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Name: Sharon
Gender: Female
Hometown: Chicago area, IL
Home country: USA
Member since: Tue Mar 26, 2013, 04:18 AM
Number of posts: 8,002

Journal Archives

Biden Reestablishes Arts and Humanities Committee Gutted by Trump

T5he committee’s main responsibilities will be to shape policy goals, stimulate arts philanthropy, and advocate for the expansion of federal backing of the cultural sector.

President Biden has issued an executive order reinstating the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities (PCAH), an advisory group that dissolved under the Trump administration. The announcement was made last Friday, September 30.

The committee, which was first established in 1982 by President Ronald Reagan, works in concert with the White House and three primary federal cultural agencies — the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). But in 2017, when former President Donald Trump drew moral equivocations about the perpetrators of the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, all 16 remaining non-ex officio members — including artist Chuck Close, writer Jhumpa Lahiri, and architect Thom Mayne — resigned in protest. “Supremacy, discrimination, and vitriol are not American values,” they wrote in a letter sent to the White House. In response, the Trump administration stated that it had already decided to disband the committee because it was simply “not a responsible way to spend American tax dollars.”

The Trump administration years were marked by an executive assault on federal funding for the arts — even as Congress mobilized in response to protect critical arts and cultural organizations. In 2017, Trump proposed to gut the NEA, and every budget he proposed during his tenure would have eliminated funding for the agency. His 2021 budget proposal called the NEA and NEH “wasteful and unnecessary funding.”

The Biden administration’s executive order marks an effort to signal a return to normalcy. “The arts, the humanities, and museum and library services are essential to the well-being, health, vitality, and democracy of our Nation,” the order begins. “They are the soul of America, reflecting our multicultural and democratic experience.” Biden’s 2021 proposal would have raised the NEA’s allocation by 20% and the NEH’s by 6% after he took office.

More: https://hyperallergic.com/765932/biden-reestablishes-arts-and-humanities-committee-gutted-by-trump/

...and Biden fixes yet another thing Trump tried to trash. Let's go, Brandon!

Inside the Law School Meltdown the Supreme Court Has Unleashed,.

The Supreme Court Is Blowing Up Law School, Too
Inside the growing furor among professors who have had enough.

Khiara Bridges remembers the exact moment she lost faith in the Supreme Court. At first, at the start of Donald Trump’s presidency, Bridges—a professor who now teaches at UC–Berkeley School of Law—held out hope that the court might be “this great protector of individual civil liberties right when we desperately needed it to be.” Then came 2018. That June, the justices issued Trump v. Hawaii, which upheld the president’s entry ban for citizens of eight countries, six of them Muslim-majority. Suddenly, Bridges told me, she realized, “The court is not going to save us. It is going to let Trump do whatever he wants to do. And it’s going to help him get away with it.”

Four years later, the justices completely shattered whatever remaining optimism Bridges could muster about the court by overruling Roe v. Wade in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. When the decision came down on June 24, she got a migraine for the first time in a decade. The image of the court as a majestic guardian of liberty was, she concluded, “a complete lie.” And it wasn’t just about her own personal feelings, either: Now she had to teach her students about the work of an institution that made her sick to contemplate.

Bridges is not alone. At law schools across the country, thousands of professors of constitutional law are currently facing a court that, in their view, has let the mask of neutrality fall off completely. Six conservative justices are steering the court head-on into the most controversial debates of the day and consistently siding with the Republican Party. Increasingly, the conservative majority does not even bother to provide any reasoning for its decisions, exploiting the shadow docket to overhaul the law without a word of explanation. The crisis reached its zenith between September 2021 and June 2022, when the Supreme Court let Texas impose its vigilante abortion ban through the shadow docket, then abolished a 50-year-old right to bodily autonomy by overruling Roe v. Wade. Now law professors are faced with a quandary: How—and why—should you teach law to students while the Supreme Court openly changes the meaning of the Constitution to align with the GOP?

A version of this question has long dogged the profession, which has fought over the distinction between law and politics for about as long as it has existed. For decades, however, the court has handed enough victories to both sides of the political spectrum that it has avoided a full-on academic revolt against its legitimacy. That dynamic changed when Trump appointed Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett to replace far less conservative predecessors and created a Republican-appointed supermajority, a coalition further aided by the appointment of Neil Gorsuch to a seat that should have been filled by Barack Obama. The cascade of far-right rulings in 2022 confirmed that the new court is eager to shred long-held precedents it deems too liberal as quickly as possible. The pace and scale of this revolution is requiring law professors to adapt on several levels—intellectually, pedagogically, and emotionally.


More: https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2022/10/supreme-court-scotus-decisions-law-school-professors.html

Somebody needs to sit that smug, disingenuous John Roberts down and force him to read this article. Maybe then he might possibly, conceivably begin to believe that people really ARE losing respect for his renegade SCOTUS.

Or not. But he needs to read it anyway.

Chicago violence victims' families call on Darren Bailey to stop commercials.

CHICAGO -- Vickie Ponciano feels like breaking her television every time she sees a video clip of her nephew's murder being used in a Republican ad campaign that seeks to pin violence in Chicago on Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the city's Democrats.

"Every time I see that freaking commercial I just start cursing in front of my kids. And I don't know how to control it," Ponciano said Thursday while standing alongside the Rev. Michael Pfleger during a rally at 875 N. Michigan Ave., the building formerly known as the Hancock Center.


"Mr. Bailey, stop pimping. Stop pimping the pain and trauma of families for your own political self - either stop these commercials or get out of the whole damn race, we're tired of you using our families," Pfleger said.


The PAC has also come under fire for using footage of a Lake View woman being mugged in a separate ad seeking to showcase the city's violence.

"Whatever we need to do to raise awareness and wake people up to understand the situation with what's going on," Bailey previously said when asked of his personal opinion of that commercial. "Because it's real. And some parts of the city, they may not understand it."


So evidently, Darren Bailey, a farmer from deep southern Illinois, thinks he understands what's going on in Chicago better than the city's own residents? What an arrogant jerk. Hey, Darren, how would you like it if Lori Lightfoot and JB showed up at your farm and started telling you how to plant your corn and soybeans? Not much, right? Good thing they won't, because unlike you, they have enough sense to stick to what they know.

Ugh, I hate those ads, and I can't stand that arrogant clown. I can't wait till the election is over and that hick goes back to the sticks where he belongs.

My reaction to what's happening in Ukraine.

Yeah, you should never have poked that sleeping lion, Vlad. But you did, and now I hope he eats your face!

I actually blame Mitch more than I do Trump.

Mitch knew exactly what he was doing. He never liked Trump, but he saw a golden opportunity to stack the federal courts with RW judges and ran with it. He hid his contempt for Trump and played him like a fiddle to accomplish that goal and succeeded, all the way to the Supreme Court.

All Trump did was sit in the Oval and rubber stamp whoever Mitch and the Federalist Society put in front of him. He didn't know one judge from another and wouldn't have had the patience (or the reading comprehension) to vet judicial candidates himself.

I'm sure Trump was happy with the results and more than happy to take the credit, but Mitch was the mastermind behind the whole thing. They're both to blame, but I think Mitch bears a greater share of the responsibility. Trump was literally just a tool (in every sense of the word) that Mitch wielded to get something he very much wanted.

My beautiful grandkitties!

My daughter sent me this lovely photo of her two girls, Banshee and Pooka.

Pooka is the gray one, and Banshee is the one who looks Siamese. They are sisters/litter mates, and I think they're about the same age as Siwsan's two "big boys," Madoc and Gryff.

My daughter says Banshee got her name because she "screamed" so much. Daughter and her boyfriend/partner then chose another name from Irish/Celtic mythology for her sister.

Here's some background on the names, if anyone is interested:


Yes, most forced birthers believe Plan B is an abortifacient, and want it to be banned.

I think the quote says a lot about how few fucks Abbott actually gives about the so-called "pro life" movement. If he REALLY believed abortion was murder and was motivated by a desire to protect the "unborn," he would be anti-Plan B like the rest of them.

This quote makes it clear to anyone who is really paying attention that he couldn't care less about what happens to fetuses, embryos, blastocysts, and fertilized eggs and is motivated purely by a desire to score political points. Which makes his gleeful promotion of abortion bans that much more despicable, afaic.

Sweet baby Jesus, that merchandise! 😱

That Nazi crap freaks me out more than other thing they do. Even more--a lot more, actually--than the Confedeeate battle flags. How ANYONE can look at that garbage and NOT see pure evil staring back at them is completely beyond me.

It says a lot, I think, about what a shitty job the public schools in most U.S. states are doing in the area of teaching about WWII and the Holocaust (if they do it at all). If kids were taught what that garbage REALLY stands for, they might be less likely to grow up to embrace it as something harmless and fun as adults.

I live in one of a handful of states that mandate teaching about the holocaust. And it IS a literal handful: California, Florida*, Illinois, New Jersey, and New York.

*I'm shocked, shocked I tell you, that DeSatan hasn't gotten Florida taken off this list by now. Is he afraid of losing Jewish votes or something?

Lori Lightfoot accuses conservative super PAC of darkening her skin tone in an ad

Lori Lightfoot accuses conservative super PAC of darkening her skin tone in an ad boosting Illinois GOP governor candidate

Lori Lightfoot accuses conservative super PAC of darkening her skin tone in an ad boosting Illinois GOP governor candidate
One Democrat called the ad “racialized carnage porn.” The PAC called Lightfoot’s allegation “insane.”

CHICAGO — Mayor Lori Lightfoot is calling out a conservative super PAC over a new attack ad aimed at Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker, accusing the group of using “racist tropes” to create a scary image of Black Chicago and altering her skin to appear darker in the ad.

The ad opens with Lightfoot, who is Black, saying, “This will be the summer of joy in Chicago.” It then cuts to sounds of gunshots, screams and scenes of shadowy figures in the streets shooting. The words “Chicago violence is coming to the suburbs” appear on the screen. The clip of Lightfoot, a fellow Democrat, is from a speech she gave to the City Club of Chicago in April. Her skin color appears noticeably darker in the ad compared to the original video.


The ad was run by the People Who Play By the Rules super PAC, which is fronted by longtime Illinois conservative operative Dan Proft and largely funded by billionaire GOP financier Richard Uihlein. The PAC supports Pritzker’s Republican opponent, Darren Bailey, for governor in this fall’s election. Uihlein, who did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment, has given the PAC at least $26 million so far this year. The ad is filled with scenes of live shooting, sometimes prompting a warning on YouTube before it can be viewed. Three unaffiliated political ad makers — two who work mainly with Democrats, one who works with Republicans — who reviewed the ad after being contacted by NBC News said the mayor’s skin appeared noticeably darker than in the original video.

Two of the ad makers and a longtime Democratic strategist who has conducted research on race said the ad overall used overtly racial imagery to depict the city in a sinister light. The ad takes aim at Pritzker over a bill he signed eliminating cash bail. The law, which has drawn criticism from some state’s attorneys, goes into effect next year, does away with cash bail in the state but allows judges to keep suspects behind bars based on risk and danger to the community.

More: https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2022-election/lori-lightfoot-accuses-conservative-super-pac-darkening-skin-tone-ad-b-rcna44402

If you want to see just how bad this ad is, there's a link to the video in the article (in the very first sentence).

When Medication Risks Birth Defects, Abortion Bans Force Women Into an Agonizing Dilemma

Yet more evidence that draconian abortion bans are stupid, short-sighted, and just plain cruel...

If I were to get pregnant, our baby would be loved. But for weeks, before I would ever find out I was pregnant, she would be exposed to psychiatric medication that can cause serious birth defects—the same medication I take each morning and night to manage my bipolar disorder. By the time I found out, I would be terrified for her health. I would also be terrified that I would have to go off my medication. Our baby would be loved. I would want an abortion.

“Depakote.” My doctor sat beside me in the inpatient psychiatric unit, where I’d been for nearly three weeks. We weren’t seeing enough improvement in my mood, and she was adding a new medication to my regimen. To someone starved for the beauty of the outside world, someone on her third stay in the psychiatric unit that year, it sounded like the scientific name of a strange and beautiful type of seashell. The syllables caught my attention more than the side effects.

My doctor told me it was a mood stabilizer. I don’t remember what else she said about it. My mind was a smear, a smudge, a soupy stain. Maybe she said it was a last resort drug. Maybe she said something softer, something that didn’t imply that I was on the edge of unfixable. I don’t remember. My mind churned. I decided to try it. In that moment, it felt like the choice to hold the seashell of Depakote up to my ear, hoping to hear the peace of the ocean, of life, again.

Over time, I improved. Though I still struggled, I was much more stable. I had been on Depakote for two years before a specialist in reproductive psychiatry told me the medication was “teratogenic”—it has the potential to cause birth defects.

More: https://slate.com/technology/2022/08/abortion-access-mental-health-depakote-bipolar.html

This is a fairly long article, but it is so powerful and so informative that I'm really glad I read the whole thing. I urge everyone else to do the same, if you possibly can.
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