Friday: Hili dialogue

July 21, 2023 • 6:45 am

Welcome to Friday, July 21, 2023, and National Crème Brûlée Day, a dessert (invented in 1691) that is tasty but always proffered in meager amounts. Portions should be at least a quart in volume.

It’s also National Lamington Day, celebrating Australian “butter or sponge cakes that are coated with or dipped in chocolate and then covered with fine desiccated coconut. Other coatings or toppings can also be used, like salted caramel, peanut butter, or strawberry”. Those are infinitely better than crème brûlée. Further, it’s Legal Drinking Age Day, National Tug-of-War Tournament Day, National Junk Food DayBelgian National Day (in Belgiumm, of course), and, in Singapore,Racial Harmony Day.

Here’s a bisected Lamington from Wikipedia. Sometimes they’re filled, and some Aussies call them “Lammos.”

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

Da Nooz:

*The NYT points out that Trump’s mounting legal troubles are going to clash with his campaign calendar next year, as criminal defendants must be present in the courtroom during their trial. And he’s got a LOT of trials coming up.

As former President Donald J. Trump campaigns for the White House while multiple criminal prosecutions against him play out, at least one thing is clear: Under the laws of physics, he cannot be in two places at once.

Generally, criminal defendants must be present in the courtroom during their trials. Not only will that force Mr. Trump to step away from the campaign trail, possibly for weeks at a time, but the judges overseeing his trials must also jostle for position in sequencing dates. The collision course is raising extraordinary — and unprecedented — questions about the logistical, legal and political challenges of various trials unfolding against the backdrop of a presidential campaign.

“The courts will have to decide how to balance the public interest in having expeditious trials against Trump’s interest and the public interest in his being able to campaign so that the democratic process works,” said Bruce Green, a Fordham University professor and former prosecutor. “That’s a type of complexity that courts have never had to deal with before.”

More broadly, the complications make plain another reality: Mr. Trump’s troubles are entangling the campaign with the courts to a degree the nation has never experienced before and raising tensions around the ideal of keeping the justice system separate from politics.

Mr. Trump and his allies have signaled that they intend to try to turn his overlapping legal woes into a referendum on the criminal justice system, by seeking to cast it as a politically weaponized tool of Democrats.

Well, there goes the criminal justice system! It’s rigged towards Democrats! Actually, Trump has three civil trials coming up and needn’t be present for those, but he’s got one criminal trial coming up in New York, one in Florida (the documents case), and probably one in Washington (insurrection). And if he or another Republican wins the election, they could order the government to drop federal cases. Oy, my kishkes!

*Pamela Paul, a worthy addition to the NYT op-ed staff, has a deeply depressing piece on the upcoming Presidential election, “Hoping for a miracle, hurtling towards disaster.” If you don’t get depressed, whether you be a Democrat or Republican, there’s something wrong with you.

Instead, most Democrats seem to view what looks like an inexorable rematch between Biden and Donald Trump with a sense of impending doom. My personal metaphor comes from Lars von Trier’s film “Melancholia,” in which a rogue planet makes its way through space toward an inevitable collision with Earth. In that film, the looming disaster symbolized the all-encompassing nature of depression; here, the feel is more dispiritedness and terror, as if we’re barreling toward either certain catastrophe or possibly-not-a-catastrophe. Or it’s barreling toward us.

A Biden-Trump rematch would mean a choice between two candidates who, for very different reasons, don’t seem 100 percent there or necessarily likely to be there — physically, mentally and/or not in prison — for the duration of another four-year term.

To take, momentarily, a slightly more optimistic view, here is the best case for Biden: His presidency has thus far meant a re-establishment of norms, a return to government function and the restoration of long-held international alliances. He has presided over a slow-churning economy that has turned roughly in his favor. He’s been decent.

But really, wasn’t the bar for all these things set abysmally low during the Trump administration (if we can even use that word given its relentless mismanagement)? We continue to have a deeply divided Congress and electorate, a good chunk of which is still maniacally in Trump’s corner. American faith in institutions continues to erode, not helped by Biden’s mutter about the Supreme Court’s most recent term, “This is not a normal court.” The 2020 protests led to few meaningfully changed policies favoring the poor or disempowered.

A Biden-Trump rematch feels like a concession, as if we couldn’t do any better or have given up trying. It wasn’t as though there was huge passion for Biden the first time around. The 2020 election should have been much more of a blowout victory for Democrats. Yet compared with his election in 2016, Trump in 2020 made inroads with nearly every major demographic group, including Blacks, Latinos and women, except for white men. The sentiment most Democrats seemed to muster in Biden’s favor while he was running was that he was inoffensive. The animating sentiment once he scraped by into office was relief.

There’s a lot more to read, and a lot more to get you depressed. Is this the best that we as a nation can do?  Can you really be as enthused about Biden as the Democratic candidate (ignore Trump for the moment) as you were about Obama?

*Will This Story Pan Out Department? The EU has threatened to stop funding the Palestinian Authority if it doesn’t remove hatred of Jews and anti-Semitic tropes from its textbooks. (If you read here regularly, you’ll see that these tropes are staples of all Palestinian school books, stoking hatred and genocidal wishes towards Jews. You won’t find the counterparts in Israeli textbooks.)

The European Union official who oversees aid to the Palestinian Authority has voiced support for conditioning the release of funds on the removal of incitement and antisemitism from P.A. textbooks.

The remarks follow two European Parliament resolutions last week demanding the “deletion of all antisemitic references, and removal of examples that incite hatred and violence” in Palestinian textbooks, and calls for a funding freeze.

“Incitement to hatred and violence and glorification of terror violate E.U. core values,” tweeted Olivér Várhelyi, the European commissioner for neighborhood and enlargement. “It is a poison for our society, in particular in classrooms and textbooks. There can be no justification to turn a blind eye, neither in Europe nor beyond.”

In the tweet, the E.U. official said that the “commission duly notes this request from the budgetary authority.”

In May, Várhelyi said that the European Union “will make sure it’s not funding Palestinian textbooks that incite against Israel.” He had previously announced that the European Union would conduct a second study of the P.A.’s textbooks.

Unlike previous resolutions, which mentioned incitement to violence without directly calling for the removal of antisemitism, the wording of the resolutions last week explicitly links E.U.-funded textbooks to “rising involvement of teenagers in terrorist attacks.”

The European Parliament resolutions stated that the European Union should freeze its funding to the P.A. until its curriculum is aligned with UNESCO standards.

Now what do you think the chances are that this will actually happen? I’d say about . . . . . zero.

*The WSJ has a fascinating article about meteorite hunters: those intrepid souls who jet all over when a meteororite breaks up over Earth. For pieces of meteorites can go for thousands of dollars. An excerpt:

When Roberto Vargas got an alert that a meteorite had exploded above Junction City, Ga., he knew he had to move fast.

He immediately booked a flight from Connecticut and was airborne within hours. He found a piece of the meteorite within minutes of parking his rental car in the area where fragments had landed. Some of what he found sold for $100 a gram.

Vargas, 38 years old, said he is one of roughly 15 people in the U.S. pursuing an unusual vocation: professional or semiprofessional meteorite hunter. “As soon as somebody sees something or hears about something, they post on Facebook, and that basically prompts me to get into gear,” he said.

After quitting his job as a mental-health therapist to pursue the passion full time about two years ago, Vargas said, he has been “super, super blessed.” His earnings from hunting, collecting and selling meteorites just helped him buy a house.

Hunters like Vargas chase down space rocks that have been spotted as they streak through the atmosphere—what are known as “falls.” Sometimes only a single stone hits Earth, and at other times, hundreds of fragments. Recovering these falls, scientists say, helps expand our knowledge of the solar system, and even perhaps how life on Earth began.

. . . Vargas said meteorites can range in value from about 50 cents to $5,000 a gram, depending, in part, on the circumstances of the fall, composition and how much of any given specimen exists. Often he sells just slices of what he finds, mostly to people who want to own a piece of space without going there.

*Not long ago I put up the Washington Post‘s guesses about what would be on Barack Obama’s famous summer reading list. They didn’t do too well, but at least they put the King book on it, one I intend to read.  Here’s the ex-Prez’s actual summer reading list that the paper published yesterday. (Do you even wonder whether Obama reads some schlock, too, but doesn’t publicize it?)

Here are all the titles on this summer’s list (and you can check out which four books we guessed correctly):

‘Poverty, by America’ by Matthew Desmond

‘Small Mercies’ by Dennis Lehane

‘King: A Life’ by Jonathan Eig

‘Hello Beautiful’ by Ann Napolitano

‘All the Sinners Bleed’ by S.A. Cosby

‘Birnam Wood’ by Eleanor Catton

‘What Napoleon Could Not Do’ by DK Nnuro

‘The Wager’ by David Grann

‘Blue Hour’ by Tiffany Clarke Harrison

*If you’re a baseball maven, take this NYT quiz, “How well do you know your Baseball Hall of Famers?” For me, apparently not very well; I got two out of ten (about what’s expected from random guessing, and I did guess randomly. A baseball-loving friend got only three. This is hard!  Here’s one question (I won’t give the answer).


Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili and Szaron have taken over the chairs in which Malgorzata and Andrzej sit on the veranda:

Szaron: I think that they want to sit here.
Hili: And who cares?
In Polish:
Szaron: Zdaje się, że oni chcą tu usiąść.
Hili: A kto się tym przejmuje?


From Unique Birds and Animals:

From Ducks in Public (this is me):

From Seth Andrews:

From Masih.  First, her discussion with the BBC about the return of the morality police:

And a tweet from Faisal with an article describing how Iran is adopted Chinese surveillance technology to identify those miscreant women who just won’t cover their heads.

From Barry. This cat gives a good stink-eye!

Good for Lady Gaga!

And good old Ricky Gervais:

From the Auschwitz Memorial, a family gassed upon arrival:

Tweets from the fit Dr. Cobb:

Okay, I had to find out more about this. Read here (there’s also miracle gnocchi). This is ripe for some careful investigation. . .

A very tolerant moggy:

47 thoughts on “Friday: Hili dialogue

  1. On this day:
    356 BC – The Temple of Artemis in Ephesus, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, is destroyed by arson.

    1545 – The first landing of French troops on the coast of the Isle of Wight during the French invasion of the Isle of Wight. [This was a new one to me!]

    1865 – In the market square of Springfield, Missouri, Wild Bill Hickok shoots and kills Davis Tutt in what is regarded as the first western showdown.

    1873 – At Adair, Iowa, Jesse James and the James–Younger Gang pull off the first successful train robbery in the American Old West.

    1904 – Louis Rigolly, a Frenchman, becomes the first man to break the 100 mph (161 km/h) barrier on land. He drove a 15-liter Gobron-Brillié in Ostend, Belgium.

    1920 – The “Belfast Pogrom” begins two years of violence with the expulsion of thousands of Belfast shipyard, factory and linen mill workers from their jobs.

    1925 – Scopes Trial: In Dayton, Tennessee, high school biology teacher John T. Scopes is found guilty of teaching human evolution in class and fined $100.

    1925 – Malcolm Campbell becomes the first man to exceed 150 mph (241 km/h) on land. At Pendine Sands in Wales, he drives Sunbeam 350HP built by Sunbeam at a two-way average speed of 150.33 mph (242 km/h).

    1944 – World War II: Claus von Stauffenberg and four fellow conspirators are executed for the July 20 plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler.

    1949 – The United States Senate ratifies the North Atlantic Treaty.

    1954 – First Indochina War: The Geneva Conference partitions Vietnam into North Vietnam and South Vietnam.

    1959 – NS Savannah, the first nuclear-powered cargo-passenger ship, is launched as a showcase for Dwight D. Eisenhower’s “Atoms for Peace” initiative.

    1959 – Elijah Jerry “Pumpsie” Green becomes the first African-American to play for the Boston Red Sox, the last team to integrate. He came in as a pinch runner for Vic Wertz and stayed in as shortstop in a 2–1 loss to the Chicago White Sox.

    1960 – Sirimavo Bandaranaike is elected Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, becoming the world’s first female head of government.

    1969 – Apollo program: At 02:56 UTC, astronaut Neil Armstrong becomes the first person to walk on the Moon, followed 19 minutes later by Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin.

    1979 – Jay Silverheels, a Mohawk actor, becomes the first Native American to have a star commemorated in the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

    1983 – The world’s lowest temperature in an inhabited location is recorded at Vostok Station, Antarctica at −89.2 °C (−128.6 °F).

    2005 – Four attempted bomb attacks by Islamist extremists disrupt part of London’s public transport system.

    2010 – President Barack Obama signs the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

    2011 – NASA’s Space Shuttle program ends with the landing of Space Shuttle Atlantis on mission STS-135 at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

    2012 – Erden Eruç completes the first solo human-powered circumnavigation of the world.

    1620 – Jean Picard, French astronomer (d. 1682).

    1710 – Paul Möhring, German physician, botanist, and zoologist (d. 1792).

    1816 – Paul Reuter, German-English journalist, founded Reuters (d. 1899).

    1896 – Sophie Bledsoe Aberle, Native American anthropologist, physician and nutritionist (d. 1996).

    1899 – Ernest Hemingway, American novelist, short story writer, and journalist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1961).

    1920 – Isaac Stern, Russian-American violinist and conductor (d. 2001).

    1922 – Mollie Sugden, English actress (d. 2009).

    1926 – Bill Pertwee, English actor (d. 2013).

    1934 – Jonathan Miller, English actor, director, and author (d. 2019).

    1945 – Wendy Cope, English poet, critic, and educator.

    1948 – Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam), English singer-songwriter and guitarist.

    1948 – Garry Trudeau, American cartoonist.

    1951 – Robin Williams, American actor and comedian (d. 2014).

    1966 – Sarah Waters, Welsh author. [Fingersmith was excellent.]

    1971 – Charlotte Gainsbourg, English-French actress and singer.

    1976 – Jaime Murray, English actress.

    1981 – Paloma Faith, English singer-songwriter and actress.

    2000 – Erling Haaland, Norwegian footballer.

    Nature’s law,
    That man was made to mourn.

    1796 – Robert Burns, Scottish poet and songwriter (b. 1759).

    1920 – Fiammetta Wilson, English astronomer and educator (b. 1864). [Between the years 1910 and 1920, including during Zeppelin bombing raids during WWI, Wilson observed about 10,000 meteors and accurately calculated the paths of 650 of them. In 1913, she made an independent recovery of Westphal’s Comet while it was passing the Earth. You can read more about her here.]

    1928 – Ellen Terry, English actress (b. 1847).

    1966 – Philipp Frank, Austrian-American physicist, mathematician, and philosopher, Vienna Circle member (b. 1884).

    1967 – Basil Rathbone, South African-American actor and singer (b. 1892).

    1977 – Lee Miller, American model and photographer (b. 1907).

    1998 – Alan Shepard, American admiral, pilot, and astronaut (b. 1923).

    2000 – Marc Reisner, American environmentalist and author (b. 1948).

    2004 – Edward B. Lewis, American geneticist and biologist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1918).

    2005 – Long John Baldry, English-Canadian singer and actor (b. 1941).

    2012 – Angharad Rees, English-b. Welsh actress (b. 1944).

    2014 – Lettice Curtis, English engineer and pilot (b. 1915).

    2015 – E. L. Doctorow, American novelist, short story writer, and playwright (b. 1931).

    2017 – John Heard, American film and television actor (b. 1946).

  2. About meteorite hunting:

    Check this out – and I quote:

    “The Second Kind of Impossible:
    The Extraordinary Quest for a New Form of Matter

    – is the exciting, first-hand story of how Paul Steinhardt, the award-winning physicist and Albert Einstein Professor in Science at Princeton University, predicted a new type of matter – the quasicrystal – shattering centuries-old laws of physics.

    Steinhardt’s quest to prove the natural existence of quasicrystals takes him on a globe-hopping scientific journey from Princeton to Italy to the remote mountains of Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula.”

    Awesome scientific adventure and yes, Nobel worthy discovery – quasicrystals -… actually, one of the authors on the J. Cont. Ideas won it – I actually have to read it again now, but I think Dan Shechtman’s work is discussed in the book :

    1. Did Steinhardt really predict quasicrytals?

      “Unbeknownst to Shechtman in 1984, others had already thought about the possibility of icosahedral crystals. In particular, crystallographer Alan Mackay in 1982 had applied ideas that mathematician Roger Penrose developed in the 1970s to imagine how atoms could form non-periodic crystals. When physicist Paul Steinhardt of Princeton University was asked to review Shechtman’s PRL manuscript before publication, he realized Shechtman had discovered an example of what Mackay had theorized. Just five weeks after the Shechtman paper came out, Steinhardt, along with physicist Dov Levine at the Technion, published a paper, also in PRL, putting the results into a larger theoretical context and drawing additional attention to the discovery. ”

      1. Good question, I saw that claim but I don’t know much, I only read some of it and thought it was an interesting book.

        Perhaps it can be claimed that more than one person predicted them. Thanks for the note on this.

  3. The NYT points out that Trump’s mounting legal troubles are going to clash with his campaign calendar next year, as criminal defendants must be present in the courtroom during their trial.

    This may, in fact, be the principal purpose of the indictments. Let’s not forget that the entire Russian-collusion investigation was a hoax. The Dems have made Nixon look like a piker when it comes to dirty tricks.

    To take, momentarily, a slightly more optimistic view, here is the best case for Biden: His presidency has thus far meant a re-establishment of norms, a return to government function and the restoration of long-held international alliances. He has presided over a slow-churning economy that has turned roughly in his favor. He’s been decent.

    Yeah, none of those things is true: his presidency has seen incredible political corruption where every month we see Cabinet officers going in front of Congress and lying to hamper oversight, and many of his key initiatives have been overturned by the courts; our allies and enemies view us as an unreliable partner or a joke; the economy continues to suffer through high inflation and an enormous, mounting, unsupportable debt; he and his family are personally corrupt, and, by many accounts, he himself is a anger-prone and insulting boss, and he refuses to recognize his granddaughter.

    That said, yes, he and Trump are both too old.

    1. Thank you for that Fox update. Surprising they still have enough money to run the station after paying all those lawyers and bailing out of going to court. If Trump had any brains left he would consider pleading out as well. Then he could keep more of that stolen money to run for more offices. Lets see, who has created 13 million jobs since taking office and just about eliminated inflation. That Biden is so corrupt. You just keep living in that fantasy world and ride that republican garbage all the way to the dump.

      1. No no it was a “hoax”. Hannity says so.
        Multiple campaign officials meeting with Russians and then lying about it, that’s what I call a “hoax”.

        yeesh this guy

      2. He is misrepresenting the “investigation.” He is not misrepresenting the overall collusion allegations.

        Unfortunately, years of bullshit tossed at Trump has caused his followers to dismiss all allegations against Trump as bullshit. That “boy who cries wolf” story comes to mind.

        When prominent people compare Trump to Hitler, decry the end of “our democracy,” and say that the country will not survive if he is elected, then the Trump followers draw a logical conclusion: They will do anything to stop the man. Anything.

        I mean, I might very well report false stories, file false charges, and rig an election to stop Hitler. Otherwise, what of “our democracy”?

        It’s all a hot mess–and both parties in America share the blame.

        1. “It’s all a hot mess–and both parties in America share the blame.”

          I hear this blanket statement a lot; thereafter, I know not to take the speaker seriously…at least in regards to contemporary American politics.

        2. … decry the end of “our democracy” …

          Have you given any thought, Doug, to what would have been the state of American democracy on January 7, 2021, had Mike Pence — the most obsequious vice president in US history — capitulated to Donald Trump’s browbeating (among many other things, Trump called Pence on the morning of Jan. 6, 2021, and told him he was a pussy if he failed accept John Eastman’s harebrained scheme to reject the duly elected members of the electoral college and to accept in their place the slates of bogus electors that Trump and the Republicans had conspired to send to congress? It would, I believe, have triggered a state of chaos and the greatest constitutional crisis since the Civil War.

          This would have been a state of chaos from which the Supreme Court may have been able to rescue the nation — or maybe not. The Court may have held that congress’s counting of the electoral-college results constitutes a nonjusticiable Political Question and refused to intervene in the matter.

          What then, Doug? An actual hot Civil War, perhaps? It should be a matter of grave concern to US citizens that the man who took us to the brink during the transition period following the 2020 election is by far the leading contender to be the 2024 Republican nominee and could regain the US presidency.

          Do you see it any different?

          1. “Have you given any thought, Doug, . . .”

            I have given it thought, Ken. Thank you for asking. Have you perchance given thought to how “the most obsequious vice president in US history” stayed firm, made the right decision, helped transition to the next Administration, and has since publicly condemned the actions of the former president?

            “It should be a matter of grave concern . . .”

            I agree, but it should also be a matter for significant reflection. Fortunately, in 2021 the system held. The proper process carried on within hours. The new Administration assumed power. Those who committed crimes are being prosecuted. But beware the overreaction; 9/11 has some parallels here.

            It’s all a hot mess, and I still blame both parties for helping to create those conditions. (I respond on that below.)

        3. Doug, are you seriously suggesting that Trump getting in office again wouldn’t be a threat to our democracy? I’m a centrist and I have voted Republican at times for president (and other times Democratic). I never liked Trump, but I didn’t think he would try to destroy the US as we know it, right up until he tried to illegally stay in office after legitimately losing the election. After that, I would have expected any rational person who doesn’t want the US to go down the path of becoming an autocracy would have denounced Trump. There shouldn’t be a question of Trump getting back in office in the first place. This goes far beyond policy disputes and pushing “both sides” after what Trump tried to do is ludicrous.

          1. Like you, I am a centrist, vote both ways, never liked Trump, and am disgusted at the politicians who rallied behind him even after his disgraceful behavior post-election. However, I do not fear an “autocracy” under Trump, but I understand how people could harbor such anxiety. I see neither the ability nor the mechanisms by which he could exercise such control. The executive branch is an unwieldy place even in the best of times, and it is very easy to stonewall even a president.

            As to whether Trump “should” get back into office, if I understand it correctly, then I find the point a bit misguided. I understand the sentiment, but the voters “should” decide. That’s what “our democracy” should be, whether we like the results or not. (My own take is that he would never have been elected in a healthy society, but I thought the same for different reasons about his 2016 opponent.) My reference to the term mocks the propensity of both parties to predictably claim that “our democracy” is under threat, in peril, in great danger, and “we now face the most important election in our lives.” (Every presidential election of my adult life has been “the most important” blah, blah.) This phenomenon long predates Trump. We have drawn from that “peril” well too many times and claimed an “existential threat” about too many things for any warnings about Trump to now resonate widely across parties. Hyperbole dulls the senses; years of nonstop political attacks deadens them.

            As to blaming both sides, I will acknowledge the ambiguity in my claim that “It’s all a hot mess.” That “it’s” is doing a lot of work here, so let me clarify a bit. Trump is a symptom of a politics and culture in decay. He is not the cause—but he is accelerating the rot. Both parties contributed to the political and economic conditions that led to Trump’s rise to office. Both parties over the last two decades contributed to the “election denialism” that primed his voters to believe his latest bullshit. Both parties still contribute to the psychological and social conditions that shore up his support. Both parties will remain blind to their culpability. Many people who are dismayed by and disapprove of his actions on January 6th will still vote for him; just like many people who post on this site will vote for an Administration that is aiding the ideological assaults on free speech and knowledge that we discuss here weekly. It is all part of the pathology. I would be happy to flesh out some of those points over time should posting opportunity allow.

            Bottom line: I have no hesitation in blaming both sides for contributing to our political pathologies. That the latest—and most viscerally felt—such manifestation of these pathologies was provoked by Trump does not erase what came before.

    2. Wow, DrB, just wow. You can sure dish the hard rightwing talking points, day after day — kinda like the Italian woman mentioned in the post above with the never diminishing pizza.

      Have you actually read the SD Fla indictment pending against Trump? It sets out an exceptionally strong prima facie case. Do you plan to read the indictment in the attempted coup case once the Washington, DC, grand jury returns it? Or is that the type of info that’s never permitted inside the bubble?

      1. Please, what are you, some kind of lawyer? Don’t confuse the good Dr with facts. And you just don’t seem to get it – the stronger the evidence, the more conclusively it proves just how widespread the corruption is and how many persecutors are involved.

      2. And you ever notice that when DrB spews his ludicrous right-wing talking points (aka conspiracy theories) and then gets summarily rebuked by the reality that is presented by you and others, he never engages the arguments against his false claims, never cites any real facts supporting his delusions, just crickets. I’m sure tomorrow he’ll do the same thing. WEIT will have an article about Trump’s legal problems, DrB brings up his pet conspiracy theory, he’s rebuked by other readers, and stays silent, until the next day when he brings up another conspiracy theory, is summarily rebuked, and is silent…until the next day…it’s groundhog day with this guy; trolls will be trolls is my only explanation.

        1. I’ve noticed that about the good “doctor”. I’d turn on Faux Noise if I wanted to hear stupid lies. I expected better from someone who claims to have a doctorate.

  4. There are some people that love government power so much that they feel they are indispensable with the result being great damage to the country. One such person was Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who refusal to retire from the Supreme Court when Obama could have replaced her has contributed to the disrepute of the current Court. Of course, Biden is another. Those Democrats that oppose him running again do not do so because of his policies, most of which they agree with. It is quite simply his age. My fear is not so much that he may die in office, but that he may become incapable of performing the duties of president, whether through dementia or a physical event such as a stroke.

    There is only one vague analogous situation to what could happen to Biden. This is the case that when Woodrow Wilson suffered a stroke in September 1919 his second wife, Edith Wilson, took over many of his administrative duties. Some observers go so far as to argue that she became acting president. Although most people in Wilson’s administration knew what had happened to him, an effort to conceal his condition from the general public was largely successful. If Biden should experience a mental impairment, there is no way that it could be concealed from the public. Then what? An unprecedented constitutional crisis will result. Hopefully, he would simply resign the presidency (if he should have the mental capacity to do so). The only other alternative is the 25th Amendment. This potential and far from unthinkable scenario could be avoided if Biden would only think about the country first and withdraw his intention to run again. It is not too late, but time is running out quickly. Almost any other Democrat would blow away Trump. But, Biden has given no indication that he will do what is right.

    Still, even after saying all this, I will be voting for Biden and hoping for the best. The alternative of Trump returning to the White House is even worse than my fears of Biden’s cognitive abilities. American democracy is in deep trouble. Biden could help save it, but he refuses to do so. This makes me very angry at him.

  5. With apologies to Kermit … the last day of this year will be 31-12-2023. Or (as per ISO 8601), 2023-12-31.

      1. Wrong? It’s a legitimate date format. There’s nothing wrong about it. Personally, I prefer year, month, day format because it’s easily sortable and if I ruled the world would make that the standard. But a program can easily rearrange them for sorting (which also needs to be done for day, month, year format) so it’s not a big deal.

        1. I think everyone likes the date format that creates the coolest number irregularities, coincidences, sequences, etc. Numinous numbers… At least the human race is pretty much number literate nowadays…even if some put extracurricular meaning to their numbers.

      1. Clever!

        Now I gotta know :

        n : n/11
        123,123 : 11,193
        234,234 : 21,294
        345,345 : 31,395
        … : …
        789,789 : 71,799

        And just lemmee see:

        321,321 : 29,211
        432,432 : 39,312
        543,543 : 49,413
        … : …
        987,987 : 89,817

    1. I just read a followup on Twitter about that moment. It’s a scene from the forthcoming “Joker” sequel. See the looming camera at the top right. Yeah, I thought it was for real too!

  6. Portions should be at least a quart in volume.

    I did my research because I had a feeling that a US quart is smaller than a British quart (two pints), however, it is still nearly a litre.

    I think a litre of crème brûlée seems quite excessive for a dessert. Did you mean a quarter of a pint?

  7. I agree with Pamela Paul that we are inching along on a slow conveyor belt toward a disastrous Presidential election. It’s 16 months off, but like an asteroid that we all know to be careening toward Earth months in advance and are powerless to stop, a Trump-Biden rematch is coming.

    And will the U.N. really defund the Palestinian authority unless it fixes its antisemitic school curricula? I doubt it, but there has been some movement in Saudi Arabia to end its antisemitic teachings, so at least one country has recognized that a change of direction is needed. Hope springs eternal that the eternally antisemitic U.N. will do the same. There’s an old—and cynical—saying that one should only be as antisemitic as is absolutely necessary. Perhaps a few at the U.N. have decided that the U.N. is more antisemitic than is absolutely necessary.

  8. Is Vargas helping scientists or, like fossil sellers, just making a quick buck and keeping material away from scientists?

  9. Pamela Paul’s article is ridiculous. False equivalence. Biden has been a decent president, passing significant legislation in his first years in office. If the Dems take both the house and the congress in 2024, continued normalcy will be almost guaranteed. Yes he’s old, but he’s not dead and he’s a decent human being.

    1. Agreed. Biden has done the best he could with congress, whereas Trump’s legislative record consisted of little more than a tax cut for the rich.

  10. If only our worst concern was the quality of the two candidates, but we’ve got the democratic process itself in the balance, once they have learned the lessons of the 2020 election, and Jan. 6. I expect, both at the national and state level, a right proper s***-storm adjudicating the election results in 2024. Strap in, bucko.

  11. OK, so we know now that the Lady Gaga thing was a staged scene from a movie.
    Still, I find it disappointing that at least three men, one of whom seems to be gay from his rainbow flag on the Tweet, while all unaware that it was staged, were willing to applaud Lady Gaga’s inflicting her lesbian sexuality on a non-consenting woman who taunted her, apparently on the grounds that the woman was religious and therefore had it coming.

    This would absolutely have been considered sexual assault in Canada. The law is expansively and vaguely defined in Canada because women’s groups didn’t want prosecutions to fail on the strength of doubts raised about whether what happened actually qualified as rape. An unwanted kiss would certainly be charged and prosecuted as sexual assault if the woman or another witness reported it to the police. (If the police weren’t satisfied the kiss was sufficiently “sexual”, common assault would be the charge.) The circumstances in this scene, had it been real, imply a certain vindictiveness and aggression that, while not necessary for a conviction, would leave an impression on a jury. Rape as punishment, not just sexual gratification.

    Women wanted sexual assault law to be interpreted this way. Gay icons like Lady Gaga don’t get a free pass to assault religious women as punishment for what they believe.

    1. Dude, it’s a frickin’ movie. And a sequel to “The Joker”…you didn’t see the first one, and won’t see the sequel. It’s a comic book thing, you wouldn’t get it. I’ll just repeat. Dude, it’s a frickin’ movie.

      1. But the commenters who thought the woman got what she deserved didn’t know it was a movie. They thought Lady Gaga had sexually assaulted her in real life and they regarded her as a hero.

        A little hot under the collar we are tonight.

    2. What three men were unaware it was staged and why should a gay be especially upset?
      If you are referring to Lance, whose name is at the top of the tweet with the rainbow flag icon,
      ᒪᗩᑎᑕᗴ 🏳️‍🌈
      Jul 19
      Dear Lady Gaga – you are my hero. ♥️♥️♥️
      he (46 year member of SAGAFTRA) was most certainly aware that it was staged
      ᒪᗩᑎᑕᗴ 🏳️‍🌈
      Jul 19
      Yes, folks. It’s a movie scene. I figured everyone could see the overhead camera but here we are. I didn’t think I had to go into that and it’s not my wording on the video. Based on my recent attacks from the christian folks – it seemed to fit my attitude.
      A lot of stuff that happens in movies is unacceptable in real life.

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