23 April 2024

Well I knew there was gonna' be trouble, when I heard that callin'

I've just discovered the art of Laurent Parcelier and I love to look at it.

"The Supreme Court effectively abolishes the right to mass protest in three US states: It is no longer safe to organize a protest in Louisiana, Mississippi, or Texas. The Supreme Court announced on Monday that it will not hear Mckesson v. Doe. The decision not to hear Mckesson leaves in place a lower court decision that effectively eliminated the right to organize a mass protest in the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. Under that lower court decision, a protest organizer faces potentially ruinous financial consequences if a single attendee at a mass protest commits an illegal act. It is possible that this outcome will be temporary. The Court did not embrace the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit's decision attacking the First Amendment right to protest, but it did not reverse it either. That means that, at least for now, the Fifth Circuit's decision is the law in much of the American South."

"Self-Destructive College Presidents: They are making a fraught situation worse by letting the far right define antisemitism and the necessary campus responses. Last December, the presidents of Penn and Harvard did not grovel sufficiently in trying to appease Republican inquisitors claiming that they were insufficiently sensitive to episodes of antisemitism. So with some crude prodding from large donors of the 'Israel right or wrong' camp, Liz Magill and Claudine Gay were pushed out of their jobs by panicked trustees. In the latest round of this self-abasement, other college presidents are hoping to out-grovel the earlier batch and outdo each other in sacrificing civil liberties. This never ends well. At last week's hearing before the same House Education subcommittee that destroyed Magill and Gay, Columbia's beleaguered president, Nemat 'Minouche' Shafik, who was born in Egypt, brought with her three senior Jewish colleagues for the grovel-fest. At one point, Rep. Rick Allen, a Republican from Georgia, asked Shafik whether she knew Genesis 12:3. She didn't. Allen explained: 'It was the covenant that God made with Abraham, and that covenant was real clear: 'If you bless Israel I will bless you, if you curse Israel I will curse you,'' he said. 'Do you want Columbia University to be cursed by God?' Allen demanded."

"U.S. Senate and Biden Administration Shamefully Renew and Expand FISA Section 702, Ushering in a Two Year Expansion of Unconstitutional Mass Surveillance: One week after it was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, the Senate has passed what Senator Ron Wyden has called, 'one of the most dramatic and terrifying expansions of government surveillance authority in history.' President Biden then rushed to sign it into law. The perhaps ironically named 'Reforming Intelligence and Security America Act (RISAA)' does everything BUT reform Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). RISAA not only reauthorizes this mass surveillance program, it greatly expands the government's authority by allowing it to compel a much larger group of people and providers into assisting with this surveillance. The bill's only significant 'compromise' is a limited, two-year extension of this mass surveillance. But overall, RISAA is a travesty for Americans who deserve basic constitutional rights and privacy whether they are communicating with people and services inside or outside of the US."

"Ron DeSantis Signs Florida Bill Limiting How Close Bystanders Can Get to Police: The law makes it a misdemeanor to approach within 25 feet of a first responder after receiving a verbal warning to stay away. [...] However, the right to observe and film police has been upheld by multiple federal appeals courts as a fundamental First Amendment activity, and civil liberties groups and press organizations argue that such laws are overly broad and chill the free speech rights of citizens and reporters."

"An Indiana court ruled that Jews have a religious liberty right to abortion. Here's why that matters. The idea of a Jewish right to abortion being enshrined in U.S. law could, at first, sound strange. But in the wake of Dobbs, as states have adopted new abortion restrictions, Jews and Jewish organizations have filed suit arguing that these restrictions put them in a bind. Jewish laws approach to abortion is generally understood — as much as anything within Jewish law is 'generally understood' — to place the well-being of the mother, including physical and emotional well-being, at the center of its analysis. As a result, where an abortion is necessary to protect the well-being of a mother, broadly construed, Jewish law sanctions — and often requires — the termination of the pregnancy. If a mother, motivated by these underlying Jewish values, were to seek an abortion in a state that imposed significant restrictions on such procedures, her religious commitments could run afoul of state law."

"The Trade War Within the U.S. Government Why does the National Security Council keep trying to wrest control of trade policy to help Big Tech? The tug-of-war within the Biden administration continues over whether to use trade policy to restrict the very kinds of regulations of tech that the administration is championing at home. These include protections of privacy from data mining and sale; regulation of AI; antitrust enforcement of excessive concentration and price-gouging; as well as keeping Americans' data secure from Chinese snooping. [...] If anything, you would expect the NSC to be even tougher, especially given the concerns over China using its own technology to spy on Americans and on the U.S. government. But the NSC wants to retain language that allows digital regulation to be treated as a trade barrier. This stance happens to chime perfectly with that of the tech lobby and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber declared in a recent statement, 'By dropping U.S. objections to trade violations, USTR risks giving a green light to foreign governments to raise barriers against U.S. exports or otherwise discriminate against U.S. companies.' This is the old discredited argument that because the tech behemoths most likely to be regulated happen to be U.S. companies like Apple, Google, and Amazon, regulating tech is discriminatory against U.S. exports."

"Republicans Are Objectively Pro–Junk Fee: A new congressional resolution aligns Republicans with the financial industry's fight to preserve sky-high credit card late fees. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's $8 cap on credit card late fees has had a wild ride on the road to implementation. After being finalized last month, the rule drew a lawsuit from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which sought an injunction in Fort Worth. No credit card companies are located in Fort Worth; the venue choice was made purely to ensure that the case would be heard by a right-wing federal judge. The first district court judge assigned to the case owned a bunch of credit card company stocks and recused himself; the second judge, a Trump appointee, showed remarkable candor in saying the case had no business being in Fort Worth and should be heard in Washington. Then the far-right Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed with the Trump judge and tried to pull the case back to Texas. Then one of the authors of that opinion, it turned out, also owned a bunch of credit card company stocks. He has asked for briefings on whether he should recuse himself, basically seeking outside opinions on his own personal corruption. That's not the only attack on the late fee rule. Now congressional Republicans are coming after it, in the process finally setting up a partisan fight over the popular issue of junk fees, which the Biden administration has been pushing for the past few years. Republicans, it turns out, are objectively in favor of junk fees. And by next week, they'll be on the record for them."

RIP: John Pease March 8, 1936-March 12, 2024. For the last several years I've made it a practice to check his Wikipedia page to see if he is still with us. This time, I found he'd left in March, just a few days after his 88th birthday. I didn't know when I sat down that first day for his Stratification class that he was already beloved and legendary among his students (though the guy who surprised him in an ape suit just as class was beginning should have tipped me off.) I didn't know that I'd spend the rest of my life recalling the things he'd do in that class that made him special. I didn't understand just how special he really was, which is why I stupidly didn't sign up for all his other courses and bring my camera and take notes of every remarkable thing he said and did. Of all the terrific profs I had at the University of Maryland, several of whom I still cherish, Professor Pease, who had looked so unassuming and dull on first glance, is the one I remember most of all. I'd rather be studying with you, Professor.

Can this be true? "The Myth of the Molly Maguires: The Myth of the Molly Maguires became international news on June 21, 1877, when the authorities hanged ten Irish miners in a single day in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. Known as Black Thursday, or Day of the Rope, it was the second largest mass execution in U.S. history. (The largest was in 1862, when the U.S. government executed 38 Dakota warriors). The authorities accused the Irishmen of being terrorists from a secret organization called the Molly Maguires. They executed ten more over the next two years, and imprisoned another twenty suspected Molly Maguires. Most of the convicted men were union activists. Some even held public office, as sheriffs and school board members. However, there is no evidence that an organization called the Molly Maguires ever existed in the U.S. James McParland, an agent provocateur who worked for the Pinkerton Detective Agency, and who provided the plans and weapons the men purportedly used in their crimes, provided the only serious evidence against the men. The entire legal process was a travesty: a private corporation (the Reading Railroad) set up the investigation through a private police force (the Pinkerton Detective Agency) and prosecuted them with their own company attorneys. No jurors were Irish, though several were recent German immigrants who had trouble understanding the proceedings."

"How the Fed Keeps Getting Inflation Wrong: Today on TAP: More than 400 economists work for the Federal Reserve Board. Far too many are intimidated by the echo chamber of bad economics created by Chair Jay Powell. President Biden made two catastrophically bad appointments. One was Attorney General Merrick Garland. The other was Fed Chair Powell. Either could literally cost Biden his presidency and the country its democracy—Garland by having slow-walked Trump's prosecution and Powell by needlessly slowing the economy. The latest inflation report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, released Wednesday, showed the Consumer Price Index ticking up by 0.4 percent in March, the same as in February, but slightly higher than expected. This in turn set off signals from the Fed that expected rate reductions would have to be postponed, and near-hysterical media commentary. The Dow duly dropped more than a thousand points. According to one press report after another, the economy was stuck with high inflation; high interest rates would persist; and Biden's election-year good-news economy would be stuck with a bad-news story. But if you bother to take a close look at the details of the actual price increases by sector, they have nothing to do with the kind of inflation that justifies high interest rates. Some of the Fed's own research confirms that. Nearly all of the price hikes came from a few sectors, none of which have anything to do with overheated demand.

"The Racial Wealth Gap Is About the Upper Classes [...] What this means is that the overall racial wealth disparity is being driven almost entirely by the disparity between the wealthiest 10 percent of white people and the wealthiest 10 percent of black people." So if you put the top 10% of black people and the top 10% of white people on Mars, there'd be hardly any racial wealth gap between those left in America.

"What Really Happened on October 7? And why, wonders a new Al Jazeera documentary, did the media go to such lengths to concoct gruesome X-rated versions of an attack that was harrowing enough to begin with?"

Tom Tomorrow on your liberal media.

The Bourbon Tabernacle Choir - "Death Is The Great Awakener"

1 comment:

  1. I guess in Indiana they don't know much about Jewish mothers...Sound like they're about to find out.