Thursday: Hili dialogue

January 26, 2023 • 6:45 am

Greetings on Thursday, January 26, 2023: National Peanut Brittle Day, though I prefer pralines.  Here’s some below, but according to Wikipedia there are many kinds of brittle:

It has many variations around the world, such as pasteli in Greece; sohan in Iran; croquant in France; alegría or palanqueta in Mexico; panocha manipanutsa mani, or samani in the Philippines (which can also be made with pili nut); gozinaki in Georgia; gachak in Indian Punjab, chikki in other parts of India; kotkoti in Bangladesh; sohan halwa in Pakistan; huasheng tang (花生糖) in China; thua tat (ถั่วตัด) in Thailand; and kẹo lạc, kẹo hạt điều in Vietnam. In parts of the Middle East, brittle is made with pistachios, while many Asian countries use sesame seeds and peanuts. Peanut brittle is the most popular brittle recipe in the United States. The term “brittle” in the context of the food first appeared in print in 1892, though the candy itself has been around for much longer.

Here’s sohan halwa from Pakistan:

It’s also National Green Juice Day, Clashing Clothes Day, Spouse’s Day (shouldn’t the apostrophe be at the end?), Australia Day in Australia, and International Customs Day.

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the January 26 Wikipedia page.

Da Nooz:

*It’s official: both Germany and the U.S. are going to send tanks to Ukraine, and good ones. The U.S. is sending Abrams tanks, Germany the Leopard ones.

President Biden announced on Wednesday that he would send M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine to help it defend against Russian invaders, a decision meant to unlock a wave of heavier aid by Western allies in preparation for an expected escalation of fighting in the spring.

Speaking at the White House after a morning of telephone calls to European allies, Mr. Biden said that the United States would send 31 Abrams tanks, the equivalent of a Ukrainian battalion, and that Germany would follow through by contributing its own Leopard 2 tanks [JAC: 14 of them] and freeing other allies to send their own, the equivalent of two more battalions.

“These tanks are further evidence of our enduring, unflagging commitment to Ukraine and our confidence in the skill of Ukrainian forces,” Mr. Biden said, flanked by Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III.

But he emphasized that the buildup was not meant to expand the war into Russia. “It is not an offensive threat to Russia,” he said. “There is no offensive threat to Russia. If Russian troops return to Russia, where they belong, this war would be over today.”

Well, it won’t expand the war into Russia, I presume, but it is a threat to Russia, even if you construe it as a defensive rather than an offensive one. I doubt that Putin will take this lying down. Further, because Abrams tanks are hard to operate and maintain, the U.S. adds that it could take up to a year before they’re used against the Russians.

The NYT has a handy guide to Abrams tanks, including how they differ from Russian tanks.

*The Washington Post describes how George Santos, now a REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMAN from New York City, engaged in a fraudulent Ponzi scheme in 2020, trying to woo rich people to give money Santos’s investment firm.

Collectively, the accounts gathered by The Post offer a detailed picture of Santos’s efforts to recruit investors for Harbor City. In two instances, he inflated his own academic or professional credentials, The Post found. In addition, Zoom recordings of workplace meetings show Santos offering anecdotes about his purported interactions with wealthy people — stories disputed by those involved — for potential inclusion in marketing materials or to impress prospective clients.

Two of the people he pitched said they did not realize until being contacted by a reporter that the man they’d known as “George Devolder” was the newly elected congressman who among other things falsely claimed that his mother was working in the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. “Devolder” was Santos’s mother’s surname.

“I can’t believe it,” one of the two, Al Conard, said when told that Devolder and Santos are one and the same. Conard, a 60-year-old real estate agent from Minnesota, said he lost $50,000 in Harbor City.

Santos’s lawyer, Joseph W. Murray, declined to comment for this story.

Santos even used a fake name!  And he’s still in Congress, with this new account on top of all the other lies and chicanery that he was involved in. Why haven’t they started an ethics investigation. This guy needs to be booted out of the House and then indicted.

*Pope Francis has just buoyed gays (well, at least Catholic ones) throughout the world by declaring that “homosexuality is not a crime.” But I didn’t think it was, at least in Western countries. The big question, which he evaded, is IS IT A SIN?? Read for yourself:

Pope Francis criticized laws that criminalize homosexuality as “unjust,” saying God loves all his children just as they are and called on Catholic bishops who support the laws to welcome LGBTQ people into the church.

“Being homosexual isn’t a crime,” Francis said during an exclusive interview Tuesday with The Associated Press.

Francis acknowledged that Catholic bishops in some parts of the world support laws that criminalize homosexuality or discriminate against LGBTQ people, and he himself referred to the issue in terms of “sin.” But he attributed such attitudes to cultural backgrounds, and said bishops in particular need to undergo a process of change to recognize the dignity of everyone.

. . .Francis’ comments, which were hailed by gay rights advocates as a milestone, are the first uttered by a pope about such laws. But they are also consistent with his overall approach to LGBTQ people and belief that the Catholic Church should welcome everyone and not discriminate.

Some 67 countries or jurisdictions worldwide criminalize consensual same-sex sexual activity, 11 of which can or do impose the death penalty, according to The Human Dignity Trust, which works to end such laws. Experts say even where the laws are not enforced, they contribute to harassment, stigmatization and violence against LGBTQ people.

In the U.S., more than a dozen states still have anti-sodomy laws on the books, despite a 2003 Supreme Court ruling declaring them unconstitutional.

. . .Francis quoted the Catechism of the Catholic Church in saying gay people must be welcomed and respected, and should not be marginalized or discriminated against.

“We are all children of God, and God loves us as we are and for the strength that each of us fights for our dignity,” Francis said, speaking to the AP in the Vatican hotel where he lives.

Francis’ remarks come ahead of a trip to Africa, where such laws are common, as they are in the Middle East.

I don’t see what has changed. First, the Vatican has no power to declare what is a crime; it declares what is a sin. And yes, it’s good that he’s calling out countries where he’ll go in which being gay is illegal, but so what? Further, just being homosexual without acting on it has not been a sin for a long time. What IS sinful are what is part of most homosexual’s behavior: homosexual acts. Here, have a look at that Catholic Catechism:

2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

Does that comport with Francis’s words. What’s worse is that homosexual acts, being of “grave depravity” fall into the class of acts that, if you don’t confess them to the padre, will send you straight to hell. If Pope Francis wants to welcome gays into the church, he’ll have to repudiate that entire paragraph above. And only then would gays have cause to celebrate.

*NYT columnist Farhad Manjoo has some good advice for all of us in his latest piece, “Alex Baldwin didn’t have to talk to the police. Neither do you.” Apparently, after Baldwin fired a gun accidentally loaded with live rounds on a movie set, killing the cinematographer and wounding the director, he sang like a canary to the cops.

Shortly after a prop gun Alec Baldwin was holding fired a bullet that killed a cinematographer and wounded a director on the set of the movie “Rust,” in October 2021, he told the police in New Mexico that he’d be willing to do whatever they requested, including sitting for an interview at the station.

In an interrogation room later that afternoon, detectives began by informing Baldwin of his rights: He had the right to remain silent. Anything he said could be used against him in court. He was free to consult with an attorney; if he could not afford an attorney, one would be appointed for him. And he could stop the interrogation at any point he wished.

“My only question is, am I being charged with something?” Baldwin asked.

Not at all, the police said. Reading his rights, one detective told him, was “just a formality.”

And so, without his attorney present, while the police recorded him, Baldwin talked. And talked. And talked. At that point, Baldwin knew only that the film’s director, Joel Souza, and its cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins, had been injured; detectives would inform him at the end of the interrogation that Hutchins had died. Still, for about an hour, Baldwin not only answered detectives’ many questions about the shooting but also offered his own theories about the incident and suggested the next steps the police might pursue in their investigation.

BIG mistake. Now Baldwin’s likely to be charged with involuntary manslaughter. What did he do wrong in talking to the cops? Talking to them without a lawyer present!

But defense lawyers I talked to said Baldwin’s case should serve as a reminder that if you are involved in a serious incident, it’s best not talk to the police unless you have an attorney present.

. . . The Fifth Amendment of the Constitution allows Americans to refuse to answer questions from law enforcement. Yet despite the ritualistic incantation on the Miranda warning on every TV police procedural, silence is a right that people can find hard to accept. If you’re convinced of your innocence, aren’t you obligated to help the police solve the matter under investigation? Refusing to talk to the police seems like something people do only when they’ve got something to hide.

. . .A video of a lecture [law professor James Duane gave a decade ago on the importance of the Fifth Amendment, “Don’t Talk to the Police,” has been viewed millions of times on YouTube, and Duane has since given his talk dozens of times around the country. The title of his book “You Have the Right to Remain Innocent” sums up the case for silence, since the presumption of innocence and the burden prosecutors bear to prove guilt even when the accused remains silent are the bedrock of American criminal law.

Duane’s work has turned me into a zealot for the right to remain silent — and when I watched Baldwin blithely sign away his rights, I winced. (His talking to several reporters about the case would be a separate concern.)

I’ve seen that video before, and think you should watch it, even if it’s 45 minutes long. You need to know this!

Do not talk to the cops if you may be involved in an incident that they want to question you about!

*Finally, a little girl in Rhode Island got the Rhode Island Department of Health to do DNA testing on gnawed-on carrots and cookies that she left out for Santa. Clever girl! Here’s the story from the AP:

The Rhode Island Department of Health says it was not able “to definitively confirm or refute the presence of Santa” in a young girl’s home after she requested to have a partially eaten cookie and a couple of gnawed-on carrot sticks tested for DNA to see if Santa Claus is real.

The department tweeted on Monday that “we all agree that something magical may be at play.”

The department said it found no complete matches to anyone in the Combined DNA Index System but said there was a partial match “to a 1947 case centered around 34th Street in New York City,” referring to the movie “Miracle on 34th Street.” It said it would need more DNA samples “from other known Santa encounters to make a definitive match.”

The “good news” is that the lab did find the presence of DNA closely matching Rangifer tarandus, known as reindeer, when testing the carrots, the department said.

The girl, a Cumberland resident, had sent the cookie and carrot sticks to the town’s police department to ask if they can be tested for DNA, Chief Matthew Benson said on Friday. Benson forwarded the “evidence” to the state’s Department of Health.

Well, it seems to me that they didn’t do the test at all; after all, it’s taxpayer money and forensic experts’ time involved in this.  If they really wanted to see a match, they should have looked at the DNA of the girl’s mother and father! (My sister and I used to leave out cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve, and we always got a thank-you note in the morning in wiggly handwriting that looked suspiciously like my father’s.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is searching for small, warm-blooded creatures:

Hili: I do not have evidence.
A: For what?
Hili: That there might be something interesting over there.
In Polish:
Hili: Nie mam dowodów.
Ja: Na co?
Hili: Na to, że tam może być coś interesującego.
And a photo of Szaron:


From Malcolm: A 4.5-minute video on the use of “transparent aluminum”, a bizarre compound of aluminum, oxygen, and nitrogen that is both see-through and tough. It’s also called “alum”. Sound up:

From Bruce. There must still be some drive-ins around.  Going to one was a great treat when I was a kid:

From Merilee. This is one of my all-time favorite Far Side cartoons by Gary Larson:

Ricky Gervais rants about the British government. (I bet he’s had a few!).  And I just learned there was a third season of his great show “After Life”.

From Luana, the official announcement from the University of North Carolina that will prohibit DEI statements (the school also signed on to two University of Chicago Principles: our Freedom of Expression Principle and our Kalven Principle:

From Malcolm, the most geometrically perfect iceberg ever:

From Barry, who likes a person who fees his pet with tweezers. Oy, what a pet!

Japanese translation:  “Mogu mogu time From hometown tax return gifts.”  Whaaaat?

From the Auschwitz Memorial. a five year old girl, gassed upon arrival:

Tweets from Matthew. All is still well in DodoLand:

Not such a good idea!

Can you top Matthew’s question?

43 thoughts on “Thursday: Hili dialogue

  1. “Because… because… our ship gets a regular safety audit, is why me don’t have a peg leg, an’ stop askin’ questions!”

    Hey pope – gave you checked for furry palms lately?…

    … actually both might work….

    All three….?

  2. Rather tangential, but I’ll be interested to see how the Western tanks fare. The Soviet-era tanks have proven to be sitting ducks against modern anti-tank weapons, so will the Western tanks do better?

    1. How tanks are used and how well they are supported logistically are as important as the capabilities of the machine itself. Given the performance of Russian tanks in this war so far, I think Russia scores poorly on all 3 of those metrics.

      There is certainly a common view that Russian tanks are comparable to Western tanks and that the T-90 is actually better. However it is also a common view that even the T-90 is not a very good tank. It doesn’t really matter though because Russia hasn’t been using hardly any T-90s, because they don’t have but a handful.

      If Ukraine uses their Western MTBs wisely and can support them well, which they seem to have done a good job of with all of the Western weapons systems they’ve received so far, I predict the Western tanks will fare quite well.

      1. The Russian T-72s and T-80s store their ammunition in an unprotected ring around the inside of the turret, as demanded by the automatic loading mechanism. Anything that penetrates the turret with sufficient kinetic energy cooks off the ammunition, leading to the spectacular explosive infernos we have seen with turrets flying through the air or great gouts of flame shooting up out the hatches like giant Roman candles. They suffered similar fates in Iraq. This has turned out to be a major deficiency in design philosophy that cannot be easily remedied. It seems to extend to a general carelessness with ammunition all over the Russian military….a certain vodka-soaked fatalism??

        The Abrams tank stores its ammunition in an armoured magazine segregated from the turret interior. The human loader manually reaches in to get a fresh round and closes the armoured door immediately. Certainly I wouldn’t want to be in an Abrams if a penetrator comes through the roof but there is a better chance of surviving, if maybe legless, if there is no secondary explosion in a confined space. Since Leopards are manually loaded also, I assume their ammunition is similarly protected. (Allied tanks in the Second World War also suffered ammunition cook-offs until they started storing the shells under water, an expedient grafted on to the basic design that saved many lives.) If a tank is to be knocked out, it is better not to have four or five certain deaths for each one. It’s also better for morale for the crews to know that the designers and procurers at least thought about their survival after a hit.

        1. Just correcting my mistake. Leopard II tanks use an automatic loader, too, but the ammunition is stored similarly to an Abrams, outside the turret armour in a box that has blow-away panels directing the blast of cooking ammunition outward. The loader ingeniously extracts the fresh round from the magazine without exposing the magazine to penetrating shot and fire, somewhat reminiscent of how battleship guns were served. It saves one crew member exposed in the turret to over-head attack.

          Leopard II’s are widely used all over Europe. There are hundreds of them, in varying stages of serviceability. Even Canada has some. They are a very nice tank.

    2. Anti-tank weapons like Javelin missiles can destroy any MBT in the world. Russia has their own version of the Javelin, though it is less effective- less fire-power and range. I don’t know much about Leopards, but the M1A2 can withstand anti-tank rounds from the front, and if they’re outfitted with the TUSK II armor, they can withstand lateral hits. Rear hits and top hits will destroy an Abrams. So it’s really tactics that will keep these tanks from being sitting ducks. I’m sure Ukraine has some very competent tank commanders and they have racked up a lot of experience last year. 3 battalions of Abrams and Leopards will give a massive boost to the Ukrainian army. Putin should be very worried.

      1. I didn’t read Darrelle’s comment before writing mine, but we’re basically saying the same thing. Tactics/support will be key, and Ukraine seems to have both.

  3. On this day:
    1564 – The Council of Trent establishes an official distinction between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism.

    1788 – The British First Fleet, led by Arthur Phillip, sails into Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour) to establish Sydney, the first permanent European settlement on Australia. Commemorated as Australia Day.

    1863 – American Civil War: Governor of Massachusetts John Albion Andrew receives permission from the Secretary of War to raise a militia organization for men of African descent.

    1905 – The world’s largest diamond ever, the Cullinan, which weighs 3,106.75 carats (0.621350 kg), is found at the Premier Mine near Pretoria in South Africa.

    1915 – The Rocky Mountain National Park is established by an act of the U.S. Congress.

    1926 – The first demonstration of the television by John Logie Baird.

    1942 – World War II: The first United States forces arrive in Europe, landing in Northern Ireland. [Better late than never, I suppose…]

    1945 – World War II: Audie Murphy displays valor and bravery in action for which he will later be awarded the Medal of Honor.

    1998 – Lewinsky scandal: On American television, U.S. President Bill Clinton denies having had “sexual relations” with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

    2020 – A Sikorsky S-76B flying from John Wayne Airport to Camarillo Airport crashes in Calabasas, 30 miles west of Los Angeles, killing all nine people on board, including former five-time NBA champion Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna Bryant.

    1880 – Douglas MacArthur, American general, Medal of Honor recipient (d. 1964).

    1892 – Bessie Coleman, American pilot (d. 1926). [The first African-American woman and first Native American to hold a pilot’s licence and the first black person to earn an international pilot’s licence.]

    1905 – Maria von Trapp, Austrian-American singer (d. 1987). [Altogether now: “The hills are aliiive…”]

    1908 – Stéphane Grappelli, French violinist (d. 1997).

    1922 – Michael Bentine, English actor and screenwriter (d. 1996).

    1925 – Paul Newman, American actor, activist, director, race car driver, and businessman, co-founded Newman’s Own (d. 2008).

    1945 – Jacqueline du Pré, English cellist (d. 1987).

    1955 – Eddie Van Halen, Dutch-American guitarist, songwriter, and producer (d. 2020).

    1965 – Kevin McCarthy, American politician, 55th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives.

    Taken out of production:
    1823 – Edward Jenner, English physician and immunologist, creator of the smallpox vaccine (b. 1749).

    1885 – Edward Davy, English-Australian physician and engineer (b. 1806). [Played a prominent role in the development of telegraphy and invented an electric relay.]

    1973 – Edward G. Robinson, Romanian-American actor (b. 1893).

    2017 – Tam Dalyell, Scottish politician (b. 1932). [Known for the West Lothian question and his dogged attempts to get to the truth about both the sinking of the General Belgrano and the Lockerbie bombing.]

    2017 – Barbara Hale, American actress (b. 1922).

  4. I will be surprised if Santos is expelled from Congress before being indicted. He may not even be expelled once indicted. The reason is simple: McCarthy and the Republicans need every vote they have in such a closely divided House. He cannot risk having a Democrat elected in Santos’s district if he is booted. Per Wikipedia, in 2020 the Democrat won New York’s 3rd Congressional District by about 12%. In 2022, Santos won by about 8%. This was an enormous flip. What is interesting is that in 2022 the number of voters decreased by about 100,000 because the election was in a mid-term. If there should be a special election to replace Santos and because of the attention it will garner, it is possible that the district could flip back to the Democrats. McCarthy doesn’t want to risk this.

    Hence, McCarthy will try to wait out the storm and hope that the attention paid to Santos will go away. Santos’s likely criminality is of little concern to him except to the extent that it jeopardizes a Republican vote.

    1. I clearly don’t know what the rules are, but there should be a practice where if an elected member could be expelled and then replaced by a temporary person from the same party. Presumably someone with political ambitions of their own. This would at once remove the problem and put in place someone who could be competitive for the seat in the next election.

    2. McCarthy has said that Santos will be expelled from Congress if an ethics probe finds that he’s broken the law. Personally, I don’t know what the value is of a colleague who obviously can’t be trusted.

      1. The “value”? Santos got McCarthy to 216 votes on the 15th try, which is precisely what he needed after cutting a deal with the craziest elements of his caucus to vote “present.”

        I’m sure Santos extracted a chunk of McCarthy’s hide for his vote, too. Sausage-making at its most grotesque.

  5. Esther Polak, 5 year-old, yet another Dutch Jew who didn’t make it.

    The dreadful Dutch track record during the German occupation is discussed here (among other places).

    “Three quarters of the Dutch Jews were murdered during the Second World War. In other Western European countries such as Belgium and France, these percentages were much lower. Read here what caused the differences.”

    1. My namesake and distant relative fled Germany for Holland in 1938. He and his wife were arrested and sent to Westerbork in 1943, then deported to Sobibor, which they did not survive.
      They are memorialized in Oss.

      I have not read the details, but a new survey reveals that 32% of Dutch born after 1980 believe the Holocaust is a myth or exaggerated.

      1. Countless German and East-European Jews tragically made the same mistake, thinking that they would be safe in Holland because of its pre-war neutrality. Among them my thesis advisor, one of the few to escape from Westerbork.
        Most experts agree that the survey you mention was conducted very poorly and is therefore not very meaningful. That does not take away the fact that there is a problem regarding the awareness of recent history. This is probably due to a combination of decreasing education standards and the rise of the extreme right.

  6. Regarding the Horse Stretcher® clip: Perhaps they could claim that “stretcher” refers to the fact that the victim-er subject of the exercise was stretching muscles and joints that don’t get that particular sort of training. Also, it appears one of the training crew members intentionally went into a baseball- style slide under the horse’s hind legs. Whether intentional or not, my next move would be to scale any fence, gate or wall to avoid shrapnel flying from the horse testing out the structural integrity of the dummy, stretcher and harness, or the other trainers (those bucking hind legs can do a lot of damage quickly).

  7. The fact that it will take a year to train Ukrainian soldiers and to deploy the Abrams tanks is part of the calculus. The move seems to be more of a threat and a signal than it is an actual combat initiative. It signals Putin that the west is resolved to stay in the fight, and it threatens new actions to come—in a year or so—if the war isn’t wound down in the meantime. The tanks are in large part an incentive for the Russians to negotiate. I hope it works, and that the tanks are not in fact needed.

    Also, it seems to me that the U.S. is ambivalent about getting further embroiled in the war. We only agreed to the Abrams when the Germans balked on the Leopards. Sending *no* tanks would have signaled to Putin that the west had reached one if its boundaries for engagement in the war. Knowing this boundary would have given Putin a strategic gift.

    1. Given the training time needed, I don’t see how the American tanks will be much use. So I was wondering if the Abrams were put in only to give cover for the Germans to provide their tanks. Its the German tanks that will be used, while the American tanks sit quietly in storage somewhere.

      1. Our tanks require an maintenance and repair infrastructure to be in place if they are to be effective.
        The crews and maintenance personnel need to be trained on what are fairly complex systems, which takes time.
        The maintenance is ongoing, like that of a complex aircraft.

        The other option would be to send a bunch of US military or civilian contractors along. They would necessarily be exposed to combat, as one cannot readily move a 55 ton tank back for every required service or repair.
        On the other hand, the infrastructure for the Leopard 2 is already in Poland, and members of the Polish military seem to already be in the field in Ukraine.
        I suspect training for Ukrainian use of the Leopard 2 has been underway for some time.

        1. From some sources I’ve read Ukrainians have already been trained to operate the Leopard 2. If that’s accurate, and given Poland’s eagerness to supply them, it seems that Ukraine could have some Leopards operational pretty quickly now that Germany has given the green light.

  8. “The title of his book “You Have the Right to Remain Innocent” sums up the case for silence, since the presumption of innocence and the burden prosecutors bear to prove guilt even when the accused remains silent are the bedrock of American criminal law.
    Duane’s work has turned me into a zealot for the right to remain silent — and when I watched Baldwin blithely sign away his rights, I winced. (His talking to several reporters about the case would be a separate concern.)”

    At the end of Better Call Saul’s first season, there is an episode that highlights a naive drug seller’s escape from prosecution due to Saul’s somewhat questionable but hilarious intervention in a voluntary interview. Well worth watching.

  9. As I recall, Larson got some pushback for that cartoon (“how DARE you call Jane Goodall a tramp!”) But Goodall herself actually like it.

  10. “homosexual acts, being of ‘grave depravity’ fall into the class of acts that, if you don’t confess them to the padre, will send you straight to hell.”

    Not necessarily. For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must be met:

    1857 Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent.” –Baltimore Catechism

    The kicker here is “full knowledge,” which means that you have to be aware and agree that the act is “grave matter.” IOW, if you don’t believe it’s a mortal sin, it’s not a mortal sin. This is consistent with the Catholic Church’s teaching on the primacy of individual conscience, but not something the good nuns are inclined to stress.

    1. I’ll have to consult a priest on that, but if you’re saying that you can engage in sodomy and not have to confess it because you don’t agree with the Church’s policy,

      From another catechism:

      1859 Mortal sin requires full knowledge and complete consent. It presupposes knowledge of the sinful character of the act, of its opposition to God’s law. It also implies a consent sufficiently deliberate to be a personal choice. Feigned ignorance and hardness of heart133 do not diminish, but rather increase, the voluntary character of a sin.

      1860 Unintentional ignorance can diminish or even remove the imputability of a grave offense. But no one is deemed to be ignorant of the principles of the moral law, which are written in the conscience of every man. The promptings of feelings and passions can also diminish the voluntary and free character of the offense, as can external pressures or pathological disorders. Sin committed through malice, by deliberate choice of evil, is the gravest.

      It seems to me that if unintentional ignorance of the Church’s view doesn’t always exculpate you, and you’re supposed to know the moral law, then sodomy is usually a grave sin and thus must be confessed. I’ll have to consult a Catholic theologian.

  11. “There must still be some drive-ins around. Going to one was a great treat when I was a kid”

    There is a drive-in in my home town. Two movies for the price of one in the theater, and the sound is delivered through my car radio instead of those parking lot speakers. Alas, there are so few movies that I want to see (or at least think that I want to see) these days and definitely no “art” films at the drive-in.

    1. I suppose you are aware of the story that a drive-in theatre owner used to just put “DOUBLE FEATURE” on his marquee and never bothered putting up the names of the movies. He said most people who attended didn’t care because they weren’t there to watch the movies anyway.

      But yes they were fun as small kids, too. We’d dress in our pajamas so we could fall asleep at bedtime. If it was nice out we’d play on the swings and the slides out front right underneath the screen where it was too close for cars to park and still see the movie.

      If the projector broke down mid-reel, all the cars would start blowing their horns and the owner would come on the loudspeakers: “You people stop that Goddamn honking! I’m doing my best to fix it!!”

      It’s quite moving to see those abandoned speaker posts in the overgrown field. We still have one at Dundas and Ninth Line in Mississauga. It is now surrounded by subdivisions. The owner must be holding out for an enormous price. (We don’t have eminent domain in Canada. They can’t make him sell unless they want to put a public work on the property, like an airport or something.)

  12. A little more on the Baldwin-Rust shooting.

    The assertion has been made repeatedly and vigorously that the actor is not expected to know anything about firearms, not even to know how to check if the thing is loaded, or how to use trigger discipline, and just do whatever he is “cleared” to do by the armourer and told to do by the director. It is insisted that this is the “standard” in the movie industry.

    Prosecution documents cited in the MSN feed version of this story suggest that this assertion is false. They allege (and state intention to prove) that Baldwin was expected, according to legal industry standard, to do all those things independently of what his handlers told him to do. He was supposed to have taken a firearms safety checkout by the armourer which covered these safety procedures which he failed to do diligently. Says the prosecution, these procedures would have revealed to him that the gun was loaded had he done them.

    The version taken direct from Insider (which has an easier-to-handle URL) features statements made by various defense lawyers more heavily than the feed version I originally saw, which gave more play to the prosecution filings.

    The armourer has been charged with manslaughter, also.

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