Doctors Without Borders

The Doctor and the Terrorist, Alito Won't Recuse

“This is how Dr. Yuval Bitton remembers the morning of Oct. 7. Being jolted awake just after sunrise by the insistent ringing of his phone. The frantic voice of his daughter, who was traveling abroad, asking, ‘Dad, what’s happened in Israel? Turn on the TV.’ … Even in that first moment, Dr. Bitton says, he knew with certainty who had masterminded the attack: Yahya Sinwar, the leader of Hamas in Gaza and Inmate No. 7333335 in the Israeli prison system from 1989 until his release in a prisoner swap in 2011. But that was not all. Dr. Bitton had a history with Yahya Sinwar. As he watched the images of terror and death flicker across his screen, he was tormented by a decision he had made nearly two decades before — how, working in a prison infirmary, he had come to the aid of a mysteriously and desperately ill Mr. Sinwar, and how afterward the Hamas leader had told him that ‘he owed me his life.'” All the connections and histories associated with the Middle East crisis can’t possibly be narrowed down to one book, one article, one placard, or certainly not one social media post. In the NYT (Gift Article) Jo Becker and Adam Sella piece together one (of a million) defining moments in this endlessly painful saga; history’s open wound that infects the world and never seems to heal. The Hamas Chief and the Israeli Who Saved His Life.

+ And an interview with Bitton in Haaretz: “He sees himself as playing a central role in the realization of the Islamist ambitions of the Muslim Brotherhood. He thinks he has entered the annals of history. And he really doesn’t care if 200,000 people are killed and not a single house remains complete in Gaza. The main thing is the goal, the greater idea.”


Substance Abuse

“Late last week, the governor of Louisiana signed into law a bill that marks a first in the battle over reproductive rights in America: The state will categorize mifepristone and misoprostol, medication commonly used in abortions, as controlled dangerous substances. Possessing the drugs without a valid prescription will be a criminal offense that could carry up to 10 years in prison.” The Atlantic (Gift Article): A Chilling Effect of Louisiana’s Abortion Law.

+ It’s all part of a broad and relentless effort to do away with anything connected to abortion. NYT (Gift Article): The Untold Story of the Network That Took Down Roe v. Wade. “Nine days after Donald Trump won the 2016 election, the halls of the Mayflower Hotel, just blocks from the White House, were adorned with twinkling Christmas lights and abuzz with the possibilities of a future that had changed overnight. Hillary Clinton, the woman the anti-abortion movement feared more than perhaps anyone, had failed to win the presidency. And Leo and the conservative legal movement that he worked for years to create were about to reclaim power. With that power would come the chance to do what seemed unthinkable until this moment: strategize to take down Roe v. Wade.”

+ Trump’s transactional nature is why the Christian right will never drop him. You offer your support for him, and you get his support for what you want. That includes abortion laws. And there are plenty of other issues, too. Louisiana to become 1st state requiring Ten Commandments be posted in schools.

+ Meanwhile, “…even if she was aware, it’s unlikely Ashley would have been able to get an abortion in Mississippi; with heavy restrictions in effect and the high penalties on physicians who violate the abortion ban, it is unlikely she would have found a doctor willing to perform a procedure.” 13-year-old rape victim has baby amid confusion over state’s abortion ban.


Some of Them Want to Recuse You

“I am therefore duty-bound to reject your recusal request.” The thing about being a Supreme Court Justice (especially in this Court) is that you get to make your own rulings … and rules. And “Justice Samuel Alito is rejecting calls to step aside from Supreme Court cases involving former President Donald Trump and Jan. 6 defendants because of the controversy over flags that flew over his homes.”

+ Alito again blamed the upside-down flag on his wife. But does that even hold up? The Alitos, the Neighborhood Clash and the Upside-Down Flag. “There are some differences: For instance, the justice told Fox News that his wife hoisted the flag in response to Baden’s vulgar insult. A text message and the police call — corroborated by Fairfax County authorities — indicate, however, that the name-calling took place on Feb. 15, weeks after the inverted flag was taken down.” So among the nine justices deciding cases related to Jan 6, there’s one upside-down flag and one wife who was an active player in Trumpian plots to “stop the steal.” Meanwhile, democracy’s most important and urgent case is being delayed while the Court decides whether we have a president or a king.


Suspicious Minds

“Since the news broke last week that a company was trying to sell Graceland — Elvis Presley’s former home and a beloved tourist attraction in Memphis — the Naussany company has been a persistent puzzle. It is difficult to find any public records that prove that the company exists. Phone numbers listed in court documents for the company are not in service. Addresses listed by the company are those of post offices.” You know those weird emails we all used to get from Nigeria asking us for money? Well an even weirder email from Nigeria just came pretty close to selling Graceland. Luckily, the court hit Return to Sender before it was too late. NYT (Gift Article): Who Plotted to Sell Graceland? An Identity Thief Raises His Hand.


Extra, Extra

You Talking to Me? “From 1819 to 1969, tens of thousands of children were sent to more than 500 boarding schools across the country, the majority run or funded by the U.S. government. Children were stripped of their names, their long hair was cut, and they were beaten for speaking their languages, leaving deep emotional scars on Native American families and communities. By 1900, 1 out of 5 Native American school-age children attended a boarding school. At least 80 of the schools were operated by the Catholic Church or its religious affiliates.” Sadly, you can guess what happened. A WaPo investigation: (Gift Article): In the name of God: Native American children endured years of sexual abuse at boarding schools.

+ The Forecast Has Arrived: “One of the hottest countries on Earth potentially recorded its highest temperature ever.” It hit 126 degrees in a suburb of New Dehli.

+ Policing Yourself: The SCOTUS isn’t the only organization held to account (or not) by self regulation. OpenAI’s new safety team is led by board members, including CEO Sam Altman.

+ Breaking the Stat Quo: “Maybe the single biggest factor was the success of players who played in the Negro Leagues and then came to the big leagues.” MLB incorporates Negro Leagues statistics, shakes up record books. And, Josh Gibson will dominate MLB’s record book as Negro Leagues stats are added.

+ Mind If I Play Through? Sometimes justice prevails! The nutty charges against top golfer Scottie Scheffler have been dropped. Now we’re just left with the memory of a golfer who was arrested, booked, took a mugshot, stretched in a jail cell, still made his tee time, and completed his round at the PGA Championship at five under par.

+ The Producer: Al Ruddy, a Hollywood original and the producer of the Godfather passed away at 94. There’s a miniseries based on his role in the making of the Godfather called The Offer.

+ Bad Neighbor: South Korea says the North has flown balloons carrying trash over the border. What will these crazy neighbors do next, start flying upside-down flags?

+ Sub Optimal: “Nearly one year after the OceanGate Titan submersible disaster gripped the nation, another ambitious businessman is looking to make the same trip.” (Uh, is ambitious the right word here?)


Bottom of the News

“The rules are simple: do absolutely nothing. Falling asleep, however, leads to disqualification. Organisers monitor the participants’ heart rates; the contestant with the most stable heart rate wins.” Much ado about nothing: world’s most relaxed people gather in Seoul for ‘space-out’ competition.

+ This is the anti-tourist story that just keeps on giving. “A Japanese town that erected a huge black screen last week in an attempt to stop tourists from snapping photos of Mount Fuji and overcrowding the area has discovered holes in the screen and is working to repair them.”

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