Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Pelosi got communion at the Vatican. Now what? – HotAir

What does that mean? Well… not anywhere near as much as it seems:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi received communion while attending mass at the Vatican in Rome, despite the fact the archbishop in San Francisco said she would be denied the sacrament because of her views on abortion.

Ms Pelosi, who is a devout Catholic, received the sacrament at a mass spoken by Pope Francis at St Peter’s Basillica on Wednesday. The mass was done for the feast of St Peter and St Paul.

The Pope does not give communion during such ceremonies and anyone who wishes to take communion simply has to approach one of the priests at the basillica. [sic]

Exactly. Recall what Cordileone actually wrote in his edict. He didn’t order priests to deny Pelosi the Eucharist, at least not explicitly. He did write that she was “not to be admitted to Holy Communion,” but never explained how that would work. The old model of small neighborhood churches where priests exclusively distribute the Eucharist and know everyone at the altar rail are long gone. In most Catholic churches, which now tend to be larger and serve a wider community, lay people distribute communion along with the priests, with no authority to deny it to anyone who presents themselves. The edict was meant as a directive to Pelosi, to instruct her not to present herself for communion, especially in churches under Cordileone’s authority.

via hotair.com

House Leader Pelosi is a piece of work. In addition to being such an exemplary advocate of abortion, she has some sharp elbows and is not afraid to use them, even against little girls. She acts like Catholic doctrine is just a big joke and she better hope she's right.

June 29, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Body odour: You are more likely to be friends with someone who smells like you | New Scientist

People with similar body odours are more likely to “click” and become instant friends, according to several experiments.

When we first meet other people, we sometimes experience an “immediate strong click that makes us feel as if we have already been good friends for years”, says Inbal Ravreby at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel.

She wondered if this may have something to do with body odour, because previous research has found that we subconsciously sniff each other on meeting – for example, by lifting our hand to our nose after shaking someone’s hand.

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Ravreby and her colleagues recruited 20 pairs of same-sex, non-romantic friends – half female and half male – who said they clicked straight away on first meeting.

An electronic nose – a device that senses the chemical components of odours – was used to sniff T-shirts that had been worn by each of the participants. The nose found that body odour was more similar between the friend pairs than between random pairs that were formed by shuffling the participants.

A group of 25 independent adults who sniffed the participants’ T-shirts also reported that the friend pairs smelled more alike than random pairs did.

via www.newscientist.com

Maybe this could be incorporated into dating websites.

June 28, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 27, 2022

A Welcome, a Reintroduction, and an Update on Ukraine

via www.youtube.com

June 27, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

After Roe v. Wade ruling, liberals slam late Justice Ruth Baden Ginsburg

Some liberals are blaming the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg after the court overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade case that federally protected a woman’s right to an abortion on Friday.

Ginsburg notoriously decided to not retire during the Obama administration when she could have been replaced with a liberal justice, only to die at the age of 87 in September 2020 during the Trump administration.

She was replaced by Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who was one of three conservative justices appointed by former President Donald Trump — all three of whom were among the six justices who voted in favor of overturning the half-century-old decision.

If she had retired and been replaced by a liberal justice, the decision to overturn Roe would likely still have passed in a 5-4 vote.

Although Ginsburg was a staunch advocate for women’s constitutional right to an abortion, she was critical of how Roe v. Wade established that right.

Outraged, many liberals took to social media to point their fingers at her for Friday’s decision.

via nypost.com

We think we've beaten the succession problem in the US but we obviously haven't. SCOTUS justices should have a mandatory retirement age. Reportedly towards the end RBG wasn't writing her opinions or reading them either. Who knows. But lots of judges are way too old to do their jobs.

June 27, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

GOP Rep. Mayra Flores accuses Speaker Nancy Pelosi of 'pushing' daughter during photo op

A newly elected GOP congresswoman accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of “pushing” her young daughter during a photo op at her swearing-in ceremony last week.

Rep. Mayra Flores of Texas made the accusation after a video posted on social media showed her posing with Pelosi (D-Calif.) and her family at the ceremony — with conservative commentators saying the speaker “elbowed” Flores’ daughter.

“No child should be pushed to the side for a photo op. PERIOD!!” Flores captioned a retweet of the video.

“I am so proud of my strong, beautiful daughter for not allowing this to faze her,” she said. “She continued to smile and pose for the picture like a Queen.”

The video shows Pelosi, standing next to Flores’ daughter, as she waves over the family’s pastor. Pelosi then looks at the girl and extends her elbow at the same point that the child moves over.

via nypost.com

Watch it yourself before it gets banned.

June 27, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Most agree: No more ‘Zuckerbucks’ | Washington Examiner

Sky-high majorities of voters said no to having “government offices that oversee elections be allowed to accept funding for their operations from private individuals and groups such as corporations and political organizations.”

In the survey from the Foundation for Government Accountability’s Center for Excellence in Polling, 80% of Republicans, 85% of Democrats, and 83% of independents opposed outside funding like that in the so-called Zuckerbucks scandal.

Majorities also backed extra ballot security. Overall:

  • Increased election security was backed by 79%.
  • Having security accompany ballot movement was supported by 73%.
  • Election integrity and security were important to 73%.
  • More than 6-in-10 voters would support “requiring ballot drop boxes to be securely monitored and recorded by video surveillance.”

via www.washingtonexaminer.com

June 27, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Californians start to reject progressive policies—but not fast enough

Whatever the electoral outcome, California is gradually changing. Gov. Newsom has promised a whole new court system to deal with mentally ill homeless people, while Bass has called for a new psychiatric hospital — and FEMA involvement — in sheltering LA’s 44,000 homeless people.

California’s cities need thousands more police officers and beds in shelters, rehab clinics and mental hospitals. It will take years to solve its problems. But, if Gascon is recalled, and Caruso is elected, California will get new leaders who at least recognize them. 

Michael Shellenberger came in third as an independent candidate in California’s June 7 gubernatorial primary election and is the author of “San Fransicko: Why Progressives Ruin Cities.

via nypost.com

June 27, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Russian Forces Push to Extend Gains as G-7 Leaders Promise More Aid to Ukraine - WSJ

Russian forces are pressing to expand recent gains in eastern Ukraine, seeking to surround the last major city in the eastern Luhansk region still under Kyiv’s control as Group of Seven leaders meet in Germany.

Aided by artillery and airstrikes, Russian troops are advancing from the south to blockade the city of Lysychansk, which abuts the recently seized Severodonetsk, Ukrainian officials said. The governor of Luhansk again asked civilians to evacuate Lysychansk.

The plodding yet persistent Russian advance adds to pressure on Western leaders meeting at two summits this week to discuss how to support Ukraine and punish Russia.

via www.wsj.com

Luke is currently in Vilnius, along with lots of Russians and Belarusians, so much so that apartment rentals were hard to find. This war is looking more and more like WWI.2. The Left and Right in the US seem to be gravitating toward the anti-war position and this will be especially true if DJT is our next president presumably.

June 27, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Biden's Sex Police - by Emily Yoffe - Common Sense

The Obama administration set out to change campus culture, and it did. But in doing so, it undermined women, demonized men, and diverted vast resources away from education. Under rules promulgated by Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education under Trump, many of these policies were rolled back. The Biden administration now plans to restore much of this. 

Male college students (the accusers were almost always female, the accused male) were subjected to quasi-criminal proceedings on campus in which many were never told explicitly what they had done wrong and were unable to mount a defense. An adverse finding could end an education and foreclose many career possibilities. 

via www.commonsense.news

I don't like the sound of the Sex Police. I recall The Police and the Sex Pistols from the '80s, but the Sex Police sounds different.

June 27, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Post-Roe NPR poll: Dems surge to seven-point lead on generic ballot – HotAir

My God. The backlash is real. The red tsunami has become a red kiddie pool!

That’s what NPR would have you believe, at least.

This data is noteworthy but it’s dishonestly presented to imply a much bigger impact from the Dobbs ruling than really exists.

via hotair.com

There will be a back-lashlette.

June 27, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Public OVERWHELMINGLY Rejects Roe Decision | Breaking Points with Krystal and Saagar

via www.youtube.com

June 27, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Project Veritas: "We Expose Corruption, Lies and Abuse"

via www.youtube.com

June 27, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

State Attorney General Suggests Considering Applicants' Ideological Viewpoints in Denying Carry Licenses

Friday, the day after the New York State Rifle & Pistol Ass'n v. Bruen Supreme Court decision, the California Attorney General wrote a letter to California law enforcement and government lawyers, expressing "the Attorney General's view that the Court's decision renders California's 'good cause' standard to secure a permit to carry a concealed weapon in most public places unconstitutional." California thus seems ready to promptly shift to a fundamentally shall-issue regime, in which pretty much all law-abiding adults can get licenses to carry concealed weapons. Nor will this require legislative action, I think; California already has a may-issue regime in place for licensing, so—as the AG's office notes—licensing authorities ("sheriffs and chiefs of police") can just use that regime but essentially without applying a good-cause requirement.

But the AG's office concludes that the existing statutory requirement "that a public-carry license applicant provide proof of 'good moral character' remains constitutional," and that this requirement isn't limited to disqualifying felons, certain violent misdemeanants, and the like. And in particular the AG's office suggests that people who hold certain ideological viewpoints should be disqualified:

via reason.com

Well this is alarming.

June 27, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

America Is More Fragile Than the Left Understands › American Greatness

This generation in its arrogance tested fate. It felt itself smarter and morally superior to its betters of the past. It lost that wager and now we the public are paying for its foolishness. To destroy America as we have always known it, there was far less necessary to ruin than our elite believed.

Like a stunned adolescent whose reckless incompetence totaled the family car, the Left seems shocked that America proved so fragile after all.

via amgreatness.com

Another jeremiad from VDH. What can one do except hope it's not quite as bad as he says.

June 27, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, June 26, 2022

The leak, the threats, the violence — reaction to Roe is dark day for nation

The Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson is a victory for the rule of law.

I’m not talking so much about the opinion itself. I’m talking about the Supreme Court majority’s demonstration that it will do what it thinks is right despite unprecedented pressure from the media, from Democrats in Congress, from “activist” groups and even from angry mobs and attempted assassins who show up at their homes.

This is a big deal. When, as reported by Jan Crawford, a coordinated bullying campaign flipped Chief Justice John Roberts’ position in NFIB v. Sebelius, the ObamaCare case from 2012, many observers, especially on the right, lost faith in the court’s independence. And the perception that the court could be bullied, naturally, was a guarantee that people would try bullying it again.

And they did, in spades. Activist groups sent mobs to protest at the homes of justices expected to vote to overturn Roe, even though that sort of pressure on federal judges is a crime. (Unsurprisingly, Attorney General Merrick Garland’s Department of Justice appears to have done nothing.) In an unprecedented breach of confidentiality, an insider at the court — we still don’t know who, for some reason — leaked a draft opinion that became a rallying point for Democrats and the left.

via nypost.com

It's true. The Five held the line. Actually, it was more of a quarterback sack. The Chief at least did not get in anybody's way.

June 26, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

This be perverse – cancelling Philip Larkin is political activism, not education - CapX

Philip Larkin’s cancellation by the OCR exam board is as predictable as it is wrong. Predictable, because ‘England’s other poet Laureate’ was both a supporter of Margaret Thatcher and well known for his ‘problematic’ views on women and minorities. Wrong because any decision to remove authors from the GCSE English Literature syllabus should be done on literary merit. There may be many reasons for replacing Larkin’s An Arundel Tomb with Flirtation by Rita Dove, but nobody except the most swivel-eyed social justice warrior could say the latter is the better poem. This is cultural vandalism, and the losers in this campaign to extend the culture wars into every corner of every classroom are the children denied the opportunity of studying a work of genius. 

Other poems to be edited out include those by Thomas Hardy, Edward Thomas, William Blake, Wilfred Owen, Seamus Heaney, John Keats, and Gerard Manley Hopkins. In come inferior replacements by Fatimah Asghar, Martin Carter, Caleb Femi and Ilya Kaminsky. Some of the choices deserve their place in the new anthology, including Langston Hughes and the highly skilled and provocative Raymond Antrobus. But this ‘refreshing’ of the list of authors is censorship – political activism motivated by the misplaced idea that pupils can only ‘relate’ to writers from the same social, ethnic or other category as themselves. It is the centering of protected characteristics in the classroom, crowding out the nuances of life lived, and life yet to be lived, in order to keep people (including the writers themselves) in neat, politically constructed pigeonholes. 

via capx.co

Predictable, wrong, sad. It would take a Philip Larkin to come up with the words to describe it adequately.

June 26, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, June 25, 2022

American Division: A Conversation with David French (Episode #285)

via www.youtube.com

Worth listening to.

June 25, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Q3 A Critical Turning Point: Fed Reversal, Recession, More Inflation, Weaker Dollar | Luke Gromen

via www.youtube.com

Luke Gromen is pretty good, I think. Other guys, I'm less sure.

June 25, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Op-Ed: Ending Roe is a pure exercise of Republican power, wielded to reduce women's freedom and equality

There is a desire to think that law exists apart from the identity and ideology of the justices. But that is a myth when it comes to the Supreme Court. Its decisions always have been and always will be a product of the identity of those on the bench. For example, from the 1890s until 1936, the court had a very conservative majority and declared unconstitutional over 200 federal, state, and local laws protecting workers and consumers. Only once in American history, during the Warren Court, from 1954-1969, and especially from 1962-1969, was there a liberal majority on the high court and its decisions were progressive in a way never otherwise seen in American history.

via www.msn.com

Presumably it is only justices that engage in this sort of motivated reasoning, and not deans of law schools. Thus everything the dean says about the solely ideological origins of the Dobbs opinion and the dire fate which awaits us, should be taken at face value.

June 25, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Carson v. Makin Is a Victory for Religious Liberty | City Journal

That Carson was not groundbreaking does not mean that it is not a landmark decision. On the contrary, the ruling represents the culmination of a battle for the equal treatment of faith-based schools that stretches back to the first half of the nineteenth century, when Catholic bishops began to demand public funds for Catholic schools on equality grounds, since public schools at the time were functionally Protestant and hostile to Catholic children. Those demands largely fell on deaf ears, and later, courts—including the Supreme Court—took a hard line against aid to children attending faith-based schools, invalidating on Establishment Clause grounds even programs providing modest financial benefits.

Beginning in the 1980s, the Supreme Court gradually began to embrace the view that government could include faith-based schools in religion-neutral public-benefit programs. When I first challenged the exclusion of religious schools from the Maine program ultimately invalidated in Carson (along with colleagues at the Institute for Justice, which represented the plaintiffs in Carson), it wasn’t clear whether the Constitution even permitted states to include religious schools in choice programs, let alone whether it required them to do so. In 2002, in Zelman v. Simmons-Harris, the Court finally answered that first question in the affirmative, holding that the Establishment Clause does not preclude faith-based schools from being included among the range of options available to students participating in a private-choice program.

via www.city-journal.org

Amen.

June 25, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Goat accidentally neutralises several invaders in Zaporizhzhia Oblast | Ukrayinska Pravda

A nanny goat has injured several Russian servicemen by triggering their tripwires with pinned grenades in the village of Kinski Rozdory in Zaporizhzhia Oblast.

Ukraine’s Chief Intelligence Directorate has shared a curious incident that happened at a local hospital.

A total of 40 invaders have been stationed at the medical institution in Kinski Rozdory.

The Russian military installed a "circular defence" and placed tripwires around the perimeter of the hospital.

The aggressors regretted this decision after a goat from a neighbouring farm decided to pay a visit to the hospital.

As the frightened animal moved chaotically around the area, she accidentally "disposed of" several grenades.

via www.pravda.com.ua

That's a great goat.

June 25, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Custer Lost but No One Really Won at the Little Big Horn

On June 25, 1876, a village of some five thousand Lakotas and Cheyennes camped on the Greasy Grass River (today’s Little Big Horn) was famously attacked by George Armstrong Custer and his vaunted Seventh Cavalry. The Indians were followers of the powerful Húnkpapa holy man Sitting Bull, and, like their leader, most of them wanted nothing to do with white men. They simply wanted to be left alone, to live separate from the Euro-Americans who’d been steadily encroaching and trespassing upon Lakota lands for decades.

With shouts of “Hóka hé!” (Come on!) and “The Earth is all that lasts!” the Oglala war chief Crazy Horse and other Indian leaders rapidly gathered their warriors and galloped off to defend their families. And because Custer had unwisely divided his regiment into three battalions, more than a thousand Lakota and Cheyenne fighting men were able to strike these separated detachments individually. On a grassy ridge overlooking the Greasy Grass, the warriors completely overwhelmed Custer and some two hundred troopers of the Seventh. The Indians’ stunning victory was soon dubbed “Custer’s Last Stand.”

via www.thedailybeast.com

Family legend has it that my great grandfather, on my maternal grandmother's side, was a sergeant in the US Cavalry. But he operated out of Oregon, and was no where near Custer's Last Stand, which was in Montana.

June 25, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Meta bans staff from open discussion of Roe v. Wade decision and is deleting internal messages that mention abortion: report

Meta has warned employees not to discuss the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade on its internal system and deleting messages that do so, The New York Times reported.

Managers cited a policy that put "strong guardrails around social, political and sensitive conversations" in the workplace, according to company insiders, the newspaper reported.

Ambroos Vaes, a Meta software engineer, said in a post on LinkedIn he was disappointed that Meta was not allowing the topic to be discussed. "On our internal Workplace platform, moderators swiftly remove posts or comments mentioning abortion."

Vaes added: "The 'respectful' communications policy that was put in place explicitly disallows it. Limited discussion can only happen in groups of up to 20 employees who follow a set playbook, but not out in the open."

via www.yahoo.com

Interesting.

June 25, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Mr. Happy Face, a Chihuahua Mix With a Mohawk, Crowned World’s Ugliest Dog – DNyuz

Out of a field that included a “hairless mutant” with no teeth and a crooked face, a creature that resembled “a hyena or mandrill baboon,” and a canine with a “gorilla-looking head,” a Chihuahua mix named Mr. Happy Face emerged on Friday as the foulest of them all, winner of the 2022 World’s Ugliest Dog contest.

Mr. Happy Face, who once lived in abusive and neglectful conditions with a hoarder, has tumors and neurological issues, requires a diaper, struggles to stand upright or walk, and holds his head askew.

via dnyuz.com

June 25, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Law Firm That Got Tired of Winning - WSJ

This time around, we received a very different message from our law firm. Having just secured a landmark decision vindicating our clients’ constitutional Second Amendment rights in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, we were presented with a stark choice—withdraw from representing them or withdraw from the firm. There was only one choice: We couldn’t abandon our clients simply because their positions are unpopular in some circles.

Some may find this notion strange or quaint. Many businesses drop clients or change suppliers as convenience dictates. To others, the firm’s decision will seem like one more instance of acceding to the demands of the woke. But law firms aren’t supposed to operate like ordinary businesses. Lawyers owe a duty of loyalty to their clients.

via www.wsj.com

The legal profession is bifurcating and that can't be a good sign. Law schools will have to do the same unless this trend changes, and it doesn't seem to be doing that.

June 25, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

How Barack Obama's Lunch with Ruth Bader Ginsburg Led to Roe v. Wade Getting Overturned | National Review

Today’s decision was 6–3, but in his concurrence, Chief Justice John Roberts seemed significantly less enthusiastic about overturning Roe. It is more than fair to wonder if Roberts would have concurred with Thomas, Alito, and the rest if he was the deciding vote, and the other justices split four to four. In that scenario, it is likely Roberts would have attempted to find some narrowly tailored middle path.

In other words, Roe v. Wade probably wouldn’t have been overturned if Obama’s lunch with Ginsburg had convinced her to retire.

via www.nationalreview.com

One wonders why RBG decided not to retire.

June 25, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

I have very complicated feelings about Donald Trump right now | Washington Examiner

Trump didn’t simply tarnish the GOP brand in certain circles — that’s a very temporary thing, and Republicans of all stripes had done plenty to tarnish the brand on their own. Trump habituated Republicans and conservatives into conspiracy-theorizing, into lib-owning as the highest undertaking, and into defending corruption and abuse of power.

Yet Trump brought about the end of Roe. That is something every prior Republican decidedly couldn’t do or refused to do.

The majority in Roe included five Republican appointees. The majority in 1992 upholding Roe in Planned Parenthood v. Casey included five Republican appointees. Pro-life voters were told endlessly to elect Republican presidents and senators in order to overturn Roe, and again and again, after Souters and O'Connors and Kennedys, this proved folly. Even George W. Bush, the closest thing to a religious Right president, didn’t give us two reliable votes against Roe.

It took, of all people, Trump to give us a majority more wedded to the Constitution than to abortion.

via www.washingtonexaminer.com

I call this a pretty brave column. Timothy Carney.

I remember arguing vociferously against the nomination of David Souter with an important WH official. Alas, I went unheeded, as was often the case. I have since enjoyed some of his pronouncements from retirement, however. I also opposed Justice Kennedy, who was obviously a squish; a nice man, but not the crispest chip in the bag. I did not have the chance to oppose the Lady of Rattlesnake Gulch, bless her heart. I did hear Nina Totenberg lamenting the passage of these dear old Conservatives from the public stage this morning. Originalism and the Federalist Society -- ideas really do have consequences it seems, and so do elections.

June 25, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Funerals in Lviv Show Growing Toll of Ukraine’s War - The New York Times

LVIV, Ukraine — Artemiy Dymyd’s closest friends unwrapped his parachute and spread it gently over his grave. The red, silky material swaddled his coffin as it was lowered down.

The men, many soldiers themselves, covered the freshly dug hole with dirt. The first shovelfuls landed with a thud.

The funeral for Mr. Dymyd, a marine killed in action, was the first funeral of the day in Lviv, a western city in Ukraine where residents have seen a relentless stream of their sons killed in the war with Russia. By Tuesday’s end, three other freshly dug graves near Mr. Dymyd’s would also be filled with young soldiers who had died in battle for the country’s east, hundreds of miles away.

via www.nytimes.com

H/t LGS.

June 25, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Conservatives Already Preparing for Post-Biden Presidential Transition | RealClearPolitics

Conservatives are measuring the drapes in the Oval Office. And in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. Less than halfway through Joe Biden’s first term, rightward-leaning political players have plans for making each and every administrative agency in the entire federal government their own.

The Heritage Foundation is betting that President Biden won’t be reelected – and that even if Biden doesn’t run again his successor will not be a Democrat. For months, the veritable conservative think tank has been designing a ready-to-go agenda for a future Republican White House, detailing everything from what policies a Republican administration ought to pursue to which staffers they should hire.

While certainly proactive, especially this early on, such blueprints are not new. What is unique is the coalition that Heritage has built and RealClearPolitics is first to report: a broad alliance of nearly two dozen major organizations, spanning the conservative universe and working in concert to prepare the next GOP president to begin undoing the Biden legacy “on hour one, day one.”

The blueprints are the product of what Heritage calls the “2025 Presidential Transition Project.” The coalition: “the Advisory Board.” The overarching goal: “cleaning up the devastation caused by four years of Joe Biden’s rule.”

via www.realclearpolitics.com

If you're in your 30's, conservative or libertarian, and can stand the fearsome heat and humidity, you should be sending your resume to Heritage, I reckon. And get involved with one of the organizations listed.

June 25, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Biden administration quietly erasing immigration court caseload: 'De facto amnesty' | Washington Examiner

“Congress hasn’t passed it, but [Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro] Mayorkas’s chief lawyer at ICE is telling all prosecutors to dismiss cases. Once it’s dismissed, they’re not required to check in with you anymore," said the ICE federal prosecutor who spoke with the Washington Examiner on the condition of anonymity.

Since President Joe Biden took office, the number of noncitizens encountered attempting to enter the country illegally has soared, surpassing 2.75 million encounters as of last month. In that time, U.S. border officials took custody of and released into the United States 1,049,532 people, according to Justice Department court documents filed over the past year. Those released by the Border Patrol are told to show up to court about their immigration violations, an indicator of how many of the 2 million backlogged cases are from the Biden administration and how many others are being dismissed.

via www.washingtonexaminer.com

Does anybody know what the actual number is? Surely at least one illegal immigrant must enter the US for every one that is "encountered" by Homeland Security. I would guess more.

June 25, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Justice Kavanaugh on the Right to Travel to Get an Abortion

This is a tremendously important question, as Ilya's and my posts noted in May. Justice Kavanaugh's concurrence in Dobbs today expressly noted:

[A]s I see it, some of the other abortion-related legal questions raised by today's decision are not especially difficult as a constitutional matter. For example, may a State bar a resident of that State from traveling to another State to obtain an abortion? In my view, the answer is no based on the constitutional right to interstate travel.

I expect this is fairly important because I assume that Chief Justice Roberts and the three dissenters (Justices Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan) and Justice Jackson, who will replace Justice Breyer, would likely go along with Kavanaugh on this. (Indeed, some of the other Justices in the majority might, too.) It's not certain, of course, especially as to Roberts; still, Kavanaugh's pronouncement here strikes me as highly significant.

And this also suggests that laws criminalizing aiding a woman going out of state to get an abortion would likely be unconstitutional, too, since they would substantially burden the woman's right to travel (just as laws restricting contributions to a political organization substantially burden the organization's right to speak). That's important because there might well be states in which the majority of the public balks at criminally punishing the woman who is getting an abortion, but is willing to punish those who aid her (as well as those who perform the abortion).

via reason.com

Eugene Volokh.

June 25, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Amber Heard, the ACLU, and the Future of Free Speech

"I think there have been better moments for freedom of speech when it comes to the culture," says FIRE's president, Greg Lukianoff. "When it comes to the law, the law is about as good as it's ever been. But when it comes to the culture, our argument is that it's gotten a lot worse and that we don't have to accept it."

Lukianoff tells Reason that FIRE's new initiatives have been in the works for years, but gained urgency during the COVID lockdowns. "Pretty much from day one, people have been asking us to take our advocacy off campus to an extent nationally," he says. "But 2020 was such a scarily bad year for freedom of speech on campus and off, we decided to accelerate that process." Despite 80 percent of campuses being closed and doing instruction remotely, Lukianoff says that FIRE received 50 percent more requests for help from college students and faculty. He also points to The New York Times' editorial page editor, James Bennet, getting squeezed out after running an article by Sen. Tom Cotton (R–Ark.) and high-profile journalists such as Bari Weiss, Andrew Sullivan, and Matt Yglesias "stepping away from [their publications], saying that the environment was too intolerant."

FIRE is also expanding its efforts beyond legal advocacy and into promoting what Lukianoff calls "the culture of free speech." As Politico reports, it will spend $10 million "in planned national cable and billboard advertising featuring activists on both ends of the political spectrum extolling the virtues of free speech."

via reason.com

Yours truly has the honor of being one of those "extolling the virtues of free speech" in FIRE's planned advertising. Who woulda thunk it? Free speech is one of those ideas that gets better and better the more you think about it. It is also the absolute bane of tyrants everywhere.

June 25, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Momentous Supreme Court rulings on guns, abortion cement Trump’s impact on U.S. policy and culture | Just The News

The ignition points for those decisions can be traced to two fateful historical moments involving two men who don’t always see eye to eye: Senate Leader Mitch McConnell’s refusal to confirm President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court in 2016 and Trump’s insistence that his third nominee, Justice Amy Coney Barrett, be confirmed before the 2020 election.

"I think history will show the biggest accomplishment of the Trump administration was putting in a conservative Supreme Court," Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., told Just the News on Friday. "Now we have that and I know there are a lot of people all across America who are rejoicing today.

"You know, when you go back to not confirming Merrick Garland, I think Mitch McConnell deserves a lot of credit for that.

“And then, with respect to making three good appointments to the Supreme Court, certainly, President Trump receives a lot of credit for that. So we were very fortunate, during the four years Trump was president, to be able to have three vacancies on the Supreme Court. And kudos to the Senate for being able to confirm those conservative justices in a in a four-year time period.”

In the end, the three justices appointed by Trump – Barrett, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh – all voted to reverse Roe v. Wade.

via justthenews.com

This is either the beginning of a new age of American renewal, or the beginning of the big crack up. At least that's what I fear. Probably it's neither. That's what I'm hoping for.

June 25, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

What progressives get wrong about overturning Roe: Now, it's citizens who will decide.

The court now has a solid majority of justices who are more motivated by what they view as "first principles" than pragmatic concerns. From a court that has long used nuanced (and maddeningly vague) opinions to avoid major changes in constitutional doctrine, we now have clarity on this issue. It will return to the citizens of each state to decide.

The court anticipated the response to the opinion by those who "stoke unfounded fear that our decision will imperil ... other rights." The opinion expressly does not address contraception, same-sex marriage or other rights. 

That claim has always been absurd but has become a talking point on the left. After the leak of the draft opinion, the New York Times opinion editors warned that some states likely would outlaw interracial marriage if Roe v. Wade is overturned: “Imagine that every state were free to choose whether to allow Black people and white people to marry. Some states would permit such marriages; others probably wouldn’t.”

via www.msn.com

Jonathan Turley.

There is a lot of misinformation and disinformation, not to mention malinformation being issued by the organs of the Left about the Dobbs opinion. Yet I don't believe it should be censored. Advocacy of censorship seems limited to those in power who lack confidence in their own arguments, the intelligence of their governed classes, or both.

June 25, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Roe v. Wade Is Gone | City Journal

Under this state-by-state patchwork, the United States may develop an abortion regime that starts to look more like Europe’s. Eight of the 50 European nations do not allow for any elective abortions (i.e., those sought without justification)—including Finland, Poland, and Great Britain, as well as Andorra, Lichtenstein, Malta, Monaco, and San Marino. (Most of these are nevertheless quite liberal about permitting abortion in practice, with a host of justifications—including in Britain, for “socioeconomic reasons.”) Among the 42 nations that permit elective abortions, only the Netherlands is as permissive as the United States’ now-defunct Roe regime—allowing abortion-on-demand until the 24th week of pregnancy, when a fetus is often deemed viable with modern medical care. Fully 39 of the 42 European nations that allow elective abortions permit them only up to a point in pregnancy earlier than the 15-week standard adopted by Mississippi and considered in Dobbs. The mix of laws across Europe puts into context the “draconian” laws warned about by the dissenting justices—Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor, in a jointly authored opinion.

via www.city-journal.org

June 25, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Roe v. Wade Is Gone | City Journal

Under this state-by-state patchwork, the United States may develop an abortion regime that starts to look more like Europe’s. Eight of the 50 European nations do not allow for any elective abortions (i.e., those sought without justification)—including Finland, Poland, and Great Britain, as well as Andorra, Lichtenstein, Malta, Monaco, and San Marino. (Most of these are nevertheless quite liberal about permitting abortion in practice, with a host of justifications—including in Britain, for “socioeconomic reasons.”) Among the 42 nations that permit elective abortions, only the Netherlands is as permissive as the United States’ now-defunct Roe regime—allowing abortion-on-demand until the 24th week of pregnancy, when a fetus is often deemed viable with modern medical care. Fully 39 of the 42 European nations that allow elective abortions permit them only up to a point in pregnancy earlier than the 15-week standard adopted by Mississippi and considered in Dobbs. The mix of laws across Europe puts into context the “draconian” laws warned about by the dissenting justices—Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor, in a jointly authored opinion.

via www.city-journal.org

June 25, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Abortion Goes Back to the People - WSJ

Critics say the Court’s 6-3 decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization is rule by unelected judges. But Roe was the real “exercise of raw judicial power,” as Justice Byron White put it in dissent in 1973. That’s when seven Justices claimed to find a constitutional right to abortion that is nowhere mentioned in the Constitution and had no history in American common law. The Court on Friday finally corrected its mistake, which has damaged the legitimacy of the Court and inflamed our politics for 49 years.

The Justices in the majority deserve credit for sticking with their convictions despite the leak of Justice Samuel Alito’s opinion in May. The leak was probably intended to create a furor to pressure the Justices to change their mind, and it has led to protests in front of their homes and even an apparent assassination attempt against Justice Brett Kavanaugh. By holding firm, they showed the Court can’t be intimidated.

via www.wsj.com

Now those who think abortion is a sacrament can enact it, if they haven't done so already, into their state law. Those who think it's equivalent to murder, can forbid in the laws of their state. Those who are in between, can try to enact that. Different states can have different laws. If that doesn't work, we have no right to call ourselves one nation, and good luck to us.

June 25, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 24, 2022

What happened to the lab-leak hypothesis? - UnHerd

Imagine if the accidental launch of a nuclear missile had killed 21 million people. It’s hard to believe the world would shrug and say: let’s not bother finding out how it happened. The Covid pandemic has killed around that number and disrupted the lives of billions. Nothing like it has happened in more than a century; it is the greatest cause of global suffering since the Forties. Yet we still do not know how it started, and much of the world seems to be increasingly incurious to find out.

via unherd.com

We also need to understand the source of this reluctance. I hypothesize it's the people whose interests would not be served by the revelation.

June 24, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 23, 2022

The mainline Protestantism clown show - The Spectator World

The Protestant mainline had its heyday, both in cultural influence and in active membership, in the 1950s and ’60s. During that time, Burton writes, the denominations were united by an ecumenical commitment to morality, community, and the brotherhood of man. Apple pie and Jesus Christ. They were the old WASP establishment at prayer.

It’s easy to criticize the kind of civil religion that enabled President Eisenhower to say that our form of government depends on “a deeply felt religious faith, and I don’t care what it is.” Flannery O’Connor said that if she weren’t a Catholic, she’d be a hootin’ hollerin’ Pentecostal. Anything to escape from banal post-war respectability.

But look at what’s replaced it. The old mainline sustained a shared cultural commitment to a common set of values. Before 1960, interfaith marriages were rare, but inter-political marriages were common. Today, it’s the other way around. The new mainline, terrified of being on the wrong side of the next Civil Rights Movement, panders to activists and ideologues. It’s the new woke establishment at prayer.

Members of this new establishment aren’t nearly as likely to pay lip service to organized religion as their WASP predecessors, but because the new mainline poses no ideological threat, it gets to keep some of its prestige. ELCA pastors still get glowing write-ups in NPR and the New Yorker, just as Reinhold Niebuhr graced the cover of Time back in 1948. The difference is that the mainline no longer speaks for a broad swath of the country. The best they can hope for, as their attendance numbers plummet, is occasional expressions of vague approval from people who have never lifted the cover of a Bible or darkened the door of a church.

via spectatorworld.com

June 23, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Texas scientist John Spor rescued from Ukraine - CBS DFW

According to Project DYNAMO, Spor's sister contacted the U.S. State Department, Senator Ted Cruz and U.S. Congressman Randy Weber to request emergency evacuation assistance for her brother.  

They recommended the non-profit, an American, veteran-run, donor-funded, rescue organization specializing in challenging exfiltration missions from hostile regions around the world. It took more than a month to rescue Spor. 

"Project DYNAMO has been with our family every step of the way through this nightmare. DYNAMO has been the answer to our family's prayers," said Lauri Weigle, Spor's sister. "We are in amazement that he is finally on his way to us and safe after months of hoping and praying."  

Co-founder of Project DYNAMO, Bryan Stern, a highly decorated U.S. military officer, moved Spor through Russian territory, crossing more than 30 Russian checkpoints and into Ukraine. Stern employed a series of complex tactics and techniques, honed over many years of government service, to mask Spor, his location, and his movement from Russian security services. Project DYNAMO was able to rescue Spor via Kherson and through Mykolaiv and he is now enroute to a neighboring country where is family is eagerly waiting.

via www.cbsnews.com

Another good reason to be from Texas.

June 23, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Supreme Court expands gun rights, with nation divided | AP News

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a major expansion of gun rights after a series of mass shootings, the Supreme Court said Thursday that Americans have a right to carry firearms in public for self-defense, a ruling likely to lead to more people legally armed. The decision came out as Congress and states debate gun-control legislation.

About one-quarter of the U.S. population lives in states expected to be affected by the ruling, which struck down a New York gun law. The high court’s first major gun decision in more than a decade split the court 6-3, with the court’s conservatives in the majority and liberals in dissent.

via apnews.com

I suspect there will be a lot of de facto nullification of this ruling.

June 23, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

School’s Out for Summer and Many Teachers Are Calling It Quits - WSJ

Many teachers have packed up classrooms for the last time as schools break for summer, leaving a profession where stresses have multiplied as a national teacher shortage threatens to grow.

via www.wsj.com

June 22, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

America Faces a Housing Bust - WSJ

America’s housing market still had a lot going for it at the start of this year. It wasn’t enough to surmount a doubling in mortgage rates in combination with persistently high prices.

The National Association of Realtors’ measure of home affordability, based on mortgage rates, home prices and household income, showed that as of April existing homes were at their least affordable level since July 2007. They are even less affordable now. On Tuesday, the NAR said the median price on an existing home rose to $407,600 in May from $395,500 in April, while Freddie Mac reported last week that the average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage was 5.78%, up from 5.23% a week earlier and from an April average of 4.98%.

via www.wsj.com

I'm not so sure. It might be the dollar will get stronger, not weaker, as it's the cleanest dirty shirt in the fiat laundry. This is the "dollar milkshake" theory. (Mixed metaphors are standard in finance.) On this theory, money will be pouring into US assets as fiat weakens all over the globe. Real estate is a physical asset. Just ask Bill Gates. Mortgage rates are going up, but so far, so are at least high end houses, which means nearly everything in California. So I'm betting there will be no crash like in 2008. This also means I don't have to get up and clean up my current house, sell it and move into a smaller rental so I can bank the appreciation. So it's a win-win. Just watch YouTube and you too can be an expert on this stuff.

June 22, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Justice Sotomayor’s Class-Action Consolation Prize - WSJ

Trial attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan, who sues gig companies for a living, told the Legislature to “get busy.” Labor activist Lorena Gonzalez tweeted: “Well #CALeg- Justice Sotomayor just handed huge PAGA changes to you to modify the scope of statutory standing within state & federal constitutional limits in Viking River. We are here to help!” No doubt.

The Court’s Viking decision could be a pyrrhic victory for employers. It also seems to augur more judicial pragmatism among the three liberal Justices who joined the conservative majority on a narrow ruling that lets unions and trial lawyers live to fight another day. And fight they will.

via www.wsj.com

See Alaskan black fly plague post below.

June 22, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Panic Over Gasoline Prices Only Serves Putin - WSJ

Unfortunately all this manifests a deeper problem that isn’t down to Trumpism, Bidenism or any other ism. The nature of Western politics has evolved in the post-Cold War era. It undermines its own best strength, the ability of market-based economies to adapt, innovate and roll with punches.

Having broadly if unsatisfactorily addressed basic problems (food, housing, health, income security), it’s hard to see that Western politics in the intervening decades has consisted of anything other than enabling what economists call “rent-seeking,” or the frittering away of competitive dynamism in payola for organized interests.

This is a column, not a book, so let three examples suffice: the U.S. ethanol mandates (payola for farmers) that distort the allocation of cropland at a time when food grains are needed; the Jones Act restrictions (for organized labor) that hinder the ability of oil products to be shipped between U.S. ports to help bring down prices; finally, in a class by themselves are America’s convoluted fuel-economy rules.

Though you won’t read it anywhere but here, these fuel-economy rules exist to generate rents from the large, protected U.S. pickup-truck market to fund various green priorities. As such they are a model for a greenhouse politics that threatens to be terminal for Western society but not in the way advocates think. Climate becomes the philosophical justification for systematizing rent-seeking across the entire economy.

via www.wsj.com

In the pretty good movie Into the Wild we see towards the end a deluded young man attempt to survive in the Alaskan bush by shooting a moose. Unfortunately, it's fly season and all the meat he's killed is instantly devoured by the unbelievable masses of black flies that roil around his kill. You wouldn't think it would be so bad. How much can flies eat? Everything it turns out. They are that bad. This is our economy now.

June 22, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Religion, Schools and the Supreme Court - WSJ

“That is discrimination against religion,” the Chief Justice writes for a 6-3 majority in Carson v. Makin. Maine’s policy thus infringes on the Constitution’s guarantee of religious “free exercise.” This case is similar to one the Court heard from Montana two years ago. As the Chief wrote then: “A State need not subsidize private education. But once a State decides to do so, it cannot disqualify some private schools solely because they are religious.”

So why are we here again? Because the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit tried to uphold Maine’s policy by making nonsensical distinctions. It claimed Maine’s program offers only the “rough equivalent” of a nonsectarian public-school education, and religious believers could take it or leave it. This argument merely builds the discrimination into the definitions. A subsidy solely for secular private schools is the same as an exclusion for religious ones.

The First Circuit also has a factual problem, as the Chief points out. Private schools getting Maine’s public funds are exempt from some state curriculum requirements. They can be single-sex institutions. They can charge tuition that is several times the state’s subsidy, with parents paying the rest. This is not a “rough equivalent” to a public-school education.

via www.wsj.com

June 22, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

A Woke Mandate for the Federal Reserve - WSJ

The House bill passed last week 215-207 with little media notice. But it deserves attention because it reveals how the Biden Administration and Democrats plan to politicize monetary policy and financial regulation.

Recall that Candidate Biden advocated making reducing racial disparities a third monetary mandate. You have to wonder if one reason the Fed was slow to tighten policy was because the central bankers agreed with him. Several Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) members promoted the goal of “inclusive” employment even as inflation began to creep up.

Now House Democrats want to codify racial equity as part of the Fed’s mandate. Their bill would require the Board of Governors and FOMC to “exercise all duties and functions in a manner that fosters the elimination of disparities across racial and ethnic groups with respect to employment, income, wealth, and access to affordable credit.”

via www.wsj.com

Monetary policy is the wrong venue for this sort of thing. But that would be if "racial equity" was really about racial equity.

June 22, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Betsy DeVos’s Mission to Rescue Teachers Unions’ ‘Hostages’ - WSJ

The philanthropist and veteran school-reform advocate who served as education secretary under President Trump says the Covid pandemic was an inflection point. “During the last two years, the failings of the school system have been laid bare to families in a way like never before,” Betsy DeVos told me by phone on Monday. “I think it’s hastening the moment in time when we will be able to get significant policy change implemented to support families and kids rather than the system.”

That “system” is the subject of Mrs. DeVos’s new book, “Hostages No More: The Fight for Education Freedom and the Future of the American Child.” The title is taken from Horace Mann, the 19th-century politician and educator who is widely credited with founding the public-school apparatus. “We who are engaged in the sacred cause of education,” Mann once wrote, “are entitled to look upon all parents as having given hostages to our cause.” In a book that is part memoir and part school-reform manifesto, Mrs. DeVos makes a compelling case for freeing the hostages.

Betsy DeVos would have been a controversial cabinet pick even if Donald Trump hadn’t been the one to tap her. She supports vouchers, education tax credits and home schooling. She funds grass-roots organizations that lobby for school reform. She and her husband, Dick, started a charter school in Michigan. Critics, led by the teachers unions, claimed she wasn’t qualified for the position, but their real issue was her belief that K-12 education places the interests of adults ahead of the interests of children—a dynamic she has spent more than three decades trying to change via school choice. “The school union bosses’ problem with me wasn’t that they thought I was unqualified,” she writes. “It was that they knew I was dangerous to their agenda.”

Democrats and teachers unions officially wed in 1979, when President Carter signed legislation to establish the Department of Education. Three years earlier Mr. Carter had cut a deal with the National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers union, to create the new federal department in exchange for the union’s support in the election. The Democratic Party has been doing more or less what teachers unions demand ever since.

via www.wsj.com

It was bad enough when it was just a corrupt political deal to support the old Democrat party. But now it's evolved into whatever nightmare you want to call it. Just ask some solid Democrat mom what she really thinks about what's happening to her daughter.

June 22, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Fed Chair Jerome Powell Concedes Possibility That Higher Rates Cause a Recession - WSJ

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the central bank’s battle against inflation could lead it to raise interest rates high enough to cause an economic downturn.

“It’s certainly a possibility,” Mr. Powell said Wednesday during the first of two days of congressional hearings. “We are not trying to provoke and do not think we will need to provoke a recession, but we do think it’s absolutely essential” to bring down inflation, which is running at a 40-year high.

via www.wsj.com

The hard money types I listen to on YouTube are saying the Fed is about to reverse course, in spite of all this tough talk. More troubling is the inversion of the Euromoney yield curve, which seems to mean that this enormous, smart market thinks that we're on the verge of a financial breakdown of some sort, followed by (perhaps?) the Fed reversing itself. See Jeff Snyder on this.

June 22, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Biden lets in 1 million illegal border crossers. Maybe 2 million | Washington Examiner

As part of the suit, the Department of Homeland Security has been required to produce information on how it handles illegal border crossers. How many are turned back? For what reason? How many are allowed to stay in the U.S.? The numbers, as Arthur has collected them, are troubling.

The big number is that the Biden administration has admitted 1,049,532 illegal border crossers into the U.S. That is greater than the population of Wyoming, Vermont, Alaska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington, D.C., and the president's home state of Delaware. It's a lot of people. And remember, it is the total number of illegal border crossers allowed to stay in the U.S., not the total number caught at the border.

via www.washingtonexaminer.com

And this is just the number we know about. The real number has got to be significantly higher. The Democrats have won this policy battle, if you want to call it that.

June 22, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)