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Stop the War on Mail-Order Abortion Drugs

Shared Article from Chron

Why Texans won't benefit from FDA's new abortion pill rules

The federal government's recent decision to increase general access to abortive...

chron.com


The headline here is somewhat more pessimistic than the content of the article justifies. The FDA’s decision to remove restrictions on mail-order medical abortion drugs is an unambiguously positive development, especially for women in states in the South with bad, overly restrictive abortion regulation regimes. The problem for Texas specifically is the recently-enacted Texas SB 4, a repressive and stupid law that Greg Abbot believes to make it so that Mail-order abortion drugs are now prohibited in Texas. Really it is not obvious that this prohibitionist strategy will succeed, even on its own terms — the law does not make it illegal for anyone in Texas to take a mail-order abortifacient, and what the article states (more or less accurately) is that there are thorny legal questions involved in Texas’s ability to enforce Texas state laws (so-called) on out-of-state doctors or pharmacies who ship mail-order abortifacients from outside of Texas. It’s possible that Texas SB 4 effectively limits the availability of abortifacients; it’s also possible it gets struck down as overreach, or simply violated openly or covertly by providers who are willing to take the risk for the sake of their clients. But in either case, like all drug prohibitions, Texas SB 4 is tyrannical, as stupid as it is impudent, and ought to be ignored wherever possible, evaded wherever feasible, resisted wherever necessary, and repealed immediately, completely, and forever.

Stop the War on Drugs. Abortion on demand, and without apology.

Maybe It’s Even Easier for Us To Think That

This episode of Reply All is really an insightful and deeply humane effort to understand what is going on within a fairly wild and hostile political scene that is nevertheless full of real human beings.

Shared Article from Gimlet Media: Reply All

#182. State of Panic

A mystery roils Florida political Twitter: could it be that the governor’s new press secretary is running bots against her political opponents? Emma…

Emmanuel Dzotsi @ gimletmedia.com


EMMANUEL: Darius told me that the surefire way to know if an account is a bot or not is to just DM the account. So I DMed good ol’ DeepThroat, asked them, Are you a bot? And they got back me, told me they were real. . . . I was feeling a little bit like an idiot. But Darius said it totally made sense that really anyone — me, the people in Florida, you — might think accounts like DeepThroat’s were bots.

Maybe it’s even easier for us to think that.

Like we’ve all been hearing for years about how our elections have been impacted by foreign interference, about how disinformation is spreading like wildfire on the internet and ensnaring seemingly reasonable people, and to Darius, that’s exactly why bots have become the perfect boogieman.

DARIUS: I mean, I think it’s a classic moral panic. Just like people think that there’s a massive increase in crime all the time, even when you look at the numbers and the crime numbers have been going down in many places. It’s an easy out. It’s an easy way to point at some nefarious Other, like the bot makers and like, oh–they’re the reason democracy is failing.

EMMANUEL: Obviously, I can’t definitively rule out whether Christina is using bots. But the more I looked into Christina Pushaw herself, the more I became convinced that bots don’t explain her effectiveness in Florida. . . . Here’s my theory — I think Christina is someone with a very specific skill, a skill that any natural politician has. She has this knack for noticing people who otherwise are invisible to the rest of us on Twitter. . . .

— Ep. 182, State of Panic
Reply All, 16 December 2021.

“Is shopping a recipe for the city?” (Wade Graham, DREAM CITIES, 2016)

From a generally very interesting chapter on Idea 6, Malls, in Wade Graham’s Dream Cities: Seven Urban Ideas That Shape the World (a book on architecture and urban forms):

If the world is becoming a mall, has shopping become the driver of urban form? In most educated circles this suggestion elicits a [pg]196[/pg] collective shudder. Shopping is sub-serious, as Cicero insisted: All retail dealing may be described as dishonest and base.[1] Architecture, always zealous in defense of its claim to be a high art, wants nothing to do with it. Except, on rare occasions, to pay the bills. Louis Sullivan did a department store, Frank Lloyd Wright a boutique, Rudolf Schindler a store or two, and I. M. Pei’s first major project was a mall, but these are rarely mentioned along with their canonical masterpieces. And yet a case can be made that shopping, in the form of trade, gave birth to the city, that shopping has been and remains the lifeblood coursing through its heart, that the design of shopping is inseparable from the design of cities since time immemorial and is an indispensable guide to the urban future.

The largest neolithic settlement known, Çatalhöyük in Turkey, was founded in 7000 BCE, probably as a trading center.[2] The market at the center of Thebes has been dated to 1500 BCE. The Greek agora, or gathering place, the acknowledged birthplace of Western civilization and democratic society, was both a marketplace for shopping and a civic center for discussion, sociality, and politics. The Greek words for I shop and I speak in public are both derived from the same root; in modern Greek agora still means marketplace. The agora became the Roman forum, the medieval fair and market town, the Eastern bazaar and souk. Is shopping a recipe for the city? Consider the evidence. In the exchange of goods is gathering, and in gathering is society; meeting, trading information, gossiping, haggling, freedom of movement for women, and people-watching — the original theater is the theater of customers as participants in a perennial ritual and unpredictable drama. Done right, shopping can define space in ways that are fundamentally urban: the shopping space is a space apart, inside, separate from other distracting activities, and essentially pedestrian, but also connected to the outside. [pg]197[/pg] Shopping generates movement and density; it mixes and connects people, and disconnected or disparate parts of the city. If this is the case, then maximizing shopping equals maximizing urbanism. . . .

. . . [pg]236[/pg] We can only hope that shopping design’s evolution toward more inclusion and integration continues. Regardless, as long as it is profitable, it will continue to be a major contributor to the environments we inhabit, as it has been for centuries, if not more. Time will tell. In an essay on the firm’s influence, the L.A. architect and critic Craig Hodgetts asked whether Jerde’s artificial cosmos may, in time, attain the dignity of the truly cosmopolitan… with the scars and patina of age. Yet age and familiarity are not what make a place truly urban, but its integration into the fabric of the city around it. The question is then, will Jerde’s places become, as some previous forms of shopping architecture have, public places as much as private ones–places integral to urban vitality?

— Wade Graham, #6. Malls.
In Dream Cities: Seven Urban Ideas That Shape the World (2016).

See also:

  1. [1][Sordidi etiam putandi, qui mercantur a mercatoribus, quod statim vendant…. Cic., De officiis i. 150, here lightly paraphrased by the translator that Graham quotes. More literally: And again — they are to be reckoned sordid, who buy from merchants what they turn around and sell. In the passage, Cicero is listing off a series of working-class trades and lines of business that we (Roman noblemen) understand to be sordid (dirty) or illiberal (unfit for or unbecoming of a free gentleman) — among them toll-taking, money-lending, all hired work that is purchased for labor rather than for artistic or skillful quality, buying from merchants to resell, manufacturing in a workshop, and trades that minister to immediate enjoyment, like fishing and fish-selling, butchery, cooking, poultry-stuffing, cosmetics, dancing and performing in variety shows. –RG.]
  2. [2][This is contested; some confidently assert it was founded for trade, some assert just as confidently that all the evidence now points to it being founded as a religious center, etc. etc. –RG.]

What I’m Reading: Lefts’ Party Like It’s 2014

  1. [1][18-Jun-2020: Formerly moral painc; typographical error corrected. –RG]

No Decency

Donald John Trump, 45th and current president of the United States of America, Wednesday, June 26, 2019, speaking to the press:

Q. Does the photo of the drowned immigrants[1] cause you to rethink any of your policies?

[Donald John Trump]: Well, that??s like I??ve been saying. If they fixed the laws, you wouldn??t have that. People are coming up; they??re running through the Rio Grande. It??s a rough ?? it can be a very rough river of sorts. I mean, there are times when going across the Rio Grande is very, very dangerous, depending on the time of year and the conditions and the rapidity of the water. And we know that.

And we have many, many guards there, but people go through the guards. If we had the right laws that the Democrats are not letting us have, those people, they wouldn??t be coming up. They wouldn??t be trying.

We??re building the wall. It??s under construction. It??s ?? a lot of it is under construction. We??ll have over 400 miles next year, by the end of the year.

But it??s very important. They can change it very easily so people don??t come up. And people won??t get killed. Women are being raped on the journey up. You have these caravans. Women are being raped. And one of the terrible things: Children are actually being brought into slavedom [sic]. If you look at what??s happening ?? the cartels and the coyotes, they??re getting rich because the Democrats refuse to change the loopholes. They refuse to change the asylum. In one hour, we could have it done.

They want to have open borders, and open borders mean crime. And open borders mean people drowning in the rivers. And it??s a very dangerous thing.

— Remarks by President Trump Before Marine One Departure (2019/06/26, 1:30 PM)

On the face of it, this is one of the most lunatic statements, one of the most wildly inhuman political responses, and one the most obscene instances of talking with a corpse in your mouth that I have seen to date from a man and a governmental administration that have spent their time in the White House doing little other than cranking a built-to-purpose outrageous political palaver garbage machine generator.

Perhaps it does not need saying that open borders mean precisely that no little girl ever dies drowning in a river again. Because open borders mean that people could and obviously would cross over rivers openly, on bridges or ferries, in cars or boats or machines flying safely through the air. Open borders means breezing past long-abandoned checkpoints without fear of criminalization, arrest, internment or deportation. Blaming the deaths of ?scar Alberto Martínez Ramírez, and his daughter Valeria, on open borders is like blaming the Tiananmen Square Massacre on freedom of assembly — it is insane, because if you had the latter there wouldn’t be any particular reason for the former; and it is obscene, because it is blaming the victim for a situation that is entirely and only created by Power’s choice to keep on relentlessly pursuing repressive force. Open borders mean safe and open crossings; they don’t mean drowning, any more than an open swimming pool does.

Perhaps it does not need saying that it is precisely the relentless, maniacal insistence on walling off frontiers and choking off border-crossing that sends families out into the most dangerous, most inaccessible places in order to try with cartels, coyotes, smugglers and the roughest passages that remain. The great crime and the great shame of the Democratic Party is that they have never once called for open borders, and when in control of the presidency they have — over and over again — played the leading role in building up the machinery of overregulated immigration, paramilitary border policing, closed crossings and mass deportation that we unhappily live with — or die at the hands of — today. Democrats don’t want to have open borders. I desperately wish they did. I desperately wish they ever had done even one little thing to move in that direction. But they haven’t, and they don’t, and they probably never will. So much the shame of Democrats.

Bordercrats know this, of course — they know that if borders actually were open, then people would cross safely, openly and frequently. They know that if borders actually were open, ?scar Alberto Martínez Ramírez, Tania Vanessa Ávalos, and their daughter Valeria would be safe in Texas today, starting out in a new town and looking for work. It is precisely for that reason that they politically oppose open borders — because they don’t want that many people crossing the border, or they don’t want those specific people crossing the border, or they don’t want some of the people who would cross the border, if the Ramirezes could cross the border, to cross it. That’s precisely what it means to close or control the border; there is no third alternative. You might openly embrace the misery, suffering and death that results. Or you might acknowledge it, regretfully, as the necessary human cost of your political policy, and of its rigorous enforcement. Perhaps there is a sense in which the desire to shift the blame instead of doing either represents a certain sort of vestigial, suffering sense of decency that even Mr. Trump, at long last, still has left. Perhaps there is a sense. But if so, it doesn’t matter very much.

See also.

  1. [1]Their names were ?scar Alberto Martínez Ramírez, and his daughter Valeria. They came from El Salvador. He was 25. She was a little girl, only 1 year, 11 months old. She died trying to reach her father again. He died trying to save his daughter’s life. They are survived by Tania Vanessa Ávalos, ?scar’s wife and the little girl’s mother.
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