Thursday: Hili dialogue

November 18, 2021 • 6:30 am

Welcome to Thursday, November 18, as we barrel down the week. It’s National Apple Cider Day, and if you have patience, buy a few gallon jugs of unpasteurized cider and let them ferment for a while. They get better!

NB: An offer for today only (the 50th anniversary of the Egg McMuffin). You’ll need to have a McDonald’s app on your phone (click on screenshot to read):

It’s also National Vichysoisse Day (big time cultural appropriation), Nouveau Beaujolais Day (don’t bother drinking it), International Guinness Records Day, World Philosophy Day, and Mickey Mouse Day, celebrating the third appearance of the famous rodent on this day in 1928 in the cartoon “Steamboat Willie”. It’s considered Mickey’s birthday.

And here he is! It’s a good cartoon. Note that there’s a quacking duck at 2:07, who is also used as a bagpipe at 5:28. Minnie Mouse is there, too, and gets picked up by her underwear.

Finally, it’s Fly Day, which you can follow best at the first hashtag given below.


News of the Day:

*Jacob Chansley, the “Q-Anon Shaman” who charged the Capitol on January 6 with a fur hat and Viking horns, with face painted and carrying a spear flying the American flag, has been given one of the harshest sentences yet for his behavior on that day of insurrection.  Jacob will be cooling his heels for a long 41 months—about 3½ years, though he’s already served nearly ten months of the sentence while awaiting trial. The long sentence apparently comes from the judge wanting to make an example of Chansley, and other judges are likely to follow. The felony charge: obstructing an official proceeding before Congress. In his final statement, Chansley compared himself to Gandhi.  I’m glad we won’t be hearing from him for a while.

*Two men convicted of murdering Malcolm X in 1965 are expected to be exonerated, with their recorded convictions thrown out after spending a total of 42 years in prison. Muhammad A. Aziz and Khalil Islam were given an apology by Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., the Manhattan district attorney:

A 22-month investigation conducted jointly by the Manhattan district attorney’s office and lawyers for the two men found that prosecutors and two of the nation’s premier law enforcement agencies — the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New York Police Department — had withheld key evidence that, had it been turned over, would likely have led to the men’s acquittal.

. . . Altogether, the re-investigation found that had the new evidence been presented to a jury, it may well have led to acquittals. And Mr. Aziz, 83, who was released in 1985, and Mr. Islam, who was released in 1987 and died in 2009, would not have been compelled to spend decades fighting to clear their names.

“This wasn’t a mere oversight,” said Deborah Francois, a lawyer for the men. “This was a product of extreme and gross official misconduct.”

Both men were ultimately released, but Islam died in 2009.

*The jury is still deliberating in the Kenosha, Wisconsin trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, accused of killing two men and wounding another. On their respective Substack websites, both Bari Weiss and Jesse Singal strongly suggest that although 17-year old Rittenhouse may be guilty of poor judgment carrying a semiautomatic rifle during unrest surrounding protests of a police shooting, he may not be guilty of murder. Both journalists say that Rittenhouse has a plausible claim of self defense, but the exculpatory facts have not been publicized by the liberal media because they contradict a desired narrative, which was thatRittenhouse was a white supremacist vigilante who killed two white men who were supporting Black Lives Matter and the killing of a black man by a cop.

Singal on poor media coverage:

Anyway, the point is the Slate article, like the Vice article, doesn’t reflect a sincere effort to fill readers in with all the necessary information they would need to understand and think through this situation. There is obfuscation afoot.

This worries the hell out of me. People aren’t stupid. There is already widespread distrust of mainstream media, and when stories like this one are covered in this manner, it undoubtedly drives people elsewhere, either to established right-wing news sources or to random YouTube weirdos, or what have you. You need to write about these stories in a complete and honest manner. It doesn’t make you a Trump supporter to provide the full context and to leave some ambiguous moral gaps for readers to fill in using their own values and judgement.

I can’t believe I even have to say this.

Read for yourself, and do subscribe if you read either site very often.

*Another school library kerfuffle: the Washington Post reports that a Spottsylvania, Virginia school board, which had previously decided to remove “sexually explicit” books from school libraries, have reversed their decision. As Jim Batterson wrote me, who sent me the link and was also on a Virginia school board:

 A couple of parents complained to the school board about some books in the school library and the school board voted that night to have librarians remove the two books and immediately review content of all other possible offensive titles. One board member even suggested burning these two book!  The good news is that the librarians, students, and public quickly rallied against this directive with four hours of public comment at a follow up school board meeting in which the board voted 5-2 to rescind their directive from the previous meeting and simply treat the parents’ complaint according to the existing book review policy already in place for such complaints. [The original banning did not follow school policy.]

Of course we all want to know, “What were the books they complained about?” The Post says this:

At the Nov. 8 meeting, a mother and father complained about two texts: “Call Me By Your Name,” an acclaimed novel that centers on a gay relationship, and “33 Snowfish,” a story about three homeless teens that was named a Best Book for Young Adults by the American Library Association in 2004.

The mother called “33 Snowfish” “disgusting” for its discussion of sexual abuse. She added that she had searched the school system’s online library catalogue and found 172 hits for the word “gay,” as well as 84 hits for the word “lesbian.”

*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 766,206, an increase of 1,088 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 5,142,093, an increase of about 9,600 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on November 18 includes:

Here’s the old Basilica as it looked between 1483 and 1506.

  • 1493 – Christopher Columbus first sights the island now known as Puerto Rico.
  • 1626 – The new St Peter’s Basilica is consecrated.

Exactly 1300 years to the day after the old Basicila was consecrated! The new one (below) was designed in part by Michelangelo, and it is the largest church in the world in terms of interior space.

  • 1872 – Susan B. Anthony and 14 other women are arrested for voting illegally in the United States presidential election of 1872.

Two great suffragetttes: Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton (sitting):

  • 1883 – American and Canadian railroads institute five standard continental time zones, ending the confusion of thousands of local times.
  • 1910 – In their campaign for women’s voting rights, hundreds of suffragettes march to the British Parliament in London. Several are beaten by police, newspaper attention embarrasses the authorities, and the march is dubbed Black Friday.

The cops and many bystanders attacked and beat up the protestors. Here’s a report with a photo from the next day’s newspaper:

I’m disturbed by this photo of a suffragette being force-fed in Holloway Prison about 1911:

  • 1928 – Release of the animated short Steamboat Willie, the first fully synchronized sound cartoon, directed by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks, featuring the third appearances of cartoon characters Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse. This is considered by the Disney corporation to be Mickey’s birthday.

See above;

I still remember this; before that all we had were dial phones.

And I remember this photograph well, though it was hard to believe. Such is the power of faith.  These people (and their kids) died by drinking Flavor-Aid (not Kool-Aid) laced with cyanide:

Here’s the 45-minute “death tape” which records Jones exhorting his followers to drink the poison and die. He then shot himself.

  • 1993 – In South Africa, 21 political parties approve a new constitution, expanding voting rights and ending white minority rule.
  • 2003 – The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rules 4–3 in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional and gives the state legislature 180 days to change the law making Massachusetts the first state in the United States to grant marriage rights to same-sex couples.

Notables born on this day include:

Here’s an early daguerrotype with the Wikipedia caption, “View of the Boulevard du Temple, taken by Daguerre in 1838 in Paris, includes the earliest known photograph of a person. The image shows a busy street, but because the exposure had to continue for four to five minutes the moving traffic is not visible. At the lower right, however, a man apparently having his boots polished, and the bootblack polishing them, were motionless enough for their images to be captured. There is also what appears to be a young girl looking out of a window at the camera.

  • 1810 – Asa Gray, American botanist and academic (d. 1888)

Gray, a professor of Harvard, was a big American supporter of Darwin after The Origin came out. Here’s Gray in 1864, five years after Darwin’s book appeared:

  • 1836 – W. S. Gilbert, English playwright, poet, and illustrator (d. 1911)
  • 1901 – George Gallup, American statistician and academic (d. 1984)

Gallup was instrumental in founding modern polling, but he screwed up big time on this prediction, which he made:

  • 1906 – George Wald, American neurobiologist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1997)
  • 1939 – Margaret Atwood, Canadian novelist, poet, and critic

Those who went extinct on November 18 include:

  • 1886 – Chester A. Arthur, American general, lawyer, and politician, 21st President of the United States (b. 1829)
  • 1941 – Walther Nernst, German chemist and physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1864)
  • 1978 – Jim Jones, American cult leader, founded Peoples Temple (b. 1931)

Jones apparently died on his birthday.

Calloway was a showman in front of his band. Here’s his most famous song, “Minnie the Moocher“, which he co-wrote:

  • 1999 – Paul Bowles, American composer and author (b. 1910)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili warns Andrzej. Malgorzata explains, “If you are thinking again about what you will write you are not moving your arms. Without thinking the matter through Andrzej would start typing immediately and Hili, who is resting on his arm would be disturbed.”

Hili: Think it through.
A: What am I supposed to think through?
Hili: Whatever, as long as you don’t move your arm because that disturbs me.
In Polish:
Hili: Przemyśl to.
Ja: Co mam przemyśleć?
Hili: Cokolwiek, byleś nie ruszał ręką, bo mi to przeszkadza.

From Bruce:

A Gary Larson cartoon from Thomas:

From Nicole:

From Barry: an adorable video of a d*g helping a tiny kitten up the stairs:

A tweet from Ginger K., which helps refute those ostriches who claim that elements of Critical Race Theory don’t really make their way into schools. Note that this has nothing to do with the oppressions that occurred during the history of America.

From the Auschwitz Memorial:

Tweets from Matthew. Look at this gorgeous and beefy lynx:

I had no idea that there were birds who carried their young in pouches! You can read more about them at the Tetrapod Zoology Podcast. Below the tweet is a single picture of a chick in the pouch of its father.

Chick in pouch of dad; photo by M. Alvarez del Toro:

I guess the photographer somehow fixed his camera on the Milky Way, and the earth’s rotation is shown by the stationary galaxy:

A tough Bengal cat:

Striding owls!

111 thoughts on “Thursday: Hili dialogue

  1. I saw the other day the that Leonardo DiCaprio is going to play Jim Jones in a new movie. He does creepy well, which is my first reaction. I don’t know that I have the desire to see the movie, though.

  2. I guess the photographer somehow fixed his camera on the Milky Way

    The original video says an equatorial tracking mount was used.

    An equatorial mount is one where the telescope (or camera) is mounted on an axis that is parallel to the Earth’s axis and is rotated about it at a constant speed in the opposite direction to the rotation of the Earth.

  3. “National Vichysoisse Day ”

    Anyone remember the All in the Family in which Vincent Gardinia brings that soup to Archie?

    Or was that another soup :

    “Tree blows and the heats all gone!”

    1. I can’t remember. Kind of strange that Vichyssoise has its own day, but it just so happens I make a pretty good one. Haven’t made it in quite a while, but I think I’ll make a batch.

    2. Vichysoisse is also served to Batman by his butler Alfred in “Batman Returns” (1992). He spits it out and says “it’s cold!” Poor Alfred has to explain what Vichysoisse is.

      1. Some heathens do eat it hot. But, paraphrasing Shakespeare as read in the original Klingon, it’s a dish best served cold.

  4. The mother called “33 Snowfish” “disgusting” for its discussion of sexual abuse. She added that she had searched the school system’s online library catalogue and found 172 hits for the word “gay,” as well as 84 hits for the word “lesbian.”

    Recalls the line often attributed to Samuel Johnson to the women who thanked him for omitting certain naughty words from his dictionary:

    “Why my dears,” said Dr. J, “I see you have been searching for them!”

      1. My 30-something daughter was watching reruns of “House” this morning, so I had to show her a young Hugh Laurie!

        1. Was she surprised that he could so convincingly fake an English accent at such a young age? 🙂

          Similarly, I have met people who didn‘t think that Blackadder and Mr. Bean are played by the same actor, even after I told them that it really is the case.

            1. I thought Ms. Macdonald did a credible Irish accent in the vastly underrated Two Family House.

              But I’ve never had any confusion about her Scottish heritage since seeing her debut in Trainspotting.

  5. ”A 22-month investigation conducted jointly by the Manhattan district attorney’s office and lawyers for the two men found that prosecutors and two of the nation’s premier law enforcement agencies — the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New York Police Department — had withheld key evidence that, had it been turned over, would likely have led to the men’s acquittal.”

    It seems to me that those responsible should serve at least as much time, and in the same cells, as those who were wrongly accused.

    1. Another important question comes to mind besides questioning everything this country does and has done in the legal field. Why were these two guys framed to take the fall for this murder? Our legal system is so corrupt in this country, how are we to believe anything. Certainly people of color have no reason to believe in it.

      Also, I would say that stating in the post this morning that “people are not stupid” might just get a little argument. With people representing us in the congress that think insurrection is a good thing and doing. things like Paul Cosar did. Even his own family cannot stand him. Stupid people – I would say we have more than our share.

  6. “Another school library kerfuffle…”. My experience over many years has been that our public school librarians and English teachers have been real heroes in defending against censorship of school and library books. These decisions are up to local school boards which, if they follow policy guidance from the National School Boards Association and their state school boards association, have a media review committee(s) in place to review any material that is challenged by a parent or a member of the public. Those committees review the complaint and material with guidance from a requirements template also approved by the school board and makes a recommendation to the superintendent who then makes a recommendation to the board. The board then formally votes to accept, reject, or modify the superintendent’s recommendation. The Spotsylvania county board in this incident uses an ad hoc review committee according to their policy manual. Other boards have standing committees with a skill mix of teachers, a reading specialist, a parent, a principal, and sometimes a high school or middle school student. Of course, there is nothing to stop a board from ignoring good policy guidance and simply making decisions regarding complaints “on the fly”.

    1. A concise and clear explanation, Jim. I’m a public librarian, and on behalf of my colleagues in all libraries—school, public, and academic—I thank you for the shout-out. We in public libraries have a similar process if a patron were to challenge an item in the collection. Those challenges are few and far between, and they almost never result in the item being removed from the collection, since public libraries are firmly underpinned by the First Amendment. School libraries, on the other hand, are more susceptible to removals of items, since, as you know, school boards are both authorized and obligated to act in loco parentis. This tension in the law notwithstanding, I applaud school board members, administrators, teachers, and librarians for their diligence in adhering to policy and procedure and safeguarding the freedom of students to explore this awesome and awful world as revealed in books, videos, and other media.

      1. Thank you for your service StephenB! I did wonder where the superintendent and school board attorney were that first night when the board voted to pull the books. Normally the superintendent or attorney would remind board members that they have a policy that covers the situation and the superintendent would recommend that the board follow its policy. But i also recall that our board attorney would sometimes cynically add that it was our (the board’s) policy and thus we (the board) were certainly free to ignore it…though doing so would leave us more exposed legally.

      2. Thanks you Stephen for being a librarian! Another guardian of freedom of speech! My elementary school library is where I caught the reading bug and it’s never left. I stopped watching TV … well, 34 years ago now: No time, too many books to read.

  7. Apropos the rotating Earth video, the camera is on what we astronomers call an equatorial mount. Many astronomical telescopes are fitted with them. They enable the telescope to track a celestial object as the Earth turns, to take long-exposure photographs. The telescope (or in this case, the camera) turns on an axis parallel with the rotation axis of the Earth, so that it remains pointing at a fixed spot in space.

    1. Modern mounts make things even easier than the classic equatorial mount. Take the mount through a simple setup procedure to calibrate it, and that’s it. Although a true equatorial mount properly set up is more precise you probably only need that extra degree of precision for the finest work.

      Not necessarily all that modern either. I got my mount in the late 90s. Level the tripod, attach mount and scope, point scope North at 0 elevation, enter coordinates and time, the controller then takes you through a process where it points the scope at a few target stars and you confirm or adjust, and then it’s good to go. More modern ones are even easier. They have onboard GPS and pretty much set themselves up.

      1. The simpler alt-azimuth mount is also used for the world’s largest optical telescopes, such as the Very Large Telescope array in Chile. This is because a classic equatorial mount is simply impractical for telescopes of this size. The down side, apart from the need to move the telescope on two different axes at the same time, is that the camera’s field of view rotates as the telescope moves to track a target star or galaxy. The camera itself has to be rotated according to a rather complex mathematical equation to avoid smearing the image, or the same rotation has to be applied to a sequence of short-duration images to align them. Fortunately, modern image-processing algorithms makes this very easy.

  8. “It doesn’t make you a Trump supporter to provide the full context and to leave some ambiguous moral gaps for readers to fill in using their own values and judgement.”

    When you find yourself compelled to deny or hide the facts, or even worse when you are motivated to do so, that’s a really bad sign. Any ideology that requires this in order to thrive needs to be opposed. Us old school liberal, enlightenment values folks are hard-pressed on all sides these days. I’m losing hope.

    1. I agree with your next-to-last sentence, Darrell; but I’m not losing hope!

      BTW, I love your black beans recipe and I make them!

      1. Thanks James. I go through ups and downs lately. Today’s a bit of a downer.

        Glad the bean recipe worked out for you. Speaking of which, for a while I’ve been trying to figure out what gives southern style red beans that something different that I like about them. And I finally figured it out! Sage of all things. Would have never guessed that, but it did the trick. Lots of sage.

  9. both Bari Weiss and Jesse Singal strongly suggest that although 17-year old Rittenhouse may be guilty of poor judgment carrying a semiautomatic rifle during unrest surrounding protests of a police shooting, he may not be guilty of murder.

    I won’t comment on the murder charge as I just don’t think I have the data the jury has. However I’ve been thinking a lot about the situation of him intentionally taking his gun to another town in the expectation of there being trouble…and I think I’m coming down on his side of it on that. As someone who believes strongly in free speech, I’ve never liked the “fighting words” concept – i.e. that your expression is not protected if you go and use words to seek out trouble – but short of direct incitement, I really don’t think a citizen should be legally allowed to respond to nonviolent, legal expression with violence (similarly, I’m not a fan of stand your ground laws). So while Rittenhouse definitely went looking for trouble and he probably ramped up the risk of violence through his acts, I think I’m going to disagree with some liberal individuals I’ve talked to online (not here) and say that such “asking for it” should be legal. It’s stupid and irresponsible, yes, but shouldn’t justify a physical attack on him.

    the Washington Post reports that a Spottsylvania, Virginia school board, which had previously decided to remove “sexually explicit” books from school libraries, have reversed their decision

    Probably just the opening battle in a longer war. “Supporting parents” (read: letting conservatives ban gay and trans supportive books from school libraries) was one of Youngkin’s main dogwhistles in the last month of the campaign. So Virginians can look forward to many more such challenges from conservative parents in the future…and come January 15th, these will likely have significant support from the Governor’s office.

    1. I could never come to your conclusion or the one you refer to. The assault rifle he took to a demonstration/riot leaves him totally responsible for the murders. Although this type weapon should be illegal anywhere this child was 17 and certainly was illegal to have it. We certainly do not have all the details the jury would have but we have enough. We also know enough about this case to know the judge is a complete nut job. This guy has been a judge since the 80s and he is certifiable. He has no business being a judge in traffic court. If this clown gets off it will be in large part due to this judge.

      1. Illegal to have it because he’s 17 I get. Him shooting people and it being a question of murder I get. Someone claiming that attacking him is justifiable because he came looking for trouble, no. Women dressed provocatively can’t be attacked merely because they are “asking for it” (they aren’t). A conservative saying they believe in sex but not separate gender is not making anyone unsafe. Someone insults your mother, you don’t get to hit them for it. And whether it’s Rittenhouse or a member of the Black Panthers, a legal gun owner walking carrying while on a street doesn’t get to be attacked just because you think he’s asking for trouble.

        1. So I missed the part where he was being attacked? He has not a scratch on him but. he killed two people. I guess we just send him home without super and responsibility for nothing.

          1. He was clearly being attacked. He was running away; someone hit him in the head with a rock; another person hit him with a weighty skateboard; he was knocked to the ground; another person jump-kicked him in the head wearing boots; another person approached him and pointed a gun at time. Throughout he was either doing his best to run away, or doing his best to defend himself while lying on the ground.

          2. This week, one of Rittenhouse’s pursuers, Gaige Grosskreutz, admitted on the stand that Rittenhouse shot him only after Grosskreutz pointed his pistol directly at Rittenhouse’s head a few feet away …

            [Rittenhouse’s lawyer]: “It wasn’t until you pointed your gun at him, advanced on him, with your gun (and your hands down) pointed at him, that he fired? Right?” To which Grosskreutz answered: “Correct.”

            Also: Did you see the video? Two (or was it three?) men attacked him when he tripped and fell to the ground. One swung his skateboard at his head. What, were they bringing him a donut? He was walking towards the police vehicles at the time, away from the crowds. (And WTF, why were these guys going after a guy carrying a gun? I’d be running the opposite direction.)

            It was not illegal for him to have the rifle nor was it illegal for him to open carry it. The judge threw out that charge last week. Whether you think he should have had the gun or not is irrelevant.

            As for Rittenhouse “looking for trouble”. Maybe; likely. And the same goes for everyone else one those streets that night, aside from the police. But, “looking for trouble” isn’t illegal — until you cause actual trouble.

            I predict he will be acquitted of murder charges. The prosecution asked to have lesser charges added last week (and this was granted): Even they don’t think they have a case. Long deliberations don’t bode well for the prosecution either.

            And M1? You’ve got to be kidding. He didn’t get up that morning and plan to kill those people. If he had, he certainly would have killed more of them!

            I sat on a jury in a murder trial in August*. Interesting experience that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

            (* It was a case of: We thought he maybe, probably did it; but the state did not provide evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. Probably isn’t good enough. The judge debriefed us afterwards. He said that he couldn’t tell us how he would have voted; but that, based on the evidence at trail, we had made a sound decision, based on the law. That was a relief, because when, after the trial was over and we could read the news about it, we realized that he almost certainly had done it. A key witness refused to show up or testify – probably in fear for his life.)

              1. That however is exactly the point on which I’m changing my thinking. What about gang colors? Short skirt? Big confederate flag?
                Those are all clothing. How about a black guy with a legal gun on the car seat next to him – is he looking for trouble? Can he be shot?
                How about a guy with a gun walking towards you – can you just unload on him citing stand your ground law?

                I don’t think you should be able to shoot or attack in any of these circumstances. And as much as it is specifically designed to create violence (much like “fighting words” are), yes that means the confederate flag-flying Maga-wearing rifle-toting guy opting to drive across state so he can walk through a crowd of liberals taunting them, doesn’t get to be shot either.

        2. I’m definitely no expert (maybe Ken will shed some light on this), but there are provisions in the law that weigh provocation in a variety of circumstances. I’m sure it varies by jurisdiction, but that Rittenhouse purposely went to a scene where violence was a likely outcome with apparent intent to engage in vigilante activity, that he planned transportation across state lines to do so, and planned to procure a gun, and took an AR-15 style rifle with him, all of these sorts of things are something that the law will weigh and consider to what degree if any he forfeited his right to self defense. I think it is a very reasonable question to consider how much of a threat others who encountered Rittenhouse considered him to be in the specific circumstances in which they encountered him. Surely if Rittenhouse can be deemed to have legitimately felt threatened enough to kill people, it’s reasonable to consider that there could have been circumstances in which other people could have legitimately felt threatened by him wielding an AR-15 style rifle.

          In other words, current law in general does consider that such actions may legitimately curtail ones right to self defense, from what I understand.

          I don’t think Rittenhouse is going to get a murder charge, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he is held partly responsible with something like a manslaughter charge. And of course he is pretty apparently guilty of several other lesser charges but I’ve no idea if he will be charged for any of them.

          1. However, if the law allows open carry of assault rifles (which it does for over-18s; I personally think this utterly ridiculous, but then I’d be in favor of strict gun control), then simply carrying an assault rifle cannot be “provocation” in the legal sense.

            The prosecution argued that Rittenhouse pointed his weapon at people, and that *would* be “provocation”, but their evidence that he did that is thin.

          2. Judges usually charge juries not to think of manslaughter as the consolation prize for reasonable doubt. The definition varies from state to state and between countries but in general, the particulars of manslaughter have to be proven as such. A jury can return a conviction for manslaughter only if the judge allows them to consider that charge. In my jurisdiction where we have “degrees” of murder but only one manslaughter, if someone deliberately shot someone in the head or torso, and the victim died, that could never be manslaughter. It would be either murder or self-defence and the jury would have to deliberate until they decided.


            1. “Voluntary manslaughter” involves a deliberate killing. It is defined under The Model Penal Code, section 210.3(1)(b), as follows:

              a homicide which would otherwise be murder is committed under the influence of extreme mental or emotional disturbance for which there is reasonable explanation or excuse. The reasonableness of such explanation or excuse shall be determined from the viewpoint of a person in the actor’s situation under the circumstances as he believes them to be.

              Penal codes vary by jurisdiction, of course, but most states, and the United States Code, have “voluntary manslaughter” (as well as “involuntary manslaughter”) statutes.

              1. That would be a handy gradation to have available, I can see that. Is that like a crime of passion?

          3. And of course he is pretty apparently guilty of several other lesser charges but I’ve no idea if he will be charged for any of them.

            Which would these be (as they are apparent)?

            It was not illegal for him to have or to open-carry that rifle. The judge has already ruled on that.

            (I think he was an idiot and got himself into trouble. And I don’t think anyone should be walking US streets with rifles in their hands. But my opinions matter not at all in this case.)

            1. I could be misinformed and I haven’t spent much time on paying attention to this case, but what I’ve read and seen some of the lesser charges seem pretty solid.

              1) Failure to comply with an emergency order, specifically a curfew of 8 PM. Obviously lots of people were in violation of that.

              2) Recklessly endangering safety, use of a dangerous weapon. Seems pretty clear that he did endanger bystanders when he fired his weapon, in more than one instance. This is a typical consequence of an untrained amateur trying to take on the very difficult task of deciding when and how to fire in chaotic conditions like that. Are these the charges the judge threw out? Maybe self-defense trumps these charges?

              3) I had read that Wisconsin law prohibits minors from possessing firearms except for hunting, and he was 17. Is this the charge the judge threw out? Maybe this is not in fact Wisconsin law, or there is more to it.

              Like you I’ve always thought that Rittenhouse had a good case for self defense, though I thought he acted like a moron. But I also have always thought that it was possible he could still find himself facing some legal consequences because of his actions leading up to the shooting.

              To my mind, if what I’ve read about police activity during these riots, including specifically their interactions with Rittenhouse, then the real responsibility for this mess rests squarely with them.

          4. Testimony from the trial:

            [T]his week, one of Rittenhouse’s pursuers, Gaige Grosskreutz, admitted on the stand that Rittenhouse shot him only after Grosskreutz pointed his pistol directly at Rittenhouse’s head a few feet away …

            [Rittenhouse’s lawyer]: “It wasn’t until you pointed your gun at him, advanced on him, with your gun (and your hands down) pointed at him, that he fired? Right?” To which Grosskreutz answered: “Correct.”

            1. We might postulate that Grosskreutz pointed his gun at Rittenhouse because the latter had killed a man less than a minute earlier and was on his way to escaping. Grosskreutz did not fire his gun at the armed killer. Rittenhouse fired his, taking another victim, and as a consequence was able to walk away unmolested, fool the police, and avoid capture.
              What I’d like to know is what set off Rosenbaum to chase Rittenhouse, but Rosenbaum is dead and and anything Rittenhouse might say is suspect. According to a witness, Rittenhouse was carrying a fire extinguisher in addition to the rifle when first pursued by Rosenbaum.

              1. He didn’t “fool police”, he tried to surrender to them but was told to go home. And he didn’t “avoid capture’, he went voluntarily to the police in his home town.

      2. “Although this type weapon should be illegal anywhere this child was 17 and certainly was illegal to have it.”

        The gun he had was a semi-automatic, not a true “assault rifle”, and is legal everywhere. There is no Wisconsin statute against a minor carrying a long-barreled rifle, so it was not illegal for him to have it..

        1. “Assault rifle” is a nearly meaningless term. It’s about “scary-looking” guns. You can’t buy a rifle with a semiautomatic action anymore (except used “classics”) that isn’t in the “military style”.

          People buy these because they are superbly designed for the job: They are excellent tools. They buy them for the same reason the militaries do: Reliability, firepower for weight, usability, standardization, accuracy, size & weight, etc. Why would you buy a poor tool when an excellent one is avialable?

          I am for many kinds of sensible gun laws. But banning semiautomatic rifles isn’t one of them. All long guns, of whatever type, account for only <3% of gun crimes. Handguns are the problem and pretty much no one is proposing banning all handguns. (And it would never pass constitutional muster.)

      3. ” The assault rifle he took to a demonstration/riot leaves him totally responsible for the murders.”

        That is not what US law says. Besides, lots of other people took guns to that riot, and lots of other people fired them.

    2. “So while Rittenhouse definitely went looking for trouble …”

      That is not at all “definite”. That is the prosecution’s claim, yes, but the defence claim is that he went to help, to help (with others) protect property and to provide medical assistance (and that he had no intent beyond that).

      1. And why would a 17-year-old kid be so concerned about protecting property in a city in another state? How much property did he really protect by walking around with his AR-15? It’s just not believable. His motivation was that of the typical gun nut: the hope that he might be involved in the proverbial “righteous shoot”. Assuming he walks, he will have gotten his wish.

        1. The city is less than 20 miles from his home. He had a job there. He went there daily to work. His father lives there. He regarded it as home turf.

          Rioters had done millions of dollars of damage in the previous days. Why is it “not believable” that he, with others he knew, answered a call to protect property (knowing that, that summer, the police tended to “withdraw” from BLM riots)?

          How much property did the dozen or so such people, armed with assault rifles, protect by being there and deterring damage? Probably, millions of dollars worth (judging by comparing damage that night to damage the previous night).

          There is *zero* evidence that he had any intent of getting involved in shooting.

          1. I read the sympathetic piece with the information about his ties to Kenosha. So I’ll grant that he felt like he had a vested interest in the community. However,

            There is *zero* evidence that he had any intent of getting involved in shooting.

            I feel like this treats us all like we’re idiots. He took a gun. We know that. That is not in dispute. Of course there was intent to maybe do something with that gun if the opportunity arose. And the opportunity did. And he used it. I don’t think that this is *zero* evidence.
            Also, regarding your point about the police ceding the city to the rioters – I don’t know that any amount of tear gas or nlm would quell folks who really want to be out there. See Portland. The police didn’t hold back there last summer (though they seem to be doing so now) – and people were on the streets in excess of 100 consecutive days.

            It seems like the real ideological split here is folks who think it’s okay to shoot people to defend property and those who don’t. There was a case in a town I lived in years ago where a store owner (who lived in his western store) awoke to the store being robbed. By a teenager. Who took belt buckles, and rode away on his bicycle. The owner ran out the door, shot him with his shotgun while the kid fled on his bike. The kid died. The county prosecutor declined to file charges as it was ‘legal to shoot a fleeing felon’ and the buckles were worth enough to make it a felony. I don’t agree with this, but that is what the law is, apparently. All that to say, it’s in the jury’s hands now – and they have more details than we do. We’ll see whether they think it was murder or not, and that is how it will be.

            1. I take issue with the idea he went to defend property. Most people don’t put themselves in harm’s way to protect property they don’t even own. Nothing that I’ve heard leads me to believe Rittenhouse is some kind of particularly altruistic or duty-bound individual. The defense of property is just his excuse to parade around with a gun, act as a vigilante, and (probably) get away with it.

              1. “The defense of property is just his excuse …”

                Do you also think the same about the other dozen or so who did the same?

              2. I have paid a lot of attention to this case, as well as being pretty well acquainted with firearms and self defense laws, at least where I am located.
                Rittenhouse is almost the definition an of altruistic and duty bound individual. He was in the police explorer program, and was a firefighting/EMT cadet. He worked as a lifeguard. After the initial riots, he volunteered to clean graffiti and damaged businesses.
                I do agree with pretty much everyone here that he should not have been anywhere near the riot. Not because he is a crazed vigilante, but because he seem like a terribly naive kid. He thought he was going to be able to administer first aid to peaceful protesters, and provide security for the car lots that are a particular target for arsonists. Just the presence of armed persons guarding a business is enough to deter violence. But that makes the assumption that the people protesting are more or less normal people, even if they sometimes let things get out of hand.
                However, the four people he shot at were not normal people. They were all felons, and the first one he shot was a monster. His being a serial child rapist only begins to describe him. He had spent most of his adult life in custody, and had in fact been out less than a day when he was shot. He had threatened to kill the people guarding the car lot if he got any of them alone, which he tried to do.

                The vigilantes, if any were present, were the people that chased Rittenhouse down and tried to kill him as he was attempting to turn himself in to the police.

                It used to be normal to expect people to feel morally compelled to stand up and defend one’s neighbors or community, even when they face personal risk when doing so. Much of the country is still such a place. If this was happening in my community, I would be shocked if a bunch of armed folks did not show up. Others live in places where people routinely ignore or pretend to not notice even public assaults on the most vulnerable. But that is not living in a community, that is just living in the proximity of a bunch of strangers.

              3. To Max Blancke :

                “He was in the police explorer program, and was a firefighting/EMT cadet. He worked as a lifeguard. ”

                To paraphrase George Carlin:

                somewhere out there is the worlds worst police explorer, firefighter/EMT cadet, and lifeguard.

            2. No-one in this case is saying that it’s ok to shoot people to defend property. The claim is that he was chased and attacked and thus it was self-defense.

              And when you say: “Of course there was intent to maybe do something with that gun if the opportunity arose.”, there is a whole lot of mind reading going into that “of course”.

              1. Okay, so perhaps I am misunderstanding those defending him. As I read it – the idea was that he went to Kenosha to protect property. He took a gun. Was the gun not intended to deter the destruction of property? I believe you, in another comment, suggested that the presence of the gun-having property defenders did indeed prevent property destruction. Which leads me to ask, why would a person with a gun deter a person who wanted to vandalize property? Is it perhaps that they do not want to be shot?

                So, why did he take a gun if not to deter property damage via threat of shooting? Is there another argument for why he would have taken a gun?

                As for my ‘of course’ – if I take a can opener to a soup party you can pretty cleanly infer what I intend to do with it.

              2. Yes, agreed, he took the gun to: (1) defend property by deterring people; (2) defend himself, and — likely — (3) act the adult/hero.

                So maybe he envisaged himself acting the adult/hero, with a gun, doing good and protecting property.

                But there’s nothing to suggest that he had envisaged actually firing his weapon.

              3. Who owns a gun and goes to a riot and doesn’t imagine ever having to fire it? Sure, Rittenhouse is stupid but you are asking us to imagine him brain-dead.

              4. I’m just jumping into this discussion here for convenience :

                Had Rittenhouse been taking regular firearm training sessions at the time of the incident?

              5. According to WaPo:

                “Outside school, Rittenhouse participated in cadet programs with both the Antioch Fire Department and the Grayslake Police Department, according to department newsletters. The police initiative offers participants from ages 14 to 21 “the opportunity to explore a career in law enforcement” through ride-alongs with officers on patrol and firearms training, according to since-deleted pages on its website.”


              6. Oh, well, that settles it – he was trained to optimum performance with firearms!

                … hang on – I’m sorry, I forgot the “fantasized that he” part.

      2. I always thought that vigilantism was supposed to be illegal in the US, but a combination of absolutely ridiculous gun laws and stand your ground type of laws and attitudes are slowly turning the US into a Somalia like uber-libertarian paradise.

    3. One key bit of testimony from the trial which you will never hear in the MSM:

      And so when, this week, one of Rittenhouse’s pursuers, Gaige Grosskreutz, admitted on the stand that Rittenhouse shot him only after Grosskreutz pointed his pistol directly at Rittenhouse’s head a few feet away, it came as a shock.

      [Rittenhouse’s lawyer]: “It wasn’t until you pointed your gun at him, advanced on him, with your gun (and your hands down) pointed at him, that he fired? Right?” To which Grosskreutz answered: “Correct.”

      Here’s how the NYT first described this a year ago, on August 26: “Video footage from the scene of the shooting appears to show Mr. Rittenhouse running and then firing his gun, striking a man in the head. He then flees and is chased by bystanders before tripping, falling to the ground and shooting another man.”

      Andrew Sullivan quoted this last week. He’s well worth reading.

      In the video that was viewed a zillion times online, two or three men (I forget which) attacked him when he tripped and fell (seems an entirely plausible interpretation of their actions). One swung his skateboard at Rittenhouse’s head (no interpretation required).

      In any case, when there’s a gun involved, the situation is always (always) that the assailant will try to get control of the gun and probably shoot you. This is nearly physics in its inevitability.

      I said from the beginning that, just based on the video (I did not know about the gun being pointed at him, noted in the quote above), that Rittenhouse had a plausible self-defense case (and I was roundly abused online for it). (And WTF were those morons (in the video) going after a guy with a gun in has hands for in the first place?)

      Andrew Sullivan describes Rittenhouse this way: “a reckless teen with a rifle in the wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha” and “Rittenhouse was a naive, dangerous fool in the midst of indefensible mayhem, who, in the end, shot assailants in self-defense”. I think is a pretty good summary.

      One should also note that all the principals in this story are white. Something else you’d probably never learn from the MSM. When a BIPOC is involved, it’s all about race, regardless of the circumstances.

      And, if anyone thinks it was illegal for Rittenhouse to open-carry that rifle, they are incorrect. It was legal and the judge threw out that charge last week. He was foolish (in my opinion); but he was not breaking the law.

  10. I’m glad the Q-Anon Shaman is going to jail. Such a shmegegge. But you do have to admit that his photographic visage is one for the ages. We’ll be seeing that iconic picture for a while.

      1. I think that die was cast long ago by a costume designer with an ill-conceived idea regarding the magic helmet, Tarnhelm, in Wagner’s Ring Cycle. 🙂

    1. Yeah, good riddance, and I hope the long sentence acts as a deterrence of future attacks. Though data suggests long sentences and death sentences aren’t much a deterrent.

      Was he the same guy who wasn’t eating because he’s a vegan and couldn’t stomach jail food? There are no vegans serving time in jail.

        1. Well, based on the arcane rules that determine sentencing, he and the other insurrectionist charged with a felony (forget his name) were recommended 41-52 months. Since they both got the minimum sentence, I’d say the judge was sympathetic.

          1. In federal court, when a defendant pleads guilty instead of putting the prosecution to its burden of proof at trial, it is common practice for the government to recommend, and the judge to sentence the defendant to, the bottom end of the applicable federal sentencing guidelines’ range.

            There are exceptions, of course, but this is the general practice. It’s part of the overall incentive for a defendant to plea rather than go to trial.

            Had the shaman gone to trial, he would’ve probably been looking at a sentencing guidelines’ range of 57 to 71 months and, depending on the evidence presented, may well have received the top end.

          2. It’s said that it is the longest sentence handed out so far for 1/6 participants and that prosecutors sought a long sentence in order to send a message to others whose cases have yet to be heard, presumably to encourage them to make a deal.

  11. Singal and Weiss may be misunderstanding those interested in seeing Rittenhouse convicted. It’s not so much about him being a white supremacist but that he represents the broken attitudes of gun nuts and the lax gun laws that enable them. They would like to see him convicted in order to send a message to the country that these killings are the natural and direct result of allowing people to carry guns virtually everywhere.

    1. These killings are the natural and direct result of police refusing to do their jobs and seceding control of the streets to vigilantes and terrorists. There should never have been more than 3 hours of rioting in Kenosha, certainly not 3 days. Its not that hard to tear gas a crowd and knock the heads in of everyone who won’t disperse and hold ’em over night and then charge them en mass for rioting.

      Rittenhouse and the rest of the chuckleheads is what you get when you have a state that refuses to maintain order, and decides to cede its lawful authority to chuckleheads. Worked out great in Weimer Germany BTW!

      1. I see what you did here but we’re talking about Rittenhouse and his actions, not the actual riots and the police response to them. That’s a different matter entirely. I doubt Rittenhouse really cared about any of that. His only interest in the riots was as an opportunity to fulfill his weapon fantasies.

        1. My sense on Rittenhouse (having watched the videos):

          1.) He is a stupid kid.
          2.) It looked like a good shoot to me, the issue I would be wrestling with is the reckless conduct re: shots fired in vicinity of the journalist.
          3.) He is guilty of stupidity, you don’t go looking for trouble.
          4.) All of it could have been prevented had law enforcement done their job. The two corpses would still be alive and the guy with the hole in his hand would be intact.

    2. In Canada, even if a weapon was not actually used he could have been charged with having a weapon dangerous to the public peace in the context of a riot. If all he had was a kitchen paring knife that was perfectly legal for him to be carrying at some other time and place, the Crown would point out to the jury that there were no potatoes to be pared in Kenosha that night. The police would even have looked closely at the bandage scissors in his medical kit.

      It sounds to me that those interested in seeing him convicted believe he is guilty of an offence of that nature and they may be right. The stakes are raised with firearms. Rethink of the state’s gun laws might be prompted. Or not.

      But the State of Wisconsin didn’t charge him with “weapons dangerous”. It charged him with murder and other serious felonies. The jury must acquit him if it has reason to accept self-defence for the shootings as set out in Wisconsin law. You can’t convict someone of something he didn’t do just to send a message to the 2A crowd, especially when bringing a rifle to a riot does not seem to be unlawful in Wisconsin at present.

      I’m predicting a hung jury.

        1. That wasn’t my point but thanks for the shout-out. Every country goes insane in its own way….and, like bankruptcy or any process with positive feedback, first slowly, then suddenly.

          Here, too, a vacuum of law enforcement has prompted vigilante action, and not just in defence of life, but property also. The veneer is thin. “Direct action” to get what you want when the ballot box doesn’t give it to you makes other people’s glue come loose.

      1. Would it make no difference at all in Canada if the person was not participating in the riot? The idea conjures sort of a dystopia where people can conduct a riot, and all of the victims are required to just huddle in fear, afraid to interfere with the people destroying everything they own, and hoping that they and their families are spared.

        We have pretty strict enhancements when people commit crimes while armed. But they do not convey special penalties for being armed where others are committing crimes.

        1. Tough question; your interest is appreciated. In Canada, a person who shoots another person dead is always charged with murder. If no death, there will still be serious charges. Never would the police, on investigation, decide not to lay a charge, even if you shot an armed intruder with his pants down in your daughter’s bedroom. So you would lose your life savings defending yourself against all the resources of the Crown trying to send you to prison for life. A recent jury acquittal is going for retrial so no comment on it. There is no castle defence in Canada — you are obligated to flee if you can.

          Now, it doesn’t happen very often here that armed people break into occupied homes, unless they know to be looking for drugs or mega-cash or are trying to settle some criminal score. There are very few justified shooting cases to go on. If your life or another’s is in imminent danger —imminent has been stretched in the some cases of battered women—you are entitled to use deadly force but you have to convince a jury (or a judge alone at your choice) that was your only option. The Crown will cross-examine you mercilessly.

          It seems mostly to work for us. But we have never experienced the scale of orchestrated uncivil dystopian violence you saw in 2020. It looked like an insurrection from here. Famous events like the Winnipeg General Strike of 1919 and the V-E Day sailors’ riot in Halifax came nowhere remotely close. From far away as a foreigner I think the police let you down—the affected cities seemed to be in a legal vacuum for days and weeks which, by a Hobbesian concept of the state, justifies vigilantism in theory at least. We weren’t surprised that someone started shooting; police weapons would have been better, earlier. (Violence is mine, sayeth the state.). Of course up close maybe it wasn’t so scary and the police restraint was admirable. And they didn’t want to get shot, either.

          Hard to translate all that to Canada. I can’t guess how juries would decide.
          For sure any vigilante gunmen, even those defending their own homes and businesses from arsonists, would be charged with serious offences once the fires were out and the cops had re-established control. Remember most Canadians simply don’t have guns to put up a defence anyway, so huddle in the basement or skedaddle out the back door we would. In remote rural areas with violent crime rates much higher than our cites over-all, the neighbours help each other but the less said the better.

          Speaking of arson, there is a case of vigilante arson that occurred in a legal vacuum. It is before the Court, so no comment. I’m asking people who know about these two cases I’ve mentioned not to comment on them, either.

    3. Hard to imagine how this single extraordinary case is “the natural and direct result of allowing people to carry guns virtually everywhere” since there are hundreds of millions of guns and 80 million gun owners in the US who are involved in nothing untoward year after year after year.

    4. Weiss and Singal are commenting on the MSM reporting on the incident and trial. And they are spot-on. The reporting has been abysmal. Important facts are not reported because they don’t fit the “white supremacist” narrative.

      Quite similar to the Nicholas Sandmann incident in Jan 2019. (Was/is Sandmann a privileged, arrogant little shit with MAGA politics? Almost certainly. Did he do anything wrong or illegal? No.)

      1. Not so sure. I regularly watch CNN and I don’t remember them suggesting Rittenhouse is a white supremacist. In fact, I believe they explicitly stated that, even though some have suggested it, there’s no evidence for it. It wouldn’t surprise me if he’s racist to the extent that, if had been a riot about a “white” issue involving mostly white people, he wouldn’t have gone to Kenosha.

  12. Re Paul Bowles: Radio station WFMT in Chicago played several pieces by him last week, perhaps in anticipation of today’s anniversary of his death. (Classical musicians are committed necrologists.🤔) His music reminded me that I want to read his book, The Sheltering Sky. Seeing his name in today’s Dialogue reminds me of this again. It must be kismet!

  13. Re the push button phone, I recall going to Disneyland as a child and seeing one in Tomorrowland. They had a rotary phone and a touch tone set up adjacent to each other. Two people could stand there, simultaneously start dialing the same number, and a display would time each of them. Spoiler alert: the push buttons always won.

    I remember thinking “maybe someday” I would possess this space age technology, hopefully along with my turbine car.

  14. 1/ the horse with ‘humps’ – Bactrian camels are from central Asia not the middle East.

    2/ Gray, great scientist but sadly religious.

  15. Trivia :

    The touch tone system was technically named something with the acronym DTMF. For 2 points, what do the letters in the acronym stand for?

    (I heard this trivia on the radio so thought it’d be fun to try )

      1. Getting around to this (don’t ask) :

        Dual-Tone Multi Frequency

        Quoting from Wikipedia :

        The DTMF system uses a set of eight audio frequencies transmitted in pairs to represent 16 signals, represented by the ten digits, the letters A to D, and the symbols # and *.

        The DTMF telephone keypad is laid out as a matrix of push buttons in which each row represents the low frequency component and each column represents the high frequency component of the DTMF signal.

        Pressing a key sends a combination of the row and column frequencies. For example, the 1 key produces a superimposition of a 697 Hz low tone and a 1209 Hz high tone.

        Rows (Hz) : 697 770 852 941
        Columns (Hz) : 1209 1336 1477 1633

        [ end quotes ]

        Apologies for the length – I think its cool!

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