Saturday: Hili dialogue

April 8, 2023 • 6:45 am

Greetings on CaturSaturday, April 8, 2023, and a Passover shabbos for Jewish cats. It’s National Empanada Day, a day of cultural appropriation

It’s also Dog Farting Awareness Day (yes, it’s true), Zoo Lovers Day, Draw a Picture of a Bird Day, International Feng Shui Day, and International Romani Day.

Tasty mpanadas from Argentina:

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the April 8 Wikipedia page.

Da Nooz:

*BIG Nooz (read about it here, too). From reader Ken:

Texas federal district court judge Matthew Kacsmaryk just handed down a 67-page order invalidating the FDA’s approval of Mifepristone, the drug used in medically induced abortions. Judge Kacsmaryk has stayed his order’s taking effect for seven days, to allow Biden administration lawyers the opportunity to seek appellate review.

Kacsmaryk’s unprecedented ruling, de-approving an FDA-approved drug, is here. Ken adds:

Check out footnote one, in which he announces that he will refuse to use the term “fetus” in favor of “unborn human” or “unborn child.” He also uses “abortionist” rather than “doctor.”

contradictory injunction was issued today by federal district judge Thomas Rice of the Eastern District of Washington. Unless the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (which has jurisdiction over several western states, including Washington) reach consistent appellate resolutions in these two cases (highly unlikely, given that the Fifth and Ninth Circuits tend to be on opposite ends of the political spectrum), these cases are headed to SCOTUS, likely sooner rather than later.

The NYT adds this:

The conflicting orders by two federal judges, both preliminary injunctions issued before the full cases have been heard, appear to create a legal standoff likely to escalate to the Supreme Court.

President Biden said his administration would fight the Texas ruling. “This does not just affect women in Texas,” he said in a statement. “If it stands, it would prevent women in every state from accessing the medication, regardless of whether abortion is legal in a state.”

The order by Judge Kacsmaryk, a Trump appointee who has written critically about Roe v. Wade, is an initial ruling in a case that could result in the most consequential abortion decision since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last June.

What will the Supreme Court do? Conservative as they are, the banning of this already-approved drug will make abortion difficult everywhere in America, and that is not “leaving the issue to the states.” I find it unthinkable that a federal judge can rule on drug safety. Keep your fingers crossed!

*Until last month, federal judges were not required to disclose trips, gifts, or other free emoluments that could be given by those who want favors. One of the biggest abusers of this privilege was that “man of the people,”  Clarence “I don’t talk from the bench” Thomas. He tooks tons of stuff:

Justice Clarence Thomas said on Friday that he had followed the advice of “colleagues and others in the judiciary” when he did not disclose lavish gifts and travel from a wealthy conservative donor.

In a statement released by the Supreme Court, the justice said that he had followed guidance from others at the court and that he believed he was not required to report the trips.

“Early in my tenure at the court, I sought guidance from my colleagues and others in the judiciary, and was advised that this sort of personal hospitality from close personal friends, who did not have business before the court, was not reportable,” Justice Thomas said. “I have endeavored to follow that counsel throughout my tenure, and have always sought to comply with the disclosure guidelines.”

ProPublica revealed on Thursday that the justice had traveled by private jet and yacht at the invitation of Harlan Crow, a real estate billionaire. The vacations, which took place over nearly two decades, included trips to Indonesia and to Bohemian Grove, an exclusive retreat nestled in the redwoods in Northern California.

Justice Thomas said in his statement that he would comply with new guidelines adopted by the Judicial Conference of the United States, the policymaking body for the federal courts. The rules, adopted last month, require the justices to disclose travel by private jet and stays in commercial properties like resorts.

. . . Without a formal ethics code and an ethics office within the court, the justices are left to police themselves, leading to different interpretations of what they must tell the public, said Gabe Roth, executive director of Fix the Court, which is critical of the court’s transparency.

This is over several decades. One would think that, of all government employees, JUDGES would be legally required to be free from the appearance of influence. Not so! And it appears that Thomas also (illegally) failed to report nearly $700,00 of his wife Gini’s income from the conservative Heritage Foundation. A man of probity! (Thomas says that Crow never discussed Court issues with him.)

*On Thursday Biden’s Education Department just released its proposed new Title IX regulations (the ones allowing women equal opportunities in education, including sports.  What people will most zoom in on is how the laws affect transgender athletes. Politico reports (h/t Leo):

The Education Department on Thursday unveiled its proposed rule on athletics eligibility that bolsters transgender students’ rights to play on sports teams — but includes some limitations.

The proposal would bar schools from adopting or enforcing policies that categorically ban transgender students from participating on teams consistent with their gender identity. But the Education Department also added the caveat that “in some instances, particularly in competitive high school and college athletic environments, some schools may adopt policies that limit transgender students’ participation.”

The rule is a rebuke to sweeping laws in at least 19 states that bar transgender women and girls from participating in sports consistent with their gender identity. Lawmakers in those states insist their laws are not meant to isolate transgender students, but to protect fair play in women’s sports.

When asked about how the rule would interact with state laws, a senior administration official said “the federal civil rights law is the law of the land.” Schools that choose to enforce categorical bans on transgender students from playing sports would risk losing federal funds.

Now I haven’t yet read the rules, but in my view there are only two ways to not ban transgender athletes from competing against people of the natal sex adopted by the trans athletes. The first is allowing trans men to compete against biological men. But even that has its dangers, as World Rugby has recognized by prohibiting it: women could get hurt more often. So one should be a bit careful about that.

The other way is for adolescents competing before puberty, when the athletic advantage of males hasn’t yet kicked in.

For all other cases, the science so far supports a blanket ban for trans women competing against biological women when those transgender women have begun or finished male puberty. The average athletic advantages conferred by male puberty are palpable and may be permanent.

I scanned the long document and couldn’t find reference to what is considered “transgender” status, but it appears to involve only self-identification—hormones or surgery aren’t necessary. This is the position the Biden administration has always taken, and it’s misguided, potentially leading to the demise of women’s sports.

But I haven’t found the conditions under which “some schools may adopt policies that limit transgender students’ participation.” If any readers have read the whole thing, or found mention of these exceptions elsewhere, please weigh in below. To me, women’s teams should ban all older girls/women who transitioned during or after puberty, and perhaps there should be some limitations for transgender men on men’s teams. And if those “conditions that may limit participation” don’t involve hormone levels, they would seem to be unfair.

*Molly Roberts reports at The Washington Post that Idaho just passed a law allowing firing squads to carry out capital punishment (see here as well). Compared to the so-called humane lethal injections, the gas chamber, and the electric chair, I’ve always thought this may be, in the end, a more humane way to kill people.  It turns out that lethal injection isn’t that humane:

The country has cycled through methods for killing convicts over the centuries, always looking for the gentlest version of an inherently ungentle act: from hanging, to electrocuting, to gassing, to drugging. Nothing has ever been without issues. The chair scarred inmates’ bodies with burns; the gas chamber made them choke. The worst part was, you could see the burns and you could hear the gasps.

Lethal injection looked peaceful by contrast. The original three-drug protocol included an anesthetic (sodium thiopental), a paralytic (pancuronium bromide) and, finally, the heart-stopping potassium chloride. The idea was to render the condemned unconscious before immobilizing them and infusing their veins with a substance described as “chemical fire” — so that it doesn’t hurt.

Turns out it only appears not to hurt. The paralytic prevents prisoners from exhibiting whatever pain they may be feeling. Many are the cases of botched executions whose subjects convulsed, cried out, vomited, or gulped for air 600 times over. But even where there have been no outward signs of distress, autopsies have found fluid, froth and foam in some inmates’ lungs, indicating pulmonary edema. These people felt like they were drowning.

I always wondered why they didn’t kill prisoners the way we put animals to sleep, with one injection of pentobarbital. Two reasons: it’s nearly impossible to get the drug because respectable manufacturers won’t supply it for killing people, and, supposedly some authorities didn’t want to put prisoners to sleep the same way they put animals to sleep (what a stupid objection!).

I oppose all capital punishment on several grounds that I won’t go over again, but if it’s legal for others to do it, a firing squad may, in the end, be the best way. As Roberts says:

Usually the gun of a random member of a firing squad is filled not with bullets but with blanks, so that the shooters can remain unsure whether they loosed a fatal shot. The rest of the country is allowing itself the luxury of a similar illusion by relying on lethal injection. State violence should look like what it is: violent. If, after that, the government can’t justify killing, it should cease to kill.

I’m not sure what the “illusion” of lethal injection is, but firing squads kill quickly and cleanly. But I don’t think the government can justify any capital punishment.

*Over at The Free Press, Nellie Bowles presents her weekly news summary, this week called “TGIF: Felonious Trump.”  Here are three select pieces of nooz:

→ Dems use DeSantis’ own law against him: Florida Dems are trying to use Governor Ron DeSantis’ law banning “inappropriate” books from school libraries to ban his own book, The Courage to Be Free. After all, the tome contains words like woke and gender ideology dozens of times, and those are concepts students can’t be exposed to.

“The very trap that he set for others is the one that he set for himself,” Fentrice Driskell, the minority leader in the Florida House, told The Daily Beast.

Well played, Fentrice. TGIF supports a good troll.

→ This is how democracy does abortion rights: Michigan Dems won back full control of the government for the first time in 40 years, and with that power they repealed an old and defunct 1931 abortion ban that was still on the books. The fall of Roe is forcing states to grapple with abortion through old-fashioned democracy, and Michigan is showing that it can be done and done well.

Across the country, in races big and small, abortion is proving to be a very powerful tool for Democrats, who have public opinion behind them. In Wisconsin, liberal Janet Protasiewicz won the empty seat on the state Supreme Court. Wisconsin’s had a near-total ban on abortion since Roe fell. By basing her campaign around her pro-choice stance, Protasiewicz beat the conservative candidate by 11 points. And now Dems have a majority on the court.

→ The end of the humanities: Fewer and fewer college students are choosing to study the humanities.

I will say the very best place to hide something interesting is inside a 10,000-word New Yorker story on the crisis. Thankfully, Blaise Lucey at Litverse read the whole thing and pulled the numbers.

“From 2012 to 2020:

  • Tufts lost ~50% of humanities majors
  • Boston University lost 42% of humanities majors
  • Notre Dame lost 50% of humanities majors
  • The study of English and history at the college-level dropped by 33%
  • More than 60% of Harvard’s class of 2020 planned to enter tech, finance, and consulting jobs”

The crash makes sense. How much do you really want to pay for a semester on the white supremacy of Jane Austen, the blinding cis-ness of Homer, the anti-lesbianism of Gilgamesh? More efficient just to burn the books and major in statistics. According to a new WSJ poll, the majority of Americans, especially young Americans, now say a college degree isn’t worth the money.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is being almost mystical:

Hili: A sign of our times.
A: Where?
Hili: In the sky, the cloud of knowledge of good and evil.
In Polish:
Hili: Znak naszych czasów.
Ja: Gdzie?
Hili: Na niebie, chmura poznania dobra i zła.


Grammatical error of the month: Giordano’s makes a dynamite stuffed pizza, but they need to bone up on their contractions. This is from an email ad I got:

Fake mugshot tee-shirts sold by Trump to raise money (see here):

From America’s Cultural Decline into Idiocy:

From Jesus of the Day:

From Reader Pliny the In Between’s The Far Corner Cafe:

A post from Masih. Translation from the Farsi:

Nilufar Bahadrifar [the woman below], who lives in California, USA, was sentenced to four years in prison today on the charge of helping the Iranian regime’s conspiracy to kidnap me. He was one of those who was responsible for the transfer of money along with four other employees of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence to carry out the kidnapping plan from American soil to Venezuela and then to Iran. The same plan they implemented for Ruhollah Zam and took the life of an innocent journalist. Justice will finally be served, today the mercenaries of the Islamic Republic are captured and imprisoned, tomorrow it will be the turn of Ali Khamenei, Ebrahim Raisi, Mohammad Khatami and other criminals of the Islamic Republic. #Mehsa_Amini

From Simon, who says, “As much as I don’t like Kristol and his chickenhawk politics, he can be amusing.”

From Malcolm, cats in love:

From Barry, who recommends that you look at some of the other answers. I’ve put up one:

From Ken, we get a tweet of Marjorie Taylor Greene’s impressions of NYC. Ken says, “Seems our poor gal MTG didn’t enjoy her one and only stopover in the Big Apple.Wonder how many native New Yorkers would be thrilled by her corner of northwest Georgia? Probably can’t even get a decent slice, let alone an egg cream or bagel.”

From the Auschwitz Memorial, a five year old girl gassed upon arrival:

Tweets from Professor Cobb. This first one confuses me deeply, too:

The world’s dumbest d*g:

This is a very sad thread, but a must-read one, about pollution and global warming in Antarctica:

40 thoughts on “Saturday: Hili dialogue

  1. In a statement released by the Supreme Court, the justice said that he had followed guidance from others at the court and that he believed he was not required to report the trips.

    I’m concerned that a supreme court judge is unable to interpret the rules by himself.

    1. Or, you know, he could be, and all the reporters could be jumping the gun. Nah, that would never happen.

  2. Judge Thomas is the victim of the instrument of hegemonic whiteness which is the Supreme Court, which shall be dismantled.

    ^^^daily critical-theoretical exercises.

  3. IA(obviously)NAL, but how are these drug rulings not practicing medicine without a license?

    All of the legislation, ditto.

    These people have no expertise. Women have been left to deteriorate until their problem pregnancies become crises before doctors can act. What about best practices? What about prevention?


    1. I think doctors should press the issue. Take care of their patients and disregard any law that forbids it. I think if they all did that, the red state would find they had dumped a can of worms.

      1. Easy for you to say. Who mothers the doctor’s children and pays for their up-bringing while she is doing life for abortion-murder? Should a gang of doctors break into the warehouses of the drug company to liberate embargoed stocks of misoprostol so they can dispense it illegally to their patients?

        The reality is that doctors are conflicted, individually and as a profession, about abortion. Relatively few do them, the rest are happy to have the task shouldered by that dedicated few. Those few will relocate to a legal state in preference to doing them illegally in-state. The criminal justice system could lock up every civil-disobeying abortionist in the state and it would make trivial impact on the provision of medical care broadly. As Phil Ochs sang back in 1964,
        “And I’m sure it wouldn’t interest, anybody, outside of a small circle of friends.”

  4. The Texas judge’s abortion pill ruling has these implications.

    1. Christian nationalist zealots will stop at nothing to impose their will on the majority of the American people.

    2. Banning abortion nationwide is far from their ultimate goal. The next step will be banning contraception followed by gay rights. Some want to make divorce difficult or impossible.

    3. Politically, the judge’s actions will be a boon to Democrats. Recent elections show that the majority of voters approve some form of abortion and are motivated enough to vote for Democrats on that issue alone.

    4. If the Supreme Court upholds the ban, I expect to see a massive wave of Prohibition style bootlegging of the abortion pill. The pro-abortion women of America will not stand for this. In addition, the Supreme Court’s reputation and respect, in conjunction with the Clarence Thomas scandal (his corruption boggles the mind), will sink to a new low, further diminishing the faith of Americans in governmental institutions. In July 2022, a Gallup Poll revealed that only 25% of the public has confidence in the Court, a 50 year low. Thomas’s corruption is so deep, but he will not suffer any consequences. Only if Anita Hill was believed!

    5. If the judge’s ruling stands, the cultural schism in American society may very well be unbridgeable. Even though many Republicans support abortion rights in some form, the judge’s ruling will represent the triumph of a bloodless coup against American democracy by the Christian nationalists. If the Supreme Court doesn’t realize this then all hope is lost for this country.

    1. Our governor in Washington state (Inslee) prior to this ruling bought 4-years worth of Mifepristone- smart!. I imagine if other governors didn’t or don’t have time to follow suit, there won’t be 4-years worth since Washington will be a beacon for abortion-seekers across the nation. I also wondered if 4-years worth are purchased at one time, won’t the drug expire in a couple years? Maybe it doesn’t matter. What a mess (understatement of the year).

    1. I also laughed that if you give $47, you’ll get the t-shirt for “Free.” His marks will love the free t-shirt for $47!

      1. I don’t know about the US, but in Canada political donations receive a tax credit, t-shirt purchases don’t.

        1. In the US, money contributed to a politician or political party can’t be deducted from your taxes.

      2. Isn’t putting the donation number at 47 acknowledging that Joe Biden is the real president? Can’t recall if he’s given up.

  5. Happy Milestone Birthday to our reigning Legal Eagle and my wiser Big Brotherman Ken (DOB 4/8/1953).

    1. Yes, Happy Birthday to Ken, and on into the future. Glad that you one of the support staff to JAC. Always look forward to your legal interpretations, as it seems Everything Everywhere All at Once was not just a movie, but a preview as current events making their way up to the top social influencers, The Supremes.

    2. … my wiser Big Brotherman …

      You were always the smarter one, Youngblood — although no one would want to be in a locked room with us when Jeopardy! was on tv, since it would rapidly devolve into a death-cage competition, especially with mom and our sister egging us on. 🙂

      Plus you were the one who learned to add, subtract, multiply, and divide before you even began kindergarten.

      1. Happy birthday Ken! I celebrated mine last Sunday, April 2nd. Go Aries! Not that I believe in any of that. 🙂

  6. I know what circumstance under which schools could ignore the new transgender guidelines: stop accepting Federal funds.

  7. Hope the the coroners in West Colesville close Mike back up when they’re done with him on Saturday night.

    1. I don’t know. I’m flashing back to when I took cadaver lab as part of a course in anatomy and physiology in college. Not to be morbid—the professors, my classmates and I treated the bodies with the utmost respect—but this was one of my favorite and most beneficial courses. It imparted a wealth of knowledge about the human body and deepened my respect for the medical profession.

        1. Thx. In my law-school days, I took a seminar course taught at the med school for both law and med students titled “Law & Medicine.” It included sitting in on an autopsy performed by the county coroner.

          The first cut was tough to sit through, but after that, one’s curiosity took over, and it was kind of like visiting a butcher shop.

          1. Ken, in the Law & Medicine theme, I recommend a series of historical fiction novels by the late Ariana Franklin (a pen name), set in the time of King Henry II. In the first novel, Henry asks his friend, a Duke in Italy, to send him the services of a Master in the Art of Death, a coroner/medical examiner, from the medical school there. Someone has been murdering children in Cambridge. Popular suspicion has settled on the local Jews but the King, doubting their guilt and wanting to avoid a pogrom, hopes that forensic evidence will help find the real killer(s?).

            It turns out that the Duke’s very best M in the A of D is a young woman, recently graduated, and so the novel gets its title Mistress in of the Art of Death.

            Like all good historical fiction, the author includes copious end notes to let us know how she hewed as much as possible to actual legal, medical (such as it was), and cultural contexts of mediaeval England, and where she had to invent things to make the plot work. But there really was a medical school in Italy that admitted women until it was shut down by the Inquisition. Finely drawn characters and lots of suspense. I’ve always been a personal fan of King Henry II, I think England’s greatest king. (Liz I was the greatest monarch.)

  8. On this day:
    1730 – Shearith Israel, the first synagogue in continental North America, is dedicated.

    1820 – The Venus de Milo is discovered on the Aegean island of Milos. [“Come on, boys, fish ‘er out – she looks ‘armless enough …”]

    1886 – William Ewart Gladstone introduces the first Irish Home Rule Bill into the British House of Commons.

    1906 – Auguste Deter, the first person to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, dies.

    1911 – Dutch physicist Heike Kamerlingh Onnes discovers superconductivity.

    1918 – World War I: Actors Douglas Fairbanks and Charlie Chaplin sell war bonds on the streets of New York City’s financial district.

    1924 – Sharia courts are abolished in Turkey, as part of Atatürk’s Reforms.

    1943 – U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in an attempt to check inflation, freezes wages and prices, prohibits workers from changing jobs unless the war effort would be aided thereby, and bars rate increases by common carriers and public utilities.

    1943 – Otto and Elise Hampel are executed in Berlin for their anti-Nazi activities.

    1959 – A team of computer manufacturers, users, and university people led by Grace Hopper meets to discuss the creation of a new programming language that would be called COBOL.

    1968 – BOAC Flight 712 catches fire shortly after takeoff. As a result of her actions in the accident, Barbara Jane Harrison is awarded a posthumous George Cross, the only GC awarded to a woman in peacetime.

    2010 – U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev sign the New START Treaty.

    1892 – Mary Pickford, Canadian-American actress, producer, screenwriter and co-founder of United Artists (d. 1979).

    1896 – Yip Harburg, American composer (d. 1981). [Wrote the lyrics to the standards “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” (with Jay Gorney), “April in Paris”, and “It’s Only a Paper Moon”, as well as all of the songs for the film The Wizard of Oz, including “Over the Rainbow”. Championed racial and gender equality and union politics and was also an ardent critic of religion.]

    1911 – Melvin Calvin, American chemist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1997).

    1929 – Jacques Brel, Belgian singer-songwriter and actor (d. 1978).

    1937 – Seymour Hersh, American journalist and author.

    1938 – Kofi Annan, Ghanaian economist and diplomat, 7th Secretary-General of the United Nations (d. 2018).

    1938 – Mary W. Gray, American mathematician, statistician, and lawyer.

    1943 – James Herbert, English author and illustrator (d. 2013).

    1947 – Steve Howe, English guitarist, songwriter, and producer.

    1955 – Barbara Kingsolver, American novelist, essayist and poet.

    [It’s also the birthdays of my father-in-law, Geoff, who we’re currently visiting, and WEIT reader Dom. I’ve omitted their birth years to spare their blushes…]

    No-one escapes the Duck of Death:
    1973 – Pablo Picasso, Spanish painter and sculptor (b. 1881).

    1997 – Laura Nyro, American singer-songwriter and pianist (b. 1947).

    2010 – Malcolm McLaren, English singer-songwriter (b. 1946). [Best-known for managing the Sex Pistols. By coincidence, his former business partner fashion designer Vivienne Westwood was born on this day in 1941.]

    2013 – Margaret Thatcher, English politician, first female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (b. 1925). [ “I saw a newspaper picture / From the political campaign…” ]

    1. “1820 – The Venus de Milo is discovered on the Aegean island of Milos. [“Come on, boys, fish ‘er out – she looks ‘armless enough …”]”

      The Four Freshmen:

      “Venus de Milo, was noted for her charms,
      Strictly between us, you’re cuter than Venus,
      And what’s more you’ve got arms!”

  9. Before capital punishment was mercifully abolished in the UK in 1965, a skilled hangman could get the doomed prisoner out of the cell and if not dead certainly unconscious and well on the way to death, in about 12 seconds.

  10. I’d be curious to know when these close friendships were formed. If these are close friends from Thomas’s youth (say, grad school), I don’t think their gifts and “influence” is reportable – it shouldn’t matter how wealthy they are. Did these “friends” come into Thomas’s life after he became a supreme court justice? Then maybe the gifts are reportable, because arguably they *might* be influence seeking. But for two reasons, I have to wonder why any gifts are reportable at all: 1. Supreme court justices cannot be deposed, can they? So what, if we see what might be influencing them. 2. The information about possible influence is easily found even without reporting (as the current episode demonstrates).

    1. The solution is ridiculously simple. Just as for most other government employees, there could be a limit on the value of gifts to, say $100. Their $280,000 salary should be plenty to live on.

    2. I don’t think the information is easily found unless the justice reports it. Some of the gifts Clarence Thomas and his wife received from Harlan Crow date back over a decade but just came to light now.

      Early on, Thomas was apparently reporting the gifts received from Crow, but suddenly stopped, right around the time the gifts became more lavish. (Thomas says that he was told by “colleagues and others” that he need not report such gifts, but he has not identified who these colleagues and others were. Thomas also says that he and Harlan Crow have been friends for “around 25 years,” which would put the start of that friendship a few years into his tenure on the SCOTUS bench. I don’t think Thomas rubbed elbows much with the super wealthy while Thomas was grinding his way up the federal and state bureaucracies for a decade and a half, until his first appointment to the bench.)

      In any event, the exception as to disclosure regards “hospitality.” Some of what Thomas received from Crow clearly does not qualify as “hospitality” since it did not involve Thomas and his wife staying with or traveling with Crow and his wife, but merely being given the use of Crow’s private jet for purposes of Thomas’s own personal travel.

      US Supreme Court justices need a binding code of ethics — similar to the judicial codes of conduct that bind all lower court judges, state and federal — so that it is clear what they must disclose and clear when they are required to recuse themselves from cases before them because of actual or potential conflicts of interest.

      Chief Justice Roberts must be fit to be tied. It’s not that he’s necessarily any more ethical than his colleagues, but because history will record the precipitous decline in the public’s confidence in the Court — brought on by ethical issues such as this (and by situations such as the leaking of Justice Samuel Alito’s draft majority opinion in the Dobbs abortion ruling — as having occurred during the tenure of “the Roberts Court.” John Roberts is acutely aware and protective of the legacy of the Court that bears his name.

      I expect we will see some changes relatively soon.

      1. “I expect we will see some changes relatively soon.”

        Perhaps, but in regards to the continuing decline of the court’s reputation, I think any new reform will be too little, too late. Roberts has lost control of this court thanks to Trump’s 3 justices, and I foresee a continued onslaught on the rights of Americans and with it, a continued deterioration of the court’s reputation and standing. It’s no secret that the Roberts court is simply a new political branch and an extension of the Republican “party”. (I don’t consider the Republican party a political party anymore, thus the scare quotes.)

        1. I don’t disagree with a thing you’ve written here, Mark.

          All I’m saying is that the Court is gonna have to fix this ethics mess, now that Ginni and Clarence’s shit has been put out there in public to the embarrassment of the other eight (and the federal judiciary in general).

          Our man of the people, Clarence, may have to get back to his first true vacay love — riding the Walmart parking-lot RV circuit.

          1. Wow, thanks for the clip. The corruption of these two is evident, and frankly, has been for some time. We’ll see what comes of it, but you’re right, something needs to come of it. Roberts probably hates his job right now, and if he doesn’t, we’re more screwed than I thought.

  11. On the Antarctic.
    Slow on the uptake but I have been watching David Attenborough’s Frozen Planet II. The episode just watched showed a pod of Orcas on the hunt. The series so far is very good but this footage of the hunt is amazing. In this hunting sequence it shows quite clearly how things are potentially going to be dire for orcas and as they are top of the chain in the wider veiw, Antarctic ecology.

    1. The series of Antacric tweets is short on its documentation of actual pollution: micro-plastic fibres and spherules which are everywhere but offer no clear threat to any life-form, and one piece of macro tourist trash on the beach. No mention of diesel soot on snow near where tourist and exploration boats land—and here I had to laugh at the tourist operator who wants her to help him bring more tourists!

      So where exactly was the pollution?

      1. This wasn’t so much on pollution but changing circumstances due to ice pack formation or lack of it, Orcas preferred prey changing their routines because of it. So more of a comment on rising temperatures. From what I have read on the subject any changes to top predator behaviour is generally a negative impact. Not to many animals can live down there so who knows I certainly don’t.

  12. RE firing squad for executions: I read recently that one objection is the trauma it would cause the shooters.

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