Reading Notes, News, Politics…

Heather Cox Richardson, December 16, 2021… a mixed bag today… Build Back Better Act has been shelved for the moment, due to the intransigence of Senator Manchin… voting rights has moved to the forefront and here again, Senator Manchin is a stumbling block… i believe Democracy is at stake and voting rights legislation is essential… there is no way to do it without amending the filibuster rule… Manchin is steadfastly against that so far… at the end, a bit about the Urghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, which passed the Senate unanimously… the US pushing back on China for human rights violoations… polysilicon, used to make solar panels, will become scarcer as half the wolrd’s supply comes from Zinjiang from which the Biden administration is preventing all imports unless there is clear proof that slave labor wasn’t part of its production…

What’s Polluting the Air? Not Even the EPA Can Say… how the EPA fails to act even when receiving reports that indicate a huge toxic release problem… i wish i was not surprised…

The Most Detailed Map of Cancer-Causing Industrial Air Pollution in the US

The FDA Just Made Medication Abortions a Whole Lot Easier to Get… a step in the right direction, but, easily reversable by a future administration and:

Yet the change won’t mean a whole lot in much of the country. Nineteen states(https://www.guttmacher.org/state-policy/explore/medication-abortion), including Texas, Mississippi, and Alabama (which recently introduced a “heartbeat bill” similar to Texas’) restrict the use of telemedicine for abortion. People across the South and the Midwest will have to travel to sanctuary states like California or New York for telemedicine appointments and to receive the medication. #abortion

Biden Administration Permanently Lifts Restrictions on Abortion Pills… an alternative take on the abortion pill story…

Manchin and Sinema Are Blocking Everything… it is so depressing… i am hoping that MJ is being overly dramatic, but the available evidence supports the doom and gloom scenario… Manchin and Sinema are currently blocking everything that would help most Democrats in the midterm, and, ultimately, 2024, since a disaster at midterm will prevent them from doing anything to make a case for their continuation in power in 2024…

Congressional Republicans Provide a Way Forward on Supply Chains… it takes pot shots at Democratic efforts but does offer what seem to be reasonable solutions… one thing that puzzles me is why the water transportation industry would favor regulation that makes it harder to expand port facilities and process larger ships?… this seems counterintuitive…

If We Don’t Get Inflation Under Control, It Could Unleash Some Dramatic Consequences

What i read today…

… my reading this morning has been principally around the Supreme Court decision handed down yesterday that allowed Texas’ anti-abortion law, S.B. 8, to remain in effect…

Letters from an American, December 10, 2021, Heather Cox Richardson

This case is about far more than abortion. It is about the federal protection of civil rights in the face of discriminatory state laws. That federal protection has been the key factor in advancing equal rights in America since the 1950s.

The Texas Abortion Decision Protects the Traditional Rule of Law

Hard cases make bad law, and bad decisions make more hard cases. Roe v. Wade was a bad decision that has distorted many areas of our law. The Supreme Court created this monster with Roe, but in the Texas abortion cases decided this morning, it found itself caught between two sides trying to evade or rewrite the rules. On the one side was the Texas legislature: The new Texas abortion law, S.B. 8, is a too-clever-by-half attempt to get around Roe’s distortions by creating its own somewhat-novel enforcement mechanism. On the other side were the abortion clinics and the Justice Department’s lawsuit, both of which treated legal abortion as a constitutional interest so powerful that protecting it required the Court to bulldoze longstanding doctrines limiting the powers of federal courts.

How Narrow is the Pathway the Supreme Court Left for Suits Challenging SB 8 and Other Similar State Laws?

As noted in my last post about today’s Supreme Court ruling in in Whole Woman’s Health v. Jackson, the key question for the future is how close a connection state officials must have to enforcement of the law in question before plaintiffs can potentially bring preenforcement challenges against those officials.

SCOTUS Says State Judges and Court Clerks Can’t Be Sued To Block Enforcement of the Texas Abortion Ban

The Supreme Court today held that Texas judges and court clerks cannot be sued to block enforcement of a state law that prohibits abortion after fetal cardiac activity can be detected. But it said the plaintiffs challenging S.B. 8, which took effect on September 1, can proceed with claims against state medical regulators.

Justice Sotomayor’s Flawed History To Promote The Myth of Judicial Supremacy

The United States did not fight a Civil War over the theory of judicial supremacy. But judicial supremacy was a contributor to the Civil War. Of course, I speak of Dred Scott v. Sandford. Chief Justice Taney recognized a new constitutional right based on substantive due process in order to resolve a controversial social debate by placing it beyond the power of the elected branches. Sound familiar? In Casey, Justice Scalia directly equated Roe and Dred Scott.

SCOTUS Rules Extreme Texas Abortion Ban Will Remain in Effect, Though Abortion Providers Can Sue

Today, in what could at best be considered a mixed ruling for abortion rights, the Supreme Court decided that abortion providers may sue some state officials in federal court over an extreme Texas abortion law. But in a huge blow, the court will also allow the law to remain in effect while the case moves forward.

The Most Blistering Lines from Sotomayor’s Extraordinary Dissent in Today’s Abortion Ruling

In an especially gripping section of the 13-page opinion, Sotomayor wrote that Texas’ brazen challenge to federal law “echoes the philosophy of John C. Calhoun, a virulent defender of the slaveholding South who insisted that States had the right to ‘veto’ or ‘nullify’ any federal law with which they disagreed.”

“The Nation fought a Civil War over that proposition,” she argued. “But Calhoun’s theories were not extinguished.”

… moving on to readings other than news…

Carl Jung on How to Liveyou make the road by walking…1

Your questions are unanswerable because you want to know how one ought to live. One lives as one can. There is no single, definite way for the individual which is prescribed for him or would be the proper one. If that’s what you want you had best join the Catholic Church, where they tell you what’s what. Moreover this way fits in with the average way of mankind in general. But if you want to go your individual way, it is the way you make for yourself, which is never prescribed, which you do not know in advance, and which simply comes into being of itself when you put one foot in front of the other.2


  1. Antonio Machado [return]
  2. Carl Jung, Selected Letters of C.G. Jung, 1909-1961, via Brain Pickings, Maria Popova [return]

Beginning the day…

229.0 lbs

… continuing to wake up between 2 and 3 AM, then fitful sleep until 4 AM, then up and get the day started…

… H’s doctor appointment went well, professional confirmation that they have nothing to worry about…

… watched 12 Dates of Christmas last night… pretty much the same concept as Groundhog Day, except it’s Christmas and the woman is the not very nice person who needs to learn a thing or two…

… HCR this morning is all about a Supreme Court decision handed down yesterday on Texas S. B. 8… it denied, for the most part, federal power to bring lawsuits against state-court judges and clerks… HCR makes the case that this will set federal efforts to protect civil rights back… she warns that the implications are ominous… an article in the National Review makes the case that it was a proper decision… an article in Reason Magazine, while being more neutral in it’s reporting, is in line with the National Review article… articles in Mother Jones are supportive of the dessent of Justice Sotomayor… in general, the ruling is viewed as a narrow win for right-to-an-abortion advocates, but too narrow to provide any good prospect of relief… we apparently still await a private individual to come forward and lodge a lawsuit under the S. B. 8 to get to a case that could determine the law’s constitutionality or lack thereof…

… it is ten days till we set out for Florida and Christmas with M…

… i am feeling like i have finally assembled a set of news sources that give me a balanced view of major news stories…

Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization

… i read two articles this AM on this case before the Supreme Court:

… there will be many more articles written on the subject in the next few days… then we wait for three months to find out how much the court will unwind Roe v. Wade…

… having fathered a child that my then wife and i decided to abort due to the horrid state of our relationship, i can tell you that the emotional issues run deep and there is trauma no matter what you do… a pro life friend once said to me that they were pretty sure abortion was violence… so is carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term… it’s violence of a different sort… a civil society will have many options for dealing with the situation… i am pretty sure one of them should be abortion…

First Thoughts

231.2

…HCR meter, depressing… the white patriarchy is winning… what can we do about it?… voting rights legislation would help… abortion rights legislation would help… none of that seems set to happen…

… i keep thinking about M… i keep thinking that they generally only watch Fox news and that because of that they have a very narrow view of the situation… they are only being told bits and pieces of the story with an overall picture painted that just isn’t what anyone would call truth… to some degree all news outlets offer up partial truths… they may be very factual in the stories they write, but story selection is another matter… there is no way to have an intelligent conversation with anyone about social and political issues if both parties aren’t taking in multiple sources of information… and who has time?… i barely have time and i have no job in the traditional sense… i will, rather than having political conversations, challenge M to get their information more broadly… then maybe we can have a conversation…

… i resent all this crap going on at this time in my life… but who gets to choose the crap that may or may not be going on during their lifetimes… what i am tasked with coping with pales in comparison to what many around the globe cope with…

… oral arguments on a case that challenges Roe v. Wade were heard by the Supreme Court yesterday… it seems likely that the law in question will be allowed to stand and that the standard for when the right to an abortion kicks in will become “undue burden” as opposed to setting the age of viability as the current court decisions in place do… so, undue burden will become that point at which a majority of women will recognize they are pregnant and are able to abort should they choose… in the case before the court, this rolls fetal age back to fifteen weeks, a little over three months… this is the point by which most women in the state of (Mississippi?, Missouri?) obtain an abortion… honestly, if this is the compromise we reach and even this Supreme Court upholds the right to an abortion, then i think we are as well off on the issue as we will be under the current juridical situation…

… it is still possible that Roe v. Wade will be completely undone, but it doesn’t sound like it to me… and then a string of cases from states across the country will refine the new conditions and the law will be settled at this level…

First Thoughts

… R and J go back to the West Coast… just M and me for the next week… then, M will be on her own… that will be a difficult place for her i am guessing…

… went to the beach to have dinner… watched the sunset…

… weighed in, 227.0 lbs… good news… was a little worried that i have gained in the past week…

… the HCR meter pointing decidedly down… a discussion of the Texas fetal heartbeat abortion law… a discussion about how similar laws could undermine civil rights… the whole situation awful…

… J up… i thought i heard M too…

First Thoughts

… more drinking last night… not as bad as the other night…

… a dream about LS last night… a dream about toying with the idea of an affair with them… we both wanted it… i was resisting it because i was married… i was resisting it because i knew it would get complicated…

… having some political conversations with M… at least they don’t get really angry… they are firmly in the Fox silo though… i suppose i look like i am firmly in the MSNBC silo to them… important to work with facts… M is possibly fungible on their conservativism… R and J stayed largely out of it…

… hauled most of D’s stuff to Goodwill… some more today…

… R is not sure he wants the Rolex watch either…

… we uncovered another camera… a pretty fancy for its time Minolta… google searches determine that none of the equipment is particularly valuable presently and that the lenses are outperformed by today’s lenses though current lenses are not built as well… just finished reading a review that claims the Maxxum is one of the best film cameras ever made… that is not necessarily concurred with by other reviewers… of the cameras i have inherited, the two film cameras are most interesting and perhaps i will find some film and use them to whatever effect they are capable of…

… i am sitting here feeling very warm…

HCR meeter slightly downward to slightly upward… a discussion of the history of anti-abortion politics that began when Nixon wanted the Catholic vote which normally went Democratic… abortion was made an issue to divide that constituency and win elections… she points out that the country is fairly unified on the issue and wants Roe V. Wade to stand… that it is a minority driving it as a wedge issue that wins elections… she suggests that there will be considerable blowback around the Texan anti-abortion legislation passed yesterday… let’s hope so… i, for one, will abandon any ideas i had about traveling to Texas until they undo the legislation insanity they have recently embarked on…

First Thoughts

… in bed at 9:30, up at 4:30, about 7 hours… not bad, woke up once…

… yesterday we bagged up all D’s clothing and sorted through their things… each of us taking what fit, what we wanted, which in my case is not much as little fit and D’s tastes were more conservative than mine… R got sad and had to go off by themselves for a while… i found it more interesting than sad… D had a lot of clothes… two big closets… and everything was new or showed negligible amounts of wear… i wear things pretty much till they wear out… i have two or three pairs of pants, maybe four… D had at least 20 pairs of jeans, two or three times that amount of shirts, a number of belts equal to the number of jeans… some jeans had their particular belts installed in the loops, ready to be put on… today we haul it all off to Good Will…

… lots of texting with H… big rains in Beacon… the remnants of Ida passing through… H has been experiencing many frustrations since i left and said they are depressed… they are depressed a lot lately it seems to me… i hope it lifts…

HCR meter pointing hard down… about laws being signed into existence in Texas that will likely make it impossible for women to get an abortion and will set up “vigilante” citizens as the enforcers… what could go wrong with that?… another law legalizes concealed carry of weapons without a permit… another law limits voting rights and permits partisan patrolling of voting stations where voters can now be intimidated by gun toting zealots… what could go wrong with that?… even worse, the Supreme court has refused to knock down these strategies… has refused to even hear arguments on them… has refused even to issue justice opinions on them… they are largely being carried out on the “shadow” docket… so now we have another thing the Biden/Harris administration must deal with in the next year and two months… we are a country in decline, and radical conservatives are a circling band of hyenas… i am thinking i will boycot Texas unless sanity gets restored there…

05 About Abortion Rights

Middlebury College economist Caitlin Knowles Myers projects that overturning Roe might reduce the annual number of abortions by about 14 percent. “A post-Roe United States isn’t one in which abortion isn’t legal at all,” Myers told The New York Times. “It’s one in which there’s tremendous inequality in abortion access.”1

… having just been thinking about atrocities and the atrocious, i encounter this article and wonder, why are these “atrocities” so important to stop, and others not?… the same Christians so adamant about abortion are pro Israel in spite of its atrocious treatment of Palestinians… the same Christians many decades ago lynched black men and women(?)… there is something unique about the unborn child?… i suspect it is a useful political issue for rallying the faithful as well as a means of oppression of women, especially women of color…

… pro choice advocates are resigning themselves to further restriction of abortion after the Supreme Court agreed to hear a case out of Mississippi…

… we are not logical animals… we are primal and political animals… the ability to reason only means we can work out a defense for atrocities and the atrocious…