Wednesday: Hili dialogue

June 21, 2023 • 6:45 am

Good morning on a Hump Day (“Dan Grba” in Bosnian), June 21, 2023, and the first day of summer! The summer solstice begins this morning at 10:58 A.M. EDT. There will be a post letting you know when summer begins.

As for a food day, it’s National Peaches and Cream Day, but this will be skimpy this year as a spell of warm weather followed by cold weather damaged much of the peach crop in the U.S., including in Georgia, Alabama, and California.

It’s a big day for holidays, for it’s also Anne and Samantha Day (read the link), World Humanist Day, Atheist Solidarity Day (yay to both!), International Surfing Day, World Music Day, National Selfie Day, World Giraffe Day, National Smoothie Day, Go Skateboarding Day, International Yoga DayFête de la Musique, and World Hydrography Day

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the June 21 Wikipedia page.

And there will be no readers’ wildlife today as I’m running out of pictures, so must save what I have for sporadic posts. . . .

Da Nooz:

*The missing Titanic-seeking submersible is on its last day of air, but there’s a glimmer of hope. They heard noise!

A Canadian surveillance plane “detected underwater noises” in the remote area of the North Atlantic where a submersible with five people aboard disappeared over the weekend, the United States Coast Guard said early Wednesday. Remotely operated vehicles were searching for the origin of the sounds.

*Surprise: Judge Aileen Cannon, a Trump appointee who gave him too many breaks in the documents case, has now set an early trial for him: as early as August 15!

The federal judge presiding over the prosecution of former President Donald J. Trump in the classified documents case set an aggressive schedule on Tuesday, ordering a trial to begin as soon as Aug. 14.

The timeline set by the judge, Aileen M. Cannon, is likely to be delayed by extensive pretrial litigation — including over how to handle classified material — and its brisk pace seems in keeping with a schedule set under the Speedy Trial Act. In each of four other criminal trials the judge has overseen that were identified in a New York Times review, she has initially set a relatively quick trial date and later pushed it back.

It looks like the judge is watching the media! And the NYT isn’t going to let her get away with it. But wait—there’s more!

The early moves by Judge Cannon, a relatively inexperienced jurist who was appointed by Mr. Trump in 2020, are being particularly closely watched. She disrupted the documents investigation last year with several rulings favorable to the former president before a conservative appeals court overturned her, saying that she never had legitimate legal authority to intervene.

Brandon L. Van Grack, a former federal prosecutor who has worked on complex criminal matters involving national security, said the trial date was “unlikely to hold” considering that the process of turning over classified evidence to the defense in discovery had not yet begun. Still, he said, Judge Cannon appeared to be showing that she intended to do what she could to push the case to trial quickly.

“It signals that the court is at least trying to do everything it can to move the case along and that it’s important that the case proceed quickly,” Mr. Van Grack said. “Even though it’s unlikely to hold, it’s at least a positive signal — positive in the sense that all parties and the public should want this case to proceed as quickly as possible.”

It’s a neutral signal to me, as I’m a cynic. This is performative action, at least based on what the NYT said above. We’ll see how she rules later down the road.  And Cannon doesn’t have the experience to handle such a case. Wait until he’s found guilty and she sentences him to house arrest in Mar-A-Lago, or even gives him probation. I don’t trust her.

*Hunter Biden has agreed to plead guilty on both tax and gun charges! This one blindsided me!

President Biden’s son Hunter has reached a tentative agreement with federal prosecutors to plead guilty to two minor tax crimes and admit to the facts of a gun charge under terms that would probably keep him out of jail, according to court papers filed Tuesday.

Any proposed plea deal would have to be approved by a federal judge. Both the prosecutors and the defense counsel have requested a court hearing at which Hunter Biden, 53, can enter his plea.

The younger Biden’s attorney said the deal means the long-running criminal investigation involving the president’s son “is resolved.” But Delaware U.S. Attorney David Weiss, the lead prosecutor in the case, said the investigation “is ongoing,” suggesting that matters beyond the tax and gun issues are still under scrutiny.

Papers filed in federal court in Wilmington, Del., on Tuesday indicate Biden has tentatively agreed to plead guilty to two misdemeanor tax charges of failure to pay in 2017 and 2018. A court document says that in both those years, Biden was a resident of Washington and received taxable income of more than $1.5 million, for which he owed more than $100,000 in income tax that he did not pay on time. Prosecutors plan to recommend a sentence of probation for those counts, according to people familiar with the negotiations who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe elements of the case that are not yet public. Biden’s representatives have previously said that he eventually paid the IRS what he owed.

. . . The second court filing is about the gun charge. In that case, the letter says, “the defendant has agreed to enter a Pretrial Diversion Agreement with respect to the firearm Information.” Handling the gun charge as a diversion case means Biden will not technically be pleading guilty to that crime. Diversion is an option typically applied to nonviolent offenders with substance abuse problems.

In all, prosecutors will recommend two years of probation and diversion conditions, the people familiar with the plea deal said. If Biden successfully meets the conditions of the diversion program, the gun charge will be removed from his record at the end of that period, these people said.

Wait a tick! I thought that your only pleas were not guilty, guilty, no contest, or not guilty by reason of insanity. What is this “diversion” stuff? And what is a “diversion program”? Does it mean that Biden has a substance abuse problem?

*Trump’s newest interview on Fox did not go well.  Although I’m citing Salon here, even Bret Baier, the Fox News interviewer, gave Trump a rough time and low marks. Trump may even have incriminated himself more:

Legal experts questioned Trump’s decision to do a TV interview while facing a 37-count indictment and suggested that he may have given special counsel Jack Smith even more evidence to use against him.

“The defendant seems utterly incapable of exercising his constitutional right to remain silent,” tweeted conservative attorney and frequent Trump critic George Conway.

“Keep confessing,” wrote national security attorney Bradley Moss. “No criminal defense attorney worth their salt would ever advise their indicted client to do a media tour. That helps explain the problems Mr. Trump has had retaining qualified counsel,” he added.

Even George Washington University Law Prof. Jonathan Turley, who previously defended Trump amid his legal woes, warned that “statements of this kind are generally admissible at trial.”

“This is one more inculpatory statement,” former U.S. Attorney Harry Litman told MSNBC. “Every time he opens his mouth, it gets worse.”

Have a listen. The man is bonkers!

Baier throughout the interview repeatedly challenged Trump, including his false claim that he “won in 2020 by a lot.”

“You lost the 2020 election,” Baier pushed back.

During another portion of the interview, Baier read off a list of critical comments from numerous former Trump Cabinet and administration officials.

“Why did you hire all of them in the first place?” Baier asked.

“Because I hired ten to one that were fantastic,” Trump responded, “For every person you named, I can name 20 people that loved the administration.”

“LOL omg” is a perfect response to Trump’s blather.

*Despite its lip service to the Chicago Principles of Free expression, Arizona State University just fired two academic employees for organizing a conference. The author is Ann Atkinson, identified as “executive director of the T.W. Lewis Center for Personal Development at ASU’s Barrett Honors College.”

The university happily complied when FIRE suggested it adopt the Chicago Principles and protect the “free, robust and uninhibited sharing of ideas among all members of the University’s community.” The ASU Barrett Honors College has even been home to heterodox initiatives like the T.W. Lewis Center for Personal Development, where I served as executive director for the last two years.

But beneath ASU’s written commitment to intellectual diversity lies a deep hostility toward divergent views. The latest trouble started in February when the Lewis Center hosted Robert Kiyosaki, Dennis Prager and Charlie Kirk for an event on “Health, Wealth, and Happiness.” This nonpartisan program was part of a popular speaker series focused on connecting students with professionals who can offer career and life advice.

At the names of Messrs. Prager and Kirk, the faculty of ASU’s honors college were outraged. Thirty-nine of its 47 faculty signed a letter to the dean condemning the event on grounds that the speakers are “purveyors of hate who have publicly attacked women, people of color, the LGBTQ community, [and] institutions of our democracy.” The signers decried ASU “platforming and legitimating” their views, describing Messrs. Prager and Kirk as “white nationalist provocateurs” whose comments would undermine the value of democratic exchange by marginalizing the school’s most vulnerable students.

The faculty protests extended beyond the letter. Professors spent precious class time denouncing the program. On Twitter they lamented the university’s willingness to allow donor input on campus events. Mr. Prager received a death threat, forcing municipal and campus police to enact extensive security measures.

. . . The university administration’s position on the event was no secret. All advertising about “Health, Wealth, and Happiness” was scrubbed from campus walls and digital flyers. Behind closed doors, deans pressured me to postpone the event indefinitely. I was warned that if the speakers made any political statements, it wouldn’t be in the Lewis Center’s “best interests,” which I interpreted as a threat.

. . . Shortly after “Health, Wealth, and Happiness,” Lin Blake, the events operations manager at ASU Gammage Theater, was fired by ASU Gammage. Before her firing, Ms. Blake told me that she was “berated by ASU Gammage leadership for coordinating an event that did not align with the values of ASU Gammage.” And as of June 30, ASU will dismantle the Lewis Center and terminate my position as its executive director. Barrett Honors College leadership told me this is purely a business decision, despite my raising more than $500,000 in the last year through the center.

And so it goes.  Of course the two firings had nothing to do with the event, even though Ms. Atkinson was threatened: “Nice job you have here; too bad if anything were to happen to it because you invited people like Dennis Prager to campus.”

*I think this is the first time I’ve cited an article from GQ, but it’s fascinating. I’ve long used Dr. Bronner’s peppermint soap, inspired by the crazy wording on the label (it’s great soap, too!). Now GQ asks, “Is Dr. Bronner’s the last corporation with a soul?”  A:  Yes, it’s still funky and soulful.

“I’m on the All-One path,” announces David—who uses he/they pronouns—standing before the group, referring to the sweeping ideology coined by their eccentric grandfather, Emanuel Bronner. Emanuel, who possessed no advanced degree but was undeterred in adopting a physician’s title, founded Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps in the late 1940s, in large part because he wanted to broadcast his ideas about unifying the human race, and his All-One dicta are still printed on the brand’s soap-bottle labels. In the early years of the company, Dr. Bronner’s was a genuine grassroots operation—a cult-favorite brand passed, if not directly from the hands of Emanuel himself, among hippies camping out in vans at places like Woodstock. Emanuel would distribute his product by promising a free bottle of soap to anyone who would show up to listen to him proselytize the All-One message.

Two generations later, Dr. Bronner’s has vastly outgrown its quirky, humble origins and become the top-selling natural soap brand in North America. The company now sells not only its liquid soap but highly successful lines of balms, toothpastes, coconut oil, and hand sanitizers, in addition to newly launched chocolates that were immediately hailed by gourmands as a premium product. Today, the iconography of its labels—and Emanuel’s far-out messaging—is imprinted firmly in the psyche of the American consumer. And yet, even as so many Americans have come to possess a fondness for the soap, the raw numbers around the success of Dr. Bronner’s—over $170 million in revenue in 2022—are still kind of staggering. Especially staggering, maybe, to the customers who’ve been affectionately buying its signature minty formula since the days of the natural-product boom of the ’60s and ’70s. Emanuel’s grandsons David and Michael now preside over an empire in which a bottle of Dr. Bronner’s soap is sold every two seconds or so.

. . . The trip [to Amsterdam] was so mind-blowing that David has since made it their life mission—and eventually the company’s—to drive efforts in the United States to legalize psychedelics, and more broadly, end the drug war. And they have succeeded, in spite of any skepticism and unease that some colleagues might have toward this trippy streak. In 2021 the company spent over $4.4 million on drug and psychedelics policy reform efforts, part of which helped pass a Colorado ballot measure last year to decriminalize certain psychedelics.

. . . Growth is one thing, but Dr. Bronner’s has managed to become a major player in its market while painstakingly encoding its ethics into every step of the production process. In fact, it could be argued that Emanuel Bronner predicted the current era of ethically minded business, and certainly ethically minded marketing. And now the humble soap brand finds itself at the vanguard of every philosophical and logistical question that American entrepreneurs are grappling with right now. All of its good deeds—from rigorously engineered fair trade supply chains to charitable donations and environmentally minded manufacturing—are thoroughly cataloged in the Dr. Bronner’s annual public accountability report card, the All-One! Report.

So keep buying Dr. Bronner’s products, or start if you haven’t. Their liquid soap, which comes in several scents, is fantastic, and just the stuff to wash your paws during the pandemic. All One! All One! Here are David and Michael Bronner, grandsons of the founder. Caption from the article:

The Bronner family offers employees progressive benefits that include free vegan lunches and support for ketamine-assisted mental health treatment.

In this obscenely scam-ridden day and age, it is reasonable to assume that anyone sermonizing like this in the realm of business is one false step away from being exposed as a charlatan. But the Bronners genuinely do seem to, in the parlance of thought-leadership conferences, walk the walk. The combination of Christian clemency and drug-induced ego surrender is potent. The executives, despite ranging from the conservative to the progressive, have all agreed to cap their own executive salaries at five times the lowest-paid fully vested Dr. Bronner’s employees, which means they cannot earn more than about $300,000 per year. It’s a policy that frees up funds for a waterfall of annual charitable donations and, more importantly, an enviable company culture for its over 300 workers. Dr. Bronner’s boasts the sort of employee benefits that would make Bezos shudder, including a health-insurance policy with company-paid premiums, bonuses, free daily vegan lunches prepared by the Foamy Homies, access to therapy, and, as of 2022, coverage of ketamine-assisted mental health treatment.

And a Dr. Bronner’s soap bottle label. Click twice to read it. Dilute! Dilute! OK!

h/t: Brad and Mocky

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is thinking (sshhhhhhhhh!):

Hili: A thought is ripening inside me.
A: What thought?
Hili: I don’t know, it’s vague as yet.
In Polish:
Hili: Dojrzewa we mnie pewna myśl.
Ja: Jaka?
Hili: Nie wiem, jeszcze jest mglista.

And a picture of sweet Szaron:


From Meanwhile in Canada:

From Beth:

From Jesus of the Day:

From Masih because, of course, dancing is prohibited in Iran. Look at those customers go!

From Simon. The Trump tweet has to be a fake, but I have heard about his Fox interview last night.

From Barry. Look at the expression on that cat’s face!

From Lyn via Jez. Poor Liz Truss! There’s a big Wikipedia article on “Liz Truss Lettuce“.

From the Auschwitz Memorial, a composer murdered in Auschwitz:

Tweets from Matthew. How are these ducklings gonna learn how to duck? Chickens don’t swim!

Well, they’ll learn it (I hope!):

This is a fantastic example of mimicry: a spider mimicking an ant (ants are generally avoided by predators as they’re either toxic, sting, or spray chemicals). The “head” is really the spider’s mandibles and the spider waves its fronts legs as if they are antennae.

The possible model and, below that, the spider even imitates the GAIT of the ant!

30 thoughts on “Wednesday: Hili dialogue

  1. We need a list of things that a university is not. I would add #31 :

    • a church
    • an altar

    … I’ve read Prager and Kiyosaki’s writings or heard them. They need to be heard/read. That does not mean worshipped.

    … Unrelated to that, Kiyosaki actually tells a story about how when he was a kid (in the U.S., in the ’50s or so) he collected used toothpaste tubes in the neighborhood and melted them down. I had no idea – why melt the toothpaste tubes?


    1. My guess would be the salvage value of the tin and/or lead in the tube? Or, perhaps it was just recreational melting.

    2. The kids wanted to make money! they were going to make a mold from a nickel coin, and use the lead to make more nickels. Until the father explained to them that it would be a crime.

  2. On this day:
    1900 – Boxer Rebellion: China formally declares war on the United States, Britain, Germany, France and Japan, as an edict issued from the Empress Dowager Cixi.

    1915 – The U.S. Supreme Court hands down its decision in Guinn v. United States 238 US 347 1915, striking down Oklahoma grandfather clause legislation which had the effect of denying the right to vote to blacks.

    1919 – The Royal Canadian Mounted Police fire a volley into a crowd of unemployed war veterans, killing two, during the Winnipeg general strike.

    1919 – Admiral Ludwig von Reuter scuttles the German fleet at Scapa Flow, Orkney. The nine sailors killed are the last casualties of World War I.

    1942 – World War II: A Japanese submarine surfaces near the Columbia River in Oregon, firing 17 shells at Fort Stevens in one of only a handful of attacks by Japan against the United States mainland.

    1964 – Three civil rights workers, Andrew Goodman, James Chaney and Michael Schwerner, are murdered in Neshoba County, Mississippi, United States, by members of the Ku Klux Klan. [Also on this day, in 2005, Edgar Ray Killen, who had previously been unsuccessfully tried for the murders, is convicted of manslaughter 41 years afterwards (the case had been reopened in 2004).]

    1973 – In its decision in Miller v. California, 413 U.S. 15, the Supreme Court of the United States establishes the Miller test for determining whether something is obscene and not protected speech under the U.S. constitution.

    1978 – The original production of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical, Evita, based on the life of Eva Perón, opens at the Prince Edward Theatre, London.

    1982 – John Hinckley is found not guilty by reason of insanity for the attempted assassination of U.S. President Ronald Reagan.

    1989 – The U.S. Supreme Court rules in Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397, that American flag-burning is a form of political protest protected by the First Amendment.

    2000 – Section 28 (of the Local Government Act 1988), outlawing the ‘promotion’ of homosexuality in the United Kingdom, is repealed in Scotland with a 99 to 17 vote.

    2004 – SpaceShipOne becomes the first privately funded spaceplane to achieve spaceflight.

    2006 – Pluto’s newly discovered moons are officially named Nix and Hydra.

    2009 – Greenland assumes self-rule.

    1706 – John Dollond, English optician and astronomer (d. 1761).

    1710 – James Short, Scottish-English mathematician and optician (d. 1768).

    1781 – Siméon Denis Poisson, French mathematician and physicist (d. 1840).

    1896 – Charles Momsen, American admiral, invented the Momsen lung (d. 1967).

    1905 – Jean-Paul Sartre, French philosopher and author (d. 1980).

    1912 – Mary McCarthy, American novelist and critic (d. 1989).

    1918 – Josephine Webb, American engineer.

    1921 – Jane Russell, American actress and singer (d. 2011).

    1944 – Ray Davies, English singer-songwriter and guitarist.

    1948 – Ian McEwan, British novelist and screenwriter.

    1951 – Nils Lofgren, American singer-songwriter and guitarist.

    1979 – Chris Pratt, American actor.

    1981 – Brandon Flowers, American singer-songwriter.

    1982 – Jussie Smollett, American actor and singer.

    1983 – Edward Snowden, American activist and academic.

    1527 – Niccolò Machiavelli, Italian historian and author (b. 1469).

    1652 – Inigo Jones, English architect, designed the Queen’s House and Wilton House (b. 1573).

    1876 – Antonio López de Santa Anna, Mexican general and politician 8th President of Mexico (b. 1794). [President on eleven occasions, once for less than a fortnight. (Mexico’s presidency changed hands 36 times between 1833 and 1855.)]

    1908 – Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Russian composer and educator (b. 1844).

    1929 – Leonard Trelawny Hobhouse, English sociologist, journalist, and academic (b. 1864).

    1940 – Édouard Vuillard, French painter (b. 1868).

    2001 – John Lee Hooker, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1917).

    2005 – Jaime Sin, Filipino cardinal (b. 1928). [Cardinal Sin…]

    2012 – Richard Adler, American composer and producer (b. 1921).

  3. I’ve never used Dr Bronner soap, but have made versions of marseilles and castile soap at home (both are olive oil soaps, at least originally, but the castile has brine added to allow the soap to be separated from the impurities that make marseilles soap green. Castile is white. I’m not a great fan of pure vegetable oil soaps, especially when trying to make a shaving soap which requires a thick cushion-y lather. Traditionally tallow is used for this, but it is hard to find. A mix of vegetable stearates and lard is surprising good. Tallow is rendered beef fat, and lard rendered pork fat. I’m very unhappy about the replacement of tallow in traditional shaving soaps with palm oil (the public thinks anything vegetarian is better than anything of animal origin). But the clear cutting in the far east to make plantations of oil palms are destroying the habitat of the orang and threatening its survival. As long as some of us beef we might as well use the tallow!

  4. It seems in the U.S.A. there is very little regulation with tourism or dangerous ventures. Whether you desire to take a ride in space or view a ship wreck at the bottom of the ocean. Just sign all the legal papers, pay your fees and off you go. In many states the same is true for gun purchase. If you have the money you get the honey or Bill or whatever you call your gun. You can climb Everest or travel to Mexico, just get your passport. Maybe just jump out of an airplane and call it good if you bring a working parachute.

        1. Hardly relevant when considering the purpose of many regulations and laws. Protecting the general public from the brainless activities of those who lack in active brain cells is more to the point. Awards for self inflected action is hardly evolutionary.

      1. Indeed, it’s very much a case of alea iacta est once you start descending. I’m claustrophobic, so getting me in that thing would be strictly ab invito!

        Not my cup of tea at all!

  5. “Poor Liz Truss” … she and her clueless Chancellor of the Exchequer, Kwasi Kwarteng, almost trashed the British economy last autumn, but on the bright side, Lettuce Liz will be immortalised by pub quiz question setters as the shortest-serving Prime Minister in British history.

    1. Jeez Jez. Thanks for the heads up. Sounds like the Humanities UK policy-makers need to read the paper by Jerry and Luana in the Skeptical Inquirer.

  6. Liz Truss says her comparison to a lettuce was not funny? Lettuces everywhere would no doubt agree.

    Hubris, historic incompetence and a brain made of porridge do not make for a good PM, and the fact she ever got near the job is plain ridiculous. Her reckless stupidity vandalized the economy, made nearly everyone in the UK poorer and caused ongoing financial misery for millions. And she managed all that within 7 working days! What is she still doing in public life? She should have resigned as an MP and disappeared in shame.

    Please Liz, get your coat and bugger off!

  7. The Hunter Biden investigation has resulted in a farce, such as was the case with the John Durham report. Started during the Trump administration and continued under Joe Biden’s administration, the same Trump appointed U.S. Attorney has come up with nothing more than two less than trivial tax violations and a gun charge (which is rarely prosecuted). Regarding the taxes, a taxpayer can get in trouble with the IRS for mostly any of these reasons: failure to file a return, file a knowingly false return, or not paying what is due. Legally, not paying is a potential misdemeanor offense and the least serious of three. What we know currently about the Hunter Biden situation is that there is no indication that he filed late or filed a false return. He simply did not pay what he owed by the due date. There are two things to note about paying late. The first is that that probably hundreds of thousands of people do not pay on time. Almost none of them get prosecuted for this. What happens is that if the taxpayer is smart and cooperates with the IRS, she gets to pay off in installments or collection is deferred because of financial hardship. This is routine IRS policy. If the taxpayer is not smart and doesn’t cooperate, the IRS will seek out the person’s assets and seize them to pay off the liability. Also, a federal tax lien will be filed. So, prosecution for not paying on time is extremely rare. It is even more rare to prosecute a taxpayer that pays fully the liability (including penalties and interest), although late. Secondly, from the perspective of the IRS, a taxpayer that owes $100,000 over two years is hardly worth a yawn. There are many more uncooperative taxpayers (actually non-taxpayers), who owe much more than $100,000 that the IRS pursues with its limited resources thanks to the Republicans. What I have related above, the vast majority of reporters and pundits are totally unaware of, thus making their reportage totally worthless.

    Unless new information emerges, it seems at this point that the Trump administration attempted to find dirt on Hunter Biden that would somehow implicate Joe Biden. The effort failed, so the Trump appointed U.S. attorney (left in place by Joe Biden) had to settle on trivial charges. Republicans hope to use the charges against Hunter and by extension Joe with them bloviating that Hunter Biden got special treatment or a sweetheart deal. They are right, he did get special treatment. Unlike the many thousands of filers that don’t pay on time where absolutely nothing happens to them as long as they cooperate with the IRS, Hunter’s special treatment is that he has been subjected to this beyond ridiculous prosecution. Keep in mind that the near 100% of taxpayers that don’t pay on time and don’t cooperate will see the IRS pursue their assets. But criminal prosecution is laughably rare. However, it appears that Hunter did cooperate and pay what he owed. His prosecution makes the justice system a travesty, but not in the way the Republicans would like the public to think.

    1. Also very true that avoiding taxes is almost a national pastime in the U.S. This has become more so in recent years due to the dismantling of the IRS. And this of course is due to the republicans who would simply do away with the IRS. The democrats have attempted to fund more into the IRS to collect additional owed taxes, mostly from the rich who no longer get audited. It is known by evidence that auditing provides a great return on investment, approximately $12 to $1

  8. What is this “diversion” stuff? And what is a “diversion program”? Does it mean that Biden has a substance abuse problem?

    Here’s an explanation of the pretrial diversion program from the US Justice Department’s manual. To be eligible for the diversion program, a defendant must be a first-time offender charged with a less serious crime. The focus of the program is on rehabilitation rather than punishment. The program generally requires that the defendant perform community service and take classes designed to prevent recidivism. Where the charged crime involves substance abuse, the defendant is generally required to undergo substance-abuse evaluation, to follow any treatment plan recommended in the evaluation, and to undergo regular drug-testing.

    Such diversion programs (sometimes known as “intervention programs”) are frequently used in state courts for first-time offenders charged with less serious state crimes. They are much less commonly used federal courts. Offering the program is discretionary with each of the 93 US attorney’s offices across the country. Especially in busy federal districts near large urban centers, local US attorney’s offices tend to take the position that they simply decline to prosecute less serious crimes that might otherwise qualify for the diversion program.

  9. I have a 16 oz. bottle of Dr. Bronner’s 18-in-1 almond pure Castile soap on my bathroom vanity. I use it every day and like the almond oil fragrance. It’s $14.44 for a 16 oz. bottle and—for those who are particularly dirty and need lots of almond soapy goodness—you can buy a gallon jug of the stuff for $64.99. I had no idea that it had such a cult following.

  10. I have used Bronner’s in the shower since 1979.
    The solstice is not the “first day of summer’! It is Midsummer. I will die on this hill despite the so-called “astronomical seasons”.

    1. I get your point. The sun at noon has been rising higher sine 21 Dec as the days lengthen (in the Northern Hemisphere.). After today it starts sinking toward winter. By mid-August we are well aware of earlier sunsets.

      The equinoxes are just inflection points and are not readily observable as maxima or minima the way the solstices are.

  11. Hmm. Sadly, that Dr. Bronner’s soap label you posted seems to be very much toned down since I first saw it as a kid. It’s like they kept the exclamation points but changed almost all of the text to standard corporate eco-boastfulness.

  12. The news about the submersible missing somewhere near the wreck of the Titanic makes me recall another submarine disaster nearly 23 years ago: loss of the Russian nuclear submarine Kursk in the Barents Sea. The sub, taking part in a naval exercise, sank in a depth of 108 m due to accidental fires and explosions on board, after which Russian rescue attempts all failed. Initial Russian news contended that the naval exercise was a great success, but that the sub had collided with a mythical NATO vessel (today, such public announcements would no doubt blame NATO weaponized mosquitoes). Two years later, an exhaustive Russian government report on the navy’s operation revealed “stunning breaches of discipline, shoddy, obsolete and poorly maintained equipment,” and “negligence, incompetence, and mismanagement”. The Russian Empire’s military is still displaying all these qualities, fortunately, as the news from Ukraine testifies.

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