Tuesday: Hili dialogue

October 26, 2021 • 6:30 am

Top of the morning to you on this Tuesday, October 26, 2021: National Pumpkin Day.  Eat pie but don’t drink pumpkin lattes. From IndyStar:

A grande pumpkin spice latte with 2 percent milk and whipped cream is 380 calories, according to Starbucks’ website. This includes 14 grams of fat, 52 gram of carbs and 50 grams of sugar. Not bad, but not great either.

This is a dessert pretending to be coffee. A piece of pumpkin pie with whipped cream is 529 calories, but you aren’t pretending that you’re avoiding dessert when you eat it.

It’s also National Mincemeat Day, National Mule Day, Intersex Awareness Day, and Texas Chicken Fried Steak Day (yum!)

Here I am eating chicken fried steak in Austin in 2005. The portions are not small—this is, after all, Texas. Note the quart Mason jar of sweet tea. A salad lurks behind the jar.

The weather here has been blustery, cold, and rainy, but we also have our moments of sun. Here’s one from yesterday evening, looking downtown from Hyde Park:

News of the Day:

*Yesterday the U.S. Supreme court agreed to hear its first gun case in more than ten years. And it’s a doozy: the court agreed to decide whether New York State can require permits for “concealed carry” outside the home. I wasn’t aware that concealed carry wasn’t regulated everywhere, but it turns out that only eight states (New York, California, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island) have restrictions on the practice, some quite stringent. The Supremes are set to hear the case next fall, but any betting what they’ll rule? CONCEALED CARRY EVERWHERE; NO PERMITS NEEDED!

*Yesterday a coup in the beleaguered country of Sudan overthrew the government, which was in the process of transitioning to democracy from dictatorship and a previous military rule, and once again installed military rule The United States immediately withheld $700 million in aid from Sudan.

*Biden’s $3.5 trillion social safety-net spending bill has been whittled down to about half that now, thanks to two renegade Democratic Senators. Biden is still holding to his plan to finance the bill by taxing only the very wealthy (those earning more than $400,000 per year), but conservative op-ed writer Henry Olsen at the Washington Post says that Biden’s plans, which apparently rely on taxing unrealized capital gains, is “an unworkable and arguably unconstitutional mess that could harm everyone.”

*The late Pablo Escobar, Colombian drug king, collected exotic animals, including illegally imported hippos that he released on his ranch. The orignal four have now multiplied to between 65 and 80 animals, which Colombia says need to be killed or sterilized (sterilization has already begun, but I pity the people who have to do it!) as the animals threaten both people and biodiversity. A suit was filed in a U.S. court to block the killing/sterilization, which I don’t really understand, but a U.S. judge ruled that the “cocaine hippos” were “interested persons” who had legal rights in the U.S. This is a first—giving hippos right as “persons”—and heartens animal-rights advocated in the U.S., but Columbia isn’t at all obliged to follow the rulings of a U.S. court. Some lawyer please explain this!

*As of this morning, here are the results of yesterday’s poll about whether Elizabeth Holmes of ex-Theranos will see jail time for her wire fraud charges. It’s 4 to 1 in favor of jail, but a lot of people have no opinion:

*There’s a groundswell of sentiment from the young urging greater visibility for ducks and other waterfowl. The Onion explains (click on screenshot; h/t Alexis):

An excerpt:

Speaking at a morning press conference just before nap time, the nation’s top toddlers implored policymakers to do everything in their power to boost the aquatic birds’ presence. The prominent tots told reporters that increasing the number of ducks in their line of sight would dramatically improve their ability to point and wave at nearby ducks.

“For years, ducks and our ability to view them readily has been crucial to our continued happiness and well-being, and so it follows that we must see more ducks,” said 3-year-old Cody Eads, president of the Toddler Coalition for Increased Duck Visibility, delivering a stirring address to reporters and fellow duck proponents. “We like ducks, and we like looking at ducks. We want to see yellow ducks, green ducks, and brown ducks.”

One caveat: DO NOT ever feed bread to ducks! It’s bad for them! (Yes, I know The Onion is a spoof site.)

*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 737, 526, an increase of 1,509 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 4,972,628, an increase of about 7,000 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on October 26 includes:

  • 1689 – General Piccolomini of Austria burns down Skopje to prevent the spread of cholera; he died of the disease himself soon after. Wikipedia notes:

By order of General Piccolomini, Skopje was set on fire, and the conflagration lasted two days (Oct. 26 and 27); great many houses and shops were destroyed, but the worst damage was in the Jewish quarter of the town, where almost all the dwelling-houses, two synagogues and the Jewish school were destroyed.

Yahweh got his revenge.

Here’s a 3.5 minute video telling everything you know about the Continental Congress, though the narrator’s voice is annoying:

  • 1825 – The Erie Canal opens, allowing direct passage from the Hudson River to Lake Erie.

Here it is!

Here’s a clip of the gunfight from the 1993 movie “Tombstone”. The YouTube notes:

Wyatt Earp (Kurt Russell) and his brothers, Morgan (Bill Paxton) and Virgil (Sam Elliott), have left their gunslinger ways behind them to settle down and start a business in the town of Tombstone, Ariz. While they aren’t looking to find trouble, trouble soon finds them when they become targets of the ruthless Cowboy gang. Now, together with Wyatt’s best friend, Doc Holliday (Val Kilmer), the brothers pick up their guns once more to restore order to a lawless land.

But the Wikipedia entry says that the actual gunfight lasted about 30 seconds and only three people were killed. I count a two-minute fight with nine people killed.  Caveat emptor.

  • 1944 – World War II: The Battle of Leyte Gulf ends with an overwhelming American victory.
  • 1947 – Kashmir conflict: The Maharaja of Kashmir and Jammu signs the Instrument of Accession with India.
  • 1977 – Ali Maow Maalin, the last natural case of smallpox, develops a rash in Somalia. The World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention consider this date to be the anniversary of the eradication of smallpox, the most spectacular success of vaccination.

Maalin (below, with the disease) hadn’t been vaccinated, but he made a full recovery, only to die in 2013 of malaria. aged 58. WHO did a fantastic job of contact tracing and vaccination after Maalin developed symptoms, and that was the end of smallpox. I believe that one or two other people later died from contracting the disease from strains kept in the laboratory.

  • 1999 – Britain’s House of Lords votes to end the right of most hereditary peers to vote in Britain’s upper chamber of Parliament.
  • 2002 – Approximately 50 Chechen terrorists and 150 hostages die when Russian special forces troops storm a theater building in Moscow, which had been occupied by the terrorists during a musical performance three days before.

Notables born on this day include:

Hinde and Fisher were the first to document the spread of a novel behavior in birds: tits opening milk bottles left on doorsteps and drinking the cream. Here’s a very short video of this social learning, complete with commentary by scientists:


Whenever I mention Conroy (who also wrote The Great Santini), I have to show the last scene of “The Prince of Tides”, which gets me every time. The coach (Nick Nolte), married to a woman played by Blythe Danner, goes to New York from Charleston to deal with his mentally ill sister, and has a brief affair with her psychiatrist, Dr. Lowenstein (played by Barbra Streisand). Tempted to run away with the shrink, he decides to return to his wife, but can’t forget “the woman up North.” This is, I believe taken word for word from the novel.

Remember this trio?

  • 1947 – Hillary Clinton, American lawyer and politician, 67th United States Secretary of State and 44th First Lady of the United States
  • 1951 – Julian Schnabel, American painter, director, and screenwriter

Those mowed down by the Grim Reaper on October 26 include:

A coin in the British Museum shows Alfred:

  • 1902 – Elizabeth Cady Stanton, American activist (b. 1815)
  • 1952 – Hattie McDaniel, American actress and singer (b. 1895)

McDaniel, who played “Mammy” in “Gone With the Wind”, was the first African-American to win an Oscar—for Best Supporting Actress. Here’s her award. Note that she says she hopes to be a “credit to my race”, an encomium that, thankfully, is outmoded.

Zorba the Greek, by Kazantzakis, was a book that changed my life (well, sort of). When I was in Heraklion, Crete in 1972, I visited his grave (below; picture from Wikipedia). The Greek inscription says words that could have been spoken by Zorba.

“I hope for nothing.
I fear nothing.
I am free.”

Kazantzakis also translated Darwin’s On the Origin of Species into Greek.

  • 1972 – Igor Sikorsky, Ukrainian-American engineer and academic, founded Sikorsky Aircraft (b. 1889)
  • 1986 – Jackson Scholz, American runner (b. 1897)

You may remember Scholz from the movie “Chariots of Fire”. From Wikipedia, about the 1924 Olympics in Paris.

[Scholz] lived up to the expectations in the 200 m, but was beaten to the gold in the 100 m by Britain’s Harold Abrahams. The 100 m race, and the 400 m race won by Eric Liddell, are depicted in the movie Chariots of Fire, which was released in 1981 – five years before Scholz’s death at the age of 89. He was played in the film by actor Brad Davis.

Scholz lived to see the movie and even appeared in a commercial about it. Here’s the real Scholz in 1928 and the 1984 commercial, which starts at 1:01 when Scholz chats with Ben Cross, who played Harold Abraham in the movie.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Szaron and Hili are deep in conversation. I believe they are making fun of d*gs.

Hili: Have you ever seen a cat who lifts its paw to pee on a tree?
Szaron: No.
Hili: Neither have I.
In Polish:
Hili: Widziałeś kiedyś kota, który podnosi łapę, żeby się wysiusiać pod drzewem?
Szaron: Nie.
Hili: Ja też nie.

Frpm Sweater Heater on Facebook. If that’s a pint of Landlord, I’d strangle the duck. (Not really; I’d still drink the beer.) This is a house duck as evidenced by its diaper.

From Barry, “the best church sign ever”:

From Nicole:

Remember the 2019-2020 protests in Iran when the government murdered many protestors? Here Masih  gets testimony from a mother whose son was killed in front of her.

From Barry, who considers this the solution to the “missing sock mystery”. BUT it doesn’t work this way: when your clothes come out of the dryer, one sock is missing. These cats aren’t anywhere near a dryer. To avoid the missing sock, toss an old extra sock into the dryer with your laundry to propitiate the Sock God.

Tweets from Matthew. Here, the daughter of the famed geneticist H. J. Muller gets shown around the Bloomington Drosophila stock center at Indiana University. Muller, fiercely smart and clever, was a difficult person at times, and he couldn’t even secure a permanent academic job until after he won the Nobel Prize!

Be sure to enlarge this photo of Mars pieced together from shots taken by the Curiosity Rover:

A beautiful murmuration and a short article on bird evolution you should read. (Note that not everyone thinks birds evolved from dinosaurs.)

A tide of pumice:

What a tidy little spider: look at the care she takes not to soil the car!

58 thoughts on “Tuesday: Hili dialogue

  1. Biden’s plans, which apparently rely on taxing unrealized capital gains, is “an unworkable and arguably unconstitutional mess that could harm everyone

    Yeah that seems dangerous given the volatility of the market. Does this mean unrealized losses will reduce taxable income? That could frankly lower taxes on the rich.

    We sort of do something like what he’s proposing property taxes: they are based on annual or multi-annual assessed property value, not just when you sell it. But for stock I’d prefer the USG stick with taxing stock sold rather than held. Just unify it with the regular income tax, so there isn’t a lower rate for investment over labor.

    1. The way you describe it the rich would keep on doing what they are doing now. Most do not sell stock that often at all. They simply invest with a broker or fund and let it ride for years. That is the idea behind many of the firms such as Ed Jones. I invested with them years ago and you just let them reinvest and keep going. But like many others I am just a small fish. You know, someone who pays taxes and has payroll deduction. But the really rich people have none of that. If you actually want to get a fair tax out of them you must take a look at the increases in their investment and collect based on that. They should also get reports on rent collected which they do not now. That is how Trump gets by without paying anything. If you want the rich to just keep making all the money and paying nothing, you are in a boat with mostly the rich.

      1. Yeah, I have to say, I like the notion of making it something like property tax. It wouldn’t have to be a high tax rate to bring in a fair amount of revenue, and it would diminish the incentive just to hold onto the stocks, take a loan against their value, and take deductions for the interest on the loan.

        1. We want people to save (which generally means, invest). We don’t want to discourage it. However at the same time we (well…at least me) don’t want to effectively ‘punish’ workers by making the tax on working higher than the tax on just letting your money earn money. Which is the situation now. So I oppose taxing unrealized gains. I want them to be free, to encourage people to invest. But once you pull that money out and buy somethnig with it…well, IMO income is income is income, and it shouldn’t matter where you (legally) got it, the income tax should be all one system.

          1. I hear you on this, but we hear about the rich people who never take their investments out at all, just take loans with it as the collateral, and then deduct the interest they pay on those loans from whatever tax they might pay…and that’s frustrating.

  2. I remember weeping uncontrollably at the end of the movie version of Zorba the Greek. I was with the village idiot, who called the whole town murderers for the hounding and death of the widow, the absolutely stunning Irene Papas. Like him, I couldn’t understand how they could all just move on.

    1. Yes, Zorba is an extremely moving film. Of course, Anthony Quinn wouldn’t get away with playing many of the film roles he was cast in nowadays.

      Alan Bates, who plays Basil in the film, stopped mid-scene in one of the performances of the RSC’s 1973 Stratford-on-Avon production of The Taming of the Shrew and told a couple in the audience who were chatting and distracting him to “Shut up or fuck off!” This breaking of the fourth wall caused much anguished twisting of pearl necklaces, naturally. Fun fact: Mick Fleetwood’s sister Sue played Katherina to Bates’ Petruchio.

  3. Don’t know why we would be upset at Sudan having a coup. Are we the only ones to have them?
    The supreme court looking at concealed carry law, that’s a good one. Maybe they will just require the 15 minute seminar by Alex Balwin on gun safety.

    1. Please don’t trash Alec Baldwin on this prop gun incident. He’s actually a victim.

      I hear that some in the crew were shooting live ammo at cans to pass the time. Heads are going to roll, as they should.

      1. That’s astonishing. It does reinforce the maxim that was drilled into me: treat EVERY gun as if it were loaded, even if someone tells you “Clean Gun” or whatever the director said.

        1. From what I’ve read about the incident the rules on a movie set are quite different than standard best practice gun handling. There is a single person in the production crew, an ‘expert’, who is responsible for all guns on a set including preparing them for each specific use. This includes all types of guns from various types of prop guns through real guns modified in various ways.

          Apparently there are strict rules that are supposed to be followed. The expert prepares a gun for a scene, tags the gun indicating what scene and what category of gun it is, is responsible for seeing it into the hands of the actor and taking custody from the actor after the scene.

          Apparently part of the rules are that actors, actually no one except the designated expert, are allowed to do anything to the gun, including checking the condition of the gun. The idea being that no one alters the condition of the gun, ever, except the expert.

          One of the categories of prop gun commonly used is ‘cold gun.’ This term means that the gun is supposed to not be capable of firing, as prepared and verified by the expert, and is supposed to be safe for shooting scenes in which the gun will be pointed at people. This could be anything from a rubber gun to a real gun that has been modified so it no longer functions and is not capable of any kind of ‘bang’ whether from a squib to simulate firing or a blank cartridge.

          The current information is that an assistant director picked the gun up off a table that prepared guns were setting, handed the gun to AB and declared “Cold gun.”

          There seems to have been a lot of shenanigan’s going on at this production leading up to this tragedy. Lots of concerning mishaps with prop guns, complaints about unsafe practices, people walking off the job, including the original gun expert, and new people quickly brought in to replace them, including a new gun expert.

          It may turn out that AB does bear some responsibility for this tragedy as he was a producer, though it isn’t clear yet whether or not he was actually involved with running the production or not. There are a variety of reasons why someone earns a ‘producer’ accolade, many of which have nothing to do with running the production. We’ll have to wait for more information on that.

          But as far as the immediate actions of consequence to this tragedy it doesn’t appear that AB did anything wrong in a legal or moral sense. Actors are not responsible for checking guns for safety, or any other reason. Actually the opposite. They are not allowed to check them. Nobody but the designated expert is. Some people argue that regardless he should not have been pointing the gun at anyone. Apparently that’s not necessarily true either as apparently it is common in movie making to shoot scenes with an actor pointing a gun at people, including at the camera. But I haven’t heard a clear and detailed description of the scene of the tragedy yet, so we’ll have to wait for more info.

          1. If those rules in the last paragraph are actually true, I would not go near the place. To say that I should accept a gun from anyone and be expected to pull the trigger but am not allowed to check the gun first – ridiculous. Here you go, take this gun and shoot it. It is empty – you can take my word for it. That is nuts.

          2. Yeah. I found a long answer about this from someone who has acted as an armorer on set:

            They use some mechanisms in props that normal gun users just have no knowledge about, and which require separate safety protocols. They don’t want actors, gun users or not, messing with those mechanisms because they could make things more dangerous. And it seems they’ve extended that mindset to other things that normal gun users might not be familiar with, such as the types of rounds used on set.

            Movie armorers are supposed to be the experts and responsibility falls on them. The types who insist that their safety protocols with normal guns on a firing range are the same safety protocols that should be followed on a movie set with all the different equipment in use there simply don’t understand these differences.

      2. I did not mean to trash anyone. He pointed the gun and fired it. That killed someone. I do not care that someone else told him the gun was not loaded. As was proven – that means nothing. Unless you have fully checked out the revolver yourself, you do not point it at anyone and shoot it. What the hell live rounds are doing on the set is really stupid. He will have to live with the fact that he shot and killed someone, nobody else. To call him an innocent victim does not make it.

        1. Is it reasonable to expect every actor to check for themselves whenever they are handed a gun? I see the logic but expect it would have unintended consequences. Are we really going to demand that every actor involved with guns be fully trained? That seems unlikely. Instead of relying on the expertise of one fully-trained person on each set, we distribute it among many people who are not likely to be as trained and are much harder to control. It would be a recipe for disaster.

          1. I am sorry but your logic about guns is why people get killed with them in accidents all the time. I do not relieve responsibility from anyone, expert or otherwise. If professionals were there to insure safety, that also fell apart. But anyone, I do not care who, star actor or janitor, accepts a gun then points it at another person and shoots, there is no excuse for that. If. you are infact, that stupid, you should not be handling the gun at all. They made shows like gunsmoke for twenty years and far as I know, no one was shot or killed.

            1. “They made shows like gunsmoke for twenty years and far as I know, no one was shot or killed.”

              Isn’t that a good argument that the existing system works fine and that this was just a one-off, rare failure because proper procedures weren’t followed? Obviously the lack of accidents, and our society’s love of guns, has made the industry lax. This incident is likely to provoke a long-needed tightening of the rules. I just don’t think putting it in the hands of each actor is the way to go for the reasons I already stated.

              1. Again your logic goes nowhere. Whatever the rules or training was at Gunsmoke, 1955 to 1975 you do not know. So to say the existing system works is wrong. The existing system got someone killed. It also killed a couple of others back in the 80s. Also to say, the lack of accidents makes the industry lax? The industry is our society. There are hand gun accidents all the time, nearly daily. Hand guns are the most dangerous and numerous guns in the country. I am done talking about this as we’ll get thrown off the set if we don’t

  4. The duck is likely in a pub in the West Country. One of the pumps is for Butcombe which is common here in Bristol and the other visible one is for a brew called “Dartmoor” with which I am not familiar. It’s illy to be from Devon (a county in the extreme South West ), though. There’s unlikely to be any Timothy Taylor in it.

    One more thing: I’m sure the Mexican government would be delighted for the USA to take the hippo people off their hands. Otherwise the ruling is bonkers: you won’t be able to have your cats spayed or neutered anymore, if it’s allowed to stand, or eat chicken and beef.

    Edit: Just read to the end of the hippo article. It’s not quite as bonkers as it sounds. It’s really just a legal technicality.

  5. Love chicken fried steak! I first had it at the Cattleman Cafe in Blue Ridge, TX, a small crossroads north of Dallas, around 1976 on a visit to a friend from grad school. It was a USDA standard grade beef, hammer-tenderized and covered in a thick white sauce. I can still picture that meal almost 50 years later. I haven’t tasted a version that approached that first one since.

  6. 1945 – Pat Conroy, American author (d. 2016)

    Conroy, who had as complicated a relationship with his own mother as the protagonist of Prince of Tides, Tom Wingo, has with his. (IIRC, Conroy discusses this in his prologue to PoT). When Conroy, born in Georgia and raised in South Carolina, told his mama he planned to write novels, this is what she told him, “All southern literature can be summed up in these words: ‘On the night the hogs ate Willie, Mama died when she heard what Daddy did to Sister.’”

        1. His best book by far; her worst movie by far. I almost didn’t read the book back in the 80s because it had such a romance-novelish cover. I’m glad a bookstore-owner friend talked me into it.

  7. The emotional support duck has brightened my day – thanks! (Insert “put the pint on my bill” joke here…)

  8. In other news, the White House has gone all in on equity and intersectionality in their new Gender Strategy Report:

    The strategy also adopts an intersectional approach that considers the barriers and challenges faced by those who experience intersecting and compounding forms of discrimination and bias related to gender, race, and other factors, including sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, disability, age, and socioeconomic status.

    At the same time, President Obama, campaigning in Virginia on behalf of McAuliffe, dismissed the concerns of parents about the their schools:

    We don’t have time to be wasted on these phony trumped-up culture wars, this fake outrage, the right-wing media’s pedals to juice their ratings.

  9. What a tidy little spider: look at the care she takes not to soil the car!

    Would that pigeons were as considerate. And, as the doggerel has it, I’m just glad that cows don’t fly.

  10. “I wasn’t aware that concealed carry wasn’t regulated everywhere, but it turns out that only eight states (New York, California, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island) have restrictions on the practice, some quite stringent.”

    That’s not really an accurate summary of the state of U.S. laws on concealed carry. Far more than just those eight states have “restrictions” on the practice. It would be closer to say that list of eight states includes the states which essentially completely prohibit concealed carry. (Although Delaware doesn’t actually prohibit concealed carry, their application process is a bit more involved than that of, say, Florida. In California or most of the state of New York, it varies by county–some counties will issue concealed carry licenses routinely to people who can pass a criminal background check, and other counties won’t issue licenses to anybody, and some are somewhere in between. Hawaii doesn’t issue licenses to anybody–although they have a law on their books providing for concealed carry licenses–and Maryland or New Jersey are nearly as restrictive.)

    Beginning in the late 1980s, most states adopted what is called “shall-issue”: A license to carry a concealed weapon is still required, but as long as the applicant meets certain objective criteria (can pass a criminal background check, and in most places can show proof of firearms safety training) whoever is in charge of issuing the licenses must issue a license to that person. All states also have lists of places where even people with licenses are breaking the law by carrying firearms; those lists range from “courthouses and prisons” to “a very lengthy list of places, including any place with signs posted on the doors”.

    More recently, a whole bunch of states have begun dropping the requirement to have a license to carry concealed weapons, starting with the sorts of places you’d expect (Alaska) but now expanding to an increasing number of states in the West, the Midwest, the South, and New England. There are still theoretically “restrictions” on the practice even in those states (there are still places that are legally off-limits; and under U.S. federal law various people–anyone ever convicted of any felony, people convicted of domestic violence crimes even if misdemeanors, people who have ever been involuntarily committed for mental illness treatment–are barred from possessing any kind of firearm, in public or in private). But even with this recent move towards permit-less carry, there are still more than eight states which require a license to carry a concealed firearm in public.

    “The Supremes are set to hear the case next fall, but any betting what they’ll rule? CONCEALED CARRY EVERWHERE; NO PERMITS NEEDED!”

    Well, maybe. Who knows? There are about a half-dozen or so states (or parts of states) which have laws that theoretically provide for issuing concealed carry licenses, but in practice won’t issue a license to anyone, or will only issue licenses using very opaque criteria. (Illinois was actually the last state to not have any provision for issuing concealed licenses at all; y’all are now “shall issue”, albeit with a stringent training requirement, and a lengthy list of prohibited places.) SCOTUS might require those half-dozen states to set up a “shall issue” system, without actually saying they have to allow “CONCEALED CARRY EVERWHERE; NO PERMITS NEEDED!” And I definitely don’t think even the post-Trump court will strike down all restrictions on places where people can legally carry weapons, or all limitations on who can possess firearms.

    1. Agreed. While there’s no predicting what courts will do, this case does not challenge the authority of New York (or any other jurisdiction) to require licenses for possession or carry of handguns, nor does it involve the general requirements that may be imposed to qualify individuals for a license. (New York requires passing a quite extensive background investigation, including criminal history, before anyone is eligible for any kind of handgun license. Incidentally, New York’s gun licensees commit almost no gun crimes, which seems like some evidence that the investigatory screening is effective.) Beyond determining individual “fitness” for a handgun license, New York requires additional “proper cause” to support a license to carry concealed in public for self defense; some “special need” that distinguishes the applicant from the citizenry at large. It is this additional requirement that is being challenged in this case. The argument is that since possession and carry of handguns for self defense has been held to be a “fundamental right” (for otherwise qualified people), it would be unconstitutional to impose further “special needs” requirements before permitting it.

      1. Yes they should probably go back and determine what the founders would do. Tell us James Madison, how should they handle concealed carry? He would have no idea what you are talking about. It was a bit hard to conceal a musket or rifle down your pants and who would want to. The few who had flintlock pistols were not looking to shove those down their pants either. Mostly they left those at home because you couldn’t hit anything with them unless they were on top of you. Kind of the same way most people are with hand guns today.

    2. More recently, a whole bunch of states have begun dropping the requirement to have a license to carry concealed weapons,

      This is unfortunate. I live in an ‘open-carry’ state that regulates concealed carry – and for years I’ve observed that cc folks are what I would consider ‘responsible gun owners’ while the oc folks are very much not.

  11. The Onion article is from 2012 – back when the decline was just getting underway. It has been interesting and discouraging to watch the quality of The Onion deteriorate in parallel with the journalism it parodies. I was a fan for many years (I used to get the print edition in the mail) but don’t bother to read it anymore because it’s mostly stupid lists and gutless articles that couldn’t possibly offend anyone. I agree with Hitchens who was fond of saying that a joke isn’t a joke unless it’s at someone’s expense.

      1. Their book “Our Dumb Century” is is fantastic. It’s front pages from The Onion throughout the 20th century and includes clever and cutting commentary on social and political events that the current writers could never accomplish. One of the headlines from 1916: “Cubist Regiment Decimated – Skewed perspective, lack of depth prove liability as non-linear soldiers are mercilessly cut down”

  12. The role of Doc Holiday has provided an actor with the opportunity to really chew the scenery, and Kilmer brought his chompers to the set, though Kirk Douglas arguably brought bigger ones in the older version of the story. Gunfight at the O.K. Corral https://g.co/kgs/ZNqZLR

        1. Speaking of earworms, there’s a new Australian tv show, “Wakefield”, that has a character with an earworm. It’s a pretty good show, even though it’s on broadcast tv (ABC), about the staff and patients of a mental health facility. The earworm is Dexys Midnight Runners’ 80s hit, “Come On Eileen”. I can practically feel the pain.

    1. The best film version of the OK Corral story (though not the most historically accurate) is John Ford’s “My Darling Clementine” (1946), starring Henry Fonda as Wyatt Earp and Victor Mature as Doc Holliday. Mature chewed less scenery than Kilmer or Douglas but played the role with equal conviction.

      Ford later returned to the characters—this time played by Jimmy Stewart and Arthur Kennedy—for a hilarious low comedy sequence in his otherwise sombre final western, the pro-Indian “Cheyenne Autumn” (1964).

      Mention of the Kirk Douglas film of OK Corral prompts me to recommend its interesting sequel, “Hour of the Gun” (1967), made by the same director (John Sturges) but starring James Garner as Earp, Jason Robards as Holliday, and Robert Ryan as Ike Clanton.

  13. “Zorba the Greek, by Kazantzakis, was a book that changed my life.”

    As you may or may not know, Mikis Theodorakis, who composed the memorable theme from “Zorba the Greek,” died just last month (September 2) at age 96.

    Theodorakis, whose music was outlawed by the Greek junta (1967–1974) under dictator Georgios Papadopoulos, also put many poems by Greek poet George Seferis (1900-1971) to music. I happened to be living in Athens on a Fulbright grant in 1971 and witnessed Seferis’s funeral parade. Papadopoulos explicitly forbad any of Theodorakis’ music to be played or sung at the event and had soldiers in tanks on the streets to enforce the ban. At one point someone started singing a Seferis poem that Theodorakis had put to music and soon, Greeks being Greeks, the entire crowd of onlookers took it up. It was a remarkable show of affection and courage. Uncharacteristically, Papadoulos was wise enough not to try and stop it—this in contrast to his later use of tanks to clear students from the Athens polytechnic campus. (Sorry for such a long aside, but I thought you’d find it interesting).

    1. Theodorakis, whose music was outlawed by the Greek junta (1967–1974) …

      Along with practically everything else, up to and including the letter “Z.” 🙂

  14. H. J. Muller was a smart guy. Back in the late 1960s, when almost all informed geneticists took for granted — and this continued up until the end of the last century — that the human genome contained hundreds of thousands of genes. In 1966 Muller published his informed opinion that the gene number in the human genome wasn’t greatly in excess of 30,000*. At that time the Watson and Crick “DNA is the genetic material” article was still the talk of the town. The number of protein-coding genes found by the Human Genome Project now hovers around 20,000-25,000.
    *H. J. Muller, Am. Nat. 1966, 100, 493

  15. I’m feeling so bittersweet at the news about my SoS. She’s leaving us for a post in the Biden administration. She’s the only statewide elected official on the west coast who is a Republican, and she runs a tight ship. They’ll be lucky to have her, but I miss her. And I think it is important to have elected officials from both parties here in the west.

  16. ” Intersex Awareness Day ”
    Well that link was a bit of a letdown. I was hoping for some Larry Niven style rishathra stuff.

  17. I enjoy the On this day bits. While he is well-documented on Wikipedia, I would like to highlight here that Ali Maow Maalin, the last person to have naturally acquired smallpox, was working for the WHO eradication team at the time, as a cook and driver. He had ducked vaccination, which was supposed to be a requirement for work with the team. He acquired the disease while driving two infected patients from a remote village down to a regional treatment centre. Fortunately the strain was variola minor which is mild and produces relatively few pocks, as you see in the photo. Variola major would cover the entire body including the conjunctiva; the scarring usually produced blindness. Mr. Maalin continued to work with WHO on infectious disease control. His death due to malaria occurred while he was supporting the second polio eradication effort in his native Somalia. He is a hero.

  18. Speaking of spider poop, I once had a similar experience while hiking with a friend in the Chiricahua Mountains in southern Arizona. A rather small, unspectacular looking lizard decided to relieve himself while sitting atop a boulder. Neither of us could get over the size of it. Had we both not witnessed it we’d have thought it was from a small chipmunk or some such critter. Enlightening!

  19. “(Note that not everyone thinks birds evolved from dinosaurs.)”

    Could perhaps add here that this does not just refer to the Discovery Institute and other wacko creationists but also to serious palaeontologists who do not question the fact that birds evolved but who disagree on the details of their evolutionary ancestry?!

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