Passenger rail won't ever replace the airline industry. That's because the point is to supplant long distance car travel. Where passenger rail really looks great is in the Rust Belt, where you have several large urban areas between two and five hours apart from each other from Illinois to Pennsylvania. Personally, I would have killed the last few years if I could have traveled from Columbus to Cleveland or Cincinnati without putting 300 miles on my car each time.
A US federal judge sentenced the wife of jailed Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman to three years in prison Tuesday on charges of drug trafficking and money laundering.
The sentence was less than the relatively light four years requested by prosecutors, with Judge Rudolph Contreras acknowledging that Emma Coronel Aispuro was only a young teenager when she married the ruthless drug czar and readily pleaded guilty after her February 2021 arrest.
Coronel, a 32-year-old former beauty queen who had twin nine-year-old daughters with Guzman, apologized to the court.
"I express my true regrets for any and all harm that I may have done," she said in Spanish before the sentence was announced.
"I am suffering as a result of the pain that I caused my family."
The judge said she would also pay $1.5 million in a restitution deal agreed before the hearing, and that she would be given credit in her sentence for nine months already spent behind bars since her arrest.
Prosecutors and her defense lawyers alike described Coronel as not involved in the core business of Guzman's Sinaloa Cartel, which shipped hundreds of tons of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and other drugs into the United States, according to the US Justice Department.
"The defendant's actual role was a minimal one," said prosecutor Anthony Nardozzi.
"The defendant was not a leader, organizer, boss or other type of manager. Rather she was a cog in a very large wheel of a criminal organization," he told the court.
But the prosecution also noted that Coronel had a key role in helping her husband escape from a Mexican prison in 2015.
Nevertheless, Nardozzi said, "the defendant opted to take responsibility for her actions" immediately after her arrest.
Upon pronouncing her sentence, the judge wished Coronel good luck.
"I hope that you raise your twins in a different environment than you've experienced to date" he told her.
© 2021 AFP
By Bonnie Stiernberg Since her split with Elon Musk — with whom she shares baby X Æ A-Xii — back in September, Grimes has kept a relatively low profile online. But in a new TikTok this week captioned “back on the internet #sigh,” the musician claimed she has developed “severe PTSD from public life” and “debilitating anxiety about being online” and likened herself to Marie Antoinette, the extravagant queen who was famously guillotined during the French Revolution. “Somehow ended up as some kind of Marie Antoinette-esque symbol for inequality in the pop stan community, which frankly is fairly en...
Originally published by The 19th
The Supreme Court will hear arguments on Wednesday in a case that could end almost 50 years of guaranteed abortion rights. Audio from the arguments will be streamed on the Supreme Court’s website, beginning at 10 a.m.
Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization examines the constitutionality of a law from Mississippi that would ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, with no exceptions for rape or incest. The law has been blocked by lower courts and has not taken effect.
Mississippi’s law appears to directly violate several decades of legal precedent on abortion rights. In 1973, the Supreme Court held in Roe v. Wade that the Constitution guaranteed the right to an abortion up until a fetus can live independently outside the womb, a stage known as “fetal viability” that typically occurs around 24 weeks of pregnancy.
That decision was affirmed in a 1992 case, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which allowed for states to restrict abortion access as long as those laws did not impose an “undue burden” for people looking to end a pregnancy. Such an “undue burden” could involve a requirement that abortions be performed in ambulatory surgical centers — a stipulation that has been shown to have little medical benefit but that has resulted in clinics closing down, making it functionally impossible for many people to get an abortion.
The court has heard cases on specific types of abortion laws, weighing in on whether different types of restrictions and regulations violate that “undue burden” standard.
But this case poses a different kind of question. It’s an outright challenge to the core protections established in 1973. In its legal filings, the state of Mississippi has argued that the court should overturn Roe v. Wade entirely and allow states to individually determine whether abortion remains legal or not.
Such a ruling could spell the end of national abortion rights — resulting in a patchwork system across the country, where someone’s ability to access an abortion easily depends entirely on where they live.
Both anti-abortion and abortion rights advocates believe that the court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority, may be receptive to Mississippi’s arguments. Three members — Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett — were appointed by former President Donald Trump, who vowed to fill the court with justices who would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade.
All three justices voted earlier this fall to allow Texas’ six-week abortion ban to take effect. In the court’s most recent abortion case, June Medical Services LLC v. Russo, Kavanaugh and Gorsuch both dissented from the majority opinion that struck down Louisiana’s abortion restrictions. In her confirmation hearings, abortion rights advocates emphasized Barrett’s historical skepticism toward Roe v. Wade.
A decision on the case is expected at the end of the court’s term next summer.
The case could have stakes beyond abortion rights. A separate brief filed by Texas Right to Life, an anti-abortion group, argues that overturning Roe v. Wade could also pave the way to undoing two separate landmark court decisions: a 2003 case known as Lawrence v. Texas that said states could not criminalize sexual conduct between two people of the same sex, and the 2015 case Obergefell v. Hodges, which found a constitutional right to LGBTQ+ marriage.
The brief argues that Roe v. Wade’s abortion rights guarantee is a “court-invented right” without constitutional basis and claims that there is no legal basis for the rights protected in Lawrence or Obergefell either.
“Lawrence and Obergefell, while far less hazardous to human life, are as lawless as Roe,” the brief argues.
But it’s not clear how the court’s justices will receive those arguments, or whether they will be a subject of discussion in Wednesday’s hearing.
A decision to overturn Roe v. Wade would have monumental impact. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 18 states have laws on the books that would ban abortion entirely in the event that Roe v. Wade were to be overturned.
Entire regions of the country — particularly the South and the Midwest — would likely become abortion deserts. States like Illinois, California, Colorado and Kansas could become havens for the procedure, with people traveling hundreds of miles to access care.
In Mississippi, where Jackson Women’s Health is the only abortion-providing clinic, the next closest places to seek an abortion would be Florida, Illinois and North Carolina.
The court could find another way to uphold Mississippi’s law without giving states full authority to ban abortions completely. But such a decision would still require somehow undoing Roe v. Wade’s guarantee of abortion rights up until fetal viability — suggesting that more pre-viability abortion bans may stand legal scrutiny and allowing states to enact and enforce greater restrictions.
Meanwhile, the court is still weighing arguments in two other abortion cases, examining whether either abortion providers or the federal government have the right to challenge a Texas law that bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. That law, which has been in effect since September 1, has offered a cursory preview of the potential impact of overturning Roe v. Wade.
The court heard arguments in those cases on November 1. It has not yet issued a decision in either.