It has many variations around the world, such as pasteli in Greece; sohan in Iran; croquant in France; alegría or palanqueta in Mexico; panocha mani, panutsa 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:
Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the January 26 Wikipedia page.
*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.
Hili: Nie mam dowodów.Ja: Na co?Hili: Na to, że tam może być coś interesującego.
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”.
Ricky Gervais > "When are we going to stop taking 'went to Eton' as a qualification to run the country?" pic.twitter.com/27LgtV0JPf
— Marie-Ann Detests Tories 🇺🇦 🇪🇺 🇬🇧 (@MarieAnnUK) January 23, 2023
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:
NEW: The UNC Board of Governor's Committee on University Governance just passed a motion preventing compelled speech in admission and hiring. The motion will be taken up by the full board next month.
This policy will considerably limit or even prohibit diversity statements. pic.twitter.com/34a3CZzL9X
— John Sailer (@JohnDSailer) January 18, 2023
From Malcolm, the most geometrically perfect iceberg ever:
NASA finds a perfectly cut, trillion-ton rectangular iceberg floating off of the Larsen C ice shelf. pic.twitter.com/DKvPVqLNY7
— Amazing Astronomy (@MAstronomers) January 14, 2023
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?
— 株式会社生物堂 (@seibutsudo) January 23, 2023
From the Auschwitz Memorial. a five year old girl, gassed upon arrival:
26 January 1937 | A Dutch Jewish girl, Esther Polak, was born in Amsterdam.
She arrived at Auschwitz in a transport of 1010 Jews deported from Westerbork on 28 July 1942. She was murdered in the gas chamber after selection. pic.twitter.com/o3cnskb2nN
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) January 26, 2023
Tweets from Matthew. All is still well in DodoLand:
Rescued cow can't stop kissing her new little sister 💞 pic.twitter.com/5h1TOJexj6
— The Dodo (@dodo) January 25, 2023
Not such a good idea!
Guys guys guys… I have a great idea…
— Dr Farbod Ⓥ (@EmergencyBod) January 22, 2023
Can you top Matthew’s question?
I can never think of jokes. For example, in this week’s @NewYorker caption contest all I can come up with is “Sorry, card only” (or maybe “I said caaaaard only”) which a) isn’t funny and b) is obvious. What would you put? pic.twitter.com/PWUOthVOT5
— Matthew Cobb (@matthewcobb) January 25, 2023