The SC(R)OTUS ‘Choices for Me, But Not for Thee’ Option: Brood ‘Em, Birth ‘Em, Drop ‘Em Off

It is a fact of life that no Republican can imagine a scenario that has not personally affected them, so it can be assumed that Judge Comey Barrett herself had uncomplicated pregnancies and ‘easy’ deliveries (not to mention the best prenatal care money could buy). Presumably she has been able to explain to the children she bore that they were never considered potentially disposable commodities, unlike the offspring of lesser vessels. And we have a pretty good idea how Judge Comey Barrett thinks about her adoptive children, because at her confirmation hearing she described them the way normal people talk about rescue puppies: The most pitiful, neglected little things — but see how loving & happy they are now!

But Chief Justice Roberts and his wife also have adoptive children, two adorable blonds who must be in their twenties now. At the time of his confirmation hearings, there was some public bitterness among his fellow CHUZ LYFE!!! believers that the Roberts were insufficiently committed to the cause of ensuring a steady market of healthy white newborns for eager adoptive parents, because that well-to-do lawyer couple ‘just happened’ to have found not one but two Irish nationals choosing to give birth in a Latin American country with lax cross-border adoption laws, avoiding the much more forbidding rules then in place on the Auld Sod. Perhaps the Roberts children take comfort in knowing that their parents were willing to go the extra mile(s) to obtain the closest purebred matches to build their happy family. If one must be a commodity, surely better to be an expensive, high-value commodity.

But even those of us who have not been personally affected by adoption know it’s seldom that easy, not for the birth mothers, and not for their ‘handed off’ children either. Pregnancy and childbirth is not comparable to a temporary job that can be left off one’s personal resume. Nor is being adopted (even as a newborn, even to ‘perfect’ loving parents) as inconsequential a factor as eye color or blood type…

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Sunday Morning Open Thread: Celebrate the Holidays

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Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Frost Flowers!

Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Frost Flowers!

From beloved commentor & ace photographer Ozark Hillbilly:

Friday morning, November 26th, our temps hit 15 degrees. Trusty camera in hand, your faithful, intrepid, and 3 limbed servant ventured forth in search of the elusive frost flowers.

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Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Frost Flowers! 2

He had hoped to find them blooming in abundance. Sadly, they were even more timorous than usual, hiding deep in the shadows of cedars and rock bluffs, staying well out of the blustery north wind that had been stalking the hills and hollers the night before.

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Ever willing to sacrifice much for the needs of the many, he persisted in acquiring a few examples for your mornings perusals and managed to do so in spite of a slinged arm, failing batteries, and irritable bowels.

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You f’n jackals better appreciate it, cause I don’t think his wife did.

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What’s going on in your (indoor / tropical) garden (planning), this week?

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COVID-19 Coronavirus Updates: Saturday / Sunday, Dec. 4-5


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By inserting this particular snippet into itself, Omicron might be making itself look “more human,” which would help it evade attack by the human immune system, said Venky Soundararajan of Cambridge, Massachusetts-based data analytics firm nference, who led the study posted on Thursday on the website OSF Preprints.

This could mean the virus transmits more easily, while only causing mild or asymptomatic disease. Scientists do not yet know whether Omicron is more infectious than other variants, whether it causes more severe disease or whether it will overtake Delta as the most prevalent variant. It may take several weeks to get answers to these questions…

The same genetic sequence appears many times in one of the coronaviruses that causes colds in people – known as HCoV-229E – and in the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes AIDS, Soundararajan said.

South Africa, where Omicron was first identified, has the world’s highest rate of HIV, which weakens the immune system and increases a person’s vulnerability to infections with common-cold viruses and other pathogens. In that part of the world, there are many people in whom the recombination that added this ubiquitous set of genes to Omicron might have occurred, Soundararajan said…

More research is needed to confirm the origins of Omicron’s mutations and their effects on function and transmissibility. There are competing hypotheses that the latest variant might have spent some time evolving in an animal host.

In the meantime, Soundararajan said, the new findings underscore the importance of people getting the currently available COVID-19 vaccines.

“You have to vaccinate to reduce the odds that other people, who are immunocompromised, will encounter the SARS-CoV-2 virus,” Soundararajan said.

… “In our study we found that the risk of infection without wearing masks is enormously high after only a few minutes, even at a distance of three meters, if the infected persons have the high viral load of the delta variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus,” says Eberhard Bodenschatz. And such encounters are unavoidable in schools, restaurants, clubs or even outdoors.

As high as the risk of infection is without mouth-nose protection, medical or FFP2 masks protect effectively. The Göttingen study confirms that FFP2 or KN95 masks are particularly effective in filtering infectious particles from the air breathed—especially if they are as tightly sealed as possible at the face. If both the infected and the non-infected person wear well-fitting FFP2 masks, the maximum risk of infection after 20 minutes is hardly more than one per thousand, even at the shortest distance. If their masks fit poorly, the probability of infection increases to about four percent. If both wear well-fitting medical masks, the virus is likely to be transmitted within 20 minutes with a maximum probability of ten percent. The study also confirms the intuitive assumption that for effective protection against infection, in particular the infected person should wear a mask that filters as well as possible and fits tightly to the face…

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As others pointed out, not much point arguing with someone who believes in ‘Jewish space lasers’

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Saturday Evening Open Thread: There’s Just Not Enough Time To Call Out *Every* GOP Jagoff

Senator Cornpone Leghorn has surely earned himself some spotlight, though…

Senator Kennedy recently disgraced himself while attacking Saule Omarova, President Biden’s choice for next head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency — but at least there’s an argument, however weak, about Omarova’s ideas…

Attacking Dale Ho as ‘too angry’ is just pure uncut bigotry — in Kennedy’s world, only white men are allowed to have strong emotions. This cheapjack xenophobia, from a man who has every reason to know better, but who wants to be all over the teevee spouting garbage to tickle the dumbest and meanest of his constituents.

To quote Mr. Charles P. Pierce, John Kennedy Is the Biggest Faker in the United States Senate, and That’s Saying Something”.

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Saturday Morning Open Thread: NRA Parents of the Year Apprehended

Saturday Morning Open Thread: NRA Parents of the Year Apprehended

(Mike Luckovich via GoComics.com)

Now the media circus really gets into gear. Per the AP:

James and Jennifer Crumbley were captured in a commercial building in Detroit that housed artwork, Detroit Police Chief James E. White told a news conference. White said the couple “were aided in getting into the building,” and that a person who helped them may also face charges.

A Detroit business owner spotted a car tied to the Crumbleys in his parking lot late Friday, Oakland County Undersheriff Michael McCabe said in a statement. A woman seen near the vehicle ran away when the business owner called 911, McCabe said. The couple was later located and arrested by Detroit police…

Authorities had been looking for the couple since Friday afternoon. Late Friday, U.S. Marshals announced a reward of up to $10,000 each for information leading to their arrests.

The Crumbley’s attorney, Shannon Smith, said the pair had left town earlier in the week “for their own safety.” Smith told The Associated Press they would be returning to Oxford to be arraigned.

However, White said the Crumbleys “appeared to be hiding” in the building where they were found. He added that the parents appeared to be “distressed” when they were captured…

In a video message to the community Thursday, the head of Oxford Community Schools said the high school looks like a “war zone” and won’t be ready for weeks. Superintendent Tim Throne repeatedly complimented students and staff for how they responded to the violence.

He also acknowledged the meeting of Crumbley, the parents and school officials. Throne offered no details but summed it up by saying, “No discipline was warranted.”

McDonald was asked about the decision to keep Crumbley in school.

“Of course, he shouldn’t have gone back to that classroom. … I believe that is a universal position. I’m not going to chastise or attack, but yeah,” she said.

Asked if school officials may potentially be charged, McDonald said: “The investigation’s ongoing.”

If the Crumbleys hadn’t been white, and ‘privileged’, neither they nor their son would’ve left that school conference unescorted by armed security, I’m guessing.

IMO, the Crumbleys were ‘trying to escape to Canada’ the same way OJ Simpson was ‘trying to escape to Mexico’ — except that OJ probably had a passport, and a whole lot more cash on hand. In other words, they had a vague cinematic Butch-Cassidy-and-the-Sundance-Kid fantasy about disappearing into the sunset and never being seen again. Not very reality-based, but they don’t seem to have been a couple much into reality-based planning.

Charging parents is unusual in a school shooting. A Washington Post review of 145 school shootings committed by children in the two decades after the Columbine High massacre in 1999 found that the weapon’s source had been publicly identified in 105 cases. In total, the guns those children used were taken from their own homes or those of relatives or friends 80 percent of the time.

However, in just four instances did the adult owners of the weapons face any criminal punishment for not having locked them up — and none of those prosecutions stemmed from negligent-storage laws…

A Post analysis found that such measures could have a profound impact, since more than half of the country’s school shootings since 1999 could have been prevented if the children who killed their classmates did not have access to firearms. And an academic study found that the number of gun-related accidental deaths and suicides among children and teenagers would drop by as much as a third.

One reason for the dramatic drop is that in gun-owning households with children, about 2 in 10 gun owners store at least one firearm in the least safe manner — loaded and unlocked. That would represent 5 million minors living in a house with an unsecured gun…

Saturday Morning Open Thread: NRA Parents of the Year Apprehended 1

(Lalo Alcaraz via GoComics.com)

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COVID-19 Coronavirus Updates: Friday / Saturday, Dec. 3-4


Okay, it didn’t have to be the convention! They could’ve caught it anywhere in NYC — or while travelling there & back:

The Minnesota man who contracted the omicron variant of the coronavirus met up with about 35 friends at a New York City anime convention and about half have tested positive for the coronavirus, a state health official said Friday.

Members of the group traveled to New York from a variety of states for the weekend convention that began Nov. 19 and tested positive after their return, said Kris Ehresmann, director of the Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Prevention, and Control Division at the Minnesota Department of Health. It is not known whether they are infected with omicron or another variant.

“We don’t know if we’ll see a lot of omicron, or we’ll see a lot of delta,” Ehresmann said in an interview. “But we’re likely to see a lot of covid” out of the convention, which drew 53,000 people and tightly packed crowds from Nov. 19 to 21.

The development is not sufficient, by itself, to determine where people were infected, who gave the virus to whom or to develop a timeline of its spread, Ehresmann said. The man infected with omicron also spent time elsewhere in New York City. New York, Minnesota and other states, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are investigating the case and have begun tracing the Minnesota man’s contacts…

“The conference seems like the most likely spot because of the extreme mixing of so, so many people,” Ehresmann said. “It was just a very large gathering that provided the opportunity for a lot of mixing for many people across the country.”

The unidentified man flew to New York on Nov. 18 and his symptoms began Nov. 22, which would indicate a short incubation period for the omicron variant if he picked it up in New York, Ehresmann said. The man had been vaccinated and received a booster shot in November, officials said.

The man’s symptoms were mild and resolved Nov. 24, health authorities have said. He lives with other people, one of whom tested positive on a rapid test and is being investigated further, they have said…

Still be a while before this event catches up to the Boston superspreader event that first convinced me this was not just another short-lived viral scare:

The potential for the spread of a coronavirus variant from a large, crowded event when the pathogen’s behavior was unknown is reminiscent of an episode in February 2020, when a Boston biotech conference resulted in wide and rapid transmission.

Biotech executives from around the world flew into Boston for the annual leadership meeting of the drug company Biogen. It became a superspreader event.

The Massachusetts Department of Health identified 97 coronavirus cases among meeting attendees and people who lived with them. Genetic testing showed that the same viral sub-strain infected 122 residents at two Boston homeless shelters in April.

According to a study of coronavirus genomes, the variant detected at the Biogen conference spread as far as Alaska, Senegal and Luxembourg and as of July 2020 was found in one-third of cases in Massachusetts and 3 percent of genomes studied in the United States.

(IRRC, those were tech ‘salespersons’, so there would’ve been quite as much close physical contact as among the anime nerds, ifyouknowwhatImean.)

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Late Night Open Thread: The GOP Is No Longer A Political Party…

… It’s a death cult with an outsized media platform. It’s monsters, and morons, and moronic monsters.

Some commentor recently took objection to the phrase ‘rooting for injuries’, but really — what else can we say?

Hoping there are no fatalities among innocent bystanders when the inevitable shootout starts?

Reminder: Kevin McCarthy publicly ‘joked’ about hitting Speaker Pelosi with her own gavel:


Views differ…

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Friday Evening Open Thread: TGIF, Truly

President Biden has a cold, so you can safely ignore all the frantic/gleeful health rumors over the weekend:

Hope he’ll feel well enough to show up for the Kennedy Honors on Sunday:

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TGIFriday Morning Open Thread: Year-End Holiday Rituals

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