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July 3rd, 2022:

Weekend link dump for July 3

“NASA to Power Down Voyager Probes: Here Are Their Best Space Photos“.

You have to wonder how things might be now if Harriet Miers were on SCOTUS now instead of Sam Alito.

“These installations are called traffic gardens — or safety towns, safety villages, or traffic parks. They are small-scale worlds where children can practice using roadways and learn how they work. This matters because road use, as my mom says, isn’t intuitive.”

“The landscape of misinformation is characterized both by a high level of familiarity with the narratives we tested and also a high level of uncertainty about whether these narratives are true or false; In fact, we walked away believing that uncertainty is a much more important focus of attention than belief; As such, we also saw the potential strategic value, counter to some conventional guidance, of airing out and debunking certain narratives; And we concluded that “susceptibility” is not the right framework for understanding (or countering) disinformation, misinformation or propaganda.”

“The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade is about to upend the lives of one group that few activists on either side of the debate have considered—women in the U.S. military.”

“This is how Hamtramck Stadium sounded in the 1930s, when the Negro Leagues’ Detroit Stars called it home. This is how it sounded again Monday, thanks to a grassroots effort to renovate the historic ballpark.”

Meet Bernice Gera, the first female umpire in professional baseball history. The Athletic has a story if you have a subscription.

“Charles Schulz, the creator of Peanuts, passionately believed in girls’ and women’s sports. Arguably the most popular cartoonist of his day, he used his platform to promote Title IX, with characters such as Lucy, Marcie and Peppermint Patty cheering on the legislation – and top women athletes of the era.”

RIP, Steve Gonzales, celebrated photographer for the Houston Chronicle whose work included an iconic shot of an armadillo rescue during the 2016 Tax Day floods. The photo was later touted as the proper image for a new city of Houston flag.

RIP, Alexander Jefferson, revered former colonel for the Tuskegee Airmen.

A whole lot of y’all have watched Stranger Things season 4. (This includes daughter #2 and me.)

Seven-year-old Abigail Courtney has seen some things at the ol’ ballpark.

Lock them up.

“Who Is Cassidy Hutchinson? And Why Is She A Key Witness?”

“I overheard the president say something to the effect of, ‘You know, I don’t f-ing care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me. Take the f-ing mags away. Let my people in. They can march to the Capitol from here. Let the people in. Take the f-ing mags away.”

“Legally, the most important is what seems to me like very specific evidence that the former President is guilty of seditious conspiracy, among numerous other crimes.”

Don’t Trust DIY Abortion Advice on TikTok“.

“Due to increased demand, at this time we are limiting purchases of Plan B contraceptive pills to three per customer.”

RIP, Philip Baker Hall, legendary character actor who was in basically everything.

“A group of 200 top writers, producers and directors have signed an open letter backed by the Brady gun violence organization that includes a pledge to incorporate gun safety best practices into their shows and to scrutinize the use of firearms in storytelling.”

“The tech companies contacted by Motherboard have decided to not acknowledge their stance explicitly either way, despite the stark reality they now find themselves in; that they may provide the forensic or digital evidence that puts a person who can be pregnant in jail.”

RIP, Margaret Keane, artist best known for her paintings of big-eyed, melancholy children.

RIP, Hershel Williams, last surviving Medal of Honor recipient from World War II.

Obi-Wan Kenobi was supposed to be a movie, but then Solo didn’t do well enough, and so Disney+ it was.

“Practically, the report is an instruction manual for how Trump partisans at all levels of government—aided by citizen “posses” of Proud Boys and Oath Keepers—could, quite literally, round up opposition activists, kill their leaders, and install Donald Trump for a second term in office.”

Patsy Baloney is my new drag name.

SCOTx re-enables statewide abortion ban

Ugh.

The Texas Supreme Court has blocked a lower court order that had allowed clinics in the state to continue performing abortions even after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned it’s landmark 1973 ruling that confirmed a constitutional right to abortion.

It was not immediately clear whether the clinics in Texas that resumed performing abortions just days ago would halt services again following the ruling late Friday night. A hearing is scheduled for later this month.

The whiplash of Texas clinics turning away patients, rescheduling them, and now potentially canceling appointments again — all in the span of a week — illustrates the confusion and scrambling that has taken place across the country since Roe v. Wade was overturned.

An order by a Houston judge on Tuesday had reassured some clinics they could temporarily resume abortions up to six weeks into pregnancy. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton quickly asked the state’s highest court, which is stocked with nine Republican justices, to temporarily put that order on hold.

“These laws are confusing, unnecessary, and cruel,” said Marc Hearron, attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights, after the order was issued Friday night.

Clinics in Texas — a state of nearly 30 million people — stopped performing abortions after the U.S. Supreme Court last week overturned Roe v. Wade. Texas had left an abortion ban on the books for the past 50 years while Roe was in place.

Attorneys for Texas clinics provided a copy of Friday’s order, which was not immediately available on the court’s website.

See here and here for the background; Steve Vladeck provides a bit more context. You can see a summary of the order (order 22-0527) here. The relevant bits:

The parties are directed to submit briefing by 5 p.m. July 7, 2022 regarding whether the 269th District Court of Harris County, Texas, has jurisdiction to enjoin the enforcement of a criminal statute. See State v. Morales, 869 S.W.3d 941 (Tex. 1994). Real parties in interest are requested to respond to relators’ petition for writ of mandamus by 5 p.m. July 11, 2022. This order does not preclude further proceedings in the court of appeals and district court, including proceedings to address the jurisdictional issue described in paragraph 2 above. The Court is confident that those courts will proceed expeditiously.

[Note: The petition for writ of mandamus remains pending before this Court.]

The 269th Civil Court in Harris County, which issued the temporary restraining order that SCOTx has now lifted, has a hearing scheduled for July 12 to determine whether an injunction can be granted. We may get that on the 12th or 13th, and then subsequent rulings from SCOTx shortly thereafter. I assume the writ of mandamus was filed by the Attorney General to supersede all this and just declare that there’s nothing stopping them from enforcing that 1925 law that criminalized abortion. Don’t you just love it when this kind of order drops on the Friday evening of a holiday weekend? Axios, the WaPo, the NYT, and the DMN have more; as of Saturday morning when I drafted this the Trib had not yet published anything and the Chron was carrying this same AP story. Like I said, Friday night, holiday weekend.

UPDATE: Here’s the Trib story.

Charges against Judge Jordan dropped

That was quick.

Judge Darrell Jordan

Just four days after being indicted and arrested, Harris County misdemeanor court Judge Darrell Jordan saw an official oppression charge against him dropped.

Fort Bend County prosecutors on Friday announced they were dropping the misdemeanor charge against the judge.

Fort Bend County District Attorney Brian Middleton said that while Jordan was indicted by a grand jury, he didn’t believe his office could prove a crime was committed beyond a reasonable doubt.

“It is important to present cases implicating public integrity to the grand jury, particularly when there is some evidence to support the allegation, because they are representatives of the public,” Middleton said in a statement released after 6 p.m. Friday. “Moreover, it provides due process to the accused and transparency to the public.”

[…]

Middleton said prosecutors need to meet a higher standard when moving a case forward.

“If we believe we cannot prove a charge beyond a reasonable doubt, we have an ethical obligation to dismiss the prosecution,” Middleton said.

His office filed a motion to dismiss the case in Harris County on Friday, he said.

Jordan’s attorney, Marc Carter called Middleton an “honorable man” and said he had believed the district attorney would dismiss the case all along. Jordan is currently deployed with the Texas National Guard, Carter said.

Carter said this week’s incident should remind people about how to behave in a courtroom.

“Contempt is an inherent power judges have to maintain order and decorum in the court,” Carter said “I would advise citizens and officers of the court to abide by the rules of court and maintain decorum to avoid being held in contempt.”

See here and here for the background. Dolcefino was not happy with the decision, which, too bad. I still don’t know any more about this than I did when the news first hit, but it is plausible that the case could have been not very solid, certainly not solid enough to feel confident about getting a guilty verdict. The defense was clear enough, for sure. I hope this is the last we hear of this. I have enough stories to follow.

Now we wait for the judge in the Deshaun Watson disciplinary case

Gonna be a few weeks, most likely.

Another phase in the NFL’s disciplinary process against former Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson is complete, and another wait begins.

Watson’s hearing before former U.S. District judge Sue L. Robinson concluded on Thursday after three days.

Robinson, who was jointly appointed by the league and the NFL Players’ Association, will determine whether Watson violated the NFL’s personal conduct policy and whether to impose discipline. She asked for post-hearing briefs from both Watson’s representatives and the NFL, and a final decision could take weeks.

Watson has been accused in civil lawsuits by 24 women of actions ranging from sexual assault to inappropriate behavior during massage sessions. He has reached a settlement in 20 of the cases.

The NFL has been pushing for an indefinite suspension of at least a year, and Watson’s team has argued there is no basis for punishment, two people with knowledge of the proceedings said to the Associated Press. ESPN reported that both sides engaged in attempts to reach a settlement while the hearing was still happening, but remain unable to agree.

[…]

A person familiar with the case told the Associated Press the league believes it presented evidence to warrant keeping Watson off the field this season. The person said the league’s investigation determined Watson committed multiple violations of the personal conduct policy and he would be required to undergo counseling before returning.

A person familiar with Watson’s defense told the Associated Press they expect a suspension. Asked what would be acceptable, the person said: “our goal is to get him back on the field this year.”

See here and here for some background. In previous stories, I’ve seen mention of the league wanting to have this process finished by the time players start reporting to training camps, which I believe would be July 27 for the Cleveland Browns. That sounds like a reasonable estimate for when we will know the decision.