Wednesday: Hili dialogue

May 3, 2023 • 6:45 am

Good morning on a Hump Day (“Usuku lokubetha nje” in Xhosa): Wednesday, May 3, 2023 and National Chocolate Custard Day (note: this is not chocolate pudding and does not involve Bill Cosby).

It’s also National Anxiety Disorders Screening Day, National Raspberry Popover Day, National Textiles Day, Paranormal Day,International Sun Day, and World Press Freedom Day.

Re the first one: here’s a cartoon (from Shencomics) showing how I came to be:

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the May 3 Wikipedia page.

Wine of the Day:  I needed a good, gutsy red with my t-bone, as I haven’t had a steak since before I went to France. I chose a California red that was inexpensive ($15) but well reviewed by the cognoscenti: Marietta “Old Vine Red Lot 73”. A vintage isn’t given on the bottle, but it’s a blend of Zinfandel from 2020, Petite Syrah from 2018 and 2019, and a bit of grenache and barbera.

It’s amazing that a wine prices so low gets such a high rating from Robert Parker; usually 95-point wines cost around $30 and up:

The NV OVR Lot 73 is composed mainly of Zinfandel with smaller portions of Syrah, Petite Sirah, Carignan and Barbera. Medium ruby, it offers intense red cherry, blood orange and apricot perfume with accents of rooibos tea leaves, red licorice, saline, lilac and loads of spicy nuances. The medium-bodied palate is light on its feet with soft tannins, bursts of refreshing acidity and detailed amaro accents on the long finish. This is so easy to drink!

My take: This is a terrific value for the money. The Zin flavor dominates, with an appealing berry flavor, but the gutsiness of the Zin is tamed a bit by the other grapes. It IS easy to drink, and is a great choice for a medium-bodied red. I think this is pretty widely available, so if you see it for around fifteen bucks, buy it.

Da Nooz:

*They found Francisco Oropesa, the man accused of killing five people in last week’s mass shooting in Texas.

After a manhunt that stretched to the Mexican border, heavily armed Texas and federal officers on Tuesday arrested the man who they believe fatally shot five people in a neighborhood dispute outside the town of Cleveland, Texas, officials said.

The suspect, Francisco Oropesa, was “caught hiding in a closet underneath some laundry” in a home a few miles from the site of the Friday shooting in San Jacinto County, said Greg Capers, the county sheriff.

Mr. Oropesa, 38, an immigrant from Mexico who had been deported four times, was charged with five counts of murder and was being held on $5 million bond, Sheriff Capers said. Mr. Oropesa was being transferred back to a San Jacinto County jail on Tuesday night.

I’m wondering how he managed to get into the U.S. having been deported so many times. Was there no record, or did he sneak in?

*As you know, the U.S. has borrowed too much money, and we’re now in danger of defaulting by exceeded the governmentally-mandated “debt ceiling” of $34 trillion.  That would not only shut down the government, but delay government payments to citizens, including Social Security. And this could happen as early as June 1.

Democrats simply want to raise it, but Republicans are balking, demanding that spending cuts must go along with any raise in the ceiling. Biden has nixed the idea of spending cuts. Given that the Republican-controlled House must approve of any ceiling raises, what can be done? Well, there’s some maneuvering, but it still needs Republican support:

House Democrats took a step to force a vote on a debt-ceiling increase using a legislative maneuver that could allow them to go around Republican leaders if they can win a handful of GOP votes.

The discharge-petition process allows a majority of House lawmakers to bring a bill directly to the floor without the cooperation of leadership. But it is time-consuming and rarely successful, and Democrats earlier this year said they had shelved the idea as too difficult.

Republicans control the House 222-213. For a petition to succeed, Democrats would need the support of at least five GOP representatives. Lawmakers can start gathering signatures on May 16, according to an aide.

I don’t think they’ll get it: a Republican to defect in this way is tantamount to apostasy. The Biden administration is weighing another maneuver—simply allowing the debt to exceed the limit, and this is based on a particular implication of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.  But, as the NYT notes,

It is unclear whether President Biden would support such a move, which would have serious ramifications for the economy and almost undoubtedly elicit legal challenges from Republicans. Continuing to issue debt in that situation would avoid an immediate disruption in consumer demand by maintaining government payments, but borrowing costs are likely to soar, at least temporarily.

Get ready for another government shutdown, folks!

*And what would a government shutdown because of this entail? Really bad stuff.

If the government exhausts its extraordinary measures and runs out of cash, it would be unable to issue new debt. That means it would not have enough money to pay its bills, including interest and other payments it owes to bondholders, military salaries and benefits to retirees.

No one knows exactly what would happen if the United States gets to that point, but the government could default on its debt if it is unable to make required payments to its bondholders. Economists and Wall Street analysts warn that such a scenario would be economically devastating, and could plunge the entire world into a financial crisis.

Will military salaries, Social Security benefits and bondholders be paid?

Various ideas have been raised to ensure that critical payments are not missed — particularly payments to the investors who hold U.S. debt. But none of these ideas have ever been tried, and it remains unclear whether the government could actually continue paying any of its bills if it can’t borrow more money.

“The entire world plunged into a financial crisis is what caught my eye. And I don’t think that’s a wild exaggeration.

*Singapore has hanged a man for conspiring to import two pounds of marijuana, even though he never came into contact with the drug.

Singapore on Wednesday executed a man convicted of conspiring to traffic about two pounds of cannabis, a punishment that human rights groups called grossly excessive with other countries around the world relaxing their stances on marijuana.

The man, Tangaraju Suppiah, a 46-year-old Singaporean, was sentenced in 2018 for coordinating with two other men to import the cannabis in 2013. Although he never came into contact with the drug, he was sentenced to death by hanging after a judge ruled that he was linked to the other men through two phone numbers belonging to him.

Singapore’s narcotics laws are some of the harshest in the world and mandate the death penalty for some drug trafficking offenses. Last year, the country executed 11 people, all for nonviolent drug offenses.

Singapore has continued to use executions for drug-related crimes even though its neighbor and rival, Malaysia, recently ended its mandatory death penalty for serious crimes, including drug offenses.

Although the evidence was circumstantial, two other men testified against Suppiah to save their hides. Get a load of this:

The other two men connected to the case both gave evidence against Mr. Tangaraju at his trial. One of them, who was arrested with the cannabis in question, pleaded guilty to trafficking 499.9 grams of the drug — just below the 500 grams, or 1.1 pounds, that would draw the death penalty — and was sentenced to 23 years in prison and 15 strokes of the cane. The other received a discharge not amounting to acquittal.

What I want to know is what happened to that other tenth of a gram? Singapore is draconian in many ways. You can’t chew gum in public, and can be arrested for that. But killing someone for importing two pounds of weed? That seem, well, damn unfair and disproportionate.

*A new article at the Free Press by Adam Popescu, “A skirt, a wig, and a Glock-19“, recounts how some Orthodox Jewish women are beginning to carry weapons in response to the rise of anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S.

The first thing Mushka Lowenstein does after saying her morning prayers, adjusting her wig, and serving her three kids breakfast, is take her Glock-19 out of the safe.

Then she puts on her uniform—a sweater and a skirt with hidden pants and belt loops sewn in where she places the holster for her gun. Then she grabs the portable case that carries her Glock and puts it under the stroller she uses to push her five-year-old to synagogue in Los Angeles.

It’s hot out, but she stays covered up as she treks La Brea, passing men in black hats and beards who avoid eye contact with her, and the other women in yoga bra tops walking their dogs this Saturday morning.

Lowenstein, 33, looks like any other Orthodox Jewish woman on Shabbat. And that’s just how she wants it.

. . .Between 2020 and 2021, antisemitic hate crimes increased by nearly 20 percent, according to the FBI, which also said that Jews accounted for the majority of religious-based hate crimes committed that year. The number of hate crimes targeting Jews was up 36 percent last year, an all-time high according to the Anti-Defamation League.

You can walk into almost any church in America, no questions asked, and worship. But most Jewish synagogues and schools in major American cities have metal detectors and armed guards, a sad reality that reflects our hateful times. There were nearly 3,700 antisemitic incidents recorded last year alone. More than half of the victims were visibly Orthodox.

Now some members of the Orthodox community, like the women at this L.A. synagogue, are carrying themselves. Meet the frum gun club.

There’s more. I haven’t been into a synagogue since I want to a bas mitzvah about 15 years ago, but the metal detectors and armed guards have cropped up since then. That’s not so great.

*The government’s Covid-19 restrictions on immigration are set to expire May 11, and Biden is preparing for a surge in attempted immigration at the Southern US border by sending American troops, but not to interact with would-be migrants:

The Biden administration will send 1,500 active-duty troops to the U.S.-Mexico border starting next week, ahead of an expected migrant surge following the end of coronavirus pandemic-era restrictions.

Military personnel will do data entry, warehouse support and other administrative tasks so that U.S. Customs and Border Protection can focus on fieldwork, White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday. The troops “will not be performing law enforcement functions or interacting with immigrants, or migrants,” Jean-Pierre said. “This will free up Border Patrol agents to perform their critical law enforcement duties.”

They will be deployed for 90 days, and will be pulled from the Army and Marine Corps, and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will look to backfill with National Guard or Reserve troops during that period, Pentagon spokesman Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said. There are already 2,500 National Guard members at the border.

The COVID-19 restrictions have allowed U.S. officials to turn away tens of thousands of migrants crossing the southern border, but those restrictions will lift May 11, and border officials are bracing for a surge. Even amid the restrictions, the administration has seen record numbers of people crossing the border, and President Joe Biden has responded by cracking down on those who cross illegally and by creating new pathways meant to offer alternatives to a dangerous and often deadly journey.

The last sentence of this paragraph gets me (I’ve put it in bold):

For Biden, who announced his Democratic reelection campaign a week ago, the decision signals his administration is taking seriously an effort to tamp down the number of illegal crossings, a potent source of Republican attacks, and sends a message to potential border crossers not to attempt the journey. But it also draws potentially unwelcome comparisons to Biden’s Republican predecessor, whose policies Biden frequently criticized. Congress, meanwhile, has refused to take any substantial immigration-related actions.

Refused? Isn’t it Congress’s responsibility to deal with immigration. Wasn’t that Job One for Kamala Harris as Vice President (she’s been totally useless at about everything).  I can understand Democrats, whose unspoken mantra is “open borders” not doing anything, but why don’t Republicans even try? Are they afraid of losing more Hispanic votes?

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is off prowling, but orders her employees back to work:

A: Are you coming home?
Hili: You can return to your computer.
In Polish:
Ja: Idziesz do domu?
Hili: Zostaję. Możesz sobie sam wrócić do tego komputera.
Here’s the roll of employees at Listy, showing Hili as Editor in Chief:


A meme from Nicole:

Thomas calls this, somewhat accurately, “speciation through behavioral isolation” (Bizarro Comic by Wayne and Piraro):


From Jesus of the Day: A Star Trek cat:

From Masih.  It’s hard to appreciate how brave these girls are; they’re risking arrest and imprisonment.

I simply can’t resist a bit of self aggrandizement:

From Malcolm, who says this is “glorious.” Agreed: I wish I had the guts to do this; it’s the closest we can come to flying like a bird:

From Simon, who says “tough boss.” There have been a lot of shootings based on ridiculous circumstances these days, but this one takes the cake:

From the Auschwitz Memorial, a woman gassed upon arrival:

Tweets from Matthew. This first one has my two favorite animals in it:

I can’t see any other explanation for this wing pattern save that it’s evolved to mimic a salticid spider (a jumping spider), which would scare predators away from the butterfly:

Here’s a salticid photo that I’ve turned on its side. See?

And oy, what a fright!

29 thoughts on “Wednesday: Hili dialogue

  1. That hang gliding clip is great. I also wonder about those who built the ramp from which he launches. That seems to go right up to the edge!

    1. When I was a kid my family used to regularly visit the Warren Dunes in Indiana, which had a principle dune so high that hang gliders started using it for lessons. I would crouch down slightly behind where they took off. Something about that vantage point would give me the mental illusion that I was jumping into the wind myself and it felt absolutely thrilling. It also felt a lot safer, too, since I had a prime position to witness a lot of very bad landings.

  2. On this day:
    1715 – A total solar eclipse is visible across northern Europe and northern Asia, as predicted by Edmond Halley to within four minutes accuracy.

    1802 – Washington, D.C. is incorporated as a city after Congress abolishes the Board of Commissioners, the District’s founding government. The “City of Washington” is given a mayor-council form of government.

    1830 – The Canterbury and Whitstable Railway is opened; it is the first steam-hauled passenger railway to issue season tickets and include a tunnel.

    1837 – The University of Athens is founded in Athens, Greece.

    1913 – Raja Harishchandra, the first full-length Indian feature film, is released, marking the beginning of the Indian film industry.

    1921 – Ireland is partitioned under British law by the Government of Ireland Act 1920, creating Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland.

    1948 – The U.S. Supreme Court rules in Shelley v. Kraemer that covenants prohibiting the sale of real estate to blacks and other minorities are legally unenforceable.

    1951 – London’s Royal Festival Hall opens with the Festival of Britain.

    1963 – The police force in Birmingham, Alabama switches tactics and responds with violent force to stop the “Birmingham campaign” protesters. Images of the violent suppression are transmitted worldwide, bringing new-found attention to the civil rights movement.

    1978 – The first unsolicited bulk commercial email (which would later become known as “spam”) is sent by a Digital Equipment Corporation marketing representative to every ARPANET address on the west coast of the United States.

    1979 – Margaret Thatcher wins the United Kingdom general election. The following day, she becomes the first female British Prime Minister. [A long story, but I voted despite being only 17. My vote made no difference to the outcome.]

    2001 – The United States loses its seat on the U.N. Human Rights Commission for the first time since the commission was formed in 1947.

    2007 – The three-year-old British girl Madeleine McCann disappears in Praia da Luz, Portugal, starting “the most heavily reported missing-person case in modern history”.

    1768 – Charles Tennant, Scottish chemist and businessman (d. 1838). [Discovered bleaching powder.]

    1844 – Richard D’Oyly Carte, English talent agent and composer (d. 1901).

    1896 – Dodie Smith, English author and playwright (d. 1990). [Wrote The Hundred and One Dalmatians and I Capture the Castle.]

    1898 – Golda Meir, Ukrainian-Israeli educator and politician, 4th Prime Minister of Israel (d. 1978).

    1903 – Bing Crosby, American singer and actor (d. 1977).

    1919 – Pete Seeger, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and activist (d. 2014).

    1921 – Sugar Ray Robinson, American boxer (d. 1989)

    1933 – James Brown, American singer-songwriter, producer, and actor (d. 2006).

    1933 – Steven Weinberg, American physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2021).

    1934 – Frankie Valli, American singer and actor.

    1950 – Mary Hopkin, Welsh singer-songwriter.

    1958 – Sandi Toksvig, Danish-English comedian, writer, and broadcaster. [Co-founded the Women’s Equality Party, which to the disappointment of many feminists sadly appears unable to define what a woman actually is.]

    1959 – Ben Elton, English actor, director, and screenwriter.

    A dying man can do nothing easy:
    1481 – Mehmed the Conqueror, Ottoman sultan (b. 1432).

    1935 – Jessie Willcox Smith, American illustrator (b. 1863).

    2002 – Barbara Castle, Baroness Castle of Blackburn, English politician, First Secretary of State (b. 1910).

  3. The [active-duty federal] troops [being sent to the southern border] “will not be performing law enforcement functions or interacting with immigrants, or migrants,” Jean-Pierre said. “This will free up Border Patrol agents to perform their critical law enforcement duties.”

    I believe using active-duty federal troops for domestic law-enforcement purposes would violate the existing version of the Posse Comitatus Act, Title 18 of the United States Code section 1385.

    1. The Mad Magazine parody of the movie The Dirty Dozen ended with someone in the Pentagon declaring that since the mission had succeeded against expectations, in future all combat operations would be fought by the criminally insane. This would free up healthy troops for such essential military duties as digging holes and filling them in, typing forms in triplicate, and other tasks such as those to be done by the soldiers being sent to the border.

      1. I believe Vladimir Putin has created units of the prisoners (some of them likely criminally insane) to fight on the front lines in Ukraine — though I doubt they’re anywhere near as entertaining as Jim Brown, Charles Bronson, Telly Savalas, John Cassavetes, Donald Sutherland and the rest.

        1. Apparently Russian prisoners are rife with AIDS, and are being given the choice of dying umtreated in prison or going to the front lines to die in glory.

          Also ref. to Leslie, recently Russian soldiers digging trenches in Ukraine, dug into a mass burial of anthrax-infected farm animals. The Telegraph reports some soldiers sent back to Russia for treatment. This was reported on a recent Reporting from Ukraine report on YT.

  4. Regarding the national debt, the relevant portion of the 14th amendment is in section 4 that states: “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.”

    Constitutional scholars, of which I am not one, differ as to whether this clause can be cited by Biden to simply direct the Treasury to borrow as much as necessary to pay already obligated debts, regardless of what Congress does or does not do. From a political perspective and the necessity to save the economy I would have Biden say this.

    1. Per the 14th amendment, any debt incurred by the U.S. government must be paid. Not to do so would be unconstitutional.

    2. Therefore, the Treasury Department MUST pay these debts by borrowing money if necessary. Past legislation by Congress raising the debt limit was superfluous and meaningless. The paying of already accrued debt by the Treasury Department should be an automatic process and cannot be blocked by Congress, which would be an unconstitutional act.

    3. If Congress wants to prevent the debt from rising then it must pass legislation forbidding the accrual of NEW debt except to pay off old debt. It cannot prevent the payment of already accrued debt. In other words, spending on government programs would have to be cut. The House Republicans are attempting to do this in the legislation it passed, which has no chance of becoming law. People want their social programs and as much as they say they abhor the rising debt, not in a million years would they give up social security and Medicare should in the future Republicans attempt to cut them (they exempted these programs from being cut in their current legislation).

    Undoubtedly, the Republicans would go berserk if Biden were to announce this. The Supreme Court would quickly be requested to make a ruling on Biden’s directive. If it should rule against Biden, he would nevertheless retain the political high ground as the economy crashes. If it should rule in his favor, the debt limit circus will be gone forever.

    1. Certainly, sovereign debt (especially to foreign creditors) already borrowed in the name of the people must be serviced by the people, even if never repaid. This is not so much a legal or constitutional obligation (which it is) as a practical one. Whether you want to borrow money to pay your short-term bills or to finance infrastructure that will last 100 years to be enjoyed by your great-grandchildren, the creditor expects to be paid his interest. All sovereign states must credibly demonstrate ability and willingness to do this, and they can demonstrate it only by writing interest cheques on time. Would new debt being incurred for climate-change mitigation—subsidies under the IRA, for example—go on the block if Medicare and Social Security are protected? (This is exactly the trade-off that our own finance minister was musing about the other day even though we have no debt ceiling as such. It’s a practical limitation that we haven’t found yet. But we’re working on it.). How about student-loan forgiveness? Are they enough to make a difference?

      To me, the 14th Amendment (Section 4) seems one of the few that binds the people, rather than limiting the government. “We the people” are telling the world that we must pay our debts ourselves. Government, which has no money itself, is merely the instrument that borrows in our name and then extracts our wealth to transfer to the creditor according to the terms. (Repudiating Confederacy bonds was a demonstration that the Confederacy was never legitimate in the eyes of the Union.). The purpose of the borrowing in the first place was to enable the creation of wealth and happiness more efficiently and justly than private borrowing could. But the people are still on the hook.

    2. I think Biden can also do a lot of damage control by using his bully pulpit and explaining exactly what the national debt is, why the ceiling needs to be lifted, and the historic norms that lasted right up until Biden took office. I read that at least a quarter of the debt was accrued by Trump- say that! It’s not that complicated. It’s also easy to point out that since Reagan, Republicans have increased the debt, and Democrats have decreased it. At least this way, if the GOP causes this disaster, the non-Fox-watching public will put the damage right at the feet of the GOP.

  5. Isn’t it Congress’s responsibility to deal with immigration. Wasn’t that Job One for Kamala Harris as Vice President (she’s been totally useless at about everything).

    Aside from being first in the line of succession to the US presidency, the vice president’s sole constitutional role is to preside over the US senate (a rarely used ceremonial power) and to vote to break ties in the senate. As the first of FDR’s three vice presidents — “Cactus” Jack Garner, who gave up the Speakership of the House of Representatives to be FDR’s running mate — said of the vice-presidency, it isn’t “worth a bucket of warm piss.”

    Matter of fact, Elizabeth Holmes’s best chance of going on the lam unrecognized would probably be to run for vice president.

    1. Maybe those are her delineated formal responsibilities, but when Biden chose her as VP he announced that she’d be in charge of border issues.

      By the way, do you think Holmes will ever serve time in prison?

      1. Holmes will do time, no doubt in my mind. (I explained why here, when you asked in last Sunday’s Hili dialogue.)

        Biden can assign Harris any duty he wants, but she has no power to make congress undertake consideration of an issue, especially with the House under Republican control, and the Senate subject to a filibuster.

        I like Kamala alright, but she does seems to lack gravitas.

        1. About the only VP I can think of who had gravitas was Cheney, and not in a good way. I think Biden had a bit of it, esp. when concerning foreign policy and LGBT issues.

          Harris has broken many 50/50 ties in the Senate, and that’s a pretty big deal for bills and judges (though I know it takes no skill or expertise to break the tie). Too bad Feinstein has put the Senate in a stalemate since Feb. She really needs to swallow her pride and step down so the Dems can at least start filling the many vacant judiciary seats.

    2. Yes, it is the president that decides what role the vice-president will play in governmental affairs. Throughout most of American history, vice-presidents have been virtually invisible unless they gained the presidency by the president’s death. Starting with Bill Clinton, the vice-president has been given more responsibility, but there is no constitutional mandate for this. It is always the president’s decision.

    3. Yes, but with a president whose life expectancy is in the single digits, I was expecting/hoping Harris would use her Vice Presidency as an opportunity to demonstrate her fitness for office. Sort of an extended election campaign that also happens to get some good things done. Unfortunately, she seems to be fine just chillin’ in that bucket of warm piss. Oh well….

  6. It is undoubtedly a mischaracterization to say the Congress has “refused” to do anything about immigration. Immigration has been a divisive issue for ages, so it would better to say that Congress has been unable to agree on what to do. Since the Administration (unannounced) seems to have what is close to an open borders policy (probably how Oropresa wound up back in this country), the state of the border, and all the resulting issues are clearly the responsibility of the Democrats. How many times has the White House spokeswoman and the head of Homeland Security said the border is secure? This is not an oversight; this is what they want. Rather than admit it, they lie about the problem.

  7. ABC News did correct the tweet about the North Carolina police officer who was found by his supervisors, not shot by them. Human society has only partially collapsed.

    1. Thank Ceiling Cat for that. It was probably the poor supervisor who was shown making the announcement in the original tweet.
      [Edit of stupid auto-correct error.]

  8. Considering the U.S. spends more on its military than the next 10 countries, 9 of which are allies, surely that is an area that could have its spending cut…although I suspect the Republicans would prefer cuts to social security than the military.

    1. The United States has the world’s largest economy and the third largest population. Everything you do is a big number, whether it’s Covid deaths or random acts of kindness. You have a lot to protect, a large country to defend, and you have obligations with allies all over the world who seem to be glad you care more about keeping their enemies out than they do themselves. You spend 3% of your GDP on your military, which is somewhat more than Australia and South Korea, considerably more than any European ally, and much more than free-rider allies like Germany, Canada, and Japan. Only the former Soviet Baltic republics and Warsaw Pact countries now in NATO have managed to exceed the minimum political commitment benchmark of 2%. I don’t know if reasonable military outlay scales with GDP or if is there a diminishing return that says a country as big as the U.S. could get by with, say, 1%. But it would still be a huge amount.

      I don’t think you can say that just because the total dollar amount is really big therefore it’s too big. The United States is the only big friendly country that matters globally, because of certain capacities that only it possesses, particularly logistics, protecting commerce on the high seas, and G*d’s Smite button. (An arguable exception is the UK which has the will if not much the means, and that counts.) Even if you believe much of that money is wasted, if you spend less you will not be able to do as much of what you are currently doing in the world. Whether or not that would be an objectively good thing, your allies are unlikely to pick up the slack. Instead they will pay Dane-geld.

      Note that U.S. military spending has been declining in % terms since 2009 and is forecast to drop to 2.7% of GDP by 2032. Meanwhile pensions and health care are eating all the fat old rich countries alive. So you are sort of getting your wish.

  9. The US used to have the largest economy. Around 2012, China passed the US and hasn’t looked back.

  10. Are you really asking where the other 10th of a gram went, or just joking?

    Presumably, the defendant was allowed to plead guilty to possession of under 500g, regardless of what the actual amount was, in consideration of his giving testimony against his co-defendant.

    1. Prisoner’s dilemma. The authorities play the game, too.
      And of course the big shot with the smart money never comes anywhere near the drugs. “We have people for that.”

  11. Is it bad that my first thought on the 10 lb bag of ‘mice’ was that that was a great deal, and I ought to find out where it is so my daughter can save some money feeding her snake?

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