Ruth Bader Ginsburg, John Jay, and the Political Court

Ian Millhiser - John JayJohn Jay was the first Chief Justice of the United States. Appointed at a time when the Supreme Court played a far more diminished role than it does today — the Court heard only four cases during Jay’s six years on the bench — Jay took a break from his judicial duties to serve as President Washington’s envoy to negotiate a trade agreement with Great Britain.

It’s difficult to exaggerate the divisiveness of the Jay Treaty. As Ron Chernow details in the book that inspired the musical Hamilton, this treaty formed one of the sharpest dividing lines between Alexander Hamilton’s Federalists and Thomas Jefferson’s Republicans. To Jefferson’s faction, “the Jay Treaty represented, its rawest form, a Federalist capitulation to British hegemony and a betrayal of the historic alliance with France.”

Graffiti appeared in Boston proclaiming “Damn John Jay! Damn everyone who won’t damn John Jay!! Damn everyone that won’t put lights in his windows and sit up all night damning John Jay!!!” Jay himself once quipped that he could travel at night from Boston to Philadelphia guided only by the light of his burning effigies.

It’s as if Justice Ginsburg had spent the Court’s summer recess drafting and personally lobbying for Obamacare, taking a break only to negotiate an open borders agreement with Mexico. The first Chief Justice of the United States was the central figure in one of the most contested issues in the nation’s early history — an issue so divisive that it played a significant role in the creation of coherent political parties in the United States.

—Ian Millhiser
Ruth Bader Ginsburg Is the Latest in a Long Line of Justices to Weigh in on Politics

Everything about Debra Jackson and Dollar Palace


I got the image above from an email list I’m on that occasionally sends out funny stuff. And it is amusing: the idea that Walmart is a place that one would need to dress up for. Here is the text for those who can’t see the image:

Debra Jackson says she likes shopping at the Dollar Palace because it is convenient and casual.

“I don’t have to get all dressed up like I’m going to Wal-Mart or something,” she said…

This image is very similar to the College of Planning sign image. It’s been around for years, and every few months a new group of people find it and it goes viral. Again.

As far as I can tell, it dates back to an article from 2005 in The Daily Town Talk. It is now called, The Town Talk. It was founded in 1883 and covers central Louisiana.

Dollar Palace Was a Real Place

The article appears to be about Dollar Palace, which had opened in November 2004. (It appears to be out of business now — but it was in business as late as 2007.) These kinds of articles are standard for local papers. There’s a new business in town so a reporter goes out, talks to the owner and the customers, and files a story.

Is Debra Jackson for Real?

Over at the Snopes forum, Ovalescent noted something very interesting:

I’m guessing it’s just from a quasi-rural area where Wal-Mart is the main grocery/department store. If you’re way more likely to run into family or co-workers, it’s a dressier affair. I personally don’t doll myself up, but I always make sure I’m at least brushed out and cleaned up before I go there lest I inevitably run into someone I know.

That makes a lot of sense. When Walmart moves into a rural area, it becomes something of an attraction. Debra Jackson isn’t some idiot redneck who thinks Walmart is such a great thing. But she is recognizing that it is the economic center of her area.

Is It a Hoax?

A lot of people have just assumed that it is a hoax. But there are a number of things that push against that. The first is that it is an image. One would have had to have gone to a lot of trouble to create the base image. Then, there’s the highlighting and pen outline. That’s a lot of work to go to just to make fun of yokels in a pretty gentle way.

Even if it weren’t an image, most hoaxes of these kinds have no details. At the time, various people were talking about it coming from an established paper. (I’ve found a couple of links to the original article, but it is down and nothing on that site is saved on It wasn’t the standard, “A large newspaper in the northwest reported about a woman…” There are specifics that can be checked. It passes the smell test.

On the other hand, it would be different if Debra Jackson had said, “I love Dollar Palace! It’s the only store where they keep the darkies in line.” (Dollar Palace was owned by Kenneth Williams, an African American.) In that case, I would start looking for signs of Photoshop in the image above. But as it stands, it seems very likely that it is the real deal, and that Debra Jackson had a good reason for saying what sounds like something very silly.