CaturSaturday, April 8, 2023, and a Passover shabbos for Jewish cats. It’s National Empanada Day, a day of cultural appropriation
Tasty mpanadas from Argentina:
Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the April 8 Wikipedia page.
*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.”A 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.
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.
“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.
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 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
نیلوفر بهادریفر که ساکن کالیفرنیای آمریکا است امروز به اتهام کمک به توطئه رژیم ایران برای طرح آدمربایی من به چهار سال زندان محکوم شد. او از جمله کسانی بود که نقش نقل و انتقال پول را بهمراه چهار نفر دیگر از کارمندان وزارت اطلاعات ایران برای اجرای طرح آدمربایی از خاک آمریکا به… pic.twitter.com/WGI1UrZ3xI
— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) April 7, 2023
From Simon, who says, “As much as I don’t like Kristol and his chickenhawk politics, he can be amusing.”
Starting lineup, Team Rule of Law, 2023 season:
Lead off: Alvin Bragg (speed on the hush money bases).
Second: Fani Willis (sets table for heavy hitters on 2020 election).
Third: Jack Smith (solid contact on classified docs).
Cleanup: Merrick Garland (power hitter on Jan. 6).
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) March 30, 2023
From Malcolm, cats in love:
Oh to be a cat in love pic.twitter.com/z5jojZDfee
— cats with pawerful aura (@catswithaura) March 24, 2023
From Barry, who recommends that you look at some of the other answers. I’ve put up one:
The Art of War
— 🏳️⚧️ Kela 🏳️⚧️🤘 Goddess of Rock and Roll🤘 (@LifeonWheels95) April 1, 2023
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.”
Marjorie Taylor Greene on New York: It’s disgusting… It was repulsive, it smells bad. I think it's a very terrible place. pic.twitter.com/6AOd8KBBvs
— Acyn (@Acyn) April 6, 2023
8 April 1937 | A French Jewish girl, Nelly Stopnicki, was born in #Nancy.
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) April 8, 2023
Tweets from Professor Cobb. This first one confuses me deeply, too:
This trend is funny cause half my brain thinks it makes sense but half my brain is confused pic.twitter.com/RvLnmCYpY3
— Today Years Old (@todayyearsoldig) April 6, 2023
The world’s dumbest d*g:
Hilarious.. 😅 pic.twitter.com/qBuiIRtd6E
— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden) April 7, 2023
This is a very sad thread, but a must-read one, about pollution and global warming in Antarctica:
My time in Antarctica has come to an end. An important message, please read ❄️👇🏻
— Emily G Cunningham (@EG_Cunningham) April 5, 2023