Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member Latest Breaking News Editorials & Other Articles General Discussion The DU Lounge All Forums Issue Forums Culture Forums Alliance Forums Region Forums Support Forums Help & Search


Jilly_in_VA's Journal
Jilly_in_VA's Journal
July 1, 2023

'Colorblind Constitution': Supreme Court wrangles over the future of race in the law

When the Supreme Court struck down college affirmative action programs, conservative Justice Clarence Thomas laid out his vision for a "colorblind Constitution" in which the law must apply equally to everyone, even when it is aimed at redressing historical racial discrimination.

In his dense and heartfelt 58-page concurring opinion that drew upon his own experiences as a Black man, Thomas mounted what he called a "defense of the colorblind Constitution" in order to clarify that "all forms of discrimination based on race — including so-called affirmative action — are prohibited under the Constitution."

But his remarks met with fierce resistance both inside and outside the court, illustrating how the conservative argument that the law should take no account of race at all is a hotly contested issue.

Liberal Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, who, along with Thomas, is one of only three Black justices who have ever served on the court, responded bitterly to her conservative colleague in her own dissenting opinion in the affirmative action case.

"With let-them-eat-cake obliviousness, today, the majority pulls the ripcord and announces 'colorblindness for all' by legal fiat. But deeming race irrelevant in law does not make it so in life," Jackson wrote.

She argued that for many Americans, race permeates their "lived experience" daily.


I would like to not-so-respectfully remind Uncle Clarence that according to the original document, he is 3/5 of a man. (Wonder what Miss Ginni thinks of THAT?)

July 1, 2023

Domestic terrorism charges in Georgia are prompting concern over political repression

When Luke Harper went to Atlanta in early March, he thought he would just be staying the weekend. Harper, a 27-year old copywriter from Florida, was going there to join demonstrators in opposition to the planned construction of a new police and fire training facility. But on his second night, after attending a music festival with other protesters, Harper was arrested and accused of being a "domestic terrorist." Despite having no prior criminal history, Harper was denied bond several times and finally left the DeKalb County jail in early June.

"I was released on day 90, which is the basically the last day that they could legally keep me incarcerated without an indictment," Harper said. "And I'm still unindicted as of now."

The controversy over the planned Atlanta Public Safety Training Center — which opponents have dubbed "Cop City" — has been growing for two years. Spearheaded by a private organization, the Atlanta Police Foundation, it would site a state-of-the-art facility on 85 acres of land that the city acquired a century ago to use as a prison farm. Proponents say the project is badly needed to replace the Atlanta Police Department's dilapidated training facilities. But what started as a local debate has ballooned into a flashpoint around several issues with national resonance.

"I was released on day 90, which is the basically the last day that they could legally keep me incarcerated without an indictment," Harper said. "And I'm still unindicted as of now."

The controversy over the planned Atlanta Public Safety Training Center — which opponents have dubbed "Cop City" — has been growing for two years. Spearheaded by a private organization, the Atlanta Police Foundation, it would site a state-of-the-art facility on 85 acres of land that the city acquired a century ago to use as a prison farm. Proponents say the project is badly needed to replace the Atlanta Police Department's dilapidated training facilities. But what started as a local debate has ballooned into a flashpoint around several issues with national resonance.


This is outrageous. It's not like they're throwing bombs or anything.....

July 1, 2023

Americans Who Fought Putin Share 'Horrifying' War Surprises

In the days preceding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, David Bramlette found himself in a classroom in Washington, D.C. discussing whether Russia might invade Ukraine. He was in the middle of earning a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins in international affairs. At the time, he admits, he found the prospect of a Russian invasion implausible.

But when Russia eventually pulled the trigger and invaded Ukraine in February last year, David, who had previously completed stints working for the U.S. military as a Green Beret on a counter-Russia mission and as an Army Ranger in Iraq and Afghanistan, felt compelled to go fight the Russians.

“It’s good and evil in my mind,” Bramlette told The Daily Beast in an interview from Kyiv this week.

“I’m sitting in class, and I’m like, I could sit here and finish my degree and go work in some office job, and have a tiny iota of impact on the world working in some government office, right?” Bramlette recounted. “I have the knowledge and the skills and abilities to go help. So I basically took a leave of absence from my master’s program and went over.”

By early March Bramlette, who goes by “Bam,” was en route to Warsaw, Poland to get his bearings before joining the foreign legion in Ukraine. While boarding the plane to Poland, Bam said he sent his parents a quick email explaining why he was going to war for another country.


July 1, 2023

Shame Went to Die at Moms for Liberty's Philadelphia Summit

In another era of politics, Republican presidential hopefuls may have hesitated before hitching their brands to an organization whose members have harassed and threatened opponents, fantasized about enacting gun violence, mingled with known extremist groups, quoted Nazi leader Adolf Hitler in their materials, and earned a designation as an anti-government hate group. It’s safe to say that time is long gone.

Five 2024 candidates traveled to the birthplace of the United States to take turns auditioning for the support of a sold-out crowd of Moms for Liberty activists and rhetorically kissing the rings of the group’s co-founders, former school board members Tina Descovich and Tiffany Justice, at their “Joyful Warriors” conference in Philadelphia this week.

It’s little surprise; Moms for Liberty has emerged as a juggernaut in the conservative movement since its inception two years ago. The group claims to fight for “parental rights at all levels of government,” but it’s better known for what it opposes: COVID-19 health precautions, the contents of school libraries, and educational curricula that feature lessons about race, sexuality, and gender. Moms for Liberty has ridden its successes into statehouses across the country, where it hopes to help push anti-LGBTQ bills into law.

The Southern Poverty Law Center added Moms for Liberty to its database of extremist groups last month: a move swiftly rejected by the group as a “political hit job” and frowned upon by many of the group’s conservative media allies. For many speakers, including presidential candidates, that hate group designation was acknowledged via a punchline.

“I’m telling you these people are sick,” former president Donald Trump said, earning laughter from the audience. “Moms for Liberty is no hate group... You’re the best thing that’s ever happened to America.”


June 29, 2023

Inquisitive, beloved Canadian sex educator Sue Johanson dies aged 93

Inquisitive, beloved Canadian sex educator Sue Johanson dies aged 93
Johanson was venerated as a forthright educator who filled voids left by the absence of sex ed curricula at US and Canadian schools

Tracey Lindeman in Ottawa
Thu 29 Jun 2023 14.44 EDT
Sex educator Sue Johanson, who once declared that “horny is a beautiful thing,” has died at the age of 93 after more than two decades of giving frank advice to audiences in Canada and the US.

Johanson gained an international audience with her plainspoken guidance to Canadians on her radio and TV programme Sunday Night Sex Show – and then Americans on her Talk Sex programme.

She died in a long-term care home in Thornhill, Ontario.

Lisa Rideout, the director of a 2022 documentary on Johanson titled Sex With Sue, confirmed her death on Thursday. Paying tribute in a post on Instagram, Rideout called Johanson “an incredible, unstoppable force” who “paved the way for how we talk about sex and sexuality today”.

Johanson’s curly grey hair, wire-rimmed glasses and pragmatic wardrobe were a jarring contrast to her blunt, sometimes playful and often explicit takes on sexuality.

“She was a giant, and had such a positive impact on the lives of so many people,” wrote prominent sex advice columnist Dan Savage on Twitter.


I first became aware of her in the early 2000s. She was wonderful! RIP Sue.
June 29, 2023

Ruminations on another trip around the sun

Today I celebrate my 80th trip around the sun and I'm looking around wondering, how the heck am I this old? Aside from a few creaks and crunches, I don't feel it, and I'm told I certainly don't look it. I pass for someone in her 60s all the time, but when I count out my pills in the morning I wince. I think of the things I still want to do and wonder if I will get to do any of them, let alone all. I think about things I have done and wish I'd done a lot of them differently, but I'm proud of some of them, anyway.

I've seen a bunch of history, from WWII (which I don't remember, although I sort of vaguely remember my dad coming home (I was 2 1/2) through Korea and Vietnam to now. From segregation (although I never really went to segregated schools) through the Civil Rights era to things trying to go backwards the way they are now---damn you MAGAts and fascists, you are beyond stupid! I don't know if I've gotten any wiser or not, but I certainly have the benefit of history to look through at today's events, and some of them make me very uneasy. Others don't, because I feel like I've seen this before and have an inkling of how it might turn out.

It's been an interesting life thus far. I don't know how much of it I have left; I'm in good health so far (knock wood) but I know I could be one catastrophic illness away from the end. My intention is to go on enjoying every day, keep on doing what I do--love my husband and my family and my world, make jewelry, take care of my stray cats, and be a good Democrat. Everybody have a great day and keep on smiling!

June 28, 2023

'We are literally erased': what does it mean to be intersex?

A balloon pops with pink confetti. A mini rocket shoots blue dust. A gun shoots a box which contains pink explosives. Every Body, a new documentary following three intersex Americans, opens with snippets of a bizarre, if familiar, ritual: gender reveals, in which people surprise friends and family with a shower of pink or blue. The videos all includes screams of joy – a series of people conflating the celebration of new life with a confirmation of the gender binary.

As Every Body powerfully contends, such an emphasis is not only irrelevant to young children, but inaccurate to the vast spectrum of human bodies. It is possible, explains the intersex expert Dr Katharine Dalke, to be a biological female with testes, and a biological male with a uterus, among many other variations between the two sexes. About 1.7% of humans are intersex, an umbrella term for any variation within a person’s sex traits, including genitalia, hormones, internal anatomy or chromosomes. (For comparison, that’s about the same percentage of people born with red hair.) Some traits are present at birth, while others develop naturally over time, and 0.07% of people – or about 230,000 Americans – possess traits so significant they may be referred for surgery.

Not that most Americans are aware of such differences, owing to misinformation about intersex people, a near-desert of representation and widespread pressure on intersex people to keep quiet. “I’d say, by and large, 80-90% of people probably could not comfortably tell you what it means to be intersex,” said River Gallo (they/them), an intersex activist who appears in the film. “More people are using the LGBTQIA acronym, but still – if you were to ask people what the ‘I’ stands for, it would be ‘what does that mean?’”

Every Body, directed by Julie Cohen (the Oscar-winning co-director of the 2018 documentary RBG) follows three intersex awareness advocates and activists: Alicia Roth Weigel (she/they), a political consultant and writer who lives in Austin, Texas; Sean Saifa Wall (he/him), a Bronx-raised doctoral student living in Manchester, England; and Gallo, a New Jersey-bred actor and film-maker now based in Los Angeles. All three were subjected to non-consensual, medically unnecessary surgeries in their youth – long the standard medical treatment for intersex people, under the assumption that life within an artificial sex binary would be preferable. (The United Nations condemned such irreversible procedures, conducted to “normalize” genitalia under the guise of preventing the shame of living in an “abnormal” body, in 2013.)


I was going to post this in Gender and Orientation, but it only includes LBGT. Perhaps that needs to be changed to be more inclusive.

June 28, 2023

Russian general who may have known about Wagner mutiny goes missing

A Russian general who previously led the invasion force in Ukraine has not been seen in public since Saturday, with US intelligence reportedly claiming he had prior knowledge of the uprising led by the Wagner chief, Yevgeny Prigozhin.

Gen Sergei Surovikin is the head of the Russian aerospace forces and formerly Moscow’s supreme commander in Ukraine. Prigozhin had welcomed his appointment to that post in 2022, calling him a “legendary figure” and “born to serve his motherland”.

The well-publicised links between Surovikin and Prigozhin have fuelled rumours that Surovikin may be purged or put under investigation for supporting the mutiny. When Prigozhin launched his uprising, Surovikin made an unambiguous statement against it and in support of the Russian government late on Friday.

“We fought together with you, took risks, we won together,” Surovikin said. “We are of the same blood, we are warriors. I urge you to stop. The enemy is just waiting for the internal political situation to escalate in our country.”

However, the New York Times, citing western intelligence sources, reported on Wednesday that Surovikin had prior knowledge of Prigozhin’s armed mutiny, in which his Wagner mercenaries captured the city of Rostov and moved on Moscow before cutting an amnesty deal.


Tea or windows?

June 28, 2023

In Texas, a rare program offers hope for some of the most vulnerable women and babies

The pregnancy was a turning point for L. She was in an abusive relationship. "He actually hit me when I was pregnant," she says. "I was like, 'Well, if that's not gonna stop him, then nothing is.'"

NPR is not using her full name — just her initial — out of concern for L's safety.

She considered abortion, but even if she'd wanted one, it was impossible. Abortion is illegal in Texas, and she didn't have the means to go to another state. The closest clinic is at least an eight-hour drive from her home in San Antonio. L also had another child, a 4-year-old boy, and couldn't leave him.

The only thing she had the power to do was to quit her relationship. She just needed a place to go to.

There was another complication, though. L is in recovery. She has struggled with substance use disorder in the past and was taking methadone — a drug that helps mitigate the side effects of opioid addiction — when she got pregnant. She needed to find a place to go to that would be supportive and understanding.

That's when she found Casa Mía, a program in San Antonio that provides housing and support for pregnant women and new mothers struggling with addiction.


More programs like this, please. Most places punish pregnant women and new moms with histories of addiction.

June 27, 2023

More than 100 U.S. political leaders have slaveholding ancestors, genealogy research finds

As U.S. lawmakers commemorated the end of slavery by celebrating Juneteenth this month, many of them could have looked no further than their own family histories to find a more personal connection to what’s often called America’s “original sin.”

In researching the genealogies of America’s political elite, a Reuters examination found that a fifth of members of Congress, living presidents, Supreme Court justices and governors are direct descendants of ancestors who enslaved Black people.

Among 536 members of the last sitting Congress, for example, Reuters determined at least 100 descend from slaveholders. Of that group, more than a quarter of the Senate — 28 members — can trace their families to at least one slaveholder.

Among those lawmakers from the 117th Congress are Democrats and Republicans alike. They include some of the most influential politicians in America: Republican Sens. Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham and Tom Cotton, and Democrats Elizabeth Warren, Tammy Duckworth and Jeanne Shaheen.

In addition, Reuters determined that President Joe Biden and every living former U.S. president — except Donald Trump — are direct descendants of slaveholders: Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and — through his white mother’s side — Barack Obama. Two of the nine sitting U.S. Supreme Court justices — Amy Coney Barrett and Neil Gorsuch — also have direct ancestors who enslaved people.


Can we just stop making such a BFD out of what people's ancestors did? Almost all of us, if our ancestors have been here long enough, probably have slaveholders or other equally nasty skeletons in the family closet. What's important is what we're doing NOW.

Profile Information

Gender: Do not display
Current location: Virginia
Member since: Wed Jun 1, 2011, 07:34 PM
Number of posts: 10,430

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.
Latest Discussions»Jilly_in_VA's Journal