What's the Future of Roe v. Wade?

With Justice Kennedy retiring, and the subsequent appointment of Brett Kavanaugh, the liberties awarded by Roe v. Wade are in danger. 

written by: forrest bloom

In 1973, the Roe v. Wade Court ruled 7–2 that a right to  privacy under the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment extended to a woman's decision to have an abortion, but that this right must be balanced against the state's interests in regulating abortions: protecting women's health and protecting the potentiality of human life. This brought rise to many questions related to the legality of abortion. Should abortion be legal? To what extent? Who has the right to make that decision? The issue has certainly divided politicians along party lines, with Republicans typically opposing Roe and Democrats typically supporting Roe

Justice Kennedy announced his retirement on June 27, and President Trump recently appointed Brett Kavanaugh as his replacement. The problem is that Justice Kennedy has been the pivotal swing vote of the Supreme Court—or as Michelle Wolf calls them—"The Supremes." He balanced the predictable conservatives with the consistent liberals. He was key in the deciding of many issues, including gay marriage and protecting juveniles and those with intellectual disabilities from the death penalty. He brought a happy medium to an otherwise conservative leaning court. 

What Should I Know About Justice Brett Kavanaugh?

Our new Supreme Court Justice, Brett Kavanaugh, is more predictably conservative than Kennedy. Since 2006, he has been a judge in the very powerful Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He was vetted by conservative group The Federalist Society and will shape our Supreme Court for years to come. His appointment to the Supreme Court makes the future of abortion rights questionable, and many are specifically concerned about his dissent in Garza v Hargan—a case about a 17 year old girl who came here illegally wanting to have an abortion in the USA.  While the Court sided with the girl, Kavanaugh dissented under the premise that allowing the girl to have an abortion is “based on a constitutional principle as novel as it is wrong." His dissent included typical anti-abortion rhetoric “abortion on demand" as well. 

The Bigger Picture, An Aging Supreme Court

Although Kavanaugh is a slightly right-leaning Justice, none of his decisions have been too concerning. The real issue is Trump, who promised during his campaign that he would try to overturn Roe v. Wade. This is a much more realistic threat with the current shape of our Supreme Court. We can only hope that Justice Kavanaugh continues his trend of relative moderation. Even more concerning is the fact that two of the liberal Justices, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer, are 85 and 80 years old, respectively. In contrast, the oldest conservative Justice, Clarence Thomas, is 70. Trump's presidential legacy will be remembered as one that shaped our justice system for decades to come. Kavanaugh is simply a playing piece in the long term game of public policy. 

Pluses & Minuses

It's been a little while, but we return with lots of pluses.

+ Blizzard released a new Overwatch update with a pink skin for the healer Mercy, as a way to raise money for breast cancer research. The skin costs $15, and all proceeds go toward the cause. 

+ It’s teacher appreciation week, which means free breakfast pretty much all week as well as a free lunch on Friday for me. Best of all, I get to go on a field trip to the new and improved Turtleback Zoo. Zoos are cool.

+ Playboi Carti released his debut album Die Lit.

+ Our Swamp Dragon shirts sold out and the new batch FINALLY came in . Get yours here before they go; we might not make more! New shirts and hats coming soon as well.

+ Rick and Morty has been renewed for 70 new episodes. Although I never thought the show would get canceled, as the ball was always in Dan Harmon’s court. It’s nice to see that the contract issues have been resolved, and that the creators will be working on new episodes. 

+ Frank Ocean took his mom to Venice for Mother's Day. See you in four years Frank.

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+ Car Seat Headrest performed Body’s from their new album Twin Fantasy on Jimmy Fallon. As a song that’s already humorous, in the way it calls attention to its own slow but rewarding  structure, Will Toledo expands on this joke even further in the live performance. First, he directly talks to the keyboard player, saying how they are skipping a verse to fit in the show’s time constraints, then he breaks the fourth wall and says “Normally we do a bit of a breakdown here, but we only have 50 seconds, so we’re just gonna go right to the final chorus.” This self-aware humor is very characteristic of Toledo, and a big reason why I enjoy Car Seat Headrest so much. 

Three Piece Combo: Frank Ocean's Blond

In a recurring series, strangelooks presents some of our favorite sequential three track combinations. Here, we have tracks 7, 8, and 9 from Frank Ocean's Blonde.

written by: Forrest Bloom

Funny thing: the first time I listened to Blonde, I hated it. I guess the high pitched vocals, lack of drums, and overall experimentation turned me off...at first. However, fast-forward to the present and Blonde is my favorite album ever... EVER. It’s my “you can only pick one” album for when I get stuck on an (existential) island. This album is home to one of the best three piece combos in music: the magnificent trio of Self Control, Good Guy, and Nights. It’s almost a cheat code because Self Control and Nights are easily two of Frank Ocean’s greatest songs; I’m speaking subjectively AND objectively. 

Track 7: Self Control

Self Control is a song about disconnection.  Musically, it sends summer AND winter vibes at the same damn time. It’s a musical masterpiece that manages to keep you engaged through the entire listen. The sonic textures are inviting and the lyrics are captivating. Austin Feinstein’s guitar is the perfect backdrop for Frank Ocean’s soothing melodies. The emotions are so deep that just a single play-through can leave you drained. 

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Track 8: Good Guy

Good Guy is a quick, sweet, and curious song that breathes a feeling of nostalgia. It’s related to Self Control in the way that it speaks to the disconnection plaguing Ocean’s potentially intimate relationships. Here, Ocean links up with a guy through a mutual friend (the "good guy").  Although Ocean seems to be searching for a deeper, more meaningful relationship, his date is not. 

“Here's to the highlights. When I was convinced. That this was much more than. Just some night shit. I know you don't need me right now. And to you. It's just a late night out.”

This disconnect is further symbolized in the phrase: 

“First time I’d ever saw you. And you text nothing like you look.” 

The disconnect is seen in the differences between our true self and the virtual self that we push into the world. Good Guy, in its fleeting nature, ends with a seemingly uncomfortable conversation—related to their sexuality—between two guys. If you’ve ever seen the movie Moonlight, this snippet reminds me of the scene when Kevin is telling Chiron how he got in detention for getting it with a girl and Chiron is just awkwardly listening. 

"This nigga, all the bitches in the neighborhood wanna fuck you nigga. He told me. I used to fuck with all of 'em. Yeah I ain't got bitches no more. But now I don't care about bitches like that my nigga. That shit Jasmine fucking wrecked my heart. I don't even know how to even feel about it."
 Frank Ocean for 032c. Photo by Petra Collins.

Frank Ocean for 032c. Photo by Petra Collins.

Track 9: Nights

Nights is exceptionally interesting because it's basically two songs in one. The first verse can be interpreted as an ode to a past relationship that Frank has since moved on from. Continuing into the pre-chorus, he seems to be having a conversation with himself, and holding himself accountable for his own work: 

"New beginnings ahh. New beginnings wake up ahh. The sun's going down. Time to start your day bruh. Can't keep being late on me. Know you need the money if you gon' survive. The every night shit, every day shit.”

The chorus explains the cyclical nature of life. Frank Ocean spends the day with his lover, but has to drop them off so he can get to work at night. The every day stress is ever present and he uses marijuana as a “cheap vacation.” 

In the bridge, the night is ending and morning is on the horizon. Even though he didn't have his lover spend the night, cause he had work to do, he gets a craving when the morning comes. He uses his past memories to temporarily quell the craving, but it’s a constant cycle: 

“Every night fucks every day up. Every day patches the night up.”

Personally, I think there are two interpretations to these lines. First, he could be referencing the fact that the strain of nightlife leaves you with a hangover for the next day. In turn, the day patches you up for the next night. Second, he could be referring to the fact that each night leaves him stressed and craving his lover, but he sees them in the morning to fix himself up.

Either way you interpret these songs, they tell a beautiful story in a very musical way. Self Control is Act I, Nights is Act II, and Good Guy is the extremely personal interlude. 
 

Moonbase 8

Fred Armisen, Tim Heidecker, and John C Reilly will be staring in a new A24 series called Moonbase 8.

written by: Casper

The trio will be playing mediocre astronauts who live on NASA’s moon simulator, but have aspirations to be selected for the next lunar expedition. If the premise alone hasn’t sold you, it’s worth mentioning that the show will be directed by comedic powerhouse Johnathan Krisel. As a director on each actor’s hit show, Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, Check It Out! With Dr. Steve Brule, and Portlandia, Krisel has shown his ability to highlight the comedic genius of Armisen, Heidecker, and Reilly.

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With executive producer credits for all three actors, it will be interesting see what direction the show goes in. All things considered, this Moonbase 8 will be quirky to say the least, and the overall potential seems limitless.

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Is Kanye West Preparing a Yeezus Part Two?

Written by: Forrest Bloom

Yeezus is my favorite

Like many, I'm a diehard Kanye West fan. None of his albums are bad, but my favorite is Yeezus. This is closely followed by My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and 808s & Heartbreak. As a few of my friends are aware, I have a running (hopeful) theory that Kanye West has been diligently working to release a Yeezus Part II. When I say "Yeezus Part II," I don't necessarily mean that the album will be explicitly named "Yeezus Part II." Instead, I mean it will have the same raw & authentic—almost industrial—sound that is only possible through the collaborative environment and reductionist techniques used to create the original Yeezus masterpiece. These techniques, as explained to me by a good friend, are related to the cubism movement of the 20th century.

Cubism

Cubism was an art movement characterized by a visual language of geometric planes and compressed space that rejected the typical perspective techniques of the time. Cubism reduced visual reality to a series of overlapping planes and facets. In the realm of music, Kanye West and his team did a similar thing when making Yeezus.

 A cubism piece by  Paul Ygartua

A cubism piece by Paul Ygartua

A few clues...

  1. Yeezus was released June 18, 2013. Kanye's newest album will supposedly be released June 1, 2018.
  2. Yeezus extensively harnessed the minimalist techniques of genius producer Rick Rubin for Yeezus. Currently, it's been rumored that Kanye was holed up in Wyoming with none other than Rick Rubin.
  3. Yeezus, coming in at 10 tracks, is Kanye's shortest album to date. Interestingly, his newest album is supposedly only 7 tracks.

Kanye's recent tweets have sparked widespread uproar about the connections between race, power, and politics. The emotions running through the veins of long-time Kanye West fans & supporters are contradictory and difficult to understand. Is this serious, or just an extravagant trolling attempt to generate buzz? 

Either way, Kanye's recently revealed "free thinking" mindset suggests that his new music will be anything but orthodox. I'm not saying I'm 100% positive that Kanye West's new album will be Yeezus-esque, but the clues are certainly matching up. Moving forward, all we can do is wait and hope. Until then, scoopidity poop.

Music, OpinionForrest Bloom