Saturday: Hili dialogue (and Mietek monologue)

June 4, 2022 • 6:30 am

Welcome to the Cat Sabbath, Saturday, June 4, 2022, when all cats are expected to avoid work and study the Talmud. (Every day is Cat Shabbos.)  It’s graduation day at the University of Chicago, when the class of 2023 moves up to become four-year students. As always, we award honorary degrees only to scholars and do not solicit the likes of Taylor Swift to give commencement advice to our students. Foodwise, it’s National Cheese Day, a food that is kosher so long as it’s not mixed with meat. It’s also a favorite of many cats.

Finally, it’s the International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression. 

The Google Doodle today (click on screenshot below; there’s an animation at the click) celebrates the life of Kiyoshi Kuromiya, described as a “Japanese American author and civil rights, anti-war, gay liberation, and HIV/AIDS activist.”

A photo of Kuromiya from the Philadelphia Gay News:

Stuff that happened on June 4 include:

A poster announcing the opening of the Transcontinental Railroad 7 years before the record run:

  • 1896 – Henry Ford completes the Ford Quadricycle, his first gasoline-powered automobile, and gives it a successful test run.

Here’s Ford in his Quadricycle that same year. These were custom-built cars with 4 horsepower and a top speed of 20 mph, and they were very expensive. The average Joe wasn’t able to afford a car until Ford produced the Model T (and Ford got very rich).

Here are the current hourly minimum wages in the U.S. (from Wikipedia; click to enlarge).  California and Washington D.C. lead the nation, with hourly minimums of $15.00 or more:

  • 1913 – Emily Davison, a suffragist, runs out in front of King George V‘s horse at The Derby. She is trampled, never regains consciousness, and dies four days later.

Here’s the famous video of Davison, who didn’t intend to commit suicide, running in front of the King’s horse. It occurs at 2:11.

 

  • 1917 – The first Pulitzer Prizes are awarded: Laura E. Richards, Maude H. Elliott, and Florence Hall receive the first Pulitzer for biography (for Julia Ward Howe). Jean Jules Jusserand receives the first Pulitzer for history for his work With Americans of Past and Present Days. Herbert B. Swope receives the first Pulitzer for journalism for his work for the New York World.
  • 1919 – Women’s rights: The U.S. Congress approves the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which guarantees suffrage to women, and sends it to the U.S. states for ratification.

Here it is:

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

This is a bit misleading: yes, we turned away the Jews (how could we have done that?), as did Canada, but all of them eventually found refuge in England, Belgium, and the Netherlands. It was the refugees to the latter two countries who were rounded up by the Nazis and later killed. Still. . . .

Some of the happy passengers arriving in Belgium:

The famous bit of that speech:

  • 1986 – Jonathan Pollard pleads guilty to espionage for selling top secret United States military intelligence to Israel.

DA NOOZ:

*The Washington Post dissects the question of why the overwhelming majority of mass shooters are young men. They talk about developmental differences between the sexes, the prefrontal cortex, and so on, but not once do they mention the word “evolution”! We’re not the only species in which males are more aggressive, violent, and more willing to take risks than females (and we can imagine good evolutionary reasons connected with reproduction), but they should also have noted that most crime in general, including non-mass shootings, are also perpetrated by males.

But they always find somebody to implicate acculturation, which may be a factor but probably not the main one:

Eric Madfis, an associate professor of criminal justice at the University of Washington at Tacoma, talks about “White male grievance,” although he acknowledges that not all the shooters have been White. He suggests the perpetrators are trying to regain control through a “masculine” solution after a long period of frustration.

“We teach boys and men that the only socially acceptable emotion to have is not to be vulnerable and sensitive, but to be tough and macho and aggressive,” Madfis said in an interview.

*According to the Church Times, a British religious site, the Anglican Church is doomed to extinction in the UK, perhaps within four decades. The statistics come from calculating the rate at which believers “infect” each other with faith, qualified by the rate at which believers meet their maker. This is expressed as the statistic “R” (h/t Barry):

The study was compiled by Dr John Hayward, a mathematician at the University of South Wales and the founder of the church-growth modelling site. He analysed data from 13 denominations to calculate their R-rate — a technique more usually associated with calculating the spread of disease.

For a virus such as Covid-19, an R number of more than one indicates that the disease is spreading rapidly, while an R-rate of less than one points to its dying out. Dr Hayward has now applied the same model to church attendance.

He says that he saw the potential of applying R-number modelling to church growth in 1999. “The analogy works when existing church members add new members through personal contact, whether directly or indirectly,” he writes in his report.

He analysed attendance data from between 2000 and 2020, and found that Church of England and Roman Catholic churches across the UK have R numbers of just over 0.9. Their congregations could vanish by 2062, he concludes.

It’s appropriate to use an infection rate since, as Hitchens said, “Religion poisons everything.”

*In the NYT, sports writer Kurt Streeter asks a good question: why, among all sports, is the popularity of women’s tennis about equal to that of men’s tennis, when the sex-based athletic differential applies across many sports? Streeter says the answer is complicated, but in fact offers only one solution: women in other sports are too much “in your face”!

We still live in a world where strong, powerful women who break the mold struggle for acceptance. Consider the W.N.B.A., stocked with outspoken women, a majority of them Black, who have shown a communal willingness to take aggressive stands for L.G.B.T.Q. rights, reproductive freedom and politics. How do you think that goes down in many corners of America and the world?

Yes, tennis often has a few outspoken players willing to publicly buck against power. In the game’s modern era, Venus and Serena Williams did it just by showing up and dominating. Naomi Osaka bent the rules with her face masks protesting for Black rights. But the vast majority of women in tennis wear their significant power quietly, behind the scenes, and in a way that does not overly upset the male-dominated status quo. To think that this is not a factor in the pro tour’s popularity would be foolish.

Well, call me foolish, but I’m not buying this explanation. And I have no alternative, either. But I love watching women’s tennis, although basketball or baseball don’t attract me. I prefer watching women’s gymnastics, but the Big Show for that sport comes only once every four years.

*From the Insider, clever California judges took advantage of the literal law itself to protect bumble bees.  See explanation below the tweet, and a longer bit about the ruling, including the ruling itself, here.  (h/t Matthew, Ginger K.)

From the site:

A trio of judges in California said on Tuesday that bees could be legally classified as a type of fish as part of a ruling that gave added conservation protections to the endangered species.

“The issue presented here is whether the bumble bee, a terrestrial invertebrate, falls within the definition of fish,” the judges wrote in their ruling. And, they concluded, it does.

Formerly, the problem for bee lovers — and lovers of all Californian terrestrial invertebrates — was down to the way protected animals had been classified in the state’s laws.

While four bee species were classified as endangered in 2018, land invertebrates are not explicitly protected under the California Endangered Species Act, which protects endangered “native species or subspecies of a bird, mammal, fish, amphibian, reptile, or plant.”

But the law’s fish and game code, which establishes the basis on which plants and animals are protected, defines “fish” as “a wild fish, mollusk, crustacean, invertebrate, amphibian, or part, spawn, or ovum of any of those animals.”

*The Wall Street Journal asks and answers the perennial question, “Why do ducks get in a row? To swim better.” The answer is that ducklings do it under the right conditions as a way of using wave motion to move forward with less energy—to draft.

The thing is, though, I covered and explained this issue in depth last OctoberWho’s a good boy? Who scooped the Wall Street Journal? Show me justice!

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, two new friends are going for walkies:

A: Are you coming in?
Hili: No, I’m waiting for Szaron.
In Polish:
Ja: Wchodzisz?
Hili: Nie, czekam na Szarona.

A picture of baby Kulka:

And a rare Mietek monologue, as the ginger cat greets the weekend:

Mitek: Is it Saturday yet?

In Polish: Już sobota?

And a picture of Karolina in  back in Kyev, holding the Great Children’s Encyclopedia (note the cat ears)

Caption:  From yesterday’s mail. According to Natasza, Karolina is quickly making up for lost time.

In Polish: Z wczorajszej poczty. Jak informuje Natasza, Karolina pospiesznie nadrabia zaległości.

From reader Pliny the in Between’s Far Corner Cafe:  Some people who believe in evolution are still arguing how we could all have descended from a literal mated pair of Homo sapiens. It’s not true.

Paula found a picture of a Queen’s Jubilee Cake in a Facebook foodie group. Here it is! (Not a great likeness. . .  )

From Jesus of the Day:

Wisdom from G-d:

Ricky Gervais has a new Netflix special, “Supernature,” but I haven’t watch it. Here, however, is a relevant tweet:

Here’s an interesting analysis by a YouTuber and avowed feminist, explaining why Amber Heard came out second in the Depp/Heard fracas. It involves many tweets, but I found it useful. The short take: Heard’s evidence (and her own testimony) apparently didn’t prove credible to the jury.

From Barry, apparently a serious attempt to discredit evoution:

From Ginger K.:

From the Auschwitz Memorial:

Tweets from Dr. Cobb, who’s enjoying the holiday for the Queen. He’s not a fan of the royalty, though. About this tweet, showing Boris Johnson getting booed, Matthew says,

“Good news from the events at St Pauls. Worth listening to. If the union-jack bedecked loons are booing him, it means something.”

 

CEILING KITTENS!

And one of Matthew’s beloved optical illusions:

 

45 thoughts on “Saturday: Hili dialogue (and Mietek monologue)

  1. Imagine this cast in a movie:
    Faye Dunaway
    Sam Wanamaker
    Wendy Hiller
    Jonathan Pryce
    Malcolm McDowell
    Max von Sydow
    Donald Houston
    Orson Welles
    James Mason
    Katherine Ross
    Ben Gazzara
    Janet Suzman
    Denholm Elliott
    Leonard Rossiter

    Lots of well-known British TV names there too. Sounds good, doesn’t it? But it’s a downer: The Voyage of the Damned, about the MS St Louis. An expensive Lew Grade epic, with a cast of thousands, well, a lot of actors who did it as a passion project. Very hard to find now, and rather dated, but worth a look.

    1. Richard Attenborough’s Bridge Too Far had Robert Redford, Ryan O’Neal, Dirk Bogard, Sean Connery, Edward Fox, Anthony Hopkins, Michael Caine, Michael Byrne, James Caan, Gene Hackman, Ben Cross, Hardy Kruger, Maximilian Schell, Laurence Olivier, Liv Ullmann, Alun Armstrong, Donald Pickering, Christopher Good, Denholm Elliott, Jeremy Kemp, and others.

      It was watchable.

      1. The Longest Day perhaps had the best cast list ever, but I have to admit that it and A Bridge Too Far were on topics of greater general interest than the story of the MS St Louis. I still think Voyage of the Damned had a startling cast for a movie about – sadly – a niche topic, that sank without trace (unlike the ship, scrapped in 1952).

        1. Right. I had forgotten all about The Longest Day. Same author.

          The Towering Inferno and Cassandra Crossing were assemblies of stars. But I thought the films were a bit silly.

  2. Well, call me foolish, but I’m not buying this explanation. And I have no alternative, either. But I love watching women’s tennis

    I think the last sentence is the alternative explanation. In most sports, the women’s game is inferior entertainment compared to the men’s game because, although the skill level might be similar, the relative lack of power is a detraction. In tennis, I think the power of the men’s game makes it less interesting. Take it to extremes: the server serves the ball so fast that the receiver has no chance of getting it back. That’s not interesting – well it’s not interesting if it happens all the time.

    I doubt if the people with union flags at the platinum jubilee were Matthew’s “loons”. They are probably just royalists out for a celebration. The British prime minister, however, is deeply unpopular and has lost any respect he might have had with the public. If he had a shred of integrity, he would have resigned months ago. If he or his team had an iota of competence, the parties would never have been allowed to happen.

    I find the Depp/Heard trial quite interesting. The BBC didn’t really start reporting it until Heard took the stand and, if you read their reports, you would have assumed it was a slam dunk win to her. On the other hand, my Youtube recommendations have been full of the trial for weeks and the videos that I was served with by The Algorithm, universally showed a trial in which Depp’s lawyers and witnesses ran rings around Heard and her team. I suspect there is a lot of confirmation bias going on with the supporters of both sides, but the jury seems to have mostly sided with Depp.

    From the point of view of the woke crowd, this is, of course, an indictment of the American legal system. See for example PZ Myers’ article. He says:

    whenever I watched a clip of the trial, what I saw was a woman in pain, controlling herself because she didn’t want to play into the public perception of women as hysterical, while Depp was just an asshole.

    It’s not crossed Myers’ mind that Heard is a professional actor and so it’s possible that what he saw was a performance.

    1. Regarding Boris at the Abbey: he was asked to read one of the lessons, from the Epistle to the Philippians, which included the passage:

      “Whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable…think about these things”.

      Oh, the irony!

    2. In re Depp vs. Heard, I found her twisted. tortured expression while facing the jury being replaced with one of calm expectation as she looked back at counsel for the next question quite impossible to believe. I commented, carefully, on this to my wife, a psychiatrist. “I know” she said, “they’re all talking about it at the clinic, and as I work with mostly left-wing women psychologists and social workers, I was surprised at how they all agreed she was faking it.” There is no reason for anyone to sympathise with Heard at this point, except to take a political stance about wider issues, and don’t think Depp should be martyred in the cause of all the abused women he has never even met! That’s not justice.

      1. Also, you wouldn’t know it from any mainstream media article (every article just says, “Ms. Heard testified to at least a dozen instances of abused by Depp), but there are hours of unedited audio recordings that have been out for several years now, in which Heard physically and emotionally abuses Depp while he cowers and asks her to please stop. When he says he’ll take her to court at one point, she says, “try it. Try going in front of a jury and saying, ‘I, Johnny Depp, a man, was abused by a woman.'” She also threatens to destroy him with false accusations of abuse. But the mainstream media helped perpetrate her further abuse of Depp through media and the courts by immediately taking her side and promoting her as a victim, so they have every reason to be utterly dishonest about this situation.

    3. “Take it to extremes: the server serves the ball so fast that the receiver has no chance of getting it back. That’s not interesting – well it’s not interesting if it happens all the time.”

      This still doesn’t happen all that often in men’s matches, unless you’re watching a match with the really big servers, of whom there are only a few. Nadal and Federer have never been huge servers. Men’s matches have many great rallies because the men are also faster to get to the balls than the women, so the disparity in ball speed can be partially alleviated.

      1. The unreturnable serve was actually more common in the era of wooden rackets, when most of the top competitors on the men’s tour played a serve-and-volley game. I recall watching the US Open in the early Seventies when it was still played at Forrest Hills on grass. In many of the matches the average length of points was 1.5 shots.

        The late novelist David Foster Wallace — who had been a top junior tennis player in Illinois, and had a degree in mathematics/modal logic from Amherst (and also wrote a non-fiction book on the mathematical concept of infinity) — wrote a long-form essay explaining, among many other things, the physics behind the change in professional tennis brought about by the introduction larger-faced composite rackets entitled “String Theory.” It’s available online here.

        1. Fascinating. I had no idea he was so accomplished outside the field for which he’s most know.

  3. …Why have government? Why have society? Why try to do anything?…

    Why have a minimum wage? What would happen if you let the employer and the employee figure it out?

    1. While we are at it, why have unions? Let the employer and employee figure it out.

      Why have health and safety regulations? If the employee is getting sick on the job, he can always quit.

      Why have environmental standards? If a business is destroying the environment, the simple solution is for the public to stop buying the product. The business will eventually fold. So what if this could take decades and the business is a monopoly or near so?

      As you suggest, let the free market work its way. It’s against the laws of nature and God for any goddamn government to interfere. And one such law of nature is that the poor will always be with us. It violates the law of nature to do anything about it. We should not let emotion get in the way when we see pictures of early twentieth century sweatshops and squalid tenements. This is what nature and the free market intended. It is pure hubris for humans to attempt to change this.

      1. Perhaps you were being overly emotional in your response. And you did not answer the question. I was not suggesting anything, but was soliciting opinions as to what the consequences would be. I don’t have any issue with the minimum wage. Of course there is plenty of literature available on the subject, but the point was to ask the people at WEIT.

        It was God’s questions and the minimum-wage anniversary that prompted me to ask the question. That is why I quoted God 🙂

  4. I would join you in listing gymnastics as a sport where the women are more interesting to watch or follow. And how about also figure skating and, for that matter, ice dancing? (If we think of the male partner as support while the woman is the performer — unfair, I admit.) I know there are those who would cavill at counting these all as sports, but that fits the point — maybe women are admired in these sports because they are the ones incorporating elements resembling artistic performance.

    And similar to the distinction of speed skating from figure skating, we could note the differences of swim racing and diving, where the latter has more of the judged elements of form and performance. And also, I suggest, that makes it an area for women athletes to shine.

    1. I don’t buy the artistic argument. As far as I am concerned women’s athletics and swim racing are neither more nor less interesting to watch than the men’s. The fact that the men can go a bit faster or jump further or whatever is not an issue if men and women are not competing against each other. What makes it exciting usually is when the competition is close.

      It may reflect the events in which the UK has had medal success in recent Olympics but I’d say here male diving is a lot more well known than women diving and it is not clear that women shine more in that sport.

  5. As a tennis fan, I think it’s easy to explain why women’s tennis is completely watchable, while I have no interest in watching other women’s sports: it’s an individual sport that involves a great amount of strategy in addition to the athleticism, and both are easier to enjoy when it’s only individuals playing. It’s much easier to appreciate the athleticism and strategy on an individual level.

    But when you put a team together, as in hockey or basketball, you end up watching a product that’s so inferior to the men’s that it’s just not fun to watch. Watching the main women’s leagues for those two sports is several rungs below watching even men’s juniors teams, to say nothing of minor league teams. That last statement is borne out by the fact that even the greatest women’s soccer team the world has ever seen — the women’s national US soccer team — played matches in the past against under-16 boys teams from around the country and regularly lost. The same happened with hockey: the greatest women’s hockey teams ever assembled, which were the Olympics US team of 2018 and Canada’s 2014 team, practiced and lost against high-level boy’s high school teams. Most of the greatest women to ever play ice hockey were on those teams.

    Of course, none of this implies that women shouldn’t be playing these sports, or that their accomplishments in them aren’t special and exceptional. But when you’re used to watching a certain level of play, it’s difficult to watch a level of play that falls below even really good boys’ under-16 teams. I think this is why sports like women’s hockey and basketball just haven’t caught on, despite the media pushing them very hard over the last few years. Both women’s leagues for those sports are directly paid for by the NBA and NHL, and wouldn’t be able to exist without that financial support, as there just isn’t enough interest.

    EDIT: I notice that comment four above lists some other women’s sports that I also find fun to watch, and they’re all individual.

    1. I was thinking about the individual aspect, too. For me, though, it was about camera angles and optics. It is easier to maintain a visual focus on a tennis court, especially on a subject who is relatively still most of the time. I suspect people want to observe athletes of different sexes in different ways; the cinematography used in showing tennis players’ features, emotions, stances, etc. allows them to be more personalized (to viewers interested in the sport), but also more objectified (to viewers who find them physically attractive).

      I’m not sold on the idea. I’ll have to consider it. I’m not a sports fan, so I don’t really get into their headspace.

      1. I think you’re onto something with the portion of your comment about movement. The disparity in athleticism isn’t nearly as apparent when the players are stationary or moving very little for most of the time watched, and it’s hard to spot the difference between a tennis ball going 85 MPH versus 100 MPH or the difference in running speed from how far away tennis matches are broadcast. Those disparities become much more apparent with the constant motion in sports like ice hockey, basketball, soccer, etc.

  6. I don’t have a strong opinion on whether or not tennis is more or less enjoyable to watch than other sports when played by women but I seriously doubt the explanation offered in the NYT for the greater popularity of tennis. I think that there is actually quite a strong history of women tennis players being ‘in your face’ and pushing for equality. Billie Jean King springs to mind as an obvious example but she was not alone in fighting for a better deal for women in tennis and beyond. There are also a large number of women now playing soccer, rugby, cricket and various other team sports professionally and I don’t think it is true that most of them ‘are in your face’ political campaigners.

    1. It would be impossible for women playing team sports to demand equal pay to men. In something like tennis, the courts are there and the TV time can be given equally. In the team sports, the men generate billions of dollars in revenue, while the women’s leagues lose money. Billie Jean King had the luck of advocating for parity in an individual sport where giving equal pay wasn’t particularly difficult, and where giving equal air time was easier because (1) it’s easier to watch women’s sports when it’s an individual sport, and (2) the tournaments in which they’re playing are already set up for both sexes, so it’s not a financial burden to give the same prize money and coverage to both sexes. It’s also easier to get invested in specific people when it’s an individual sport, which I think explains why it’s hard for women in team sports to stand out and have strong personalities/charisma (I assume that’s what you mean by “in your face”).

      1. ‘In your face’ was, I believe, the term used in the original post referring to the assertion by the NYT article that women in basketball and other sports are politically assertive (“…outspoken women, a majority of them Black, who have shown a communal willingness to take aggressive stands for L.G.B.T.Q. rights, reproductive freedom and politics.”) in contrast to women tennis players. This was the reason given in the NYT article for the greater popularity of women’s tennis than the other sports.

        The point I was making had nothing to do with whether or not equality of prize money is more or less possible in tennis than in other sports. I was simply pointing out that women’s tennis has certainly had plenty of politically assertive players – BJK being a prime example – whilst it is far from the case that top players in women’s soccer, rugby and other sports are all shouty campaigners for women’s rights, LGBQT rights or any other causes. Therefore I think that the NYT thesis that the greater popularity of women’s tennis than other women’s sports is due to tennis players being more polite and NOT ‘in your face’ is bullshit.

        The greater popularity of tennis is therefore to my mind better explained by something else which may be the reasons you give or something else again. I hope this clarifies.

        1. Ah, sorry for misunderstanding, and good point!

          Plus, tons were talking during BLM. Leave it to the NYT to find a way to make it about how more people watching them must be out of sexism. “We don’t wanna see women givin’ no dang political opinions!” Yup, you sure got this one right, NYT.

      2. “It would be impossible for women playing team sports to demand equal pay to men.”
        The US women’s national soccer team just – finally – won that from US Soccer, after many years of asking and then litigation. I think they deserve more than the men, if you’re paying for one or both of success and audience: after all, they’ve won several World Cups and Olympic medals, the men’s national team has been a perpetual also-ran.

        1. Sorry, but that’s a country’s national team, not a professional league. I think it’s pretty clear that I meant professional leagues, which need to generate high profits to give anything even close to equal pay.

        2. The US Women’s soccer team wins frequently, but never against opponents who play at the level the men play at.
          As for revenue, the face value of a good ticket to the men’s final costs over $1000 US. The same seat at the women’s final runs for $60 or so. Not that you can expect the men to get that far.
          My thought when the pay controversy first came up was to let them play against each other, and adjust their pay to the score ratio.

  7. I have a confession to make. I had no idea that I was supposed to send any of our cats to Hebrew school. I suppose I could take a couple of volumes of Talmud out to the barn, to see if they are inspired, but I don’t hold out much hope that they will study it.

  8. The Depp trial highlighted the reality of domestic violence against men. It happens and women are rarely called to account. Anti-rape laws do not burden, disadvantage or discriminate against law-abiding non-rapists or interfere in any way with non-rapists’ fundamental rights. Apples to oranges, God.

  9. Well, call me foolish, but I’m not buying this explanation. And I have no alternative, either.

    I think in part it’s because the male and female matches occur simultaneously within tournaments. Unlike women’s football, where you would need to make an effort to seek out the fixtures and many aren’t televised.

  10. I liked God’s message. It reminds me of the well-worn claim:

    “If we outlaw guns, then only outlaws will have guns.”

    Yes, and won’t that make it easier for the police? If you have a gun, you get arrested. My kind of town.

    1. Easier for the police, but quite possibly more difficult for you.

      “We have learned a lesson from the horrific tragedy in Uvalde:

      Government will mandate that your children be vulnerable, hold you back at gunpoint while they are murdered, and then try to lie about it.

      And then they’ll tell you that it all happened because you own a rifle.”

      ~Spike Cohen

      1. “Government will mandate that your children be vulnerable, hold you back at gunpoint while they are murdered, and then try to lie about it.

        And then they’ll tell you that it all happened because you own a rifle.”

        This isn’t some sort of checkmate. It happened because the person who did it owned a rifle.

        1. The rifle was the means, not the cause. After you’ve dealt with the guns, we might carry your way of thinking to its logical conclusion and have knife control a la U.K. And then…?

          1. It seems unlikely but if a large number of people are killed in knife attacks, we would try to solve the problem.

            If we are going to play these silly “slippery slope” games, why not allow people to own nuclear weapons? While it may be hard to obtain the uranium, there does seem to be escalation in firearm ownership. These days, if you’re a GOP politician and a real man (or woman), owning a .50 caliber machine gun is considered a minimum.

          2. Guns are a remarkably effective means of killing people, though, aren’t they? Of course a killer can use something else as a weapon but given the choice would you rather be trapped in a mall with an active shooter or an active carrier of a baseball bat? I know which one I’d choose.
            Also you don’t make it clear why knife control is such an undesirable thing. In the UK you can carry a knife if you have a legitimate purpose for doing so – e.g. a farmer – but it seems to me to be quite reasonable that it should be illegal to carry a ‘zombie knife’ with a ten inch blade whose only purpose is to injure or intimidate other people.

            1. In Canada you can’t take any weapon to “a public meeting”, says the Criminal Code. A butcher knife or even a hockey stick would get you in trouble if there was no legitimate reason to have it there. (There are of course prohibited weapons like switchblades, Mace, and nunchucks that you can’t possess at all.) If you were going to be cooking at a food tent, or if there was an impromptu road-hockey game at the demonstration, OK, but be mindful of how it might look to the police if tempers started to flare.

        2. I think that is sort of a stretch. I don’t believe you will convince many people that he was a perfectly normal person, corrupted by the touch of a rifle, like it was the One Ring or something.

          1. It’s no stretch at all – unless one tries very hard to misinterpret the obvious point.

            There’s more than one necessary element of any crime

            OF COURSE a rifle doesn’t magically create the motive to commit a mass murder of children.

            But it sure as hell provides the means.

            If the shooter didn’t have the gun, the kids would still be alive.

            Thus,

            It happened because the person who did it owned a rifle.

  11. Rice, Stanford, MIT, etc also wouldn’t give an honorary degree to Taylor Swift, but that is because they don’t hand out any honorary degrees.

  12. “Here’s the famous video of Davison, who didn’t intend to commit suicide, running in front of the King’s horse. It occurs at 2:11.”

    I only see a horse tumbling. I see nobody stepping in front of it.

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