Monday: Hili dialogue

The greeting above is written in NekoFont; a font made of cat photos. You can make your own message at the link.

It’s the start of another lousy week, Monday, September 28, 2020: National Strawberry Cream Pie Day, National Drink Beer Day, World Rabies Day, and the final day of Yom Kippur (the Jewish Day of Atonement), which started Sunday at sundown and is a day of fasting. Observant Jews can eat again after sunset today. The long, dark days of winter are coming, and the pandemic will be even more intolerable, not to mention more easily spread.

News of the Day: Good news for Democrats and the country, too: somehow the New York Times obtained Trump’s tax records (remember when he said during the last campaign that he’d release them?), and wrote a big summary of what they found. And, to nobody’s surprise, he paid NO taxes during ten of the last 15 years (the paper got more than 20 years of his returns). The big story:

The tax returns that Mr. Trump has long fought to keep private tell a story fundamentally different from the one he has sold to the American public. His reports to the I.R.S. portray a businessman who takes in hundreds of millions of dollars a year yet racks up chronic losses that he aggressively employs to avoid paying taxes. Now, with his financial challenges mounting, the records show that he depends more and more on making money from businesses that put him in potential and often direct conflict of interest with his job as president.

In a special note, the Times‘s executive editor explains why they published this article, and will continue to publish more analyses. They are not publishing all the records themselves to keep their sources confidential.  An excerpt:

We are publishing this report because we believe citizens should understand as much as possible about their leaders and representatives — their priorities, their experiences and also their finances. Every president since the mid-1970s has made his tax information public. The tradition ensures that an official with the power to shake markets and change policy does not seek to benefit financially from his actions.

They don’t add—but this is surely at least one motive—that they hope this will hurt Trump right before the election.

Click to read more. This cannot help him in his bid for another term.

Ibram Kendi issued an odious tweet in response to another tweet (now deleted) about nominated Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s two adopted black children. Jenny Beth Martin’s tweet has now vanished, but someone saved a screenshot.

Jebus, I thought adopting black children who otherwise couldn’t find homes was a good thing to do. Now I see that it’s colonization and racism!

And a break from the news to read about art: the NYT has a wonderful semi-interactive piece about the art of the self-portrait, using as its example the wonderful painting by Albrecht Dürer, “Self-portrait with fur-trimmed robe”, also known simply as “Self-Portrait” (Dürer is one of my ten favorite painters.) You’ve seen this before, but I’ve put it below. Dürer was only 28 when he painted it in 1500.

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 204,597, an increase of about 250 deaths over yesterday’s report. The world death toll now stands 997,322, an increase of about 3,700 deaths from yesterday. And we’re approaching a million deaths worldwide—likely to happen tomorrow. 

Stuff that happened on September 28 includes:

  • 1066 – William the Conqueror lands in England, beginning the Norman conquest.
  • 1781 – American Revolution: American forces backed by a French fleet begin the siege of Yorktown.
  • 1787 – The Congress of the Confederation votes to send the newly-written United States Constitution to the state legislatures for approval.
  • 1871 – The Brazilian Parliament passes a law that frees all children thereafter born to slaves, and all government-owned slaves.
  • 1889 – The General Conference on Weights and Measures (CGPM) defines the length of a meter.
  • 1919 – Race riots begin in Omaha, Nebraska.

This is one of many race riots in 1919. It began with the arrest of a black man, Will Brown, accused of raping a white woman. He was lynched, and they even tried to lynch the white mayor (who barely survived). Here’s a photo from Wikipedia, which may upset some, of Brown’s body burned and mutilated by the crowd. Look at that idiot smiling in front!

  • 1928 – Alexander Fleming notices a bacteria-killing mold growing in his laboratory, discovering what later became known as penicillin.

In 1945 Fleming won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in with Howard Florey and Ernst Boris Chain. Here’s Fleming in his lab in 1943. 

  • 1941 – Ted Williams achieves a .406 batting average for the season, and becomes the last major league baseball player to bat .400 or better.

Williams’s achievement showed his moxie; he could have settled for a technical .400 average but wasn’t happy with that:

Before the final two games on September 28, a doubleheader against the Philadelphia Athletics, he was batting .39955, which would have been officially rounded up to .400. Red Sox manager Joe Cronin offered him the chance to sit out the final day, but he declined. “If I’m going to be a .400 hitter”, he said at the time, “I want more than my toenails on the line.”

Williams went 6 for 8 in the doubleheader and smashed the record, which hasn’t been equaled—and won’t be.

  • 1995 – Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat sign the Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 551 BC – Confucius, Chinese teacher, editor, politician, and philosopher of the Spring and Autumn period of Chinese history. (d. 479 BC)
  • 1836 – Thomas Crapper, English plumber, invented the ballcock (d. 1910)

Yes, Crapper did have a company that sold plumbing fixtures, including toilets. Here’s the company brand on one crapper:

  • 1915 – Ethel Rosenberg, American spy (d. 1953)
  • 1923 – Tuli Kupferberg, American singer, poet, and writer (d. 2010)
  • 1934 – Brigitte Bardot, French actress
  • 1950 – Christina Hoff Sommers, American author and philosopher
  • 1952 – Sylvia Kristel, Dutch model and actress (d. 2012)
  • 1964 – Janeane Garofalo, American comedian, actress, and screenwriter
  • 1967 – Mira Sorvino, American actress

Those who had their tickets punched on September 28 include:

Here’s Melville. I must read Moby-Dick again:

  • 1895 – Louis Pasteur, French chemist and microbiologist (b. 1822)
  • 1953 – Edwin Hubble, American astronomer and scholar (b. 1889)
  • 1970 – John Dos Passos, American novelist, poet, essayist, and playwright (b. 1896)
  • 1970 – Gamal Abdel Nasser, Egyptian colonel and politician, 2nd President of Egypt (b. 1918)
  • 1991 – Miles Davis, American trumpet player, composer, and bandleader (b. 1926)
  • 2003 – Althea Gibson, American tennis player and golfer (b. 1927)
  • 2003 – Elia Kazan, American director, producer, and screenwriter (b. 1909)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili was spooked by a d*g, which sometimes happens on the football field that they cross during walkies:

Hili: You can go for a walk by yourselves.
A: Why?
Hili: Yesterday a big dog was running around over there.
In Polish:
Hili: Możecie sami iść na spacer, ja tu poczekam.
Ja: Dlaczego?
Hili: Wczoraj tam biegał wielki pies.

A meme from Moto:

A cat cartoon from Nicole. As we know from Edward Feser’s theological lucubrations, dogs don’t go to Heaven, though this cartoon implies that cats go to Hell.From Charles.  I guess these chowderheads are wearing Levis under their robes. . .

Titania speaks truth to power:

Matthew and I had a Twitter exchange:

From cesar:

From Barry. I hope this toad doesn’t end up as dinner: perhaps toad in the hole!

From Simon: one very perplexed raccoon! Simon and I find this sort of sad:

Tweets from Matthew. Do listen to Senator Klobuchar give Ted Cruz a verbal spanking:

It’s aways a good day when there are newborn ducklings:

Tracks from an ancient cat:


  1. Sören Koch
    Posted September 28, 2020 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    Ibram Kendi writes about something ‘Some White colonizers’ did.

    His tweet implies that he thinks this may be the case with Amy Barrett as well, at least the way I read it.

    But I cannot see where he says that all adoptions of black children are ‘colonizm and racism’. It is quite a jump from ‘Some A did B’ to ‘everybody who does B is an A’.

    • Posted September 28, 2020 at 6:51 am | Permalink

      He wrote that tweet in response to a tweet about Amy Coney Barrett’s adoption of two black children, and if her adoption of these children into a stable and well-off home is “colonization and racism,” then surely most similar ones must be, for this is the most salubrious of such adoptions. Surely the rest must be worse.

    • flayman
      Posted September 28, 2020 at 7:31 am | Permalink

      What Kendi appears to be doing is refuting the implication of the tweet that it would be difficult to smear Amy Coney Barrett as racist simply because she adopted black children. He’s critical of the tweet, not the fact of the adoption. He may also be critical of that, but this is not the point he’s making. The point he is making is that colonizers adopted black children to civilize them and that the motivations were racist. I make no judgement on that observation.

      • Posted September 28, 2020 at 8:34 am | Permalink

        If you think Kendi is saying that Barrett herself may still be a racist despite having adopted two black children, because she wanted to “civilize them”, then I think you’re wrong. I dislike Barrett and her views, but here we see people latching onto anything to discredit her, apparently even a generous act. People like Barrett don’t have to be demonized in every aspect of their lives. And no, he’s not making a general point alone; he’s making a point about Coney that he wouldn’t make about a liberal who did the same thing.

        • flayman
          Posted September 28, 2020 at 8:50 am | Permalink

          No, I do not believe that is what Kendi is saying. He is not saying that Barrett and her husband are racist or that adopting black children from Haiti or anywhere else is racist. He is saying that it’s a badge to claim that one is not racist. He is saying that the original tweeter’s suggestion that effectively she can’t be shown to be racist because she has adopted black children is unsound.

          When I first read that reaction I’ll admit to being taken aback. Then I read it more carefully and looked at the conversation going on. It’s clear to me what he meant. I’m also sure that this is an actual picture of Barrett’s family. What he meant in saying “It doesn’t matter if that’s her” is it doesn’t matter if that’s the sort of thing that’s happened here. I think you realized that too because I seem to remember there being more to the story underneath.

          • flayman
            Posted September 28, 2020 at 8:51 am | Permalink

            Above should read “He’s saying that it’s NOT a badge to claim that one is not racist.”

      • Posted September 28, 2020 at 10:05 am | Permalink

        I think Kendi is trying to backtrack a little on this, but I looked through the original tweet’s comments and I think he’s trying to soften his message:

        • ritaprangle
          Posted September 28, 2020 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

          I live in an area that has a lot of Evangelicals, and I see many of them with adopted black children. I have mixed feelings about it. I know Evangelicals feel obligated to spread their religion as much as they possibly can, and this may be part of their motivation. I also know that many Evangelicals have very fundamentalist ideas about raising children, and rely on books such as “How to Train Up a Child”, which I find chilling. Don’t assume every adoption is benevolent.

          • Posted September 28, 2020 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

            I certainly wouldn’t assume every adoption is benevolent. I think Kendi’s original tweet was saying that all adoption of black children by white parents was colonization, etc. I’m sure some adoptions contain an element of virtue signalling but that’s not really so bad and is far outweighed by the good aspects, in general of course.

            My personal opinion is that the only solution to racism is closeness. When people are on the same team, they find it harder to have racist views. Familiarity breeds colorblindness. Mixed adoptions are one kind of this and are a good thing.

  2. kieran
    Posted September 28, 2020 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    Favourite Sarah Scribbles comic is “How I spend my money”.

    Second is

  3. Posted September 28, 2020 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    I do not think the racists would wear Levis – too Jewish! Only they possibly would, as they’d have no idea it was a Jewish name….!

    I would like the Norwegian tax system where it is all open so everyone knows who earns what. But I read that since there has been more openness in company wages for the high paid, the earnings gap gas increased enormously. The super wealthy need to be taken down a great deal….

  4. Posted September 28, 2020 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    Why is Tatiana’s tweet of the Union flag without the Irish saltire right wing? That’s the 18th century union…!

  5. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted September 28, 2020 at 7:09 am | Permalink


    I wonder if Crapper could have won a Nobel. He produced a number of significant inventions, improving health conditions, as did Nobel himself.

  6. Ken Kukec
    Posted September 28, 2020 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    A tidbit from Trump’s tax returns:

    His hair-stylings — for THAT the schmuck paid $70k, then wrote it off on his taxes?

    Oy, some deal-maker he is, this gonif.

    • David Hammer
      Posted September 28, 2020 at 7:50 am | Permalink

      I haven’t seen the returns, but the gossip in NYC is that Trump was getting hair transplants, which I assume are not covered by insurance and are expensive.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted September 28, 2020 at 8:07 am | Permalink

        And that is a “legitimate business expense” how?

        Rumor in New York was that Trump had “scalp reduction” surgery to shrink his bald spots back in the days when he was still married to Ivana.

      • Posted September 28, 2020 at 8:48 am | Permalink

        If that’s the case, I say he’s been ripped off.

        • Posted September 28, 2020 at 8:53 am | Permalink

          My thought exactly.

        • ThyroidPlanet
          Posted September 28, 2020 at 8:58 am | Permalink

          “If that’s the case, I say he’s been ripped off.”

          There’s a killer joke to make here, but I can’t put a finger on it…

    • Gingerbaker
      Posted September 28, 2020 at 9:37 am | Permalink

      Whatever the criticisms of Trump’s titanic hair style deductions might be, I am pretty sure he will be able to… brush them aside.

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted September 28, 2020 at 9:49 am | Permalink

        There was a great deal of keratin the preparation of those returns.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted September 28, 2020 at 10:06 am | Permalink

        In this case, it’s more like “comb them over.”

      • Neil Wolfe
        Posted September 28, 2020 at 11:17 am | Permalink

        The critics are just splitting hairs

        • ThyroidPlanet
          Posted September 28, 2020 at 11:19 am | Permalink

          These criticisms will barely shave a hair off of him

      • Posted September 28, 2020 at 11:22 am | Permalink

        For tRump, his taxes were hair today, gone tomorrow.

    • Mark R.
      Posted September 28, 2020 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

      This thread is hairlarious!

  7. Jim batterson
    Posted September 28, 2020 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    “Surely cannot help him in his bid for another term”…well not with you or me but I think that i recall tRump taking pride in paying little taxes when accused of such in his first year in office. He asked if anyone would pay more taxes than they had to. His point was he was just following the law like everyman…and his base seemed to collectively smile and applaud that. The issue quickly blew over.

    • eric
      Posted September 28, 2020 at 8:09 am | Permalink

      Yes, I remember that from 2016. He was ‘loud and proud’ during at least one debate about using tax loopholes to pay little/no taxes. His ‘wouldn’t you do it too?’ message seemed to resonate with his base.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted September 28, 2020 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      The line is between legitimate tax avoidance and criminal tax evasion.

      What’s been revealed about the contents of Trump’s tax returns so far suggests he crossed that line so long ago, he’d never be able to retrace his steps to go back and find it.

      • Mark R.
        Posted September 28, 2020 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

        Wasn’t he also inflating and deflating his net worth in order to pay less taxes? Inflate so Forbes would keep him on their list, deflating come tax time. I think that’s to simplistic, but I heard speculation along those lines a while back. And if it’s the truth (which I’m sure it is) that’s fraud.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted September 28, 2020 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

          According to Michael Cohen’s sworn congressional testimony, Trump would inflate the value of his assets when he was seeking a loan (or trying to buy the Buffalo Bills NFL team), but deflate the value of those same assets for tax and alimony purposes.

          If Cohen’s testimony was accurate, that’s indictable fraud.

          • Mark R.
            Posted September 28, 2020 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

            Thanks for the clarification Ken.

            And I see I screwed up the “to” in my comment. grrr.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted September 28, 2020 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

      Then he must be terribly proud of the fact that he paid more in hush money to women than he paid to the IRS. Smart guy. His addled base probably thinks so, too.

  8. DrBrydon
    Posted September 28, 2020 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Oh, boohoo, Senator Klobuchar. First of all, I am not sure what hair-splitting she is using, but there have been twenty-nine Supreme Court vacancies in election years. Voting is happening now, but the President is President until January, even if he doesn’t get re-elected. (If he loses, I fully expect to hear voices on the left suggesting an immediate inauguration.) I don’t remember her wring her hands when people suggested that the Impeachment be deferred pending the choice of the people. Republicans were wrong to pretend under Obama that the election-year thing was special, but they exercised the authority given them under the Constitution, and should be able to do so now.

    • flayman
      Posted September 28, 2020 at 7:34 am | Permalink

      You’re absolutely right. It bothers me that some politicians are claiming that this confirmation process is illegitimate. There will be plenty on the right saying the election results are illegitimate if it does not show a clear Trump victory. We don’t need to add to the tumult of questioning our democratic processes. It is exactly this sort of thing that Putin had in mind when he sought to undermine confidence in US elections.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted September 28, 2020 at 8:31 am | Permalink

        The issue is that senate Republicans are tergiversating on the supposedly solemn pledges they made to the nation as to what the rules were just four years ago:

        How will anyone be able to take anything these men say at face value again? The Trumpist Republican Party is all about the naked exercise of raw power — norms, traditions, democratic processes, and one’s own earlier representations be damned.

        • flayman
          Posted September 28, 2020 at 8:38 am | Permalink

          I don’t like it either, but politics is politics. I fully agree with Lindsay Graham that if the Dems were controlling the Senate and a Dem was in the White House at this crucial time they would behave the same way. There is too much at stake. Everyone knows that politicians lie and obfuscate. This comes as no surprise to anyone. Dems are doing it now too, misrepresenting rulings and writings made by Amy Coney Barrett in the past.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted September 28, 2020 at 9:54 am | Permalink

            I fully agree with Lindsay [sic] Graham that if the Dems were controlling the Senate and a Dem was in the White House at this crucial time they would behave the same way.

            Chrissake, this doesn’t even rise to the level of a tu quoque fallacy. This is tu would quoque, too, if tu had the chance.

            In the 2017 special election voters in deep red Alabama came within a point and a half of putting a granite-decalogue-humping, credibly accused kiddie diddler in the US senate. Let’s see if voters in deep red South Carolina are willing to return a lying sack of shit like Lindsey Graham to the US senate this year.

            I’m looking for his Democratic challenger, Jaime Harrison, to mop the floor with Graham in their debate next week.

            • flayman
              Posted September 28, 2020 at 10:03 am | Permalink

              It is without a doubt the most honest thing I’ve ever heard him say. Sort of “Yes, I said one thing earlier but I’m going back on it. You would do the same in my position.” Makes no apology whatsoever. No excuses. Then he ruined it by making an excuse. “Harry Reid got rid of the filibuster”, a complete non-sequitur. I see I spelled his name wrong. Mea culpa.

          • sugould
            Posted September 28, 2020 at 10:44 am | Permalink

            Well we didn’t get it together when Obama was President, did we? And with two terms.

            Yes, the Democrats will talk about Doing Something. In actual practice, notsomuch.

            Democrats may “play” politics, but Republicans actually do them.

    • eric
      Posted September 28, 2020 at 8:20 am | Permalink

      Republicans were wrong to pretend under Obama that the election-year thing was special

      But that’s largely the point, isn’t it? Since Congress gets to set it’s own internal operational rules, we hope and expect our representatives to do so with integrity. To live by the rules they set for each other. The GOP doesn’t do that. They set rules for Dems when in power, then throw their own rulebook out when it’s inconvenient for them.

      Now, it’s entirely possible to dismiss this complaint with a realpolitik shrug. So what? They’re not doing anything illegal, just hypocritical, right? Well okay…but if you use that response, remember it if the Dems gain control of the Senate and eliminate the filibuster next session. That will also be a ‘hypocritical, but not illegal’ action. So if you have no problem with the GOP nominating a justice now after claiming in 2016 that it’s just a horrible practice and unethical to nominate a justice within 10 months of an election, then you should have no problem with the Dems supporting the filibuster in 2017 and doing away with it in 2021. Right?

    • Posted September 28, 2020 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      Such nonsense. Klobuchar gave a good speech. She and others have to do what they can to remind these Republicans that they aren’t doing their job and that the people are going to be reminded of it. The jamming through of ACB’s nomination will have consequences beyond getting another conservative on the Supreme Court. That said, I suspect it won’t make a bit of difference to these gutless politicians. Still, her message will be seen by others.

      The idea that the GOP was wrong to skip Merritt Garland but they’re ok now is only true technically. They are still spineless for going back on their solemn word. Klobuchar didn’t mention it (I think) but she could have also reminded them that a majority of Americans think they should not go through with the nomination process.

      • sugould
        Posted September 28, 2020 at 10:45 am | Permalink


      • flayman
        Posted September 28, 2020 at 11:36 am | Permalink

        She gave a great speech. I agree with pretty much all of it. She doesn’t directly impugn the process as I’ve heard Senator Kaine do. I also agree with @DrBrydon that the Republican Senate can do this. She reminds them that they may pay a price for it. Sadly, I have my doubts.

  9. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted September 28, 2020 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    “… racks up chronic losses that he aggressively employs to avoid paying taxes.“

    I always figured all businesses deduct losses in such a way, from a local coffee shop to Microsoft – and what’s the problem with “aggressively” in a competitive game?

    • Posted September 28, 2020 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      In order to deduct losses, you have to have losses.

      Either Trump has had monumental losses or he is lying on his tax returns. Neither is a good look.

    • Posted September 28, 2020 at 10:20 am | Permalink

      Yes, a lot of businesses and individuals aggressively deduct losses but it is a matter of degree. I don’t think it is unreasonable to assume that he cheats like crazy. It’s what he does. We can leave it to others to work out the details.

      I expect Biden to use this to paint Trump as not the fantastic businessman he portrayed himself to be. It would be a great lead-in to a discussion of Trump’s fake “good economy” speech.

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted September 28, 2020 at 10:38 am | Permalink

        “I don’t think it is unreasonable to assume that he cheats like crazy. ”

        Me neither but I was wondering if that’s the best the NYT could write as a precise criticism- I’m disinclined to touch the NYT link…

        • Posted September 28, 2020 at 10:46 am | Permalink

          I think the NYT is going to interpret the data going forward, as well as let it be used as the basis for investigation and interpretation by others. Here’s a start:

  10. Ken Kukec
    Posted September 28, 2020 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    Here’s Melville. I must read Moby-Dick again …

    I should read “Bartleby, the Scrivner” again … though “I would prefer not to.”

    • darrelle
      Posted September 28, 2020 at 9:59 am | Permalink

      I prefer not to. I hated that story. Dreadfully depressing.

      • Mark R.
        Posted September 28, 2020 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

        And that’s why I loved the story. In art, I often find beauty in sadness or despair. Maybe that’s not normal.

        • darrelle
          Posted September 29, 2020 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

          Oh, I bet that is pretty normal. I do too. But Bartleby, the Scrivener didn’t move me in that way. I do think it is an excellent example of the short story format that very effectively evokes its story-verse, but it is not a story I ever felt the desire to read a 2nd time.

    • BJ
      Posted September 28, 2020 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

      Finally, another chance to post a clip from one of the most brilliant comedic shows ever made!

      • Mark R.
        Posted September 28, 2020 at 3:45 pm | Permalink


  11. robb mcallister
    Posted September 28, 2020 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    Of COURSE the tax article will help 45 within his base.

    They’ll parrot: “See, he’s a very stable successful business genius…he’s so smart he pays LESS taxes than I do.”

    NEVER underestimate the ability of a 45 salivator to make chocolate cake out of $#!+

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted September 28, 2020 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      Hell, once you know your base would let you shoot some luckless pedestrian on Fifth Avenue with impunity, it’s pretty much anything goes.

      • BJ
        Posted September 28, 2020 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

        “luckless pedestrian”

        Ken, comin’ in with the low-key references.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted September 28, 2020 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

          I figure if there’s anyone appreciates subtlety, it’s Dan fans.

    • revelator60
      Posted September 28, 2020 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      His base will also dismiss the tax story because it was reported by the New York Times, which is part of the “lamestream media” and therefore not to be trusted in MAGA-land.

  12. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted September 28, 2020 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    “Some White colonizers …”

    Wikipedia flags phrases using “some people …” as a “weasel word”. A useful example is:

    “Some people think cucumbers taste better pickled.”

    What, exactly, is the factual content of such a phrase? And what bearing would it have on an article about cucumbers?

    • davelenny
      Posted September 28, 2020 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

      Yes, that ‘some’ stood out as a weasel word to me – how to attribute base motives to ACB without quite accusing her specifically.

      HOWEVER, several posts later on this site, there’s another discussion of the meaning of a tweet, in this case, Dawkins’ tweet on drunkenness and its effect on the value of testimony in rape claim.

      Since brief statements written in haste can be given quite different interpretations, it’s possible that my initial response is uncharitable, but as your last paragraph points out, that makes this tweet factually empty and irrelevant in regard to ACB.

      • flayman
        Posted September 29, 2020 at 4:05 am | Permalink

        The tweet is indeed irrelevant in regard to ACB. It is taking issue with the original tweeter’s insinuation that ACB can’t be racist as her adoption of black children is proof. That’s not how I read it at first, but that’s how I now understand it.

  13. Ken Kukec
    Posted September 28, 2020 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    I guess these chowderheads are wearing Levis under their robes …

    Or maybe nothing comes between them and their Calvins.

  14. Randall Schenck
    Posted September 28, 2020 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    I see all the political pundits are fired up and it’s only Monday morning. DrBrydon even makes the case for Trump first thing today. If that doesn’t get more patients at least you can get rid of those pre-existing problems. Health care may mean nothing to a doctor but it does to the average people that Klobuchar serves.

    • flayman
      Posted September 28, 2020 at 8:12 am | Permalink

      Nobody is making the case for Trump. The Republican controlled Senate had the legitimate constitutional authority to block the confirmation of a Democrat President’s Supreme Court nominee in 2016 and they have the legitimate constitutional authority to hear it now. The arguments that were made in 2016 were purely political ones. The move now is hypocritical for sure, but it is not illegitimate. The Senate can’t block a confirmation forever. They have to recess sometimes and the President can use a recess appointment which is valid until the start of the next session.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted September 28, 2020 at 8:35 am | Permalink

        Odd, but you do not look like the doctor? I am so glad to have you explain the senate rules and it really clears things up. Where, by the way did you see me say illegitimate. I’ll be sure to ask for your opinion later, after the election.

        • flayman
          Posted September 28, 2020 at 8:43 am | Permalink

          You didn’t say it was illegitimate. Politicians are saying that. One example is Senator Tim Kaine. He is wrong. Klobuchar is implying that the process is illegitimate.

          Can I just say, I don’t think you’re being entirely sincere with me. I think maybe I detect a hint of sarcasm.

          • Posted September 28, 2020 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

            Nope, she’s saying that the are hypocritical lying sacks of shit (in slightly different words), which is obviously true.

      • Gingerbaker
        Posted September 28, 2020 at 9:15 am | Permalink

        No, their legitimate Constitutional authority is to advise and consent. Indeed, that is their duty. It is the President’s legitimate Constitutional authority to present nominees who will receive a hearing and be approved or not.

        What the Republicans have done is rob the Presidency of one of its proper roles – the nomination and seating of SC judges – through an action they have zero authority to enact.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted September 28, 2020 at 9:39 am | Permalink

        The Republican controlled Senate had the legitimate constitutional authority to block the confirmation of a Democrat President’s Supreme Court nominee in 2016 …

        Senate Republicans in 2016 had the authority, and the votes, to deny Merrick Garland a seat on the Supreme court by voting against his confirmation. This NOT what they did. Instead, they refused so much as to begin the confirmation process for 10 months — hell, they refused even to meet with the man for an interview in their senate offices in preparation for some day beginning the confirmation process. This was a dereliction of the senate’s “advice and consent” duty under Article II, Section 2 of the United States constitution and unprecedented in the 230-year history of our constitutional republic.

        And rather than admit that this was an unprecedented exercise of naked power, the Republican senators instead chose to cover their tracks by lying to the American people with a claim that they were upholding some type of established rule — a rule that they promised to be bound by themselves when a Republican president were some day to nominate a new SCOTUS justice during the final year of that president’s term.

        It is hypocritical cynicism like this that allowed a sleazy, know-nothing conman like Donald Trump to take over the Republican Party and to slither into the Oval Office with a minority of the popular vote.

        • flayman
          Posted September 28, 2020 at 9:46 am | Permalink

          It’s not unprecedented. I gave some precedents in another reply which is in moderation because I casually used a swear word. Again:

          There is plenty of precedent for the Senate failing to act on a nomination. Here’s an example in 1844:

          This may have happened because the Senate leader knew there wasn’t enough support, but it’s clear that the Senate has no duty to call a vote. Here’s an example where a motion to consider the nomination was defeated, effectively cancelling it:

          Another in which the Senate voted to postpone confirmation, effectively cancelling it:

          Nowadays they just don’t even bother. It’s a bit *crap*, but there you go.

          • Posted September 28, 2020 at 10:07 am | Permalink

            Your comment was in moderation because you are in moderation and I wasn’t around to moderate. Do not assume the reason why your post wasn’t immediately posted. And I see you substituted “crap” for “shit.”

            I suggest you cool your jets for a while.

            • flayman
              Posted September 28, 2020 at 10:11 am | Permalink

              Sorry I was having a conversation (mild argument) and was just trying to move it along. I don’t mind if you want to delete any of the redundant messages. And I am cool is a cucumber.

            • flayman
              Posted September 28, 2020 at 10:14 am | Permalink

              I enjoy your blog which I’ve only recently discovered and I have also found the discourse under here stimulating.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted September 28, 2020 at 10:50 am | Permalink

            I’ve looked at your supposed “precedents.”

            You do understand that there is a difference in declining to call a floor vote and refusing even to begin the nomination process, right?

            In ye olden tymes — before Mitch McConnell ditched the filibuster for SCOTUS nominees in 2017 — when it was clear that a nominee lacked the 60 votes needed to ensure confirmation, it was common to spare the nominee the embarrassment of losing a senate floor vote, often by withdrawing the nomination before it came to a vote, or by allowing the time for a vote to expire when the end of a senate session was nigh. This happened as recently as Ronald Reagan’s nomination of Douglas Ginsburg in 2017 (and something similar happened with Dubya’s misbegotten nomination of Harriet Miers in 2005).

            This is not at all the same as the senate majority refusing for 10 months even to begin the confirmation process, as happened with Barack Obama’s 2016 nomination of Merrick Garland, and which IS unprecedented in the history of the Republic.

            • flayman
              Posted September 28, 2020 at 11:14 am | Permalink

              No, I don’t see the difference. The example of Walworth: he was nominated three times by President Tyler in the same year and each time they kicked it into the long grass. One of those times the Senate might have thought to spare him the embarrassment of yet another nomination that they wouldn’t hear. The “Appointments Clause” gives the Senate a plenary power to advise and consent. A plenary power is defined as “a complete and absolute power to take action on a particular issue, with no limitations.” That implies the power to take no action.

        • flayman
          Posted September 28, 2020 at 10:06 am | Permalink

          I’ve got two comments that are awaiting moderation for some reason. Both are the same, offering precedent for the Senate failing to act on a SCOTUS nomination. I’ll distill it to hopefully avoid sanction this time:

          • Posted September 28, 2020 at 10:09 am | Permalink

            As you see, you were wrong about moderation, so don’t make assumptions about that. And, as I said, cool your jets on this thread. You are trying my patience.

            • flayman
              Posted September 28, 2020 at 10:12 am | Permalink

              These things happened before I saw your reply. I apologize unreservedly.

        • flayman
          Posted September 28, 2020 at 10:10 am | Permalink

          I’m in moderation limbo possibly for using too many links. So here you will find some historical examples where the Senate failed to act on a Supreme Court nomination within the last year of the presidency:

      • Keith
        Posted September 28, 2020 at 9:53 am | Permalink

        Your use of a noun where an adjective should be to describe the party affiliation of President Obama strongly suggests you are not engaging in a good faith discussion.

        • flayman
          Posted September 28, 2020 at 9:55 am | Permalink

          Rubbish. I’m a registered Democrat and I voted for Obama twice and for Hilary Clinton.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted September 28, 2020 at 11:22 am | Permalink

            Well, then, Democrat to Democrat, let me clue you in: the proper adjectival form of the word is “Democratic.” Using “Democrat” as an adjective is something quite a few Republicans do to troll Democrats. Personally, I find it puerile and silly and just laugh it off. But it gets under some Democrats’ skin. (To their ears, it’s roughly akin, though not nearly as offensive as, using “Jew” as an adjective. For that matter, the group that does the latter seems primarily to be a subset of the trolls that do the former.)

            • flayman
              Posted September 28, 2020 at 11:30 am | Permalink

              I don’t know why I didn’t type Democratic. I usually do.

            • Posted September 28, 2020 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

              Interesting, Ken. I use the phrase Democrat Senator (for example). It seems more correct to me and it doesn’t imply that I think GOP Senators (for instance) are not democratic (though I do think this right now).

      • Posted September 28, 2020 at 10:22 am | Permalink

        Well, so it wasn’t illegal but I take “illegitimate” to have a moral component that goes beyond the merely legal.

        • flayman
          Posted September 28, 2020 at 10:25 am | Permalink

          My problem with “illegitimate” and similar is that there is too much of that being bandied about right now, serving to further Putin’s aim of undermining confidence in American democracy.

          • Posted September 28, 2020 at 10:30 am | Permalink

            So statements like Klobuchar’s and others that call Republicans’ behavior “illegitimate” are undermining confidence in American democracy but the Republicans’ behavior itself isn’t? You seem to be saying, “Please stop, Ms. Klobuchar, as the voters might hear you!”

            • flayman
              Posted September 28, 2020 at 11:05 am | Permalink

              All I’m saying is that Democratic Party, which I support, should not throw logs (or gasoline) onto the fire of calling into question the legitimacy of US democratic processes. We should be better than that. Mitch McConnell is a very skilled Senate leader and he has pulled off some coups, but they have not literally been coups.

              • Posted September 28, 2020 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

                Well, when he proves that he is lying about ensuring a peaceful transition of power, like he lied about confirming SCOTUS nominees in election years, he’ll rectify that omission on his part.

  15. Ken Pidcock
    Posted September 28, 2020 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    I used to point out to my students that they knew Fleming’s name but maybe not Florey’s or Chain’s because the latter were government scientists while Fleming ultimately worked for a charitable foundation that had an interest in promoting his work.

  16. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted September 28, 2020 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    I see a B&W version of the Fleming photo on Wikipedia- is the version posted here colorized?

  17. Marilee Lovit
    Posted September 28, 2020 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    Aren’t baby ducklings “newly hatched” rather than “newborn”?

    • grasshopper
      Posted September 28, 2020 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

      That bugs you too, huh? 🙂

  18. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted September 28, 2020 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    Wikipedia – Penicillin:

    “On March 14, 1942, the first patient was treated for streptococcal sepsis with US-made penicillin produced by Merck & Co.[39] Half of the total supply produced at the time was used on that one patient, Anne Miller.[40]”

    … an enormous chemistry efficiency problem! At this time, penicillin is readily available!

  19. Historian
    Posted September 28, 2020 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    The NYT has printed a summary of its findings regarding Trump’s taxes. In it, we see the rationale for Trump claiming he did nothing wrong. He will claim that over the years he paid millions in taxes. This appears to be true. The Times notes: “Mr. Trump did face large tax bills after the initial success of “The Apprentice” television show, but he erased most of these tax payments through a refund. Combined, Mr. Trump initially paid almost $95 million in federal income taxes over the 18 years. He later managed to recoup most of that money, with interest, by applying for and receiving a $72.9 million tax refund, starting in 2010.“ Trump was able to get most of his tax payments back via a refund by claiming huge tax losses in subsequent years. So, the issue boils down as to whether the myriads of losses he claimed were legitimate per the tax code. Trump will argue that they were all legal and thus did not nothing wrong. He will go so far as to claim the failure of so many businesses and his other deductions were part of a grand but legal tax avoidance scheme. He will say he isn’t a bad businessman, rather a very savvy one that knows how to bend the tax laws to his own advantage. Undoubtedly, his cult will accept what he says without a second’s thought.

    The other major finding is that in the next coming years, Trump will have to pay back many millions of debt for which he apparently doesn’t have the cash. How he secures the cash will undoubtedly raise conflict of interest questions should he win the election.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted September 28, 2020 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      A closer look at the taxes of Trump over the years will give authorities a better view but it also shows the normal, run of the mill tax payer just how screwed up our tax system is. What we really need to find is where Trump’s income came from in the past through loans and all the detail. His family financial history is a huge mess of companies named by the hundreds and lots of confusion. The end result will be that Trump’s great wealth is mostly just part of the con.

    • Gingerbaker
      Posted September 28, 2020 at 9:24 am | Permalink

      What is going to be interesting is that the Manhattan AG office is going to be comparing those tax-loss properties and how he presented those same holdings as assets for loans. IOW, fraud charges may be in the offing

    • Posted September 28, 2020 at 11:02 am | Permalink

      If tRump’s taxes are legal, it is a massive indictment of the US tax code.

      • Posted September 28, 2020 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

        They probably are (legal). The trouble is what Gingerbaker identifies just above.

        • Posted September 28, 2020 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

          Trump is under investigation and negotiation with the IRS so perhaps not so legal.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted September 28, 2020 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

      With Trump, there’s always an old tweet. Here he is complaining that President Barack Obama paid only 20.5% on income of $790,000:

  20. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted September 28, 2020 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    I first learned this from QI :

    “Ernest Duchesne (30 May 1874 – 12 April 1912) was a French physician who noted that certain molds kill bacteria. He made this discovery 32 years before Alexander Fleming discovered the antibiotic properties of penicillin, a substance derived from those molds, but his research went unnoticed.”


    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted September 28, 2020 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      …. thinking about this more, I conclude

      1. Duchesne made an important observation essentially identical to the one Fleming is reported to have made.

      2. It is a tragic accident that the observation went forgotten. However, it was an observation waiting to be made.

      3. Duchesne – nor anyone of his associates- did any work to show the molecular basis for the observation.

      … the fact that Fleming shared 1/3 the Nobel is what brings the story to the surface. It suggests an injustice, but overall it is a simple accident of history.

    • Posted September 28, 2020 at 9:27 am | Permalink

      I lean more from QI than from practically any other source.

  21. David Harper
    Posted September 28, 2020 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    Apropos the Titania McGrath flag tweet … that’s not the Union Flag. It’s the Union Flag minus the Saltire of St Patrick, so it’s what the flag of the United Kingdom would look like if Northern Ireland left the Union. Clearly, Titania is making a very subtle point, which escapes me entirely.

    • Posted September 28, 2020 at 10:54 am | Permalink

      Me too. I was just going to ask. No agreement Brexit?

    • Dionigi
      Posted September 28, 2020 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

      I was equally confused by this. It is the flag of Great Britain. Perhaps at long last we are going to unite Ireland and let them deal with the problem.

  22. merilee
    Posted September 28, 2020 at 9:51 am | Permalink


  23. boudiccadylis
    Posted September 28, 2020 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    Just think how much easier it would be for all if the books were still kept where an occasional set of footprints could cover-up or at least permanently obfuscate the contents.

  24. Ken Kukec
    Posted September 28, 2020 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    Trump has tweeted complaining that the tax returns the NYT has are both “fake” and were “illegally obtained.” How can BOTH those things be true?

    Plus, who the hell is he to complain that his tax returns (which every president since Nixon has voluntarily disclosed) were “illegally obtained”? Isn’t Trump the guy who spent the last two months of the 2016 campaign declaiming how much he “love[d] WikiLeaks” for publishing emails stolen from the DNC and from John Podesta, the chairman of Hillary’s campaign?

    • Posted September 28, 2020 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      If they are fake, he can completely discredit the NYT by releasing the real ones.

    • Posted September 28, 2020 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      “How can BOTH those things be true?”

      He’s offering his supporters alternate lies for them to use as they see fit.

  25. rickflick
    Posted September 28, 2020 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the Dürer link. Lot’s to think about. Going back to cave painting in Europe, virtually no humans at all, except hand prints. Then at some point, the portrait and self portrait. It seems to signal a significant development in human/cultural evolution.

  26. William
    Posted September 28, 2020 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Good plan👏

    Sent from my iPad Glenn


  27. jezgrove
    Posted September 28, 2020 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    Mixed-race adoptions the other way around have their problems, too:

  28. Posted September 29, 2020 at 12:31 am | Permalink

    Fun fact about Elvis Dura actually two of them while that self-portrait is indeed one of his most famous if you go to his hometown in of Nuremberg, where they actually make Statler pencils with one of the paintings that he did of the factories, there is actually a gigantic box outside of the house he lived in that’s exploding with the fur of of a fake rabbit, honoring his drawing titled “Jünger Feldhase” dated 1502. That according to my German teacher and people who actually live there is his most famous piece of work that isn’t the drawing of praying hands auf Deutsch “betende Hände” dated 1508.

    Also recommended, a Flemish painter called Anton Raphael Mengs; he’s my favorite painter of that era. He also excels at self portraiture.

  29. Posted September 29, 2020 at 12:40 am | Permalink

    I swear I shouldn’t use the talk to text feature nearly as often as I do, but then I just get ideas and have to say them. there is no red underline in the reader feature of the app, so this got posted without correcting the spelling of “Albrecht Dürer”

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