June 23, 2022

Posted by orrinj at 5:00 PM


The Coming Contradiction on Judicial Activism (JIM GERAGHTY, June 23, 2022, National Review)

Many progressives seem psychologically incapable of recognizing that the way gun-control advocates feel about today's decision and the Heller decision is exactly the way pro-lifers feel about Roe v. Wade. It's not merely that they oppose the decision; it's that they believe the Supreme Court stepped into a role it was never meant to have, overruling the duly elected legislature based upon a hotly contested interpretation of the Constitution.

The text is a tough taskmistress. 

Posted by orrinj at 3:58 PM


"It's our new cash crop": A land rush for renewable energy is transforming the Eastern Plains (Mark Jaffe, Jun 19, 2022, Colorado Sun)

Colorado's Eastern Plains -- from Yuma County cornfields to Prowers County feedlots and the wheat and sorghum fields in Kiowa County -- are set to undergo their biggest transformation in more than a century as clean electricity is added to the crops they produce.

There is already a flurry of activity as wind and solar developers -- more than a dozen have turned up in Yuma and Kiowa counties -- are locking up acreage for prospective projects in leases with ranchers and farmers.

"We've had windmills around here for a long time. These are just bigger," said Jan Kochis, 73, whose family runs a farm and cattle operation in Elbert County, and already has wind turbines on her land, generating royalties. [...]

The spur for all this activity is Xcel Energy's recently approved $1.7 billion Power Pathway transmission project -- which will belt eastern Colorado with 560 miles of high-tension transmission lines -- an electric highway to Front Range cities and suburbs for new wind and solar installations.

Posted by orrinj at 3:51 PM


Sonny Rollins | Broken Record (Broken Record Podcast, 6/21/22)

Today we're continuing our celebration of Black Music Month with the incredible jazz legend, Sonny Rollins. Rollins is an American tenor saxophonist and composer who is widely regarded as one of the most influential jazz musicians of all time. Sadly, now at 91 years-old, Rollins no longer plays as a result of pulmonary fibrosis. Fortunately for us though, he's able to look back over an eight-decade career that started at the beginnings of Bebop, and included playing with the Rolling Stones, and performing on stages all over the world.

On today's episode, Justin Richmond talks to Sonny Rollins about one of his first big gigs in 1949 playing alongside other jazz icons like Bud Powell and Fats Navarro. He also explains why he no longer actively listens to music, and for the first time ever, Rollins talks about how Charlie "Bird" Parker is the reason he kicked drugs.

Posted by orrinj at 6:36 AM


Monkeypox vaccine maker Bavarian Nordic ready to meet demand (AFP, June 23, 2022)

As the lone laboratory manufacturing a licensed vaccine against monkeypox, Danish company Bavarian Nordic has seen its order book fill up as the usually rare disease spreads around the world.

"The approval we got in 2019, when we only sold maybe a few hundred doses, all of a sudden became very, very relevant for international health," the company's vice president Rolf Sass Sorensen says with a smile at the biotech company's headquarters in Copenhagen's harbour.

Bavarian Nordic was caught by surprise by the disease's sudden spread earlier this year to dozens of countries outside West and Central Africa where it had previously been generally confined.

But Sorensen says he is confident the company can meet global demand even though it only has one production facility.

Posted by orrinj at 6:08 AM


Restoring The Founders' Vision Of Religion (FRANK DEVITO, 6/23/22, American Conservative)

The original public meaning of the Establishment Clause is modest and limited: It prevents Congress from making a law respecting an establishment of religion. This means both that Congress is unable to establish a church at the national level and that it cannot interfere with individual states' decisions to establish a religion (or not). 

There are two important takeaways often forgotten in modern discussion of the Establishment Clause. First, the Establishment Clause was uncontroversial at the time of the First Amendment's ratification because it only applied to Congress and not the states. The states were extremely diverse in their establishments of religion. Some states avoided having an established church; others did not. Maryland directly aided the Church of England, while New England states favored the Congregational denomination. Massachusetts kept the Congregational Church as its established state church until 1833. The Founders would have been quite perplexed that in 21st-century Maine, the state government would claim giving tax dollars to sectarian schools violated the Establishment Clause, when the Founders thought it quite consistent to have both an Establishment Clause and established state churches. 

Second, we need to acknowledge the vast distinction between favoring one denomination at the expense of others, and favoring non-religion over religion. These are very different. For the sake of argument, let's accept both that the Establishment Clause now applies to the states as well as Congress, and that the "spirit" of the Establishment Clause is not merely to prevent a state-established church, but to prohibit a state from favoring one denomination over others (the logic of both of these points is disputable and problematic, especially the application of the Establishment Clause to the states). Granting both of these points, there is still no reason that governments cannot subsidize religious education, encourage prayer and religious reading in schools, allow religious symbols in public places, etc. There is nothing in the text or history of the First Amendment, or the traditional practice of the states, that would lead us to believe it is unconstitutional to have Judeo-Christian prayers, readings, symbols, and customs as part of our public institutions. Far from trying to keep religion away from American public life, the Founders thought religion was necessary in our public life. John Adams proclaimed that "[o]ur Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." 

Posted by orrinj at 6:02 AM


I-Team sources: FBI seizes Nevada GOP chairman's phone as part of fake elector investigation (David Charns, Jun 22, 2022, KLAS)

FBI agents served a search warrant Wednesday on Nevada's top GOP official, sources told the 8 News Now I-Team's George Knapp.

Agents seized the cell phone of state Republican chairman Michael McDonald, reportedly as part of an investigation into the fake elector scheme initiated at the end of the 2020 presidential election.

A second search warrant was issued for state party secretary James DeGraffenreid, who also signed the document, but FBI agents could not locate him Wednesday, sources told Knapp.

Posted by orrinj at 6:00 AM


January 6 panel to focus on Trump's relentless pressure on justice department (Hugo Lowell,  22 Jun 2022, The Guardian)

Among the points the select committee is expected to cover include how Trump pursued a relentless campaign against the leadership of the justice department to more aggressively investigate debunked claims of fraud, and threatened to fire them when they refused.

The foundation of that effort, extraordinary even by the standards of the Trump presidency, culminated in a 3 January 2021 meeting at the White House where Trump almost appointed a loyalist as acting attorney general until the leadership warned of en masse resignations.

At that contentious meeting, Trump was about to move ahead with a plot to replace the acting attorney general, Jeffrey Rosen, with Jeffrey Clark, a justice department official sympathetic to claims of election fraud.

The former president only relented when he was told by Rosen that the justice department leadership would resign - and the White House counsel, Pat Cipollone, said he and his deputy, Pat Philbin, would also quit if Trump followed through.

Trump's proposed plan amounted to a "murder-suicide pact", Cipollone is understood to have said, according to a participant at the meeting who testified to the Senate judiciary committee that issued an interim report last year.

The select committee is also expected to examine the fraught weeks leading up to that moment, and the growing fear inside the justice department that Trump might drag them in to overturn the election results.

Perry introduced Clark to Trump, the interim report found. The panel is expected to shed new light on that at the hearing led by Congressman Adam Kinzinger, as well as how Perry sought a presidential pardon days after 6 January.

The hearing is expected to be the select committee's final one in June - there will be at least two more hearings next month but probably not before 12 July when the House returns from recess - and will probably build on the interim report.

In doing so, the select committee is likely to relive other key moments: a 27 December 2020 call in which Trump pressured Rosen and his deputy, Richard Donoghue, to declare the election corrupt; Trump's push to get Clark to get Rosen to open investigations into fraud.

Rosen and Donoghue will testify at the hearing, as will Steven Engel, the then assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel, the select committee has said. Clark invoked his fifth amendment protection against self-incrimination in a closed-door deposition.

"Just say that the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me" and congressional allies including the Republican congressman Scott Perry, Trump said on the call, according to notes taken by Rosen.

Posted by orrinj at 5:50 AM


Startup Says Amazing New Battery Lets EVs Drive 400 Miles, Recharge in 15 Minutes (VICTOR TANGERMANN, 6/23/22, Futurism)

A Silicon Valley-based battery tech startup called QuantumScape claims to have created a solid-state EV battery that can allow an electric vehicle to cover 400 miles and then recharge from 10 to 80 percent in just 15 minutes, Popular Mechanics reports, in a significant potential step forward compared to current charging technologie.

The company says the technology will be deployed in mainstream automobiles --PopMech's reporting namechecked Audi and Volkswagen -- as soon as 2024, bringing EV charging substantially closer to the convenience of filling up a gas tank. [...]

Proponents argue that solid-state batteries are safer and more stable than their lithium-ion counterparts, as they are less prone to catching on fire. They also can cram more energy into the same amount of space -- on paper at least -- while also allowing drivers to recharge their vehicles faster.

Posted by orrinj at 5:48 AM


Justice Department expands Jan. 6 probe with fresh subpoenas (Spencer S. Hsu, Josh Dawsey and Devlin Barrett, 6/23/22, Washington Post)

The Justice Department's investigation of the Jan. 6 attack ratcheted up Wednesday as federal agents dropped subpoenas on people in at least two states, in what appeared to be a widening probe of how political activists supporting former president Donald Trump tried to use invalid electors to thwart Joe Biden's 2020 electoral victory.

Agents conducted court authorized law enforcement activity Wednesday morning at two locations, FBI officials confirmed to The Washington Post. One was the home of Brad Carver, a Georgia lawyer who allegedly signed a document claiming to be a Trump elector. The other was the Virginia home of Thomas Lane, who worked on the Trump campaign's efforts in Arizona and New Mexico. The FBI officials did not identify the people associated with those addresses, but public records list each of the locations as the home addresses of the men.