Newspaper Front Pages: Ideological Blow From Supreme Court Against Roe v. Wade

Friday a majority of the males on the United States Supreme Court stepped away from the law and squarely mired themselves into their political, cultural, and religious beliefs as they dealt a blow not only to abortion rights in the nation, but also to the longheld understanding regarding the importance of precedence guiding our judicial system.

This morning I gathered up a wide cross-section of front pages of newspapers from this nation, including Hawaii, to underscore the seismic consequence of placing ideologues on the high court. As can be seen on the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle the lead heading also noted the sinister concurring opinion of Justice Clarence Thomas as he threatened both sales of contraceptives in the nation, along with the right to gay marriage.

It is also worth noting that Republican Maine Senator Susan Collins is the only elected official that I can find (from about 100 papers) being placed on the front page (Portland Press Herald) for her spineless behavior during confirmation hearings for justices to the Court.

The nation has been offered too many examples of Collins’ glibness and silliness as she prattles on about being duped by others. I know she was unsettled Friday by the court ruling, was dismayed this morning, and surely will be distressed by cocktail hour. Once again we are reminded of how delusional she continues to be about her senatorial duties.

This is the same conservative senator who actually said after the first impeachment process of Donald Trump that “I believe that the president has learned from this case”. There is no way someone like that should not have a guardian.

Now, here is a wide selection of how the nation is reading of the assault on abortion rights in the United States.

Freedom Of Speech In The Age Of Elon Musk

Many of my readers come from the age of basic common sense where those unseen guardrails on human interactions with one another are now just second nature. That does mean we are old but just seasoned with layers of respect for how the transactions of society take place. We, in many ways, resemble the charming patina that occurs on copper statues.

The majority of us would not cut in line at the grocery store any more than we would rashly make an unfounded charge, and as my folks might have said, then ‘run it up the flag pole’. Most folks would not distort election returns or argue that space lasers caused forest fires.

As a boy, the party line was (at times) the way local events became known in our rural Wisconsin home. My mom frowned on finding me listening quietly to conversations from others connected, but would then concede to ask what was the news. I never once thought that anything heard in those listening sessions was not true.

Nor do I ever recall a tirade or bombastic blowout.

The means of communication these days is a far cry from placing one hand over the mouthpiece and listening for information on the metal phone hung on the dining room wall. With today’s social media, communication has far less to do with listening, and far more to do with poking and riling others.

The discussions over the past days about Elon Musk, who bought Twitter earlier this week, have created many observers to wonder what that social media landscape will resemble when Musk allows for ‘free speech’ to reign on the platform.

Neil Steinberg a Chicago Sun-Times columnist wrote ” “Free speech” is now the equivalent of being free from the consequences of your malicious, deceptive, and toxic ramblings, the First Amendment a shield to hide behind. It’s like the worst nuisance on the beach buying a private swim club so he can freely kick sand in weaklings’ faces.”

Given what passes for ‘conversations’ in too many cases with social media across the nation it is hard to think Steinberg to be wrong. Reading many of the comments on Twitter about heavy topics of the day makes it painfully clear that not only is the nation needing some lessons on logic, but also about how to navigate in polite society.

I do find it most telling, however, when it comes to those in the nation who talk loudest about ‘free speech’, that what is really desired is the ability to anonymously spread harmful lies, conspiracy theories, and outright bogus slime. Which runs counter to the folks who know this grand freedom of speaking freely comes with the responsibility to speak responsibly.

As they did on the party line of my youth.

And so it goes.

Coping With Weight Of World Headlines

I found myself smiling over a fond recollection of a now long forgotten newsman on Friday afternoon. With staggering headlines hourly over the past weeks of carnage depicted through news photographs and video from war-torn Ukraine, I found a smile had come over my face as I recalled an interest in the voice of a CBS broadcaster when I was about age 12.

There is no time these days, or so it seems, to talk about the impact that the Russian invasion has had on the mental health of people worldwide. While in ‘normal times’ there is a raft of bad news from regions across the globe nothing can compare to the ruthless and obscene attacks on civilians that are playing out on the news from when we first get up from sleep to the last updates we seek out before retiring from another day. The compiling of today’s horrific news upon ghastly news from the previous day and appalling news from last week does take a toll on the human soul.

This is why I actually stopped reading a book in which reporter George Herman was mentioned and my eyes lifted up from the pages and landed on the furniture and mementos assembled in the room. My grandmother’s treadle sewing machine and her handmade afghan placed over an old rocker held my attention as I just let the ‘yesterdays’ take hold.

For the purpose of this post, I will be brief about why Herman hit a chord within. Our home did not have a television until I was in the 6th grade, but one of the first faces I came to know each weekend was a rather serious sounding and low-key newsman who had the most important people in the nation stop by for a conversation. Face The Nation started off as a weekly stop mainly due to the sound of his voice.

Then on Friday, the recollections passed and the real world took hold again.

The enormity of the international crisis–and yes it is both international in scope and very much a crisis–can not be escaped. There are even experts in children’s mental health who are advising parents on how to talk about the images that kids doubtless see, and hear about from social media.

While it seems like there are always new stress stories to contend with such as a new variety of spiders expected in the East and the next variant of COVID to spread, the Ukraine war poses a real need for coping mechanisms. While I am certainly no expert on how to find that center place to calm the roiling seas, I can attest to the need for such a place and the solace it provides when found.

For just a few minutes a newsman many have forgotten and even more never knew was the comfort zone for me. Perhaps for my readers, it might be the scent from the oven that carries them back to a place and time of joy, perhaps an article of clothing found in the closet this spring that transports them to a place of lighter thoughts and smiles.

The weight of the word is real. And it is too heavy to carry about without the needed mental escapes so to wake up tomorrow and start again.

I wish my readers to find those moments and embrace them as this chapter of history will be long and harsh.

And so it goes.

Shooter’s Parents Must Be Legally Accountable For Deadliest School Shooting This Year

Once again the deadly results of guns in our society make for terrible headlines. Once again the refrain from rational adults is a call to common sense and the development of gun control measures that will start to trim back the shootings. At the same time, conservatives chant their trite platitude, ‘thoughts and prayers’.

The layers of possible responses to the carnage left by Ethan Crumbley and the 9-millimeter Sig Sauer handgun used in the shooting are many. From working on issues in school concerning being bullied to the drowning of the nation in too many guns available for purchase, and the ease that children can get their hands on a deadly weapon. There is no single avenue to address the gravity of the situation.

But when it comes to guns in homes this blog has been consistent and adamant that parents must be held legally responsible when their weapons are not stored and safeguarded correctly. When they are accessible to underage people, and crimes take place with the weapons, then the law must follow the parents right to the jailhouse door and usher them inside.

On Wednesday we learned that the high school sophomore accused of killing four classmates and injuring others will be charged as an adult with a host of felonies, including terrorism and four counts of first-degree murder. The weight of the words from Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald said it all.

Evidence shows the shooting was “absolutely premeditated.”

But equally important today was the news that prosecutors are also considering charges against the suspect’s parents. The New York Times reported that when the boy’s parents went to a sheriff’s substation after the shooting, they declined to let investigators question their child. The sheriff told reporters that a 9-millimeter Sig Sauer handgun used in the shooting had been bought four days earlier by the suspect’s father. “He is not talking and neither are the parents,” the sheriff said.

There is appropriate outrage across the nation today as we learn more evidence to show why parents, once again, must be held accountable for actions that their child took, due to a deadly gun made accessible in their home.

This blog has repeatedly stated parents of young people who use guns to shoot, kill, and create violence also need to be held accountable. Some adult was responsible for the fact the shooter was able to place his hands on this weapon. There is no way that any sane person can say parental/adult actions, such as with this shooting, should not be addressed by the law that makes sure there is a responsibility shared by those who help to foster the violent outcomes.

The NRA has plenty of responsibility for the number of guns in our society and the ease with which anyone can get a deadly weapon. But when it comes to children with guns there also has to be a question asked–where the heck was the parent? It might also be a good time to ask if parents are not able to control their offspring then perhaps they should forfeit their children’s tax credits. The rest of society should not have to continually pay the price for bad parenting.

And so it goes.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Mental Health Needs For Black Men And Boys

I noted the quick efforts made in Waukesha to meet the mental health needs of those who were at the Sunday parade, saw the carnage, or heard about it and were shocked by the news. The tragedy was appalling.

I applaud the efforts to deal with emotional trauma by talking with trained experts. I wish more people would avail themselves of such therapy for all sorts of issues in life. Such conversations are very healthy and productive.

At the same time that resources were made available to counsel the folks in Waukesha, it also needs remembering that Black men and boys are needing to have the same comfort zones for their healing due to traumas, such as the Kyle Rittenhouse killings and trial.

If one takes the time to talk or listen to the voices of African-Americans it soon becomes clear that what took place last week with Rittenhouse’s acquittal has made for deep concerns. We have already seen and heard that right-wing elements have elevated Rittenhouse to hero-worship. With such rhetoric, we have also learned that these same conservatives have implied racial injustice protesters should be concerned for their safety in the future.

WisPolitics.com wrote about this issue as it linked to a local news program that addressed the mental health needs of African-Americans following episodes, such as, the Rittenhouse trial.

Alvin Thomas, an assistant professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at the School of Human Ecology at UW-Madison, pointed out that the Rittenhouse case stemmed from protests and demonstrations involving the Black Lives Matter movement.

This was less an issue about black or white and more an issue around humanity,” he said on “UpFront”. In cases like these, Thomas said, there is a high risk for people feeling angry, sad, depressed, and to have flashbacks, nightmares or physical stress responses.

The chasm of resources for mental health needs between Black and white America is profound. It does not take much pondering to see the upside in terms of cost-savings to society along with productivity for individuals if mental health is treated in the same proactive sense as we do a toothache.

A Black elderly man I talked with in Madison after the Jacob Blake shooting in Kenosha told me that such news was just a reminder that “we” are always waiting for the next shoe to fall and that stress level creates problems for the body.

It is time that we ramp up access to mental health resources in the Black community with the speed that they were correctly made available in Waukesha.

And so it goes.

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Dual Justice Systems Exist For Black And White Americans

What took place in Kenosha since the night Kyle Rittenhouse decided to carry an AR 15 into a violent street demonstration killing two, and injuring a third, has produced conversations about gun violence, the pitfalls and costs to society of broken families, the legal problems over a too broadly defined self-defense statute, and the requirement of objectivity from judges.

The past months also produced evidence and dialogue about the dual systems of justice we have in this nation. There is no doubt whatsoever that Black citizens are not treated the same as others in high profile and tragic circumstances.

Rittenhouse, the two men he killed and the man he wounded were all white, but the case has been linked from the start to issues of race and the criminal justice system.

Activists have previously pointed to differences in how police handled Rittenhouse’s case and that of Jacob Blake, the Black man who was shot by a white Kenosha police officer in August 2020, sparking protests in the city that became destructive and violent.

Video footage played during the trial showed Rittenhouse running toward police still wearing his rifle, and continuing past the police line at officers’ direction. He turned himself in to police in Antioch, Illinois, early the following day.

In Georgia, the brutal killing of Ahmaud Arbery has brought forth another clear example of race motivated murder. It is also a showcase of how the justice system can be used to attempt the thwarting of the correct response to a grievous crime. The trial for the three white men accused of the murder has not been short on evidence proving racism has injected itself into the process.

Brunswick, the location of the trial, has a population that is more than half Black. So, it does need to be asked how but only one member of the jury is Black? The news reports of a truly embarrassing white defense attorney rising to repeatedly complain about Black pastors, including Reverend Jesse Jackson (a man I have deeply respected and supported for election) from sitting in on court proceedings was nothing short of galling.

Arbery’s death and the Rittenhouse case have added to the national conversation about racist vigilantism. Both the Kenosha killer and Travis McMichael, the shooter in Georgia, have claimed they acted in self-defense. The tortured reasoning it takes to bend the mind to attempt acceptance of such lunacy is something that our political system will need to address in various state statutes. Allowing leniency for the killing of people one does not like based on the color of their skin or their perceived role in street protests because of strangled legal contortions must be brought under control.

In the Rittenhouse case as soon as he purported the killings to be self-defense it downgraded other vital aspects of the case, such as how a 17-year-old with a deadly gun roamed the streets during a curfew.

On ABC’s This Week the issue of how the Kenosha trial would have been different had the defendant been Black was explored. Byron Pitts, chief national correspondent made the case for why this issue needs to resonate within our country.

Study after study shows that black men are arrested more often, convicted more often, and sentenced to longer sentences than white men accused of the same crime, and the same is — holds true in discipline in schools, that disparity.

And, Martha, heres a study, I think, that speaks to this case and the concerns about this case. According to the FBI, a — a fatal shooting where the shooter is white and the victim is black, three times more likely that’s ruled to be justifiable if both parties were white. And so I think for most reasonable people, and most surveys would bear this out, the few reasonable people would believe that if a 17-year-old black boy with an AR-15 showed up in Kenosha, Wisconsin at night, killed two people and injured a third, then that black boy would have been treated the same way by police or by the legal justice system.

It was noted in the conversation that had Rittenhouse been African-American the verdict would not have been the same, as statistical evidence proves Blacks do not prevail in such court cases. And so that is the injustice that people are looking at…..

It does not take any deep searching to recognize why conservatives and racists agree with the idea of taking the law into one’s own hands. That is the way vigilantes maintained control of Blacks in the South for many decades. White power, and how to maintain it is not a new concept. But misusing the state statutes to further those biases and grudges against Blacks is wholly acceptable. When they do succeed it adds further evidence as to why we can legitimately talk about a two-tier justice system.

And so it goes.

Editorial Cartoons About Kyle Rittenhouse Verdict

The power of these editorial cartoons is obvious. The messages are correctly drawn and presented.