A few minutes ago . . .
[NOTE: The “life story” depicted in the forthcoming parody biopic described below is a fake; or rather fiction. Or better to call it a parody of the life of its real-life protagonist, Alfred Matthew (Weird Al) Yankovic. The real Yankovic was born in October 1959 in Lynwood California, just south of LA & just north of Compton. Offstage, Yankovic is authoritatively described (by Wikipedia) as leading a distinctly un-weird life: married, a daughter, no drugs or alcohol, vegetarian, no cussing in shows, a regular churchgoer. But the part about being taught the accordion by a protective mother is true. For the rest, including info about Daniel [Harry Potter] Radcliffe who stars as Weird Al in the flic, read on . . . ]
Generally speaking, Weird Al Yankovic and Daniel Radcliffe are never going to be mistaken for each other. Yankovic is the lanky, longhaired Southern California dude who became an accordion whiz and a master parodist of pop music. Radcliffe is the more compact, London-born wunderkind of the “Harry Potter” movies who has since graduated into an eclectic acting career.
Still, this past winter, during the making of the new movie “Weird: The Al Yankovic Story,” their mutual presence on the set occasionally led to confusion. When crew members called for “Weird Al,” they wanted the actor playing him, which meant Radcliffe. Eventually, for maximum clarity, they began referring to the authentic Yankovic as “Real Al,” though some further disorientation was inevitable.
The Anti-Abortion vision of Post-Roe America in a terrifying summary by Canadian-born lawyer and writer Dahlia Lithwick:
Efforts of those who have taken the position that forced birth is somehow pleasant and rewarding, even for America’s 10-year-old rape victims, have backfired spectacularly, as have their claims that abortion rights advocates are lying about new dangers that abortion bans pose to patients with high-risk pregnancies or who are experiencing a miscarriage.
For the last six weeks, Republicans have touted their vision of a post-Roe America. It is a place in which rapists get to choose the mother of their children, even if she is 10 years old; in which patients must be dying of sepsis before they can terminate a failing pregnancy; in which doctors who follow their duty of care to perform a life-saving abortion must persuade prosecutors of their proper judgment at risk of incarceration; and in which pharmacists refuse to provide women with autoimmune treatment because they suspect it could be used for an illicit abortion. This reality unfolded in under a month, because it’s the fondest dream of a small minority of uncompromising extremists.
In under a month, even Americans who call themselves abortion opponents have come to see that when abortion is criminal, every uterus is a potential crime scene.”
Midterm Scramble: NC GOP Candidates Ted Budd and Bo Hines Are Now Hiding Trump Ties & Anti-Abortion Planks
At least 10 Republican candidates in competitive races have updated their websites to downplay their ties to Mr. Trump or to adjust uncompromising stances on abortion. Some have removed material from their websites altogether.
The changes to the websites for Mr. Laxalt and [NC Republican Senate candidate Rep. Ted] Budd have not been previously reported. . . . Other news outlets have identified editing by several House candidates, including Yesli Vega in Virginia and Barbara Kirkmeyer in Colorado, Bo Hines in North Carolina and Tom Barrett in Michigan. . . .
Mr. Budd updated his website in late July, well after North Carolina’s May 17 primary, according to archived pages reviewed by The Times.
Until July 22, [Budd’s] home page featured a prominent, all-caps message that read “endorsed by President Donald J. Trump,” above a photo of Mr. Budd with the former president and a sign-up form urging voters to “join President Trump in supporting” him.
But since July 23, it has instead featured a rotating slide show of endorsers, starting with Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson of North Carolina and circulating through former Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina and Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee before reaching Mr. Trump. A viewer would need to look at that spot on the page for about 20 seconds to see Mr. Trump.
“It’s pretty basic — general elections have different dynamics than primary elections,” Jonathan Felts, a spokesman for Mr. Budd’s campaign, said in an email.
“We face a female opponent, so we’ve added prominent female politicians who have endorsed Ted,” Mr. Felts said. (Mr. Budd’s Democratic opponent is Cheri Beasley, a former chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court.)
Other differences have been more subtle. Mr. Budd, for example, has made no changes to a page that outlines his views on abortion, but he has moved the link to that page lower on his website’s list of his positions; it was second as of July 23, but is now fifth.
And in North Carolina’s 13th Congressional District [gerrymandered into the north central region] since winning the May 17 primary, Republican Bo Hines has removed his “life and family” issues section from his website, which previously linked to a fundraising page touting his belief “that life begins at conception and that we must protect the rights of the unborn.” . . .
[Budd & Hines are not alone.] Arizona U.S. Senate candidate Blake Masters, who is trailing incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly in recent polling, removed language from his website indicating support for a “federal personhood law” that would treat abortion as murder.
Tom Barrett, running in Michigan’s 7th Congressional District against Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin, removed language saying he would “always work to protect life from conception.”
Before his North Carolina primary, Hines, who is running for an open seat, told the Raleigh News & Observer that he would back legislation banning all abortions, with no exceptions for rape or incest. He hasn’t weighed in publicly on the matter since the primary. . . .
All three political contests are rated toss-ups by the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. While most forecasters still expect Republicans to take the House in the November elections, Democrats’ chances have improved in recent weeks, in part because of voters’ opposition to near-total abortion bans.
He ended The Cold War.
Moved the world away from nuclear war.
Permitted much truth to be told, opening up a totalitarian system.
Allowed hundreds of millions to sleep easier.
Helped us begin to rediscover hope.
But lived to see almost all of it undermined, rolled back, and destroyed, and a new imperialist tyranny installed. Continue reading Gorbachev: More Proof No Good Deed Goes Unpunished
Vanessa Buschschlütter — August 29, 2022
The last remaining member of an uncontacted indigenous group in Brazil has died, officials say.
The man, whose name was not known, had lived in total isolation for the past 26 years.
He was known as Man of the Hole because he dug deep holes, some of which he used to trap animals while others appear to be hiding spaces.
His body was found on 23 August in a hammock outside his straw hut. There were no signs of violence. Continue reading The Last Member of An “Uncontacted” Amazon Tribe Has Died
Putin is banking on a failure of political will in the west before Russia runs out of firepower
[NOTE: The Short Answer: Experts agree —“Maybe.” Or “Maybe not.” Long answer: Below.]
When Russia invaded Ukraine in February, many observers expected that Russia’s military would make quick work of President Vladimir Putin’s mission: to capture the country’s capital, Kyiv, depose its democratically elected government and restore Ukraine to Moscow’s control.
But nearly six months later, after Russian forces failed to take Kyiv, the war has evolved into one of attrition, grinding on with no end on the immediate horizon.
President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine continues to project an air of cautious optimism about the conflict’s trajectory. In June he told world leaders that he wanted the war to end before 2023, adding that he would “only negotiate from a position of strength.”
What are the prospects that the war will end on such a short timetable, and what paths might its resolution take? Here’s what people are saying.
In the early 1830s, a young man went to sea, hoping to make his
A Presbyterian by birth, he read his Bible each night in his shipboard
hammock, and was haunted by a verse in the fourth chapter of Proverbs:
“Wisdom is the principal thing: Therefore, get wisdom: and with all thy getting, get understanding.”
Wealth, the youth piously decided, was nothing without this special seasoning. But where was such a combination to be found?
Presently his ship sailed into the harbor of Nantucket Island, off the Massachusetts coast. Nantucket was then a wealthy and vibrant community, built and largely populated by members of the Religious Society of Friends, or Quakers.
As he walked the bustling, cobbled streets of Nantucket town, observing the fine grey shingled houses and the plain but prosperous inhabitants, another verse from Proverbs came to him. It was something about , “I am Wisdom, and in my right hand is riches and honor.”
The more he saw of Nantucketers, the more he felt sure that here was a group that genuinely understood and knew how to apply this kind of Wisdom. Continue reading Getting a Start on Worldly Quaker Wisdom
| July 25, 2022
“Not all issues have yet been resolved, but the fact that there is movement is already good,” said Russian President Vladimir Putin in Tehran on Tuesday, July 19.
“We feel that incrementally, there’s been a little bit more progress made, but there’s nothing to announce at this stage,” said Farhan Haq, spokesman for United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres.
It could be good news, although unfortunately not news of a ceasefire in Ukraine. Both men were talking about a deal to let ships take out the 25 million tonnes of grain that is trapped in Ukrainian ports by the Russian blockade.
There won’t be dancing in the streets in Kyiv about this, but there could be some dancing in the several dozen countries in the Middle East and Africa that have been facing the threat of mass hunger, in some cases even famine. Continue reading War Notes: Odessa and the Bread of Life