Sunday: Hili dialogue

July 9, 2023 • 6:45 am

Welcome to Sunday, July 9, 2023, and National Sugar Cookie Day. They’re best when made with cinnamon and brown sugar, and this subspecies is called “snickerdoodles”.

Photo source and recipe

It’s also Fashion Day, National No Bra Day (when I was in college in the Sixties, this was every day), and Nunavut Day, celebrated in that Canadian territory.

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the July 9 Wikipedia page.

Da Nooz:

*The AP reports that one of the “Manson Girls”, Leslie Van Houten, might be freed very soon. If you have a good memory, you’ll remember that there were four: Van Houten, Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, Patricia Krenwinkel, and Susan Atkins (I can still remember them). Squeaky was released on parole after 34 years in jail for pointing a gun at President Gerald Ford. Krenwinkel, who participated in several murders, has been in prison since 1971: the longest-incarcerated woman in America. She has a parole hearing this November.  Susan Atkins, also convicted of murder, died of brain cancer in prison in 2009 after 38 years in jail. As for Van Houten, also convicted for murder, she may be set free:

California’s governor announced Friday that he won’t ask the state Supreme Court to block parole for Charles Manson follower Leslie Van Houten, paving the way for her release after serving 53 years in prison for two infamous murders.

In a brief statement, the governor’s office said it was unlikely that the state’s high court would consider an appeal of a lower court ruling that Van Houten should be released.

Gov. Gavin Newsom is disappointed, the statement said.

Newsom had previously overturned a parole board’s recommendation for release in 2021, but apparently the California Supreme Court can overrule the Governor’s decision

Van Houten, now in her 70s, is serving a life sentence for helping Manson and other followers in the 1969 killings of Leno LaBianca, a grocer in Los Angeles, and his wife, Rosemary.

Van Houten could be freed in about two weeks after the parole board reviews her record and processes paperwork for her release from the California Institution for Women in Corona, her attorney Nancy Tetreault said.

She was recommended for parole five times since 2016 but Newsom and former Gov. Jerry Brown rejected all those recommendations.

However, a state appeals court ruled in May that Van Houten should be released, noting what it called her “extraordinary rehabilitative efforts, insight, remorse, realistic parole plans, support from family and friends” and favorable behavior reports while in prison.

“She’s thrilled and she’s overwhelmed,” Tetreault said.

“She’s just grateful that people are recognizing that she’s not the same person that she was when she committed the murders,” she said.

After she’s released, Van Houten will spend about a year in a halfway house, learning basic life skills such as how to go to the grocery and get a debit card, Tetreault said.

“She’s been in prison for 53 years. … She just needs to learn how to use an ATM machine, let alone a cell phone, let alone a computer,” her attorney said.

Van Houten and other Manson followers killed the LaBiancas in their home in August 1969, smearing their blood on the walls after. Van Houten later described holding Rosemary LaBianca down with a pillowcase over her head as others stabbed her, before herself stabbing the woman more than a dozen times.

Smiling at the trial. The AP caption is “From left: Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel, and Leslie Van Houten, walk to court to appear for their roles in the 1969 cult killings of seven people, including pregnant actress Sharon Tate, in Los Angeles, Calif.”

*It’s a slow news day, but perhaps you’ll be interested in the NYT’s report (and the paper) on the first beetle ever discovered missing its elytra (the hard wing covers of a beetle that makes them tough.  You can find the paper free by clicking on the screenshot of its title:

The insect in the small specimen collection of Lund University in Sweden looked out of place.

“OK, this is a prank,” Vinicius Ferreira, an insect taxonomist and evolutionary biologist, said to himself. “It’s a joke.”

The beetle — only one-tenth of an inch and found in 1991 in Oaxaca, Mexico, among leaf litter of a pine and oak forest floor at an elevation of more than 9,500 feet by the naturalist Richard Baranowski — was most definitely a male. But it was missing one of the animal’s defining characteristics: the tough forewing casing known to scientists as the elytra.

After careful analysis, Dr. Ferreira described the insect this month in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society as a previously unknown but “extraordinary” elytra-less species of beetle: Xenomorphon baranowskii.

“Boom. We found this really weird animal. The ‘alien’ beetle,” Dr. Ferreira said, selecting a name that honored Dr. Baranwoski and also called to mind the “Alien” of his favorite sci-fi movie franchise.

Wing loss has been seen in several beetle species, as well as loss of the elytra in females. But this male (only one specimen has been described) is the first to lack both wings and elytra. A photo is below: the scale shows how small it is.

(From the paper): Xenomorphon baranowskii. A, C, D, dry specimen. B, E–G, photographed in glycerin. A, dorsal view. B, ventral view. C, detail of head in dorsal view. D, thorax in dorsal view. E, detail of mouthparts. F, detail of male terminalia in ventral view. G, male genitalia in dorsal, lateral and ventral view.

Xenomorphon is the first anelytrous adult male beetle to be discovered. At first thought to be a damaged specimen, a thorough examination of its morphology indicated that it was, indeed, an individual that naturally did not have either wings or elytra, which is evidenced by the lack of a scutellar shield and other commonly found features present in the alinotum (Fig. 2A); in fact, the alinotum of the specimen fully resembles that of the larvae of other elateroid beetles (see Costa et al. 1988Ferreira and Ivie 2022). The new genus displays a similar condition to that found in some ‘larviform females’, having a remarkable morphological similarity to females of Lampyris noctiluca Linnaeus, 1758 (Lampyridae) (Novak 2017Keller 2022), the common glow-worm of Europe, for example.

This male shows a paedomorphic condition, in which the junvenile morphology of the individual persists into adult life. The authors note that there may be advantages of losing wings and elytra at high altitudes, like being less likely to be blown away by the wind. But the males also sacrifice their ability to find females. All in all, we don’t know why these males have lost their wings and elytras, but first we need to find more than one male to be sure this is a general condition. And, as the authors say, “Further studies are needed for a definitive answer to explain the loss of elytra of Xenomorphon.”

*Here’s a headline from Newsweek, courtesy of Luana. Click to read; I’ll quote a bit below. It’s funny because Ben & Jerry’s are always proclaiming that they occupy the moral high ground. Not this time!

An Indigenous tribe descended from the Native American nation that originally controlled the land in Vermont the Ben & Jerry’s headquarters is located on would be interested in taking it back, its chief has said, after the company publicly called for “stolen” lands to be returned.

Don Stevens, chief of the Nulhegan Band of The Coosuk Abenaki Nation—one of four descended from the Abenaki that are recognized in Vermont—told Newsweek it was “always interested in reclaiming the stewardship of our lands,” but that the company had yet to approach them.

It comes after the ice cream company was questioned as to when it would give up its Burlington, Vermont, headquarters—which sits on a vast swathe of U.S. territory that was under the auspices of the Abenaki people before colonization.

“The U.S. was founded on stolen Indigenous land,” the company said in a statement ahead of Independence Day. “This year, let’s commit to returning it.”

If they did, I think this would be a real first for American companies and universities, and others would be pressured to follow.

Maps show that the Abenaki—a confederacy of several tribes who united against encroachment from a rival tribal confederacy—controlled an area that stretched from the northern border of Massachusetts in the south to New Brunswick, Canada, in the north, and from the St. Lawrence River in the west to the East Coast.

This would put Ben & Jerry’s headquarters, located in a business park in southern Burlington, within the western portion of this historic territory—though it does not sit in any modern-day tribal lands.

“We are always interested in reclaiming the stewardship of our lands throughout our traditional territories and providing opportunities to uplift our communities,” Stevens said when asked about whether the Nulhegan Abenaki Tribe would want to see the property handed over to Indigenous people.

While the chief said that the tribe “has not been approached in regards to any land back opportunities from Ben & Jerry’s,” he added: “If and when we are approached, many conversations and discussions will need to take place to determine the best path forward for all involved.”

Unfortunately, Ben & Jerry’s have no comment about the situation. Let’s see if they put their factory where their mouth is.

*We’re told that this week had some of the hottest days on record, or even in many thousands of years, but since records have been kept for only about two centuries or so, you might have asked yourself, “How can they make such a statement”? The Washington Post gives us some clues.

In recent days, as the Earth has reached its highest average temperatures in recorded history, scientists have made a bolder claim: It may well be warmer than any time in the last 125,000 years.

Tracing climatic fluctuations back centuries and millennia is less simple and precise than checking records from satellites or thermometers. It involves poring through everything from ancient diaries to lake bed sediments to tree trunk rings.

But the observations are enough to make paleoclimatologists, who study the Earth’s climate history, confident that the current decade of warming is exceptional relative to any period since before the last ice age, about 125,000 years ago.

Our understanding of conditions so long ago is far less detailed than modern climate data, meaning it’s impossible to prove how hot it might have gotten on any given day so many thousands of years ago. Still, the Earth history gleaned from fossils and ice cores shows the recent heat would have been all but impossible over most of those millennia.

“There’s no way to drop one hot day into the middle of the ice age,” Richard Alley, a geosciences professor at Pennsylvania State University, said.

. . .If any a single day in the past 100,000 or 125,000 years could have been as hot as the Earth this week, scientists said it could only have occurred about 6,000 years ago. At that time, the planet had warmed with the end of the last ice age, and a period of global cooling began that would continue until the Industrial Revolution.

Scientists are confident that, apart from the global warming of recent decades, it was Earth’s warmest period in the past 100,000 years. They estimate that temperatures averaged somewhere between 0.2 degrees Celsius and 1 degree Celsius (0.36 to 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than they were from 1850-1900.

. . .That assessment states with “medium confidence” that temperatures from 2011-2020 exceed those of any multi-century period of warmth over the past 125,000 years.

Further, there is no evidence anywhere in scientists’ understanding of Earth’s history of warming that occurred nearly as rapidly as the ongoing spike in temperatures, caused by the burning of fossil fuels and emissions of greenhouse gases.

If a hotter day happened on Earth anytime in the past, Alley said, it was the result of natural processes.

“The current rise is not natural, but caused by us,” he said.

*From Greg:

The New York Times‘ fondness for woo continues to grow: a big homepage article today declares that Uri Geller has “emerged the victor“. The evidence for this: Geller is rich and has opened a museum about himself; an Australian has written a coffee table book about him; and he has outlived his critic James Randi (who was 18 years older than Geller, and died in 2020 at the age of 92). And besides, what harm can there be in cultivating the habits of mind that allow people to believe in telekinesis? The Times used to be a little less credulous about such things, and the harm they can cause.
The article is in the “Business” section, so I guess how much money you have is the right way to judge who ‘wins’. But there’s nary a mention of the size of Randi’s estate– how can we be sure who really won?
From the NYT:

It’s a fortune he might have never earned, he said, without a group of highly agitated critics. Mr. Geller was long shadowed by a handful of professional magicians appalled that someone was fobbing off what they said were expertly finessed magic tricks as acts of telekinesis. Like well-matched heavyweights, they pummeled one another in the ’70s and ’80s in televised contests that elevated them all.

Mr. Geller ultimately emerged the victor in this war, and proof of his triumph is now on display in the museum: a coffee-table book titled “Bend It Like Geller,” which was written by the Australian magician Ben Harris and published in May.

The victor? The VICTOR?  The NYT then admits that Geller wasn’t really banding spoons or was psychic; it was all trickery:

And the point is that Mr. Geller is an entertainer, one who’d figured out that challenging our relationship to the truth, and daring us to doubt our eyes, can inspire a kind of wonder, if performed convincingly enough. Mr. Geller’s bent spoons are, in a sense, the analog precursors of digital deep fakes — images, videos and sounds, reconfigured through software, so that anyone can be made to say or do anything.

And get a load of this:

If Mr. Geller can’t actually bend metal with his brain — and civility and fairness demands this “if” — he is the author of a benign charade, which is a pretty good definition of a magic trick. Small wonder that the anti-Geller brigade has laid down its arms and led a rapprochement with the working professionals of magic. He is a reminder that people thrill at the sense that they are either watching a miracle or getting bamboozled. And now that fakery is routinely weaponized online, Mr. Geller’s claims to superpowers seem almost innocent.

No civility and fairness don’t demand the “if”—the possibility that he really was bending spoons with his brain. His followers now more or less admit it, and magicians like Randi could do it regularly.  By saying that Geller “won”, and putting in that “if”, the NYT is once again pandering to woo. And if it wasn’t woo, but just magic, then Geller lost and Randi won. Oh, and the NYT also lost.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, the cats are discussing demeanor and philosophy:

Szaron: Nothing induces me to be optimistic.
Hili: You can always choose a stoic calm.
In Polish:
Szaron: Nic mnie nie skłania do optymizmu.
Hili: Zawsze można wybrać stoicki spokój.

And a nine-year-old dialogue with Hili and her late friend Cyrus the d*g:

Hili: And a cat will lead you.
Cyrus: If you keep talking so much, I will bite your tail.

in Polish:

Hili: I kot będzie cię prowadzić…
Cyrus: Jak będziesz tyle gadać to ugryzę cię w ogon.


From Thomas, a Speedbump cartoon by Dave Coverly.

From Merilee, a Bizarro strip by Wayne and Piraro.

From the Absurd Sign Project 2.0:


From Masih, a brave Iranian woman, of which there are many:

I found this one. Lovely cloud, and very colorful! (Read more about pileus clouds here.)

From Luana, who was born in Brazil.  Look at all this torment!

From Barry, whose caption is: “No, no! You got me all wrong. I wasn’t going to jump you. I just wanted to see if I could stand on two legs.”

Sound up:

From Malcolm. How many cats would do this?

From the Auschwitz Memorial, a girl gassed upon arrival. She was five.

From Dr. Cobb. First, a NYT article about the Nazi destruction of a synagogue:

Here’s a piece of the rubble that may have the Ten Commandments (I don’t read Hebrew). Photo from the NYT:

I wonder if it ordered “milk, neat”, and then knocked the glass off the table:

A sad note: Michael Ashburner, a great Drosophila geneticist, just died. I knew him slightly: a terrific guy. But he smoked like a chimney, and that did him in.

30 thoughts on “Sunday: Hili dialogue

  1. For the next ten days the Weather Underground site predicts that for Phoenix, Arizona the daily high will average about 113 degrees. Apparently, this situation will become more and more commonplace. Extreme heat in conjunction with water shortages may very well make sun belt states unlivable, at least with the traditional American lifestyle. The huge population gains that these areas have experienced in recent decades may halt and be reversed. Conversely, rust belt states may see an increase in population as people move out of the sun belt. There must be a tremendous psychological toll on people when they cannot walk in the open air and worry whether they will have access to the most basic necessity of water.

    1. William deBuys 2011 book, “”A Great Aridness: Climate Change and the Future ofthe American Southwest” gives a nice treatment of the subject, though a little dated given the tremendous amount of additional data we have seen in the ensuing decade.

    2. I lived down there for a couple of years many years ago – early 60s. You never really get use to that heat. The growth in population in such a desert is hard to understand. I suppose you must really hate winter.

      1. 108 F today here at my wife’s family ranch in West Texas. Uncomfortable, but not exceptional for this time of year.

        I used to train on my road bike in this sort of weather, including a great many 100+ mile rides. That seems absurd to an older me who mostly lives in the cool mountains these days, but it did not seem a particular hardship at the time.

        I have spoken to some of the old timers about how they coped with the heat in Ye Olden days, and they mostly got up early, accomplished as much as they could before it got really hot, then just kept doing the things that had to be done despite the weather. Often it was quite a bit hotter than present, 1933 being a terrible summer.

  2. Braless at the College of William and Mary in the 1960’s could be a real statement as there was a (sporadically enforced) dress code at the time. My WWII retired colonel French Literature professor threw one of the boys out of class for coming in unshaven one day. It turned out one could question life and existence at William and Mary in the sixties, but only if properly groomed in some classrooms.

    1. The shortest of the Milankovich cycles is 19kyr. It’s extremely unlikely to be a significant factor in a sub-kyr temperature change.
      We’ve several examples from the past of the effects of dumping a few petatonnes of carbon (as methane or CO2, it doesn’t matter which) into the atmosphere. The temperature rises by 4~6° C in a matter of centuries to millennia. It takes around 100kyr to come down by the natural sedimentation of carbonate minerals into the intermediate ocean. That’s around two ocean-turnovers, so it’s actually a pretty efficient process.
      We know what is going to happen. Obviously, as a society, we’re happy with that. Or at least, care more about more pressing concerns.

  3. I do wonder about average Earth temperature and the hottest day in the last 125,000. but I sure wouldn’t go to the Wapo for info. Although we’ve had temperature records for some places for a couple hundred years, we have not had them for most places nearly that long. What places are they looking at, and is an average the right way to track this? Apparently, this is a spike, and the previous hottest day ever was in 2009. I began to doubt the global warming/climate change mantra when it became clear that it was a very convenient crisis on which to hang the usual grab-bag of Progressive causes, not the least of which is anti-capitalism. And for anyone who things the censorship-industrial complex is new, it was all perfected for climate change. That’s when we started hearing about “settled science” and censoring points of view as dangerous. It’s all humbug.

    1. Doubting climate change because it used in ways not up to your taste is weird. We have pretty good methods to assess the climate of periods before measurements. Not anywhere near with a week resolution of course. Warmest week in 125 000 years is a hyperbole.

    2. So, you’re willing to accept the scientific consensus in other areas, e.g., why evolution is true, but not those that don’t fit your ideology? Unless you have special expertise in those areas, and can rebut the consensus with well formulated conclusions backed by data, it seems your arguments aren’t any better than critics of other well-accepted scientific theories.

  4. I may come off as sick, but Ashburner smoked like a chimney struck me as quite ironic. However still sad.

    1. Yes, I noticed that bit of nominative determinism, too.

      Condolences to his friends and family.

  5. On this day:
    1762 – Catherine the Great becomes Empress of Russia following the coup against her husband, Peter III.

    1763 – The Mozart family grand tour of Europe began, lifting the profile of prodigal son Wolfgang Amadeus.

    1793 – The Act Against Slavery in Upper Canada bans the importation of slaves and will free those who are born into slavery after the passage of the Act at 25 years of age.

    1795 – Financier James Swan pays off the $2,024,899 US national debt that had been accrued during the American Revolution.

    1850 – U.S. President Zachary Taylor dies after eating raw fruit and iced milk; he is succeeded in office by Vice President Millard Fillmore.

    1868 – The 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution is ratified, guaranteeing African Americans full citizenship and all persons in the United States due process of law.

    1877 – The inaugural Wimbledon Championships begins.

    1893 – Daniel Hale Williams, American heart surgeon, performs the first successful open-heart surgery in United States without anesthesia.

    1918 – In Nashville, Tennessee, an inbound local train collides with an outbound express, killing 101 and injuring 171 people, making it the deadliest rail accident in United States history.

    1922 – Johnny Weissmuller swims the 100 meters freestyle in 58.6 seconds breaking the world swimming record and the ‘minute barrier’.

    2004 – The Senate Report on Iraqi WMD Intelligence is released by the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, casting doubt on the rationale for the Iraq War.

    2011 – South Sudan gains independence and secedes from Sudan.

    1764 – Ann Ward, English author and poet (d. 1823).

    1819 – Elias Howe, American inventor, invented the sewing machine (d. 1867).

    1834 – Jan Neruda, Czech journalist and poet (d. 1891). [The Chilean poet, Ricardo Eliecer Neftalí Reyes Basoalto, adopted the pseudonym Pablo Neruda, to express his admiration.]

    1879 – Carlos Chagas, Brazilian physician and parasitologist (d. 1934).

    1907 – Eddie Dean, American singer-songwriter (d. 1999). [American Western singer and actor whom Roy Rogers and Gene Autry termed the best cowboy singer of all time.]

    1911 – Mervyn Peake, English author and illustrator (d. 1968).

    1922 – Kathleen Booth, British computer scientist and mathematician (d. 2022).

    1933 – Oliver Sacks, English-American neurologist, author, and academic (d. 2015).

    1937 – David Hockney, English painter and photographer.

    1938 – Brian Dennehy, American actor (d. 2020).

    1945 – Root Boy Slim, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 1993).

    1946 – Bon Scott, Scottish-Australian singer-songwriter (d. 1980).

    1947 – Mitch Mitchell, English drummer (d. 2008).

    1947 – O. J. Simpson, American football player and actor.

    1956 – Tom Hanks, American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter.

    1957 – Marc Almond, English singer-songwriter.

    1957 – Paul Merton, English comedian, actor, and screenwriter.

    1959 – Jim Kerr, Scottish singer-songwriter and keyboard player.

    1964 – Courtney Love, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and actress.

    1965 – Frank Bello, American bass player.

    1975 – Jack White, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer.

    Slowly light strengthens, and the room takes shape.
    It stands plain as a wardrobe, what we know,
    Have always known, know that we can’t escape,
    Yet can’t accept. One side will have to go.

    1441 – Jan van Eyck, Dutch painter (b.1359).

    1774 – Anna Morandi Manzolini, Spanish anatomist (b. 1714).

    1797 – Edmund Burke, Irish-English philosopher, academic, and politician (b. 1729).

    1856 – Amedeo Avogadro, Italian chemist and academic (b. 1776).

    1932 – King Camp Gillette, American businessman, founded the Gillette Company (b. 1855).

    1970 – Sigrid Holmquist, Swedish actress (b. 1899).

    1984 – Edna Ernestine Kramer, American mathematician (b. 1902).

    2002 – Rod Steiger, American actor (b. 1925).

    2019 – Ross Perot, American businessman and politician (b. 1930).

    2019 – Rip Torn, American actor (b. 1931).

    2019 – Freddie Jones, English actor (b. 1927).

  6. Also had to review – this doesn’t break down by layer the atmosphere (slight reformat for readability):

    “As of 2023, by mole fraction (i.e., by number of molecules), dry air contains
    78.08% nitrogen,
    20.95% oxygen,
    0.93% argon,
    0.04% carbon dioxide,
    and small amounts of other gases.[8] ”

    Soot, dust, water, and airborne particles are of course another matter.

    So prior concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere started where, changed how, and at which layer? And “small amounts” does not mean “small consequence” – e.g. freon.

    Is what I need to review now.

    1. From a greenhouse gas point of view, quoting statistics for dry air is as meaningful as quoting the octane number of petrol from which all alkane hydrocarbons have been removed. Utterly meaningless.
      The dominant greenhouse gas in the Earth’s atmosphere is today, and has been for the whole period of multicellular life on land (plus 200~300 Myr before), water. Which is currently responsible for about 15° C of warming above the “bare rock” temperature that the Earth would have due to insolation.
      The expected addition of 4~6° C warming on top of that in response to an expected change in CO2 content from about 0.025% v/v (when instrumental gas measurement became a science in the early 1800s – something to do with working out how to optimise steam engines) to a foreseeable peak of 0.1~0.2% v/v (when humankind finally agrees to tackle the problem in the 2100s (or 2200s) suggests that, molecule for molecule, carbon dioxide is a more efficient greenhouse gas than water. But there is so much more water in the atmosphere that it’s contribution considerably outweighs that of the CO2, and always will.
      The last time that Earth didn’t have a significant global warming from water was during the Marinoan (and associated) glaciations around 650 Myr ago – a period known as “Snowball Earth“, when the oceans were covered by sea ice down to the equator. Then, the build up of CO2 in the atmosphere (because with negligible liquid water at the ocean surface, there was negligible photosynthesis to remove CO2 from the atmosphere) was what recovered the Earth back into an open-sea planet, with a surface temperature above the freezing point of water. (This carbon dioxide build-up has left a distinctive signature in the rocks. This is relatively new science, being only 20~30 years old. Do try to keep within a generation of current. It’s hard work, but necessary.)
      It’s quite unlikely that a future complete removal of CO2 (plus artificial efforts to remove H2O) from the atmosphere could bring back the “big ice” (not the pathetic little ice ages our mammalian ancestors survived) because the Sun (like all hydrogen-burning stars) is accumulating helium in it’s core, resulting in a heat output increase of about 5% per gigayear (Gyr). You’d have to get the water content of the atmosphere to incredibly low levels to allow the planet to cool below freezing to do that. That’s a major “terra-un-forming” project. But it would be good practice for the larger task of making Mars habitable.
      Good grief, I thought most people here had actually read the writing on the wall. Are you playing De’il’s Advocate?

    1. Ben and Jerry are the definition of “champagne socialists”: Sold their company for $325 million to megacorporation Unilever, but think that giving to Bernie Sanders’s campaign and releasing editions of their ice cream that promote BLM and trans rights makes them political mavericks putting their money where their greenback-stuffed mouths are.

    2. And what can they do now? They can’t give their HQ back to the Abenaki because there’s no where else for a new HQ — according to Ben & Jerry themselves it’s all stolen land. They can’t ignore the Abenaki and look like hypocrites. My money is on one or both of them discovering they are 1/16th Cherokee.

      1. They’ve been hypocrites forever. I’m sure it will continue to be “no comment” until the very few people who know and care forget. It’s not as if mainstream media is going to cover this at length. What’s important is that B&J say the “right” things, so they’re part of the good guys. Hey, they even release BLM, LGBT, Bernie Sanders, and other progressive-themed ice cream flavors while contributing to our country’s deadly obesity problem!

        They literally have hundreds of millions of dollars, as private citizens. Among the many programs and alliances their “charities” (can you call something a charity if it supports destructive programs and people?) support are BDS. They’ve been outspoken supporters of BDS for years. In fact, if you look into where much of their charitable foundations’ money (not necessarily their own, and what they do donate is obviously a tax write-off in the end) goes, it is to programs that are either ineffective bureaucracies, highly divisive initiatives, critical theory pushers, and outright destructive organizations like BDS groups.

        In a 2021 NYT op-ed, they titled themselves “Men of Ice Cream, Men of Principle.” Of course, if they really believed in their supposed principles, they would give up some of their hundreds of millions. But they made some ice cream and ended up obscenely rich before their 50th birthdays. And they’ve never shown any sign of wanting to let go of that! I’m sure having their HQ on “indigenous land” is the least of their worries, no matter what lip service they pay to the progressive line. I’m sure they won’t lose a blink of sleep over it.

    3. “Returning” “stolen” land could be another fool’s-errand flavour of the month, scare quotes as indicated. Ben and Jerry were shitting where we eat, too. This note tries to stick to the Vermont business.

      The land wasn’t stolen. That’s a category error. Sovereign states don’t steal, murder, or commit fraud. Those are crimes committed by private non-state actors. States can do pretty much anything they can get away with, using force of arms. Upon the defeat of the French in the Seven Years War, 1763, all the land in North America (except for Spanish possessions and a few small French islands) became, by Right of Conquest, the personal sovereign property of King George III. (In Canada the land is still the property of King Charles III. In the United States the sovereign land owner became “The People”.)

      Fee-simple landowners like you and me don’t own physical land. They own an interest in an estate conferred from the sovereign by a deed. If anyone thinks he actually owns land outright, try not paying your property taxes and see how long it takes for the municipality to seize it. The Indians never owned land in the sovereign sense (or in the fee-simple sense, this being a European concept descended from feudalism.) If they think they did and want it back from its current sovereigns they have to conquer it (not just occupy it, there is a difference) and assert their own Right of Conquest.

      The land can’t be returned, not by Ben & Jerry, Inc., and not by any other fee-simple landowner. It’s not theirs. Sure, B&J can deed their land (through sale or gift) to the local Indian tribe, (or to anyone else), thus transferring to the new owners the exclusive use of it and obligation to pay municipal property taxes. But that’s not what the Native advocates say they want. They–certainly in Canada they do–want return of sovereign territory to them from the United States (and Canada), much as Ukraine wants to get the Donbas and Crimea back from Russia. Only the United States government (and probably only with the agreement of the State of Vermont) can cede sovereign American territory located in Vermont to another sovereign state.

      Indian Nations (such as the one which would be created on the shore of Lake Champlain by this transaction) are independent of the states but still part of U.S. sovereign territory. (Canadian Reserves are constituted differently and the theory is that they would, along with vast areas of other Canadian territory, become no longer part of Canada.) But under both concepts of “return”, fee-simple land ownership within the ceded territory would no longer apply: land deeds would become worthless and unenforceable if the new sovereigns decided not to recognize them.

      Naturally, the United States would never agree to such a transaction and armed landowners would make sure that it never even entertained the idea. (Canada I’m not so sure about and the idea is not completely far-fetched here.) This is why Indian land claims never go anywhere other than cash compensation to make the claimants go away for a few years. No government will agree to dismembering its sovereign territory unless invaded by a country it can’t/won’t resist, or unless it gets a very attractive cash offer for empty land not in private hands.

  7. Those are indeed part of the ten commandments, although a very simplified version. The first word, made of a lamed and an aleph, is “loh,” which means “no.” You have five of fifteen — oy, ten! — commandments there.

  8. “. . .people thrill at the sense that they are either watching a miracle or getting bamboozled. ”

    True enough. I wrote a poem about this:

    by Gary Miranda

    What matters more than practice
    is the fact that you, my audience,
    are pulling for me, want me to pull
    it off—this next sleight. Now
    you see it. Something more than
    whether I succeed’s at stake.

    This talk is called patter. This
    is misdirection—how my left
    hand shows you nothing’s in it.
    Nothing is. I count on your mistake
    of caring. In my right hand your
    undoing blooms like cancer.

    But I’ve shown you that already—
    empty. Most tricks are done
    before you think they’ve started—you
    who values space more than time.
    The balls, the cards, the coins—they go
    into the past, not into my pocket.

    If I give you anything, be sure
    it’s not important. What I keep
    keeps me alive—a truth on which
    your interest hinges. We are like
    lovers, if you will. Sometimes even
    if you don’t will. Now you don’t.

  9. If the “Manson” girls get released, they’re almost certain to be “outed” by a disgruntled “Prison Department” (whatever it’s called) employee. If they survive the hail of bullets from “justice-loving” “patriots” with bear arms, they’ll be very lucky. Probably the “patriots” will kill several people doing their jobs in the process.
    My bet – if they leave prison, they’ll end up in Canada. Or further afield. I wouldn’t put it past the foreign government (in Westminster) to offer to host them. Somewhere like North Uist. Or Skokholm.

    1. Hey, they could end up being professors at somewhere like Columbia! Like Kathy Boudin, who has been teaching there for two decades despite taking part in a bank robbery that killed three people back in 1981 as part of the Weather Underground. Of course, they’d need to be left-wing activists, as all the formerly locked up terrorists who have been given prestigious professorships around the country were part of left-wing organizations.

      Imagine if these were men with slightly conservative politics. They’d never even have a chance of being released.

      1. Could it be that one reason they would have little chance of release is that they have little chance of conviction? Police officers, Rittenhouse, etc?

    2. Why on earth would Canada want them? Americans can’t claim political asylum in Canada and non-citizens with criminal records are not normally admissible into Canada even as visitors.

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