be protected by the Constitution that are on equally shaky ground. IMO the intent of the Constitution is to secure certain rights for all. Things have changed a lot since the Constitution was written, not the least of which is who is included in “all,” but the intent is clear and none of the arguments I’ve read criticizing the reasoning in RvW are convincing to me.

    3. I like that ‘finer grained’ level: why not county level, or better, community level, or best of all: individual level. Can’t get much more ‘finer grained’ than that.

  8. Nice ice photo of tayra. Hard to see; but so is Jaguarandi.I’ll bet few of you have seen a jaguarundi…..I’ve seen it twice. You only see it (in daytime) after it is gone… see it flash across the path and disappear, and then you say:
    What was THAT? it is always a jaguarundi. You wont see it any other way.

  9. Here is another decision of note. I watch a lot of European soccer and am used to seeing players (not managers 🙂 ) pray on the field, usually as part of a celebration. Of course, I have no problem with it. But I don’t know much about this case.

    1. As Johan Cruyff, arguably the GOAT footballer noted: “In Spain all 22 players make the sign of the cross before a game; if it worked, every game would be a tie.”
      I also noted that many point up when having scored a goal. How do they know they have to point up to the sky? They should or could just as well point down, don’t they know the Earth is rotating around it’s axis in approximately 24 hours? What is up is down 12 hours later. Does the Lord circle the Earth as to get maximal daylight? Or what?

      1. I also noted that many point up when having scored a goal.

        That is right. But I am yet to see one give God the finger for a near miss 🙂

        Uri Geller can move footballs with his mind. Not even the great Cruyff could do that — the Cruyff Turn involves a boot on the ball 🙂

        Does the Lord circle the Earth as to get maximal daylight? Or what?

        Maybe He is the George Berkeley type who is in direct contact with you at all times and perceives everything 🙂

      2. One assumes that Muslim footballers point to Mecca (specifically, the Kaabah, IIRC) and Jewish (orthodox) footballers point to the Wailing Wall (as the closest available approximation to the First Temple).
        Do they have specially calibrated compasses, and do they us a Mercator projection to do the calculation, or the great circle calculation? Of such things are heretics made, and the bonfires kept stoked.
        I should ask His Bobbyness what the position of the CotFSM (sauce be upon her mighty meaty balls) is on the position of the FSM? Should we point at the nearest burger stall?

  10. That dog really looks like it should have been euthanized. I really don’t understand why animal rights groups don’t oppose intentionally breeding animals for deformity.

    1. 23.8 maternal deaths per 100,000 in the US.
      Compare that to the single digits in NZ, Nor, NL, Jap, OZ, Ger, Gre, Pol, Cze, Swe, Swiz, Bel, Can Aus, UK or Fra. It is worse than in any other developed country, except Hungary on occasion.
      And with the nixing of Roe, it will only get worse.

      1. When we have conversations like that with Americans when we travel—only if they bring it up as in e.g., fears of socialized medicine—they hear the numbers with some disbelief and then it dawns on them: “Yes, there are two Americas aren’t there….”

        Edit: There are two Canadas too.

  11. Joseph Smith’s grave is not a pilgrimage site for Mormons. Emma Smith separated from the Mormons when the leadership voted to have Brigham Young become the new president. She, her children, and sympathizers founded a separate Latter Day Saint Church now known a the Community of Christ. She believed the office of Prophet was meant to be hereditary. I think visiting their grave site could be a little conflicting. If there is a pilgrimage site it would be Joseph Smith’s childhood home near Palmyra, NY. The Mormons have re-established a presence in Nauvoo.

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