Greetings on a
CatSaturday, December 3, 2022: It’s National Peppermint Latte Day. Shoot me now! This vile “libation” instantiates Coyne’s Fifth Law: “All snacks ultimately evolve toward candy” (granola bars, fizzy water, and now lattes.)
It’s also National Apple Pie Day, but then things go downhill, for it’s also National Green Bean Casserole Day and National Rhubarb Vodka Day (!!!) To top it off, it’s also National Earmuff Day, Let’s Hug Day, and International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
The Google Doodle today doesn’t link to anything; it’s just holiday themed:
Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the December 3 Wikipedia page.
*Well, Alex Jones has filed for bankruptcy after facing a bunch of civil suits for defamation in conjunction with the Sandy Hook shooting (he claimed it was a government plot to take away people’s guns). His fines are up to at least $1.5 billion.
The filing comes atop the bankruptcy filing by Free Speech Systems, Infowars’ parent company, in late July. The new filing could further delay payment of the damages to the families, who would need to seek payment through the bankruptcy courts alongside other creditors. But it could also force a greater degree of scrutiny on the finances of Mr. Jones’s empire.
For more than four years, Mr. Jones has stonewalled the courts on providing business records, financial information and other records in the Sandy Hook cases. In a separate lawsuit, the victims’ families have accused Mr. Jones of improperly siphoning assets from his business and channeling them to himself and his family. He will now ostensibly be required to reveal more about those assets.
“The bankruptcy system does not protect anyone who engages in intentional and egregious attacks on others, as Mr. Jones did,” said Chris Mattei, a lawyer for the families in the damages case in Connecticut. “The American judicial system will hold Alex Jones accountable, and we will never stop working to enforce the jury’s verdict.” In that case, in October, Mr. Jones was ordered to pay $1.4 billion. Two other cases were litigated in Texas.
*Over at Bari Weiss’s site, Nellie Bowles has her usual snarky but funny take on the news; this week’s is “TGIF: Protest Edition.” A few excerpts.
→ Trump, Milo, Kanye, Fuentes: A rough collection of names for a rough item. Last week, our former President beclowned himself by hosting Kanye West and the white supremacist Nick Fuentes at Mar-a-Lago for dinner. He claimed not to know who Fuentes was.
Add to this sick brew one Milo Yiannopoulous. Once a firebrand gay conservative, Milo has rebranded as a Christian nationalist selling Christian paraphernalia. Now he’s running Kanye West’s 2024 presidential campaign and gleefully joining in with the antisemitism, claiming Trump will lose because he has been “continuing to suck the boots of Jewish powers that be who hate Jesus Christ, hate our country, and see us as disposable cattle according to their ‘holy’ book.” It’s subtle, sure, but if you read it closely you pick up on the antisemitism.
On Thursday, Kanye West and Nick Fuentes went on Infowars. I think it’s worthwhile to see the rhetoric for yourself. You know things have gone off the rails when Alex Jones is the most sane person on a panel.
Be sure you listen to this one:
Alex Jones: "You're not Hitler. You're not a Nazi."
Ye: "Well, I see good things about Hitler, also. Every human being has value that they brought to the table, especially Hitler." pic.twitter.com/xZtjq18dm6
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) December 1, 2022
→ Stop trying to make me eat insects: Every single week there is a story from the mainstream press trying to convince me that I need to eat insects. This is a Davos-set obsession. The World Economic Forum has published literally hundreds of pieces like “5 Reasons Why Eating Insects Could Reduce Climate Change.” Steak, chicken, fish are all special treats that are bad for the environment, you see. And like private jets, these should be reserved only for Davos attendees, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, and Taylor Swift. For the good of the world, you and I should be eased into a bug-based diet. Last weekend’s installment comes from the Washington Post’s health section: “Salted ants. Ground crickets. Why you should try edible insects.” No.
It’s clear that Nellie isn’t big on soccer:
→ World Cup news. America is set to play the Netherlands Saturday. Thank you for coming to our Sports Section.
*I don’t often post on op-eds at the WSJ, and they’re predictably right wing. This one, however, says something that’s obvious but needs repeated emphasis: Roland Fryer‘s column “Disparity doesn’t necessarily imply racism.” Fryer is a black Professor of Economics at Harvard. (h/t Luana)
Determined to show that income gaps were due to racism, Fryer eventually realized, using statistical analyses that they were instead due largely to differences in skills:
. . . Taken together, an honest review of the evidence suggests that current racial inequities are more a result of differences in skill than differences in treatment of those with the same skill.
I write this with some degree of trepidation, in part because I still have my grandmother in my ear [JAC: she really was the victim of personal and vitriolic racism] and in part because I am keenly aware of the harm in underestimating bias. But there is also a cost to overemphasizing its impact. A black kid who believes he will face daunting societal obstacles is likely to underinvest in trying to climb society’s rungs. Every black student in the country needs to know that his return on investment in education is, if anything, higher than for white students.
The solution is neither to stop fighting biased behavior nor to curb honest inquiry about race in America. We shouldn’t stop searching for and penalizing discriminatory employers, or trying to reduce racial differences in police brutality, or estimating whether the value of a home appraisal depends on the race of the homeowner, or reducing bias in bail decisions by using artificial intelligence. I could go on, like the conversations stuck to those slipcovers. The solution isn’t to look away from discrimination. It does exist. But we also can’t point at every gap in outcomes and instantly conclude it’s racism. Prejudice must be measured rigorously. Statistically. Disparity doesn’t necessarily imply racism. It may feel omnipresent, but it isn’t all-powerful. Skills matter most.
This should be obvious as an alternative (and now somewhat supported) explanation of “inequity,” defined as a disproportional representation of groups. But we all see inequities and pretend that they prove—prove—the existence of “systemic and structural racism”. Woe to they who say otherwise, for they’ll be tarred as “racists.” At least Fryer can’t be accused of that!
*Here are yesterday’s World Cup results and some footie news:
Uruguay was knocked out of the World Cup on Friday despite its win over Ghana, but players on the field turned their frustrations towards the officiating crew, grabbing at them as they angrily followed them into the tunnel.
Uruguay defeated Ghana 2-0 in the final Group H match before the Round of 16, but a win by South Korea over Portugal bumped them down to third place, eliminating them from the tournament.
As soon as the final whistle was blown, players from Uruguay’s bench swarmed the referees as they attempted to exit the pitch.
The highlights: Uruguay scores at 1:20 and 2:05, and you can see a bit of referee-swarming at the end. I’ve added a tweet below showing that:
Uruguay players follow the game officials into the tunnel after the final whistle pic.twitter.com/bVCIXKM2RW
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) December 2, 2022
South Korea moved on to the knockout stage for the first time since 2010, while Portugal moved on with its first group win since 2006.
From the NYT:
As Brazil’s reserves clashed with Cameroon, Serbia and Switzerland played a game that included a paroxysm of goals and then a ruthless barren stretch taunted both teams. When it was over, Switzerland had won, 3-2, and advanced to the knockout stage, to a date Tuesday with the Group H winner Portugal. Serbia’s players crumpled to the turf in disappointment. Brazil faces South Korea on Monday.
Cameroon is the first African team ever to beat Brazil in a World Cup.
Here are the highlights of the Serbia/Switzerland game. The first goal for Switzerland (0:43) is excellent, following a short backward pass, and the second Serbian goal (1:54).
*You may have read that a man fell overboard from a Carnival Cruise ship last week and, after more than 12 hours, was actually rescued. How was that possible? The NYT recounts the incident and others like it, and discusses the protocol ships use when there’s a man or woman overboard.
The passenger, according to the Coast Guard, turned out to be James Grimes, 28, who had been traveling with his parents and siblings on the five-day cruise. His family had last seen him the night before, around 11 p.m.
But by 10:45 on Thanksgiving morning, when there was no sign of him, the family notified the crew, the Coast Guard said.
At 8:10 p.m., more than nine hours after his family reported him missing, a passing tanker spotted the man near the mouth of the Mississippi River and alerted the Coast Guard.
Rescuers found Mr. Grimes struggling in the water, waving frantically and trying to keep his head above the surface.
When the crew of the MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter lifted him out, he was in shock, had mild hypothermia and was extremely dehydrated, said Lt. Seth Gross, who managed the search and rescue operation for the Coast Guard. But he was alive and in stable condition.
Mr. Grimes, whose family described him as an exceptional swimmer, had treaded in 65- to 70-degree water for hours, withstanding rain, 20-knot winds and three- to five-foot waves in the Gulf of Mexico, where bull sharks and blacktip sharks are common, Coast Guard officials said.
It’s not clear how Grimes fell overboard (he clearly didn’t jump as a suicidal move). Was he inebriated? That seems to be a common way that people fall into the drink (pun intended)
. . . In 2019, 25 people fell overboard, and only nine of them were rescued, according to CLIA.
In February, a woman aboard the Carnival Valor jumped off the 10th deck of the ship while fleeing security officers who were trying to detain her after she had scuffled with them. Her body was never found.
In December 2016, a 22-year-old man fell off the 12th deck of a Royal Caribbean cruise ship after a night of heavy drinking. His parents sued the cruise line in federal court in Florida, but a jury decided in favor of Royal Caribbean.
Alcohol is a factor in at least 11 percent of falls from cruise ships, which often offer all-inclusive drink packages that encourage drinking onboard, said Ross Klein, a professor of social work at Memorial University of Newfoundland, who researches cruise safety.
The ending is all good except for this (my emphasis):
Lt. Gross said he called the man’s mother and stepfather to tell them he had been found.
When he told them their son was stable and being treated at a hospital in New Orleans, he heard them cheer and cry.
Ms. White [the passenger’s mom], who lives in Hampton, Va., and runs an anti-bullying organization, said she was flooded with relief when the ship announced that Mr. Grimes had been found alive.
“That was nothing but God that he survived,” she said.
No, it wasn’t God, it was the man’s determination AND the help of many searchers. A nonexistent god had nothing to do with it.
*Reader Jim “Bat” Batterson favors us with an update on the Artemis-1 mission, now about to leave the Moon to return to Earth, splashing down on December 11:
Two days ago (Thursday Dec 1), at 4:54 PM EST, a 105-second thruster burn from its main engine kicked the Orion capsule and support module (which carries the main maneuvering engine that will be jettisoned just before it re-enters Earth’s atmosphere) out of its distant retrograde orbit of the Moon, beginning its return to Earth.
This took it out of its lunar orbit that extended to 40,000 miles above the lunar surface and into a trajectory that will pass 71 miles above the lunar surface on Monday, December 5. Then a second firing of its engine will kick it out of lunar orbit altogether, beginning the final stage of its return to Earth. The capsule is scheduled to splash down in the Pacific Ocean on December 11. I do not have the schedule of exact times for the Monday maneuver at the Moon or the maneuvering on approach to Earth for re-entry on December 11, but I’ll pass those times on when I see them. The exact timing likely depends on how the big Dec 5 maneuver and follow-up small correction maneuvers go.
I expect readers might want to watch the return preparations and splashdown on December 11.
During last night’s presser, and in press releases, NASA has said that everything has gone better than expected—to the point where they added additional objectives to further stress-test some of the systems during the distant retrograde orbit over the past week. Fingers still crossed!
I’ve asked Jim to give us more commentary when the splashdown takes place.
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili dilates upon reverse evolution. She’s right, too!
Hili: Evolution is retreating.A: Why do you think so?Hili: Humans have stopped talking and are starting to tweet again.
Hili: Ewolucja się cofa.Ja: Dlaczego tak sądzisz?Hili: Ludzie przestają mówić i znów zaczynają ćwierkać.
. . . and Baby Kulka asleep on the dresser:
A Gary Larson Far Side cartoon contributed by Stash Krod:
Yet another Far Side cartoon, this one sent in by Thomas:
A tweet from Masih:
“With or without hijab
We are heading for a revolution”
— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) December 2, 2022
Hanukah is coming, and Simon shows us that it’s has a different atmosphere this year (note that the Tweeter is a urologist):
LABIA MENORAH I LOVE YOU https://t.co/eoKSaP6oRc
— Ashley Winter MD || Urologist (@AshleyGWinter) December 1, 2022
From Barry: a rant by comedian Trae Crowder. The subject is in the title; sound up.
ON KANYE, ALEX JONES, NAZIS AND ALL THAT LUNACY pic.twitter.com/5pYWttw93i
— Trae Crowder in Brea & Oxnard 11/9-10 (@traecrowder) December 1, 2022
From Luana. No, biological sex is real—and binary. This person mixes up sex and gender, and is apparently ignorant of gamete-size disparities.
“Biological sex is fake” pic.twitter.com/blijlfiiCc
— Libs of TikTok (@libsoftiktok) December 1, 2022
From the Auschwitz Memorial: Two women. First, one who survived Auschwitz:
December 2, 1926 | Aga Gershkovich, a Ukranian Jew, was born in Vilkhovitza.
In May 1944, she was deported to #Auschwitz. Most of her family was murdered in the War.
Aga survived, and today is her 96th birthday. Please join us in wishing her a wonderful day! pic.twitter.com/fncsoWGzwA
— Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial Foundation (@ABMFusa) December 2, 2022
And one who did not.
3 December 1899 | A Czech Jewish woman, Ida Kominiková, was born in Žatec.
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) December 3, 2022
Tweets from the estimable Professor Cobb. First, a new book, and look at the table of contents. Matthew says, “Looks interesting thought some seem straw men to me, and who decides what a “myth” is anyway?”
Final revisions of edited manuscript “Darwin Mythology: Debunking Myths, Correcting Falsehoods", to be published next year by Cambridge U Press. Check out the table of contents, and the stellar lineup, here: https://t.co/sRdwoWGmyo . Next is my own book on Mendel
— Kostas Kampourakis (@KampourakisK) December 2, 2022
Some genetic and biogeographic data on the evolution of canids and their ecological novelty. Watch the ten-minute video.
— Farhan Mitha (@FarhanMitha) December 1, 2022
Yes, it’s silly, but some of the jokes are good. They’d never show stuff like this today!
There's not enough outright silliness in the world these days. There's something not just funny but comforting about it. If people feel free to be this goddamned silly, things must be basically okay. Silly. Silly. The word has lost all meaning to me now. Silly. https://t.co/mYnDgHSNkd
— Michael Marshall Smith (@ememess) November 30, 2022