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BeckyDem's Journal
BeckyDem's Journal
June 30, 2023

The Mysterious Case of the Fake Gay Marriage Website, the Real Straight Man, and the Supreme Court

Melissa Gira Grant

June 29, 2023

In filings in the 303 Creative v. Elenis case is a supposed request for a gay wedding website—but the man named in the request says he never filed it.

Long before the Supreme Court took up one of the last remaining cases it will decide this session—the 303 Creative v. Elenis case, concerning a Colorado web designer named Lorie Smith who refuses to make websites for same-sex weddings and seeks an exemption from anti-discrimination laws—there was a couple named Stewart and Mike. According to court filings from the plaintiff, Stewart contacted Smith in September 2016 about his wedding to Mike “early next year.” He wrote that they “would love some design work done for our invites, placenames etc. We might also stretch to a website.” Stewart included his phone number, email address, and the URL of his own website—he was a designer too, the site showed.

This week, I decided to call Stewart and ask him about his inquiry.

The Supreme Court is expected to deliver its opinion in a case in which Stewart plays a minor role, a case that could be, as Justice Sonia Sotomayor stated by way of a question at oral argument in December, “the first time in the Court’s history … [that] a commercial business open to the public, serving the public, that it could refuse to serve a customer based on race, sex, religion, or sexual orientation.” (Update: On Friday, the court ruled 6-3 in the web designer’s favor.) It took just a few minutes to reach him. I assumed at least some reporters over the years had contacted him about his website inquiry to 303 Creative—his contact information wasn’t redacted in the filing. But my call, he said, was “the very first time I’ve heard of it.”

( JCA is all I can say. )

June 30, 2023

Climate nears point of no return as land, sea temperatures break records, experts say

By David Stanway
June 30, 20236:20 AM EDT
Updated an hour ago

Temperature records topple around the world
Sea temperatures also hit record high
Climate talks failing to respond to extreme weather emergencies
U.S. climate envoy Kerry expected in Beijing in July

SINGAPORE, June 30 (Reuters) - The target of keeping long-term global warming within 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) is moving out of reach, climate experts say, with nations failing to set more ambitious goals despite months of record-breaking heat on land and sea.

As envoys gathered in Bonn in early June to prepare for this year's annual climate talks in November, average global surface air temperatures were more than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels for several days, the EU-funded Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) said.

( Democrats do not have partners to solve this problem, we all know the culprits and the remedy. It is deeply distressing to need them because they will never bend against their big donors. They have children, and grandchildren, but that seems irrelevant as reflected in their voting record.)

House Republicans to introduce climate change strategy with eye on midterms

In leaning too much into fossil fuels to counter Biden’s more aggressive climate agenda, Republicans risk turning off swing voters in states and districts already feeling the effects of climate change, with forecasts predicting a brutal summer for wildfires, extreme heat and drought. https://www.reuters.com/business/environment/climate-nears-point-no-return-land-sea-temperatures-break-records-experts-2023-06-30/

June 30, 2023

House Democrat blasts affirmative action exemption of military academies 'grotesque'

BY LAUREN SFORZA - 06/29/23 12:23 PM ET

Rep. Jason Crow (D-Colo.) blasted the Supreme Court’s decision to exempt military academies from its ruling on affirmative action as “outright grotesque.”

“This decision is deeply upsetting but outright grotesque for exempting military academies. The court is saying diversity shouldn’t matter, EXCEPT when deciding who can fight and die for our country—reinforcing the notion that these communities can sacrifice for America but not be full participants in every other way,” Crow, a former Army Ranger, wrote on Twitter.

Excerpt: In a footnote, Roberts wrote that military academies are exempted from the court’s opinion.

“No military academy is a party to these cases, however, and none of the courts below addressed the propriety of race-based admissions systems in that context. This opinion also does not address the issue, in light of the potentially distinct interests that military academies may present,” the footnote states.

( Disgusting. )

June 29, 2023

Biden on affirmative action decision: 'This is not a normal court'

President Biden on Thursday weighed in on the Supreme Court following its decision to upend affirmative action in college admissions, calling it “not normal.”

“This is not a normal court,” the president said at the White House when asked whether thought the institution had gone “rogue.”

Excerpt: Earlier on Thursday, the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) said the court’s legitimacy is now in question, calling the decision “radical.”

In the opinion that broke along ideological lines, conservative justices invalidated admissions practices at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina, ruling they did not comply with the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection.


( Yep, not normal. )

June 27, 2023

'Planned in plain sight': Senate report finds intel agencies failed in the lead-up to Jan. 6

The FBI and DHS downplayed the potential for violence even as rioters openly planned to attack the Capitol online, Democrats on the Senate Homeland Security Committee found.

June 27, 2023, 5:00 AM EDT
By Ryan Nobles and Ryan J. Reilly

WASHINGTON — Federal law enforcement agencies failed to correctly analyze a wide range of intelligence showing the potential for violence on Jan. 6, 2021, Democrats on the Senate Homeland Security Committee concluded in a report released Tuesday.

The report, written by the committee's chair, Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., and staff, provides specific examples of threats of violence and plans for an attack on the Capitol that were collected by agencies in the lead-up to Jan. 6, including the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A). The report concludes that the agencies consistently downplayed the potential for violence and, as a result, the government did not prepare the proper security apparatus for Washington that day.

"At a fundamental level, the agencies failed to fulfill their mission and connect the public and nonpublic information they received," the report reads, pointing to internal emails and documents that "demonstrate the breadth and gravity of the threats these agencies received related to January 6th."

As an example, on Jan. 2, 2021, four days before the riot, the social media platform Parler sent a post from a user on its site to the FBI that read, “This is not a rally and it’s no longer a protest. This is a final stand where we are drawing the red line at Capitol Hill. … don’t be surprised if we take the #capital building.”


( Yea, why would anyone worry about as specific a threat as that. )

June 24, 2023

Wagner uprising shows Russia's 'full-scale' weakness and chaos, says Zelenskiy - Ukraine war live

From 5h ago

03.29 EDT
Here is what Vladimir Putin has said so far:
Putin gave an emergency televised address on Saturday as the Wagner mercenary chief leads an armed rebellion:

Putin said Russia was fighting “the toughest battle for its future”.
He said the Wagner “armed mutiny” was a “stab in the back” to Russia. He called the rebellion treason and said anyone who had taken up arms against the Russian military would be punished.
He said he would do everything to protect Russia, that the Russian armed forces “have been given the necessary orders” and that “decisive action” would be taken to stabilise the situation.

More here:


( Fingers crossed and all that. )

June 23, 2023

America's Dangerous Trucks (full documentary) FRONTLINE

Deadly traffic accidents involving large trucks have surged over the past decade. FRONTLINE and ProPublica investigate one particularly gruesome kind of truck accident — underride crashes — and why they keep happening.

“These are crashes where a smaller vehicle gets caught under large trucks like 18-wheelers, often with devastating consequences,” says award-winning correspondent A.C. Thompson (“Documenting Hate,” “American Insurrection,” and “Law & Disorder”). “Our new investigation explores what the trucking industry and the government knew about these crashes, when they knew it, and their role in the fight over safety measures that could potentially save thousands of lives.”

America’s Dangerous Trucks is a FRONTLINE production with Midnight Films LLC in partnership with ProPublica. The director is Gabrielle Schonder. The producers are A.C. Thompson, Gabrielle Schonder and Karim Hajj. The correspondent is A.C. Thompson. The writers are A.C. Thompson and Gabrielle Schonder. The editor-in-chief and executive producer of FRONTLINE is Raney Aronson-Rath.

( The culprit here is deregulation going back to the Reagan era. There are good people who tried under the Obama administration, take a listen and please share with your elected reps. )

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