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Jilly_in_VA's Journal
Jilly_in_VA's Journal
May 7, 2022

A formerly 'inconceivable' E.U. proposal would mark a historic shift to relations with Russia

When Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine on Feb. 24, starting the most critical war in Europe since 1945, it threw the whole continent into turmoil and uncertainty. Yet one thing remained the same: Europe carried on buying Russian energy.

Despite most European countries’ opposition to the invasion, Russia has been earning about $1 billion a day from Western fossil fuel exports, Ukrainian officials say. It continues to provide about a quarter of Europe’s crude oil and two-fifths of the natural gas it burns — a relationship that dates back to the Cold War.

All that could be about to change.

The European Union looks set to secure a ban on Russian oil imports to its 27 member states, a historic shift designed to hit Russia’s national finances and weaken its war machine as the invasion grinds on into its 11th week.

The war is sweeping away old certainties. The proposed oil ban is the latest previously unthinkable way in which Russia’s relationship with the West has changed.

The E.U. also plans to cut off Sberbank, Russia’s largest lender, from the SWIFT international payment system. The E.U. and the United Kingdom haved moved to stop Russian oligarchs buying up multimillion-dollar houses and yachts. Russian and Belarussian athletes find themselves banned from major sports tournaments.

The backlash is stronger than even Russia’s biggest critics might have expected. And all this for a country that 20 years ago was declared by Western economists to be among the world’s most promising emerging economies and a hot spot for investment, alongside the other so-called BRICS nations of Brazil, India, China and South Africa.

Chew on that, Vlad, ol' boy!

May 7, 2022

Black women in the South have been preparing for the day Roe is overturned for decades

Tight restrictions on abortion have already placed the procedure out of reach for many Black women in America — obstacles that will grow even more daunting if the landmark Roe v. Wade is overturned.

Across the Black Belt — the Southern states where the echoes of slavery reverberate in legislation that perpetuates political and social inequities — women have long confronted overwhelming costs and logistical obstacles in seeking reproductive health care.

Earlier this week a leaked draft of a Supreme Court opinion signaled the end of abortion rights nationally, which would leave an already marginalized group, who seek abortion care at a higher rate, with less access to family planning services, resulting in poor health, education and economic outcomes, according to researchers, experts in family planning and advocates for reproductive justice.

“Women are going to die,” said Dalton Johnson, who owns an abortion clinic in Huntsville, Alabama. “It might not be as many as it was in the ’70s because we have medication abortions. There are groups that are going to have access to those — whether legally or illegally. But everybody’s not going to be able to do that and women are going to die.”

If Roe falls, many women in the South will turn to a network of grassroots organizations and advocacy groups led by Black women that has emerged out of necessity to fill gaps in health care coverage and the social safety net. These groups have already been helping women who struggle to compile the cash — and coordinate the time away from work, child care and transportation — that are necessary to get the procedure.


May 7, 2022

Killed by abortion laws: five women whose stories we must never forget

As the US supreme court threatens to undo 49 years of access to safe and legal terminations, five women who died because of bans on abortion stand as warnings of what is at stake globally

Savita Halappanavar, Ireland
Savita Halappanavar was 31 years old when she died of blood poisoning nearly a week after she arrived at University Hospital Galway (UHG) in Ireland complaining of intense back pain.

Halappanavar, a dentist from Karnataka, in south-west India, was 17 weeks pregnant with her first child and went to hospital with her husband, Praveen, on Sunday 21 October 2012. Within hours, doctors said a miscarriage was inevitable, even though a foetal heartbeat could be heard. By this point, Halappanavar was in “unbearable” pain and “very upset”, according to healthcare staff. The plan was, she was told, to “wait and see” if she would miscarry naturally.

At the time, Irish law stated that abortions were permitted only if there was a “real and substantive” threat to a woman’s life. By Tuesday, there had been no miscarriage. The couple asked whether one could be induced but were told by the doctor: “Under Irish law, if there’s no evidence of risk to the life of the mother, our hands are tied so long as there’s a foetal heart[beat].”

Halappanavar developed a high fever. On the Wednesday morning, the medical team diagnosed infection and, later, septic shock. Her condition was deteriorating rapidly.

It is important to not that only the first case has resulted in a change in the law, although that was by a very large vote of the public.

May 6, 2022

Daunte Wright's mother was detained after recording a traffic stop

The mother of Daunte Wright, who was fatally shot by a suburban Minneapolis police officer, said she was injured while she was briefly detained by one of the same department's officers after she stopped to record an arrest of a person during a traffic stop.

Katie Wright said Thursday she was worried about what the Brooklyn Center officers might do to the person being handcuffed when she pulled over on Wednesday night. In April 2021, her 20-year-old son, who was Black, was killed during a traffic stop by Kim Potter, a white officer who said she confused her handgun for her Taser.

"All I was doing was my civic duty to pull over and make sure that those babies got home safe to their families because I don't want what happened to me to happen to any other families," Wright said.

The Associated Press left a message Friday asking whether the officer involved would face discipline.

Brooklyn Center police released body camera video that shows an officer crossing several lanes of traffic on Highway 252 and asking Wright for her driver's license. Wright refused, telling the officer she didn't need to show him her license because she hadn't been pulled over.

It is not illegal to video the cops. And just what was he ticketing her for? Inquiring minds &c.

May 5, 2022

The horrific bird flu that's wiped out 36 million chickens and turkeys, explained

he final month of Minnesota Timberwolves basketball was livelier than ever this season, and not just because they nearly upset the Memphis Grizzlies in their first-round playoff series.

During one game in mid-April, a woman glued her hand to the court. A few days later, another woman chained herself to the goal post. The following week, a third woman, dressed as a referee, stormed the court before removing her jacket, exposing a shirt underneath that read “Glen Taylor roasts animals alive.”

The protests, coordinated by the animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere, were aimed at the Timberwolves’ majority owner Glen Taylor. Taylor also owns Rembrandt Enterprises, a large Iowa egg producer that has culled — meaning deliberately killed — 5.3 million of its hens in response to a widespread bird flu outbreak (and then laid off nearly all of its staff).

The virus, known as the Eurasian H5N1 avian influenza, began tearing through Europe, Asia, and Africa in late 2021 and is still raging, with Europe experiencing its worst bird flu outbreak on record. It was first detected in the US in January and has since spread to at least 32 states, resulting in the death of more than 36 million chickens and turkeys and triggering a spike in egg prices.

While the virus has a near 100 percent mortality rate among infected poultry — and can spread rapidly among birds, especially in packed industrial farming conditions — it’s currently believed to pose little threat to human beings. It only rarely spills over to people, and only to those who come into close contact with infected birds. Even when there are human infections, “the viruses are unable to efficiently transmit between humans,” notes Michelle Wille, a virus ecologist at the University of Sydney.


May 5, 2022

You Are Not Owed a Reason for Somebody's Abortion

ByCaitlin Cruz

​Kaia was nearly 42 when she learned her fetus had a chromosomal abnormality that would likely lead to a painful death. Liz found out she was pregnant right after a long-distance relationship ended. Ophelia, already perimenopausal, was raising two children with mood disorders. Natalie wanted to be homecoming queen. Dima knew the dude wasn’t right. Layidua was undocumented and attempting to change her immigration status after getting married. Yas was about to start her senior year of high school. Deb had just graduated college.

I have interviewed dozens and dozens of people who had abortions for dozens of articles. I have spoken to people who chose to self-manage their medication abortions at home, who chose first-trimester abortions in hospitals and clinics, who got later abortions, multiple abortions, secret abortions, people who got abortions as minors, whose fetus wouldn’t survive, who did it to protect their health, who didn’t want to be parents ever or just not right now, and who couldn’t afford the procedure. Every one of these safe and wanted abortions was a good abortion.

After each interview I come away with profound disbelief that this is my life’s work: chronicling the stories of people who decide to divulge their private health information in service of others. They spill their abortion secrets in the hopes that their public honesty might mean those in power finally realize people who have abortions are simply that: people. I am so grateful for them. I wished I could offer them a better outcome than an accurate record of events. All I can offer them now is my own honesty.

It took me years to make so bold yet so fundamental a statement as “every safe and wanted abortion is a good abortion” on behalf of these people, because the notion of capital-J Journalism still had a hold over me. The profession has sworn, from William Randolph Hearst to Marty Baron, to not bring a point of view to practice; journalism forgets that Ida B. Wells was a reporter, too. I trained at newspapers in New Orleans, Seattle, and Phoenix. Even when I moved into political reporting, it was still a toe-the-line liberal blog. When I got to outlets that could take a bit more bite, I held back. I wrote about the fight for abortion access without explicitly mentioning the goodness of these choices. And I was fair, always trying to find the balance between pro- and anti-abortion sources and stories.


May 5, 2022

What do your favorite books say about you?

Telling me your single favorite book won’t actually tell me much about you. It is but one data point, a tiny thread in the tapestry of you. Give me a handful of your favorite books, though, and then some patterns may emerge from the noise. Looking for repeated motifs in the books you read has two benefits. One, it’ll be easier to gauge whether you’re likely to enjoy a given book you haven’t read yet. And two, it may help you know yourself a little bit better.

A friend recently asked me if I thought my favorite movies revealed anything about me. She’d seen a discussion about this on Twitter and found it revealing for herself. For me, this question crystallized my love for very cinematic cinema. Music, visuals, and dialogue all contribute in equal measure in personal faves of mine like Jurassic Park and The Third Man. It was tougher to come up with thematic connections in the storytelling, however. The next morning, still mulling over the question, I wondered if my favorite books would bear more food for thought. I told myself to shoot from the hip, to list favorite books without worrying about whether they’re well-respected or intellectually rigorous. (Speed is another of my favorite movies, after all; an intellectual I am not.)

The first three books that jumped to mind were Moby Dick, Rebecca, and The Secret History. It was comical how immediately the theme linking these stories jumped out: tales of obsession gone horribly wrong. I invite you to do this same exercise. Don’t overthink. Just list 3-5 books, straight from your heart. Jot them down to keep yourself honest. And then ask yourself a few questions.

When it comes to finding the patterns in your favorites, you may first see stylistic similarities. Are your favorite books written by authors who are birds of a feather in some way? Perhaps your books all have multigenerational plot lines, zippy pacing, or first person perspectives. Without your books to consult, I can only walk you through my process with my faves. Among my three books, meticulously crafted prose ties them together. I know I’m a sucker for prose that verges on purple, and all three authors walk this line boldly.

Mine won't qualify as great literature by any means but they're the ones I practically have paragraphs memorized from: Katherine, by Anya Seton; The Rising of the Lark, by Anne Moray; Ingathering, by Zenna Henderson

May 5, 2022

The 'cosy' US classic that's really about sex and death

Time can have a dulling quality. Such has been the effect on Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma!, which in the 1940s revolutionised the Broadway musical as a form – it is often described as being as much of a game-changer in its day as Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton. But the passing years have rendered it, in many people's eyes, familiar, folksy and cosy.

However just recently, a radical new version of the show has helped to change that perception. US director Daniel Fish's stripped-back staging, with its bluegrass reorchestrations, interval chilli, sudden plunges into pitch-black and undercurrents of violence, made US audiences look afresh at the material when it opened on Broadway in 2019, winning the Tony Award for best revival. It brought out the darkness in the central love triangle between farm girl Laurey and her two suitors, cowboy Curly McLain and farmhand Jud Fry, and other things too; audiences started referring to it as "sexy Oklahoma!". Now the New York hit has crossed the Atlantic to London's Young Vic, with a cast including Doctor Who's Arthur Darvill and Marisha Wallace, star of Dreamgirls and Waitress in the West End.

Oklahoma! was Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein's first musical as writing partners, though the pair would go on to write seminal Great American Musicals like South Pacific, Carousel and The Sound of Music. Based on Lynn Rigg's 1930 play Green Grow the Lilacs, it opened in 1943 and was a phenomenal success. It ran for an unprecedented 2,122 performances – far ahead of the previous Broadway record holder – and won a special honorary Pulitzer. Set in 1906 in the region then known as Oklahoma Territory, Oklahoma! chronicles the characters' rival courtships but it's also about life in a young country and, for a wartime audience, it symbolised the things people were fighting for – hope, home and possibility.

Oklahoma! Is very deeply embedded in US culture. The title song is now the state song of Oklahoma and references to Oklahoma! have rippled through other artworks like HBO's recent Watchmen miniseries, based on the Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' comic books, and the Charlie Kaufman film I'm Thinking of Ending Things. But as Patrick Vaill, who has played Jud Fry in all the iterations of Fish's production since it started life at New York's Bard College in 2007, explains, Fish wanted to "stage it as if people in the future had discovered the script in a time capsule and were looking at it as if for the first time."

Fascinating article. I was in "Oklahoma!" in high school and have been thinking about it recently as musicals figure in something I'm writing.

May 4, 2022

Trans youths who socially transition are unlikely to 'detransition' later, study finds

Transgender children are unlikely to "detransition," or come to identify with their birth sex, five years after their social transition, a new study found.

The findings, published Wednesday in the journal Pediatrics, come from a larger project called the Trans Youth Project. Researchers at Princeton University began in 2013 to track 317 kids between ages 3 and 12 who socially transitioned — the first and largest sample of its kind, according to Kristina Olsen, the study’s lead author and a professor of psychology at Princeton.

The results showed that five years after their initial social transition, 94 percent of the study participants were living as either trans girls or trans boys. The remaining youth had "retransitioned," as the study called it, and no longer identified as binary transgender. Of that group, 2.5 percent came to identify with their birth sex.

The findings come as Republican lawmakers in more than two dozen states have tried, over the last two years, to restrict access to gender-affirming care for transgender minors.

Social transitions can include wearing different clothing and using a different name and pronouns, but the study defined a complete social transition as changing one's pronouns "to the binary gender pronouns that differed from those used at their births."


May 4, 2022

A close reading of Alito's draft abortion ruling reveals these 8 problems

According to a leaked draft of the Supreme Court’s opinion on a Mississippi law that bans abortion at 15 weeks, a majority of the Supreme Court seems determined to scrap precedent and fundamentally change the constitutional landscape by ruling that women do not have a right to an abortion.

The U.S. Constitution protects fundamental rights, both those that are specifically listed, like the right to speech in the First Amendment, and those that are not specifically listed, including privacy rights such as the right to marry and the right to autonomy over your own body. Roe v. Wade, decided in 1973, first held that abortion was among those rights, and Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 1992 upheld that right. Both have shortcomings, but they are not so flawed that they should be struck down.

Yet that is what Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion would do. He declares that Roe and Casey were egregiously wrong and overrules them. Such a decision would allow states to outlaw abortion, which most red states are poised to do. His opinion is not final, and the official decision is expected to be handed down only this summer. But it is worth conducting a close reading of his draft, obtained by Politico, and examining the key quotes that reveal some of the many problems with his legal analysis.

Read on. Good reasoning. But PLEASE READ before commenting. Thanks.

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Current location: Virginia
Member since: Wed Jun 1, 2011, 07:34 PM
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About Jilly_in_VA

Navy brat-->University fac brat. All over-->Wisconsin-->TN-->VA. RN (ret), married, grandmother of 11. Progressive since birth. My mouth may be foul but my heart is wide open.
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