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Member since: Tue Feb 5, 2013, 04:27 PM
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Betrayed by a Reactionary SCOTUS : Medscape

Archived: https://archive.ph/3Xl6M

The Supreme Court's decisions this past week have made us all — particularly women — more unsafe. The gun decision, especially on the heels of the Uvalde massacre and the rise in mass shootings, is incomprehensible. I'll address that in another post.

But the biggest betrayal for me, and women in this country, is the Supreme Court's overturning Roe v Wade — the focus here. First, these "Justices" should be impeached for lying under oath during their confirmation hearings. (Clarence Thomas at his 1991 confirmation hearings: "I believe the Constitution protects the right to privacy." Now, he clearly is acting as if there is no such right.)

To many of us, it appears that their decision is a profoundly Catholic one and, as such, is violating the First Amendment under the separation of church and state via the establishment clause.

The Supremes are imposing their Christian beliefs on people of all faiths. Not all religions believe that life begins at conception. Jewish and Muslim beliefs prioritize the mother's health. In fact, not only is abortion permitted by Jewish law but it is required to save the life of the mother. A mother's psychological health is also a consideration for Jews. Other religions have their own views, with Buddhism and Hinduism generally being more flexible than conservative Christianity.

In many states, abortion is now prohibited in cases of rape or incest. Even in states that allow it for the maternal health exception, a practical problem is how close to death the woman has to become before this is allowable — or before a physician risks his/her professional life and freedom? Savita Halappanuvar died from sepsis following a miscarriage. Doctors will be reluctant to do a dilation and curettage now, fearing being accused of performing an abortion. How many other women will needlessly die now because of someone else's religious beliefs? Many women will likely die from ectopic pregnancies because hospitals will adopt a wait-and-see approach.

We already have a problem with Catholic restrictions on healthcare throughout the country. There were five states where 40% or more of the acute care beds are Catholic-operated. Between 2016 and 2020, the number of geographic regions where a Catholic facility is the sole community hospital grew from 46 to 52.

It's one thing to say we should want to avoid the need for abortion, but in much of the country there is little to no sex education, and contraceptives are expensive and not readily available. Birth control is not 100% effective and can fail, leading to an unplanned and likely undesired pregnancy.

So if a man is forcibly impregnated win a fertilized ovum would he have to carry it to term?

I'm on a non-natural tangent here, but please think about this.

Let's say that mad scientists have figured out a way to plant a sac into a man's abdomen that tapped into his blood system. The sac would include lots of hormones, some nutrients, and a fertilized human egg. Basically the man became a host for some externally implanted parasite.

Who would perform an operation to remove this foreign object?

There was a sci-fi story from at least 30+ years ago (John Brunner?) that talked about a male astronaut having sex with an alien - thinking that the alien would have to carry the baby. Nope. Whoops - painful birth down that tiny canal!

Women Declare Themselves Corporations to Force Supreme Court to Grant Them Rights as Peopl

Come on people, it's Borowitz

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Millions of American women and girls have declared themselves corporations in order to force the United States Supreme Court to grant them rights as people, legal observers have reported.

Attorneys across the nation indicated that they have been swamped by requests from clients seeking to incorporate as soon as possible.

“The Supreme Court decided in 2010 that corporations are people, so all we want is to be treated like corporations, ” Carol Foyler, who now goes by the corporate name FoylerCo L.L.C., said.

The decision by millions of women to incorporate sent shock waves through the Court’s conservative majority, who reportedly scoured the Constitution in vain for a means to circumvent the ingenious tactic.

Even the normally taciturn Clarence Thomas was moved to issue a rare public statement. “It’s a sad day in America when the nation’s highest court is forced to treat women like people,” he wrote.

"The L-Word Not Used" - emptywheel (lynch)


Many of us are shocked, angry, dismayed by the harrying intimidation Moss and her mother and grandmother endured simply because Moss and her mother were election workers. Some of us have been moved to tears.

But what we’re missing is what Dr. Johnson avoided saying in his care to avoid offending white Americans with ‘performative Blackness’.

What was described by the testimony today was the mobilization of a lynch mob.

Neither, though, were targeted simply for being election workers who were Black in a white-minority county, doing their jobs while not having any authority to change anything about the election.

Hunted down and harassed by a mob because mother Ruby passed her daughter Shaye a mint. Fearful going forward, always looking over their shoulder, because they know these kinds of mobs and how they operate.

White pundits and reporters have and will discuss the terror Trump inflicted on election officials, but they’ve not yet mentioned the specific kind of terror Moss and her family experienced and continue to experience.

The secret lives of mites in the skin of our faces - interesting sexual positions


Their unique gene arrangement also results in the mites' unusual mating habits. Their reproductive organs have moved anteriorly, and males have a penis that protrudes upwards from the front of their body meaning they have to position themselves underneath the female when mating, and copulate as they both cling onto the human hair.

The mites are passed on during birth and are carried by almost every human, with numbers peaking in adults as the pores grow bigger. They measure around 0.3 mm long, are found in the hair follicles on the face and nipples, including the eyelashes, and eat the sebum naturally released by cells in the pores. They become active at night and move between follicles looking to mate.

Dunno. Just thought this interesting for those of us that don't get around much anymore...

The Insurrection they planned for - isn't the insurrection they


The intent of trump was to cause an uprising among citizens protesting his usurpation of power. He was thinking that he could call out the troops because the citizens were being unruly. Turns out his deplorables were the rioters.

(Much good material preceding.)

Taylor thinks Trump purposefully incited the mob of January 6th for that purpose but Thursday’s testimony is far more suggestive of a plan to invoke the act after Pence overturned the election, inciting expected street protests from the people whose votes had just been discarded and whose democracy had just been incinerated. This would have given Trump the excuse he needed to solidify his coup with a classic military intervention.

Trump and his henchmen may very well have known their actions would incite an insurrection. They just planned for a different one than they got. When the mob stormed the Capitol, Trump was left with the choice to call out the National Guard on his own supporters or let them try to overturn the election by force. We all know which path he chose to take.

Police Militarization Gave Us Uvalde - The Atlantic

Archived: https://archive.ph/PuDOB'

I would normally not post something from the RW George Mason Antonin Scalia Law School, but this is incredibly powerful and informative.

The cost of aggressive policing tactics and training can be measured in bodies: Atatiana Jefferson, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and others, I believe, died in part because of a policing culture that sanctions unnecessarily aggressive tactics in everyday policing situations. But there are other consequences. Thoughtful police leaders will tell you that frayed police-community relations—especially with communities of color—have become an impediment to good policing, and the problem is growing. Effective policing always depends on buy-in from the community. Every unnecessarily aggressive policing encounter, every viral video of people begging for their life, causes individuals to withdraw their willingness to aid police. A critical mass of everyday citizens at odds with their police is a disaster for effectiveness and democratic legitimacy.

What does this have to do with Uvalde—an event in which more, not less, aggression was called for? It would be insufficient to chalk up the tragedy at Robb Elementary to bad individual decision making. I think it reveals a hollowness that has always lurked deep within police militarization.

Having served in both, I can tell you that police aren’t the military. The intensity of the training, the resources put into developing unit cohesion, the careful cultivation of competent junior officers, the physical demands, the singular focus on obedience—military training is not simply “tougher” (in some ways) than police training; it is different in kind. This reflects the differing purpose and goals of the two institutions. That’s good; we shouldn’t want police to treat Americans like the military treats America’s enemies, and we shouldn’t train them to do so.

But in our ill-conceived attempt to refashion police into a cadet branch of the military, we have somehow managed to get the worst of both worlds. We have trained a generation of officers that being casually brutal in everyday encounters is acceptable, but these same officers show a disturbing tendency to fall back on jargon about “battlespace management” and “encounter tempo” to explain a slow reaction in the rare circumstance that really does require a rapid, all-out response. Especially in poor communities, the result has been the strange dynamic of “over-policing and under-protection” described by the criminologist David Kennedy, in which police are hypervigilant about petty offenses but unresponsive to more serious criminal activity.

Police militarization, it turns out, is largely swagger, and short on substance. What strikes me as I study the Facebook photo of the Uvalde SWAT team, standing in their tactical gear, is the theatricality of the whole thing. Any thoughtful observer of policing over the past 20 years has come to recognize the increasing childishness of the rhetoric about police militarization generally, and SWAT specifically. The journalist Radley Balko and others have documented police units’ use of military insignia and tough-guy mottos totally unsuited to civilian agencies (examples: “Hunter of men,” “We get up early, to BEAT the crowds,” “Baby Daddy Removal Team,” and “Narcotics: You huff and you puff and we’ll blow your door down”). Police education and training standards are abysmally low. In Texas, more training hours are required to be a hairdresser than a cop. National standards for SWAT training and tactics are essentially nonexistent.

AARP's Billion-Dollar Bounty : KHN

Can't trust anyone anymore.

In September, AARP, the giant organization for older Americans, agreed to promote a burgeoning chain of medical clinics called Oak Street Health, which has opened more than 100 primary care outlets in nearly two dozen states.
Fortune logo

The deal gave Oak Street exclusive rights to use the trusted AARP brand in its marketing — for which the company pays AARP an undisclosed fee.

AARP doesn’t detail how this business relationship works or how companies are vetted to determine they are worthy of the group’s coveted seal of approval. But its financial reports to the IRS show that AARP collects a total of about $1 billion annually in these fees — mostly from health care-related businesses, which are eager to sell their wares to the group’s nearly 38 million dues-paying members. And a paid AARP partnership comes with a lot: AARP promotes its partners in mailings and on its website, and the partners can use the familiar AARP logo for advertisements in magazines, online, or on television. AARP calls the payments “royalties.”

There are reasons for concern about the latest partnership. Less than two months after announcing the AARP deal, Oak Street revealed it was the subject of a Justice Department civil investigation into its marketing tactics, including whether it violated a federal law that imposes penalties for filing false claims for payment to the government. Oak Street has denied wrongdoing and says it is cooperating with the investigation.

Companies like Oak Street, whose funders have included private equity investors, have alarmed progressive Democrats and some health policy analysts, who worry the companies may try to squeeze excessive profits from Medicare with the services they market mainly to people 65 or older. Oak Street hopes it can cut costs by keeping patients healthy and in the process turn a profit, though it has yet to show it can do so.

AARP has stood for decades as the dominant voice for older Americans, though people of any age can join. Members pay $16 a year or less and enjoy discounts on hundreds of items, from cellphones to groceries to hotels. AARP also staffs a busy lobbying shop that influences government policy on a plethora of issues that affect older people, including the future and solvency of Medicare.

Perhaps not as well known: that AARP depends on royalty income to help “serve the needs of those 50-plus through education, programs and advocacy,” said Jason Young, a former AARP senior vice president.

Plants and fungus are every bit as much "life" as animals, but you don't hear their screams

This is such a great piece of thinking that I wanted to promote to its own OP. (It's not mine, but NullTuples).

Plant chlorophyll and mammalian hemoglobin are nearly identical molecules; one uses iron as the central functional atom, the other uses magnesium. One of us found movement via muscles a better route to survive, the other found staying still and using energy from the sun to survive a better route. That there is a balance indicates neither is in any way better.

Going deeper and yet higher in the taxonomic organization structure, meaning even more basic, at the first division of life on Earth:

Archaea, Bacteria, Eukarya - all life on earth uses the same encoding scheme, differing primarily in the ribosomal RNA flavor they use. DNA came from RNA; there's evidence that life on Earth was once RNA based (though considerably simpler than life now), and we eukaryotes keep a reminder of that past inside us with our ribosomal RNA, typically inside mitochondria or plasmids, essentially a symbiotic organism that lives in most of our cells, be we plant or animal. Plants and animals are very nearly the same at this level. Their source code if you will, is written in the same language and simply uses different variations of the details. We simply go about accomplishing the same tasks in slightly different ways.

My point is that life is life. Animals are no more worthy of that designation, nor the reverence it should impart, than plants. Like animals, plants show clear signs of physical distress when harmed and communicate it to each other - but you have to know what to look for, and we are so very human-centric we simply don't notice.

Like plants, we are omnivores (plants need more than just sunlight & water after all, and some of it comes from animal, fungus or bacterial carcasses). We get our nutrition from whatever we can. Does that mean we need to eat meat more than somewhat rarely? No, not at all. In fact we evolved to eat meat - but very little of it. The amount most Americans consume is very bad for both their health and the health of the planet. But we did evolve countless structures to enable us to live off meat and to a lesser degree, plants. Side note, we evolved mechanisms to identify & hopefully eject one way or the other plants we can't live off of, which is most of them. There are comparatively few plants we can live off of. Truth be told, most of our ancestors throughout our history likely ate whatever they could find ranging from foraged plants if they didn't make them sick or die, insects, and scavenged meat. The occasional fresh meat, though it had a large payoff in terms of protein and fats, was also the most dangerous (again, assuming one didn't pick the wrong plants). Our bodies evolved accordingly.

Raising meat under capitalism, where every penny invested must be maximized, is a part of what's killing off our ecosystem. Livestock ranches are akin to small cities of 1000 pound citizens constantly creating methane. Then their excrement creates more methane. The remainder of the excrement tends to contaminate and salt aquifers and waterways, and nitrogen loads rivers leading to unbalanced algae growth (which dies, depletes oxygen & kills off so-called higher life forms like fish & frogs). Methane by the way is 80x - 400x worse of a greenhouse gas than CO2. Then there's the water usage from growing feed to cleaning slaughterhouses; here in the West it's a substantial amount when it's added up, which is why it rarely is added up for people to see.

So yes, eat more plants and less meat. But do it to save all life, please.

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