Good morning on a hot Chicago Sunday, July 2, 2023, and National Anisette Day. Anise is an annual herb native to the eastern Mediterranean and SW Asia (Pimpinella anisum, photo below) whose seeds, with a licorice flavor, are used in making drinks, candies, and flavoring other foods. For flavoring, Anise is now being increasingly replaced by star anise (from the fruit of a tree) in drinks like Pernod, my favorite anisette.
World UFO Day is dedicated to the existence of unidentified flying objects. First celebrated in 2001, it was created by the World UFO Day Organization. The day is often celebrated on June 24 and July 2, although The World UFO Day Organization declared July 2 to be the official day. June 24 marks the anniversary of one of the first UFO sightings in the United States, when Kenneth Arnold reported seeing nine high-speed crescent-shaped objects near Mt. Rainier in Washington, in 1947. July 2 marks the anniversary of the Roswell UFO incident, which also happened in 1947.
At the “Moving Naturalism Forward Conference” in 2012, held in Stockbridge, MA, home of painter Normal Rockwell. Here’s the original of his “Freedom of Speech” painting in the famous “Four Freedoms” series. This guy has clearly overcome his fear of speaking! (not the real human, but the guy in the painting):
The big NASCAR race—the Loop 121 Xfinity race, supposed to go around the streets of downtown Chicago yesterday, was postponed because of rain. It’s supposed to start this morning but it’s still raining. I’m very glad; I don’t want big race cars tooling around the streets at high speeds. It’s a terrible idea meant to draw Chicago-ans into the NASCAR ambit. All the roads downtown have been blocked for weeks as they set up the course and the walls supposed to keep spectators free from flying cars.
Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the July 2 Wikipedia page.
*Trump’s is catching new heat about the last “stolen election”. Several places report that, as he did in Georgia, The Donald pressured officials in Arizona (in this case the governor) to overturn the election results in his state.
The extent of Trump’s efforts to cajole Ducey into helping him stay in power has not before been reported, even as other efforts by Trump’s lawyer and allies to pressure Arizona officials have been made public. Ducey told reporters in December 2020 that he and Trump had spoken, but he declined to disclose the contents of the call then or in the more than two years since. Although he disagreed with Trump about the outcome of the election, Ducey has sought to avoid a public battle with Trump.
. . .Ducey described the “pressure” he was under after Trump’s loss to a prominent Republican donor over a meal in Arizona earlier this year, according to the donor, who like others interviewed for this story spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations. The account was confirmed by others aware of the call. Ducey told the donor he was surprised that special counsel Jack Smith’s team had not inquired about his phone calls with Trump and Pence as part of the Justice Department’s investigation into the former president’s attempt to overturn the 2020 election, the donor said.
Ducey did not record the call, people familiar with the matter said.
All there is, then, is simply phone-company records that a call went to Ducey from the White House. Since the call wasn’t recorded and Ducey apparently has no notes (but told other people), all we have is hearsay, so Trump really isn’t in amy more trouble than he was before.
There are two pieces from the NYT on the Supreme Court
*First, the paper theorizes that John Roberts, while still leading the Court’s conservative agenda, has forged some bipartisanship with the liberal justices.
But the entire story of the most recent term is considerably more complicated than that of the previous one, which had seemed to establish an unyielding conservative juggernaut characterized by impatience and ambition — and built to last.
A year later, the court remains deeply conservative but is more in tune with the fitfully incremental approach of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who is attentive to his court’s legitimacy, than with the take-no-prisoners approach of Justice Clarence Thomas. The chief justice’s strategy — and votes — produced a fair number of liberal victories.
“Chief Justice Roberts seems to be getting at least some of the conservative majority back into harness on incremental moves,” said Pamela S. Karlan, a law professor at Stanford.
Indeed, the term that just ended was something of a triumph for the chief justice, who just a year ago seemed to be losing power, having failed to persuade a single colleague to join his compromise position in the case that did away with the constitutional right to abortion.
Of all the conservative Justices, it’s always seemed to me that Roberts was the one most concerned with the credibility of the Court.
When the latest term started in October, Justice Thomas appeared to have gained control of the court for the first time in his more than 30-year tenure, said Richard J. Lazarus, a law professor at Harvard.
“Those tables have dramatically turned,” Professor Lazarus said. “Although the chief justice has struggled mightily under rising public expectations to address ethical issues within the court, mostly focused on Justice Thomas, the chief rather than Thomas remains the most influential justice on the court in terms of the outcomes in the court’s opinions.”
Indeed, Chief Justice Roberts was in the majority in divided cases decided by signed opinions 86 percent of the time, second only to Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, at 90 percent. Justice Thomas was last by this measure, at 55 percent.
*Then there’s this article, “Supreme Court Decisions on Education Could Offer Democrats an Opening“, with the subtitle, “The decisions this week on affirmative action and student loans give Democrats a way to make a case on class and appeal to voters who have drifted away from the party,” seems deeply misguided.
Now, in striking down race-conscious college admissions, the Supreme Court has handed the Democrats a way to shift from a race-based discussion of preference to one tied more to class. The court’s decision could fuel broader outreach to the working-class voters who have drifted away from the party because of what they see as its elitism.
The question is, will the party pivot?
Professor Ceiling Cat’s answer is “NO!”. The party is too entangled with race-based identity politics to start messing around with class, even though class is in its roots.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for Democrats to course-correct from identity-based issues,” said Ruy Teixeira, whose upcoming book “Where Have All the Democrats Gone?” looks at the bleeding of working-class voters over the last decade. “As I like to say, class is back in session.”
. . .Simon Rosenberg, a Democratic strategist pressing his party to expand its outreach to the working class, said adding a new emphasis on class consciousness to augment racial and ethnic awareness would fit well with Mr. Biden’s pitch that his legislative achievements have largely accrued to the benefit of workers.
Infrastructure spending, electric vehicles investment, broadband expansion and semiconductor manufacturing have promoted jobs — especially union jobs — all over the country but especially in rural and suburban areas, often in Republican states.
“By next year, Democrats will be able to say we’ve invested in red states, blue states, urban areas, rural areas,” he said. “We’re not like the Republicans. We’re for everybody.”
I suppose it’s possible, but I don’t see it happening. If Uncle Joe (and no, that’s not a slur) starts talking a lot about unions, then we may be seeing a sea change.
*The WSJ’s take on where affirmative action succeeded and where it didn’t argues that the success was in representation and the failures in narrow the income and top-jobs gap.
Decades of affirmative action have increased the racial diversity on some of the most selective college campuses that often serve as the primary pipeline into high-status careers. But there isn’t much conclusive evidence affirmative-action policies have leveled the playing field in the U.S. Even as America overall has become more racially diverse, wealth gaps between whites and many minorities have proved persistent and top jobs remain elusive.
“Affirmative action just means different things in different places,” said Zach Bleemer, an economics professor at the Yale School of Management who studied the impact of California’s 1996 ban on race-conscious admissions. “Because most of society doesn’t enroll at selective universities, the societal effects are necessarily limited.”
And here’s a plot of ethnic diversity in elite colleges. As you see, blacks have done ok, but not as good as Hispanics and international students, and nobody has done even nearly as well as Asians and Pacific Islanders, which means mostly Asians. Whites have lost the most ground.
The number of Black identifying students enrolled in Ivy League universities increased by 61% between 1980 and 2020, according to federal data. Populations of Hispanic and Asian students each more than quadrupled over the same period.
And the lack of other gains:
Studies have shown that minorities, after graduating, have attained foot-in-the-door positions but leadership roles largely remain out of reach in the legal world, hospitals and corporate boardrooms.
As of 2021, 86% of Fortune 500 chief executives were white men, according to SHRM, a trade organization for HR professionals. Only a handful of Fortune 500 companies have Black CEOs, and people of color remain underrepresented across a host of senior-level positions. A 2021 report by McKinsey & Co. found that under current trajectories, it would take about 95 years for Black employees to reach talent parity across all levels of the private sector.
. . . white men are disproportionately represented in equity partner ranks, indicating firms are struggling with retention and promotion of the underrepresented attorneys they are getting in the door. In 2022 only 22.6% of women had this top position at firms. For people of color, only 9% held equity partner positions. For nonequity partnerships, women represented 33% and people of color just 13%.
While there may be a tradeoff between equity and merit working here, it may also be explained by sex based differences in preference. Are women less willing to sacrifice “life” in the “work/life balance”?
*How are colleges going to get around the Supreme Court decision and try to keep ethnic diversity up? The Washington Post tells us what some colleges are trying to do. Here are some of the suggestions:
Colleges have potential tools to pursue racial diversity without actually looking at race in admissions. Many of the options are challenging, controversial and maddeningly indirect.
Some steps are straightforward, experts say. Colleges will push harder to obtain diverse applicants from high schools and regions previously overlooked. They will scour an applicant’s essays, recommendations and life experience, often gleaning relevant information about racial and ethnic background. They will fiercely woo underrepresented students who get admission offers.
This implies that there is no “race” box to tick, which I think was made explicit by the Supreme Court. That means they have to guess ethnicity from names, essays, or schools. Doing that, of course, is still adhering to race-based admission that the Supreme Court prohibited, and opens the schools up to statistical monitoring of the type that brought down Harvard. As I said, expect every elite university in the country to require essays that allow students to freely mention their race. And of course we have to do away with standardized measures of achievement:
Then there are the SAT and the ACT, the standardized tests that most top colleges are likely to continue to make optional, cementing a movement that has reshaped admissions since the early days of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. It is harder now, in the ruling’s wake, to envision elite schools reinstating a perceived barrier for those who are disadvantaged and can’t afford pricey tutors to boost their scores. Columbia University and William & Mary are among the schools that have made such test-optional measures permanent.
I favor using tests and grades on top of everything else. What is there to lose? We already now that tutoring doesn’t work very well, and even if you want it there are places to get tutored for free. I do agree with the notion that legacy admissions and athletic admissions should be ditched (getting rid of legacies was Gorsuch’s view in the decision), but that’s not going to happen. Finally, remember that there are nine-states, including California, that already banned race-based affirmative action, and they’ve struggled:
Public universities in nine states with affirmative action bans — including California, Florida and Michigan — have been running for years without race-conscious admissions. Leaders of UC and the University of Michigan warned the Supreme Court that they have tried many race-neutral techniques and still fallen short of their diversity goals. Latino students, state data show, account for about 56 percent of California’s public school enrollment but 19 percent of UC-Berkeley undergraduates.
Admissions leaders at UC-Berkeley, one of the system’s most competitive schools, say they have deepened their efforts to recruit in disadvantaged neighborhoods, expanded Spanish-language outreach and intensified holistic review of applications. U-Michigan has taken similar steps.
In the end, colleges will have to find a way to both obey the law and flout it. This, at least, is what I gather from reading several open letters about the Court’s decision from university presidents. They all read pretty much the same, like the one from the President of Maine’s Bates College:
“We will not allow the Court’s decision to diminish our commitment to our current students or the students we will continue to seek out,” Jenkins and the college’s outgoing president, Clayton Spencer, wrote in a joint statement. “We will take this opportunity to do what we do best: think creatively and experiment with new strategies consistent with the law that will allow us to continue to craft a class with diverse identities, life experiences, interests, and perspectives.”
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili, like Andrzej, doesn’t like litter on the property:
Hili: It doesn’t look good.A: What doesn’t look good?Hili: This plastic piece of garbage which the wind blew in.
Hili: To nie wygląda dobrze.Ja: Co nie wygląda dobrze?Hili: Ten plastikowy śmieć przyniesiony przez wiatr.
And the lovely Szaron on the outside windowsill, announcing that he wants to come in:
A sad cartoon (from Dinos and Comics) sent in by Divy:
From Jesus of the Day:
Here’s Masih being passionate on some Iranian-themed television interview. The Google translation of the caption is this (the 1:24 interview in Farsi has English subtitles):
In these years, I often did not respond to the accusations because my focus is on fighting the monster of the Islamic Republic. Liars have no goal other than to destroy and demonize “outsiders”. In Norway, I never had a meeting with anyone who normalizes the IRGC, Soleimani and the regime. shame on you. https://t.co/aFrB1UbnuV
در این سالها اغلب پاسخی به تهمتها ندادم چون تمرکزم جنگ با هیولای جمهوری اسلامی است.
دروغگویان هدفی جز تخریب و عفریتهسازی از «غیرخودی» ندارند. در نروژ هرگز دیداری نداشتم با هرآنکه سپاه و سلیمانی و رژیم را عادیسازی میکند. شرم بر شما.
— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) June 29, 2023
I’m sure you remember this one, which was wonderfully mocked by J. K. Rowling:
Thank you @JohnsHopkins for reminding us that “woman” is an outdated and offensive term.
From now on, the phrase is “non-man”.
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) June 13, 2023
Two from Merilee. This guy is very sanguine about sharing his snack with a marmot:
This is the follow-up we've all been waiting for! Who knew that sharing a snack with a marmot could turn into such a hilarious adventure?😂 pic.twitter.com/164d4ebPop
— Ifeng News (@IFENG__official) June 29, 2023
From Simon. What the hell is that cat doing?
— Larry the Cat (@Number10cat) July 1, 2023
From the Auschwitz Memorial; musical talent extinguished in the camp:
Singer and actor Kurt Weisz was born #OTD in 1894. He was deported to Terezin on 20 Nov 1942 where played Gabriel von Eisenstein in a production of Die Fledermaus. He died in Auschwitz on 18 Oct 1944. https://t.co/Aj6ie9gOnz pic.twitter.com/HlAddntmCW
— Music and the Holocaust (@holocaust_music) July 2, 2023
Tweets from Matthew. These kids are good, so how come the Brazilian women’s team doesn’t win the women’s World Cup? (They are regularly the best national team in South America.)
Just another normal day in Brazil 🤩✨
— Tansu YEĞEN (@TansuYegen) June 30, 2023
This is sort of sad. . . .
— mark tutton 💙 (@marktutton25) June 26, 2023
Yes, this is terrifying. Look at that leap!
Thought ticks were terrifying? They just got worse. Turns out they can use static electricity ⚡️ to launch through the air onto hosts, including you! Here's a thread about our new paper w/ @Katie__Lihou, Daniel Robert, out today in @CurrentBiology https://t.co/Z6Pz080YeD 🧵👇 pic.twitter.com/ur0D8PFAoq
— Sam England (@SamJakeEngland) June 30, 2023