Three Things: Dial M for Michigan

[NB: check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

It was a big week for the Mitten State which I call home — big ups and equally big downs, like a roller coaster.

Must admit the low points which made the high points possible made me nauseous and sick with dread.

~ 3 ~

High point: Michigan state senator Mallory McMorrow had a breakout week with a kick-ass-and-take-names speech on the senate floor this past Tuesday.

The wretched low point: state senator Lana Theis’ hateful fundraising email which I won’t share; the 22nd state senate district which includes Livingston County and smaller portions of Genesee, Shiawasee, and Ingham counties have a lot to answer for having elected this hater.

McMorrow how every Democrat should do it: cede not one inch to the right-wing and its unrestrained hate when Democrats are doing everything which makes our cities, states, nation livable. Push back hard against the corrupting, toxic hate.

GOP voters in Michigan need to snap the hell out of their hate spiral and take a good look around them — as the motto says, Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam circumspice. These peninsulas aren’t just theirs alone and they’re pleasant because we occupy it together, cooperatively and collaboratively. Hate did not make this state great.

~ 2 ~

Another high point: Michigan state senator Erika Geiss also blew the doors out of the state senate chambers with her heartbreaking appeal on Wednesday:

The sickening low point: yet another Black person’s life was lost to excessive police force on April 4, when a routine traffic stop ended with a Grand Rapids officer shooting a 26-year-old driver at point blank range in the head. It is absolutely unacceptable that a traffic stop results in a driver’s death, even when the driver attempts to grab an officer’s taser. If the officer could manage to pull his gun and shoot he had enough control of the situation to restrain the driver.

This abuse by police cannot continue. Citizens deserve far better public safety. How many times do we have to demand this before change happens?

Senator Geiss and every BIPOC resident in this state and nation should not have to fear for their family members’ safety in public or private from the very people they employ to keep the public safe.

~ 1 ~

Sickened by Senator Lana Theis’ hateful rhetoric against people who don’t fit her personal model, sickened further by the shooting death of an unarmed driver, the Michigan GOP served up another dose of noxiousness with its convention this weekend.

You may already have seen Rudy Giuliani sliming his way out of the Grand Rapids airport via retweet by Marcy, but in case you haven’t:

The MIGOP convention was an event important enough to warrant Giuliani sliding into Michigan, perhaps to network with his fellow co-conspirators about the attempt to fraudulently foist different electors on the state, or a future attempt to do so. They would have been easy to meet in one location considering their respective roles in the MIGOP apparatus.

Perhaps it was important for Giuliani to see how other efforts to enable an illegitimate GOP stranglehold on power — like the selection of Big Lie

A loop-de-loop: it’d be nice to know if former MIGOP Randy Bishop attended the MIGOP convention. He’s suddenly flipped parties and is now running as a Democrat for the state’s 37th senate district. He’d run in 2010 as a Republican in the same district, which includes Antrim County now as it did before redistricting. The Detroit News ran an article about Bishop’s filing to run (paywalled); unlike most of the state legislature candidate filings, Bishop’s was noteworthy because he’d said on his “Trucker Randy” radio show last month that “A family should be a white mom, white dad and white kids.

Why he thinks that will win over even the few Democrats in his majority white district isn’t obvious; it’s not just overt racism but a rejection of cities down state like Detroit, Flint, Saginaw, Benton Harbor, and Muskegon which have larger percentages of BIPOC residents and provide substantial amounts of state tax revenues. The 37th district, while 88% white, is home to a substantive number of Michigan’s Native Americans including Bay Mills Indian Community (Chippewa), Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, and Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa/Chippewa Indians. The tribes bring in a lot of tourism dollars to a very rural district.

Bishop’s rhetoric is just plain hateful and has no place in the Democratic Party in any state, and certainly not in Michigan’s 37th senate district. He must surely know this, which makes his candidacy look like a ratfucking operation of some sort.

Remember that Antrim County, home to roughly 23,000 Michigan residents, was at the center of the attempted election fraud in November 2020, when human error led to false claims the voting tabulators counted votes incorrectly. A judge dismissed claims of fraud by the GOP last May.

MIGOP’s canvasser Aaron Van Langevelde certified the election for Biden, refusing to cooperate with the conspiracy theory that the Dominion tabulators flipped votes. In January 2021 when Langevelde’s term expired, he was not re-nominated as canvasser by his party.

During the lawsuit filed by Antrim County resident Bill Bailey over the alleged ballot tabulation fraud, his attorney Matthew DePerno questioned the legitimacy of all future elections.

Which makes DePerno’s Trump-supported nomination as MIGOP’s candidate for Michigan’s secretary of state quite the joke: if the elections can’t be trusted, could this election be trusted if he should win?

Such ridiculously bad faith by MIGOP to nominate a Big Lie proponent who would have supported the fraudulent electors’ conspiracy to overturn Michigan’s election.

~ 0 ~

Finally, a high point — some of the diversity which makes Michigan great.

Treat this as an open thread.

Day Four — The Well-Qualified K. B. J.

[NB: check the byline, thanks. Update(s) if any will appear at the bottom of this post. /~Rayne]

It’s the fourth and final day of U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee’s confirmation hearings on the nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court. Today’s hearing is in progress.

Today’s hearing consists of three remaining panels (Judge Jackson was Panel I):

Panel II

The Honorable Ann Claire Williams
American Bar Association
Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary

Ms. D. Jean Veta
American Bar Association
Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary

Mr. Joseph M. Drayton
American Bar Association
Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary

Panel III Majority

The Honorable Joyce Beatty
United States House of Representatives
State of Ohio – 3rd District

Ms. Risa Goluboff
Dean, Arnold H. Leon Professor of Law, and Professor of History
University of Virginia

Mr. Wade Henderson
President & CEO
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

Mr. Richard B. Rosenthal
Captain Frederick Thomas
National President
National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE)

Panel III Minority

The Honorable Steve Marshall
Attorney General
State of Alabama

Ms. Jennifer Mascott
Assistant Professor of Law & Co-Executive Director
The C. Boyden Gray Center for the Study of the Administrative State, Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University

Ms. Eleanor McCullen
Anti-abortion activist

Ms. Keisha Russell
First Liberty

Ms. Alessandra Serano
Operation Underground Railroad

From the looks of the last three panelists, the GOP senators are continuing to play to the base by hammering Judge Jackson on abortion, religious freedom in public schools, and human trafficking. The last will likely fit with the crap Sen. Josh Hawley et al already tattooed about child pornography.

The GOP will want to leave that shitty taste of zealotry and bigotry in the audience’s mouths as the hearings end. In other words, on brand for the GOP.

You can watch live feed at these sites (not the same links as yesterday’s as the previous links may lead to recordings previous days’ hearings):

Senate Judiciary Committee hearing feed

PBS Senate Judiciary Committee hearing feed on YouTube

C-SPAN feed via YouTube

You can also catch the hearings through these live Twitter threads:

Rewire News Group

Chris Geidner at Grid News

If you know of anyone else covering today’s hearing in Twitter, please leave a comment below. Thanks!

~ ~ ~

Apparently these hearings weren’t really to determine a nominee’s qualifications for a lifetime appointment to SCOTUS or to ensure the public was informed. No, apparently the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings have been little more than social media opportunities, which Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) called out.


Sasse also expressed his concern about cameras in the court room, that “cameras change human behavior,” and yet the difference between the video above by C-SPAN versus this by CBS News below tells us cameras tell us things audio and written reporting don’t offer.


Or this photo by Los Angeles Times’ Kent Nishimura:

If you have a Twitter account, every once in a while for grins and giggles you should drop Sen. Ted Cruz (Senate account: @sentedcruz, personal account: @tedcruz) a tweet and let him know what you thought of his performance as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, wholly visible on all sorts of cameras.

~ ~ ~

There may be more to come, watch this space for updates.

And Three More Things: Day Three — The Well-Qualified K. B. J. [UPDATE-1]

[NB: check the byline, thanks. Update(s) at the bottom of this post. /~Rayne]

It’s Day Three of U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee’s four days of confirmation hearings on the nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court. Today’s hearing is already in progress.

Four. Long. Days.

Hearings which are half right-wing bloviating, achieving nothing to further the public’s interests. This is the fourth time this nominee has been through this tedious crap in her lifetime which should surely qualify as inhumane treatment and torture under UNCAT; it should also earn her a sainthood.

You can watch live feed at these sites (not the same links as yesterday’s as the previous links may lead to recordings previous days’ hearings):

Senate Judiciary Committee hearing feed

PBS Senate Judiciary Committee hearing feed on YouTube

C-SPAN feed via YouTube

Yahoo News (includes reporting)

You can also catch the hearings through these live Twitter threads:

Jennifer Taub

Imani Gandy at Rewire News Group 

BuzzFeed’s Zoe Tillman

Heaven help Judge Jackson get through the day without breaking a molar gritting her teeth.

~ 3 ~

Gallup took a poll ahead of these SCOTUS confirmation hearings as it has for past nominees. Judge Jackson has the highest approval rating apart from Chief Justice Roberts.


But do go on and attack her, GOP twits. Make asininely racist remarks about the nominee who has a higher approval rating than your party’s leader ever had as president. Let’s see how that pans out for you over the long run.

~ 2 ~

Meanwhile, outside the GOP’s shit show in the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, another GOP senator was doing is share to push the nation back to the 1950s.

I don’t have words strong enough for this crap. He just called into question the legitimacy of a seated SCOTUS jurist’s marriage (Clarence and Ginni Thomas) as well as that of the nominee now being grilled.

This is so intensely personal for me; my parents’ marriage wouldn’t have been legal in some states back in the 1950s and I’d be illegitimate having been born before the unanimous SCOTUS decision in Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967).

Braun’s states’ rights crap doesn’t target interracial marriage (which has broad support across the U.S.); it targets same-sex marriage and any other personal decisions which may require government-regulated services — like reproductive health. He was literally questioned about Griswold v. Connecticut immediately following the question of interracial marriage and he gave an equally unsatisfactory answer about that.

It’s not just Sen. Hairspray-Abuser-from-Tennessee Blackburn attacking the right to privacy necessary for birth control.

Braun has since tried to backpedal on this which means he’s merely taken off the hood he donned.


Except he really didn’t fully unwind what he said; he backed up over the body, and then rolled forward over it again by clarifying what he meant about states’ rights, and then claiming he didn’t understand the questions.

… The Times of Northwest Indiana reported that Braun “initially limited” his claim that the Supreme Court had usurped states’ rights over abortion in 1973’s Roe v. Wade decision. But when a reporter questioned him on other cases, including Loving v. Virginia, he reiterated his stance.

Braun later clarified his comments, saying in a statement that he “misunderstood” the questions. …

Sadly, he’s a senator until 2025. Indiana, you had better not forget this racist authoritarian crap come general election 2024. In the mean time Hoosiers should be lighting up his phone and telling Braun where he can stuff his racist states’ rights nonsense. Congressional switchboard: (202) 224-3121 or use Resist.bot.

~ 1 ~

I wish I could convey how deeply triggering and traumatic these confirmation hearings have been for BIPOC especially women.


What these hearings tell us is that the white cis-het minority in Congress which retains an illegitimate stranglehold on power demands that any and all competent BIPOC particularly women must submit to belligerence and abuse before they will be allowed to participate in this flawed democracy.

What we are witnessing is the re-normalization of overt racism and misogyny. Yet media has failed to punch up, instead punching down, reinforcing the normalization.


We’re constantly deluged by the left about the lack of accountability for the January 6 insurrectionists and seditionists, and yet the left fails to hold accountable the wholly integrated abusive racist and misogynist behavior the media augments in these same insurrectionists and seditionists.

The Venn diagram is a single circle and the media continues to treat the persons outside it as the objects to be despised and subjugated and oppressed.

The problem isn’t just the GOP senators or the media when constituents fail to do anything at all to express displeasure let alone organize effectively for change.

~ 0 ~

I may have more to add here as today’s hearing continues.

So long as I can keep my blood pressure under control, that is.

UPDATE-1 — 6:35 PM —

Senator Cory Booker saves this horrible day.

Stay strong, Judge Jackson. Like Frederick Douglass in his Fourth of July speech, leave off this process where you began — with hope.

Three More Things: Day Two — The Well-Qualified K. B. J.

[NB: check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

It’s Day Two of U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee’s four days of confirmation hearings on the nomination of Judge Ketanji Jackson Brown to the Supreme Court. The hearing was scheduled to begin at 9:00 a.m. this morning; we are catching it here in progress.

You can watch live feed at these sites (not the same links as yesterday’s as the previous links may lead to recordings of Day 1):

Senate Judiciary Committee hearing feed

PBS Senate Judiciary Committee hearing feed on YouTube

C-SPAN feed via YouTube

Yahoo News (includes reporting)

You can also catch the hearings through these live Twitter threads:

Jennifer Taub

Imani Gandy at Rewire News Group

Amee Vanderpool

Brace yourselves for three more things.

~ 3 ~

Sadly, Senator Lindsey Graham unloaded his hypocritical faux-trage this morning. Ms. Phang expresses sentiments broadly shared about his performance.

Judge Jackson was eminently qualified three times but now suddenly unqualified based on the credentials which helped her earn her previous federal appointments?

Right-wing media outlet had assured their audience yesterday about these hearings:

Oh no, honey — these hearings won’t be a circus. They’ll be a live dramatic production.

What a pity there aren’t awards given for supporting actors in a nomination hearing production.

~ 2 ~

Senator John Cornyn can’t let Graham’s act go unanswered. Nope, he needed to go after the gays because as you have surely noticed our so-called traditional marriages have all ruptured since teh gays were legally able to marry.

Damn it all, I forgot to get a lawyer and divorce my spouse back in 2015 after Obergefell v. Hodges destroyed the institution of marriage between straight people.

SCOTUS didn’t make law though Cornyn wants the GOP base to believe it did.

But this isn’t just about individuals’ rights to marriage which Cornyn is fighting. It’s about individuals’ fundamental human rights of self-determination.

If you’re non-binary especially if you’re trans, you recognize the dog whistle Cornyn’s blowing

~ 1 ~

Meanwhile, the GOP predictably plays the racism card.

Unsurprising, really; the GOP has no real platform, no substance, no policies except thinly masked oppression of more than half the country who are not xenophobic cis-het white Christians. They’re clinging to the lessons their ratfucking forebears taught them:

You start out in 1954 by saying, “N*gger, n*gger, n*gger.” By 1968 you can’t say “n*gger”—that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me—because obviously sitting around saying, “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “N*gger, n*gger.”

— GOP political consultant Lee Atwater in an interview with Alexander P. Lamis, c. 1981.

Instead of busing they now talk non-stop about critical race theory (CRT), how it’s being forced on them even though they can’t explain what it is or provide any evidence it’s part of K-12 public school curriculum (it’s not). They don’t shy away from states’ rights now, claiming states have the right to remove content from schools which makes white people feel bad.

It’s overt racism with the sheerest of veils.

The GOP is following the script laid out by Chris Rufo, the guy who created the influence operation built on the university-level coursework offered to law students in which the economics of race and its historic and contemporary affect on laws and democratic society are discussed.

Now CRT is the right-wing’s bogeyman. Rufo literally laid out the approach via Twitter last Thursday:

In short, it’s what the GOP now yells every time it wants to invoke a fear response from its white supremacist base: OMG CRT CRT CRT!!!

~ 0 ~

I can’t believe we have to wade through two more days of this racist and misogynist crap. Nor can I believe we still don’t know who owns beer-loving Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Three Things: The Well-Qualified K. B. J.

[NB: check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

Confirmation hearings begin today before the Senate Judiciary Committee for Biden’s Supreme Court justice nominee, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.

You can follow live feed at:

Senate Judiciary Committee hearing feed

Senate Judiciary Committee feed on YouTube

C-SPAN feed via YouTube

Yahoo News

The hearing is scheduled to begin at 11:00 am and may have already begun at the time this post is published.

You can catch up during the course of the hearing with these Twitter live threads:

Jennifer Taub

Imani Gandy at Rewire News Group 

Amee Vanderpool

Rebecca Pilar Buckwalter-Poza

~ 3 ~

Reject any claims to the contrary: Ketanji Brown Jackson is the most qualified nominee to the Supreme Court. Period.

Justice Thomas (who was hospitalized over the weekend) and Coney Barrett are grossly underqualified by comparison.

The Washington Post’s article is worth your time. If confirmed, Judge Jackson may be the only justice with public school education, but when 90% of American children attend public schools, it’s incredibly valuable to have someone who understands their experience, their needs, and can represent them at the Supreme Court.

~ 2 ~

Predictably, Sen. Josh Hawley, supporter of GOP insurrection and sedition, has trash talked Judge Brown Jackson’s experience as a public defender — a qualification none of the rest of the current justices share. He’s claimed, “Judge Jackson has a pattern of letting child porn offenders off the hook for their appalling crimes, both as a judge and as a policymaker.”

The Washington Post factchecked this and found this claim to merit Three Pinocchios as an outright false claim, finding Hawley took Judge Jackson’s remarks out of context, mischaractered the work of the U.S. Sentencing Commission on which Judge Jackson has served, and twisted Judge Jackson’s record.

The coup de grace should fall to the right-wing National Review Online which has also taken issue with Hawley’s claim.

Surprisingly, the NRO piece is worth a read even if its contributor, Andrew McCarthy, doesn’t support Jackson’s nomination (for what are rather thin and transparently partisan reasons). At least you’ll be prepared for Hawley’s bloviating about child pornography when he starts in on the topic.

Hawley creeps me out in so many ways but his weirdly obsessive attitude about child porn seems like a naked appeal not only to the racists who reject the notion of a Black woman SCOTUS justice but the crackpot Q-crowd.

~ 1 ~

There has been and will be a lot of nonsensical bullshit thrown around about Judge Jackson’s public defender experience.

Except the premise that all accused should have the assistance of counsel for their defense is fundamental to this nation’s democratic foundation, enshrined in the Sixth Amendment.

What does it say about our nation’s belief in this enumerated right when none of the current SCOTUS justices have been public defenders?

We’ve had a number of community members, especially since the January 6, 2020 insurrection, who have struggled with the application of this right. I’d like to suggest a rather basic but effective educational experience — the premium cable series John Adams featuring Paul Giamatti as Adams. It was produced by HBO and isn’t widely available to stream (check JustWatch) but it’s available to purchase if pricey at Amazon Prime and Google Play. If you want to save some cash, buy just the first episode, Part I: Join or Die (1770–1774), in which Adams defends British soldiers. A dramatization, yes, but effective at making points.

~ 0 ~

Apparently there are really four things today, because this one REALLY bugs me. Is Sen. Blackburn really advocating for birth control to be outlawed???


Tennessee, I’m looking hard at you. Why your state re-elected this cretin who believes in Big Government overreach into individuals’ family planning and women’s reproductive health is beyond me.

Reference: Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479 (1965)

~ ~ ~

Call your senators and insist they confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.

Congressional switchboard: (202) 224-3121 or use Resist.bot.

Graphic: Quino Al via Unsplash (mod by Rayne)

Three Things: A Call to Action for Voting Rights [UPDATE-2]

[NB: check the byline, thanks. Update(s) at the bottom of the post. /~Rayne]

It’s time to go to the phones and demand your elected members of Congress not only support civil rights but fulfill their oaths of office.

Before I forget, here’s what you’re going to need:

Congressional switchboard: (202) 224-3121 or use Resist.bot

You may also look up your senators’ local offices online and call the one closest to you.

When you call you’re going to remind them the people are guaranteed under the Constitution a republican (little r) form of government under Article IV, Section 4:

The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government…

The text may specifically say the states are guaranteed this, but it means that every state and in turn its citizens shall be assured their government is of, by, and for the people, with government’s powers arising from their consent. No closed clique will govern opaquely for narrower interests.

To that end every citizen must be assured the right to vote as part of that guarantee. We expect our elected officials to deliver on that, not to act like some star chamber.

Call and demand this through the support of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the For the People Act, letting no procedural rule like the filibuster get in the way of the greater obligation to fulfill their oaths.

~ 3 ~

John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, S.4 (JLVRAA) undoes much of the damage done to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 caused by the Supreme Court’s absurd decision in Shelby County v. Holder (2013).

Because of Shelby County v. Holder, states have been able to violate citizens’ voting rights as states are no longer held to a federal standard to ensure they do not discriminate against voters.

This violates the 14th Amendment and its Equal Protection Clause; depending on the state in which U.S. citizens resided, they may not be assured the same voting rights as citizens in other states.

The JLVRAA:

– Prevents states from reverting to discriminatory polling policies including but not limited to literacy tests and poll taxes with a new federal preclearance policy evaluating polling changes;

– Establishes adequate advance notice to citizens of changes to voting rules by states;

– Allows the U.S. Attorney General to assign observers where racial discrimination against voters is most likely;

– Not only requires federal approval for policies impacting the ability to cast a ballot or register to vote, but ensures availability of language assistance for ESL voters as well as fairness in redistricting.

This bill does not replace the 1965 Voting Rights Act but works hand in glove with it to protect every citizen’s right to vote.

~ 2 ~

The For the People Act, S.1 also supports the 1965 Voting Rights Act by:

– Expanding automatic voter registration to every state;

– Restoring voting rights to Americans who have completed their felony sentences;

– Establishing independent redistricting commissions in every state to end partisan redistricting.

– Changes ethics and campaign finance rules to reduce improper and unethical influence on legislation.

You’d think this would be a no-brainer piece of legislation.

~ 1 ~

This video by David Pepper offers the clearest explanation I’ve found as to why the filibuster must go when it comes to voting rights.

Our rights are guaranteed by the Constitution. Our elected members of Congress have a duty to ensure the guarantee is fulfilled as part of their oath of office.

Their oath is NOT to changeable, non-permanent procedures which have benefited a narrower class of citizens.

Insist your senators fulfill their oath and end the filibuster for any civil rights legislation including the JLVRAA and Freedom to Vote Act.

This applies equally to every member of Congress, no matter what state or party affiliation; they’ve sworn the same oath to defend and uphold the Constitution.

~ 0 ~

Perhaps I could have written a shorter hortatory post; if I’d felt less than I do about this I might have, but these bills are essential to the preservation of our democratic republic.

Bottom line: call your senators and demand they fulfill their oaths by passing the JLVRAA and Freedom to Vote Act, ending the filibuster as necessary to pass these bills.

Congressional switchboard: (202) 224-3121 or use Resist.bot

Now go – get in good trouble. Let us know how you did in comments.

~ ~ ~

UPDATE-1 — 5:00 PM —

Looks like there may have been a breakthrough on a procedural basis:


Fingers crossed this works. Can’t be certain we have 50 senators supporting these two bills yet.

If your senators are Republicans or Independents, call them anyhow. All 100 senators swore the same oath.

~ ~ ~

UPDATE-2 — 1:00 P.M. 13-JAN-2022 —

Last evening Michael Li of the Brennan Center noted the two voting rights bills have been consolidated, which may make the “message between the Houses” procedure much easier.

This morning Democracy Docket’s Marc Elias noted a change adding anti-subversion wording:

So the new “Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act” isn’t just a consolidation but an improved bill.

I need to confirm the improvement may get around that corrupt twit Sen. Marsha Blackburn’s block of three election security bills which were intended to prevent foreign interference and tampering with electronic voting machines over the internet. (By the way, racist Blackburn is up for re-election in 2025. Ditch her, Tennesseeans.)

The problem even with the procedural maneuvering remains Sen. DINO Sinema who has given a speech this morning which Sen. McConnell praised. That should tell you all you need to know.

Keep calling your senators including GOP senators. The ones who are more centrist like Murkowski in Alaska may be amenable — especially Murkowski given the percentage of voters in her state who are Native American.

The End Of Roe v. Wade

Is the title of this post alarmist? No, not really. That is effectively what the new Texas law has done, and has now been fulsomely endorsed by the Supreme Court, without even the courtesy of full briefing, oral argument and a merits decision. It was known this was coming when SCOTUS let this bunk take effect yesterday morning without action, it was just a question of what the backroom dynamics were in that regard. Now we know.

Here is the “decision”. As anti-climatic as it is, it is important. This is decision on a law, and the words count.

It is madness upon not just in Texas, but the entire country. These earth shattering decisions used to come only after full briefing and argument. No longer, now the shadow path is supreme.

Agree with Mark Joseph Stern in Slate when he says this:

At midnight on Wednesday, in an unsigned, 5–4 decision, the Supreme Court effectively overturned Roe v. Wade. The five most conservative Republican-appointed justices refused to block Texas’ abortion ban, which allows anyone to sue any individual who “aids or abets” an abortion after six weeks, when the vast majority occur. There is no exception for rape or incest. The decision renders almost all abortions in Texas illegal for the first time since 1973. Although the majority did not say these words exactly, the upshot of Wednesday’s decision is undeniable: The Supreme Court has abandoned the constitutional right to abortion. Roe is no longer good law.

Texas’ ban, known as SB 8, constitutes a uniquely insidious workaround to Roe. It outlaws abortion after six weeks, but does not call on state officials to enforce its restrictions.
Instead, as Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in dissent, the law “deputized the state’s citizens as bounty hunters, offering them cash prizes for civilly prosecuting their neighbors’ medical procedures.” Random strangers can sue any “abettor” to an abortion anywhere in Texas and collect a minimum of $10,000, plus attorneys’ fees. The act’s language is incredibly broad, encompassing any friend, family member, clergy member, or counselor who facilitates the abortion in any way. Every employee of an abortion clinic, from front-desk staff to doctors, is liable as well. And when an individual successfully sues an abortion provider, the court must permanently shut it down.

What other questions does this action, really inaction, by SCOTUS generate? A lot. Peterr asked this elsewhere:

Next up, perhaps, in the Texas legislature, now that SCOTUS has affirmed (5-4) their new approach to enforcement of state laws . . .

Texas declares that black and hispanic people shall not be allowed to vote, and delegates enforcement to any citizen, allowing them to sue for at least $10,000 if they can prove a black or hispanic person voted.

Texas declares that marriage is reserved to one man and one woman, and delegates enforcement to any citizen, allowing them to sue any same-sex couple who presents themselves in any form or fashion as “married” for at least $25,000 . . .

etc. etc. etc.

Again, not hyperbole. For now though, it is crystal clear that Roe is gone. There will be different laws in different states, at best. That is it.

What happens when states like Texas/their citizen plaintiffs start trying to enforce their craven law as to conduct occurring in other states? I don’t know, but that is the next horizon.

At any rate, this is going to be a problem for a very long time. If SCOTUS will do this though, given their clear previous precedent contrary to today’s order, means you can kiss voting rights cases goodbye.

It is a not so brave, nor honorable, new Supreme Court world.

Derek Chauvin Verdict

height=It is in, we just do not know it yet. OJ aside, a verdict coming this soon is often, if not usually, a tell.

Honestly, I think the way the trial judge, Peter Cahill has been an absolute embarrassment to due process and fundamental fairness. The amount of appealable error (that does NOT mean successful appealable error) Cahill has injectect is deplorable and nuts. That guy should not be sitting on any important criminal trial bench.

But, while we do not yet know what it is, this is a thread to discuss it. Evidentiary infirmities and bullshit argument from both sides and all.

Amanda Gorman Made Silvester Beaman Sad, Joe Biden Happy, and John Lewis Dance

"https://youtu.be/lI1c-Lbd4Bw

The saddest person on the Inaugural stage was not Mike Pence, the outgoing Vice President. Indeed, after what he had to put up with from Trump for the last month, he’s probably relieved if not outright happy. The saddest person was not Amy Klobuchar or other presidential hopefuls who came up short during the primaries, who no doubt imagined themselves as the person taking the oath of office today. The saddest person on the stage today was the Reverend Doctor Silvester Beaman of Bethel AME Church in Wilmington, Delaware.

The happiest person on the stage was President Joe Biden, but it’s not because he was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States of America. It’s not because the inauguration went off without more violence. It’s not because he can finally *do* things to address all the problems he and we are facing, which had to have been incredibly frustrating as the transition floundered and foundered and blundered its way to today. It’s not because he accomplished what Beau wanted him to do.

The reason Beaman was so sad and Biden was so happy is this: Biden finished before Amanda Gorman spoke and Beaman had to follow her. Honestly, I half expected Beaman to step up to the microphone, ask “Can I get an Amen?”, and then drop the folder with his prepared benediction and sit down. Don’t get me wrong: Beaman’s words were good, but he had to know that he was following something epic.

When I saw Gorman come down the Capitol steps wearing her yellow power coat, her bold hoop earrings, her bright red wrap around the powerful tight braids atop her head, I just sat back and smiled. Michelle Obama looked great in her purple, but she was a member of the audience today. Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez both made their entrances before they picked up the microphone, and were fine, but Gorman owned those steps in a way that no on else did today. Seeing her enter reminded me of AOC stepping onto the House floor in her power red suit as she prepared to respond to being called a “fucking bitch” by Florida Congressman Ted Yoho. Before Gorman opened her mouth, it was clear that she had Something To Say and it was going to be good.

And make no mistake: she did, and it was.

It was incredibly powerful for three reasons. First, Gorman was unapologetically herself: young, African-American, articulate, and proud of all three. She did not cast herself as Maya Angelou or Robert Frost, two earlier inaugural poets. She spoke with the rhythms of rap that are the language of her generation and her community, embracing the whole heritage of Africans on this continent, and conscious of her power in this moment.

Second, Gorman was unflinchingly honest. She spoke of the ugliness of our history at times, at the tragedies we have been through, and the reality of what is going on right now. There were no pious platitudes to paper over the pain that far too many have had to deal with for far too long.

Most of all, Gorman was unimaginably hopeful. If she owned and possessed the four centuries of pain poured out on the Africans brought to this country in chains and their descendants who lived through slavery, official Jim Crow, and unofficial oppression, she also owned and possessed the strength that carried them through it all, forcing this country to slowly and painfully look at its past, decide to change, and actually make those changes begin to come to be.

But while democracy can be periodically delayed,
it can never be permanently defeated.
In this truth, in this faith we trust
for while we have our eyes on the future, history has its eyes on us.

This is the era of just redemption.
We feared it at its inception.
We did not feel prepared to be the heirs of such a terrifying hour,
but within it, we found the power
to author a new chapter,
to offer hope and laughter
to ourselves so while once we asked,
how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe?
Now we assert:
how could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?

We will not march back to what was,
but move to what shall be
a country that is bruised, but whole,
benevolent, but bold,
fierce, and free.
We will not be turned around or interrupted by intimidation
because we know our inaction and inertia will be the inheritance of the next generation.
Our blunders become their burdens.
But one thing is certain,
if we merge mercy with might and might with right,
then love becomes our legacy and change our children’s birthright.

And with these words, I thought immediately of John Lewis, the happiest person *not* on the stage today.

Gorman was not mindlessly repeating the words of an earlier generation of activists, but building on them. Just as the 23 year old John Lewis spoke on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963, so the 22 year old Amanda Gorman stood at the other end of the Mall, on the steps of the Capitol in which John Lewis served until he died, and she is taking this nation one more step forward. She isn’t asking permission to do this, or suggesting this be done. She is declaring reality: we will not be turned around or interrupted by intimidation.

I am glad that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris defeated Donald Trump and Mike Pence. I am relieved that we have made it through the transition between the election and today. I am still shaken by the insurrection of January 6th and what may yet lie ahead on that front. But I am dancing in my living room right now, and am convinced that John Lewis is dancing in heaven today, because in Amanda Gorman we see that the good troublemaking goes on.

How could catastrophe possibly prevail?

And the Good Troublemaking Goes On

A Surge of Power” sculpture of Jen Reid in Bristol, UK, commemorating her stand with raised fist in place of a toppled statue of a British slave trader
[h/t Sam Saunders, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)]

I went to bed in tears last night.

They weren’t tears of pain or shock or outrage. They were the tears that college presidents cry at the retirement of the last of the teachers and professors who helped make them who they are. The tears sports figures cry at the death of the last player on their favorite great championship team. The tears you cry when the last of your grandparents “goes home.” They’re the tears of grief at the loss you’ve suffered, and the tears that say “It’s your turn now.” You have to tell the stories you learned at their knees, as you go on to make a difference in the lives of others as they made a difference in your life.

I’m still in tears this morning, because I’ve got lots of stories to tell. (That’s a hint, folks, that this might be a tad lengthy. But don’t let that deter you from reading. They’re good stories.)

As I noted in January after John Lewis announced that he had stage 4 cancer, John Lewis was not always old. He was young when he started making “good trouble” as one of the co-founders of SNCC, one of the first Freedom Riders, and one of the lead marchers on the Edmund Pettis Bridge on March 7, 1965. As the best storyteller at the Root, Michael Harriot, spelled out in a Twitter thread, this was a march with a purpose:

The Selma to Montgomery march wasn’t a symbolic demonstration. It wasn’t even an original idea. See, black ppl all over Ala. were attacked when they tried to register to vote. So local organizers would get large groups of people to march to their respective courthouses.

That’s how those marches started. They weren’t protesting. They were GOING TO REGISTER. And they figured: “If we’re in a group, they can’t beat us all.” But y’all know white people. They will definitely try their best. I think they call it “American exceptionalism.”

They were headed to Montgomery to confront the governor in person and demand their right to vote when Bloody Sunday happened. But here’s the part about the Selma to Montgomery marches most people are never told: It was NOT nonviolent.

Let me spell it out: the Civil Rights movement led by Martin Luther King Jr, John Lewis, and others, was only non-violent from the perspective of the how those in the movement acted. On Bloody Sunday, Lewis and his fellow marchers may have acted non-violently, but Sheriff Clark and his fellow police most certainly did not.

It’s hard to type that without noticing the other big story in today’s news cycle, which puts the coverage of John Lewis’ life alongside this:

“What is happening now in Portland should concern everyone in the United States,” said Jann Carson, the interim executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon. “Usually when we see people in unmarked cars forcibly grab someone off the street, we call it kidnapping. The actions of the militarized federal officers are flat-out unconstitutional and will not go unanswered.”

The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Oregon on Friday also sued the Department of Homeland Security and the Marshal’s Service for “indiscriminately using tear gas, rubber bullets and acoustic weapons.”

One demonstrator, Mark Pettibone, 29, said agents who were in camouflage but lacked any insignia forced him into an unmarked van and did not tell him why he was being arrested. Deploying agents without any identification violates the protocols of police departments across the United States.

Mark Morgan, the acting secretary of Customs and Border Protection, said the agents did display signs that they were federal agents but withheld their names for their own safety.

You know what would keep these federal agents safe? Staying out of Portland in the first place. From the Oregonian, here’s more of the news from Portland:

During a news conference Friday with Police Chief Chuck Lovell, [Portland Mayor Ted] Wheeler said the city has no oversight authority on federal officers during downtown demonstrations. He reiterated that Portland officials didn’t ask for federal officers to be deployed and said local officers can end any violence that occurs on the streets without federal help.

“Mr. President, we see right through you,” Wheeler said. “So do us a favor: Keep your troops in your own buildings or have them leave our city.”

[snip]

U.S. District Judge Michael Simon on Friday granted the oregnization’s [sic] request to add the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Marshals Service to a temporary restraining order preventing police from dispersing, arresting or targeting journalists or legal observers at protests.

Meanwhile, the president and Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf have blamed state and city leaders for not doing enough to end violence that occurs during protests in Portland and in recent days have doubled down on their plans to keep federal officers on Portland streets.

[snip]

Lovell said although the police bureau’s main headquarters are sandwiched between the Mark O. Hatfield federal courthouse and the Edith Green-Wendell Wyatt Federal Building, Portland police and federal officers have operated separately. He did say both jurisdictions do communicate with one another and know when the other engages in some form of action during demonstrations.

Lovell and Wheeler said they didn’t meet with Wolf while he was in Portland, but the police chief later said police union president Officer Daryl Turner did.

Of course he did. It seems police union leaders are following the lead of Catholic bishops like Boston’s former Cardinal Bernard Law, who would rather cover up violent abuse by officials in their organizations than address the actual problem itself.

James Gardner Clark, Jr. may be dead, but his spirit carries on. Unfortunately for Sheriff Clark, so does John Lewis’, and it’s a helluva lot stronger.

Now-Senator Doug Jones (D-Alabama) was the local prosecutor in 2002 (!) who finally convicted the last of the Klan members who bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church in 1963 (!!!), killing 14-year-old Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley and Carole Robertson and 11-year-old Denise McNair in the basement of the church as they awaited the start of worship. Doug Jones is not dead, and he’s still making good trouble.

[Note to Alabamans: If you want to make some good trouble yourself, voting to keep Doug Jones in the US Senate in November’s election would be a very good way to do it.]

But let’s get local. Last month here in metro Kansas City, students at a local school district made a bunch of school board members, administrators, and teachers in their school district very nervous as they responded to a simple call in a single tweet, put out because of some tone-deaf statements made by those same board members at the BLM protests in the wake of George Floyd’s murder in Minnesota:

Maryam Khalil @maryamkhaliki01 Jun 4

Okay LSR7 let’s talk about the racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, classism, homophobia, sexism and blantant [sic] prejudice etc we have experienced. I’ll start. #OurstruggleLSR7 (use this hashtag)

She did, and her classmates responded. They said out loud what they had experienced, and forced school and community leaders to admit to the reality of racism in their midst, and its impact on the student they claim to value so much. Even more powerfully, students in other local districts in the area picked up on the hashtag and started their own, to tell the stories of their own districts.

Some teachers and administrators reacted defensively, and others were noticeably silent. But then there were those who were not only shocked, but glad to be shocked so that change might happen. All across metro Kansas City, young people forced adults to own their actions, or more critically, their inactions, by telling stories like these (from the KC Star):

In Lee’s Summit, more than 100 students, teachers and residents gathered for a rally at the administration building, saying they were “fed up” with as lack of response to complaints of racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia.

The chanting quieted as Yonny Astatke, a 2019 graduate, shared the racism and fear he faced during his days in the district.

He was a sophomore at Lee’s Summit High School when he posted his political viewpoints on social media. Another student replied with a threat of violence: “Black Knives Matter.”

“I was terrified,” he told the crowd. He reported the incident to school leaders. “They made me shake his hand. They made me shake the hand of the person who threatened violence toward me,” he yelled through a megaphone. “I complied because I was afraid. I am vehemently frustrated with our school district.”

[snip]

In Blue Springs this month, students created the hashtag #BlackatBSSD on Twitter and posted about their experiences: Many have been called the N-word. One said a white classmate told him he wouldn’t mind dating a Black girl but wouldn’t marry one.

“That is why we are taking action,” a Blue Springs statement said. “We are reviewing and changing policies, addressing teachers with violations, creating an anti-racism campaign and so much more.”

[snip]

The Black Student Union at Blue Valley Northwest High School in Overland Park, organized a demonstration last week as well. Parents and students said they faced discrimination in the district, or pointed to a lawsuit filed last year in which a Black student said she was told that her skin was “too dark” to perform with the school dance team. She sued the district for racial discrimination. The dance team’s coach, Carley Fine, was fired.

[snip]

“They don’t feel seen,” [Shawnee Mission school psychologist Brandi] Newry said. “They don’t feel respected. There are Black children in a building where there is no one, no one, who looks like them. It just about makes me cry.”

These kids made good trouble last month, just by recounting what they had had to deal with. They made lots and lots of good trouble. [Edited to add: These kids also did more than just talk. They put together a list of changes they want the district to make in terms of teachers, administrators, and curriculum, and submitted these to the school board at the same meeting the first African American was seated as a member of the school board.]

I wonder what lies ahead for these students. What will the reactions be when they come back to school (in person or virtually) and have to deal with these teachers and administrators again? What will they do as they go to college or enter the workforce, and face racism in other settings?

And which one of them will end up making good trouble as a member of Congress?

Rest in peace, my brother John — your good troublemaking goes on.

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