The end of Roe may be a 'be careful what you wish for' moment for the right
Republicans loved the abortion fight. But I doubt they'll love the abortion victory.
5-5-2022 (issue No. 34)
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Below: Abortion politics now front and center / Another big name drops out of the race for mayor / Thumbs down to putting quotes around “President” in references to Biden / Some Wordles to the wise / More…
My long-held theory — that the panjandrums of the Republican Party secretly prefer that abortion be legal because the promise of outlawing it excites their base voters — looks as though it’s about to be to put to the test.
For nearly half a century there’s been a distinct passion gap between those on the right who are sincerely animated by revulsion for abortion, and those on the left who, yes, favor abortion rights in the abstract but have considered such rights so enshrined in law that the issue is low on their list of priorities at election time.
Politico’s story, “Supreme Court has voted to overturn abortion rights, draft opinion shows — ‘We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,’ Justice (Samuel) Alito writes in an initial majority draft circulated inside the court” has energized the left, where many are speaking out for abortion rights with a warmth, volume and unity that’s been missing from Democratic politics for a long time.
With abortion law seemingly poised to be returned to state legislatures, the urgency of getting the formerly complacent pro-Roe majority to the polls has become fierce.
Many Republicans, meanwhile, seem less jubilant about the likely outcome and more outraged at the leak of the draft opinion, a violation of Supreme Court norms that they seem to believe was intended to spark an outcry that will flip the decision.
My guess, though, is that the justices now inclined to overturn Roe v. Wade (1973) and Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992) have already taken the inevitable blowback into consideration, and that the leak could easily have come from a conservative source hoping to lock in perhaps wavering support for Alito’s surprisingly vehement and comprehensive draft opinion.
The justices are learned men and women. They certainly are aware that polls show consistent majority support for abortion rights:
A Washington Post/ABC News poll taken in April asked, “Do you think the decision whether or not a woman can have an abortion should be regulated by law or should be left to the woman and her doctor?” Seventy percent of respondents wanted the decision left up to the woman and her doctor.
A Fox News poll taken in January asked, "Do you think the Supreme Court should overturn Roe v. Wade or let it stand?" Sixty-three percent said to let it stand.
A Quinnipiac University Poll taken in November asked, "In general, do you think the Supreme Court should make it easier or harder to get an abortion in the United States?" Just 33% said harder, while 45% said easier.
In September, Quinnipiac asked if abortion should be legal when the pregnancy results from rape or incest. Fully 83% said it should be legal, though the tougher state laws now making their way to governors’ desks make no such exceptions.
Polls also show a sizable muddled middle on abortion rights. Pollsters often ask if abortion should always be legal — no restrictions — or always be illegal — no exceptions. Here are a few always/never splits that reveal the size of the mushier middle:
Washington Post/ABC News, April 2022 — Always legal, 26%; never legal, 16%
Fox News, January 2022 — Always legal, 29%; never legal, 11%
Quinnipiac, September 2021 — Always legal: 31%; never legal, 11%
Monmouth University, September 2021 — Always legal: 33%; never legal, 11%
NBC News, August 2021 — Always legal: 31%; never legal, 8%
In Illinois, for additional reference, an April 2021 Public Policy Polling survey found 73% of respondents in agreement with the statement that abortion “should remain legal in Illinois as a private decision between a woman and her doctor, not politicians.” And an Associated Press/University of Chicago survey in 2020 found 30% of Illinois voters saying that abortion should be legal in all cases and just 9% saying it should always be illegal.
Those percentages haven’t moved much over the years, but they also haven’t reflected the relative energy behind the views of those on either side of the debate. To date, the anti-abortion forces have been more mobilized and more committed to change than those who tell pollsters that they support abortion rights but aren’t particularly engaged with the issue.
Pick through all the polls you want on abortion going back decades, and the sense you come away with is that most people believe abortion should be left up to the pregnant woman (or “pregnant person” to use the most enlightened terminology) in the early stages of pregnancy, but that the state acquires interests in protecting fetal life as gestation progresses. This moral intuition is enshrined (at least for a little while longer) in the Roe decision, however inelegantly and perhaps improvisationally reasoned.
To most of us, there is an obvious difference between a just-fertilized embryo and a nearly full-term baby in the womb. But those who operate under the slogan “Abortion is murder!” can’t logically make such distinctions without conceding a central tenet of the pro-choice position, that rights accrue gradually along the gestational path from embryo to newborn.
“Always illegal” absolutists by definition must call for prohibitions on IUDs or other contraceptive methods that prevent a fertilized egg from implanting. They must deny a 12-year-old raped by a home invader access to “morning after” medication or to an early-term abortion, a position that strikes me, anyway, as unimaginably cruel and extreme. Yet enshrining that cruelty into law is the goal of the zealots whom the Republicans have been coddling for decades.
See, for example, “Rape exceptions to abortion bans were once widely accepted. No more” in the Los Angeles Times:
Over the last four years, 10 states have enacted abortion bans in early pregnancy without rape or incest exceptions: Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Ohio, Tennessee and Texas. … Arizona’s governor recently signed a 15-week abortion ban without rape or incest exceptions. … A similar 15-week ban without the exceptions is awaiting the governor’s signature in Florida. … Oklahoma’s Legislature this week approved an almost total ban on abortion except for medical emergencies.
For now, the anti-abortion movement offers soothing reassurances that they have no intention of punishing women who obtain abortions, just the doctors and others who facilitate the procedure.
But where’s the logic in that? Why punish the doctor but not the woman who seeks out the doctor, makes an appointment with the doctor, comes to the doctor’s clinic and pays the doctor for the abortion?
Those who are unintentionally and unwillingly pregnant are under duress, goes this common refrain, and not analogous in any way to someone who hires a contract killer. They are morally confused and often unaware of their range of options, therefore legally blameless.
Talk about moral confusion! Under no other circumstances outside of legal insanity does the law excuse an adult or even a teen of methodically conspiring with another to commit a serious crime. Duress? Moral confusion? Unsure of where to turn? These factors may mitigate culpability, but they never erase it.
No amount of infantilizing and patronizing women to deny them agency can avoid one of two logical conclusions. Either:
Abortion opponents don’t really think abortion at every stage of fetal development is tantamount to murder.
Abortion opponents are using a smokescreen of soothing platitudes to hide the inevitability that meaningful prohibitions against abortion must and will someday include harsh punishments for women who have them.
In 2014, right-wing provocateur Kevin Williamson mused wistfully that abortion should be "treated like regular homicide under the criminal code" with punishments "up to and including hanging" for women who obtain them.
Here’s a serious question for those who argue that abortion is murder:
Aside from the politically inexpedient bluntness of such a proclamation, what is illogical or unthinkable about the idea? Would a sentence of life without parole be just?
With Monday night’s surprise revelation, such questions are moving quickly from the theoretical to the real. Now it’s up to liberals, Democrats and anyone else who supports abortion rights not to let cultural conservatives answer them by getting as animated as opponents have been for much of the last five decades. Clarence Page’s Wednesday column — “Dems, if you don’t care about the Supreme Court, you may not deserve to win” —smacked such lefties upside the head.
Although you may have the world’s worthiest agenda, it doesn’t matter much if you can’t deliver the votes. … If you can’t get excited about something as monumental as the fate of Roe v. Wade, maybe you don’t deserve to win.
A Daily Herald editorial Wednesday amplified Page’s point (but avoided taking a position on abortion rights):
The road to Roe's demise began in November 2014, when as is typical in midterms, complacent voters who would support President Barack Obama stayed home while motivated Republicans turned out at the polls to ultimately take over the House and Senate, enabling the procedural shenanigans that allowed Mitch McConnell to block Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland to the court. Two years later, it is generally acknowledged that thousands of voters, progressives especially, stayed home in November 2016 thinking their vote wouldn't really matter. Thus was the way cleared for Donald Trump to win key swing states, take the presidency and dramatically reshape the Supreme Court.
But the Sun-Times Wednesday editorial brought the hammer down:
Thirteen states already have laws in place that would promptly ban abortion should Roe be overturned. Twenty-six other states are poised to do so, according to Planned Parenthood.
The pain will be real. Women of lesser means living in those states will find it hard, if not impossible, to get abortions. The medical horror stories of self-induced abortions, thought to be consigned to the past, will return. Lives will be shattered — or lost. Women could face criminal prosecution for obtaining abortions.
Yet women with more resources will — as they always have, even before Roe — be able to travel to gain access to safe reproductive treatment. … As a nation, we should have learned the dangers of enacting laws, such as Prohibition, that lack popular support. Most Americans support access to abortion. With this draft ruling, distrust of the nation’s highest court — already on the rise — is sure to grow, further threatening the nation’s already-fragile unity.
The Tribune editorial on this huge story also made good, pro-choice points:
This editorial board long has supported a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion. … Not only is Roe settled law, it has come up like no other opinion in one confirmation hearing after another, with several of the current court members effectively saying that they accepted both its existence and its unique identity. Understandably, some of those asking the questions during those hearings now feel duped. It sure looks that way. …
Nothing is achieved by criminalizing abortions or by forcing women to travel hundreds of miles to procure one in a state such as Illinois, where that right is protected. History teaches us that the number of abortions in America does not change much due to their legality or lack thereof; what changes is the health danger presented to women, both physical and mental. And the rich have always been more likely to be served than the poor.
But the Trib took a both-sides approach, balancing its defense of abortion rights with extravagant fretting about the leak in a way the echoed Republican talking points meant to distract from the far, far more important substance of the draft opinion and its potential broader consequences:
No democracy can function without rigorous debate and the Supreme Court is an institution that relies on trust and buy-in as to the sanctity of its process. That’s because its role in this democracy is to be collaborative, not individuated.
If the improvements that naturally occur from collaboration — the minds that are changed, the harsh edges that are softened, the realities that are recognized — are to be undermined like this, the Supreme Court itself will not be able to function. And since it’s at the pinnacle of the nation’s legal system, that means the courts themselves cannot function. And no democracy can survive the collapse of its legal system.
Where’s my violin?
The U.S. Supreme Court is an intensely political and politicized body, and to use the word “sanctity” to describe the highly ideological opinions it disgorges after internal debates is naive to nauseating. Journalists believe in the value of transparency, which is why they probe the inner workings of the legislative process and feel no compunction about publishing email and text communications involving public officials that were intended to be private.
If lawmaking bodies can function when their putatively collaborative deliberations and negotiations are made public, then the judicial body that claims ultimate authority over the constitutionality of matters of the greatest importance can survive a little transparency as well.
Let’s not get misty-eyed. The court is already highly “individuated.” Getting to five votes on the nine-member Supreme Court that’s ideologically riven is almost identical to the negotiating and wrangling that take place in legislative bodies large and small. To say that the process must function openly at lower levels but will utterly collapse without total secrecy at the highest level is preposterous, baseless, and, if you’re not a Republican drone, wildly off point.
“The court can survive just fine when its secrets are aired,” writes Politico’s Jack Shafer in “It’s About Time Someone Punctured the Supreme Court’s Veil of Secrecy.”
The upside of the leak is grand. The public has gained a new awareness of where a court majority plans to take the nation after a half-century of legal abortion. Getting a two- or three-month preview of that plan in a midterm year straight from the horse’s pen amounts to a journalistic coup of the highest order. The government works to keep you in the dark. The press to shine the light. Heaven bless the press.
Who leaked the draft and why? Any attention paid to that ultimately, fundamentally meaningless question is meant to take voters’ eyes off the ball.
The Atlantic’s Adam Serwer writes of “Alito’s Plan to Repeal the 20th Century.”
In the U.S., the rights of many marginalized groups are tied to the legal precedents established in the fight for abortion rights. This opinion, if adopted, provides a path to nullifying those rights one by one. …
Aside from rights specifically mentioned in the text of the Constitution, Alito argues, only those rights “deeply rooted in the nation’s history in tradition” deserve its protections. This is as arbitrary as it is lawless. Alito is saying there is no freedom from state coercion that conservatives cannot strip away if conservatives find that freedom personally distasteful. The rights of heterosexual married couples to obtain contraception, or of LGBTQ people to be free from discrimination, are obvious targets. But other rights that Americans now take for granted could easily be excluded by this capricious reasoning. …
In his opinion, Alito writes that “we emphasize that our decision concerns the constitutional right to abortion and no other right” and that “nothing in this opinion should be understood to cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion.” Give this statement the same weight that should have been given to Alito’s scolding of the press shortly after the court’s shadow-docket decision on the Texas abortion ban and his insistence that it had no bearing on Roe and did not nullify the right to an abortion in Texas. Alito’s word means absolutely nothing.
In “The Supreme Court Won’t Stop With Abortion Rights,” the New Republic’s Matt Ford follows up on Serwer’s point:
(Alito’s) assurance would be more comforting if Alito himself had not joined an opinion by Justice Clarence Thomas in a 2020 case that suggested revisiting Obergefell, the 2015 case that expanded the right to marriage to same-sex couples. “By choosing to privilege a novel constitutional right over the religious liberty interests explicitly protected in the First Amendment, and by doing so undemocratically, the court has created a problem that only it can fix,” Thomas wrote with Alito’s support. The two justices did not specify what that “fix” would be.
Hmm. Let me guess …
Boston Globe columnist Adrian Walker puts the situation bluntly in “The Supreme Court is coming after democracy itself”:
Who knows where they will stop? Who’s to say there are any boundaries?
Some will say that is a hysterical, overwrought reaction. Here’s what I will say to that: Since the 2016 presidential campaign and the ascent of Donald Trump, the centrist chorus arguing that “things won’t be that bad” has been consistently, unequivocally wrong.
Perhaps they will finally realize now that we are living in the midst of a revolution — a revolution most Americans never asked for and don’t want.
So stop the hand-wringing and piteous bleating about the leak and sanctity of the Supreme Court. It’s become just another grubby, agenda-driven political body, only one with suffocating power populated by members who never have to answer to the electorate.
The issue right in front of us is whether the law should be able to force people to continue pregnancies against their will; if this is the sort of decision that should be subject to popular will and the vote of disinterested parties because it’s a matter of general concern, or if it’s a profoundly personal decision.
If the sleeping pro-abortion rights giant is awakened by this turn of events and voters come to see the direction we’re headed in, Republicans will come to rue the day they got this “victory.” This is not the terrain they want to fight the 2022 and 2024 elections on.
Another note: I’ve heard and read rumbling suggesting the Democrats attempt to codify abortion rights in Congress by creating a carve-out exception to the filibuster and passing such a bill through the U.S. Senate with a simple majority aided by several Republican senators who favor abortion rights.
The counter to this argument is that, well, yes, they might be able to do this, but that as soon as the Republicans regain simultaneous control of the House, Senate and White House — which they inevitably will as the political pendulum swings — they will invoke the same exception to the filibuster rule and pass a national ban on abortion rights.
And my answer to this counterargument is, what in God’s name makes anyone think the Republicans won’t ram through a national ban as soon as they get the chance no matter what the Democrats do? Today’s Republican leaders show little respect for norms and feel no need to exhibit consistency.
This battle and the ugly ones sure to follow will be won or lost at the ballot box. Democrats have the numbers. But do they have the will?
I knew Mike Quigley had good sense
Taking pass on a run for mayor was a smart move
My congressman, 5th District Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley, was widely considered to be a formidable likely challenger next year to Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot. Quigley, who has been in office since 2009, was a well-regarded member of the Cook County Board of Commissioners for the 11 years before that.
A poll taken in mid-March by Impact Research found Quigley led Lightfoot 45% to 35% in a theoretical head-to-head matchup.
But last Thursday, his office released a statement saying he won’t run for mayor and will instead remain in the House of Representatives (assuming another victory in November’s election) in order to fulfil the “critical obligation” of serving as co-chair of the House Ukrainian Caucus.
I didn’t buy that excuse for a second. First of all, a House Caucus isn’t going to set policy or guide military strategy in the portentous conflict with Russia. And Quigley’s co-chairmanship is likely to end early next January when the next House is sworn in and, in all likelihood, Republicans take over.
This passage in his demurral announcement, however, rang more true:
The great city I love faces unprecedented challenges on crime, schools, equity and fiscal matters that demand 100% full-time commitment from our mayor. At age 53, I would have relished the opportunity to get Chicago back on track. If I’m being completely honest, at age 63, I don’t think my family and I can make this kind of commitment.
I see this more as a “C’mon, who wants this job, anyway?” declaration. He has a very respectable position now that doesn’t come with howling demands that he fix numerous seemingly intractable problems with money that’s not there while interest groups aim their peashooters at him. It’s very unlikely that voters will ever retire him or that he’ll have to surround himself with a security detail.
I’ll be interested to hear the extent to which he elaborates on his decision during a noontime speech Thursday to the City Club of Chicago.
It’s revealing that two of the most prominent names that were being floated as challengers to Lightfoot — former U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and now Quigley — have chosen to take a pass on 2023. We’re now left with two declared candidates, Raymond Lopez, Southwest Side alderman and frequent Lightfoot critic, and perennial candidate Willie Wilson, a business owner and philanthropist who has been making news by giving away motor fuel.
Other names to watch out for:
Bill Conway, a former prosecutor and naval intelligence officer whose ultra-wealthy father gave him more than $10 million to unsuccessfully challenge Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx in 2020.
Paul Vallas, the former Chicago Public Schools CEO who has been keeping his name in the news by writing regular anti-Lightfoot op-eds for the Tribune.
John Catanzara, the fiery president of the local Fraternal Order of Police chapter.
Ald. Roderick Sawyer, 6th, Ald. Brian Hopkins, 2nd, and Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, 35th.
Democratic State Reps. Kam Buckner and La Shawn Ford.
Martin Nesbitt, local business leader and chair of the Obama Foundation.
Stacy Davis Gates and Jesse Sharkey, current and former Chicago Teachers Union leaders.
Brandon Johnson, Cook County commissioner.
Janice Jackson, former Chicago Public Schools CEO.
Gery Chico, former board president for Chicago schools and parks.
Judy Frydland, former Chicago building commissioner.
Melissa Conyears-Ervin, city treasurer.
Anna Valencia, the city clerk now running for the Democratic nomination for secretary of state. If she loses in the June primary, she’ll have plenty of time to hop into the mayor’s race.
Susana Mendoza, state comptroller. Yes, she’ll be occupied running for reelection to statewide office in November and is still tainted in some voters’ minds by her past associations with Danny Solis, Ed Burke and Michael Madigan. Those associations cost her in her 2019 run for mayor, when she finished in fifth place with 9% of the vote. But she’s an accomplished pol who’s good on the stump.
I will add and subtract from this list every so often and will be grateful for your informed suggestions.
Fourteen names appeared on the general election ballot for mayor in 2019 (Lightfoot, Mendoza, Wilson, Ford and Vallas along with Toni Preckwinkle, Bill Daley, Amara Enyia, Jerry Joyce, Gery Chico, Garry McCarthy, Bob Fioretti, John Kozlar and Neal Sáles-Griffin) I won’t be surprised to see at least 10 names on the 2023 ballot. Decision for decision, being a big-city mayor has got to be the hardest job in government outside of the presidency. If I were Mike Quigley I wouldn’t want it either.
Last week’s winning tweet
“Pharaohs were buried with their forearms across their chest because of the ancient belief that there would be water slides in the afterlife.” — various sources
Another often-plagiarized tweet makes it to the winner’s circle. I continue to be annoyed at and baffled by users who cut and paste other people’s jokes and try to pass them off as their own.
When Elon Musk takes over, I’d like to see him declare tweet theft as a mode of expression not covered by the right to free speech on social media that he holds so dear. Giving proper credit or at least acknowledging that a gag or observation isn’t yours is easy enough that brazen quiplifters should be suspended and repeat violators should be banned.
I offered another special politically themed Tweet of the Week poll as well. The winner there was, I believe, an original:
Scroll down to read this week’s nominees or click here to vote in the new poll.
News & Views
View: Gee, who saw that coming? What? Everybody did? OK, never mind.
It was a noble joint effort by the city and Whole Foods Market to plant an upscale grocery store in a disadvantaged neighborhood with the hope/promise that it would generate both income for the store and a retail revival in the area around 63rd Street and Halsted. Whole Foods announced last week that it’s closing the store and pulling out of the neighborhood after an evaluation of the store’s “performance and growth potential” found it wanting.
The city invested $11 million in infrastructure and site improvements to get Whole Foods launched in 2016, but those improvements are still largely in place for another grocery store or retailer to take advantage of.
Democratic state House Speaker Chris Welch tweeted: “This story saddens me. Jeff Bezos is worth $180 BiILLION dollars, takes joy rides into outer space, but takes away healthy food options to poor people because he cares more about profits than poor people. This is yet another reason why we should tax billionaires like Bezos more!”
I agree with Welch on the tax issue, but it’s not a wise or sustainable idea to shame business owners and corporations into operating at a loss in low-income neighborhoods. In the long run, if company owners worry they’ll be insulted and blamed if their efforts to expand into challenging areas don’t succeed, it will discourage them from even trying.
News: The Chicago Sky signs a telecast deal with the Marquee Sports Network in advance of their season opener Friday.
View: Oh well. I really enjoyed the Sky’s run to the WNBA championship last year and was looking forward to following the team far more closely this season. But I loathe the Marquee Sports Network — part of my loathing for the Ricketts family and, therefore, the Cubs, most of whose games moved to Marquee last season.
Short term, there’s probably more money for the team in a deal with Marquee. Long term, they’d have been smarter to put as many games as possible on conventional broadcast TV to continue to build their fan base.
News: When reporters asked Chicago’s new inspector general, Deborah Witzburg,about Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s previously stated intention to appoint someone to the job who understands “the importance of staying in their lane,” Witzburg responded, “I learned to drive in Boston, and I have always understood lane markers to just be suggestions.”
View: I like her already.
Land of Linkin’
Missouri wants to stop out-of-state abortions. “The first-of-its-kind proposal from Missouri lawmakers would allow private citizens to sue anyone who helps a Missouri resident have an abortion.” (Politico) The bill would allow suits against out-of-state physicians who perform abortions and is specifically aimed at a “Planned Parenthood clinic in Illinois just across the river from St. Louis that opened in 2019 with the explicit goal of serving Missouri patients.”
Update: Democrat Todd Connor, the intriguing Indiana state Senate candidate from Chicago’s north suburbs I wrote about last week, finished second out of four candidates in Tuesday’s primary.
Update: I withdrew a link I posted last week to a site that offered free .pdf files of books that, after a cursory glance on my part, appeared to be titles that were out of copyright. Had I been more careful I would have directed readers looking for free downloads to Project Gutenberg, which is far more scrupulous in guarding copyright. Public libraries also offer lots of free downloadable content, but to support literary efforts, paying for books at a bookstore is the best way to go.
In his column, “Write off student loans? There’s a better solution,” Steve Chapman suggests “letting (those still paying on their student loans) discharge excessive debts through bankruptcy or some comparable procedure. That’s a remedy available for just about every other type of debt. … They can all invoke the wisdom of Henry David Thoreau: ‘Bankruptcy and repudiation are the spring-boards from which much of our civilization vaults.’”
The increasingly unhinged former Tribune columnist John Kass three times puts the word “President” in quotes when referring to President Joe Biden in this post. And, side note, I thought Madison Cawthorn deserved one of his monthly “Eat Shit!” awards, but that’s not how Kass rolls. Only lefties eat shit in Kassakhstan. (Terminological explanation: “In the Greek-speaking world, there is another obscene gesture — the moutza — which takes on the the role of the taboo obscenity. The moutza is performed by pushing an open palm, with fingers stiffly spread, toward the face of the victim. To a non-Greek, it looks similar to an ordinary 'hand-repel’ gesture saying ‘go back, go back,’ but in Greece it has an ancient history dating from Byzantine times, where it originated as a gesture symbolizing the thrusting of feces into the face of a chained criminal who was being paraded through the streets.” — from “Gestures, Their Origins and Distribution” by Desmond Morris et. al., 1979)
Laura Bassett in Jezebel: “In case you needed any further proof that the modern anti-abortion movement is an outgrowth of many centuries of virulent misogyny and violence against women, Justice Samuel Alito’s leaked opinion draft striking down Roe v. Wade relies heavily on a 17th century English jurist who had two women executed for “witchcraft,” wrote in defense of marital rape, and believed capital punishment should extend to kids as young as 14.
The Picayune Sentinel on the air: Today at 4:30 p.m. on WCPT-AM 820 I’ll be talking with fill-in host and former Mincing Rascal Patti Vasquez about ideas raised in the new issue. The listen-live link is here.
The Picayune Sentinel preview: Mondays at 11:30 a.m. I talk with WGN-AM 720 host John Williams about what’s making news and likely to be grist for the PS mill. The WGN listen-live link is here.
Mary Schmich will return!
In this week’s episode of “The Mincing Rascals” podcast, host John Williams, Brandon Pope and I were joined by Rachel Hinton of the Better Government Association and Jodi Cohen of ProPublica Illinois. We discussed the ProPublica/Tribune story on police ticketing and fining students, new developments in the Chicago casino story, the fate of Whole Foods in Englewood and, of course, the leaked draft opinion in which the U.S. Supreme Court signaled that it will overturn key abortion rights decisions and return the issue to state legislatures.
Subscribe to us wherever you get your podcasts. Or bookmark this page. If you’re not a podcast listener, you can now hear an edited version of the show at 8 p.m. most Saturday evenings on WGN-AM 720.
This week’s nominees for Tweet of the Week:
I’m always more attracted to women wearing glasses, like deep down I know naturally poor eyesight provides my best chances. — @RichBeingRich
If I were in a beautiful house with a beautiful wife, I wouldn’t ask any more questions. I would leave it at that. — @zachsilberberg
Never quite sure how long I should wait to say "I love you" on the first date. — @topaz_kell
OR maybe it’s your fault for creating such a slippery baby. —@TheAndrewNadeau
“It’s not a competition.” That’s exactly what someone who’s losing would say. — @adamgreattweet
Every one of my neighbors has offered to help me move, which would be extremely nice if I had plans to sell my house. — @RickAaron
If Batman were real he’d be the world’s least weird billionaire. —@frankieboyle
End any argument with a baby by saying "Well, at least my arms are longer than my head." Ya got smoked, baby. — @lanyardigan
Telling my boss I wasn't drunk at work really backfired. I probably should have waited until he asked. — @wildethingy
Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Attack while they’re distracted. — @sexbreakfast365
Race to the slop
As long as the Cubs and White Sox are both under .500 and/or as long as the Cincinnati Reds are still threatening to have the worst record in Major League Baseball since 1899 — a mark currently held by the 36-117 (.235) Philadelphia Athletics — I’ll be posting this weekly update:
White Sox 11-13 (.458)
Cubs 9 -15 (.375)
Reds 3-21 (.125)
How to Wordle early, if you must
One of the great things about the online game Wordle is that you can only play once a day. The game resets at midnight, as most players know.
But what they may not know is that the “midnight” depends on what time zone your device — phone, tablet, desktop — is set to. For instance, if you want to play Friday’s Wordle on Thursday morning at 9 a.m., just set your device to Australian Eastern Standard Time (Sydney).
One other Wordle note: I’m not impressed when people post that they’ve won the game on the second line. That’s almost certainly pure luck, and while the element of luck is part of what keeps the game intriguing, the pride people seem to take in a 2/6 score is nearly always undeserved. Three-line victories are far more impressive as a rule, but it does depend on the solution word that day.
After you finish the puzzle, Wordlebot will tell you what the average score of all players has been so far that day.
I first heard this song last month when Peggy Browning, a teacher at the Old Town School of Folk Music, led it at a singing jam. “Early,” from Greg Brown’s 1980 album “44 & 66,” is a sweet, simple tune written in the voice of a resident of Early, a “little farm town” in Brown’s home state of Iowa. Brown, 72, is married to singer Iris DeMent (best known for "Our Town"and "Let the Mystery Be”).
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