Wednesday: Hili dialogue

June 22, 2022 • 6:30 am

Its Wednesday, June 22, 2022, or, in German, “Mittwoch” (middle of the week), and National Chocolate Eclair Day. You know you want one. . .

Source and recipe here.

It’s also National Onion Rings Day (I prefer them to fries, but you never get enough rings), and World Rainforest Day.

Stuff that happened on June 22 includes:

  • 1633 – The Holy Office in Rome forces Galileo Galilei to recant his view that the Sun, not the Earth, is the center of the Universe in the form he presented it in, after heated controversy.
  • 1870 – The United States Department of Justice is created by the U.S. Congress.
  • 1898 – Spanish–American War: In a chaotic operation, 6,000 men of the U.S. Fifth Army Corps begins landing at DaiquiríCuba, about 16 miles (26 km) east of Santiago de Cuba. Lt. Gen. Arsenio Linares y Pombo of the Spanish Army outnumbers them two-to-one, but does not oppose the landings.

Here are the America troops landing at Daiquirí (yes, the cocktail is supposedly named after the village):

  • 1911 – George V and Mary of Teck are crowned King and Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

George was the cousin of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, who of course was executed along with his family by the Bolsheviks. Here they are in German uniforms before WWI, with George on the right. The resemblance is remarkable, and when I saw my first photo of George this morning, I thought it was the Tsar:

Inbred royals
  • 1940 – World War II: France is forced to sign the Second Compiègne armistice with Germany, in the same railroad car in which the Germans signed the Armistice in 1918.

A deliberate humiliation!  Here’s a video of the signing. At 1:40 Hitler, obviously ebullient, raises and stamps his leg down once in joy. This gesture was manipulated on film so that on some videos it looks as if he did the gesture several times, giving rise to the legend that Hitler “danced a jig” after the signing.

The words “under God” were added in 1954 during the Cold War.  They’re wrong, as we are neither one nation nor “under God”. But it’s too late to change it!

This group of immigrants is said to have started the modern generation of British immigrants, for a group of over a thousand West Indian immigrants to England, anticipating a later bill that would give all residents of UK colonies permission to immigrate. Here’s the ship.

Below: The ship, which was bringing home UK servicemen from Jamaica, wasn’t full, so they advertised for passengers, spurring the spate of immigration:

(From Wikipedia): Advert for passage on Empire Windrush from Kingston, Jamaica to the UK, The Daily Gleaner, 15 April 1948
  • 1948 – King George VI formally gives up the title “Emperor of India”, half a year after Britain actually gave up its rule of India.
  • 1986 – The famous Hand of God goal, scored by Diego Maradona in the quarter-finals of the 1986 FIFA World Cup match between Argentina and England, ignites controversy. This was later followed by the Goal of the Century. Argentina wins 2–1 and later goes on to win the World Cup.

Both goals are below. The first goal was certainly an illegal handball, but the referee didn’t call it as a violation. The second goal was a great one (and legal): Maradona worked his way past five British defenders to score magnificently. Still, given the illegal goal, Argentina shouldn’t have won.


*The NYT, in its update of the January 6 hearings, reports a new slew of Republican officials from various states recounting how Trump tried to pressure them to overturn the election results. If he gets indicted for anything, it’s got to be something like this:

Former President Donald J. Trump was directly involved in a scheme to put forward slates of false pro-Trump electors in states won by Joseph R Biden Jr., the committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol revealed Tuesday during a hearing delving into his pressure campaign on state officials to help him invalidate his defeat.

The committee played deposition video from Ronna McDaniel, the Republican National Committee chairwoman, who testified that Mr. Trump had personally called her about helping further the scheme. Mr. Trump put conservative lawyer John Eastman on the phone with Ms. McDaniel “to talk about the importance of the R.N.C. helping the campaign gather these contingent electors,” she testified.

[Tuesday’s] accounts have brought home how Trump and his allies unleashed severe harassment upon election workers and their families. Giuliani used charged language likening Shaye Moss, an election worker in Georgia and a Black woman, to a low-level drug dealer. That language was followed by a wave of online threats and harassment against Moss and her mother, as well as an attempt to break into her grandmother’s house. Raffensperger testified that Trump’s allies broke into his widowed daughter-in-law’s house and that his wife received threats.

. . .Lawmakers repeatedly emphasized that the claims by Mr. Trump and his supporters were already having a detrimental effect on the conduct of elections and could have dire consequences in the years ahead if allowed to take hold.

“The president’s lie was and is a dangerous cancer on this body politic,” said Representative Adam Schiff, the California Democrat who was leading the questioning by the panel at its fourth hearing. “If you could convince Americans they cannot trust their own elections, anytime they lose is somehow illegitimate, then what is left but violence to determine who should govern?”

*In an op-ed at the Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin argues that despite the GOP’s poo-pooing the hearings, the public is paying more attention to them than anticipated. This has, she thinks, increased the possibility that Trump may indeed be indicted for his shenanigans around January 6.

Other polls confirm these findings. A new ABC News-Ipsos poll released on Sunday found that 58 percent of Americans think Trump should be charged criminally, up about six points from a similar poll in April.

There is also some anecdotal evidence that the hearings are getting through even among some Republicans. . .

the amount and value of evidence that Trump was at the center of the coup plot will only continue to build. Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), another committee member, recently suggested there is evidence that Trump was directly involved in the scheme to come up with alternative slates of electors.

She winds up suggesting that one effect of the hearings will be pressure on Attorney General Merrick Garland, if he doesn’t indict trump, to explain why. My own view coincides with my wish: indict him!

*The bipartisan gun bill, in a preliminary vote, passed the Senate by a vote of 64-34. which is enough to overcome any filibuster.  Here are the stipulations:

The 80-page bill, called the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, would enhance background checks, giving authorities up to 10 business days to review the juvenile and mental health records of gun purchasers younger than 21, and direct millions toward helping states implement so-called red-flag laws, which allow authorities to temporarily confiscate guns from people deemed dangerous, as well as other intervention programs.

The measure would also, for the first time, ensure that serious dating partners are included in a federal law that bars domestic abusers from purchasing firearms, a longtime priority that has eluded gun safety advocates for years.

Senators agreed to provide millions of dollars for expanding mental health resources in communities and schools in addition to funds devoted to boosting school safety. In addition, the legislation would toughen penalties for those evading licensing requirements or making illegal “straw” purchases, buying and then selling weapons to people barred from purchasing handguns.

It may actually pass the Senate by the weekend. It’s a decent first step, but I think this is as far as the Republicans will go.

*The Biden administration is moving forward with a plan to reduce the amount of nicotine in cigarettes. SInce nicotine is the addictive substance, this is a move to cut cigarette consumption, a worthy aim:

The plan, unveiled Tuesday as part of the administration’s agenda of regulatory actions, likely wouldn’t take effect for several years. The FDA plans to publish a proposed rule in May 2023. Then it would invite public comments before publishing a final rule. Tobacco companies could then sue, which could further delay the policy’s implementation. The Wall Street Journal previously reported that the FDA planned to pursue a nicotine-reduction mandate.

The move would be the biggest step by the U.S. government to curb smoking since a landmark legal settlement in 1998, when tobacco companies agreed to pay more than $200 billion to help states pay for healthcare. As part of the settlement, the companies also agreed to various marketing restrictions, including a ban on free product samples and advertising on billboards.

I’m not a libertarian, and I am opposed to smoking and don’t smoke, even my once-beloved cigars, but I do think this may be going too far. It’s like the government decreeing that the amount of alcohol in whiskey or other liquors be reduced because it’s the alcohol that turns people into alcoholics. I’m happy with bans on public smoking and gruesome ads about the dangers of smoking, but not so much with trying to change cigarettes themselves. . .

*Another from the NYT: “How bad are the germs in public restrooms, really?” The answer is that a number of pathogenic viruses and bacteria are associated with restrooms, and can be aerosolized after flushing, staying in the air for up to an hour. But no worries: there are tips to minimize your risk. First, you don’t need toilet seat covers unless you have open gashes or wounds on your bum. Second, and most important, wash your hands thoroughly after you’ve finished (I try to dry my hands with a paper towel if available, and then use that towel to open the restroom door).

For hand washing to be effective, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wetting your hands with clean water, scrubbing with soap for at least 20 seconds, rinsing and then drying them.

Then sanitize your hands if you can. I skip that if I can open the door with a paper towel, which I then discard.

Learn how to wash your hands properly: my own version involves washing palms, then both sides of the wrists, putting the palm of one hand on the back of the other and interlace your fingers, scrubbing them, bunching your fingers and rubbin them into each palm, and washing your thumb by inserting it into the clenched fist of the other hand and twisting the thumb hand like a screwdriver. I’m big on this because I do this frequently, and I haven’t had a cold since the pandemic started.

Finally, if you bring a bag or purse into a public restroom, don’t put it on the floor. Oh, and close the toilet lid before you flush as a boon to others.

*Biology news: A Cambodian has caught the world’s largest recorded freshwater fish, a giant stingray, in the Mekong river.  It’s huge (photo below):

The stingray, captured on June 13, measured almost 4 meters (13 feet) from snout to tail and weighed slightly under 300 kilograms (660 pounds), according to a statement Monday by Wonders of the Mekong, a joint Cambodian-U.S. research project.

The previous record for a freshwater fish was a 293-kilogram (646-pound) Mekong giant catfish, discovered in Thailand in 2005, the group said.

The stingray was snagged by a local fisherman south of Stung Treng in northeastern Cambodia. The fisherman alerted a nearby team of scientists from the Wonders of the Mekong project, which has publicized its conservation work in communities along the river.

Here it is. I’m sad, though, that such a magnificent animal has to be caught and killed. It belongs in the river:  I didn’t read closely enough; they let the fish go after weighing and measuring it.

(From the AP) In this photo provided by Wonders of the Mekong taken on June 14, 2022, a man touches a giant freshwater stingray before being released back into the Mekong River in the northeastern province of Stung Treng, Cambodia. A local fisherman caught the 661-pound (300-kilogram) stingray, which set the record for the world’s largest known freshwater fish and earned him a $600 reward. (Chhut Chheana/Wonders of the Mekong via AP)

*The Daily Mail has a piece about a cunning fox (is that redundant?) stealing  boxes of eggs (h/t Malcolm)

The fox was discovered after Helen Greenwood, from Leeds, set up a camera in an attempt to catch the thief who had stolen three lots of eggs.

In the video, the animal is seen approaching the box of 12 eggs, which was nearly the length of its body, before whisking it away.

Mrs Greenwood, a mother of two, said: ‘We got a clip of the milkman delivering the milk and eggs, carefully placing them in the box on our step.

‘It’s slightly annoying to have lost our eggs, but it’s satisfying to have solved the mystery and it gives us something to laugh about in the current climate.

‘Maybe it’s an example of how wildlife is reclaiming the city during the lockdown.’

The video. You go, fox!

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is being opaque:

Hili: Do you have a new paradigm?
A: Why do you ask?
Hili: One of mine needs exchanging.
In Polish:
Hili: Masz jakiś nowy paradygmat?
Ja: Dlaczego pytasz?
Hili Jeden z moich jest do wymiany.

And a photo of Szaron, the rare gray tabby:


A groaner from Merilee:

Sent in by David: a cartoon in New Scientist by Tom Gauld:

From Laurie Ann. I don’t think it’s true, but even if it is it’s a good joke. A couple of readers should try it, but these days nobody would understand:

It’s always worth paying attention to the Tweet of God:

A tweet from Simon, who says, “I hope there isn’t a bug in the code controlling this.”

And another from Simon. I wonder if you can buy cups and saucers like this. But you’d slop your coffee all over the place!

From reader Ken, who adds a quote from George Orwell: “To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.”

From the Auschwitz Memorial:

Tweets from Professor Cobb.  I’m not sure the “saved” monkey really turned out okay. . .

Read the short piece at the link. The secret? An anti caking agent:

This elephant either knows where it is and has no fear, or it’s completely ignorant of the consequences of slipping:

Matthew is writing a detailed biography of Francis Crick, and, checking up on details, found that Watson’s memoir “The Double Helix” appears to contain a lot of stuff that’s just made up. Here he found Watson reporting the times of trains that didn’t exist:


64 thoughts on “Wednesday: Hili dialogue

  1. The gigantic stingray was in fact released back into the river… as the caption says! Nice.

    It was impressive to watch the video of the release, given the logistics involved in carrying something so heavy back to the water.

    1. I’m not sure it’s the largest freshwater fish though. Some species of freshwater sturgeon (i.e. H. dauricus) are much larger, no?

      1. I was wondering that as well, so Wikipedia to the rescue: “The largest sturgeon on record was a beluga female captured in the Volga Delta in 1827, measuring 7.2 m (23 ft 7 in) long and weighing 1,571 kg (3,463 lb).”

      2. Yeah, I wonder that myself. Several sturgeon have been caught here on the Fraser River that weigh much more than this stingray. Some over 1000lb have been caught. Total length might be slightly shorter, though?

  2. “1633- Holy Office of Rome..Galileo..”.. I wonder what was taught at Harvard and by Scottish physicist William Small at William and Mary in the 1600’s as both schools had church affiliations, though Anglican rather than Catholic. Did the Anglican church have a similar position to that of Rome on an Earth-centered universe?

  3. In the video, the animal is seen approaching the box of 12 eggs, which was nearly the length of its body, before whisking it away.

    Clever fox: stealing the eggs and making meringue.

    I’m Spartacus and so’s my wife!

  4. Oh, the rain means moisture in the air and salt clumping up if using the inferior salt.

    But when its sunny, … there’s a doggie, and sunscreen… probably unrelated…

  5. It’s heartbreaking to see that huge stingray captured. I am so glad you followed that story with the fox video and then with Hili’s strangeness. I worked in a cannery in Alaska, and I always hated seeing the huge salmons coming down the line, especially when they were scarred and had obviously been through several close calls.

      1. Thank you for writing this. It makes me feel better about that poor stingray, and it also should remind me to think before I post, or to at least read more carefully, but I doubt it.

  6. The BBC recently broadcast a documentary about the Zambezi river which included a clip of elephants wading/swimming out to islands just upstream of Victoria Falls. I believe it is a regular behaviour during the dry season when the river is running low and there is less food to eat elsewhere but it was quite a nerve-wracking watch! (I dont know if this is accessible outside UK).

  7. The history site linked by the tweet about the salty girl suggests the Morton company invented the phrase ‘when it rains it pours’. I’m sure that’s quite wrong, as that brand of salt is not sold in the UK, but the proverb ‘It never rains but it pours’ was commonly used. The construction of the saying is archaic, and means literally that rain is always heavy, and metaphorically that when something unwanted happens, it seems to be accompanied by other trials piling on as well.

  8. The Tsar also looked quite a bit like his cousins The King-Emperor and the Kaiser. I recently saw an excellent British docu-drama on the run-up to WWI called 37 Days. The only thing I think they should have done differently was have the same actor play all three.

    1. We would be better able to judge the resemblance if they hadn’t sported similar beards and moustache.
      Their ears have a great resemblance indeed, though.

  9. Ah, Mike Pence. A few days ago I was listening to NPR, where one person remarked that we must acknowledge that Pence was a key figure in rescuing democracy in the U.S. last January.
    That was a startling point!

      1. Biden, even when he was a senator, was famous for telling easily disproved lies.
        He was arrested in South Africa “on the streets of Soweto “while attempting to visit Nelson Mandela
        He “enjoyed teaching” when he was a full professor at U of Delaware
        He used to drive an 18 wheeler
        He was appointed to Annapolis
        He visited the Tree of Life Synagogue and spoke to the rabbi, after the shooting there
        His first wife and daughter were killed by a drunk driver
        He went to law school on a full academic scholarship, and graduated on the top half of his class
        He was the outstanding student in the poly sci department
        He won the international Moot Court competition
        He graduated with three degrees from undergraduate school
        He got arrested in the 60s while protesting for civil rights
        When he was 17, he participated in sit-ins to desegregate restaurants and movie houses.
        His ancestors worked the coal mines of NE Pennsylvania
        He is himself “a hard coal miner,”
        He was the first person in his family (in a thousand generations!) to attend college.
        He has visited Iraq and Afghanistan 38 times
        On one of those trips, his helicopter was forced down by Afghan extremists
        Last week, he claimed that inflation is “higher in every other major industrial country in the world”

        These are some of the highlights, but really just a small fraction of them, and also does not include the strange Amtrak story he keeps telling about the conductor who retired over a decade before their interaction was supposed to take place.

        Some of these would be included in his “serial plagiarism” file, which is extensive. That starts with academic plagiarism, but also includes lots of stolen speech excerpts, word for word sections copied from speeches by Robert Kennedy, John F. Kennedy, Hubert Humphrey, Neil Kinnock, and others. Some of those he plagiarized over and over again, for decades.
        Plagiarism was the key issue when he withdrew from the 1988 presidential campaign.

        Also, none of those listed have anything to do with Trump.

  10. The words ‘under God’ were added in 1954 during the Cold War…

    In the Oath of Allegiance, ‘so help me God’ is optional. Someone thinks that it is all right to let decadent atheists become Americans. This is not going to make America great. Sad!

  11. Onion Rings. You can get a large plate of onion rings, five inches high, at Twohey’s in Pasadena. They also have incredible milkshakes. And Astroburger, also in LA, would give you a large bag of onion rings for the price of a small French fry bag of onion rings. Truly exceptional

  12. My constant companion as a proof-reader was Chambers’s 20th Century Dictionary which famously
    described the éclair as “a cake, long in shape but short in duration”.

  13. Here in Britain, the name of the Empire Windrush has taken on a new significance following the horrific mistreatment of many of the children of those earliest West Indian immigrants by the British government. These are people who came to Britain from the Caribbean as kids, and who are now in their sixties and seventies and older. They have lived in Britain almost all their lives, working and contributing to society in countless ways. But because of the way that immigration from the Caribbean was managed in the 1950s and early 1960s, they often have no documentation to prove their status.

    When the current Conservative government came to power in 2010, it passed laws requiring employers and landlords to obtain proof of citizenship from employees and tenants, as part of its “hostile environment” policy aimed at deterring illegal immigration. Many of the “Windrush Generation” didn’t have such documentation, and so they lost their jobs and homes. Some were even forcibly deported to Jamaica and other Caribbean islands.

    Thanks to the tireless work of Guardian journalist Amelia Gentleman, their story came to the public eye in 2018, and the government was forced to provide compensation, although many of the victims had already died, and the compensation scheme has been criticised as unduly complicated.

    The Wikipedia article on the Widnrush scandal has a good summary:

      1. I don’t get it. Most of the men wading out of the surf on England’s coast appear from photos to be African and they are seeking economic opportunity, not fleeing state persecution. Now, Africa’s a big continent but it seems likely that in Rwanda they’ll be more welcome, closer to their homes and families, and have more opportunities for productive work than they would in England. I honestly do not see what the objection is to resettling them in Rwanda with financial assistance from Her Majesty. No one has a right under international law to go to a foreign country and just live there. It would be decent for the UK to base some adjudicators in the British Embassy there to hear any oral asylum claims. (That’s how we interpret our obligation to asylum claimants.)

        If African migrants really want to avoid Rwanda for some reason, they can pay their snakeheads to traffic them to somewhere other than the UK….which I do acknowledge is the whole point, to destroy the business model.

        What would you do instead, Jez?

        The Windrush affair was another matter entirely.

  14. … one effect of the hearings will be pressure on Attorney General Merrick Garland, if he doesn’t indict trump, to explain why. My own view coincides with my wish: indict him!

    Donald Trump: scum, Rudy Giuliani: scum, John Eastman: he’s scum, too — scum, scum, scum, and more scum. If the rule of law is to be vindicated, and if future would-be tyrants are to be deterred, they (and others acting in concert with them, such as Mark Meadows and Jenna Ellis) must be brought to justice, one and all.

    (Even were Merrick Garland’s Justice Dept. to decline to prosecute, I’m pretty sure Georgia’s Fulton County district attorney’s office will charge Trump for his unlawful post-election machinations there. Yet all the voters in the seven states that Trump endeavored to disenfranchise are his victims, so any prosecution should properly lie with Main Justice. Plus, if the charges were filed in Fulton County, Trump World would be able to play it off as just some restive Atlanta negroes trying to tear down Dear Leader.)

    Trump got buried in yesterday’s hearing by the testimony of the Arizona legislature’s speaker of the house, Rusty Bowers, a rock-ribbed right-wing Arizona Republican in the mold of Barry Goldwater.

    Trump and Giuliani repeatedly badgered Bowers to call a special session of the Arizona legislature to claw back the electoral votes Joe Biden had rightfully won, and Bowers repeatedly requested evidence of election fraud that would justify such an extraordinary step. Trump and Giuliani repeatedly promised such evidence, but no such evidence was ever forthcoming. (Indeed, Speaker Bowers testified that Giuliani once said — whether in a rare moment of candor or as a gaffe, Bowers could not say — that while Team Trump had “theories” concerning fraud, they they had no evidence with which to back those theories up. Bowers allowed as how he and his staff and his legal team later shared a hollow, mordant laugh over Giuliani’s words.) Despite the unremitting browbeating by Trump and Giuliani, Bowers refused to be forfeit to his oath of office or to violate the laws and constitution he’d sworn to uphold. It is the testimony of such principled Republicans (or at least of Republicans who were unwilling to take the final step of committing crimes on Trump’s behalf) that has been Trump’s undoing so far at these hearings.

    To those who have expressed reservations that Trump could not be convicted because any trial jury would be bound to contain one or more diehard Trump supporters, I say two things: First, while I’ve had some disparaging things to say about Trump supporters in the past, I believe most of them are merely misinformed or deluded rather than truly deplorable. If they were to take an oath and be placed in jury box where they had to view the evidence — rather than to dodge it on tv in an effort to escape cognitive dissonance — I’m confident that, like almost all other Americans, they would do their level best to return a verdict that speaks the truth.

    Second, if some Trump dead-ender — the kind that Trump likes brags wouldn’t care if he shot someone red-handed on 5th Avenue — were to hang the jury, so be it; rack up another dozen jurors and try him again.

    Hell, even if 12 such jurors were to acquit Trump outright, so be that, too. If this republic perdures for another millennium, our progeny will be able to say, as McMurphy did after attempting to lift the cement control panel in the mental ward’s tub room, “At least [they] tried. Goddam it. At least [they] tried.”

    1. Ken, I can understand your partisan glee at the prospect of Donald Trump going on trial for criminal acts alleged to have been committed while he was President. But aren’t there two political hazards here?

      If an outgoing President (defeated or two elected terms completed) knows that his political enemies will, as a matter of political ritual, try to put him in prison the moment he is no longer Commander-in-Chief, would he not consider declaring an emergency and using force to resist his eviction from the Oval Office? That’s why despots (and monarchs) want life terms in office: they sincerely fear a life term in prison (or exile or execution) if they are toppled alive.

      The other hazard is that a President who knew his enemies were waiting to seize on any controversial decision or acrimonious policy as evidence for the upcoming criminal trial might be unwilling to make those hard decisions, especially if the decision used secret information that he could not ever make public in his defence. Who would ever even run for office under that cloud? Even if acquittal was likely, a vindictive trial of that scope and stakes would be financially ruinous. It would be an incentive for corruption in office to amass the war chest needed for defence. Donors to campaigns are not the sort who will donate to the legal defence of a soon-to-be-ex-politician no longer useful to them.

      If Donald Trump is indicted by a Democrat AG for anything he is alleged to have done before Inauguration Day 2021, you know the GOP will take revenge on Joe Biden when he steps down in 2029. Maybe that’s why Biden and Trump both plan to run in 2024: death in office will have become the best way out of the presidency, and the only non-ruinous route.

      I get that Donald Trump is widely seen as such an obvious special case that he should be prosecuted no matter what. But even those Republicans profoundly disappointed in Trump the man don’t see it that way. There will be consequences if he is.

      1. That is presumably the big fear that occupies Merrick Garland’s mind. But the GOP have already promised to impeach Biden as soon as they regain power so perhaps there’s nothing to lose. To let Trump get away with his crimes would essentially say that all presidents are above the law. If we let Trump go and he gets back in office, he’ll definitely commit more crime. And the way the GOP is going, any future GOP president will be encouraged strongly by the party to find a way to stay there regardless of its legality.

        1. Yes, Paul, you put that better than I could.
          Leslie, if Trump would just have conceded, as any decent candidate would have (see Gore or HRC), there would have been no problem.
          The problem is that Trump attempted a coup. Kinda unprecedented.

          1. That assertion is an opinion that remains to be proven at a trial in Court before he can be sent to jail. You partisans all want the latter so much you would make the nation endure the former. Doing so raises the concerns I outlined.
            There is no obligation for any defeated electoral candidate to concede, gracefully or otherwise. Coups are, of course, not allowed.

            1. Trump clearly went way, way beyond simply failing to concede. He and his supporters claimed that the election had been rigged with absolutely no evidence and with his own officers telling him that his claims had no merit, to put it mildly. And that’s only the beginning.

      2. To the extent the partisan prosecution of former presidents might become a routine affair, Leslie, such fears can be allayed by the US revivifying a modified version of Chapter 40 of Title 28 of the United States Code, authorizing that any such investigations and prosecutions of former presidents be undertaken by an Independent Prosecutor appointed by a panel of judges rather than by the Justice Department itself led by the attorney general appointed by the succeeding president.

        The first principle of the rule of law is that no person is above it. That includes presidents and former presidents.

        1. I’d add that Donald Trump is sui generis. He endeavored to conduct a coup by employing plainly illegitimate means in an effort to remain in office contrary to the clearly expressed will of US voters in a lawfully conducted election — something never before attempted by any US president in the 234-year history of this constitutional republic. (Whether this conduct violated each of the essential elements of a criminal statute by proof beyond a reasonable doubt is, of course, a separate question that remains to be answered.)

        2. That is a most helpful proposal, Ken. Thank you very much.

          A politically motivated prosecution that the state carries on vindictively using the infinite resources at its disposal to batter a defendant whom it doesn’t even care if it can convict, presided over by a judge who dare not grant defence motions for summary dismissal for fear of showing favouritism, is the flip side of wanting no one to be above the law. I just know many would love to see Donald Trump squirming in the dock in just such a trial. The side that wouldn’t want to see that happen are the ones with the guns.

    2. I maybe reading wrong, but Garland is meticulous, at least he has that reputation. He will only prosecute if he has a waterthight case. What could be worse than a Trump indictment, and him getting off on a technicality or otherwise?
      I suspect Garland is biding his time, as yet, I have not seen fault in his approach. I still have great hope there.

  15. > I try to dry my hands with a paper towel if available, and then use that towel to open the restroom door

    Sometimes I’m still shocked at the lessons people have not learned during the pandemic, and the basic infrastructure that should be available everywhere now. There is no reason not to have touchless doors, faucets, and soap dispensers in every bathroom. I wish we had paper towels and tissues in every bathroom, but there is too much opposition from some of the environmentalists. I can’t see myself using a mechanical hand drier ever again – unless somehow they are able to sterilize the air – and ensure that water on people’s hands does not become airborne droplets.

    1. Even if every public facility was given a mandate to convert to touchless bathroom fixtures, it would take years to make the conversion. There are many millions of such fixtures, and the manufacturing capacity is simply not there to convert them all.

        1. I’ve used those in a number of places. They are a great example of problem-solving (IMHO)…. not sure how they get cleaned….

  16. A few thoughts:

    – The Mike Pence quote reminds us that he’s not really a hero. Just a guy who didn’t want to expose himself legally by doing Trump’s dirty work.

    – The gun bill may well pass but the NRA is coming out against it. Let’s hope they’ve finally jumped the shark. On the other hand, will GOP politicians that vote for the bill be demonized? The TX GOP have already begun.

    – The Jan 6th hearings are having some impact among GOP voters. There’s a good chance this will grow over time, especially if Trump and/or his minions are prosecuted. Here’s an interesting interview with Sarah Longwell on how they are received in the focus groups she runs:

  17. A few decades ago, a Republican president and his gang carried out a massive operation of burglary.
    obstruction of justice, witness tampering, and perjury. Although Richard Nixon himself was never prosecuted, 69 of his government hirelings were, and 48 were convicted. Most of them spent ludicrously little time in the pokey but that was enough. Enough, that is, to dissuade Republican Party operatives from performing any such criminal operations for nearly 50 years. Frankly, I doubt that Trump will end up sharing a cell with Giuliani or Eastman; but if a good number of Trump’s hirelings end up in stir, that should constitute useful deterrence for another few decades.

  18. I agree with Jerry that we are not one nation and furthermore would claim that we never have been. Consider these salient features from our beginning to the present day: free vs. enslaved, women disenfranchised, North vs. South, Plessy v. Ferguson, Jim Crow, WASPs vs. Catholics, jingoists vs. inclusionists, White Evangelicals vs. every other religion, MAGA-world vs. da libs, [Feel free to add your favorite scission here.]. I doubt that the USA will ever be one nation, “numquam unum e pluribus.”

          1. I didn’t read the article but it appears to be more about how Congress doesn’t represent the people. Sounds right to me. I’m sure there are rich people that do use their money to suppress the rest but I haven’t seen anything that suggests that this is true of the majority of rich people. Of course, it doesn’t take many to cause damage (eg, the Koch bros). I think we are talking about two separate problems. There’s too much money in politics. I blame SCOTUS and the voters for that. There’s also little recognition of the role government plays in income inequality. The voters are also complicit in that.

      1. Don’t forget, Stephen, that many in the 99% hope to become obscenely rich themselves. And the top 1% aren’t all that rich. You need to be in the top 0.01% to be a real player. And of course to be obscenely rich you need to make $1 a year more than I do. I will cheerfully eviscerate all of them to get at all the golden eggs they must be hoarding in there.

        Also, women were never disenfranchised. They just didn’t ever have the franchise before they got it. Ditto every other group as the franchise was progressively broadened. Doesn’t that count?

        I’m going to hazard a guess that most present-day Americans not paid to be political pundits or advocates don’t care about any of those salients on your list. Certainly Canadians don’t hold them against you. Forward into the future!

    1. As Mobutu said about Zaire: ” Tolingi Zaire liboke moko” . Liboke is a dish of mixed,disparate cut up fish, hence: ‘Zaire is like one dish of Liboke.’
      I guess the US is even more like ‘liboke moko’.

      1. I never heard of liboke before. Sounds delicious, thanks. The only African restaurants I’ve eaten at in Chicago have been Ethiopian ones. Now I’ll have to search out ones that serve liboke.🐟

        1. Yeah it is a rather great dish. I had it served on a banana leave ‘plate’. Note that Mobutu was not the softest of dictators, but far from the worst either. ( No, I don’t want to defend him, I just point out there were several much worse than him, and he was pretty bad from several pov’s)

        2. In Brussels there is an area, the ‘Matonge’ (in Ixelles/Elsene) where there are a lot of Zairian, now Congolese again, restaurants. You have liboke, antilope, crocodile and elephant on the menu, but they always are out of stock. You’ll end up with chicken, time and again, but very nice, different chicken. And palm beer, nice, but severely causing ED if consumed in great quantity.

          1. I’m looking on the Eater Chicago website, and I don’t find any Congolese restaurants. Scrolling through this site is making me hungry. (It’s late in the afternoon as I write this.)
            I’ll keep looking for liboke, both locally and when I’m on trips, may try to cook it myself from recipes on the Internet. BTW, thanks for the warning about the palm beer!

  19. Luycho is the maker of the flying bird cup and saucer, and you can buy it in various sizes for $64-74. There’s also a running horse and a jumping cat, along with other types of clever non-moving designs. Use caution when searching for Luycho products—one of the sellers’ websites hung up my browser for a few minutes.

    1. The jumping cat sounds great, but out of my price range for what is basically a (very clever and attractive) novelty.

  20. Re: Chocolate eclair day. When I was in college (UC Berkeley, 1958-62), I was in the Cal Band, and the place to hang out between classes was in the band room. That was across a courtyard from a vendor that sold, among other things, the best ever Chocolate eclair. I have been addicted ever since.

  21. Lots of very important and significant comments here, so can I lower the standard to the trivial. “Maradona worked his way past five British defenders to score magnificently” – English defenders, they were English! Scotland allowed West Germany to qualify from their group and take on Argentina in the final.

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