Monday: Hili dialogue

June 5, 2023 • 6:45 am

It’s the top o’ the work week: Monday, June 5, 2023, and National Ketchup Day. Once proposed by the Reagan administration as  vegetable for school lunches, it was rejected.  Now it’s a condiment, and the only acceptable brand (as my father taught me) is this one:

It’s also Apple II Day, World Environment Day, National Gingerbread Day, National Veggie Burger Day, its nemesis Sausage Roll Day, and World Day Against Speciesism.  And the Black Dog has come for a visit.

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the June 5 Wikipedia page.

Da Nooz:

*The NYT discusses the issue of Biden’s age in a piece called “The complicated reality of being America’s oldest President.” You’d think there would be nothing more to say about this, but I suppose Biden’s tripping over a sandbag last week reactivated concerns about his health.” Here’s that video:

An except:

The two Joe Bidens coexist in the same octogenarian president: Sharp and wise at critical moments, the product of decades of seasoning, able to rise to the occasion even in the dead of night to confront a dangerous world. Yet a little slower, a little softer, a little harder of hearing, a little more tentative in his walk, a little more prone to occasional lapses of memory in ways that feel familiar to anyone who has reached their ninth decade or has a parent who has.

The complicated reality of America’s oldest president was encapsulated on Thursday as Congress approved a bipartisan deal he brokered to avoid a national default. Even Speaker Kevin McCarthy testified that Mr. Biden had been “very professional, very smart, very tough” during their talks. Yet just before the voting got underway, Mr. Biden tripped over a sandbag at the Air Force Academy commencement, plunging to the ground. The video went viral, his supporters cringed and his critics pounced.

Anyone can trip at any age, but for an 80-year-old president, it inevitably raises unwelcome questions. If it were anyone else, the signs of age might not be notable. But Mr. Biden is the chief executive of the world’s most powerful nation and has just embarked on a campaign asking voters to keep him in the White House until age 86, drawing more attention to an issue that polls show troubles most Americans and is the source of enormous anxiety among party leaders.

The conclusion: he’s still copacetic

The portrait that emerges from months of interviews with dozens of current and former officials and others who have spent time with him lies somewhere between the partisan cartoon of an addled and easily manipulated fogy promoted by Republicans and the image spread by his staff of a president in aviator shades commanding the world stage and governing with vigor.

It is one of a man who has slowed with age in ways that are more pronounced than just the graying hair common to most recent presidents during their time in office. Mr. Biden sometimes mangles his words and looks older than he used to because of his stiff gait and thinning voice.

Yet people who deal with him regularly, including some of his adversaries, say he remains sharp and commanding in private meetings. Diplomats share stories of trips to places like Ukraine, Japan, Egypt, Cambodia and Indonesia in which he often outlasts younger colleagues. Democratic lawmakers point to a long list of accomplishments as proof that he still gets the job done.

But Americans haven’t grasped it.

Polls indicate the president’s age is a top concern of Americans, including Democrats. During a recent New York Times focus group, several voters who supported Mr. Biden in 2020 expressed worry, with one saying: “I’ve just seen the blank stare at times, when he’s either giving a speech or addressing a crowd. It seems like he loses his train of thought.”

I have to say that I share their fears. I like Joe, and think he’s done a good job, but he’s an aging war horse. And, Ceiling Cat forbid, should anything happen to him, we’ll get Kamala Harris as President

*Speaking of politics, the Wall Street Journal news section analyzes why Biden’s poll numbers are still quite low for someone that, after all, has come through with bipartisan deals (and I add that he’s done a good job with the Ukrainian situation). The article praises him for the debt-ceiling deal, for reducing illegal immigration (this is yet to be seen!), and helped enact at least some restrictions on guns, not to mention the good job he’s done in Ukraine. So what’s the problem?

So far, voters don’t appear to be rewarding Biden for his deal-making prowess.

His approval ratings are hovering around 41%, according to the poll average—and have barely budged despite those policy wins. Many voters have cited concerns about his performance at the age of 80, and they got a fresh reminder of that issue Thursday when he tripped and fell at the end of a commencement ceremony at the Air Force Academy.

“It disappoints me actually that those successes are not accruing to the president,” said Rep. Dean Phillips (D., Minn.) Some factors are specific to this president, he said, pointing to Biden’s advanced age and the White House’s light domestic travel schedule.

Phillips said the White House faces structural problems in touting centrist wins, including what he called “multibillion-dollar entertainment machines” that have grown up on the left and the right to foment anger and resentment. The polarized political atmosphere, he said, makes it more complicated to generate respect for political leaders. “It’s one of the grave risks to American discourse and our system of self governance,” Phillips said.

This is true: politicians on both the Left and Right keep beefing about the deal and demonizing each other, and Biden’s successes are ignored. But I’m more scared of the public’s failure to appreciate his successes than I am of his advancing age, though both play into the hands of Trump.

*This has been a horrific season of climbing Mount Everest, with 12 climbers dying and five more missing. The prime climbing season is short—from March through May—and a record number of permits (478) were issued this year.  They really need to cut back on the crowds, which themselves cause accidents, and institute some kind of lottery system. But the Nepali government gets a lot of dosh from Everest climbers:

There are two types of guiding services usually offered for Mount Everest expeditions: all-inclusive or logistics only.

Logistics-only guides offer the bare minimum and are best suited for experienced mountaineers who are willing to take on Everest on the mountain’s own terms. Very few people are cut out for this type of expedition. Most climbers who choose the logistics-only option to climb will spend between $32,000 and $60,000 depending on the types of expenses they incur along the way.

By law, every foreign climber in Nepal is required to hire a local Sherpa guide. A logistics-only option means that climbers must arrive at Everest Base Camp (EBC) on their own and would later hire a local company to provide all the necessary camping and cooking gear as well as support staff for the summit ascent.

However, most climbers will opt to avoid all the headaches and paperwork involved in a logistics-only climb and instead opt to pay for an all-inclusive expedition. These expeditions cost anywhere from $40,000 to $100,000, depending on the service.

The cost of the permit alone is $11,000.

Recently, however, a Sherpa pulled off what would seem to be an impossible rescue. 

Gelje Sherpa was on his way to the top of the world’s highest mountain when he spotted the climber clinging to the rope.

They were in the “death zone,” an area near the summit of Mount Everest where temperatures are extremely low and where there isn’t enough oxygen to breathe unaided for more than a few minutes.

The climber, from Malaysia, had “nothing” and was “about to die,” the 30-year-old Nepali mountain guide told CNN’s Anderson Cooper in an interview Thursday. “No one was helping him, no friends, no oxygen, no sherpas with him, no guides – so this is quite dangerous for him.”

. . .Gelje – Nepali sherpas traditionally go by their first names – was guiding a client to the 8,849-meter (29,032 feet) summit when he made a decision: they would abandon their journey in a bid to save the Malaysian climber.

It was a near-impossible task: Gelje had to strap the climber to his back and carry him down 600 meters (1,900 feet) for about six hours before another guide joined the rescue, Reuters reported.

They then took turns carrying the climber, wrapped in a sleeping mat, sometimes having to drag him through the snow, before reaching a helicopter that carried them down to base camp.

The rescue, which took place on May 18, was “massively difficult,” Gelje told CNN. The sherpa has previously carried out more than 55 rescues, some very long operations, but said this was the “hardest in my life.”

But the climber is okay, and the Sherpa is a hero. There’s video of the rescue:

*I have my doubts about certain types of “gender-affirming care for adolescents,” but the state of Florida (yes, Florida, of course) has made some reprehensible laws about medical care for transsexual adults.

The new law that bans gender-affirming care for minors also mandates that adult patients seeking trans health care sign an informed consent form. It also requires a physician to oversee any health care related to transitioning, and for people to see that doctor in person. Those rules have proven particularly onerous because many people received care from nurse practitioners and used telehealth. The law also made it a crime to violate the new requirements.

Another new law that allows doctors and pharmacists to refuse to treat transgender people further limits their options.

“For trans adults, it’s devastating,” said Kate Steinle, chief clinical officer at FOLX Health, which provides gender-affirming care to trans adults through telemedicine. Her company decided to open in-person clinics and hire more physicians licensed in Florida in order to continue to provide care to patients who have already enrolled, even though that represents a major change to the company’s business model.

Eli has been seeing a physician for years and therefore still has access to care. But SPEKTRUM Health Inc., the Orlando clinic that prescribed Lucas hormone replacement therapy, has stopped providing gender-affirming care.

“There are a lot of people looking for care that we’re no longer legally able to provide,” said Lana Dunn, SPEKTRUM Health’s chief operating officer.

. . . The law also contains language that she said could scare off doctors who would be otherwise willing to treat trans patients, such as a 20-year statute of limitations to sue over care they provide.

Voluntary suspension of care, requirements to see physicians in person rather than nurse practitioners, the ban on tele-health, pharmacists no longer required to provide prescribed medication—I see no rationale for stopping these things for adults who have already transitioned. And Florida, with the second highest number of transgender adults in the U.S. (nearly 95,000 people), is also the only state in America that prohibits this kind of care. If anything is real transphobia, this is, for what’s the purpose except to punish people who have already transitioned?

*Finally, the Washington Post has a long history of attempts to catch a baseball thrown down from the top of the Washington Monument (the ball is thrown from a window 550 feet us, 5 feet below the Monument’s top). The first try was in 1885, and failed.

Success came 23 years later:

In 1908, D.C. socialite Preston Gibson bet Senators fan John Biddle $500 that Charles “Gabby” Street, Senators pitcher Walter Johnson’s personal catcher, could catch a baseball dropped from the top of the Washington Monument. Not wanting to risk a fine — or worse — Gibson secured a permit from the superintendent of public buildings and grounds, and he turned Street’s attempt into a public spectacle. Senators shortstop George McBride and outfielder Bob Ganley attended, along with a photographer from The Post.

On Aug. 21, with a crowd of spectators gathered below, Gibson rolled 10 balls down a wooden chute and out the window of the monument, but they all bounced off the obelisk’s side or landed too close to the base for Street to get in position to make a catch. Gibson ditched the chute and started throwing the baseballs instead.

“The thirteenth ball was the lucky number, for this Street got under and held tightly in his great mitt,” The Post reported. “… The speed at which it traveled was about an eighth as fast as a rifle bullet, and if it had not been for the very scientific way in which Street caught the ball it would undoubtedly have broken his arm. As it was, it almost carried him to the ground, so great was its impact, and those who stood in the window of the Monument heard a report like the shot of a pistol when it struck his glove.”

These appear to be the records:

On April 1, 1930, Chicago Cubs catcher Gabby Hartnett caught a baseball dropped from a Goodyear blimp flying an estimated 800 feet above Los Angeles. In 1938, Cleveland Indians catchers Frankie Pytlak and Hank Helf each snagged a ball thrown by rookie third baseman Ken Keltner from the top of Cleveland’s Terminal Tower, about 708 feet above the city’s public square.

Don’t try this at home!

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is again afflicted with Weltschmerz, and looks very sad:

Hili: The world is in a state of constant war.
A: But it doesn’t concern you.
Hili: How so? I’m fighting for peace and quiet and I’m constantly disturbed by somebody
In Polish:
Hili: Świat jest w stanie wiecznej wojny.
Ja: Ale ciebie to nie dotyczy.
Hili: Jak to nie? Walczę o święty spokój i ciągle mi przeszkadzają.

And a photo of Szaron:


From David:

A B. Kliban cartoon from Stash Krod (Kliban must have been a real character!):

From America’s Cultural Decline into Idiocy. This should be easily fixable:

From Masih. I believe these are scenes during the 1979 Iranian revolution when women were afraid that the hijab would become mandatory.  Here’s the Google translation:

Khomeini’s first enemy from day one were women. That’s why he started suppressing them in the first step and enforced hijab. Women resisted but remained alone. Finally, the mandatory hijab became a law. Now, however, with women challenging it, the foundations of Khomeini’s government have been shaken. #Woman_Freedom_Life.

The group of women is shouting “Freedom.”

I found this one: the world’s most beautiful duck. It looks a tad artificially colored to me but I don’t know if they do that to videos:

From Malcolm, who calls them “The Queen of the Rodents”:

Two animal-stroking videos from Barry, who gives the second one a big fat “nope!”:

From the Auschwitz Memorial. a 13-year-old girl gassed upon arrival:

Tweets from Dr. Cobb. The first one shows his atheist credentials:

Somebody get this book!

Good job, Kate!

29 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue

  1. On this day:
    1257 – Kraków, in Poland, receives city rights.

    1817 – The first Great Lakes steamer, the Frontenac, is launched.

    1829 – HMS Pickle captures the armed slave ship Voladora off the coast of Cuba.

    1851 – Harriet Beecher Stowe’s anti-slavery serial, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, or Life Among the Lowly, starts a ten-month run in the National Era abolitionist newspaper.

    1873 – Sultan Barghash bin Said of Zanzibar closes the great slave market under the terms of a treaty with Great Britain. [Anybody want to decolonise that?]

    1883 – The first regularly scheduled Orient Express departs Paris.

    1893 – The trial of Lizzie Borden for the murder of her father and step-mother begins in New Bedford, Massachusetts.

    1915 – Denmark amends its constitution to allow women’s suffrage.

    1916 – Louis Brandeis is sworn in as a Justice of the United States Supreme Court; he is the first American Jew to hold such a position.

    1917 – World War I: Conscription begins in the United States as “Army registration day”.

    1956 – Elvis Presley introduces his new single, “Hound Dog”, on The Milton Berle Show, scandalizing the audience with his suggestive hip movements. [The song was written for Big Mama Thornton. Her original version is here: ]

    1963 – The British Secretary of State for War, John Profumo, resigns in a sex scandal known as the “Profumo affair”.

    1967 – The Six-Day War begins: Israel launches surprise strikes against Egyptian air-fields in response to the mobilisation of Egyptian forces on the Israeli border.

    1968 – Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy is assassinated by Sirhan Sirhan.

    1975 – The Suez Canal opens for the first time since the Six-Day War.

    1975 – The United Kingdom holds its first country-wide referendum on membership of the European Economic Community (EEC).

    1981 – The Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that five people in Los Angeles, California, have a rare form of pneumonia seen only in patients with weakened immune systems, in what turns out to be the first recognized cases of AIDS.

    1984 – Operation Blue Star: Under orders from India’s prime minister, Indira Gandhi, the Indian Army begins an invasion of the Golden Temple, the holiest site of the Sikh religion.

    1989 – The Tank Man halts the progress of a column of advancing tanks for over half an hour after the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.

    1850 – Pat Garrett, American sheriff (d. 1908).

    1883 – John Maynard Keynes, English economist, philosopher, and academic (d. 1946).

    1884 – Ivy Compton-Burnett, English author (d. 1969).

    1898 – Federico García Lorca, Spanish poet, playwright, and director (d. 1936).

    1914 – Beatrice de Cardi, English archaeologist and academic (d. 2016).

    1919 – Richard Scarry, American-Swiss author and illustrator (d. 1994).

    1939 – Margaret Drabble, English novelist, biographer, and critic.

    The Emperor wasn’t simply at Death’s door but well inside the hallway, admiring the carpet and commenting on the hatstand:
    1910 – O. Henry, American short story writer (b. 1862).

    1993 – Conway Twitty, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1933).

    1999 – Mel Tormé, American singer-songwriter (b. 1925).

    2002 – Dee Dee Ramone, American singer-songwriter and bass player (b. 1951).

    2004 – Ronald Reagan, American actor and politician, 40th President of the United States (b. 1911).

    2012 – Ray Bradbury, American science fiction writer and screenwriter (b. 1920).

  2. In the Biden falling down video, it appears that he attempted to get up by himself but fails, and then his aides helped him up. But, it is also possible that he could have gotten up on his own, but just decided to wait for assistance. In any case, the incident is great propaganda for the Republicans.

    The argument that Biden is still mentally and physically competent to do the job of president (which is true) says nothing about how he will be in two or three years. His mind or body could go at any moment. This is what I fear. However, what is not said often enough, that the same situation applies to Trump, although it can be argued strongly that his mind went a long time ago. With all this being said, I will vote for Biden even if he is a mummy. The fascist alternative must be fought, even if It is Biden leading the democratic (small “d”) opposition.

    There is some deep psychological need for very elderly people in public life to stay in office, which can be costly to the nation. Strom Thurmond is a Republican example. Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s refusal to retire when Obama could have picked her replacement has had profound effects on the nation’s history. Senator Dianne Feinstein should retire immediately. It is clear she cannot effectively serve as a senator. If she retires, the Democratic governor of California, Gavin Newsom, would pick her replacement. Now, of course, there is Biden. The 2024 election could be decided by the age and health issue. Perhaps for them their need for power and influence overrides everything else, including the good of the country. That is too bad.

    1. If America set a maximum age for public service (70 say) you could sort out a lot of ‘problems’ all at once and prevent them occurring again. But how quickly would criticism of ‘ageism’ hit the news – driven by those who wanted to hang on?

    2. I was impressed that he appeared to be uninjured from this pretty severe tumble. He must carry on a daily workout routine for his muscles to absorb that and keep on going. And what kind of protection detail leaves an obvious “slip, trip, fall” danger in the Man’s path anyway?

      1. Yes, a shocking oversight on somebody’s behalf to leave a trip hazard like that. It’s a good job that Biden was OK.

  3. The compass tattoo is oriented correctly for looking up at the celestial sphere, not down at the terrestrial globe. Maybe one or both of the woman or the tattoo artist are astronomers?

    1. It also matches the seating arrangement for a game of Mahjong. The dealer’s seat is designated East, the player to the dealer’s right is designated South and plays next, and so on E-S-W-N counter-clockwise around the table.

      1. You folks have this all wrong. Just assume that the women is transparent. E is for East. W is for West. It all makes sense.

  4. Thanks for the book tip on Kaibyō. I ordered a copy and like you got tricked into Prime; so irritating, and I have just managed to cancel the prime thing and take a survey indicating much I objected to its sneaky application.
    Writing as an 80 year old I would say Biden is too old to serve but I am inclined to agree with Historian’s comment above. I’m going to make a grid of the issues that are important to me and the candidates’ positions and see who comes out ahead.

  5. Maybe it’s just me but I don’t have much sympathy for climbers who die upon the slopes of Everest while attempting that particular vanity project. It’s not tragic nor sad really, more of a misappropriation of our sympathy. While I can admire the peak atheticism required to attempt such a feat, I also think there should be a special category of Darwin Award for dying in the pursuit of ego trophies almost like people trying to survive going over Niagara Falls in a barrel.

    Perhaps Tibet should charge over $100,000 to price more people out of it so fewer people attempt it. Most impressive are the sherpas who do this routinely, especially the one who carried this particular climber off the mountain. Maybe anyone saved by a sherpa should personally pay them the equivalent cost of the trip. Am I alone in this?

    1. People will always attempt it, and I will always have sympathy for those who don’t make it. Throughout human history, those who are best at things, be they physical or mental or otherwise, have always felt the urge to see just how far they could go. I find it to be an admirable trait, and one without which we would have vastly lower living standards and development. The best and brightest are never complacent or satisfied, and even those like me who are nowhere close to the best or brightest still wished to test the limits of our bodies or minds when we were at our peaks (no pun intended). It’s like having no sympathy for people skiing down double and triple diamond slopes and being gravely injured or dying. I was at my peak physical condition in the years I did that kind of skiing and wanted to push the limits as far as I could. If I was still in the requisite shape to do that today, I would!

      It’s a very human need. Not all people have this need, and perhaps you don’t (which is not in any way a failing!), but for the many of us who have felt it, we know it’s a common trait of the human condition and can only lament those who go big or die trying, provided they were in proper condition to attempt it rather than a green circle skier who decides to try a black diamond slope on a lark. I don’t think anyone decides to climb Everest on a lark.

      1. This even translates to hobbies as seemingly mundane as video games. There have been “speedrunning” competitions since the 90s. People play the game Punch out! blindfolded. Heck, it’s in every hobby where there can be winners and losers, from bridge to mahjong to chess. It’s just so…human. We don’t just fight to survive, but often fight to be the absolute best we can be. And, as seen in the speedrunning community or team sports, it often fosters a sense of community and belonging, where competitors help each other and share novel strategies.

      2. There’s nothing wrong with healthy competition which surely brings the best performances out of people. Testing one’s limits, sure. (I skiied black diamonds but didn’t do it often enough to improve to double black). I like playing and watching some sports and even seeing elite skill on display like Alex Honnold free climbing El Capitan.

        I suppose what I dislike is people who take extraordinary, perhaps life-threatening risks and when their best isn’t good enough, other people have to risk themselves to go save and rescue these people. Shouldn’t they suffer the consequences of their own actions? How many more times does Everest need summiting? For decades, people attempted it and died. Oh well. At what point does it cross over into selfishness and narcissism? People can race motorcycles as fast as they want but if they fly over a cliff, who cares? That’s not a tragedy, bravery perhaps, but more often just stupidity.

    2. >Am I alone in this?

      Seems to me that is a quest for only the truly rich, using advantages early climbers never had. So I do see it as a vanity project. I could be wrong. But certainly the sherpa who risked his life above and beyond the normal risking his life. Client should certainly pay him the equivalent cost of the trip. Or more.

      Wiki says “Sherpas typically make up to $5000 US dollars during their 2 or 3 month period of taking international clients to the summit of Everest” but didn’t say how many trips, or how many clients they’re responsible for.

  6. Catching a falling baseball must be more a problem of the coordination necessary to intercept. Speed is not particularly at issue. The terminal velocity of a baseball is just 95 mph, whereas the highest speed a ball can be pitched is over 100 mph.

  7. The biggest problem with Biden’s age — besides the facts of his cognitive decline and risks of various mental and physical health problems occurring at any moment — is that Trump will wipe the stage with him during debates and make him look weak on the campaign trail. Trump will make him look like a vastly more feeble man than he is. Biden already had trouble with speaking throughout his public life, through no fault of his own; in fact, he should be lauded for his efforts to overcome his speech impediment.

    Trump, much as I detest him, speaks with vigor and energy, unhinged though it may be. I think he will completely overpower Biden during debates this time with both his booming voice and quicker “wit,” and I think these debates will leave the biggest impressions on people. Biden is severely diminished from the man he was in 2019 and will also need to deal with a campaign schedule that keeps him seemingly on par with Trump’s energy levels. Say what you will about Trump (he’s a fat, old, brash, insidious, sexually malignant lout who should be nowhere near even a school board, to list a few I would say), but the man is full of energy, and Biden is not.

    Between the culture wars and Biden’s decline, I feel like the Democratic Party is handing the upcoming elections to the Republicans. I’d say it’s unconscionable, but all of their policy positions seem to be highly coordinated, so they either think that they’re winning with the public (how can they be that deluded? They do still employ pollsters), or they’re perfectly fine with losing.

    EDIT: Whoa, the edit button is back, dude! In honor of this surely fleeting convenience, I thought I would add something interesting. $500 in 1908 was equivalent to about $16,500 today. That’s some bet!

  8. Biden is doing a good job as President and, if he remains healthy and runs, will get my vote. Regarding his re-election bid, I think that the age issue will become *the* issue if the Republicans manage to nominate a younger candidate—someone other than Trump. If it’s Haley, or Youngkin, or DeSantis, Biden’s age could be his downfall (no pun intended), regardless of policy. My take is that the American people are hungry for more youthful government and may choose youth over any other consideration.

  9. Given Biden’s age, the polls that indicate that even many Democrats prefer he not run again, and the endless refrain each election year of “voter suppression” from that same party, it simply astounds me that the Democrats have decided that a full-fledged primary is out of the question. And that debates are apparently out of the question should anybody choose to run without being party blessed. And that competent potential challengers sit on the sidelines afraid to announce. If Biden has done such a great job, then a primary should be a walk in the park. Probably an unfortunate metaphor.

    So much for choice.

    The Party knows best. The Party can think for me. The Party loves me. The Party will decide for me. Blessed be the Party.

    By the way, I’m not mocking anyone who truly likes Biden and would vote for him in a credible primary. I simply want to see choices, debates, public engagement. You know. Democracy.

  10. It seems that the Democratic Party is in a bit of a pickle. No incumbent US President has ever won a 2nd term when faced with a primary challenger. In fact in every case neither the incumbent or the challenger won, the other party did. It seems pretty obvious why, splitting the vote, stirring up divisions among voters.

    What is mostly not talked about is that by the metrics that have been used in the past the Biden administration has been one of the most successful and most impressive in US history. And yet hardly anyone, not even among DP voters, is aware of it. Or at least doesn’t believe it. I put it down to the radicalized division between left and right and as yet another example of how the press has failed society.

    Even though I think Biden has done a great job, way beyond my expectations (he was maybe my 3rd choice), I too would rather have another DP choice for the next POTUS. For the same reasons many others probably do, his age and how his age and other baggage may affect voters. The only way I could see this happening without a high probability of losing the White House is if Biden announced he would not seek another term and then he and the DP together got behind one person and strongly supported them all the way through. And of course they would have to pick the right person that would appeal enough to enough people. If that happened they might be able to beat historical precedent.

    But that doesn’t seem very likely. So far all we’ve heard is that Biden plans on pursuing a 2nd term. I wouldn’t be surprised if Biden would rather retire but that the DP thinks running for a 2nd term is the only play that gives them decent odds to retain the White House. Given history I think that is a reasonable assessment.

    No doubts about it though, I will gladly vote for Biden for a 2nd term and I am not worried that Kamala Harris might end up as POTUS in that case. Not my first choice, but not nearly bad enough to not vote for Biden.

  11. “…and as yet another example of how the press has failed society.”

    No doubt. The American press is at top run by a handful of billionaires, and for them all, “news” is seen through the lens of profit, if propaganda sells, go for it, and make more of it, thank you very much; truth? what’s that, can it make money? If not, screw the truth, cater to the bs since that’s (apparently) where the money is. Religion poisons everything, but money does it quicker. Chaos can easily turn into a capitalistic profit center that feeds itself, and within this digital age that strategy is easily achieved. And again, as you correctly observe, the press fails society. I’d like the “fairness doctrine” to be reestablished. I’d also like Republicans to go away; like everyone else, I suck at wishful thinking.

  12. Regarding Biden’s mental acuity, I read that he has avoid any sort of back and forth, give and take with any but the most admiring news reporter. Is this true? I don’t get the sense from the NYT article that they interviewed many (any?) real adversaries or even any un-conflicted supporters.

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