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July 17, 2022

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Here in Northern California we are doing triple (Fahrenheit) digits. Call it 40 degrees in the modern world. And the wildfire season is kicking off. (Two big ones so far.)

I've been meaning, for several years now, to get down to Sequoia National Park to see the giants. But I may have procrastinated too long; firefighters held off the last fire, but the risk remains substantial. Sigh.

Waiting for the announced heatwave to hit us too. Midthirties more or less guaranteed, 40°C within possible reach in the coming week.

We are scheduled to have 40C tomorrow and/or Tuesday. Absolutely hideous. They reckon 1,600 people died of heat-related causes in the last heatwave, and that was several degrees lower.

Is it called an Amber alert that is issued when temperatures get unusually high? In the US Amber alerts are issued when an underaged person goes missing. My phone is always chirping in the middle of the night to let me know that hundreds of miles away from me a kid is missing/ran away/kidnaped.

Not to make light of the heat deaths but this Winter the cold deaths will be much greater.

At least around here the offical death toll of winter cold is in the low double digits (22 homeless frozen to death were registered in Germany last year). Excess heat deaths exceed a 1000 in official estimates (the cold kills directly, so numbers tend to be more solid [pun not intended], heat deaths are more fuzzy). It's easier to protect oneself against the cold than against heat (at least ouside the high arctic regions).

For the hairsplitters: Traffic accidents due to frozen roads are not included in the statistics.

It's easier to protect oneself against the cold than against heat (at least ouside the high arctic regions).

Yes. It's easier to put on layers than to find a way to shed heat. (That homeless people can't find enough layers is a preventable tragedy. Like so many others, including that there are homeless people in our wealthy societies in the first place.)

Suggestions I've found helpful for cooling off:

1. Don't take a hot shower, it makes you hot.

2. Don't take a cold shower, it makes adrenalin kick in and that makes you hot.

3. Take a lukewarm shower and dab yourself dry rather than rubbing. Rubbing makes you hot, while dabbing leaves a film of moisture that helps cool you as it evaporates.

I often just stick my head under the shower to wet my hair, then let it drip onto my t-shirt while I sit at the computer or cook a meal.

I don't have AC and don't want it, but we don't have all that many days where I might be tempted. Usually there are only a couple of stretches here where it's not cool enough at night to turn on the fans and cool the place down before morning.

In England, excess deaths due to cold vastly exceed excess deaths due to summer heat. So if that's all you care about, and if global warming makes England warmer year round, as it may well not...

Every summer I consider moving to Ireland (and the English summers aren't even particularly hot compared to "the continent".)

Perhaps we will

Make Greenland Green . . . At Last!
A slogan for the 21st century.

Well, at least the Danes will have options. :-)

Rubbing makes you hot, while dabbing leaves a film of moisture that helps cool you as it evaporates.

One of the things about living in a high-altitude semi-arid mid-latitude climate... When I get out of the shower and towel dry my (relatively short) hair, I have to get to the brush fairly quickly and straighten things out before it dries sticking out strangely. Any "film of moisture" is long gone by the time I get my shaving cream on.

As to local conditions, here's the latest drought monitor map for the US. The not-quite-so-bad stripe that runs from southeast Arizona and southwest New Mexico up through Colorado is this year's monsoon track. We had a monsoon thunderstorm over one of the burn scars late Friday afternoon. The resulting flash flood was high enough in one of the little canyons to take a house and kill two people. The river through my city was black again from ash and soot runoff.

Any "film of moisture" is long gone by the time I get my shaving cream on.

Reminds me of hiking in Arches National Park or the Grand Canyon -- the bread in a sandwich would start to be dry and crusty before you could even finish eating it.

Where I live, hot summer days tend also to be extremely humid. The mugginess flattens me in a way that a dry heat at the same temp does not.

I knew someone when I first moved here who lived in an old Victorian that had air vents from basement to first floor and then second floor -- so they could blow cool air from the basement upward on hot days. I wish we had done that in my house when it was built.

Reminds me of hiking in Arches National Park or the Grand Canyon -- the bread in a sandwich would start to be dry and crusty before you could even finish eating it.

Yep. Rode a motorcycle part way across Wyoming in August with no gloves once. While I was packing up at the campground in the morning, the local weather report on the radio said the relative humidity was 6% at 6:00 am. Whole top layer of my fingernails dried out to where it was flaking off by lunchtime. You don't ever get noticeably "sweaty" on days like that, it evaporates so fast. Just get stickier and stickier as the day goes by. And the dogs all love to lick you, because you're so salty.

Even here, where the hot days tend to be humid, I have to make an effort to be sure and drink enough water, because so much of it sweats away imperceptibly.

My hands flake away in the winter, when the humidity here is very low...

First world problems. Or not even problems, just annoyances that have to be managed a bit.

I've done quite a bit of bicycling in 100-degree plus temperatures in the Dallas area. The summers here tend to be dry. Like today, 104°F - 40°C, 27% humidity. You feel great as long as you're moving. But, if you have to stop for any reason, the heat slams into you. You feel like if you don't get moving again quick you're going to collapse.

Science News weighs in on the abortion debate.
https://www.sciencenews.org/article/abortion-roe-v-wade-pregnancy-biology-supreme-court-ruling

Lots of interesting info here. Among the interesting bits:

Many of those legislative efforts invoke medical and scientific language, in an effort to define when life begins. Heart development, fetal pain and viability have all been brought into justification for abortion restrictions. But many of these rationales don’t line up with the biology of early development. Texas’ 2021 “heartbeat law,” for instance, bans abortion after about six weeks when heart cells purportedly begin thumping. At that early stage of pregnancy, there isn’t yet a fully formed heart to beat. [Emphasis added]
and
A Texas law bans abortions “after detection of an unborn child’s heartbeat.” But the rhythmic sounds heard on an ultrasound early in pregnancy aren’t caused by the opening and closing of heart valves as they move blood through the heart’s chambers, the motion that produces a typical lub dub sound. That’s because those chambers haven’t yet developed. On early ultrasounds, the heartbeat-like sounds are created by the ultrasound machine itself.

“What we’re seeing is actually the primitive heart tube and the cells in that heart tube having electrical activity that causes fluttering,” Verma says. “The ultrasound is actually manufacturing that sound based on the electrical activity and fluttering motion.” [Emphasis added]

Of course, since the anti-abortion fanatics are among those who reject expertise, these details likely won't matter to them.

It's not about how a human embryo develops, its about how voters feel about it.

A "six-week" limit isn't going to stir much emotion, even less so if framed as a "four-weeks from conception" limit. Hence the "beating heart" limit. It makes no difference at all if the heart hasn't yet formed so long as an ultrasound shows contractions in structures which are in the process of growing into a heart.

Pro-choice advocates shouldn't get too involved in this game. If abortion limits are to be based on embryonic/fetal development, we should be looking at the brain not the heart - a human with an artificial heart would still be a human. 22 weeks would be a reasonable limit on that basis.

The point isn't to engage with the anti-abortion crowd. Who, as noted, generally aren't open to facts anyway. It is to have information available when speaking with the majority, who are OK with abortion per se, but may have reservations about it in some cases (e.e. late term). In those discussions, it can be helpful to have facts to counter what they may have heard from the other side. Just saying "women's rights" may be philosophically correct, but doesn't necessarily move individuals views.

1. If a "fetus" is a "person", then abortion is murder.

2. If abortion is murder, the abortionist conducts the murder, but the woman hires the murderer.

3. Murder for hire is clearly premeditated 1st degree murder, and gets the death penalty in many states.

steps 2 and 3 flow from step 1 like water flowing downhill, so if you object to #3, you have to stop #1.

Yeah, fundies are going to ignore simple logic, which is why they should be beaten to a bloody pulp, starting with rhetorically, and escalating as needed.

1. If a "fetus" is a "person", then abortion is murder.

Wouldn't this also imply that a miscarriage, any miscarriage, constitutes involuntary manslaughter? IANAL, so I'm not clear on just how broadly the definition can be stretched.

That's why several states already have tried to get laws passed that make a murder investigation mandatory in case of any reported miscarriage (which is also mandatory).
It's in essence: a woman has to prove that her miscarriage was not the result of an abortion attempt or 'negligence' (alcohol, sports etc.). Some states in South America already do that and the results are not pretty (a feature not a bug clearly).
Until now to my knowlegde the courts have struck those laws down. But given the current SCOTUS, there is no guarantee of that anymore.

Wouldn't this also imply that a miscarriage, any miscarriage, constitutes involuntary manslaughter? IANAL, so I'm not clear on just how broadly the definition can be stretched.

Not every death is manslaughter, sometimes people just die. Even with caregivers. Even with all the resources a modern hospital can provide. In fact, most people just die. I believe that in general, it takes some sort of evidence before an investigation can be started.

The more relevant version of the question is, "Should a miscarriage, any miscarriage, be investigated to determine if it was manslaughter?" Of course, that opens an entire can of worms. If a pregnant woman has a drink in the period prior to the miscarriage, is that manslaughter? If she slips and falls? If someone on the street accidentally bumps her and she falls?

Even this is just nuts.

It's all the paranoid ravings of a pathological worldview that devalues and oppresses women. Not one bit of it is reasonable.

It has no more legitimacy than the Sharia Law that it most resembles and that so obsessed their paranoid fantasies during the earlier phase of their slide into authoritarianism.

There is nothing to be gained by arguing any part of this. It all rests on unacceptable grounds. No incremental restoration will fix this.

There is nothing to be gained by arguing any part of this. It all rests on unacceptable grounds. No incremental restoration will fix this.

Accepting, for the sake of discussion, that you are entirely correct in this. The reality is that incremental restoration is all that is likely to be available, at least in the short term.

So are saying that, un less total reversal is possible, nothing should be done? Because that is how your statement reads, at least to me.

No to say that the long term goal should be less than a complete reversal. Just that demanding all or nothing is more likely to leave you with nothing.

wj, I can't speak for nous, and I have no answers for what's going on, or how to reverse it. I think times are bad and they're going to get much worse before they get better.

But you're writing as if we're dealing with rational actors. You don't ask the bully to hit you only on even-numbered days.

That is to say, among other things and for instance, that the pulverization of Roe is not going to be reversed by our side begging humbly for a six week rule and exceptions for rape and incest. Ain't gonna happen that way.

No, what I am saying is that women's rights to health care are not going to be restored through any of these incremental actions because the principles that were thought to safeguard those rights have been blown up like the Buddhas of Bamiyan. Trying to restore any of this at the federal level is not going to bring back any of the care providers that have been driven out of most states, and the states are going to fight a restoration and be given permission to do this by this Supreme Court.

People can try to achieve some sort of federal victory for women's health care, but it's going to take some sort of decisive, fundamental change to give women back their basic human rights over the scorched earth objections of the GOP and their states. The protocols we had to protect those rights have all been rejected.

That's what I am saying.

How do you expect that the feds will be able to enforce a restoration of abortion access in Oklahoma or Texas? What does that look like? How does any such restoration stand with a Supreme Court that will rule against it and a state governor that will refuse to allow it?

Paint me a picture of how we put things back in working order.

But you're writing as if we're dealing with rational actors. You don't ask the bully to hit you only on even-numbered days.

No, I don't think they are rational. But I think that we are more likely to get, for example, a national right to 1st trimester abortions (maybe even 2nd trimester) than a whole "it's entirely the decision of the woman and her doctor" solution. Not because the latter isn't right. But because, while we will never get the irrational actors to agree to anything short of "decisions made only by a guardian male" (ala the Taliban), we probably can get the vast majority (including, last poll I saw, over 55% of Republicans!) on board with something like that.

Trying to restore any of this at the federal level is not going to bring back any of the care providers that have been driven out of most states

I can't see what, if anything, is going to address that. Short of widespread mind wipe on the reactionaries and misogynists. Which we don't have the technology for, even if we decided to try it.

What nous is saying applies to the situation in this country with respect to guns, as well. And sadly, and much more obscurely, to wealth inequality.

To a lot of things.

Including public libraries. (Hat tip Betty Cracker.)

Also including public schools, if in a murkier and multi-faceted way.

It's a package deal.

Someone wrote in a BJ comment the other day that we're still fighting the Civil War. Someone else wrote that having read Albion's Seed, he thought we were really still fighting the battle between the Cavaliers and the Roundheads.

I think we're fighting an eternal battle between two sides or varieties of human nature. And I don't have a blog-comment-tailored answer for that.

More on the library story.

me: And I don't have a blog-comment-tailored answer for that.

I don't have any answer for that, in case it wasn't already clear.

A different variety of MAGA.

Love that people keep a wry sense of humor....

the principles that were thought to safeguard those rights have been blown up like the Buddhas of Bamiyan

Absolutely right, and a very haunting and appropriate metaphor. I think of those Buddhas quite often - they were wonderful, they endured for fourteen centuries, and then they were gone. Destroyed by men who were absolutely sure they had god on their side. People who believe that are capable of absolutely anything.

It's not for me to tell women what to do, but might I respectfully suggest that no waman should ever have sex with a republican unless and until the party comes to its senses?

Someone wrote in a BJ comment the other day that we're still fighting the Civil War. Someone else wrote that having read Albion's Seed, he thought we were really still fighting the battle between the Cavaliers and the Roundheads.

I lean towards something like the latter.

It seems likely, to me, that the basic problem we currently have in the US WRT the current configuration of the right (that is, the centrality of attacks on abortion and LGBTQ+ rights in the name of Christian religious liberty) is a group of people who reject pluralism in the name of revelation. This puts their opposition firmly on the grounds of pre-modern society and the Christian religious wars in Europe in that period.

I've mentioned Carl Schmitt here before: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/schmitt/

Modern liberal constitutions do not acknowledge a bearer of sovereign authority, and modern legal and constitutional theory has often tried to dispense with the concept. But Schmitt argues, in Political Theology, that such attempts to get rid of sovereignty cannot be successful. In Schmitt’s view, there can be no functioning legal order without a sovereign authority [...]. According to Schmitt, liberal constitutionalists typically hold that all legitimate particular acts of state must apply general legal norms, so that people are subject only to the determinate and predictable demands of the law, not to the potentially arbitrary authority of persons [...]. This view overlooks, Schmitt argues, that general legal norms often fail to provide determinate guidance without considerable interpretation and interstitial legislation [...]. In order for the law to become effective, there needs to be an authority that decides how to apply general legal rules to concrete cases and how to deal with problems of contested interpretation or under-determination. However, the material content of the law does not itself determine who is to interpret and to apply it. Hence, a sovereign authority prior to the law is needed to decide how to apply general legal norms to particular cases.

...and his political theology provides a powerful vision for opposing liberalism with authoritarianism in order to shore up the crumbling grounds of conservative Christian social mores. [Ellipses above are for long citations of references].

Another strain of anti-liberal thought on the right is situated in Leo Strauss [https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/strauss-leo/] and his "theologico-political predicament":

On Strauss’s reading, the Enlightenment’s so-called critique of religion ultimately also brought with it, unbeknownst to its proponents, modern rationalism’s self-destruction. Strauss does not reject modern science, but he does object to the philosophical conclusion that “scientific knowledge is the highest form of knowledge” because this “implies a depreciation of pre-scientific knowledge.” As he put it, “Science is the successful part of modern philosophy or science, and philosophy is the unsuccessful part—the rump” (JPCM, p. 99). Strauss reads the history of modern philosophy as beginning with the elevation of all knowledge to science, or theory, and as concluding with the devaluation of all knowledge to history, or practice. In Strauss’s words: “the root of all modern darkness from the seventeenth century on is the obscuring of the difference between theory and praxis, an obscuring that first leads to a reduction of praxis to theory (this is the meaning of so-called [modern] rationalism) and then, in retaliation, to the rejection of theory in the name of praxis that is no longer intelligible as praxis” (FPP, p. 66).

In my view, Strauss is the foundation for much of neo-conservatism and Schmitt for much of neo-authoritarianism. Both argue that Enlightenment liberalism is doomed to failure and both ground their political philosophies in pre-modern entanglements between politics and theology.

We can have no universal human rights without the acceptance of Enlightenment liberalism as a necessity, whether as a natural law principle or as a necessary compromise to prevent the disintegration of society over competing revelations.

Re: incremental

This is probably a dumb idea, but I think go for a Constitutional Amendment. There's no rule against plagiarism.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men and women are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, Bodily Autonomy, and the pursuit of Happiness."

Ok, we can have someone good at words clean that up a bit.

I don't remember how the process works in terms of proposing or introducing an amendment and I don't feel like looking it up right now, but I assume that Pelosi could figure it out.

They missed their chance to announce it on the 4th. But they should definitely do it before the election and see who runs for or against it.*

*With the very real possibility that I will be crushingly disappointed with the results.

One of the supreme ironies of our current moment in the US is that the religious zealots who are trying hardest to dismantle a woman's right to bodily autonomy seem to have fully embraced the language of bodily autonomy where government mandates and vaccines are concerned, and they see no contradiction in their positions on these two subjects. Much of my political despair can be laid at the feet of being witness to this stunning turn of events.

I'm not sure that our language of rights can find us a way out of this thicket. I think we may need some counterbalancing set of personal rights and collective obligations to avoid collective self-destruction.

We can have no universal human rights without the acceptance of Enlightenment liberalism as a necessity, whether as a natural law principle or as a necessary compromise to prevent the disintegration of society over competing revelations.

nous -- you quoted some of my 4:26 comment but left off the next bit: I think we're fighting an eternal battle between two sides or varieties of human nature.

As I have reflected in old age about what's happened in the US for the last six fourteen thirty forty-two fifty-four fifty-eight sixty-plus years (tagging my awareness as starting in 1960, when JFK ran for president), one of my most depressing conclusions has been that this struggle never ends. What you and I would call "gains" in relation to "universal human rights" are never safe.

And it seems like that should make a difference to how "we" participate in politics. The right has been "defeated" over and over again in my lifetime and they never gave up. Neither should we. But I think "we" would do things differently if we could take into account that the struggle between "sides" is never-ending.

"We" -- that most useless of words. "We" are far worse than cats when it comes to herding, or agreeing on just about anything....

I'm not sure that our language of rights can find us a way out of this thicket. I think we may need some counterbalancing set of personal rights and collective obligations to avoid collective self-destruction.

Wholeheartedly agree in theory. In practice I don't know how we're going to cut a path in that direction.

Wholeheartedly agree in theory. In practice I don't know how we're going to cut a path in that direction.

Nor I, though I think the constitution precludes it, so we are either continuing to try to keep this broken down system minimally functional in the face of deliberate vandalism, or of trying again when that fails and the inevitable fallout has been resolved.

deliberate vandalism

Yes. This is another thing I've been thinking about a lot. Between Clickbait and Putin (as symbols and concentrators of much bigger tendencies), it's very clear that "we" don't have the knowledge or ability to defend ourselves against determined deliberate vandalism. That's part of what I think about in relation to the "forever war" between two (?) types of human tendencies.

Someone wrote in a BJ comment the other day that we're still fighting the Civil War. Someone else wrote that having read Albion's Seed, he thought we were really still fighting the battle between the Cavaliers and the Roundheads.

I lean towards something like the latter.

But, but, but...

The Cavaliers and the Roundheads were a case of Catholics vs Protestants. Right?

Whereas what we are seeing today is a bunch of (mostly) Catholic Supreme Court Justices twisting the Constitution into pretzels in support of the fanaticism of Evangelicals (i.e. Protestants).

Shape-shifters, label-shifters, who knows. But sorry, the Catholic SCOTUS justices are twisting the Constitution in support of their own fanaticism, not out of the goodness of their hearts to help the Evangelicals. And if you look up Evangelicals (as I did the other day) you will find that the term covers Catholics too.

This is probably a dumb idea, but I think go for a Constitutional Amendment.

There is a problem with this. To do it, first you have to get Congress to pass it (by a 2/3 margin in each House!). Then you have to get 3/4 of the state legislatures to ratify it.

By the time we reach the point of being able to do either of those (let alone both), we will have reached the point where we no longer have a significant national problem. A handful of retrograde states, perhaps, but not a national problem.

if you look up Evangelicals (as I did the other day) you will find that the term covers Catholics too.

Alas for my sloppy phrasing. I meant Protestant Evangelicals. And my recollection of the history of the time suggests that the Cavaliers and Roundheads were sufficiently fanatical that one side taking a position was sufficient to cause the other to reject it. Rather reminiscent of our current political environment. Including the conviction that the other side is actively trying to do the work of the Devil.

The exchange on BJ actually went like this:

With respect, some would argue that the current war did not begin with the 2014 annexation of Crimea and portions of the Donbas, but with the Treaty of Pereyaslav in 1654.

And then:

When I read things referring to 1654 I think “How long are these guys going to hold a grudge?” Then after I read Albion’s Seed I realized the US is still fighting the English Civil War (ca. 1600s) between the Cavaliers (mostly Southern aristocratic ideals) and the Roundheads (mostly New England democratic ideals).

I haven't read Albion's Seed, but I did read American Nations, by Colin Woodard, which I think has a similar thesis.

The relevant BJ thread was one of Silverman's Ukraine updates.

The list of centuries-old collective grudges would go on forever....

There is a problem with this.

Only one? ;-)

I was referring to the formalities of introduction rather than the thresholds for ratification. As in, is it the same as simply introducing a bill or is there a special procedure for a proposed amendment?

Anyway, the point isn't necessarily ratification (although apparently it needs to be). I might argue its utility is in political theater. Get up on the campaign stump and say you're against the idea that men and women are equal. Tell the Anti-Vax, Freedom Caucus types that bodily autonomy is for the courts to decide.

Get 'em on record.

Every day this gets more predictably horrific and the f*cking starting point was a 10 year old and it makes me livid just having to write that.

Granted, the bodily autonomy thing opens up a whole other can of worms like vaccine mandates and a host of things I'm too dim to think of. But also issues like death with dignity. Better those conversations (which I think are necessary anyway) than this Court's draconian bullshit.

So many ways of representing the sides in the English Civil War to find resonances with our current situation. And whichever way we choose to do so will likely miss badly on another front of comparison.

What we can say is that both sides of that conflict were thoroughly pre-modern in that the ideas of secularism and pluralism did not enter into the picture.

Neither side was liberal by that metric.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men and women are created equal..."

Changing the wording of the Declaration of Independence won't change any laws. Am I missing something?

My understanding was that Pete was proposing we make that language into a constitutional amendment.

What Janie said.

As a constitutional amendment, it would likely keep a lot of lawyers in more than pocket change for the next hundred years.

The lawyers aren't my primary concern.

I might argue its utility is in political theater. Get up on the campaign stump and say you're against the idea that men and women are equal.

Quite. And my sense is that at least some Democratic candidates are doing just that. Ask the GOP nut cases specifically about whether they support various unpopular positions. Not unpopular with Democrats, especially Democratic activists. But unpopular with the bulk of average voters.

Give the crazies a chance to scuttle their own ship. Force the candidates who don't believe the insanity (but fake it to win primaries) to choose between alienating the majority of voters, and so lose. Or infuriate the nut cases who now make up what they think of as their base.

The biggest impediment? The Democrats who are too busy bitching that Biden hasn't magically gotten all their dream bills thru the Senate. Or (at least as magically) gotten Manchin to agree to do so. (Naturally they can't grasp that, if Biden and the rest of the Democratic establishment expel Manchin, and Smyrna, from the party, that puts Moscow Mitch back in charge of whether anything that they want even gets a vote there. In some ways they are as detatched from reality as the rwnjs.)

I know it's hard to give up on a good justification narrative that blames everything on the progressive caucus, but it's not that Biden hasn't gotten their dream bills through. It's that unless Biden can get something through, then he's seen as ineffectual in the face of Manchin's holdout. That just reinforces the perception of weakness and also leads to a loss. If you lose either way, better to at least lose while swinging for a knockout rather than turtling.

The Dems aren't losing because the progressives are forcing them into too extreme a position, they are losing because they are unable to pass the president's own goddamned modest, incrementalist agenda.

I know it's hard to give up on a good justification narrative that blames everything on the progressive caucus, but it's not that Biden hasn't gotten their dream bills through. It's that unless Biden can get something through, then he's seen as ineffectual in the face of Manchin's holdout. That just reinforces the perception of weakness and also leads to a loss.

Actually, no. Biden is seen as ineffectual by the progressive caucus. By the bulk of the country, he could easily be pictured as working to do the right thing, but thwarted by the Republicans (especially McConnell). Doesn't matter if you think it's true. It's saleable for the purpose of winning the election this fall. IF, and I know it isn't easy, but if the progressives will quit furnishing headlines about "Democrats in Disarray" and such. Keep the focus on abortion rights, guns, and any other vastly unpopular position the Republican base is pushing them to embrace.

Keep your eyes on the main goal, which is hold onto Congress. It won't get you much that you want in the way of sane bills to improve things. But it will prevent things getting seriously worse. Is it enough? Hell no. But it's the choice we face in the real world at the moment.

Feel free next year to spend time arguing over who would be the best Presidential candidate in 2024. (From what I've seen so far, I'm thinking Buttigeig. But this far before 2008, pretty much nobody had even considered Obama. So, lots of options.) Given what the GOP is likely to serve up, that's definitely winnable.

Those headlines are not coming from progressives. Those headlines are coming from the media and are precipitated by Manchin’s constant grandstanding. The progressives have been team players. They have been focused on the need to do something meaningful in response to the overturning of Roe.

The Dems have a media problem, not a problem with an undisciplined left. Their messaging is weak, ineffective, and reactive, and it offers no counter to the picture of weakness that Manchin paints for his own benefit.

In some ways they are as detatched from reality as the rwnjs.

Environmentalists want climate change legislation, GenZ and Millennials want student debt forgiveness, the Black Caucus wants voting rights codified and law enforcement reform, etc. These are Congressional issues, but Biden is in the unfortunate position of not being able to get the Dems in lockstep (read: getting Manchin and Sinema in line) - a problem the Rs don't typically have.

Cue Will Rogers and herding cats.


Their messaging is weak, ineffective, and reactive,

As far-fetched and harebrained as the amendment idea it might be... is it? It's stunt legislation in one sense, and I pulled from the Declaration and left the "Creator" bits in on purpose, and added "bodily autonomy" out of necessity. But basically, it's the ERA.

When it came to a vote in 2021 all but 4 Rs in the House voted against it. Murkowski and Collins were the only Rs to co-sponsor the bill in the Senate, which never even came to a vote.

This guy voted 'NO' on ERA and Dobbs is the result.

That should be the Dem campaign across the board. Flesh it out with whatever else your campaign is about, but hammer it. Daily. It's short, easy to digest, and gets straight to the point (and even Alito might find it difficult to torture out why "equal" doesn't equal "equal").

If "We" (sorry, Janie!) can't win on that, we're f*cked anyway.

Pete -- no need to be sorry! I just think it's a useful exercise to be aware of which "we" we think we're citing when we use the word. (See all those "we" instances right there?)

I was at a meeting once (maybe 30 people) where a woman made an impassioned speech ("passion" was her big thing) in which she used "we" a dozen times, and if you looked carefully, each time it meant something slightly different.

But one of the things it meant was that she was sweeping me (and everyone else in the room) into her way of looking at things, and her notions of what "we" should do next -- in a way that I felt she had no business doing. In a lot of the instances, I was not part of her "we," and she was trying to dance over or aside from that fact. (I bet nous could do a better job of describing the rhetorical tactics involved.)

*****

On another topic, here's a story and some pictures of my trip to California in April.

I tend to think of the old joke: Lone Ranger, surrounded by hostile natives…

“Well, Tonto, it looks like we’ve had it.”

“What’s this ‘we’, white man?”

Pete -- exactly.

On the other hand, there's a time for joining together, and this is certainly it. Or one of them. But even there, herding cats is nothing compared to herding non-authoritarians like us.

If "we" start acting all top down and regimented like "them," what's the point?

;-)

Us?

I see what you did there.

;-)

*****

Sounds like the CA trip was enchanting! I'll drop a comment over there when I get a chance.

Janie: so lovely to see the story (and the photos) of your trip! What an adventure, and you got a great reward for your adventurousness. And so, vicariously, did we. Please make sure to link part 2 whenever you post it (I don't often check in at BJ), and if you can be bothered I for one would be very interested to hear more about Steve's cooking, like what sort of thing, any particular cuisine, particularly great local ingredients etc.

very interested to hear more about Steve's cooking

Seconded (and wine)!

Also curious about the movie selections.

Pete -- Steve says I should mention the 53 vintage port. And that it wasn't that good, but next time we'll try a 70 Taylor port.

*****

I am chuckling, because this means nothing to me, although in fact the 53 vintage port did taste pretty good. But I'm not much of a drinker -- I came from non-drinking parents (my dad's dad was a violent alcoholic, and though my dad would have a beer now and then, that was about it; and my mother came from Baptist stock, 'nuff said) -- and I had a bad experience with alcohol when I was 18, and wasn't that interested in it after that.

I'll try to get to the movie topic later, and see if Steve will give me a pithy summary about the cooking. (It's French, or French-inspired, but that covers a lot of territory.)

if Steve will give me a pithy summary about the cooking. (It's French, or French-inspired, but that covers a lot of territory.)

As well as dishes, and ingredients, I'm particularly interested in his influences. Here, for people of our sort of age (!) it would probably be Elizabeth David, and maybe Jane Grigson. I'm wondering if an American foodie would know much about them, or maybe is more influenced by e.g. M F K Fisher, Richard Olney, and then Alice Waters et al. I know this level of detail is not of interest to many - feel free to disregard if it's too much!

Ah, the '53! Deliberately obsequious and coquettish, it bedevils with hints of singed clementine and indignant pomegranate. Complex, yet direct, it announces its focused finish with balance and aplomb.

I think I broke my thesaurus.

I wouldn't turn down a port, especially fireside in autumn or winter.


Also, kitchen pics.

Steve's summary of his cooking influences:

Julia Child, Richard Olnay, Mark Miller, Joel Robuchon, Michel Guerard, 2 months at Cordon Bleu, a year cooking at a cajun restaurant in NYC, 7 years owning and operating the Cafe Beaujolais immediately following Margaret Fox, and over 4 dozen meals taken at Michelin starred restaurants in Europe and the United States
and you can add Wolfgang Puck, Paul Bocuse, Rick Bayless and Julie Sahni to the list ... these are only big influences

I don't have any appropriate kitchen pictures -- I'll try to get some next time I visit.

As background, Steve's first wife was French, and he has spent a lot of time in France.

Oh, of course I forgot Julia Child! Mastering the Art of French Cooking was the first cookery book I ever cooked from.

Cor blimey, that sounds like a super impressive CV. And of course, since he was a food professional the list is dominated by top chefs. It all seems very top-end, or fine dining, or whatever you like to call it (apart maybe from the Cajun restaurant in NYC?). For some reason, these days (and for some years now) I have gravitated towards very simple food - great ingredients (when I can get them), with not much done to them - even in restaurants. Not that I was ever a particularly technically accomplished cook - pastry and baking in general have always terrified me and I have kept well clear of them. The change in my preference is probably to do with the move from French cooking to more Italian cooking several years ago (which was influenced by a foodie friend from NYC).

Also, I now absolutely hate cooking from recipes, it's all pretty improvisational. But informed by decades of reading, not to mention having had the luck since childhood to eat in a lot of wonderful restaurants. So there is a reasonable foundation of knowledge (of French and Italian food anyway. And a very little bit of basic Cantonese.)

Wow! Here I am thinking this guy is an amateur. I gotta pay more attention.

And now I really want to see that kitchen!

And now for something completely different.

So much for the rationale of "originalism":

In fact, contrary to Alito’s assertions in Dobbs, three Founders from Virginia — Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry and John Marshall — did not seek charges in a sensational court case from that era in which evidence of an abortion was discovered.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/made-by-history/2022/07/19/1792-case-reveals-that-key-founders-saw-abortion-private-matter/

I have mixed feeling about drones. On one hand, I feel like one would be great fun to play with. (Possibly connected to my lifelong fascination with maps. I can sit and play with Google Earth for hours!) On the other hand, I have concerns about the loss of privacy which will, inevitably I think, accompany their widespread use. Ubiquitous traffic cams are a trifle by comparison.

And then I see something like this video of Half Dome and I'm in awe. And no bloody great (not to mention noisy) helicopter needed to make it.

Gorgeous video of Half Dome, wj. Never got there, probably never will now.

The video is great. But I gotta say, Half Dome is seriously more impressive looking up from the valley floor. The whole Yosemite valley is impressive. But I'm betting that it was Half Dome that sold it as one of the first National Parks.

https://www.newyorker.com/books/under-review/the-study-that-debunks-most-anti-abortion-arguments

Over the past several years, findings from the Turnaway Study have come out in scholarly journals and, on a few occasions, gotten splashy media coverage. Now Foster has published a patiently expository precis of all the findings in a new book, “The Turnaway Study: Ten Years, a Thousand Women*, and the Consequences of Having—or Being Denied—an Abortion.” The over-all impression it leaves is that abortion, far from harming most women, helps them in measurable ways. Moreover, when people assess what will happen in their lives if they have to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term, they are quite often proven right. That might seem like an obvious point, but much of contemporary anti-abortion legislation is predicated on the idea that competent adults can’t really know what’s at stake in deciding whether to bear a child or not. Instead, they must be subjected to waiting periods to think it over (as though they can’t be trusted to have done so already), presented with (often misleading) information about the supposed medical risks and emotional fallout of the procedure, and obliged to look at ultrasounds of the embryo or fetus. And such scans are often framed, with breathtaking disingenuousness, as a right extended to people—what the legal scholar Carol Sanger calls “the right to be persuaded against exercising the right you came in with.”

More evidence that the Anti-Abortion Crisis Pregnancy Counseling spiel is guilt manipulation based in the anti-abortion imaginary rather than in the typical lived experience of people who have had an abortion.

[*The author of the book notes that none of the people in the study indicated that they were trans-men, hence the use of the gendered descriptor (and ducking the excuse that a non-gendered descriptor would give people to dismiss the study as SJW nonsense.]

Anti-Abortion Crisis Pregnancy Counseling spiel is guilt manipulation based in the anti-abortion imaginary rather than in the typical lived experience of people who have had an abortion.

Well it would have to be something like that, wouldn't it? Since there is nothing real to support their position.

The only way that they differ from, for example, the Taliban (or any other reactionary theocrats, or would-be theocrats) is that they don't, yet, acknowledge that they don't really give a damn about kids. Just about keeping women solidly under the thumb of some male.

From the Bangor Daily News right after the decision to pulverize Roe came down:

In the long term, the Supreme Court’s decision will save the lives of countless babies, the Christian Civic League of Maine said in a statement released Friday.
“There is plenty of work still to do in Maine to uphold both the sanctity of human life and the dignity of women,” the Augusta-based nonprofit said. “Until meaningful change can happen in the Legislature, the focus should be on developing ways to support women in crisis by supporting churches, pregnancy centers and adoption agencies.”

The dignity of women indeed, the sanctimonious asshat.

The so-called "Christian" so-called "Civic" League was at the forefront of the campaign to demonize and marginalize gay people in Maine for many years. It's all of a package.

testing

The dignity of women indeed, the sanctimonious asshat.

Couldn't have put it better myself (although I have never used the word asshat - I've only been aware of its existence for the last couple of years!).

Pure anecdata, of course, but I have never met a woman who has had an abortion (and I have met several, some of whom have had more than one) who has expressed the slightest guilt, or regret.

The so-called "Christian" so-called "Civic" League was at the forefront of the campaign to demonize and marginalize gay people in Maine for many years.

Yup. Telling other people what they can do in bed, or with their bodies, is the specialty of all the fundamentalist versions of the monotheistic religions, as far as I can tell.

Yup. Telling other people what they can do in bed, or with their bodies, is the specialty of all the fundamentalist versions of the monotheistic religions, as far as I can tell.

One of the commenters I like over at BJ -- a guy roughly my age, who is never snarky, and always thoughtful -- today mentioned the idea of women just stopping having sex in response to what's going on in this country politically.

I thought, but didn't say, he should be more specific: "stop having sex with men. No need to stop having sex with other women." ;-)

Not everyone's cup of tea, I know.

The Lysistrata gambit! Pro Bono said women should stop sleeping with Rs, but of course, sleeping with Ds can also get you pregnant. Janie's right: it should be women until further notice!

I’ve never actually read it, but I had the impression that it was coolly implied. & good onya!

This next part is gonna be dark, tho, so fair warning:

I don’t want to see where a group that seems kinda okay with 30y.o.s trolling malls for teenagers would go with that.

I haven't read Lysistrata since college and don't remember it very well. But to say that women should stop having sex with men is, I'm afraid to say, probably tantamount to inviting an epidemic of a different kind of problem, the marital/partner version of adults trolling for teenagers at the mall. We're not, as a culture/society, very healthy about sex. To put it mildly. Anyhow, there are plenty of right-wing women for whom these new developments are just dandy. Nothing bad is every going to happen to *them*.

The age at which a person can marry varies by state. The marriage age is generally 18 years, with the exception of Nebraska (19) and Mississippi (21). In addition, all states, except Delaware, allow minors to marry in certain circumstances, such as parental consent, judicial consent, pregnancy, or a combination of these situations. Most states allow minors aged 16 and 17 to marry with parental consent alone. 30 states have set an absolute minimum age by statute, which varies between 13 and 18, while in 20 states there is no statutory minimum age if other legal conditions are met. In states with no set minimum age, the traditional common law minimum age is 14 for boys and 12 for girls – ages which have been confirmed by case law in some states.

14 and 12. In 2022.

To be clear, that’s not a 14yo can marry a 12yo. That’s, a 12yo can marry a 40yo. I know profanity is generally verboten here, but what the fuck???!

Interesting to try to reconcile those age limits with laws about statutory rape, isn't it.

I had occasion to look up that info during the two same-sex marriage campaigns in Maine (2009 and 2012). Was surprised that Massachusetts had one of the youngest ages.

Kids aren't even allowed to quit school at those ages....

From another angle, let's note that before Obergefell, states generally recognized marriages made in each others states, of whatever variety and age, except for same-sex marriages. There was also an almighty mess when crossing state lines for married trans people.

I’m actually only semi-surprised about Mass. After all, it was the landing spot for religious nuts too crazy for Europe. But Mass is also one of the best educated states, although I can’t say I checked the methodology on those stats. And also 1st (I think?) to recognize same sex marriage. Or as I call it: marriage.

One of the commenters I like over at BJ -- a guy roughly my age, who is never snarky, and always thoughtful -- today mentioned the idea of women just stopping having sex in response to what's going on in this country politically.

I certainly understand the sentiment. But let's consider who we are dealing with; what kind of people they are.

Do that, and you realize that this would just lead to a huge increase in rapes. Because, as I expect all of us are aware, rape isn't about sex, it's about power and control. And that's what these people really care about.

before Obergefell, states generally recognized marriages made in each others states, of whatever variety and age, except for same-sex marriages.

Mostly, but not quite. For example, until Loving v. Virginia, if you were a mixed race couple, legally married in another state (as the Lovings were), some states, in addition to not letting you marry, would not recognize your out-of-state marriage either.

Loving was IIRC in 1967. Obergefell was in 2015. As of 2015, 1967 was a long time ago.

Here's some information.

2015 seems like a long time ago.

2015 seems like a long time ago.

Indeed it does. In another age of the world.

Loving was IIRC in 1967. Obergefell was in 2015. As of 2015, 1967 was a long time ago.

Somehow, I think of "a long time ago" as "not within living memory." So something that happened when I was in college doesn't really qualify. After all *I* remember back that far. :-)

And note the Roe was way back in 1973. Yet was overturned as "not representing historical practice."

Do that, and you realize that this would just lead to a huge increase in rapes.

And some conservatives are still quite vocal that they consider 'marital rape' as a contradiction in itself, i.e. refusal by the wife is illegitimate and the husband is only exercising his rights.

The minimum age for marriage in England and Wales was raised to 18 this year. The measure is aimed at preventing forced marriages of girls under 18.

The measure is aimed at preventing forced marriages of girls under 18.

Probably easier to sell as blocking such practices by (evil) immigrants/foreigners. Rather than as something aimed at ignorant (but white) hicks.

This is a travesty.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/jul/20/us-cities-force-residents-pay-thousands-replace-lead-pipes-risk-drinking-toxic-water

And, to be perfectly clear, this travesty is a direct result of Joe Manchin's refusal to sign off on a larger Build Back Better Act.

Joe Manchin thinks it's too expensive to prevent poor children from being poisoned with lead.

And, to be perfectly clear, this travesty is a direct result of Joe Manchin's refusal to sign off on a larger Build Back Better Act.

When I read stories like this one, there's a little voice in the back of my head left over from my days as a state legislature staffer that asks, "Why is this a federal problem? Why isn't it a City of Providence problem or a State of Rhode Island problem?" (The pictures and examples in the story are all taken from a neighborhood in Providence.)

So far as I can tell by poking around the internet for a while, utilities/cities/states are all over the place on whether property owners have to pay. Providence seems to be at one extreme. At the other, Denver Water, down the road from me, committed to make their system lead-free with work starting in Jan 2020, replaces all parts of the service line at one go, and doesn't charge the property owner at all.

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