Yes, I’m still angry about the leaked draft opinion from the Supreme Court that points to a decision by the Court to overturn Roe v. Wade with respect to legal abortions in the United States. That decision is likely to be supported by all of the conservative justices in either a 6-3 decision or, if Chief Justice John Roberts decides to vote against making abortions illegal, by a 5-4 decision.

As you think about the ramifications of this decision, it is worth remembering something. The office of the President of the United States is the only political office in the land that is not decided by the popular vote. The vehicle that determines who wins a presidential election is the Electoral College, an antiquated and antidemocratic part of the U.S. Constitution.

The Electoral College was created for two reasons. The first purpose was to create a buffer between the population and the selection of a president. The Founding Fathers were afraid of direct elections to the presidency. They feared a tyrant could manipulate public opinion and come to power. They believed that the electors would be able to ensure that only a qualified person becomes president. They thought that, with the Electoral College, no one would be able to manipulate the citizenry. I guess they weren’t prescient enough to envision Donald Trump.

The second reason for the Electoral College came from a compromises made at the constitutional convention to satisfy the small states. Under the system, each state had the same number of electoral votes as they have a representative in Congress, which is determined by each state’s populations. Thus no state could have less than three (aligned with two senators and one representative).

The result of this system in today’s real world is that state of Wyoming, for example, cast about 210,000 votes in the 2016 presidential election, and thus each elector represented 70,000 votes. In California, approximately 9,700,000 votes were cast for 54 votes, thus representing 179,000 votes per electorate. This creates an unfair advantage to voters in the small states whose votes count more than those people living in medium and large states. And this is good for Republicans, since many of the so-called red states are the smaller states.

The ramifications of this crazy system is that a presidential candidate can win the popular vote, but still lose the presidency by losing the Electoral College. And that has happened four times in American history and twice this century alone. In 2000, Al Gore won the popular vote, but George W. Bush won the Electoral College. In 2016, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, but Donald Trump won the Electoral College.

So what does this have to do with the Supreme Court and overturning Roe v. Wade? Well, if the presidency was decided by the popular vote, Samuel Alito, John Roberts, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney-Barrett would not be justices on the Supreme Court. Alito and Roberts were appointed by Bush. Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Coney-Barrett were appointed by Trump, neither of whom won the popular vote.

But abortion is just one of many areas where constitutional law appears ready to change dramatically. In the next few months, the Supreme Court is likely to decide cases expanding gun rights, lessening the restrictions on prayer in public schools, prohibiting affirmative action by colleges and universities, and enshrining the right of people to use religion as a basis for discriminating against gays and lesbians in business dealings and employment. And with its far right majority on the Court, thanks largely to two men who became president without winning the popular vote, the United States is rapidly being transformed into a gun-rotting, white conservative Christian theocracy.

Fandango’s Flashback Friday — May 6th

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of your earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember? Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year.

How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year? You can repost your Friday Flashback post on your blog and pingback to this post. Or you can just write a comment below with a link to the post you selected.

If you’ve been blogging for less than a year, go ahead and choose a post that you previously published on this day (the 6th) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.

This was originally posted on May 6, 2011 on my old blog.

Reheat Your Meat

No, the name of this post is not the tagline for an ad about a new miracle cure for erectile dysfunction or to enhance male sexual performance.

It is about a warning that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued for women who are pregnant, people over 50, “and especially for those over 65.”  Uh oh!

According to a recent article I read in USA Today, the CDC is warning us old timers against eating cold lunch meats, cold cuts, and deli meats.

Who knew that the latest threat to the survival of the human race would be honey cured ham, roasted turkey breast, or bologna? And yet the CDC suggests that such luncheon meats should not be eaten unless they’ve been thoroughly reheated to “steaming hot” (or at least 165 degrees) in order to kill any bacteria that might be present.

I can think of few things less appetizing than a plate piled high with steaming hot cold cuts. (If sliced luncheon meats are steaming hot, are they still considered to be “cold cuts”?)

Actually I can think of a few other piles of steaming stuff less appetizing than steaming cold cuts, but let’s just not go there.

This recommendation to reheat your meat is due to an insidious food-borne bug by the name of listeria monocytogenes. It’s the source of an uncommon but potentially fatal disease called listeriosis. About 85% of cases of listeriosis are linked to cold cuts or deli meats. The remaining 15%, according to reliable sources from the makers of Scope mouthwash, are linked to the use of Listerine, which, competitors claim, has listeria as its active ingredient.

By the way, Listeriosis is fatal about 20% of the time! And like all really scary threats to your health and well being, you can’t see, taste, or smell listeria.

Most luncheon meats are cooked at food processing plants where the bacteria in them are killed during the packaging process. But the problem is that once the cold cuts are sliced or the package is opened, they are vulnerable to listeria.

If just a single cell of listeria from a contaminated surface, a meat slicer, or even the air gets on the meats, it has a unique ability to keep growing even when refrigerated. It’s like a friggin’ zombie that just won’t die.

The CDC also advises that you not keep opened packages of lunch meat, or meat sliced at the local deli, for longer than three to five days in your refrigerator. I looked at a package of organic roasted turkey breast that my wife bought at Whole Foods Market a while ago. The package does say “Keep refrigerated (best within four days of opening).”

Maybe the warning should say, “Best within four days of opening; 20% probability of death if consumed after that.”

The suggestion that cold cuts should be consumed within three to five days of opening is something that virutally no one pays attention to, says Douglas Powell, director of food safety at Kansas State University. “Anecdotally, lots of people keep cold cuts in their refrigerator far longer than they should,” he says. “People keep them for one to two weeks. That’s the key message. If you get it from the deli counter, four days max.”

I always thought that if it didn’t smell bad, if it didn’t feel slimy, if the edges hadn’t turned green or blue, and if there weren’t little white spots of mold on the meat, it was still okay to eat.

By the way, the CDC also recommends that, after eating refrigerated luncheon meats or deli cold cuts without reheating your meat, if you get an erection lasting more than four hours, you should contact your doctor immediately.

Or gargle with Listerine.

FOWC with Fandango — Pedestrian


It’s May 6, 2022. Welcome to Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (aka, FOWC). I will be posting each day’s word just after midnight Pacific Time (U.S.).

Today’s word is “pedestrian.”

Write a post using that word. It can be prose, poetry, fiction, non-fiction. It can be any length. It can be just a picture or a drawing if you want. No holds barred, so to speak.

Once you are done, tag your post with #FOWC and create a pingback to this post if you are on WordPress. Please check to confirm that your pingback is there. If not, please manually add your link in the comments.

And be sure to read the posts of other bloggers who respond to this prompt. Show them some love.