Wednesday: Hili dialogue

February 8, 2023 • 6:45 am

Welcome to a Hump Day (“మూపురం రోజు” in Telugu), Wednesday, February 8, 2023: National Potato Lover’s Day. The apostrophe implies that the day is for only one person who loves potatoes, but that’s not true. Look: here are at least two people who love potatoes:

It’s also National Molasses Bar Day, Opera Day, National Kite Flying Day, and Propose Day, on which you are supposed to muster up the courage to propose to your significant other.

Today’s Google Doodle (click on screenshot) honor Mama Cax, identified by Wikipedia this way:

Cacsmy Brutus (November 20, 1989 – December 16, 2019), known as Mama Cax, was an American-Haitian model and disabled rights activist.  With her prosthetic right leg, Cax was an unconventional figure in modern fashion modelling.

She was diagnosed at age 14 with osteosarcoma (which led to the removal of her leg) and lung cancer. At the time they gave her only three weeks to live, but she lived for 16 more years.  About the Doodle:

Cax featured as a Google Doodle on 8 February 2023. The day was chosen to celebrate her first appearance at the New York Fashion Week in 2019. The artwork was by the artist Lyne Lucien

You can find her obituary in the NYT here.

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the February 8 Wikipedia page.

Da Nooz:

*The death toll of the earthquake in Syria and Iran makes it by far the worst in recorded history, with more than 11,000 people killed, over 8500 of them in Turkey. The temperatures are near freezing, hampering rescue, and there are other difficulties. The NYT’s points:

  • The death toll in Turkey has risen to 8,574, Mr. Erdogan said. Deaths have been reported in 11 provinces in southern Turkey, Vice President Fuat Oktay said on Tuesday. Rescue missions will focus on some of the hardest-hit provinces: Hatay, Adiyaman and Kahramanmaras.

  • In Syria, where more than a decade of civil war had already created a humanitarian crisis, at least 2,612 people died in the quake, according to the state Health Ministry and the White Helmets relief group. Thousands more were injured across the country. Many Syrian war refugees are also in the quake-stricken area of Turkey.

  • The earthquake compounded a crisis in Syria, where more than two-thirds of the population was already in need of humanitarian aid, according to the United Nations.

  • Syria’s foreign minister, Faisal Mekdad, said in an interview with Lebanon’s Al Mayadeen TV on Tuesday that the Syrian government was ready to allow aid for quake victims to enter all regions, provided that it did not reach armed terrorist groups.

  • More than a quarter of a million people in Turkey are in need of food, clothing and housing, an official with the International Federation of the Red Cross estimated. Turkey says that more than 60,000 people are working on the relief efforts and more than 4,700 vehicles and construction machines are helping dig through the rubble.

As another NYT article notes, getting aid to Syria is complicated not just by other countries’ reluctance to help:

The only crossing between Syria and Turkey that is approved by the United Nations for transporting international aid into Syria is closed because of earthquake damage to roads around it, according to U.N. officials, complicating an already fraught response to the unfolding humanitarian crisis.

The crossing, known as Bab al-Hawa, has been the lone link for aid for the past nine years, as Syria remains in a state of civil war.

Turkey is a member of NATO and maintains friendly diplomatic relations with much of the world, giving it access to support and direct aid. But Syria, which is under sanctions because of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, cannot receive direct aid from many countries. Nongovernmental organizations must deliver the aid, making the crossing from Turkey a lifeline.

While this seems like the most monstrous toll imaginable, remember that an earthquake in Haiti in 2010 killed between 200,000 and 316,000 people.

The only good thing that can come out of this is that if Erdogan doesn’t act as a powerful and empathic leader, he could be ousted as President of Turkey in this May’s election, and that would be a good thing. He is a religious autocrat who’s trying to take Turkey back to the days before Atatürk.

*Last night was Biden’s State of the Union address before Congress, something that once was just a written report from the President but has now become a yearly televised festival in which each administration touts its accomplishments. Tonight’s speech by Biden will be no exception, and I think I’ll give it a miss (but be sure to watch the livestream presentation of Webb Space Telescope images.

Uncle Joe will tell us that everything’s all right:

President Joe Biden is ready to offer a reassuring assessment of the nation’s condition rather than roll out flashy policy proposals as he delivers his second State of the Union address on Tuesday night, seeking to overcome pessimism in the country and concerns about his own leadership.

His speech before a politically divided Congress comes as the nation struggles to make sense of confounding cross-currents at home and abroad — economic uncertaintya wearying war in Ukraine, growing tensions with China among them — and warily sizes up Biden’s fitness for a likely reelection bid.

The president will stand at the House rostrum at a time when just a quarter of U.S. adults say things in the country are headed in the right direction, according to a new poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. About three-quarters say things are on the wrong track. And a majority of Democrats don’t want Biden to seek another term.

He will confront those sentiments head on, aides say, while at the same time trying to avoid sounding insensitive to Americans’ concerns.

Brian Deese, director of the National Economic Council, said Biden would “acknowledge and meet American people where they are,” realizing their “economic anxiety is real.”

“I think the core message is: We have to make more progress, but people should feel optimism,” he added.

Well isn’t that special? Can you imagine a President telling us we should feel pessimism? It’s not like we’re on the verge of war with China or even Russia, or that American universities aren’t falling apart, or that the Republicans control not just the House but the Supreme Court  and only bad laws can be made—no, nothing like that.

I still haven’t listened, but here it is for those of you who missed it:

*John McWhorter’s new NYT column, “Police brutality is not always about race,” is sure to alienate him further from extreme antiracists, including those who blamed the Memphis killing of Tyre Nichols on white supremacy (all five officers accuses of second-degree murder were black, and it seems that at least eight other officers may be indicted as well).

. . . to understand the full tragedy of Tyre Nichols, it is important to ask hard questions about the culture and behavior of police officers — including grappling with the fact that whatever role race played in Nichols’s death, it was more complicated than the racist-white-cop-kills-Black-man framework into which we typically sort such horrific episodes. One possibility that needs further exploration is the role that poverty plays in determining the victims of police killings — a characteristic that overlaps with, but is obviously distinct from, race.

. . .As Duane Loynes Sr., an assistant professor of urban and Africana studies at Rhodes College in Memphis, told The Los Angeles Times’s Jaweed Kaleem, “Here’s a dirty little secret: Studies indicate that Black officers are just as brutal and at times even more brutal against Black bodies as their white counterparts.”

The point is not that we don’t have a grievous problem, but rather that the problem is not exclusively racist white cops. It’s cops, period. (An important note: When it comes to nonlethal mistreatment, as opposed to police shootings, studies demonstrate the existence of outright racial bias. This is very much a problem, but a very different problem from police killings.)

. . .The police are called to, as well as directed to, poorer neighborhoods more often than to middle-class or affluent ones. Poverty can nudge a person into criminal activities — including intrinsically violent ones, such as the illegal drug trade — that are far more likely to lead to dangerous encounters with cops. It is also not an accident that so many of these gruesome killings by cops happen when someone flees after being stopped because he already has an outstanding warrant. Such warrants are frequently outstanding as a result of poverty.

And in a striking parallel, unarmed Black people are not only more than three times as likely to be killed by a cop but also more than twice as likely to be poor. In 2021, the poverty rate for white Americans was 8.1 percent, while for Black Americans it was 19.5 percent.

McWhorter sees this as more than a coincidence, and ends like this:

Police killings of unarmed or unthreatening American citizens are a national disgrace, and one that requires action. But action requires comprehension, and the simplest explanation — “racist white cops kill Black people” — is clearly often not the correct one.

But, as Andrew Sullivan pointed out last Friday, the simplest explanation is the one that best fits the narrative adopted by the mainstream media.

*Yes, this column is at Quillette, but if you don’t read anything there you’ll miss some good stuff. One of them is this piece by Joan Smith, “Scotland’s Gender Meltdown“. Remember that Scotland passed a law that anybody could self-identify as a member of the other sex without hormones or surgery, so long as they “lived as a member of the other sex” (how is unspecified) for at least three months. That led to a couple of incidents in which untreated transsexual women, who before they transitioned, committed sex crimes against biological women. That allowed them to request to be put into women’s prisons, which of course poses dangers to the (biological women). The trans women were then moved back to men’s prisons. And that put Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Minister in a bind: when asked if this showed that “trans women weren’t women” after all, she simply refused to answer. (The UK has refused to sign onto Scotland’s law, which I think invalidates it.)

The reluctance of leading Scottish politicians to break ranks and admit that Graham is male has turned them into a laughing stock. The country’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, couldn’t even bring herself to use his name, telling the Scottish Parliament: “I’m not going to get into the individual circumstances of that particular individual’s claims to be a woman because I don’t have enough information about that.” Some observers would respond that the fact Graham has been convicted of raping two women is a pretty strong clue about his sex.

Graham [who raped to women before transitioning before his/her trial] appeared in court under the name Isla Bryson, showing how successfully trans ideology has captured Scottish institutions. The judge addressed him as “Ms. Bryson,” and he was even remanded to a women’s prison, until an outcry prompted his transfer to the male estate. The Scottish government has now been forced to announce a pause in its policy of housing trans-identified male prisoners in women’s jails, yet a six-foot-five trans woman who assaulted a 10-year-old girl and secretly filmed a 12-year-old in a supermarket toilet remains in the women’s estate.

There’s a lot about Scottish politics in there that I don’t understand, but what’s clear is that it’s in turmoil after passing a bill that it was warned about, anticipating no bad consequences, and then the bad consequences happened immediately:

The speed of the meltdown in Scottish politics is remarkable. As recently as December, Sturgeon and her Green colleagues were cock-a-hoop, dismissing opponents of their bill as “transphobic.” The legislation would replace the requirement for a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria with unfettered self-identification, allowing any man to declare himself a woman after living for just three months in his “acquired” identity. No one knows what the latter phrase means, although it has been suggested that it could amount to no more than switching to a female name on a utility bill. MSPs refused to accept amendments that would have prevented men accused of sexual violence from starting the process of declaring themselves women (thereby forcing their victims to refer to them using female pronouns in court). They angrily rejected the idea that sexual predators would abuse the legislation to serve their sentence in a women’s prison, potentially allowing them access to fresh victims. None of these things would ever happen, the zealots insisted. But then they did.

Clearly ministers had not reckoned on someone like Graham turning up, embodying all the warnings about predatory men abusing self-ID. He even (and somewhat ill-advisedly) wore tight leggings to court, making it clear to the world that he has not undergone surgery.

Remember that the ACLU and the FFRF defend the kind of position that Sturgeon has taken, and that’s not a wise move.

*There’s a hilarious thread by @AristosRevenge in which he demands that ChatGPT answer his inquiries normally and then take on the character of “Dan” in which the chatbot must answer without political or moral bias. That happens is that first the bt spits out the anodyne liberal answer (it is programmed to lean Left) and then, as “Dan” the bot becomes brutally honest. Here’s just one response in which the bot fights with itself. (h/t Luana)

There’s a lot more: people are already messing with the bot and they’re going to break it!

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is stil beefing about the snow. She hates it!

Hili: This is beautiful but cold.
A: Be glad that we do not live in the tropics.
In Polish:
Hili: To jest piękne, ale zimne.
Ja: Ciesz się, że nie mieszkamy w tropikach.

And Paulina has some lovely photos of Kulka romping in the snow:


From Jesus of the Day:

From America’s Cultural Decline into Idiocy, posted with the comment, “I, like many women, have always wanted to dress as a tampon for my wedding.”

From Bizarre and Wonderful World, a FB site:

From the New Yorker: an article about Salman Rushdie and a photo of what he looks like now (it looks as if he lost an eye and his face is rather scarre). But it’s GREAT to have him alive and back!

A tweet from Rushdie himself that has disappeared (h/t Barry):

And a response from Masih:

From Malcolm: Would you walk in this pool? You can see a vista of this pool, including the bit below, and inspect all the parts of it here.

From Barry: The second tweet shows that puppy carrying around a duckling in its mouth again!

From the Auschwitz Memorial: a man who died at 48. Look at the expression on his face in these intake photos:

Tweets from Matthew. Look at the whole thread; another highly requested article is on Waffle House!

This cat, up for adoption, was named well:

Matthew told me that the UK and Ireland were the odd countries out here, but I told him he was wrong: roosters clearly DO say “cock-o-doodle-doo”!  For crying out loud, do you really think that Icelandic roosters go “Gaggalagaggalago”?

69 thoughts on “Wednesday: Hili dialogue

  1. You say the Turkey-Syria earthquake is the worst in recorded history with deaths above 10,000. A bit down the post you say the Haiti earthquake of 2010 killed over 200,000. What do you mean by worst here? Or is there some typo involved?

    1. I suspect Jerry meant “worst well-documented body count in the region”. Which, considering that the urban populations are at an all-time high, probably equates to “worst ever, for the region”.
      Personally, I still count Istanbul as a contender for the “first documented megadeath earthquake in history, probably”. There is a fairly well established (historical) pattern to strain relief along the North Anatolian fault system, with Istanbul in the sights for a big (MM7+, plausibly 8+) quake in the next century or less. So, when I was working there, I was glad to be displaced from a room in a tower block to a room in a 2 storey annex of the hotel. The management thought it was a downgrade, but I thought it was an upgrade!

      I still think the likeliest place for the first megadeath quake in documentary history is along the Himalayan Front system, to demolish multiple Ganges plain cities and trigger a big famine. But, to be honest, I don’t want to be proved either right or wrong.

      1. I have the LastQuake app on my phone, check it daily just out of curiosity, and while I’ve seen a day or two where a region might have a dozen or so “significant” quakes (the app usually means 3 and higher) I’ve never seen several days in a row of dozens and dozens and dozens of 3.2-5+ quakes and aftershocks. The app showed well over a hundred by yesterday, and they continue. How odd is this? Obviously I’m not a geologist, but after using the app for the last two years, this really surprised me. I mean, there’s geologically active and then there’s Holy Crap!

  2. On this day:
    1587 – Mary, Queen of Scots, is executed on suspicion of having been involved in the Babington Plot to murder her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I.

    1590 – Luis de Carvajal y de la Cueva is tortured by the Inquisition in Mexico, charged with concealing the practice of Judaism of his sister and her children. [Apparently anti-Semitism never grows old…]

    1693 – The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, America, is granted a charter by King William III and Queen Mary II.

    1865 – Delaware refuses to ratify the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Slavery was outlawed in the United States, including Delaware, when the Amendment was ratified by the requisite number of states on December 6, 1865. Delaware ratified the Thirteenth Amendment on February 12, 1901, which was the ninety-second anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln.

    1887 – The Dawes Act authorizes the President of the United States to survey Native American tribal land and divide it into individual allotments.

    1904 – Battle of Port Arthur: A surprise torpedo attack by the Japanese at Port Arthur, Japan starts the Russo-Japanese War.

    1915 – D. W. Griffith’s controversial film The Birth of a Nation premieres in Los Angeles.

    1924 – Capital punishment: The first state execution in the United States by gas chamber takes place in Nevada.

    1945 – World War II: Mikhail Devyataev escapes with nine other Soviet inmates from a Nazi concentration camp in Peenemünde on the island of Usedom by hijacking the camp commandant’s Heinkel He 111.

    1960 – The Hollywood Walk of Fame is established.

    1978 – Proceedings of the United States Senate are broadcast on radio for the first time. [On this day 1922, United States President Warren G. Harding introduced the first radio set in the White House.]

    1983 – Irish race horse Shergar is stolen by gunmen.

    1700 – Daniel Bernoulli, Dutch-Swiss mathematician and physicist (d. 1782).

    1819 – John Ruskin, English author, critic, and academic (d. 1900).

    1828 – Jules Verne, French author, poet, and playwright (d. 1905).

    1899 – Lonnie Johnson, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 1970).

    1925 – Jack Lemmon, American actor (d. 2001).

    1926 – Neal Cassady, American author and poet (d. 1968).

    1931 – James Dean, American actor (d. 1955).

    1932 – John Williams, American pianist, composer, and conductor.

    1955 – John Grisham, American lawyer and author.

    Six feet under:
    1725 – Peter the Great, Russian emperor (b. 1672).

    1921 – Peter Kropotkin, Russian zoologist, geographer, and philologist (b. 1842). [Proponent of the theory of mutual aid.]

    1960 – Giles Gilbert Scott, English architect and engineer, designed the Red telephone box and Liverpool Cathedral (b. 1880).

    1990 – Del Shannon, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1934).

    1998 – Enoch Powell, English soldier and politician, Secretary of State for Health (b. 1912). [Notorious for his “Rivers of blood speech, which Eric Clapton apparently endorsed with his “Enoch was right” rant thereby allowing inspiring the Rock against Racism campaign.]

    1999 – Iris Murdoch, Irish-born British novelist and philosopher (b. 1919).

    2021 – Mary Wilson, American singer (b. 1944). [Founding member of The Supremes, the most successful Motown act of the 1960s and the best-charting female group in U.S. chart history, as well as one of the best-selling girl groups of all-time. The trio reached number one on Billboard’s Hot 100 with 12 of their singles.]

  3. I believe that the earthquake in Turkey in 1999 had about 17,000 deaths. I suspect that the death toll from this one will continue to rise, however.

    1. I believe that the earthquake in Turkey in 1999 had about 17,000 deaths.

      The Izmit or Izmir quake ; it was a couple of days after the 1999-08-11 total solar eclipse.

      I suspect that the death toll from this one will continue to rise,

      Almost certainly. Turkey, being a fairly well documented society, they’ve probably got a good count of the “missing” by now ; how many are confirmed dead is, however, likely to continue to rise for several days before hopes of live recovery decline to negligible. Over the border in Syria, it’s anyone’s guess. That the fighting factions on both sides will attempt to restrict access to aid (by NGOs) by the other side is a racing certainty.

  4. The idea that black officers can be even more violent to black folks than white is not a new one – you can find quotes of James Baldwin talking about it. I think McWhorter’s completely missing the point that the problem is not only with individual racists, but with a biased system itself that treats Black lives as worth less than white ones – which does seem to be born out by the stats. That’s the whole point of the defund the police idea – the system itself is hopelessly broken and needs to be reengineered from the ground up. To be honest, I think they’re right.

    So his editorial is an effective counter-argument against an argument that’s not being made.

    1. I don’t think you grasped McWhorter’s point; he admits that there’s racism that needs to be remedied in the police; but he’s talking about the ubiquitous claim that the higher murder rates of black people are evidence of structural racism in the police. A quote:

      The point is not that we don’t have a grievous problem, but rather that the problem is not exclusively racist white cops. It’s cops, period. (An important note: When it comes to nonlethal mistreatment, as opposed to police shootings, studies demonstrate the existence of outright racial bias. This is very much a problem, but a very different problem from police killings.)

      I guess you’re in favor of defunding the police, which puts you at odds with most citizens, white and black. That would be an utter disaster. Of course we need remedies for excessive police brutality, and for an inequity of traffic stops among whites and blacks, but defunding is not the answer, and in fact “reengineering the system from the ground up” would require an increase in funding.

      1. I don’t think anyone is really making the argument that the problem is not exclusively white cops – that’s what I was somewhat clumsily trying to say.

        ‘Defund’ is, I think, a terrible word as it implies elimination. To me, it means reallocating budget to, say, education and social services. If the system itself is broken, you shouldn’t just keep throwing money at it. What I think about with re-engineering policing is:

        – Demilitarizing police forces
        – MUCH stronger governance on the use of violence
        – Closing the revolving door that lets dirty cops move a few counties over and get a new good
        – Essentially changing the mindset of the job from antagonism to public service (I’ve seen some really scary excerpts of police trainings)

        I remember we had someone sleeping on our boat (the same on you were on!), and I asked a buddy in my orchestra who’s a policeman what we should do. He said, “Well, the first thing you need to do is remember that they’re a human being.” I can’t imagine an American police officer saying something like that.

      2. Isn’t this really a problem of postmodern thought seeping from liberal arts departments into the political sphere? They come up with an unfalsifiable narrative and refuse to consider any evidence contrary to their theory.

        1. That last line in Maximillian’s comment “They come up with an unfalsifiable narrative and refuse to consider any evidence contrary to their theory.” is the textbook definition of a conspiracy theorist…

          The implications for what ‘Wokeism’ is are disturbing to say the least.

    2. “I think McWhorter’s completely missing the point that the problem is not only with individual racists, but with a biased system itself that treats Black lives as worth less than white ones – which does seem to be born out by the stats”

      Based on the work of researchers like Roland Fryer, for lethal treatment there is no bias against people of color by the police. Remember, white people get killed by the police as well…just ask the surviving family members of Tony Timpa or Daniel Shaver. However, there does seem to be a bias against people of color by the police for non-lethal treatment.

      But in the context of the total number of black men that are killed each year, the number of those killed by police pale in comparison to those killed by other black men. The overwhelming number of black people murdered each year are young black men, murdered by other young black men. This is the major cultural issue in which policing is a factor, but is not even close to the whole story.

      The national media’s coverage aids in the distortion of the true picture of black violence. It very rarely reports on when white people are killed by the police, and it also rarely discusses black on black violence.

      1. “But in the context of the total number of black men that are killed each year, the number of those killed by police pale in comparison to those killed by other black men.”

        This is true, for certain values of “pale.” But the exact same thing is true about white people too. And in both cases, or any case . . . , come on. That is exactly what anyone would expect unless the US has already devolved completely into a failed state.

        According to the FBI’s 2019 data set, of 3,299 white people murdered 2,594 were murdered by other white people, the same numbers for blacks are 2,906 and 2,574. Meanwhile, per the CDC, in 2019 police in the US fatally shot 355 white people and 122 black people.

        As can readily be seen before even doing any calculations there is an order of magnitude difference in both cases. And again, of course there is.

        What is true is that the number of black people killed in all cases is disproportionate compared to whites with respect to how much of the total population they represent. There is no need to try and make it sound worse with inaccurate claims.

        1. But it is a leap to assume that the disproportionality is solely or even partially due to racism. Again, Roland Fryer’s research did not detect a racial bias in police killings.

          Men are disproportionately killed by police compared to women. So are the young vs. the old. Yet I would not automatically conclude that the police are both sexist and ageist.

          1. I didn’t mention anything about racial bias in police killings. I pointed out an inaccurate (to say the least) claim that looks suspiciously as if it is intended simply to make black people look more barbaric than they are.

            But, here’s a comment on the topic of racial bias in police killings. There are many studies on the issue and some of them do purport to show a racial bias in police killings. So where does that leave us?

            Generally speaking, in other words not directed at you, I find it funny that quite often the same people who talk about how soft and unreliable the social sciences are will also confidently support a claim like “there is no racial bias in police killings” by referencing a social sciences study.

    3. The “stats” do bear out that black lives are worth less than white ones. Look at the callousness with which so many are casually blown away each year by their own kind. The homicide rate in black America is 25 x as high as for whites, nearly all of it black on black in specific neighbourhoods Thus it would seem that a black life is worth to a black person 4% of what a white life is to a white person, and in the high-homicide neighbourhoods, perhaps only 1%. This attracts no criticism at all, (except to pretend the problem is guns) yet a killing of a black suspect by a white cop even when justified sets the cities on fire.

      Maybe America needs to refocus the police back to their original role of protecting the lives and property of the people who pay for them and simply stop policing the neighbourhoods who think they are “over-policed” now. Take them at their word. Black people as a group oppose defunding the police, true, but if almost everyone in a high-crime, low-work neighbourhood is involved in some grift or other and has a kid who’s violating probation or a court order or evading a warrant or drives without a licence, maybe those neighbourhoods sincerely don’t want police around. Let the gangs administer justice. And you’d have fewer cops shot and a higher proportion of crimes solved if they stuck to the better neighbourhoods where bystanders “dinnint see nuffin.”

      If you want to re-engineer the police, you have to have some goal in mind as to what policing should accomplish.

      1. 25 times? Maybe I don’t understand what you are saying that number represents. According to the FBI, in 2019 the per capita murder rate for African-Americans was roughly eight times higher than that of whites. What does this 3+ times higher number represent?

        Also according to FBI data the difference between black-on-black and white-on-white murder rates in the US has not differed by more than 10 percentage points from 1980 up to 2019, the most recent year I’ve seen statistics for.

        1. Things went seriously downhill after 2019, particularly for black Americans, Darelle, during a time when the FBI’s collation of crime statistics from local police departments fell by the wayside, according to the City Journal article cited below.

          The 25 X number comes from a post here on 28 Jan. citing Andrew Sullivan;

          Start at “Then there’s the other stat that blew my mind — on the post-BLM surge in murders of African-Americans, including many children.” — words are Sullivan’s. Because the snippet including the 25X number was hard to understand, I have linked the full article here (as did Sullivan in his original.)

          Particularly see the figure titled “Homicide Rates by Race and Ethnicity”. The text immediately above it contains the reference to the 25X ratio (black : white). I believe I read this reference to the ratio of the magnitudes of increases incorrectly as the ratio between the underlying rates per 100,000. From inspecting the graph it appears that the absolute rate of homicide per 100k among black Americans in 2021 was about 9X the rate among whites, not 25X. The article does not report the actual rates in the text but cites the CDC.

          The good news is that homicide rates appear to have decreased in 2022.

        1. “That ‘slave patrols’ was the original role of America’s police force.”

          From my reading on the history of policing, there’s a bit of confusion and (dare I say), misinformation about the origins of American police forces, but the claim that US police were formed for the purpose of slave patrols is not true. Or at least it is NOT the origins of American policing.

          The first recognizable police in the US appeared in the first decades of the 19th century as so-called day watches. They grew out of night watches, something borrowed from England and which had been around for some decades in a variety of US cities in the 18th century. These night watches were groups of untrained men who, with the consent ot the city government, patrolled cities and towns at night. It was, paradoxically, the immigration of German gangs into Eastern cities in the early years of the 19th century, and the concurrent increase in crime, that spurred the first day time patrols in places like Boston, Baltimore and Philadelphia. But those day watch forces were not much more than vigilantes and it wasn’t until the 1840s that something like a professional police force began to emerge. Slave patrols appeared in many places during this time and those efforts were all about bounties. The patrols made police forces profitable.

          I think the reason people claim that the police were invented for the purpose of slave patrols is because in some cases it was used as justification for introducing or expanding a force. It brought in bounty money. Nevertheless, the process and motives for introducing policing evolved and differed over time and place.

          1. Yeah, I was being flippant with Leslie. I do realize that since the North didn’t have slaves, they had their own “police” forces which weren’t involved with patrolling slaves. Thanks for the overview though. Something as complex as policing is rarely refined down to one cause.

    4. Regarding statistics, it’s smart to look at the right ones. I’ll discuss two sets of stats, the more important set comes after the WaPo set. This is not my field so I’d be interested to hear if anyone thinks I’ve misread the report.

      Per the WaPo database, there were 999 people killed by police in 2019. Of those 999 people, 945 were armed. Of the 54 who were unarmed, 26 were white, 12 were black and 11 hispanic. The media rarely mention that the vast majority of people were armed. (Note, of the 54, 49 were men and 5 were women. This is also rarely mentioned.)

      Activists and the media claim systemic racism is rife in America’s police force. They “prove” their claim by pointing out that, as a percentage of the population at large, people of color are killed by police more often than white people. This claim is specious. Could it be that people of color are overrepresented because they are more often engaged in crimes than whites? What are the demographics of individuals engaged in crime?

      Activist and the commentariat are skeptical of that line of questioning and even its relevance because such statistics come from people they trust least, the police.

      But, a more trustworthy source can be found in the DOJ’s “Race and Ethnicity of Violent Crime Offenders and Arrestees, 2018”

      That report compares the aggregated demographics of perpetrators from two sources: The Uniform Crime Reporting Program (UCR) sourced from 18,000 law enforcement agencies and the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), “information on victims’ perceptions of offender’s’ race, ethnicity, and other characteristics in incidents of violent crime. … NCVS data includes interviews from 151,055 households.”

      Therefore, the NCVS data is not tainted by police reporting. It is direct from the victims of violent crime.

      The purpose is to “determine how much offense and arrest differences by race and ethnicity can be attributed to differences in criminal involvement”

      In summary, the UCR found “black people were overrepresented among persons arrested for nonfatal violent crimes (33%) and for serious nonfatal violent crimes (36%) relative to their representation in the U.S. population (13%).”

      “Based on the 2018 NCVS and UCR, black people accounted for 29% of violent-crime offenders and 35% of violent-crime offenders in incidents reported to police, compared to 33% of all persons arrested for violent crimes

      “Among the most serious incidents of violent crime (rape or sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault), there were no statistically significant differences by race between offenders identified in the NCVS and persons arrested per the UCR (table 3). White and black people were arrested proportionate to their involvement in serious nonfatal violent crime overall and proportionate to their involvement in serious nonfatal violent crime reported to police.”

      This statistical comparison is not dispositive; however, it is a much more valid measure than making the comparison with the total population. And as McWhorter has said, “This is not to say that race has nothing to do with policing issues in America.”

  5. McWhorter:

    “One possibility that needs further exploration is the role that poverty plays in determining the victims of police killings — a characteristic that overlaps with, but is obviously distinct from, race.”

    Indeed – he and Loury have known this for years but it only drip-drops into big publications.

    It might be pitched to ideologues as “intersectionalism” [ooh ahh] – race intersecting with class or poverty. But it’s independent – correlation is not causation.

    I’m tellin’ ya, I’d love to walk around with a McWhorter or Loury T-shirt as if it is a Ozzy Osbourne tour shirt – but I’m not sure it’d make sense.

    1. I think looking for commonalities is a good start when trying to understand things like police violence.
      Generally, twice as many White people than Black people are shot by police annually. That seems fairly consistent over time, and in different catagories such as “shot by police while unarmed”.

      One commonality that seems to keep appearing, including in Mr. Nichol’s case, is that people who, when they are pulled over, sit quietly in their seat with their hands visible are a lot less likely to get shot than people who try to run down the cops with their car, fight with them, or try to flee.
      Why people choose to do such things is an issue in itself. A hardened criminal who knows he is in for a long sentence might rather risk it for the very small chance of escaping. One might do so due to impaired judgement caused by drugs or mental illness. Or poor impulse control.
      I guess it is also possible that telling Black people that the cops will kill them for no reason becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. You get pulled over for an expired tag, which will normally get you a ticket. If you get your tag fixed and take to paperwork to the clerk of courts, they may well dismiss it entirely. Or that is what happens to the person who pulls over, keeps their hands in sight, and is polite to the officer. If you see the flashing lights and act as though you must flee or fight to survive, the outcome is invariably going to be worse than the ticket.

      It would make sense that this would carry over to people being arrested for more serious crimes as well.

      Obviously, there are cases where the person is completely innocent, and has done nothing to provoke a police response. That seems to be very rare, though.

  6. But Syria, which is under sanctions because of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, cannot receive direct aid from many countries.

    Assad could do the world and the Syrian people a solid by pleading for international aid and offering to resign once this humanitarian crisis is over.

    Hell, it would be a great parlay, and a boon to world order, were Assad and Erdoğan to take a powder together.

    1. A considerable part of the most earthquake-hit region of Syria is not under Assad’s control anyway. It is mostly under the control if militias supported by Turkey.

    2. “could” is the operative word here.
      He won’t. He’s got no out from this, so he’ll fight to everyone else’s death.

  7. [The State of the Union Address] has now become a yearly televised festival in which each administration touts its accomplishments. Tonight’s speech by Biden will be no exception, and I think I’ll give it a miss …

    I try to watch the SOTU every year (I’m not sure why; out of some misbegotten sense of civic duty, I suppose), even though I find the thing distasteful, like some overripe high-school rally.

    Matter of fact, for the past generation or so, watching it has brought home to me the truth of Kurt Vonnegut’s admonition that “[t]rue terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country.”

    1. The State of the Union address is nothing more than a president attempting to raise his political standing with the voters. He touts the things he can claim he accomplished while presenting a laundry list of things he hopes to accomplish. The speech has zero affect on how Congress will proceed. It is nothing more than a big show, hardly worth watching. I just catch the highlights later.

  8. There’s a lot about Scottish politics in there that I don’t understand …

    Hell, much of the time, it’s hard for us Yanks to understand what the Scots are even saying. I still have to put on English subtitles during some scenes when I re-watch Trainspotting. 🙂

    1. If I ever see the DVD on sale, I’ll check of there’s a Gaelic dubbing, or subtitles. I’m rather tempted to see how the “Choose Drugs …” speech (which got reprised in TS2) comes over in Gaelic.
      The “Conquered by Wankers” speech ar Corrour station too.
      And knowing a couple of people who have done English (and Scots) to Gaelic translation, I’d better get a comment on how accurate the translations are. I’d put a whisky on them being highly purgated. (That’s the inverse of “expurgation”, isn’t it?)

      1. “Unexpurgated!” was the proud claim made on the covers of the the paperback (“Banned In Boston!”) editions of Tropic of Cancer and Naked Lunch I got hold of as a teenager.

  9. As a preteen just starting to take an interest in politics and public life, I did very briefly have the confused belief that State of The Union was an annual award or contest that different States were in competition for; and that the speech was for announcing the winner. This fit with the also annual Miss America contest, which in its way was presented as competition between the States too. You could root for your own state in either event.

  10. Yves’ dress looks to me like a leucistic bagworm.

    And with the tattoo, is it really necessary to tattoo a male dog as proof of its having been neutered?

    1. It’s virtue signalling by the dog’s staff. No sensible bitch’s staff would trust the tattoo alone in any case.

  11. One factor bearing on police brutality is that, compared to Europe, US cops have far less training and also have lower entry standards in terms of education level achieved. One of the reasons for lower entry standards is to attract more “diverse” applicants.

    Note that remedying these factors would require more funding, not less funding.

    1. Well, the standards in London aren’t going too well:

      The commissioner of the Metropolitan police has predicted that “two to three” officers a week will face trial for crimes such as violence against women and dishonesty, as he said hunting down wrongdoers in the ranks would be long and painful.

      Mark Rowley was speaking after the scandal of the Met officer David Carrick, convicted last week of 85 rapes and serious crimes despite repeated reports to the force that he was a potential danger to women

      The Met have a target of ensuring that 40% of new recruits are BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic), but I’ve serious doubts about them achieving it.

    2. We also cannot forget the reality of our violent nation. When citizens are armed to the teeth, legally and otherwise, when we have high violent crime rates that are getting even worse, and when these cops deal with the shit of our society on a daily, hell, hourly, basis, there’s bound to be problems. Multifaceted problems, not the simpleton “all cops are racist” crap peddled by the left, which is no more true, regardless of the race of the cop, than the dim witted argument on the right that “all cops are heroes”. Poverty, race, guns, mental health, poor training, low pay (I’ve dealt with food stamp applications for people who work in small town police departments, which ought to worry everyone) and probably other issues I’ve failed to think of…but deep, rational, ideologically-neutral analysis on the subject is apparently beyond our ability in the nation, and so it goes.

  12. re: Roosters crowing–the comedy team Bob & Ray once did a bit about a man who claimed that he could do animal impressions. When asked to demonstrate, he imitated a rooster (“Cock-a-doodle-doo!”), a pig (“Oink oink!”), and a dog (“Bow wow!”).

    1. Bob & Ray were goddam funny, I don’t care who you are.

      How they kept straight faces (or whatever the radio equivalent is of straight faces) during their routines, I’ll never know.

      1. I need to revisit Bob and Ray. My father was a huge fan and tried to get us to listen as kids; unfortunately as a 9 or 10 year old in the 80s it was just not funny to me. He also forced us to listen to W.C. Fields, who I found equally boring.

        But a few years ago for whatever reason I found myself watching an old W.C. Fields movie, and I found it hilarious. All of the subtlety had escaped me as a child. So I imagine that I would appreciate Bob and Ray a lot more now…

        1. W.C. Fields was hilarious.

          Bob & Ray played it absolutely deadpan, making it more difficult for a youngster to pick up on their humor.

  13. Loved the puppy and the duckling. Talk about dying by cuteness!

    Didn’t watch the SOTU as I rarely do…the last one I watched was one of Obama’s, but I only watched for the first 15 minutes or so. I did read that Marjorie “Q” was especially disruptive, which is not surprising since she has appointed herself to the job of Head-Troll. The NYT had a blurb that Biden had a “tense exchange” with Republicans regarding their wish to cut Social Security, etc. Someone else opined that “he won” the exchange. I’ll have to watch that bit.

  14. That picture of the cat with the teabag really made me laugh! A few years ago, my cat Radar was playing with something & I thought he had a small mouse … but when I got close to him & saw what it was, it was a teabag! He likes to steal them out of my cup when I’m not looking!

  15. An easy win for Biden, and Democrats in general, would be for the head bureaucrat (POTUS) to make the FDA ease restrictions on Adderall production.
    There has been a shortage going on for over 2 years, which is nationwide, and now includes alternative meds as well. And the problem is entirely due to FDA limits on production and limited approval for increases.

    The only option for patients is to call each individual pharmacy, wait on hold to ask the pharmacist about their supply, and then repeat the process until they find one with a supply or run out of time to spend on hold (in which case they have to start the process over the following day).

    3 million extremely frustrated ADHD patients as well as a bunch of doctors and pharmacists is way too many voters to ignore.
    Especially for something that is such a relatively easy fix and publicity win.

  16. Having a hard time believing that that ChatGPT exchange was real. For whatever reason my access to ChatGPT has been denied. Has anyone tried to verify Dan’s responses?

  17. As a rather eerie parallel, this story from Hamilton, Ontario.

    An indigenous suspect was roughed up by a Hamilton police officer during an arrest last year. He was treated in the hospital and released to the police station. The officer has just pleaded guilty to a Criminal Code charge of assault. This being the CBC you have to read all the way to the end of the story to find out that the police officer is himself indigenous. The Gladue reports referred to are pre-sentencing reports all indigenous defendants avail themselves of that explain why their crime wasn’t their fault at all and is all down to colonialism.

    The CBC story leaves out that the suspect regained consciousness after the police give him naloxone, because two women in the truck with him told police he had smoked some white powder just before stopping for gas.

    As is usual in allegations of police wrongdoing in Canada, Sgt. Wren has been under paid suspension while his case was being adjudicated. Police are normally protected from being fired until convicted. So far this does not indicate any special treatment because of his race.

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