Why are residents of Democrat-run states so upset by the leaked Supreme Court draft regarding Roe v. Wade?

Friends in Maskachusetts, New York, and California have been raging against the potential for the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, thus enabling states to make their own laws regarding abortion. They say that they would personally suffer from any change in the status quo and that, in particular, they would lose their “freedom.”

Why I find this confusing is that the same people say that they will never visit a Republican-influenced state. So I don’t see how the abortion laws that prevail in the 28 states that are officially boycotted by San Francisco could cause them any personal suffering.

Here’s a Facebook exchange example:

  • me: How would someone in California experience any of the feared changes as a result of forthcoming Supreme Court decisions? How many California Democrats will ever visit, for example, Arkansas? Or talk to anyone in Arkansas?
  • Bay Area Righteous: Ha! It’s not just because of abortion. I’d be hard pressed to visit you in Florida, Philip, but not because of you. 🙂 Between humidity, anti-abortion, guns and…DeSantis (!), why would I? Okay, I’m being a bit snarky, but in general I do have more interest in visiting the more liberal parts of the country and the world. Well, that’s not entirely true. In the past 11 years I’ve visited Egypt, Turkey and Jordan (among other places).
  • me: Were you upset that abortion was strictly illegal in Egypt? Or how about Costa Rica, a much more popular vacation destination for Californians than most of the states where the Supreme Court’s return of this issue to the states would result in the law being changed? Do Californians protest the illegality of abortion in Costa Rica?
  • Bay Area Righteous: I was “upset” about all sorts of things in Egypt. We were in Cairo on January 25, 2011, the day the revolution began there. Learned a lot about their oppressive regime at the time. And since. But the difference (same for Costa Rica) is that it’s not our country. We have no standing there. The same is true about Arkansas, but unlike Costa Rica, we do have political interactions with Arkansans. We both vote for people in the House, Senate, White House, etc. Arkansans have influence over federal aspects of Californians. That’s not so for Costa Ricans.
  • Bay Area Righteous: I don’t avoid Arkansas only because of their stance on abortions.
  • me: So you would celebrate every additional abortion in Arkansas because it would mean one fewer person who could potentially vote for policies that you don’t like at the national level?
  • Portland (Oregon) Righteous friend of the Bay Area Righteous guy: master of the straw man! I’m against the upcoming ruling. It limits freedom and will likely pave the way to erosion of more freedoms. And until the crowd that applauds the decision also works for the rights and needs of the born, then I’ll gladly continue being sanctimonious.
  • me: How would [our mutual friend in San Francisco’s] freedom be limited by the Supreme Court saying that abortion was not a federal matter? Wouldn’t it be increased? The California legislature and Gavin Newsom would be free to establish any laws (or no laws) related to abortion that they desired. Or are you saying that Californians will somehow vote themselves into slavery (“un-freedom”) at the state level? ([our friend] has already explained that, even prior to this leaked draft, he was boycotting any state that he does not consider to be “liberal” so he is not going to travel to any place where a Republican might have any influence on abortion laws.)
  • Portland Righteous: I don’t really care about how this law affects [our friend]. It’s likely that any actual effects will be limited to his relations living in affected states. Though he might change his actions by giving more to pro-choice causes and maybe even host an abortion refugee from one of the affected states. It might affect other California residents who might consider relocation — depending on their level of tolerance for increased state scrutiny of reproductive rights. Being an Oregon resident, my state is actively supporting Idaho residents in need of abortion services though money and hosting. Anyway, bummer about how the state is getting all up in people’s business.
  • me: why do [our friend’s] relations choose to live in states that [our friend] had found (well prior to 2022) sufficiently deplorable to boycott and never visit?
  • me: the effects that you cite on OR and CA residents all sound positive to me. You now have a charitable cause that you believe in. When you take in a refugee or give money you will feel better about yourself and your life. See “Being Generous Really Does Make You Happier” (TIME) for some references.

Given that, from these Democrats’ point of view, the U.S. is already functionally split up into at least two countries (one good and one bad), why is the availability of on-demand abortion in the bad sub-country of more interest to someone who lives in the good sub-country than the availability of on-demand abortion in, say, Costa Rica? (the latter being a matter of no interest at all to the people who are outraged regarding the potential unavailability of abortion in Idaho)

Another example, this time from a woman in her early 50s who lives in Maskachusetts (she divorced her husband some years ago and therefore is not subject to male supervision):

  • Boston Righteous: A heartfelt “fuck you” to everyone who told me I was overreacting in November 2016″
  • “Joseph”: Wait you’re in Mass they will always allow abortions your reaction has no context
  • Boston Righteous: the fact that I happen to live in a state currently governed by sane people doesn’t negate the fact that as a fundamental rule, it’s not a problem to restrict my rights as a human being. The fact that some people don’t see that as a huge issue is repugnant.
  • Righteous Maryland female: The fact that you actually think [Boston Righteous]’s reaction “has no context” just illustrates the incredible privilege from which you are able to view this issue. You have absolutely no idea of the effects of this decision. Your rights have never been threatened. your gender has shielded you from many horrible things that women deal with every single day. to say that because [Boston Righteous] lives in Massachusetts and has no context for reacting to this issue is unbelievably insensitive and ignorant. If you don’t remember, [Boston Righteous] has a daughter. Perhaps her daughter may choose to live in another state at some point. … please, try to see that not everyone has the incredible entitlement that you apparently have. [But why would the daughter of a sane person who votes for sane politicians choose to live in a Red State?]
  • me: Where are the geographical limits of your concern? You’ve said that your concern extends beyond Massachusetts. Does it extend to Costa Rica where abortion is strictly illegal? If you accept that Costa Ricans can make different choices for their laws in this area than voters in Massachusetts have made, why can’t you accept that voters in Arkansas or North Dakota make different choices from yours?
  • Boston Righteous: I am quite aware of the atrocious laws against women’s rights in other countries. I had always believed that my country was better in this regard. Silly me, apparently. [Other than prejudice, what is our basis for thinking that that our country is better?]
  • me: Now that we’re deep into globalization I can’t figure out why an issue “in my country” is more critical than the same issue across a border that has become arbitrary. (It might be the case that people who live in Massachusetts are more likely to visit Costa Rica than to visit North Dakota or Arkansas. That wasn’t true before the Jet Age.) About 30% of residents of Massachusetts are immigrants or children of immigrants. They’re probably more connected to various foreign countries than they are to Arkansas or North Dakota.
  • Boston Righteous: I didn’t say that I didn’t care. But it’s substantially more personal now that it impacts me. Which of course you realize but for some reason are being obtuse.
  • me: I actually don’t understand how the laws of states other than Massachusetts impact you, any more than do the laws of other countries. Separately, Happy Mother’s Day!
  • Boston Righteous: because I’d rather not be trapped in MA? Because I’d rather my children not be trapped in MA? Because I’d prefer that the country of which I am a citizen doesn’t allow individual states to treat its residents as second class citizens? Weirdest conversation ever….. and finally, I’m not a jackass who only thinks of herself. I fully realize that as a wealthy, white woman, none of this REALLY matters to me personally. I can buy my way out of whatever I’d need. But I realize that makes me very, very privileged, and I don’t want others to suffer because they are not in the same boat. And frankly, just because. This is obscene and any rational person knows it.
  • me: people who love the Massachusetts laws are already unable to move to a lot of other states. Consider that Massachusetts shut down schools for more than a year and kept marijuana stores (“essential”) open, then ordered kids to wear masks in schools. Shutting down a school is illegal in Florida. A school system ordering children to wear masks is illegal in Florida (not against a governor’s order, but against a statute passed by the legislature). Running a recreational marijuana store is illegal. Is there a Red State that you would have previously considered moving to and now must be crossed off the list? … that circles back to my earlier point. If it is about concern for others, why not be upset about the unavailability of abortion after 12 weeks in Germany? (I never have heard you mention this.) That’s a population of more than 80 million under a law that you consider intolerable. And you would be willing even to support Germany by traveling there and spending money?

I remember her talking enthusiastically a few years ago about a vacation trip to Germany, which is why I picked that land of oppression for people who might become pregnant (to avoid inflaming the above folks, I did not point out their cisgender-normative prejudice in assuming that abortion is somehow an issue particular to “women” and did use the pregnant man emoji, though I was dying to do so.

I do find it genuinely confusing that folks in Maskachusetts, California, New York, and other states with sane government want a uniform national law. First, wouldn’t the Supreme Court just strike down any such law if the draft opinion turns into a final opinion? If this is a matter for states to decide, what difference does it make what Congress and Joe Biden do? Second, if this were a matter of federal policy, why do they think that the federal policy would allow as many abortions as MA, CA, and NY law allow? If the federal policy is set to some sort of consensus opinion, wouldn’t it more likely end up being kind of an average of current state policies rather than all the way at one extreme (abortion allowed at 37 weeks in Maskachusetts, for example)?

Finally, look at all of the times that the concept of “privilege” comes up in the Maskachusetts-centered conversation. This is why people need to attend liberal arts colleges. How else would they decode and participate?


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Apply for a permit to set up an abortion clinic in Chevy Chase?

“White House warns against ‘violence, threats, or vandalism’ after protests outside Supreme Court justices homes” (CNN, today):

The White House on Monday condemned “violence, threats, or vandalism” after protesters held demonstrations outside the homes of conservative Supreme Court Justices over the weekend.

And over the weekend, pro-abortion rights protesters gathered outside the private homes of Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Chief Justice John Roberts in Chevy Chase, Maryland, outside Washington, DC.

“Keep abortion safe and legal,” a few dozen protesters chanted on the street of the tony, tree-lined streets outside the justices’ homes. Many held handmade signs.

“Keep your rosaries off our ovaries,” they said.

The protests were organized, in part, by Kavanaugh neighbor Lacie Wooten-Holway, who told The Washington Post, “I organize peaceful candlelit vigils in front of his house. … We’re about to get doomsday, so I’m not going to be civil to that man at all.”

I wonder what Mx. Wooten-Holway would say if someone applied to open an abortion clinic in his/her/zir/their neighborhood.

CNN continues:

Following the court’s confirmation that the leaked draft opinion was authentic, President Joe Biden condemned it. Psaki also reiterated the White House’s calls for Congress to act to codify the women’s reproductive health protections established in Roe v. Wade.

I wish someone would explain how a federal law would be Constitutional if the Supreme Court holds that Roe v. Wade was a mistake because abortion regulation is a matter of state law.

A quick Google search did not turn up the precise street addresses for the hated justices or Mx. Wooten-Holway, but one of the protests started in Chevy Chase Park, so that’s presumably nearby. Zillow shows that 5BR houses are available for $3.5 million. One of them could become the new clinic.


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Ron DeSantis and the Two Minutes Hate

Americans outside of Florida enjoy being outraged at things that the Florida legislature has done. Perhaps because they’re accustomed to their own imperial governors issuing executive orders, they attribute these new laws passed by representatives of Florida voters, to a single person ideal for inclusion in their Two Minutes Hate: Ron DeSantis.

One thing that DeSantis has done recently that you probably won’t hear about… “Governor Ron DeSantis Signs Bill to Guarantee Visitation Rights for Patients and their Families”:

Today, Governor Ron DeSantis signed SB 988, the No Patient Left Alone Act, to guarantee Florida families the fundamental right to visit their loved ones who are receiving care in hospitals, hospices, and long-term care facilities. No health care facility in Florida may require a vaccine as a condition of visitation and every health care facility must allow their residents and patients to be hugged by their loved ones.

In 2010, a Nobel laureate wrote about this (CNN):

President Obama has asked the Department of Health and Human Services to establish a rule that would prevent hospitals from denying visitation privileges to gay and lesbian partners.

The president’s Thursday memo said, “There are few moments in our lives that call for greater compassion and companionship than when a loved one is admitted to the hospital. … Yet every day, all across America, patients are denied the kindnesses and caring of a loved one at their sides.”

During coronapanic, governors in the lockdown states ensured equality by banning all hospital visitation, regardless of membership in the 2SLGBTQQIA+ community.

“How DeSantis Transformed Florida’s Political Identity” (New York Times, April 28, 2022) is an example of a typical DeSantis-related story in our national media. It starts with some factual inaccuracies (not to say “lies” because those come from Republicans):

Discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity prohibited in early elementary school. Math textbooks rejected en masse for what the state called “indoctrination.”

In fact, if a kindergartener wants to talk about his/her/zir/their weekend plan to visit bathhouses, he/she/ze/they can talk to the teacher about “The best Gay saunas in Miami – Relax, indulge and mingle!”:

With stunning Miami gay beaches, unbeatable glamor, and some of the most handsome locals anywhere on the planet, the Magic City is truly a fabulous place to be gay!

One of the best parts of Miami’s vibrant LGBTQ culture is the sauna and bathhouse scene in the city. Think about it; scorching rooms filled with nothing but steam and guys having a good time. The idea alone is enough to get you all hot and bothered!

We love this super-extensive sauna in good ‘ole gay Fort Lauderdale, which is just a forty-minute drive away from Miami. For our money, Fort Lauderdale might just be the gayest city in America right now and nowhere is this more evident than at The Club.

This place is luxurious, modern and super-clean, filled with handsome gay boys looking to mingle and make new friends. With a steam room, dry sauna, whirlpool and more, there are countless areas to relax in the company of gorgeous guys.

Discussions are not prohibited by the new Florida law, only instruction. I pointed this out in a comment and a reader from Brooklyn replied:

You’re missing the point. The point is that the law is intended to make people think that young children are being taught about gender identity in school. It’s a phony issue, similar to the the CRT and Sharia law hysterias.

Welcomingschools.org offers an extensive list of recommendations for pre-K and older, however. Under the subhead “Picture Books: LGBTQ+ Family and Who You Love” (to which I object due to the failure to use “whom”) we find, for example:

Baby’s First Words and Mis primeras palabras. Christiane Engel. (Baby – Toddler) Featuring a family with two dads.

Heather Has Two Mommies. 25th Anniversary Edition. Lesléa Newman. (Pre-K – K) Heather’s favorite number is two. She has two arms, two legs, and two pets. And she also has two mommies. As school begins, Heather sees that, “the most important thing about a family is that all the people in it love one another.”

I am Jazz. Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings. (K – 5) From the time she was two years old, Jazz knew she was a girl, even though others saw her as a boy.

The history page for this enterprise says that instruction began in elementary schools in 2008 and that the organization has reached 8 million students:

As of 2021, Welcoming Schools has over 150 facilitators who have trained educators in 43 states, DC, Canada, Mexico and Taiwan, reaching over 10.5 million students. The Welcoming Schools program has also formed strategic partnerships with national and state organizations, as well as large districts across the country.

What about the math textbooks that Emmanuel Goldstein Ron DeSantis personally rejected? The Miami Herald explains the impact:

Florida’s law remains clear: Individual school boards — not state officials — ultimately have the responsibility for selecting instructional materials. Furthermore, a district may spend up to 50% of its state funds for books that are not on the department’s list of recommended titles.

In other words, regardless if a book or curriculum is on or off the state’s list of approved materials, a school board still has the authority to purchase it for the district. (The list is the “initial adoption list,” according to the state education department, and has yet to be finalized.)

The NYT is “stunned” that a big corporation might have to live by the same rules as smaller corporations:

And, perhaps most stunning of all, Disney, long an untouchable corporate giant, stripped of the ability to govern itself for the first time in more than half a century, in retaliation for the company’s opposition to the crackdown on L.G.B.T.Q. conversations with young schoolchildren.

(Again the inaccurate reference to “conversations” being excluded from the K-3 curriculum when it is only “instruction” that is excluded. Separate question: What did schools in the Northeast and California drop from the elementary school curriculum when they started teaching sexual orientation and gender identity? They didn’t make the school day or year longer, right? So something had to be dropped to make room for instruction regarding the world of 2SLGBTQQIA+. (Maybe this is part of the reason for the NYT’s 2015 story: “Surprise: Florida and Texas Excel in Math and Reading Scores” (California’s students are 9 months behind Florida’s in subjects other than sexual orientation and gender identity)).)

The article mischaracterizes Ron DeSantis’s coronapanic polices:

But beginning in 2020, a politically attuned Mr. DeSantis seized on discontent with coronavirus pandemic policies, betting that economic prosperity and individual liberties would matter more to voters in the long run than protecting public health.

DeSantis’s stated reason for not ordering extended school closures, lockdowns, and general public masking was that he did not believe that there was scientific evidence that such measures were effective at stopping the spread of an aerosol virus. From WFLA (July 2021):

“There’s been talk about potentially people advocating for people at the federal level imposing masks on kids. We’re not doing that in Florida, OK, we need our kids to breathe,” DeSantis said. “We need our kids to be able to be kids, to be able to breathe – it’s terribly uncomfortable for them to do it, there’s not very much science behind it.”

While the governor says previous protocols for masks were not meaningfully effective, health leaders across the political spectrum say that we have all of the tools to beat the virus, but people need to use them.

DeSantis said that between schools that did and did not have mask rules in effect, the difference between outcomes was not “meaningfully different.” The governor went further, saying that parents were free to mask their children on their own initiative but that he was not supportive of “coercive mandates” on Florida schools.

In other words, DeSantis’s primary position was that what governors were doing in the Northeast and California was unsupported by Science and doomed to fail. The health leaders, on the other hand, were 100 percent sure that “we have all of the tools to beat the virus.” If DeSantis was wrong and the health leaders were correct, COVID-19 should have ended in the summer of 2021 in all of the states and countries where lockdowns, masks, and vaccines were ordered.

More than 73,000 Floridians have died of Covid-19, yet public opinion polls have shown that Mr. DeSantis and many of his policies remain quite popular.

The New York Times presents this number without the context of Florida’s large population and, more importantly, very large population of old people who are vulnerable to COVID-19. Florida is #31 in the nation in terms of age-adjusted COVID-19 death rate (the NYT’s home state of New York is tied with New Jersey at #16).

Switching channels… “DeSantis vs. Disney: Homophobia and hate are beneath the surface of high-minded, right-wing talking points” (CNN Business):

The Walt Disney Company, a longtime engine of Florida’s economy, now finds itself in a disorienting position: Enemy of Florida’s governor Ron DeSantis. And let’s be clear about the root cause: Resistance to LGBTQ equality. The impending removal of Walt Disney World’s special tax district is wrapped up in anti-big business rhetoric. But the chain of events that led to “DeSantis versus Disney” began with the Florida GOP’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law. Homophobia and hate are right underneath the surface of the high-minded talking points about “parental rights in education.”

But Disney is not opposing an executive order from the hated governor who is a homophobic hater. Disney is opposing a law passed by the legislature representing voters all over Florida (yet, despite its opposition to this law, Disney will not do the obvious thing and educate K-3 kids themselves while they’re in line at its theme parks and/or with a new dark ride).

It is a little strange for a Floridian to see the attention being devoted to Ron DeSantis outside of Florida. Here in Florida, it is the counties and towns/cities that collect most of the taxes (property tax being the huge one) and therefore it is county and local politics that get people excited. It is far more common for a person I’m talking to in Massachusetts or California to mention Ron DeSantis than for the Hater in Chief to come up in a conversation with someone down here. The state government is not a feature in day-to-day life. If you need to get a driver’s license or register a car, for example, you go to your county’s tax collector office, not to a branch of a state-run DMV bureaucracy.

Maybe the explanation is that Democrats are concerned that Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley will run for president in 2024? If we add their ages together, the result (93) is pretty close to Joe Biden’s age.

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Now that Texas is sending migrants to D.C., are some humans illegal?

One of the reliable features of non-welfare neighborhoods of Washington, D.C. has been a “migrants welcome” sign in the typical front yard. Now that Texas is sending asylum-seekers directly to D.C., however, it seems that the formerly popular “No Matter, Where You Are From, We’re Glad You’re Our Neighbor” signs are gone. I didn’t see a single one. Some houses still had the Progressive Catechism signs, which include “No Human Being is Illegal,” but not nearly as many as on previous visits:

The alarm system signs are far more numerous than two years ago. BLM signs remain as or more popular than ever. Here’s a variation (“Black Fathers Matter”), presumably from someone who has never been to an American family court:

For those who subscribe to the heresy that white lives might matter, the city has helpfully put up signs from when Northeast D.C. was, apparently, a mostly-white neighborhood:

Some more yards. Note the alarm system signs and the signs calling for D.C. statehood.

Migrants from Spanish-speaking countries might nonetheless feel welcome because a high percentage of signs are presented in Spanish. Example:

Here’s a sign in four languages:

Perhaps because the flow of the undocumented has been reduced during coronapanic, crime in D.C. seems to be up (we are informed by the media that filling a city with low-skill migrants reduces crime). In addition to all of the alarm system signs, I noticed that a Best Buy in suburban Rockville, Maryland, had hired off duty police officers for continuous on-site protection against “smash-and-grab” looting.

The police cruiser was kept parked in front of the doors while the police officer was inside wearing body armor and a gun. This is in Montgomery County, Maryland, mind you, which is one of the richest places in the U.S. (government employment, government contracting, and lobbying are, apparently, lucrative!). A “face coverings are required by government order” sign was out front as well, though I believe that the order has actually expired.


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An evening with Senator Tom Cotton

As balance to a 2018 gathering (see Elizabeth Warren helps another politician raise money on a “get money out of politics” platform), I recently attended an evening with Senator Tom Cotton. It pains me to say this about a Harvard graduate, but his knowledge of world history going back at least to the 1950s is impressive, especially regarding the Middle East and China. The voters of Arkansas picked a seriously bookish person to represent them. Cotton is 44 so by current American standards of cognitive excellence he won’t be ready to run for U.S. President until the year 2056.

Some of the guests (total of about 15) talked about quitting public company boards because of the pressure to jump on the social justice, BLM, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ bandwagons. I personally attribute this to the lack of competition in the U.S. European airlines, for example, are more numerous and ticket prices are lower for comparable trips. Therefore, European companies are less likely to have the extra profits to be able to indulge in non-business activities. An investor said that he thought companies waved the rainbow flag because it enabled them to recruit employees at lower wages. It wouldn’t simply be a job, but rather a mission. Senator Cotton thought that this was something that would be dealt with at the state level, e.g., California’s law to force companies to hire board members based on gender ID. From ca.gov:

Publicly held corporations were required to have at least one female director on their Board of Directors by December 31, 2019. … Who qualifies as a female director? A female is an individual who self-identifies her gender as a woman, without regard to the individual’s designated sex at birth.

Definitely a politician to watch, though I didn’t agree with some of his comments regarding China. If the mission of Americans is building a low-skill low-labor force participation society via open borders, a lavish welfare state, and tens of millions of low-skill migrants, I think we need to cooperate with, not confront, China. We’re not going to start making our own iPhones!

An older attendee, originally from the Midwest, asked why we couldn’t have bipartisan action on a range of issues that she believed to be important. None of those under 60 thought that there was any reason for Joe Biden and the Democrats to compromise.

As I was leaving, I thanked Senator Cotton for educating us on a wide range of topics but said that I wouldn’t be able to support him if he were running against Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle. He responded that he fully understood.

From the neighborhood where the gathering was held, white and Black can coexist peacefully:

And, of course, people in a full rainbow of race and gender IDs can enjoy the beach:

The adjacent playground has a sign reminding visitors that it is an “inclusive environment”:

(Not like the Playgrounds of Hate that are common elsewhere; see Harvard graduate discovers that the suburbs are packed with narrow-minded white heterosexuals in which the 2SLGBTQQIA+ minister talks about feeling excluded by the white hetero soccer moms in the playground back in Lincoln, Maskachusetts.)

An idea if you’re redoing the driveway…

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Rich Harvard graduate joins the Supreme Court

The NYT, under a headline about “A Transformative Justice”:

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson will help make the Supreme Court look like the nation but will have little power to halt its rightward trajectory.

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first Black woman confirmed to the Supreme Court, will in one sense transform it. Once she replaces Justice Stephen G. Breyer, one of the 108 white men who preceded her, the court will look a lot more like the nation it serves. … there will be two Black justices. And a Latina.

U.S. Census says that the percentage of Americans who identified as Black in 2020 was 12.4 percent. If a numerate person were setting up racial quotas for the Supreme Court, therefore, just 1 out of 9 justices (11.1 percent) would identify as Black. With 22.2 percent Black justices, for those who “see color”, the Supreme Court will actually look less like the nation it serves.

Maybe it isn’t about the skin color criterion established by President Biden, but about socioeconomics. Wikipedia says that Ketanji went to Harvard undergrad, then Harvard Law School, and is married to a surgeon from a “Boston Brahmin” (i.e., rich) family. So someone from a household containing two Harvard graduates and enjoying an income of at least $1 million per year will make the Supreme Court look like more of a cross-section of typical Americans?

Separately, let’s look at microaggressions from the world’s nerds. Microsoft Word recognizes “Ketanji” as a legitimate word/name yet here in a text area on Google Chrome it is flagged as a spelling error. (Who else on Planet Earth has a first name of “Ketanji”?)

From CNN:

The Senate confirmed President Joe Biden’s Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson on Thursday in a historic vote… Vice President Kamala Harris, the first Black woman to serve as vice president, presided over the chamber during the historic vote in her capacity as president of the Senate. … Senate Democrats and the White House have continually highlighted the historic nature of the nomination. … The Senate chamber was packed for the vote, with most senators seated at their desks for the historic occasion.

We have all just witnessed a historic event. What will change as a result of this rich Harvard graduate joining the Supreme Court?

Finally, if Ketanji Brown Jackson were to change her gender ID to “man”, thus disqualifying himself from the job under the race+gender ID criteria established by President Biden, would he be subject to impeachment? CNN seems to think that Ketanji Brown Jackson and 2SLGBTQQIA+ are related topics:

Notice the ad at right regarding a TV biography of Elizabeth Holmes, who certainly made history as the first teenage multi-billionaire founder of a chemistry company without any degree in chemistry.


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Florida state politics stir passions primarily among those who don’t live in Florida

We recently had an election here in Jupiter that generated a fair amount of local advertising, e.g., lawn signs at street corners, and discussion at the playgrounds, soccer fields, dog parks, skate parks, beach, etc. People are very interested in who will be on the town council and who will be the mayor. The hot button issues are real estate development, traffic, and spending on open space and parks.

State politics, on the other hand, don’t seem to capture Floridians’ attention. Far more people in Massachusetts talked about Governor Ron DeSantis, for example, than people here in Jupiter.

Here’s a UK magazine reporting on a statement by a California resident on proposed Florida legislation: “Apple CEO Tim Cook slams ‘deeply concerning’ Don’t Say Gay bill as ‘proud member of LGBT+ community’”: Apple CEO Tim Cook has condemned Florida’s harmful “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which if signed into law would prohibit “classroom discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity”.

The UK’s BBC reports on another California’s opinion: “Disney apologises for ‘silence’ on ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill”.

Walt Disney’s CEO has apologised for his “painful silence” on a Florida sex education bill critics warn will isolate LGBT youth.

“You needed me to be a stronger ally in the fight for equal rights and I let you down. I am sorry,” Bob Chapek told employees.

His comments come amid internal complaints that “gay affection” is routinely cut from some Disney films.

The so-called ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill is due to become law.

It bans discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity from kindergarten to third grade classes (aged 8-9) or when “not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards”.

The BBC article is misleading, I think. It says that “discussions” of 2SLGBTQQIA+ are banned in kindergarten, but, in fact, I think it is only “instruction” regarding 2SLGBTQQIA+ that is banned. So the kindergarteners could discuss the 10 Best Gay Saunas in the USA and the teacher could say which one was his/her/zir/their favorite. But the teacher couldn’t organize a lesson about what happens inside the 10 best gay saunas. (3 out of the 10 best gay saunas in the above-referenced article are actually in Florida, in case an after-school program for K-3 or a pre-school needs to organize a field trip)

The UK’s Daily Mail also wrote about this, March 9, 2022:

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Wednesday said a Florida bill that would place limits on instruction about gender identity and sexual orientation is a ‘form of bullying’ against LGBTQI kids.

The Parental Rights in Education bill, dubbed the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill by critics, was passed by Florida’s Republican-dominated Senate on Tuesday and will now head to GOP Governor Ron DeSantis’ desk.

Psaki said the bill ‘would discriminate against families, against kids, put these kids in a position of not getting the support they need at a time where that’s exactly what they need.’

Its text says that ‘classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.’

President Joe Biden himself condemned the bill as ‘hateful.’

A full-scale war in Europe apparently cannot distract the Biden Administration from focusing on Florida politics. Nor does a war in Europe distract news media in the UK from writing about what the Florida legislature is up to.

What do the haters say in favor of this bill, according to the Daily Mail?

[DeSantis spokeswoman Christina] Pushaw pointed out to DailyMail.com that the legislation does not include the word ‘gay’ or single out any one identity or orientation.

‘The idea that it’s inappropriate for adults to instruct kindergarteners about sexual topics should not be controversial in the least,’ she said in response to Psaki’s comments.

‘Children should never be sexualized. 4-9 year olds are far too young to be learning about these topics in school. If a student has any questions about sexuality or gender, it’s solely up to that child’s parent or guardian to decide how they want to answer those questions. This is not an LGBT issue, and most Floridians – gay or straight – are fully in favor of child safeguarding and parents’ rights.’

Separately, if we combine Ukraine and 2SLGBTQQIA+, we find a 2021 article, “‘Constantly pursued’: Ukraine’s LGBT+ activists attacked online and in the street” (Reuters):

Ukraine legalised gay sex in 1991, but conservative elements in the mainly Orthodox Christian nation often speak out against rights for LGBT+ people, and members of the far-right regularly target groups and events linked to the community.

The LGBT Human Rights Nash Mir Center, which monitors anti-LGBT+ violence in Ukraine, recorded 24 attacks on LGBT+ centres and events last year, more than double the figure for 2019.

From Wikipedia:

Article 51 of the [Ukraine] Constitution specifically defines marriage as a voluntary union between a man and a woman. No legal recognition exists for same-sex marriage, nor is there any sort of more limited recognition for same-sex couples

Will it soon be time for a NYT history rewrite in which Ukraine is presented as a long-established haven for the 2SLGBTQQIA+ community?

Circling back to the original topic… the most powerful political entities in Florida seem to be counties. They collect the lion’s share of property taxes, leaving the sales tax scraps for the state. Counties run the schools and parks that residents are passionate about. I wonder if the Florida legislature and governor are actually staging some of the stuff that they do simply to see how much they can wind up people in California, Washington, D.C., and New York.

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Democrats are willing to fight anyone except a foreign invader?

Democrats frequently promise to “fight” when seeking election. Here’s the party’s thought leader, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: “‘We can and must fight‘: AOC urges Americans to ‘get to work’ to defeat Donald Trump following Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death” (Independent 2020). Nancy’s Pelosi’s 2010 statement on President Obama’s Economic Speech says Democrats are “fighting” for the middle class. The most excellent of current Democrats, as evidenced by his/her/zir/their elevation to the Presidency: “I want to make sure we’re going to fight like hell by investing in America first,” said Biden. (NYT, December 2020) Biden’s inaugural address: “I will fight as hard for those who did not support me as for those who did.” Biden in April 2021: “the climate crisis is not our fight alone. It’s a global fight.” The godlike Obama in 2018: “You can make it better. Better’s always worth fighting for.” Obama in 2009: “I will fight for you. … I got my start fighting for working families in the shadows of a shuttered steel plant.” Hillary Clinton’s concession speech: “I have, as Tim said, spent my entire adult life fighting for what I believe in. … please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it.”

A Quinnipiac University poll, however, found that there was one thing Democrats did not want to fight against: a military invasion.

As the world witnesses what is happening to Ukraine, Americans were asked what they would do if they were in the same position as Ukrainians are now: stay and fight or leave the country? A majority (55 percent) say they would stay and fight, while 38 percent say they would leave the country. Republicans say 68 – 25 percent and independents say 57 – 36 percent they would stay and fight, while Democrats say 52 – 40 percent they would leave the country.

Here’s more granular data (from the above URL, click “download as PDF”):

White men were the group most likely to say that they were willing to fight, at 75 percent. We’re informed that Americans who identify as “women” are generally strong and independent, but, in the event of an invasion, only 40 percent say that they’d be willing to fight. Americans identifying as “Hispanic” were actually slightly more likely than whites to be willing to fight while Americans who identify as “Black” already had one foot over the border (only 38 percent would be willing to stay and fight, the lowest percentage of any demographic group).

Although most apparently won’t be fighting, Americans who identify as “white women” are the ones who are truly suffering from what is happening in Ukraine, with 65 percent saying that they’re feeling anxious:

When we combine decades of political rhetoric with the poll results, is it fair to say that Democrats are enthusiastic about any fight except one involving a foreign army that is trying to take over the U.S.?

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Democrats’ persecution of Donald Trump partly responsible for the Ukraine situation?

In a recent video chat among friends, a Russian immigrant to the U.S., asked about the Ukraine situation, said “I am not following it closely, but I assume that Putin has a reason for doing what he’s doing. Either it will benefit the country or it will benefit him.”

I chimed in, “How could it possibly benefit Putin? Doesn’t he already have everything that he might want?”

She responded, “He may be worried about what would happen to him if he loses power. Maybe he thinks that this Ukraine action will help him stay in power and he needs to do that.”

Her perspective is at odds with much of the American and recent Western European experience. Lyndon Johnson and George W. Bush were free to go home to their respective Texas ranches after starting and/or escalating disastrous wars, for example. But the quiet comfortable retirement of former leaders is unusual when compared to what happens in most countries and what has happened through most of human history. And, even in the U.S., the new rulers may try to make life unpleasant for former rulers. Consider what the Democrats are doing to Donald Trump right now. New York State Democrats have been seeking to put him in prison for alleged financial misstatements (“2 Prosecutors Leading N.Y. Trump Inquiry Resign, Clouding Case’s Future” (NYT) for the latest on this one). Democrats in the U.S. Congress are also seeking criminal prosecution (“The Jan. 6 Committee’s Consideration of a Criminal Referral, Explained” (NYT); “The Obscure Charge Jan. 6 Investigators Are Looking at for Trump” (Daily Beast)). Democrats were, in fact, already seeking to imprison Donald Trump at least as early as 2018. “The Presidency or Prison” (NYT):

Donald Trump — or, as he’s known to federal prosecutors, Individual-1 — might well be a criminal. That’s no longer just my opinion, or that of Democratic activists. It is the finding of Trump’s own Justice Department.

On Friday, federal prosecutors from the Southern District of New York filed a sentencing memorandum for Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, who is definitely a criminal. The prosecutors argued that, in arranging payoffs to two women who said they’d had affairs with Trump, Cohen broke campaign finance laws, and in the process “deceived the voting public by hiding alleged facts that he believed would have had a substantial effect on the election.”

Representative Eric Swalwell, a California Democrat and former prosecutor, told me, “This president has potential prison exposure.”

Ordinarily, you know that a democracy is failing when electoral losers are threatened with prison. But Trump’s lawlessness is so blatant that impunity — say, a pardon, or a politically motivated decision not to prosecute — would also be deeply corrosive, unless it was offered in return for his resignation.

So the original idea was to put Trump in prison for paying people who identified as “women” to do what people who identify as “women” have been doing for a long time. Then January 6 came along and the idea shifted to putting Trump in prison for “obstructing an official congressional proceeding”.

If Putin observes that Donald Trump is continuously at risk of a prison sentence, depending on the whims of Democrats working as prosecutors and serving on juries, wouldn’t he reasonably be concerned about his own post-leadership fate? The Russian legal system doesn’t offer superior protection against politically motivated prosecution compared to the U.S. system, does it?

Separately, Apple News sets up a visual comparison between Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden. One leader is using armored vehicles and soldiers holding rifles. The other leader has “sanctions”:

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Levi Strauss casts out its coronapanic heretic

An interesting article by a gymnastics champion-turned-Levi-Strauss executive:

My tenure at Levi’s began as an assistant marketing manager in 1999, a few months after my thirtieth birthday. As the years passed, I saw the company through every trend. I was the marketing director for the U.S. by the time skinny jeans had become the rage. I was the chief marketing officer when high-waists came into vogue. I eventually became the global brand president in 2020—the first woman to hold this post. (And somehow low-rise is back.)

Over my two decades at Levi’s, I got married. I had two kids. I got divorced. I had two more kids. I got married again.

We’re told that it is impossible to have children and work at the same time (but ladling out more taxpayer cash will help, especially if extracted from the childless) and yet Jennifer Sey had four children while climbing the Levi’s corporate ladder! (She also had time, presumably, to be a litigant in the California Family Court.)

I wrote op-eds, appeared on local news shows, attended meetings with the mayor’s office, organized rallies and pleaded on social media to get the schools open. I was condemned for speaking out. This time, I was called a racist—a strange accusation given that I have two black sons—a eugenicist, and a QAnon conspiracy theorist.

Example hate speech and Science-denial from the op-ed (February 2021):

I find myself stunned and enraged every day since March 13 that my kids, San Francisco public school students, and approximately 50% of students across the country have no in person instruction at all for what amounts to almost a full year. They are going without classroom education, socialization, and, for kids with few resources, necessary social services. Denying kids educational opportunity amounts to denying them a future and it is nothing short of child abuse.

The lack of effort to open schools by leaders, with few notable exceptions – Governor Ron DeSantis [!!!], Governor Gina Raimondo – is a tacit endorsement that closed schools are not only acceptable but preferred, despite the fact that study after study proves that schools can be safe.

Kids went to school in the Warsaw ghetto. Kids went to school in London during the Blitz. Kids went to school during the Spanish flu pandemic. Amidst chaos and destruction, the world signaled to kids how much they mattered, that our very future depended on them. We are doing the exact opposite now. They won’t forgive us.

Looking at the highlighted text above, I think we can begin to see the problem.

The paragraph below contains a date that may be useful to historians.

In the summer of 2020, I finally got the call. “You know when you speak, you speak on behalf of the company,” our head of corporate communications told me, urging me to pipe down. I responded: “My title is not in my Twitter bio. I’m speaking as a public school mom of four kids.”

But the calls kept coming. From legal. From HR. From a board member. And finally, from my boss, the CEO of the company. I explained why I felt so strongly about the issue, citing data on the safety of schools and the harms caused by virtual learning. While they didn’t try to muzzle me outright, I was told repeatedly to “think about what I was saying.”

Meantime, colleagues posted nonstop about the need to oust Trump in the November election. I also shared my support for Elizabeth Warren in the Democratic primary and my great sadness about the racially instigated murders of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd. No one at the company objected to any of that.

Let’s see what the divorce plaintiff-turned-senator had to say about lockdowns: “Warren: ‘We should be imposing mask mandates’ and vaccine requirements” (state-sponsored WGBH, December 23, 2021. The story includes a photo of the Native American icon protecting herself and others from Omicron with a cloth mask:

The top executives aren’t stupid:

Then, in October 2020, when it was clear public schools were not going to open that fall, I proposed to the company leadership that we weigh in on the topic of school closures in our city, San Francisco. We often take a stand on political issues that impact our employees; we’ve spoken out on gay rights, voting rights, gun safety, and more.

The response this time was different. “We don’t weigh in on hyper-local issues like this,” I was told. “There’s also a lot of potential negatives if we speak up strongly, starting with the numerous execs who have kids in private schools in the city.

I’m not sure that the Levi’s official position on “gun safety” is consistent with the way that the term is used by some of the gun enthusiasts who comment here… Also note that, as in Boston, the best way for white elites to show support for Black Lives Matter was to advocate for the closure of schools for Black children while the private schools attended by their own kids were open.

I met with the mayor’s office, and eventually uprooted my entire life in California—I’d lived there for over 30 years—and moved my family to Denver so that my kindergartner could finally experience real school

Jennifer Sey was ahead of Relocation to Florida for a family with school-age children (April 6, 2021)!

National media picked up on our story, and I was asked to go on Laura Ingraham’s show on Fox News. That appearance was the last straw. The comments from Levi’s employees picked up—about me being anti-science; about me being anti-fat (I’d retweeted a study showing a correlation between obesity and poor health outcomes); about me being anti-trans (I’d tweeted that we shouldn’t ditch Mother’s Day for Birthing People’s Day because it left out adoptive and step moms); and about me being racist, because San Francisco’s public school system was filled with black and brown kids, and, apparently, I didn’t care if they died. They also castigated me for my husband’s Covid views—as if I, as his wife, were responsible for the things he said on social media.

Levi’s agrees with Pol Pot that even the worst offenders can be reformed through re-education and confession:

Meantime, the Head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the company asked that I do an “apology tour.” I was told that the main complaint against me was that “I was not a friend of the Black community at Levi’s.” I was told to say that “I am an imperfect ally.” (I refused.)

The DEI executive seems to have been correct:

Anonymous trolls on Twitter, some with nearly half a million followers, said people should boycott Levi’s until I’d been fired. So did some of my old gymnastics fans. They called the company ethics hotline and sent emails.

Every day, a dossier of my tweets and all of my online interactions were sent to the CEO by the head of corporate communications. At one meeting of the executive leadership team, the CEO made an off-hand remark that I was “acting like Donald Trump.”

In the last month, the CEO told me that it was “untenable” for me to stay. I was offered a $1 million severance package, but I knew I’d have to sign a nondisclosure agreement about why I’d been pushed out.

Readers of Real World Divorce will be pleased to see that Jennifer Sey celebrates gold diggers:

I never set out to be a contrarian. I don’t like to fight. I love Levi’s and its place in the American heritage as a purveyor of sturdy pants for hardworking, daring people who moved West and dreamed of gold buried in the dirt.

Everyone at Levi’s supports Elizabeth Warren and AOC but they can’t agree on how best to follow these two saints?

But the corporation doesn’t believe in that now. It’s trapped trying to please the mob—and silencing any dissent within the organization. In this it is like so many other American companies: held hostage by intolerant ideologues who do not believe in genuine inclusion or diversity.

Being a Progressive is not a religion, yet people can argue over who has the pure and genuine inclusion and diversity?

At least most of the Progressives at Levi’s seem to be intelligent:

Not one [fellow Levi Strauss employee] publicly said they agreed with me, or even that they didn’t agree with me, but supported my right to say what I believe anyway.

A reader comment on Jennifer Sey’s piece:

As for Levi’s – that company doesn’t even manufacture ONE STITCH of clothing in the US anymore and hasn’t for years. Look for sweatshops in India, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and Indonesia for mfg.

What about the husband whose hateful views on Covid also got the righteous Elizabeth Warren-supporter in trouble? It seems to be Daniel Kotzin, whose Twitter bio says “Stay-at-home dad. Human rights advocate. My freedom protects you; your freedom protects me.” Example hate:

And he’s a vaccine denier!

(For the record, I disagree with Mx. Kotzin regarding “vaccine remorse.” Although I recognize that a Marek’s disease-style vaccine-driven evolution of SARS-CoV-2 is possible, and nobody without a letter from God can say for sure what will be the effect of vaccinating 5-year-olds against a killer of 80-year-olds, I think it is more likely that the COVID-19 vaccines will end up with a similar status as the flu shot. Nobody regrets getting a flu shot, though plenty of people who get a flu shot subsequently get the flu…)

Here’s one where we learn that the family should have moved to Florida instead of Colorado:

(I think there is a lot to love about Colorado, but if you’re passionate about children being free to live without masks, Florida is the only state that I know where it is actually illegal for public schools to order kids to wear masks. (“illegal” meaning against a law passed by the Legislature))

In addition to being a good lesson in the range of speech that can be tolerated in a Progressive company, Jennifer Sey’s story is interesting because of the feeling of betrayal by politicians. She and her husband were presumably both aligned in their passion for Democrats such as Elizabeth Warren and they were repaid with the (abhorrent to them) imposition of school closures and mask orders for children.

Unlike the hate-suffused Trump-tainted “schools should be open” idea, a political cause that is sufficiently uncontroversial for Levi’s to support:


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