Saturday: Hili dialogue

July 9, 2022 • 6:30 am

I just realized that yesterday’s last post about the ducks was the 26,000th post on this site. So welcome to 26,001.

. . . And welcome to Cat Shabbos: Saturday July 9, 2022: National Sugar Cookie day. Though they are perhaps the simplest cookie to make (recipe here), I do love them. They’re good for dipping in coffee, too.  Only half an hour from beginning your preparation to warm cookies from the oven.

It’s also Fashion Day, No Bra Day, and the Feast Day of Pauline of the Agonizing Heart of Jesus. I was curious about Pauline’s suffix name (she was the first Brazilian woman to be canonized), and found this, which doesn’t explain much:

Pauline’s health began a long, slow decline in 1938, as she fought a losing battle with diabetes. In two operations, first her middle finger and then her right arm were amputated. She spent the last months of her life totally blind. On 9 July 1942 she died with the last words, “God’s will be done”.

I guess God’s will was for her to suffer.

I have old friends visiting until Tuesday, so posting may well be light until then. Bear with me; I do my best.

Stuff that happened on July 9 include:

This portrait of Anne was painted in 1539 by Hans Holbein the Younger, so it must have been done from life. She wasn’t beheaded; her marriage to Henry was annulled and she went to live in the country, dying (probably of cancer) at 41 or 42.

When that tour started, Mozart was only seven years old, on exhibit as a child prodigy.  Here’s a portrait, perhaps from life, with the caption, “Mozart, c. 1781, detail from portrait by Johann Nepomuk della Croce

And the entire painting,”Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart with his sister Maria Anna and father Leopold, on the wall a portrait of his dead mother Anna Maria, c. 1780.

  • 1776 – George Washington orders the Declaration of Independence to be read out to members of the Continental Army in Manhattan, while thousands of British troops on Staten Island prepare for the Battle of Long Island.
  • 1850 – U.S. President Zachary Taylor dies after eating raw fruit and iced milk; he is succeeded in office by Vice President Millard Fillmore.

Taylor, photographed below in the 1840s, ate a lot of cherries with the iced milk, but I’ve never been able to understand how one can die from simply eating that stuff. It must have been something else that did him in.

There was only one event: the Gentlemen’s Singles, won by Spencer Gore (below), also a first class cricket player.

  • 1893 – Daniel Hale Williams, American heart surgeon, performs the first successful open-heart surgery in United States without anesthesia.

Actually, it was on July 10 (as reported in the article), not 9, and here’s the report from Wikipedia (my bolding):

On July 10, 1893, Williams repaired the torn pericardium of a knife wound patient, James Cornish Cornish, who was stabbed directly through the left fifth costal cartilage, had been admitted the previous night. Williams decided to operate the next morning in response to continued bleeding, cough and “pronounced” symptoms of shock. He performed this surgery, without the benefit of penicillin or blood transfusion, at Provident Hospital, Chicago. It was not reported until 1897. He undertook a second procedure to drain fluid. About fifty days after the initial procedure, Cornish left the hospital.

One bit is bogus; they didn’t even begin to discover penicillin until 1928! The narrative implies it might have been used, though perhaps they were simply marvelling that it could be done without antibiotics.. And one of the two dates given is wrong (I can’t be arsed to look up which is correct).

But what is more interesting is that Williams was an African-American (3/4 black), and the operation was done in Provident Hospital in Chicago, founded by Williams as America’s first integrated hospital. (Staff and patients were both white and black, though the hospital was intended mainly to increase care for the black residents of Chicago.)  Now this man, of whom you probably haven’t heard, should be more celebrated as someone who actually did something tangible for the poor. Here’s his photo:

Weissmuller, who played Tarzan in the movies, was a world-class swimmer. Here he is setting another record in 1925. He’s doing the backstroke in one view, so it may be a medley. (Look up his many records here and let me know.)

And this is worth noting (my bolding):

Weissmuller saved many peoples’ lives throughout his own life. One very notable instance was in 1927 whilst training for the Chicago Marathon, Weissmuller saved 11 people from drowning after a boat accident.  On July 28, 1927 sixteen children, ten women, and one man drowned, when the Favorite, a small excursion boat cruising from Lincoln Park to Municipal Pier (Navy Pier), capsized half a mile off North Avenue in a sudden, heavy squall. Seventy-five women and children and a half dozen men sank with the boat when it tipped over, but rescuers saved over fifty of them. Weissmueller was one of the Chicago lifeguards who saved many.

On January 20, 1984, Weissmuller died from pulmonary edema at the age of 79. He was buried just outside Acapulco, Valle de La Luz at the Valley of the Light Cemetery. As his coffin was lowered into the ground, a recording of the Tarzan yell he invented was played three times, at his request. He was honored with a 21-gun salute, befitting a head of state, which was arranged by Senator Ted Kennedy and President Ronald Reagan.

Weissmuller’s Tarzan yell:

I can’t believe that it was as late as 1986 that the progressive country of New Zealand decriminalized homosexual behavior between consenting adults. And it was a criminal offense only since 1961.

Da Nooz:

*The NYT describes how shocked Japan is after yesterday’s gun murder of ex-Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. As they report, Japan is the ideal of many of us in at least one respect—it’s almost free of guns and gun violence. There were only ten shootings and one death from guns last year, and just 14 since 2017 in a populous country—125 million people. The gun used to kill Abe was apparently homemade, as here’s what you have to go through buy one:

Japan’s firearms law states that, in principle, guns are not permitted in the country. There are exceptions for guns used in hunting, but the process of getting a license is time-consuming and expensive, so very few people go through the hassle.

A person must pass 12 steps before purchasing a firearm, starting with a gun-safety class and then passing a written exam administered three times a year. A doctor must sign off on the gun buyer’s physical and mental health. Other steps include an extensive background check and a police inspection of the gun safe and ammunition locker required for storing firearms and bullets.

Now how sensible is that? It’s frustrating to see that envisioning such a condition in the U.S. is impossible because a bunch of gun loons have deliberately misinterpreted the Second Amendment.

The NBC Evening News questioned how a shooter could get so close to Abe, but, as the NYT adds, “Police protection at political events is light, and during campaign season, voters have plenty of opportunities to interact with the country’s top leaders.”

The shooter is in custody, and I suspect he’ll get the death sentence if convicted, a sentence which doesn’t comport with the hatred of violence. (Japan hangs people for aggravated murder, and the condemned doesn’t know the date of execution until the morning it takes place.)

*Elon Musk is giving up his bid to buy Twitter for $44 billion. The reason given by Musk’s lawyers is this:

. . . Twitter. . . “failed or refused to” hand over information that would help Musk and his team ascertain the true number of bots or spam accounts on the social media platform.

Well, to many (including me) that sounds like an excuse—that Musk decided he just didn’t need the tsouris of owning Twitter. But the company isn’t going to just let Musk back out—they’re pursuing legal action:

Legal experts have said Musk can’t just walk away from the deal. His April agreement to buy the company included a commitment to go through with the acquisition unless there’s a major change to the business, and legal experts say nothing has happened to meet that threshold. Musk has previously threatened to scuttle the deal if Twitter didn’t give him more data to run his own analysis on how many spam bots it has, while Twitter has said it can’t give up personal information on its users like their names, emails and IP addresses, which it uses to come up with its own bot numbers.

If he does back out, it may cost him a billion dollars or so. I have no strong feelings about this, but I suppose people who feared he’d allow more freedom of speech will be pleased.

*Here’s a short but intriguing Substack piece by Peter Sage: “How Democrats lose election they should win.” An excerpt (h/t Scott):

Danielle Droppers, the Regional Health Equity Coalition Program Manager for the Oregon Health Authority, put off a meeting with partner organizations, saying that “urgency is a white supremacy value.” Here is the full text of her email:

Thank you for your interest in attending the community conversation between Regional Health Equity Coalitions (RHECs) and Community Advisory Councils (CACs) to discuss the Community.

Investment Collaboratives (CICs). In being responsive to partners from across the state, we’re hearing the timing of this meeting is not ideal and that people would like more time to prepare for this important conversation. We recognize that urgency is a white supremacy value that can get in the way of more intentional and thoughtful work, and we want to attend to this dynamic. Therefore, we will reach out at a later date to reschedule.

Thank you so much for your patience, care and understanding.


Danielle Droppers, MSW (she/her)

This language of anti-racism backfires on Democrats. It comes out of the mouths of White educated elites who have pushed ideas of structural, endemic racism to a point that the very subjects and supposed beneficiaries of anti-racism are abandoning Democrats. They understand when they are being insulted. They want opportunity, not pity. Black voters showed it in the South Carolina Democratic primary in 2020. Hispanic voters are showing it in Texas, Nevada, Arizona, and California where they are voting for Republicans.

And, sure enough, Droppers’s email is all over the right-wing media. It’s not in the mainstream liberal media, of course, which is why we don’t hear about it. But the Republicans do, as well as minorities, and stuff like that isn’t helping.

*From Ken:

Here’s some polling from The Texas Politics Project at UT Austin demonstrating that Texas voters aren’t nearly as extreme on gun reform and abortion as recent events (including the GOP state convention) would suggest.
It also shows that Beto O’Rourke is within six points of Texas’s wingnut incumbent governor Greg Abbott in their upcoming race.
I’m not sure I agree with Ken, at least about Texan’s view of abortion. Some statistics:

A new University of Texas/Texas Politics Project Poll finds 15% of Texans expressing support for a complete ban on abortion access in polling conducted primarily in the week prior to the U.S. Supreme Court’s announcement of its landmark opinion overturning Roe v. Wade. While 37% of Texas voters say that they support “trigger law” that would ban abortion in most cases in Texas in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling, no more than 36% would foreclose all access to legal abortion across a range of circumstances.

I don’t know these stats for the rest of the U.S. (I believe that only 8% favor a complete ban on abortion), but the 37% favoring a trigger law and the 15% who would would completely ban abortion (presumably also for rape, incest, or a doomed fetus) sound awful high to me.

*We have another coddling of faith in the NYT op-ed section along the lines of Tish Harrison Warren’s weekly lucubrations involving a watered-down Jesus.This time the op-ed masquerades as an anti-religion piece, bearing the title, “I don’t want to see a high school football coach praying at the 50-yard line,” written by novelist Anne Lamott.

No, she doesn’t like sanctimonious displays of prayer at midfield, but then goes on to talk about her fuzzy notion of good prayer:

Prayer means talking to God, or to the great universal spirit, a.k.a. Gus, or to Not Me. Prayer connects us umbilically to a spirit both outside and within us, who hears and answers. Is it like the comedian Flip Wilson saying, “I’m gonna pray now; anyone want anything?”

Kind of.

I do not understand much about string theory, but I do know we are vibrations, all the time.  [JAC: Shoot me now!] Between the tiny strings is space in which change can happen. The strings are infinitesimal; the space between nearly limitless. Prayer says to that space, I am tiny, helpless, needy, worried, but there’s nothing I can do except send my love into that which is so much bigger than me.

How do people like me who believe entirely in science and reason also believe that prayer can heal and restore? Well, I’ve seen it happen a thousand times in my own inconsequential life. God seems like a total showoff to me, if perhaps unnecessarily cryptic.

Lamott seems to know a lot about the nature of God (yes, she is religious, apparently a Jesus-believing Christian), and thinks that prayers are “heard.” What is up with the nation’s premier newspaper and religion? WE ARE VIBRATIONS!

*Finally, I subscribe to Bari Weiss’s Substack column, “Common Sense,” and although I read a lot of it, I’ve found that the most entertaining entries are the weekly “TGIF” columns by journalist Nellie Bowles, Weiss’s partner. Her pieces are not only good summaries of the week’s news, but also funny in a sarcastic and snarky way, though sometimes a wee bit too Rightish wing for me. This week’s contribution, “TGIF: Bye Bye Boris” is particularly good, taking the mickey out of Uncle Joe for not understanding how gas prices work but also out of Tucker Carlson for blaming male shooters on overmedication and the hectoring of women: “The authorities in their lives, mostly women, never stop lecturing them about their so-called privilege.”

But this is the best, and may lead to AOC replacing Krista Tippett in my pantheon of Sour Milk people:

Quote of the week: “Joy too can be an act of resistance. I want to talk about personal acts of reclamation because sometimes people will say, ‘There’s nothing I can do. I feel so powerless.’ There is no act too small that you can engage in. Even today, I have a personal errand, I need to redo my nails. And I’ve decided that I’m going to use my new manicure as almost like a personal act of reclamation for me and my story.” — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Yes, it’s real—hear for yourself. I almost laugh out loud every time I hear this. Maybe I’ll get a haircut as an act of resistance.

Is that AOC or Lauren Boebert?

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili was found in her “nest” on the veranda this morning:

Hili: I’m waiting since 5 a.m. for you to open the door for me.
A: And where were you earlier?
Hili: None of your business.
In Polish:
Hili: Od piątej rano czekam, żebyś wstał i otworzył mi drzwi.
Ja: A gdzie byłaś wcześniej?
Hili: To nie twoja sprawa.

And baby Kulka on the table:



From Divy, something you will never forget. Maybe you’ll say “Ho-meow-ner”!

This is a fantastic contest i didn’t know existed: bunny show jumping! Look at those rabbits go! (h/t Malcolm)

Rescued burrowing owls (Athene cunicularia) being released into their new home. Sound up.

The Tweet of God:

This is really clever, and it has ducks!

From Simon, a really nasty prank (and how did they empty the bed afterwards?):

Another from Simon featuring a puzzled cat:

From the Auschwitz Memorial:

Tweets from Matthew. I still don’t understand why medieval artists could draw humans pretty well, but never cats. This one has a human face. Did they ever look at a cat?

Do NOT mess with beavers!

Two amazing videos showing the comeback of an endangered whale. The thread has more information.

51 thoughts on “Saturday: Hili dialogue

  1. Re: “How do people like me who believe entirely in science and reason also believe that prayer can heal and restore? Well, I’ve seen it happen a thousand times in my own inconsequential life.”

    I have often asked people who believe in answered prayer about specifics, and thus far it has without exception (well, maybe one could be debated, though reaching a clear conclusion would be all but impossible) been a matter of things that regularly happen every day that they are simply attributing to answered prayer.

    And I think that no bra day should be a law, not a suggestion.

    1. “And I think that no bra day should be a law, not a suggestion.”

      You’re a guy. With all due respect, why is that any of your concern?


      1. Famous blog post by Ann Althouse:

        Men in shorts

        No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.

        That’s the short answer about shorts. Men in shorts? No such thing. If you are in shorts, you are not a man. I’ll make a small exception for certain sports, or if you are staying at home or in your own yard. But if you’re going out in public in a non-sports capacity, put on some pants! This includes the postman!

        This outburst was provoked by Prof. Yin, who wrote this, about what a lawprof ought to wear:

        The specific question about jeans isn’t relevant to me, since I don’t own a single pair of jeans. While I do show up in shorts and a T-shirt on the typical summer day (and truth be told, even right now, since I am on pretenure leave and therefore not teaching at all this semester), during the regular school year I tend to wear slacks, a button-down shirt, and a tie.

        Well, at least he doesn’t teach in shorts. I recently attended a talk led by a male lawprof who wore shorts (with a T-shirt and sandals). He stood up too, putting his boy-clothes on full display.

        This isn’t just some special, quirky little view of mine, guys. Women are on record on this one. I’ve posted on this topic before — here. Please don’t make me tell you again.

      2. Seriously? In case it helps, I don’t really think it should be a law. It was a tongue in cheek way of saying I appreciate a more natural look. And I don’t think — in case this is the issue — that there’s anything wrong with finding other people attractive, including men finding women attractive, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with (attempts at) humour about the fact. Of course, any given joke can fail in any number of ways, or it can cross lines which it is ill advised to cross. But surely my joke did not cross any lines of decency?

        1. I think your joke did cross a line. You basically said that it should be the law that women dress a certain way because you find it sexually attractive. You shouldn’t be surprised when you get some pushback on that.

          1. Well, perhaps I am somewhat naive, but I assumed that no one would really think that I was advocating for such a law, but was only making a joke about what guys, or some guys, like. So I’m not sure how to understand your “You basically said that it should be the law that … ” Did you seriously think that’s what I was saying? Of course, you don’t know me personally, so I suppose you might think that I’m some kind of Taliban in reverse figure, but I doubt it; again, maybe naively.
            Similarly, if Janet says something about “a law saying that men had to shave their heads or wear tight pants,” I would suppose that she’s joking about men and what women think of them, and would chuckle, and would make no further assumptions.
            Should we really not joke about what we find sexually attractive, or unattractive? Isn’t our sexuality one of the principal topics of humor?
            In any case, if a significant portion of those who read the joke found it objectionable, perhaps I should reconsider.

        2. I wonder if there should be a law forbidding men from looking when a woman in low cut jeans in public bends over, revealing the posterior dorsal bifurcation of her bilaterally symmetrical gluteals.

          “If thy eye offend thee, pluck it out.”

          1. No comparison.

            In your example, the woman chose what she was wearing.

            In the example above, the man is making the decision, or suggestion if you choose not to face what is actually being said.

            I am SO tired of the message that it is my purpose to be decorative. Women who choose that are welcome to their choice. If I choose to be comfortable, I should be welcome to mine, without criticism.


      3. Right, Linda! I’m guessing if we promoted a law saying that men had to shave their heads or wear tight pants we’d likely see a bit of push-back.

  2. Re: Zachary Taylor – possibly brucellosis? Many cows were, and still are infected.

    We test yearly for brucellosis. Brucellosis is the reason for pasteurization laws. South Carolina recently repealed their pasteurization law, and the lawmaker who spearheaded the repeal toasted its success with a glass of raw milk. Three days later he came down with brucellosis. He’s lucky he did that in a time of antibiotics, or he’d be dead.

    Maybe like Zachary Taylor?


  3. Google seem to be downplaying the “urgency is a white supremacy value.” Just asked “who said this?” Though Fox News and all the others are listed after , this warning/caution/whatever precedes:

    It looks like these results are changing quickly
    If this topic is new, it can sometimes take time for reliable sources to publish

    • Check the source
    Are they trusted on this topic?
    • Come back later

    Other sources might have more information on this topic in a few hours or days”

    1. And searching “tema okun + “Urgency is a White supremacy value.” I get the same response.

      OK, now I’m just being mean, but a search for “what nitwit said “Urgency is a White supremacy value,” this appears.

      “It looks like there aren’t many great matches for your search
      Try using words that might appear on the page you’re looking for. For example, “cake recipes” instead of “how to make a cake.”
      Need help? Check out other tips for searching on Google.”

      Apparently Google can also do personal acts of resistance.

      1. I guess all the Urgent Care clinics will have to change their name to – what? “Easy Come, Easy Go”? “Que Sera, Sera”? “Studied Carelessness”? “Languish and Loaf”?

  4. I’m quite sure in 1893 that general anaesthesia would have been used! Morton used ether in in the USA in October 1846, and Liston at UCH (hurrah!) in December 1846. Simpson started using chloroform the following year.

    1. As well as the merciful unconsciousness and analgesia, ether also provides the muscle relaxation necessary to retract the muscles of the chest and abdomen. Ether literally opened the way for surgery on the trunk. In operations of this type, the skill of the surgeon is more important than antibiotics, as the result showed.

      The operation also demonstrates understanding of the role of pericardial tamponade as a rapidly treatable cause of shock. No blood transfusion is necessary if this is the only source of bleeding and in fact transfusion or large volumes of any intravenous fluid makes the situation worse until tamponade is relieved. To this day it is a clinical diagnosis as there is not time for imaging, except possibly with bedside ultrasound increasingly available. Immediate relief and then arrest of bleeding are life-saving.

      Regardless of whether Dr. Williams was the first to do a pericardiostomy, he deserves full credit for saving his patient’s life in a ground-breaking fashion. Well done.

  5. The libertarian oriented magazine Reason has an article on the Danielle Droppers email. It believes that she adopted the notion that a sense of urgency is a hallmark of white supremacy from Tema Okun, who has a large website dedicated to “white supremacy culture.” Apparently a white person, Okun seems to be a Robin DiAngleo clone (or maybe it is vice-versa).

    One page of the website is devoted to discussing the sense of urgency.

    She lists a dozen characteristics of the sense of urgency, all bad. The connection between these characteristics and white culture (if there actually is such a thing is unclear). She then lists eight “antidotes” to the sense of urgency. Again, she makes little connection to white supremacy culture. Her sleight of hand is to trick readers into accepting her assumptions that a sense of urgency is characteristics of whites and presumably non-whites do not have this sense, which is a good thing.

    Of course, the right-wing will attempt to damage Democrats by associating them with the views of Droppers and Okun. What remains to be seen if Democrats are smart enough to reject immediately and without reservation the lunacy of Droppers’ comments. This remains to be seen. The incident is but another skirmish in the culture war, a conflict that all too many Democrats do not seem to be aware that they are engaged in.

  6. I can’t believe that it was as late as 1986 that the progressive country of New Zealand decriminalized homosexual behavior between consenting adults.

    Nineteen eighty-six was the same year the US Supreme Court upheld Georgia’s homosexual sodomy statute — actually, a statute that applied on its face to sodomy involving gay or straight people, but which the Court construed to apply only to homosexuals — in Bowers v. Hardwick.

    Bowers was overruled 17 years later in Lawrence v. Texas (2003), in an opinion by Anthony Kennedy — a Ronald Reagan appointee for whom current SCOTUS justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh both served as law clerks, and whose legacy those two justices appear intent on undoing.

    1. Probably worth mentioning:

      The Georgia Supreme Court struck down the sodomy statute by a vote of 6–1. The Court found that the individual’s right to privacy in the Georgia Constitution are stronger and broader than those in the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment.[2] The majority noted that “privacy rights protected by the U.S. Constitution are not at issue in this case,” while the dissenting justice cited Bowers extensively.[1]

      1. So it was illegal to perform cunnilingus in Georgia until 1998.

        I think it worth noting that Powell v. State wasn’t decided until the first two women justices were appointed to the Georgia Supreme Court in the 1990s.

        1. Stupid laws are everywhere. Adultery is illegal in New York today.

          Is Adultery a Crime in New York?
          Yes! New York State Penal Law Section 255.17; A person is guilty of adultery when he/she engages in sexual intercourse with another person at a time when he/she has a living spouse, or the other person has a living spouse. Adultery is a class B misdemeanor punishable by up to 3 months in jail or one year of probation.

          1. Stupid statutes, whether enforced or not, breed contempt for the law. If such stupid statutes are indeed enforced, it breeds even greater disrespect.

            The stupid statute in Georgia prohibiting sodomy was still being enforced until 1998. A similar stupid anti-sodomy statute in Texas was still being enforced until 2003. If SCOTUS follows Justice Clarence Thomas’s invitation in Dobbsto overrule Lawrence v. Texas, some states will doubtless begin to enforce such stupid anti-sodomy statutes again.

            If that isn’t an affront to individual liberty and privacy, I don’t know what is. What business has the state in getting involved in the private sex lives of consenting adults?

            1. What business has the state in getting involved in the private sex lives of consenting adults?

              Agree 100%, although the current trend seems to be to take agency away from women and deny that they can meaningfully consent.

            2. What business has the state in getting involved in the private sex lives of consenting adults?

              What about laws against incest? AFAIK there are nearly-universal taboos against it, and plausible evo psych explanations for that.

              (There is a relevant Theodore Sturgeon story from half a century ago, “If all men were brothers would you let one marry your sister?”).

              1. Does a law against incest between consenting adults add anything to the universal taboo that already exists? So very few siblings develop sexual attraction for each other in the first place and parents are vigilant for any hint of it. The state does have an interest in preventing deleterious genetic consequences of sib matings that did occur despite the taboo, granted, and states will not issue marriage licenses between siblings. But criminal charges actually brought under the sex-within-families rubric are really charges of rape or lesser sexual assault by adults or mature teenagers against children in an extended or blended family. The issue here is breach of trust and abuse of children, not the degree of relatedness, if any, between assailant and victim.

                If two adult sisters did set up house with each other, (assuming they could stand living with each other) would it be anyone’s business but theirs if they shared a bed?

  7. Re Jerry’s question about the bed prank: the garden hose used to fill it could be used as a siphon to empty it out the bedroom window. Although from the splash of the displaced volume I’m not sure there was much water left in it.

  8. The NBC Evening News questioned how a shooter could get so close to Abe,

    Sarah Jane Moore and Manson girl Squeaky Fromme managed to get next to president Gerald Ford with pistols within 17 days of each other in September 1975, and John Hinckley walked up to Ronald Reagan and shot him with a pistol two months after his inauguration in 1981. It was a merely matter of fortuity that those incidents didn’t result in assassinations.

  9. In defense of the Second Amendment as a personal right, I will only point out what many others, including the Supreme Court (whom we can’t just follow when we like what they say) have pointed out: the right to bear arms is an historic right that at the time was enshrined in English law and that exists in contemporary State constitutions. The militia power is already a part of the body of the Constitution (as well as State constitutions), so why would one of the first amendments address it. Why, if the right to bears arms is purely a governmental power (which is implied if you don’t accept it as personal right) does it appear with exactly those amendments which pertain to personal rights? The militia argument is just a dodge, a purposeful misconstruction. I always find it interesting when people point to “better” laws in other countries in isolation. Sure, Japan has “great” gun laws; they also just made it a crime to insult someone online. I am not sure we should be looking at them as a model for a free society.

    1. The gun debate is not about a “free society”, it’s about doing something about the horrific levels of gun crime in the USA.

      It think it would behoove Americans to stop fetishising the “free society” and start trying to make it a safe and pleasant place for its citizens to live.

      1. Yes, but if the right to bear arms is, in fact, a right, then “doing something” about gun violence may mean impinging on that right. Certainly, any discussion about gun control has to acknowledge that we are looking to limit the free exercise of a civil right on the part of tens of millions of Americans how are not criminals, and who own guns safely and legally. And, to Lysander’s point below, I think the Founder’s did view the right to bear arms as part of a free society (why the scare quotes?), again, not just at the Federal level, but at the State level, as well.

        1. Yes, but if the right to bear arms is, in fact, a right, then “doing something” about gun violence may mean impinging on that right.

          So impinge on it. In all the other developed countries, the right to bear arms no longer exists in any meaningful sense. What have we lost as a result? Nothing that anybody misses.

          Governments make laws that impinge on people’s civil rights all the time. Get over it. My government impinges on my right not to pay taxes, but my free at the point of delivery education and healthcare more than make up for it.

          I think I have a right to walk down the street safely. If that means you lose your right to carry deadly weapons around in public, so be it.

    2. The Founders were steeped in Roman history and knew that the United States would face all manner of challenges and crises in the future. In response, they tried to fashion a republic that would overcome the weaknesses of the Roman republic. I think the Second Amendment was added as a final “break glass if needed” backstop to protect the republic during dark times.

      1. What were the weaknesses in the Roman Republic that they wanted to avoid?

        Was the mob that assaulted the Capitol on Jan 6th 2021 a well regulated militia? Was it appropriate that they “broke the glass”?

        1. Democracies and republics are historically unstable and can turn to autocracy in dark times. Sadly, autocracies may be more stable than democracies. In any case, once an autocracy gets established it is awfully hard to get rid of.

          Even with the second amendment, there is no guarantee we could recover our republic in the case of a coup, but at least we could try.

          We have not escaped history. All sorts of terrible things could happen that could send us down a dark road.

          The Founders knew this, and tried to give us some tools to turn back.

  10. Shinzo Abe was shot using a homemade gun in a country with very restrictive gun laws. That makes me wonder how many in Japan make their own guns in order to skirt the laws. With 3D printers and plans online, this has to be fairly easy to do nowadays. Of course, normal people really have little use for such guns.

  11. I’ve heard from legal experts that Musk may be on the hook for more than $1B in the Twitter deal. Twitter’s current stock valuation is many billions below Musk’s offer price, arguably due to Musk’s messing around. Twitter now wants to make him go through with the deal. If that fails, they are going to be looking for more. The likely outcome is that Musk will settle with Twitter but have to pay much more than a billion.

    This story is far from over. There is also the possibility that Musk is still trying to negotiate a lower price. Finally, Republicans are worried that “Musk is not going to save us.” Based on some of Musk’s tweets and his move to Texas, they had started to think of him as one of theirs. Perhaps he was going to immediately put Trump back on Twitter. I am not so sure Musk is really on their side, though he’s certainly not a Progressive.

    1. I was surprised to hear that Musk pulled out of the Twitter deal. Having fathered at least nine children, pulling out isn’t something he’s known for.

  12. This goes a long way toward explaining Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover story. He needed to sell a bunch of Tesla stock without causing it to tank. If he unloaded his own company’s shares without good reason, investors would think he knows something they don’t or that he has lost faith or interest in the company or its products. Needing the money to buy something else is a good cover story. I’m sure he had things he wanted to get off his chest about how he imagined Twitter should be run but perhaps it wasn’t really what he was there for.

    How Elon’s bizarre Twitter takeover saga could have just been a cover for him to sell $8.5 billion in Tesla stock

  13. re bunneh jumping: Teh hoomins should have to keep up wif dere bunnehs. Some of teh bunnehs left their hoomins in the dust.

  14. I have commented on Professor Coyne’s site a few times, possibly said the wrong thing once or twice, gaining an admonishment or two along the way (!) and had decided not to overdo it and write another one. However – I cannot pass up the opportunity to comment on Mozart. As the son of two professional classical musicians (the Irish String Quartet of the late 60s and 70s) I grew up with Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert chamber music etc rehearsed in our home.

    Oh my God! For me all the others (Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, Prokofiev, Stravinsky etc) are genuises who worked hard to perfect their art, but Mozart is transcendental genius beyond explanation. Any day without several hours of his music is a sad day for me.

    Those of you following Professor Coyne’s blog may or may not be interested but last month I wrote a blog on Mozart in which I recommend my personal favorites. If only one of you read it, then I will be well pleased.


    David Lillis

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