Thursday: Hili dialogue

January 19, 2023 • 6:45 am

Greetings on this gray and drizzly Chicago day of Thursday, January 19, 2023, and National Popcorn Day. On a diet but want a filling and tasty meal? Make a big bowl of popcorn, which has almost no calories, add salt, and drizzle it with olive oil.

It’s also World Quark Day, Tin Can Day, Women’s Healthy Weight Day (I thought that all weights were healthy), Gun Appreciation Day (a right-wing-created holiday that’s not for me), Husband’s Day in Iceland (men are given gifts and a special lamb dish, Hangikjöt, is served). Here’s the dish:

(From Wikipedia): Hangikjöt with potatoes in béchamel sauce and green peas

Finally, it’s Theophany / Epiphany (Eastern and Oriental Orthodoxy), and its related observances:

Timkat, or 20 during Leap Year (Ethiopian Orthodox)

Vodici or Baptism of Jesus (North Macedonia)

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the January 19 Wikipedia page.

Wine of the Day: Chateau Guirard is best known for its lovely (and pricey) Sauternes, a luscious sweet wine that is France’s best “sticky”—and perhaps the world’s. (Sauternes is made in Bordeaux from sémillon and sauvignon grapes that have been infected with mold, which sucks the water out of the grape and concentrates the sweetness.)

I didn’t even know that Guirard made a dry white wine, but when I saw a bottle for $17, and learned that it was made organically from both semillon and sauvignon blanc, I snapped it up. (You can also buy wines of similar composition made  in America, and some of them are okay, but you can’t taste the semillon.) In this bottle was hoping to get the honeyed flavor of the semillon grape without the sweetness, and I drank the bottle (half per night) with a dinner of chicken thighs (the best part of the bird), rice, and green peppers.

The nose reminded me of pears and lemons; the wine was a pale straw color. I don’t drink much white Bordeaux, and I was surprised at how different this tasted from my usual white wines. It had stuffing and a lovely perfume that was better the second day than the first.  This is a wine probably best enjoyed with richer seafood, like smoked salmon, but it was also good with chicken thighs.  It’s usually more expensive than what I paid, at at higher price points I would consider another wine: perhaps a sauvignon blanc or chinon blanc. But if you can find it at less than $20, try a bottle.

Da Nooz:

*Good Lord, I hadn’t heard of this plan but I can’t say I oppose it. According to the New York Times, the U.S. is starting to talk to Ukraine about reclaiming Crimea, which of course the Russians simply annexed nine years ago. The Russians might finish this war with less territory than they started with! (I still think Ukraine is going to lose land, though.):

For years, the United States has insisted that Crimea is still part of Ukraine. Yet the Biden administration has held to a hard line since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, refusing to provide Kyiv with the weapons it needs to target the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia has been using as a base for launching devastating strikes.

Now that line is starting to soften.

After months of discussions with Ukrainian officials, the Biden administration is finally starting to concede that Kyiv may need the power to strike the Russian sanctuary, even if such a move increases the risk of escalation, according to several U.S. officials who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive debate. Crimea, between the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, is home to tens of thousands of dug-in Russian troops and numerous Russian military bases.

The moderation in position has come about as the Biden administration has come to believe that if the Ukrainian military can show Russia that its control of Crimea can be threatened, that would strengthen Kyiv’s position in any future negotiations. In addition, fears that the Kremlin would retaliate using a tactical nuclear weapon have dimmed, U.S. officials and experts said — though they cautioned that the risk remained.

. . .The new thinking on Crimea — annexed illegally by Russia in 2014 — shows how far Biden administration officials have come from the start of the war, when they were wary of even acknowledging publicly that the United States was providing Stinger anti-aircraft missiles for Ukrainian troops.

But over the course of the conflict, the United States and its NATO allies have been steadily loosening the handcuffs they put on themselves, moving from providing Javelins and Stingers to advanced missile systems, Patriot air defense systems, armored fighting vehicles and even some Western tanks to give Ukraine the capacity to strike against Russia’s onslaught.

Now, the Biden administration is considering what would be one of its boldest moves yet, helping Ukraine to attack the peninsula that President Vladimir V. Putin views as an integral part of his quest to restore past Russian glory.

Now it’s not absolutely clear that these plans would wind up putting Crimea into Ukrainian hands, but I can’t imagine that the plan is just to show Russia how vulnerable it is. And let’s throw in some American made tanks for Zelensky, just as a Christmas present.

*In a column at the Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin pins the rise of American anti-Semitism, which is a real phenomenon, on the political Right. She says “the cause is no mystery, either. What is it? The answer is in the first sentence above:

Right-wing Republicans have their fingerprints all over the rise of antisemitism in the United States. The latest data make this clear.

“Over three-quarters of Americans (85 percent) believe at least one anti-Jewish trope, as opposed to 61 percent found in 2019,” the Anti-Defamation League recently reported. “Twenty percent of Americans believe six or more tropes, which is significantly more than the 11 percent that ADL found in 2019 and is the highest level measured in decades.” The report continues:

The ADL notes that the number of Americans accepting anti-Semitic tropes, like saying the “Jews stick together” and have “dual loyalty to Israel and the U.S.” And this, to Rubin, is familiar rhetoric:

Much of this sounds like the rhetoric coming from the MAGA movement, and specifically its leader, defeated former president Donald Trump. How many times have you heard Republicans, including House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, prattle on about George Soros, a Jewish Hungarian immigrant, as if he is the chief string-puller controlling the Democratic Party? Trump meanwhile routinely demonizes Jewish Democrats for not supporting him and the Israeli government.

The far left is not blameless for the rise of antisemitism, of course. But the entire project of white Christian nationalism is to marginalize those who are not White and/or not Christian as something less than real Americans. (More than one-third of those who responded to the ADL survey said “Jews do not share my values.”) The chant “Jews will not replace us” in Charlottesville in August 2017 was a visible reminder that the right wing considers Jews as much a threat to their vision of democracy as immigrants from Central America. Hatred of “elites” and suspicion about urban dwellers often is a thinly disguised swipe at Jews. (“New York values” is often the buzz phrase.)

But although the Far Right is indeed anti-Semitic this way, at least Rubin doesn’t exculpate the Left, much of which, especially the so-called “progressives”, are anti-Semitic in a more subtle way:

The far left makes its own contribution to antisemitism through its over-the-top denunciations of Israel. Not all criticism of Israel is wrong, of course. Plenty of objections to current government policies are legitimate — including its inclusion of rabidly anti-Arab nationalists, its attempt to curtail civil rights and the ultra-Orthodox groups’ attempt to write non-Orthodox Diaspora Jews out of the worldwide community of Jewish people. However, there is a point at which criticism of Israel can veer into abject antisemitism. This includes the suggestion that Israel “treats Palestinians like the Nazis treated Jews” (a view held by a stunning 40 percent of the ADL survey respondents) or “Israel can get away with anything because its supporters control the media” (nearly one-fourth of those surveyed agreed).

For example, the BDS movement is, I think, anti-Semitic, since one of its aims is removal of Israel as a state: “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” That, in effect, is a recipe for genocide of the Jews. As far as I know, every member of the Democratic Congressional “squad” endorses BDS. It’s ironic that two signs of the progressive Left, with the Left as a whole traditionally inclusive, are dissing the Jews as “Zionists” on one hand and ignoring the oppression imposed by Islamic countries like Iran, Afghanistan, and Palestine on the other.

*A woman and a boy were killed in a rare polar bear attack in Alaska. That must be a painful way to die, and the miscreant bear was going after a whole village:

A polar bear killed a woman and her year-old son in a remote village in western Alaska on Tuesday after it chased “multiple residents,” officials said in one of the few fatal polar bear attacks to take place in the past century.

The attack occurred near a school in the remote village of Wales, Alaska, which is on the western edge of the Seward Peninsula that juts into the Bering Sea toward Russia. About 170 people live in Wales, according to the Census Bureau, and most residents are Inupiaq.

A spokesman for the Alaska State Troopers identified the victims as Summer Myomick, 24, and her son, Clyde Ongtowasruk, 1. Ms. Myomick was a resident of St. Michael, Alaska, about 230 miles southeast of Wales, the spokesman, Austin McDaniel, said.

A local resident shot and killed the polar bear as it was attacking the pair, the Alaska State Troopers said in a statement. State troopers said that they were notified of the attack at 2:30 p.m. local time on Tuesday.

. . . While attacks on humans are extremely rare, polar bears are more likely to attack a person when they are “nutritionally stressed” and in “below-average body condition,” according to a 2017 study published in the Wildlife Society Bulletin.

You know what tthat means: the bears are hungry because the sea ice, from which they hunt seals, is shrinking due to global warming. Polar bears are already listed as “threatened”, but they could become “endangered”. And the more endangered they are, the more Alaskans are endangered as well.

*Speaking of global warming, Greenland is rapidly becoming the canary in the coal mine for global warming. A report in the WaPo (by Chris Mooney—remember him?) says that Greenland is getting hotter and losing ice, and it’s happening quickly:

The coldest and highest parts of the Greenland ice sheet, nearly two miles above sea level in many locations, are warming rapidly and showing changes that are unprecedented in at least a millennium, scientists reported Wednesday.

That’s the finding from research that extracted multiple 100-foot or longer cores of ice from atop the world’s second-largest ice sheet. The samples allowed the researchers to construct a new temperature record based on the oxygen bubbles stored inside them, which reflect the temperatures at the time when the ice was originally laid down.

“We find the 2001-2011 decade the warmest of the whole period of 1,000 years,” said Maria Hörhold, the study’s lead author and a scientist at the Alfred Wegener Institute in Bremerhaven, Germany.

And since warming has only continued since that time, the finding is probably an underestimate of how much the climate inthe high-altitude areas of northern and central Greenland has changed. That is bad news for the planet’s coastlines, because it suggests a long-term process of melting is being set in motion that could ultimately deliver some significant, if hard to quantify, fraction of Greenland’s total mass into the oceans.Overall, Greenland contains enough ice to raise sea levels by more than 20 feet.

A 20-foot rise in sea levels would be a disaster. Much of New York would be underwater (blue is underwater):

. . . and Miami would be completely inundated:

. . . and goodbye to much of Florida’s coast, not to mention the Mississippi Delta and New Orleans. :

*Finally, the world’s oldest person has died. It was a woman, of course, as they live longer than men, and she was a French nun, Lucile Randon. The AP reports:

A French nun who was believed to be the world’s oldest person but had been reportedly growing weary of the burdens of age has died a few weeks before her 119th birthday, her nursing home in southern France said Wednesday.

Lucile Randon, known as Sister André, was born in the town of Ales, southern France, on Feb. 11, 1904, and lived through the two world wars. As a little girl she was astonished by her first contact with electric lighting at school and, more recently, survived COVID-19 without even realizing she’d been infected.

Spokesman David Tavella said she died at 2 a.m. on Tuesday at the Sainte-Catherine-Laboure nursing home in the southern port city of Toulon.

The Gerontology Research Group, which validates details of people thought to be 110 or older, listed her as the oldest known person in the world after the death of Japan’s Kane Tanaka, aged 119, last year.

The oldest living known person in the world listed by the Gerontology Research Group is now American-born Maria Branyas Morera, who is living in Spain, and is 115.

In better days, Sister Andre was known to enjoy a daily glass of wine and some chocolate. She toasted her 117th birthday in 2021 with Champagne, red wine and port.

“It made me very, very, very, very happy,” she said in a telephone interview at the time with The Associated Press. “Because I met all those I love and I thank the heavens for giving them to me. I thank God for the trouble they went to.”

She looks tired of living in the photo below, and the idea that this might happen to me is very scary. As the song “Old Man River” goes, “I’m tired of living, and scared of dyin’.”

If you want to know the verified record for longevity, Wikipedia says this under “oldest people‘:

The longest documented and verified human lifespan is that of Jeanne Calment of France (1875–1997), a woman who lived to age 122 years and 164 days. She claimed to have met Vincent van Gogh when she was 12 or 13.

All ten of the oldest documented people in history were women, as are all of the ten oldest living people.

(From AP) Sister Andre poses for a portrait at the Sainte Catherine Laboure care home in Toulon, southern France, Wednesday, April 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole, File)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is sick of winter:

Hili: I’m coming inside.
A: This is the third time today.
Hili: I’m checking whether the winter has gone away.
In Polish:
Hili: Wracam do domu.
Ja: To już dziś trzeci raz.
Hili: Tak, sprawdzam, czy ta zima już sobie poszła.
. . . and a picture of Szaron (Hili’s tail is visible to the right:


From Cat Attack via Merilee:

Something I found on Facebook:

From Malcolm, a great balancer. Be sure to watch all four balancing tricks.

A toot from God on Mastodon:

From Masih. Translation from Farsi:

A new video of Aida Rostami, a young doctor who secretly treated the wounded of the Iranian revolution in Ekbatan town, has recently been published.  See Aida Rostami’s free and light dance on autumn leaves. This flame, this light and this beauty was extinguished by the criminals of the Islamic Republic on December 21

She’s gone.

This new statue of Martin Luther King, Jr. embracing his wife Coretta Scott King, just unveiled on the Boston Commons, is not a good one. Not only does it now show them, but it looks mildly salacious:

From Malcolm. This bird IS doing a model’s walk!

From the Auschwitz Memorial, two siblings, four and six, were gassed upon arrival

Tweets from the world-renowned Professor Cobb. First, a really messed-up indoor soccer game. These guys should have their footy licenses confiscated.

This guy is a fraud! The BBC must have been hard up for entertainment back then. . .

What’s wrong with her answer? Nothing!

48 thoughts on “Thursday: Hili dialogue

  1. On this day:
    1764 – John Wilkes is expelled from the British House of Commons for seditious libel. [Wilkes was known as the ugliest man in England but so charming that it “took him only half an hour to talk away his face”. In 1768, a protest by his supporters was suppressed in the Massacre of St George’s Fields. In 1771, he was instrumental in securing the right of printers to publish verbatim accounts of parliamentary debates. In 1776, he introduced the first bill for parliamentary reform in the British Parliament.]

    1861 – American Civil War: Georgia joins South Carolina, Florida, Mississippi, and Alabama in declaring secession from the United States.

    1883 – The first electric lighting system employing overhead wires, built by Thomas Edison, begins service at Roselle, New Jersey.

    1915 – Georges Claude patents the neon discharge tube for use in advertising.

    1915 – German strategic bombing during World War I: German zeppelins bomb the towns of Great Yarmouth and King’s Lynn in the United Kingdom killing at least 20 people, in the first major aerial bombardment of a civilian target.

    1920 – The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is founded. [Given its current state, it will soon be listed in the Deaths section, sadly…]

    1937 – Howard Hughes sets a new air record by flying from Los Angeles to New York City in seven hours, 28 minutes, 25 seconds.

    1953 – Almost 72 percent of all television sets in the United States are tuned into I Love Lucy to watch Lucy give birth.

    1981 – Iran hostage crisis: United States and Iranian officials sign an agreement to release 52 American hostages after 14 months of captivity.

    1986 – The first IBM PC computer virus is released into the wild. A boot sector virus dubbed (c)Brain, it was created by the Farooq Alvi Brothers in Lahore, Pakistan, reportedly to deter unauthorized copying of the software they had written.

    1736 – James Watt, Scottish-English chemist and engineer (d. 1819).

    1807 – Robert E. Lee, American general and academic (d. 1870).

    1809 – Edgar Allan Poe, American short story writer, poet, and critic (d. 1849).

    1839 – Paul Cézanne, French painter (d. 1906).

    1848 – Matthew Webb, English swimmer and diver (d. 1883). [First recorded person to swim the English Channel without the use of artificial aids. He died trying to swim the Whirlpool Rapids below Niagara Falls, a feat declared impossible.]

    1921 – Patricia Highsmith, American novelist and short story writer (d. 1995).

    1930 – Tippi Hedren, American model, actress, and animal rights-welfare activist.

    1933 – George Coyne, American priest, astronomer, and theologian (d. 2020). [Included as per our host’s habit of listing his namesakes.]

    1939 – Phil Everly, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 2014).

    1943 – Janis Joplin, American singer-songwriter (d. 1970).

    1946 – Dolly Parton, American singer-songwriter and actress.

    1982 – Pete Buttigieg, American politician.

    Sleeping with the fishes:
    1998 – Carl Perkins, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1932).

    2000 – Hedy Lamarr, Austrian-American actress, singer, and mathematician (b. 1914).

    2006 – Wilson Pickett, American singer-songwriter (b. 1941).

  2. As the product of a parochial school education, I can tell you that it’s tough to tell the age of nuns, especially with their habits on. But, at almost a 119, Sister André doesn’t look a day over 98 to me. Guess that occasional glass of vino and the chocolate worked anti-aging wonders for her.

  3. I continue to recommend Bari Weiss’ concise 2019 book: “How to Fight Anti-semitism” which addresses both the left and the right as sources. She wrote it just after the Tree of Life Synagogue murders in Pittsburgh. Its six chapters are 1. Waking up; 2. A Brief History; 3.The Right; 4. The Left; 5. Radical Islam; 6. How to Fight.

    1. The formation of Netanyahu’s far-right government has profound implications for American Jews and their support of Israel. I have read several articles about the new government, and I am aghast and extremely concerned for Israel’s future. What is so concerning about this new government?

      Yoav Fromer, writing for the Tablet (a Jewish publication that is far from Woke) writes:
      The illiberal form of Judaism represented and actively espoused by Netanyahu’s new partners promises to steer the ideological direction of the Likud-led coalition toward uncharted and disturbing places—whether the embattled Netanyahu, who identifies himself as a liberal, actually wants to go to those places or not.

      The Haredi parties make no attempt to hide that they are at war with liberal ideas. They vehemently object to a secular curriculum in their schools where math, English and science have little or no room; women have no place in their party rosters nor a right to be seen or heard in the public sphere, LGBTQ lack rights or recognition whatsoever within their communities, and they wish to bar public transportation on the Sabbath and prevent civil, gay, or any marriage unless sanctioned by the rigid Orthodox rabbinical institutions that they firmly control.

      Their newest partner in the so-called “Netanyahu block” offers not just a theocratic but militant interpretation of Judaism. Itamar Ben-Gvir, the driving force behind the Religious Zionism party and the most influential politician in Israel today, heads a movement literally called “Jewish power” (Otzma Yehudit) that consciously aspires to demonstrate as much force as possible. A proud disciple of the teachings of Rabbi Meir Kahane, founder of the far-right Jewish Defense League in the United States in the late 1960s, the gun-wielding Ben-Gvir, who in the past was convicted of supporting Jewish terrorism and inciting racism, projects and embodies this alternative form of illiberal Judaism mired in messianic fantasies of territorial expansion and brute physical force applied to people he contemptuously identifies as “Arabs.”\

      Yair Rosenberg, a former writer for the Tablet, says this in an Atlantic article:

      “… The extreme has entered the mainstream. Once marginal figures, the two men now represent the Israeli Parliament’s far-right vanguard, holding 14 of the Knesset’s 120 seats and comprising nearly a quarter of the new coalition. Other members of the incoming administration include a future finance minister who was previously convicted of financial fraud; a housing minister who owns an illegally partitioned home; and a member of the security cabinet who opposes military service for his own ultra-Orthodox community.”

      The parallels between what is going on in Israel and the United States can’t be missed. Although numerical minorities, extremists (many out-and-out theocrats) now dominate the government of Israel and the U.S. House of Representatives. Secular U.S. Jews are in a quandary. Attacked by anti-Semites of both the left and the right, and deeply disturbed by what is going on in Israel, they no longer can feel that Israel is a haven if worse goes to worst. What are they to do? Perhaps, in time, the far right government will fall.

      I apologize for the length of this comment.

      1. Please do not apologize, historian. Complex issues often require considerable explanation. As a U.S. secular Jew, I appreciate your efforts very much.

        1. I’m a Chicagoan, and I know you know Chicago, DrB. I must say that I like most of the modern public sculpture in Chicago, especially the Alexander Calder stabile outside the post office in the Loop.

      1. I couldn’t make sense of the statue at all from the few pictures I had seen. Was it a pair of arms hugging a giant penis? But this thread inspired me to search for images to see if I could figure it out.

        After reviewing a bunch of images from various angles, okay, no penis. That’s good. I now understand what the sculptor did. They just made the arms and deleted everything else. Personally I don’t think it works. Perhaps an interesting concept, but the visual aesthetic just doesn’t work for me. It doesn’t evoke any interest or appreciation of beauty, or any strong emotion, positive or negative. It just looks odd. I think it’s a fail. A failure of execution or concept? More concept I’d say in this case. The artist definitely has some skills as evident by the hands. I wouldn’t criticize the artist too much though. It’s a very rare artist, perhaps none, that can produce a good piece of art every time, or even most of the time.

        I wonder if a minimalist wire-like rendering, or similar, of the torsos and heads of the Kings might improve the piece.

        1. Someone here pointed out that most of the statues of Dr. King that he had seen failed to satisfy because they just didn’t look very much like him. Maybe King had an inherently hard face to render — I dunno, whenever I see a photo I recognize him instantly even though he was rather meh… to me in life. But I’m not a sculptor.

          So maybe the sculptor here took it to heart and decided just to leave out both faces. And many other parts. Thing is, are we supposed to recognized instantly that the jumble is the Kings? Or is there a label?

  4. I am thoroughly tired of the rising seas trope. In 1988 Jim Hansen predicted that New York’s West Side Highway would be under water in twenty years. Last I checked, it wasn’t. The litany of terrifying predictions associated with global warming or climate change, all of the them wrong, is the foundation for the idea that we are being gulled. Down here in Florida, no one is worried about rising sea levels. The rich are not fleeing for higher ground. As John Kerry pointed out this week in Davos, the key to solving global warming is “money, money, money.” And we need to act fast, as the con men always say.

    1. Dunno what part of Florida you’re talking about, DrB. But in Miami-Dade County, it’s a recent common phenomenon for streets on Miami Beach and several communities on the mainland hard by Biscayne Bay to have streets flooded with saltwater during high tides. (The seawater invades the aquifer and comes bubbling up through the sewer system.)

      The County and these municipalities have adopted a comprehensive Sea Level Rise Strategy. This is a hot topic during local elections, especially on Miami Beach.

    2. “The rich are not fleeing for higher ground.”

      I suspect they have successfully managed to get the taxpayers to cover the cost of their flood insurance.

      Pure speculation, but I bet I’m right.

      1. One thing I can say about homeowner’s insurance in Florida is that it has just about doubled in price over the past year. Many insurance companies have pulled out of Florida recently.

        Our policy was due to renew late last year, but the carrier informed us they were no longer insuring homes in Florida so no renewal. We found another company, bought a policy and within a couple of months they dropped us because they had decided not to cover homes in Florida anymore. So we found yet another company, and bought another policy. For $400 per month more than the previous policy. Our previous policy was about $5K per year and now it’s about $10K.

        Note that there is nothing unusual about our property. It’s not an old house, it is not in a flood zone and it has survived many hurricanes, including sitting in the eyewall of a category 2 hurricane for about 13 hours and then a month or so later, right after power had been restored, sitting in the eyewall of a category 3 for about 6 hours. We did need some new roof shingles after that, but that was it.

        1. $10k/year? Holy shit. I must assume many Floridians forgo home insurance, though I don’t know if banks allow that if there is a large mortgage. And another unfortunate fact; Florida will continue to get hit by bigger and bigger storms far into the foreseeable future. I have a large home built in 2007 (western Washington) and our insurance is $3k/year (it just went up $500 this year).

          In news-passing, I’ve heard that your asshole of a governor is culpable in some of the state’s insurance problems, though I don’t know the details; I might be incorrect.

          1. Nope, you are correct about our governor. But really, R governor’s in the past have also reduced regulations on insurance carriers that allowed them to get away with things they had been restricted from doing. Seems to be SOP.

            Truly 10K per year even here in Florida is ridiculous. Never seen anything like it. Probably a combination of the crazy price increases we’ve seen in the past year or two, our state government giving insurance companies free reign and the 2 devastating hurricanes we had this year. Though my area was not really affected. I wouldn’t be surprised if sometime in the next year or 2 I’m able to get a much less expensive policy again. At least I hope so.

            1. With that kind of money, if your house ever does get seriously damaged, you better get every penny to fix it with no hassles whatsoever. I have a very poor track record with insurance companies. Though my negative view of insurance companies did get me out of jury duty once. 🙂

              1. Conceptually insurance is a great idea. But it has long since become a major scam IMO. Don’t get me started!

                For example, the insurance company has the sole authority to evaluate your vehicle as totaled, based purely on what they’ve decided to be the limit they are willing to pay, not on whether or not the vehicle is actually reparable to a safe condition. As far as money goes, that’s fair enough.

                They are only willing to pay X amount, OK. Except for 2 things. To get that payout you have to sign the vehicle over to them. You lose the vehicle. They will sell it back to you, but of course you now have even less to repair it. Even worse, in most jurisdictions that vehicle will never have a normal title again. It will always have a “salvage” or “salvage-rebuilt” title. That means it’s resale value will be abysmal and that even if you can find an insurance company that will cover it, they are very unlikely to ever pay a claim on it.

                To give an idea of how ridiculous this is, I once had an accident on a 1 year old fully-faired motorcycle. Minor accident, except the bike did a slow barrel roll as it slid and every single piece of plastic body work on it got rashed. Not cracked, deformed, broken, just scratched up. Purely cosmetic damage. The bike was fully functional, and then some, like new except for the scuffed plastics. I made a claim, silly me. The price the insurance company, or rather the shop they chose to evaluate it, came up with to replace all the plastics with OEM was so high that at first they totaled the bike. I said NFW. After much arguing I got them to agree to give me what they would be willing to without totaling the bike and I took care of replacing the body work myself.

        2. My wife and I rent a small house on Saint George Island, Florida. The island is off the Florida panhandle on the Gulf of Mexico. This raised house sits 12 feet atop poles across from the beach road. House insurance is $13,000 a year.

      2. Rich waterfront property owners also get taxpayers to foot the bill through subsidies for seawall and elaborate pumping station construction.

        Shades of Donald Trump who, although himself a climate-change denialist (“It’s a Chinese hoax!”), got Ireland to let him build a big seawall at his golf resort at Doonbeg to protect against rising sea levels.

      3. In December 2022, the median listing home price in Malibu, CA was $5.1M

        from 1995 latimes (you can dig up much more)
        In the past three years, Malibu has been declared a federal disaster area five times because of fire, flooding or mudslides. That has stuck federal and state taxpayers with about $63 million in actual and projected costs for firefighting and for cleanup and repair of public property. An additional $4 million in federal funds has been spent to reimburse owners of private property for damages and emergency housing.

    3. Bob Reiss reports the conversation as follows:

      “When I interviewe­­d James Hansen I asked him to speculate on what the view outside his office window could look like in 40 years with doubled CO2. I’d been trying to think of a way to discuss the greenhouse effect in a way that would make sense to average readers. I wasn’t asking for hard scientific studies. It wasn’t an academic interview. It was a discussion with a kind and thoughtful man who answered the question. You can find the descriptio­­n in two of my books, most recently The Coming Storm.”

      James Hansen reports the conversation as follows:

      “Reiss asked me to speculate on changes that might happen in New York City in 40 years assuming CO2 doubled in amount.”

      1. Well, OK, it was off the top of his head and CO2 levels did not indeed double from 1988. In fact they rose 1.2-fold to 416 ppm in 2021*. It is frankly difficult to imagine a scenario in which CO2 levels could double to 700 in any realistic time frame relevant to the next couple of generations. Hansen should have known even then that the idea of doubling in 40 years, by 2028, was preposterous.

        Zeke Hausfather, an advocate for rapid decarbonization, quotes standard climate science that under a “business-as-usual” scenario which itself has become unlikely, CO2 levels would double from pre-industrial levels (not 1988 levels) by 2060, to 560 ppm.,to%20around%20408%20ppm%20today.

        But it’s worse for Hansen. The estimates for equilibrium climate sensitivity over hundreds of years are in the range 1.5 – 4.5 C for each doubling of CO2 levels (including the CO2-equivalents of greenhouse effect of other gasses like methane and water vapour and several others.) So even if the world was committed to warm eventually by 4.5 C centuries after we were, hypothetically, to hit 700 in 2028, it would take another lifetime for enough ice to melt to put the West Side Highway under water. The scariest prediction I have ever seen for sea level rise is 1 metre by 2100 under business as usual and I don’t think that is now considered credible.

        The transient climate response of the surface temperature measured over decades is estimated to be much less, 1 – 2.5 C for each doubling of CO2 from pre-industrial times. This is the warming most relevant for us and our children in terms of expected weather but it still takes a long time to melt even land ice (the only sort relevant for sea level changes.) I grant you that even six inches, never mind 1 metre, of mean sea level rise is important for coastal areas. If the land slopes up from the shore at 1% gradient — this is a steep hill in Florida — 50 feet of shore lands are lost for six inches of rise.

        So even as a scary ghost story promoted to sell a book, predicting a doubling of CO2 by 2028 and predicting that doubling would inundate the Manhattan shoreline in that time, is grossly irresponsible on two counts. And it backfires because heavily promoted predictions like that, while known by their soothsayers at the time to be spitballing, are thrown back at the doomsayers today as reasons not to spend a lot of money subsidizing windmills and electric cars now. Fool me once, damn you. Fool me twice, damn me.
        * This is the low-resolution plot that doesn’t show the seasonal sawtooth pattern as terrestrial photosynthesis draws CO2 out of the atmosphere during the northern hemisphere’s summer.
        The value did not drop during the pandemic even though CO2 emissions did briefly drop a titch when all but essential activities were curtailed all over the CO2-emitting rich world.

  5. Let’s move to Greenland, where we can leave the excesses of both the Left and the Right behind and build the long-awaited Utopian society! (JK, but, seriously, Greenland will become prime real estate once the world becomes too hot for people to live in the tropics.)

    1. They’d better be patient investors. Greenland is covered in a mile of ice that has to melt before there are many lots to build on.

  6. From the ADL report:

    While young adults (between the ages of 18 and 30) show less belief in anti-Jewish tropes (18 percent believe six or more tropes) than older adults (20 percent believe six or more tropes), the difference is substantially less than measured in previous studies. Additionally, young adults hold significantly more anti-Israel sentiment than older adults, with 21 percent and 11 percent agreeing with five or more anti-Israel statements, respectively.

    It seems like the biggest change in attitudes was found among young people. Also, young people are more likely to be anti-Israel.

    I would look toward cultural influences on young people, such as TikTok and rap music, for an explanation.

  7. First, a really messed-up indoor soccer game. These guys should have their footy licenses confiscated.

    As manager Casey Stengel asked about the 1962 NY Mets (an expansion team whose record was 40 wins, 120 losses, and generally regarded as the worst ever to play Major League Baseball), “Can’t anybody here play this game?”

    The quintessential New York journalist, Jimmy Breslin, used The Ol’ Perfessor’s quote as the title of his book about that team.

  8. The moderation in position has come about as the Biden administration has come to believe that if the Ukrainian military can show Russia that its control of Crimea can be threatened, that would strengthen Kyiv’s position in any future negotiations. In addition, fears that the Kremlin would retaliate using a tactical nuclear weapon have dimmed, U.S. officials and experts said — though they cautioned that the risk remained.

    I don’t understand the administration’s reasoning here. It sounds like they’re announcing “since we’re less worried that Russia will use nukes than we used to be, we’re now thinking of sending weapons so the Ukrainians can take Crimea away from them.”

    Armchair Psychology predicts Russia will hear this and announce “Guess what? We’re thinking about using nukes.” Was the first announcement maybe a little too much information? If nothing else, it looks like poking the Bear with a stick.

    As for the killer polar bear, I thought all polar bears were considered enthusiastic people-killers. I remember reading that they’re the only animal that hunts human beings by preference — which put a bit of a damper on my enthusiasm for all those cute cuddly polar bear images and toys.

    Yet here they’re saying the bears have to be “stressed’ and particularly hungry to do such an unexpected thing. If so, that’s one small relief. Not just for the lovable white teddy bear industry, but for all those residents of remote villages in the far, far north, who needn’t take turns sitting on the perimeter of the remote village with shotguns.

    Not till the developers looking for beach properties come, anyway.

  9. It was another French woman who was the first to do something interesting: sell your house to the bank before you die. You get less money than it is worth, but you can live there until you die. Unless someone needs to inherit it, a good idea. Of course, like life insurance, it is a type of bet. Interestingly, the banker in this case died decades before the woman (born sometime in the 19th century), who I think was also the oldest person in the world at some point.

  10. The NYT article seems to equate the belief in anti-Jewish tropes with anti-semitism while suggesting that those beliefs are on the rise in the Republican ranks.

    In this article about “The Great Awokening,” Zach Goldberg suggests white liberals are increasingly uneasy about Jewish political power and have become more sympathetic to Palestinians.

    I can’t vouch for the research referenced in either article.

    1. JRubin can always be counted on to accuse conservatives of antisemitism. That is 80% of her shtick.
      What it comes down to, is three rednecks in Klan robes in a trailer park in Alabama represent all conservatives, but tens of thousands of BDS supporters, and all the followers of Sharpton, Farrakhan, and antifa are to be minimized, and barely acknowledged.

      I guess the far left recognizes that antisemitism is a pretty bad look. People painting hateful slogans on temples and Synagogues, and smashing the windows of Jewish businesses is definitely going to remind people of the SA and NSDAP. They could reflect on the issue a little bit, practice some introspection, and conclude that Jew hatred is not just bad PR, but terrible doctrine.
      I guess that is too much to ask, so they engage in projection instead.

  11. Just curious…

    So, the Gerontology Research Group doesn’t get involved in dating people unless the person is over 110. I’m guessing 110 is the cutoff because the research group is understaffed. If lifespans rise in the future will the cutoff also rise or will they hire more staff? 😉

  12. So today is World Quark Day (in addition to several other days of note). I may be a bit of a naive nerd about some things, but in my 3rd window-on-my-screen sidetracked research I was disappointed to learn the “Quark” being appreciated today is a dairy product and not the subatomic particle. Oh well, next time I hear mentions of “Three Quarks for Muster Mark” I’ll probably get a subliminal craving for cottage cheese (with a sweet topping, of course) as I have now.

    1. That was exactly my thoughts too, Blue. I can not, for the life of me, understand why anyone would want to breed something like a pug or fail to see how abusive that is. Not the poor dogs fault of course, it’s the people.

  13. The Hangikjöt reminds me of the delicious tørket kjøtt, fenalår, I used to eat in Norway. A leg of lamb rubbed with salt, wrapped in linen and hung, with the salt being refreshed frequently until the meat was a dark red and hard. Then you took it down and sliced a few flakes off with a sharp knife and spent a considerable time chewing them. Delicious!

  14. Straightforward reporting by the New York Times on the polar bear attack in Alaska until this:

    . . . While attacks on humans are extremely rare, polar bears are more likely to attack a person when they are “nutritionally stressed” and in “below-average body condition,” according to a 2017 study published in the Wildlife Society Bulletin., quoted by Jerry. (The story is paywalled.)

    There is no evidence that the involved polar bear was in either of these states. But of course everyone has seen starving polar bears on ice floes awaiting their doom and knows that they are supposed to nod knowingly, “…climate change…” So the gratuitous citation did its job, even though they cite no recent evidence about the actual health of the polar bear population or even about sea ice in the Arctic, which might disappoint them. If the full story did look into these issues more than we see here, then I apologize to The Times. Particularly because:

    This is the point Richard Hananian was making in his substack the other day, “Why the main stream media is [sic] honest and good. How to critique the press without devolving into nihilism.” Unlike right-wing sites like Breitbart and Infowars, the MSM mostly get the facts right (except on race and gender where they do make up stuff because the Left has totally lost its mind on these topics, he says.) They do tend to spin it, though, to fit a factual story into a Leftist context, to suit the narrative as they say. This polar bear story is a perfect example.

    Another example is reporting honestly about melting ice in Greenland and then showing a graphic of how high sea level would rise if it all melted. Even to melt 3% of that ice would take hundreds and hundreds of years.

    If New Orleans and Miami are still around then, it’ll be a miracle. Think Troy.

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