The acorn squash that I had pressure-cooked tonight, came out O.K.— but not great. Even though I cooked it for a minute longer than my recipe called for (6 instead of 5 mins), it still came out a little tough. Some recipes say to add butter and cinnamon (or nutmeg) onto the squash as it goes into the cooker, but I elected not to do that.
A pair of Steller’s jays (Cyanocitta stelleri) came to visit this morning.
We sometimes call these ‘blue jay’ in the Pacific Northwest, but the species is distinct from the blue jay (C. cristata) of eastern North America.
We had multiple mass murders here in the States this weekend, after multiple ones last week. (There is basically a mass murder every day: 198 so far this year). The killer (18 years old, white, male —of course) responsible for yesterday’s slaughter of 10 at the supermarket in Buffalo was clearly a domestic terrorist.
Was he a lone wolf?
Rolling Stone magazine opines that there is no such thing .. and that the shooter is pretty much a main-stream Republican.
From Rolling Stone: There’s no such thing as a lone wolf — an appellation often given, in error, to terrorists who act alone, particularly those of the white supremacist variety. There are only those people who, fed a steady diet of violent propaganda and stochastic terror, take annihilatory rhetoric to its logical conclusion.
Such was the case on Saturday, when a teenaged white supremacist named Payton Gendron opened fire in a supermarket in a Black neighborhood in Buffalo, New York, killing 10 people, while livestreaming the carnage on the live-video site Twitch. Prior to the shooting, he had posted a 180-page manifesto in which he laid out his rationale clearly: He was an adherent of what is called Great Replacement Theory, the idea that white people, in the United States and white-majority countries around the world, are being systematically, deliberately outbred and “replaced” by immigrants and ethnic minorities, in a deliberate attempt to rid the world of whiteness ..
..the gnawing fear of a minority-white America has utterly consumed conservative politics for the past half-decade, creating a Republican party whose dual obsessions with nativism and white fertility have engendered a suite of policies engineered to change the nature of the body politic. What unites murderers like Gendron, and the long list of white supremacist attackers he cited with admiration, with the mainstream of the Republican party is the dream of a white nation.
I know absolutely nothing about babies, but I know a little bit more after reading a report in the NYT about the baby formula shortage in the US.
Babies basically need breast milk or formula until they can start to eat solid food (at 6 months). Do not dilute formula. Do not try to make your own formula.
If you are out of options, give your baby pasteurized whole cow’s milk for a brief period of time.
Get advice from a pediatrician if your baby needs a special formula that has become unavailable.
Year-over-year inflation for April was 8.3%, a slight dip from the March figure of 8.5%. The stock market is not happy🤬, of course— and Bitcoin is now below $29k, down more than 50% from its Nov. ’21 high.
At the recent Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting, Warren Buffet reiterated his disdain for cryptocurrencies, saying he would not buy all the cryptocurrency in the world for $25. (I would 😊). I suspect he picked $25 because he then said if someone offered him a 1% stake in all the farmland in the country, he’d immediately write the check for $25 billion. (Got me. I cannot do that even if I wanted to).
His point was that cryptocurrency has no intrinsic, underlying value, and cannot be used as a real-world asset to produce income.
The Italian Open tennis tournament in the Eternal City has started, at the beautiful Foro Italico sports complex.
The tournament was first held in Milan in 1930 as the Italian International Championships, and was moved to the Foro Italico a few years later, in 1935.
‘Without price stability, the economy does not work for anybody, really’
– Fed Chair Jerome Powell at the Federal Reserve’s news conference yesterday
Wow. We ride the rollercoaster. Up yesterday, the stock market sold off in a big way again today (Dow -3.1%, S&P 500 -4.6%, Nasdaq -5.0%).
Inflation is still very high, and the Fed is finally raising interest rates.
(The Fed funds rate is now 0.75-1.00% after yesterday’s 0.5% raise).
A range of 2-3% is considered neutral, and time will tell if the Fed will have to go above that to bring inflation down to 2%.
Seattle Sounders FC made history tonight by becoming the first Major League Soccer team (team from the United States or Canada, that is) to win a Concacaf* Champions League title.
*The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football, founded in 1961, one of FIFA’s six continental governing bodies for association football (soccer).
The Sounders beat the Pumas UNAM (based in Mexico City) by 3-0 in front of a record home-crowd of 67,000 at Lumen Field. The weather played along, as well: a high of 65 °F/ 18 °C today before it starts raining on and off for the next several days.
The current U.S. Supreme court is already considered by many (and by me), as unrepresentative of the majority of Americans. (An immoral, criminal con man —that had become President with an assist from Russian bots on Facebook— had appointed three of the current nine Supreme Court justices).
And now it’s clearer than ever that the six conservatives on the Court plan to overturn Roe vs. Wade (the landmark 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision, with a 7-2 majority, in which the Court ruled that the Constitution of the United States protects a pregnant woman’s liberty to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction.)
Here is what the Washington Post’s Editorial Board wrote today.
The Supreme Court might never recover from overturning Roe v. Wade
By the Washington Post Editorial Board
On Monday, Politico published a draft of a Supreme Court opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling declaring that the Constitution guarantees Americans the right to end their pregnancies. The court later confirmed that the document, written in February, is genuine, but emphasized that it is not the court’s final word. We hope not. If the justices embrace the sweeping document, they will deal a grievous blow to freedom in the United States — and to the legitimacy of the court itself.
Such a leak from the court’s typically tight inner sanctum is itself astonishing. The court works on trust among justices and staff, so that the justices can deliberate frankly. Whether the document leaked from a conservative justice’s chambers, in an effort to lock in the support of others on the right for its far-reaching language, or from a liberal’s, in an effort to mobilize outside pressure against such a ruling, the leak represents a dire breakdown in norms and another dramatic sign of the court’s political drift.
But the draft ruling’s dreadful reasoning and extreme potential consequences are far more concerning than what the leak says about the court’s internal dynamics. Written by Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., the document would declare Roe “egregiously wrong,” obliterate its guarantees of reproductive choice and empower lawmakers to abridge at will this long-held right.
The court’s legitimacy rests on the notion that it follows the law, not the personal or ideological preferences of the justices who happen to serve on it at any given time. Americans rely on the court to exercise care and restraint against making sharp turns that might suddenly declare their everyday choices and activities unprotected or illegal. Over the course of nearly half a century, the court not only issued Roe but upheld its bedrock principles against later challenges. Throughout, the original 1973 decision enjoyed broad and unwavering public support. What brought the court to its current precipice was not a fundamental shift in American values regarding abortion. It was the shameless legislative maneuvering of Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), who jammed two Trump-nominated justices onto the court.
In his draft, Justice Alito points out that the court has overturned many cases in the past, including the atrocious Plessy v. Ferguson, which permitted racial segregation. But the court has never revoked a fundamental constitutional right. Overturning Plessy expanded liberty. Overturning Roe would constrict liberty — and be a repugnant repudiation of the American tradition in which freedom extends to an ever-wider circle of people. By betraying this legacy and siding with the minority of Americans who want to see Roe overturned, the justices would appear to be not fair-minded jurists but reckless ideologues who are dangerously out of touch and hostile to a core American ethic.
Justice Alito complained in his draft that Roe failed to produce a “national settlement of the abortion issue” but only “enflamed debate and deepened division.” That exaggerates the extent to which the obstreperous minority of Americans who oppose Roe reflect the nation as a whole. A Post poll found just last week that Americans support upholding Roe by a 2-to-1 margin. For most people, Roe is a workable standard on a fraught issue; absent a clear understanding about when life begins, and with the moral implications surrounding that question far from settled, the Constitution’s guarantees of personal autonomy demand that pregnant people be able to make the difficult decision about whether to end their pregnancy according to the dictates of their own conscience.
It is Justice Alito’s proposed decision that would further divide the country, starting in nearly every statehouse. Yet the greatest casualties would not be the court as an institution or the nation’s already toxic politics. It would be pregnant individuals suddenly stripped of a right they had been guaranteed for almost half a century. Wealthy people would be able to cross state lines to end their pregnancies. (Although some states are already trying to outlaw that practice, as well.) Poor people would be forced either to carry unwanted pregnancies to term, with all the health consequences and risks that entails, or to seek illegal abortions that could endanger their lives.
Justice Alito’s draft claims that the court’s ruling would not imply that other constitutional rights, such as same-sex marriage or access to contraception, are in jeopardy. But given the brazen abandon with which he would discard abortion rights, his assurances ring hollow. He would inaugurate a terrifying new era in which Americans would lose faith in the court, distrust its members and suspect that what is the law today will not be tomorrow. They would justifiably fear that rights will be swept away because a heedless conservative fringe now controls the judiciary.
“The republic endures and this is the symbol of its faith,” Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes said as the cornerstone was laid for the Supreme Court Building in 1932. The court’s conservative majority appears to be on the verge of abandoning justices’ sacred charge to stand firm for individual rights.
The 2022 Madrid Open tennis tournament is under way, in the multipurpose stadium complex called La Caja Mágica.
During the Madrid Open, it is the only facility in the world with three tennis courts under a retractable roof.
This year, the top Men’s Singles seeds are ‘No Vax’ Djokovic, Sacha Zverev, Rafael Nadal (the ‘King of Clay’), Stefanos Tsitsipas, the Norwegian Casper Ruud, Andrey Rublev— but no Medvedev (he had hernia surgery), Carlos Alcaraz and Canadian Félix Auger-Aliassime.
My mission for the afternoon was to get a few pictures of the Space Needle. It is again painted in galaxy gold for its 60th anniversary— the way it had been for its debut at the Seattle World’s Fair in April 1962.
I even drove up Queen Anne Hill to Kerry Park, to get the classic skyline-with-Space Needle picture.
The Davenport Apartments building is posted here as a ‘Find the Space Needle’ puzzle. (Part of the Space Needle appears in the picture). The Davenport was designed by architect Herbert Bittman in 1925, and has an unusual courtyard entrance to its 14-car garage.
I have had my Instant Pot pressure cooker for a week now, and I’m still learning to use it —but I like it a lot.
So far I have cooked regular oats, steel-cut oats, rice, Brussels sprouts, asparagus and sweet potato in it. Asparagus is ready in an instant with an official cooking time of 0 minutes. You put them in, and they’re done. Howzat! 😂
Let me explain. The laws of physics still apply. Even if you put the water and asparagus in the cooker and tell it to cook for 0 minutes, it will still take 5-10 mins to get to the operating temperature and pressure inside. During that time it already cooks the food inside. Something as delicate as asparagus is then cooked already. Voila.