Archive for The New York Times

and it only gets worse

Posted in Books, Kids, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 15, 2021 by xi'an

“The law, known as Senate Bill 8, amounts to a nearly complete ban on abortion in Texas, one that will further fuel legal and political battles over the future of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that established a constitutional right to abortion. The law makes no exceptions for pregnancies resulting from incest or rape.” NYT, Sept. 1

“The [Supreme] Court’s order is stunning,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in her dissent. “Presented with an application to enjoin a flagrantly unconstitutional law engineered to prohibit women from exercising their constitutional rights and evade judicial scrutiny, a majority of justices have opted to bury their heads in the sand.” NYT, Sept. 2

“A judge in Ohio ordered a hospital to treat a Covid-19 patient with ivermectin, despite warnings from experts that the anti-parasitic drug has not proved effective against the virus and can be dangerous in large doses.” The Guardian, Aug. 31

“More than half of the world’s people have no social protections, the United Nations has warned, even after the pandemic pushed many governments to offer services to their populations.” The Guardian, Sept. 1

death of a marathoner

Posted in Running with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 7, 2021 by xi'an

In connection with the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, I read a poignant story in the New York Times, relating the short life of marathoner Kōkichi Tsuburaya, who finished third in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, in 2:16:22, being passed on the final lap by Basil Heatley from Britain. He felt like committing a “blunder” in front of his compatriots. And he invested so heavily in his training for the 1968 Mexico Olympics, with such poor training from his coaches that he kept facing injuries. And committed suicide a few months before the Olympics… In memoriam.

geometric climbing

Posted in Mountains, pictures with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 5, 2021 by xi'an

On the qualifying round for the Tokyo Olympics, the French climber Mickaël Mawem ended up first, while his brother Bassa was the fastest on the speed climb (as a 2018 and 2019 World Champion) but ruptured a tendon while lead climbing and had to be flown back to Paris for a operation. The New York Times inappropriately and condescendingly qualified this first position as being “unexpected” when Mickaël is the 2019 European Champion in bouldering… The NYT is piling up in its belittling by stating that “Anouck Jaubert of France used a second-place finish in speed to squeak into the final¨… (The other French female climber did not make it, despite being one of the first women to reach the 9b level.)

I remain puzzled by the whole concept of mixing the three sports together. As well as by the scoring system, based on a geometric average of the three rankings, which means in particular that the eight finalists will suffer less than in the qualifying round from a poor performance in one of the three climbs (as Adam Ondra for the speed climb). In addition, there is an obscure advantage coming to Adam Ondra for Bassa Mawem cancelling his participation: according to the NYT, “Ondra will receive a bye and an automatic slot in the speed semifinals” meaning “that a likely eighth-place finish in speed — a ranking number that can be hard to overcome in the multiplication of the combined format — will now be no worse than fourth for Ondra”. (The sentence on the strong impact due to the geometric mean is incorrect in that it has less impact that the arithmetic!)

the rise of the vigilantes

Posted in Kids, Travel with tags , , , , , , , on July 19, 2021 by xi'an

I was reading the New York Times about the explosion of anti-abortion legislations in the US, with more restrictions voted in the first six months than in any previous year since 1973. Besides laws that create always more burdens and constraints for women seeking an abortion, Mississippi set a 15 week ban and Texas just moved even further with a 6 week ban, which is essentially banning abortion in the State.  Which is unconstitutional (at the moment), except that Texas went a vicious step further, in making people rather than the State in charge of enforcing the law, ie of potentially suing anyone involved in an abortion performed after six weeks! Which makes the defence by abortion providers and pro-choice organisations almost impossible. And sounds like a perversion of justice, since anyone without any connection whatsoever with an abortion case and obviously irresponsible of the destiny of children born under such legislations, can sue. Just because irrational beliefs and self-righteousness make them entitled to irremediably impact others’ choices and live. Just like taliban.

holy war

Posted in Books, Kids with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 1, 2021 by xi'an

In a series of fascinating tribunes in the New York Times, Katherine Stewart points out the frightening anti-democratic views of the Christian extreme-right in the US. As exemplified by

“…a political system that gives disproportionate power to an immensely organized, engaged and loyal minority. One of the most reliable strategies for producing that unshakable cohort has been to get them to agree that abortion is the easy answer to every difficult political policy question. Recently, religious right leaders have shifted their focus more to a specious understanding of what they call “religious freedom” or “religious liberty,” but the underlying strategy is the same: make individuals see their partisan vote as the primary way to protect their cultural and religious identity.” K. Stewart