Tuesday: Hili dialogue

August 29, 2023 • 6:45 am

Welcome to the Cruelest Day: Tuesday, August 29, 2023, and oy, it’s National Chop Suey Day. This vile dish, often made with canned crispy noodles, stir-fried celery, and a cornstarch-infused goo poured over the whole odious mess, may be the worst example of cultural foor appropriation I know. It’s okay if you’re hungry (everything is), but is bland and flavorless.


It’s also Lemon Juice Day, More Herbs, Less Salt Day (brought to you by the Leisure Fascists), National Swiss Wine Growers DayInternational Day against Nuclear Tests, and, in Ukraine, both Miners’ Day and Day of Remembrance of the Defenders of Ukraine. In India it’s both National Sports Day and Telugu Language Day.(tomorrow, “Hump Day”, would be translated as మూపురం రోజు in Telugu.

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the August 29 Wikipedia page.

Da Nooz:

*Crikey, Trump’s lawyers tried to postpone his “insurrection” trial for conspiracy to overturn the election results until 2026, but a federal judge set the trial to begin two years earlier: on March 4 of next year.

The federal judge overseeing former President Donald J. Trump’s prosecution on charges of conspiring to overturn the 2020 election set a trial date on Monday for early March, rebuffing Mr. Trump’s proposal to push it off until 2026.

The decision by Judge Tanya S. Chutkan to start the trial on March 4 amounted to an early victory for prosecutors, who had asked for Jan. 2. But it potentially brought the proceeding into conflict with the three other trials that Mr. Trump is facing, underscoring the extraordinary complexities of his legal situation and the intersection of the prosecutions with his campaign to return to the White House.

The district attorney in Fulton County, Ga., has proposed taking Mr. Trump to trial on charges of tampering with the election in that state on March 4 as well. Another case, in Manhattan, in which Mr. Trump has been accused of more than 30 felonies connected to hush-money payments to a porn actress in the run-up the 2016 election, has been scheduled to go to trial on March 25.

And if the trial in Washington lasts more than 11 weeks, it could bump up against Mr. Trump’s other federal trial, on charges of illegally retaining classified documents after he left office and obstructing the government’s efforts to retrieve them. That trial is scheduled to begin in Florida in late May.

The March 4 date set by Judge Chutkan for the federal election case at a hearing in Federal District Court in Washington is the day before Super Tuesday, when 15 states are scheduled to hold Republican primaries or caucuses.

Judge Chutkan said that while she understood Mr. Trump had both other trial dates scheduled next year and, at the same time, was running for the country’s highest office, she was not going to let the intersection of his legal troubles and his political campaign get in the way of setting a date.

“Mr. Trump, like any defendant, will have to make the trial date work regardless of his schedule,” Judge Chutkan said, adding that “there is a societal interest to a speedy trial.”

The article notes that Trump is plotting to delay the outcome of the federal trials until after the election, for if he wins he can pardon himself. But he cannot pardon himself if convicted for state crimes. And, of course, there are legal issues with a President pardoning himself.

*The AP has an article about how data-driven approaches may help curb gun violence (they don’t consider my solution: using the UK solution of severely restricting access to guns).

In recent years, research reviews have begun to conclude there’s enough evidence to say which public health interventions prevent shootings, which do not, and which need more study. Knoxville is one of a growing number of cities teaming with researchers to develop an evidence-based plan to stop the bleeding.

Though some big questions remain, there is a growing consensus about what programs and policies make a difference — and which don’t.

According to an assessment by the Rand Corp., measures that work include laws that permit charging adults who let children have unsupervised access to guns, well-enforced background checks and policies that ban guns from people subject to domestic violence restraining orders.

Measures that don’t: stand-your-ground and concealed carry laws, which studies consistently show increase gun homicides, and gun buyback programs, which have been shown to have little, if any, effect on crime.

I don’t get the concealed-carry stuff; if those laws increase gun homicides, then repealing them should be a recipe for reducing deaths.

. . .As shootings accelerated, Kincannon turned to Thomas Abt, whose book, “Bleeding Out,” offers a plan for cities that includes having police and community organizations work together.

Crucially, Abt’s program doesn’t count on policymakers to take action to restrict gun access. That was appealing, because Tennessee’s state government has been moving in the opposite direction.

Kincannon supports expanded background checks and other gun control measures, but said Knoxville’s efforts are designed to make a difference “no matter what happens legislatively.”

But the stuff above all involves the legislature, and the solutions suggested for the test city of Knoxville seem like weak beer. Here’s one:

The research also supported police data showing most gun violence happened in a few “hot spots,” mostly in East Knoxville, leading to a plan initially focusing police and community outreach to a nine-block area there.

The effort involves church leaders and a range of community organizations. There were also changes at the police department, including a new police chief, a detective unit focused only on homicides and shootings, and officers dedicated to patrolling in areas with many shootings.

A goal is to increase public trust in law enforcement, which had been low and sometimes abysmal. A particular low point occurred in 2021, when a police officer killed a student in a high school bathroom in East Knoxville.

There are other things one can do (programs for kids, more outreach), but the article says that so far there’s been no palpable effect on homicides in Knoxville. I really don’t think you can make inroads on the American issue of gun violence without restricting access to guns—and that will take legislatures and, more than that, a change in morality equivalent to that which lead to the civil rights laws of the Sixties.

*Here’s a clickbait WaPo headline for me, “This is the most glamorous book you’ll read this year. Or any year.” What’s a “glamorous” book? And what is reviewer Jacob Brogan recommending? It turns out to be the memoir Better than Sane: Tales from a Dangling Girl by “model, actress, and New Yorker writer [now writing for Vogue] Alison Rose.” The book review is glowing, though other reviews haven’t been. I’ve requested the book from our library, though. A few words:

On one of those early June afternoons when the weather in Washington is like a kettle recently off the stove, I found myself on the covered terrace of a cafe, almost involuntarily proselytizing to a friend about the book I was reading. “It is the only memoir that really needed to be written,” I told her. I was speaking about “Better Than Sane: Tales From a Dangling Girl,” by the model-turned-actress-turned-New Yorker-writer Alison Rose, which was published to little notice in 2004, soon fell out of print and is now, thankfully, being reissued by Godine.

“She is incredible,” I said, volume rising, words speeding up. “When she’s a child, she has a crush on Gardner McKay, the handsomest actor who ever lived. Then she meets him when she’s grown up. They become best friends! He casts her in a play that he wrote where she plays a mentally disabled boy. They screened it on PBS! Things like that just keep happening to her. She’s the hottest person you’ve never heard of.”

.  .  . “Better Than Sane” is the most glamorous book you will read this year. If you read it next year, that will still be true. If you were one of the few who read it in 2004, read it again. Rose’s natural glamour is of the slightly sorrowful kind Lana Del Rey aspires, sometimes successfully, to convey. But in her memoir, Rose also exudes aglamour of the kind some fairies in folklore possess: a beguiling but slightly illusory beauty that perhaps disguises a still more compelling ugliness, after which we can only ever wonder.

There are, of course, many affairs and a lot of sex, but I’ll skip that part and go to the reviewer’s conclusion:

. . . It is, however, a perfect book; not in the way that gemstones are, but in the way that a Saturday can be. This is the rare sort of memoir that invites you into a world beneath our own, a secret commonwealth made possible by Rose’s spiky genius and irresistible magnetism. It deserves to be reveled in, returned to and, if you are anything like me, enthusiastically and loudly shared. There are treasures here on every page, sometimes an unforgettable quip and sometimes just a joyful little encounter with a pet. Above it all there is Rose herself, as adventurous and unhinged as Titania, friend to movie stars and poets, glamorous precisely because she is possibly unreal.

Them’s very positive words! Well, this is a challenge for me. Will I find this a “perfect Saturday-like book”? Stay tuned.

*The conservative WSJ op-ed section has a piece on Nikki Haley, my second favorite Republican candidate after Chris Christie (I won’t, of course, vote for a Republican in the next Presidential election, but I’m not happy about voting for Biden, potentially turning Kamala “Do Nothing” Harris into President. The article, “Nikki Haley’s debate truths“, says this:

If Nikki Haley gets a bump in the polls from Wednesday’s presidential debate, one reason will be that she respected viewers by telling them the truth. Ms. Haley said, accurately, that passing a national abortion ban at 15 weeks is politically off the table, since it would require 60 votes in the Senate. She has argued this before, but many Republicans might be hearing it for the first time.

The former South Carolina Governor instead suggested—brace yourself—consensus policy-making. “Can’t we all agree that we should ban late-term abortions?” she asked. “Can’t we all agree that contraception should be available?” At the same time, Ms. Haley called herself “unapologetically pro-life.”

The contrast to Ms. Haley came from her fellow South Carolinian, Sen. Tim Scott, and especially former Vice President Mike Pence, who have endorsed a national abortion ban at 15 weeks. “A 15-week ban is an idea whose time has come,” Mr. Pence said. “It’s supported by 70% of the American people. But it’s going to take unapologetic leadership.”

Mr. Pence is principled, and he’s right that the Democratic Party’s abortion absolutists are far from the center of public opinion. In a recent Gallup survey, 55% of Americans (including 52% of women) said abortion should be generally illegal in the second three months of pregnancy, versus 37% who said legal.

Yet Ms. Haley is right that Mr. Pence’s idea would get zero support from Democrats in the Senate. Breaking a filibuster would take a supermajority that Republicans haven’t enjoyed in living memory, and if Mr. Pence has a plan to flip another 11 seats, he isn’t sharing it.

. . .Ms. Haley’s honesty didn’t stop there. “Donald Trump added $8 trillion to our debt,” she said. “You look at the 2024 budget: Republicans asked for $7.4 billion in earmarks. Democrats asked for $2.8 billion. So you tell me who are the big spenders.” Those figures are backed by a Roll Call story last month: “House Republicans have so thoroughly stacked the earmarking deck in their favor in appropriations bills for the upcoming fiscal year that the top Democratic recipient doesn’t even appear in the top 60.”

Then there was the elephant not in the room, as Fox News host Bret Baier put it, meaning former President Trump. “Three-quarters of Americans don’t want a rematch between Trump and Biden,” Ms. Haley said. “And we have to face the fact that Trump is the most disliked politician in America. We can’t win a general election that way.”

Haley’s foreign policy, made evident when she was ambassador to the UN, isn’t bad, either. As I said, I wouldn’t vote for her, but she and Christie are way, way better than Trump as Republican candidates.

*Gross news: reader Pyers informs me that an Australian woman who was having bouts of “abdominal pain and diarrhoea, followed by a constant dry cough, fever and night sweats,” graduating to “forgetfulness and depression”, was diagnosed with harboring a live roundworm in her brain!

It was a fairly regular day on the ward for Canberra hospital infectious diseases physician Dr Sanjaya Senanayake, until a neurosurgeon colleague called him and said: “Oh my God, you wouldn’t believe what I just found in this lady’s brain – and it’s alive and wriggling.”

The neurosurgeon, Dr Hari Priya Bandi, had pulled an 8cm-long parasitic roundworm from her patient, prompting her to call on Senanayake and other hospital colleagues for advice about what to do next.

The patient, a 64-year-old woman from south-eastern New South Wales, was first admitted to her local hospital in late January 2021 after suffering three weeks of abdominal pain and diarrhoea, followed by a constant dry cough, fever and night sweats.

By 2022, her symptoms also included forgetfulness and depression, prompting a referral to Canberra hospital. An MRI scan of her brain revealed abnormalities requiring surgery.

“But the neurosurgeon certainly didn’t go in there thinking they would find a wriggling worm,” Senanayake said. “Neurosurgeons regularly deal with infections in the brain, but this was a once-in-a-career finding. No one was expecting to find that.”

The surprising discovery prompted a team at the hospital to quickly come together to uncover what kind of roundworm it was and, most importantly, decide on any further treatment the patient might require.

. . .“Canberra is a small place, so we sent the worm, which was still alive, straight to the laboratory of a CSIRO scientist who is very experienced with parasites,” Senanayake said. “He just looked at it and said, ‘Oh my goodness, this is Ophidascaris robertsi’.”

Ophidascaris robertsi is a roundworm usually found in pythons. The Canberra hospital patient marks the world-first case of the parasite being found in humans.

She’s okay after the worm was removed, though she’s being tested for any sign of  being immunocompromised, She may have gotten infected by coming into contact with python feces, as snakes live in her area. Here are two pictures from the article:

Caption from the Guardian article:

The roundworm specimen after being pulled out of the woman’s brain. Photograph: Canberra Health

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Andrzej gives Hili some bird-catching lessons:

Hili: What is the probability that this bird will not fly away when I come close to it?
A: Close to zero.
Hili: That’s just a theory.
In Polish:
Hili: Jakie jest prawdopodobieństwo, że ten ptak nie odfrunie, kiedy do niego podejdę?
Ja: Bliskie zera.
Hili: To tylko teoria.
The roses are in focus, but Szaron is not:


From David, a Tundra cartoon by Chad Carpenter:

From Barry, a figure he found on reddit about the decline of religion in America (I can’t vouch for the data):

From Facebook, but I can’t find the artist:



From Masih. This really is a chilling video, showing several guys removing a woman not wearing a hijab from a taxi and beating her up. (Sound on.) Taxi drivers don’t have to accept women without hijabs, but beating them up for going unveiled is beyond the pale. Such is life for women in the Iranian theocracy.

A good scene from the first season of Ricky Gervais’s “After Life” (highly recommended show):

From Jez, the BEST personal trainer. But don’t squash the kitten!

From Malcolm, a lovely blanket octopus (there are four species), so named because of the webbing between their arms,

From the Auschwitz Memorial, two sisters gassed upon arrival:

Tweets from Dr. Cobb, the first showing an amazing fossil and then a tweet with a reference:

Duck therapists have a hard job:

Live and learn: I had no idea! My batteries are always scattered in the drawer:

50 thoughts on “Tuesday: Hili dialogue

  1. Ah yes … Australian fauna and flora..

    There is a Terry Pratchett quote about the continent of Fourecks ( which bears more than a passing resemblance to Australia …)

    Albert looked up and dived for cover, receiving only mild bruising because he had the foresight to curl into a ball.
    After a while Death, his voice a little muffled, said: ALBERT, I WOULD BE SO GRATEFUL IF YOU COULD GIVE ME A HAND HERE.
    Albert scrambled up and puled at some of the huge volumes, finally dislodging enough of them to allow his master to clamber free.
    HMM… Death picked up a book at random and read the cover.
    They waited.
    “No, wait, master. Here it comes.”
    Albert pointed to something white zigzagging lazily through the air. Finally Death reached up and caught the single sheet of paper.
    He read it carefully and then turned it over briefly just in case anything was written on the other side.
    “May I?” said Albert. Death handed him the paper.
    “‘Some of the sheep,’“ Albert read aloud. “Oh, well. Maybe a week at the seaside’d be better then.”
    – Death does some research | Terry Pratchett, The Last Continent

    1. I remember from years ago an hour long BBC programme (no advertisements, of course) about the most venomous creatures worldwide. Well over half the time was about Australia.

  2. On this day:
    1009 – Mainz Cathedral suffers extensive damage from a fire, which destroys the building on the day of its inauguration. [Whoops!]

    1588 – Toyotomi Hideyoshi issues a nationwide sword hunting ordinance, disarming the peasantry so as to firmly separate the samurai and commoner classes, prevent peasant uprisings, and further centralise his own power.

    1758 – The Treaty of Easton establishes the first American Indian reservation, at Indian Mills, New Jersey, for the Lenape.

    1831 – Michael Faraday discovers electromagnetic induction.

    1869 – The Mount Washington Cog Railway opens, making it the world’s first mountain-climbing rack railway.

    1885 – Gottlieb Daimler patents the world’s first internal combustion motorcycle, the Reitwagen.

    1898 – The Goodyear tire company is founded in Akron, Ohio.

    1911 – Ishi, considered the last Native American to make contact with European Americans, emerges from the wilderness of northeastern California.

    1912 – A typhoon strikes China, killing at least 50,000 people.

    1930 – The last 36 remaining inhabitants of St Kilda are voluntarily evacuated to other parts of Scotland.

    1949 – Soviet atomic bomb project: The Soviet Union tests its first atomic bomb, known as First Lightning or Joe 1, at Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan.

    1952 – American experimental composer John Cage’s 4’33” premieres at Maverick Concert Hall, played by American pianist David Tudor.

    1965 – The Gemini V spacecraft returns to Earth, landing in the Atlantic Ocean.

    1966 – The Beatles perform their last concert before paying fans at Candlestick Park in San Francisco.

    1982 – The synthetic chemical element Meitnerium, atomic number 109, is first synthesized at the Gesellschaft für Schwerionenforschung in Darmstadt, Germany.

    1987 – Odaeyang mass suicide: 33 individuals linked to a religious cult are found dead in the attic of a cafeteria in Yongin, South Korea. Investigators attribute their deaths to a murder-suicide pact.

    1991 – Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union suspends all activities of the Soviet Communist Party.

    1997 – Netflix is launched as an internet DVD rental service.

    2005 – Hurricane Katrina devastates much of the U.S. Gulf Coast from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle, killing up to 1,836 people and causing $125 billion in damage.

    2012 – The XIV Paralympic Games open in London, England, United Kingdom.

    2022 – Russo-Ukrainian War: Ukraine begins its southern counteroffensive in the Kherson Oblast, eventually culminating in the liberation of the city of Kherson.

    1632 – John Locke, English physician and philosopher (d. 1704).

    1756 – Jan Śniadecki, Polish mathematician and astronomer (d. 1830).

    1773 – Aimé Bonpland, French botanist and explorer (d. 1858).

    1780 – Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, French painter and illustrator (d. 1867).

    1809 – Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., American physician and author (d. 1894).

    1862 – Maurice Maeterlinck, Belgian poet and playwright, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1949).

    1879 – Han Yong-un, Korean independence activist, reformer, and poet (d. 1944).

    1898 – Preston Sturges, American director and producer (d. 1959). [Took the screwball comedy format of the 1930s to another level, writing dialogue that, heard today, is often surprisingly naturalistic and mature, despite the farcical situations. It is not uncommon for a Sturges character to deliver an exquisitely turned phrase and take an elaborate pratfall within the same scene.]

    1915 – Ingrid Bergman, Swedish actress (d. 1982). [Today is also the anniversary of her death.]

    1920 – Charlie Parker, American saxophonist and composer (d. 1955).

    1923 – Richard Attenborough, English actor, director, and producer (d. 2014).

    1924 – Dinah Washington, American singer and pianist (d. 1963).

    1929 – Thom Gunn, English-American poet and academic (d. 2004).

    1936 – John McCain, American captain and politician (d. 2018). [The anniversary of his death was noted here on Friday.]

    1938 – Elliott Gould, American actor and producer.

    1939 – Joel Schumacher, American director, producer, and screenwriter (d. 2020).

    1942 – Sterling Morrison, American singer and guitarist (d. 1995).

    1951 – Geoff Whitehorn, English singer-songwriter and guitarist.

    1958 – Lenny Henry, English comedian, actor, and screenwriter.

    1958 – Michael Jackson, American singer-songwriter, producer, dancer, and actor (d. 2009).

    1959 – Chris Hadfield, Canadian colonel, pilot, and astronaut.

    1959 – Eddi Reader, Scottish singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer.

    1967 – Neil Gorsuch, American lawyer and jurist, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

    I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work; I want to achieve immortality through not dying. I don’t want to live on in the hearts of my countrymen; I want to live on in my apartment.
    1533 – Atahualpa, Inca emperor (b. 1497).

    1712 – Gregory King, English genealogist, engraver, and statistician (b. 1648).

    1780 – Jacques-Germain Soufflot, French architect, co-designed The Panthéon (b. 1713).

    1856 – Mary Anne Schimmelpenninck, English author and activist (b. 1778).

    1891 – Pierre Lallement, French businessman, invented the bicycle (b. 1843). [I suspect the bicycle claim is somewhat contested.]

    1930 – William Archibald Spooner, English priest and author (b. 1844).

    1931 – David T. Abercrombie, American businessman, co-founded Abercrombie & Fitch (b. 1867).

    1958 – Marjorie Flack, American author and illustrator (b. 1897).

    1971 – Nathan Freudenthal Leopold Jr., American murderer (b. 1904).

    1979 – Gertrude Chandler Warner, American author and educator (b. 1890).

    1987 – Lee Marvin, American actor (b. 1924).

    1989 – Peter Scott, English explorer and painter (b. 1909).

    2011 – Honeyboy Edwards, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1915).

    2013 – Bruce C. Murray, American geologist and academic, co-founded The Planetary Society (b. 1931).

    2016 – Gene Wilder, American stage and screen comic actor, screenwriter, film director, and author (b. 1933).

    2021 – Lee “Scratch” Perry, Jamaican reggae producer (b. 1936).

    1. Jez: The quotation at the top of the deaths list…That ends with “I want to live on in my apartment”: where does that come from? Or is that your original? It seems familiar but from long ago.

      1. The quote is by Woody Allen. There. I said his name. I’m very, very, very, sorry. I had no choice.

        1. Yup, the first part appears in On Being Funny (1975) and the second in a Rolling Stone interview from 1987. It looks like they were joined together in The Illustrated Woody Allen Reader (1993). FWIW, I’m not aware of any misdeeds by Woody, and I believe that Mia Farrow’s allegations were comprehensively debunked by her and Woody’s adopted son Moses.

  3. The Gervais scene reminds me of the wonderfully clever diner scene with the young Jack Nicholson in “Five Easy Pieces” where he wants a side order of wheat toast which goes against diner menu policy as represented by an authoritarian waitress.

      1. I think that the waitress in that first doughnut scene with a young peter falk, is a young jaime lee curtis. Everyone started somewhere.

    1. Hmm. Guess I’m getting old. I’m siding with the waitress now. Years of public-facing work will do that to you.

  4. From Barry, a figure he found on reddit about the decline of religion in America (I can’t vouch for the data)
    Those numbers are still astonishingly high – WTAF?

    1. “Those numbers are still astonishingly high.”

      I wouldn’t put a lot of stock in statistics from the “dataisbeautiful community” as opposed to the dataarebeautiful community.

  5. The article notes that Trump is plotting to delay the outcome of the federal trials until after the election, for if he wins he can pardon himself.

    If The Donald wins the election and takes office before his two federal criminal cases proceed to trial, he need not rely on the Article II pardon power. He could simply order his new attorney general — one wonders what manner of Roy-Cohn-like character would be willing to slither into that office during a second Trump term — to Saturday-Night-Massacre the special counsel’s office. Just another instance of Trump leading the nation into uncharted territory: Here be dragons.

  6. Really only one way to solve the killing and gun problem in this country and we could look to any number of other countries for the answer. Get rid of the guns used to kill everyone. That would be the assault weapons and the hand guns. It would not disrupt hunting one bit. Everything else is just talk, talk talk.

    1. Yes but also “get rid of the guns used to kill everyone” is also just talk talk talk in the context of the USA. How are you going to do that considering the 2A? How are you going to persuade all the people who are [i]convinced[/i] they need a handgun for self defence to give up their guns?

      I think there are ways, but it’s a gradual thing.

      1. And then you have to motivate the police to stop and frisk everyone on the street and search every house without probable cause in order to find and seize all the guns (which will mysteriously move around during neighbourhood shakedowns)….often from some very bad people who actually do objectively need a handgun to kill or else be killed in their everyday line of work as gang members. Shooting a cop might actually be a sensible choice since the likelihood of severe punishment is low (if you’re not immediately shot dead) and the police would probably back off the seizure effort if they started taking casualties — we will hope for their sakes just “flesh wounds” — and alienating all their snitches in the bad neighbourhoods.

        Gun control advocates seem to think the hard nuts to crack will be the MAGA types (whom they loathe anyway) in their rural and suburban redoubts full of guns that almost never get fired at people. But they will never ever give up those guns if the still-armed dangerous classes are going to be venturing out to where they live unarmed. And targeting black neighbourhoods first where guns do get fired at people is an uphill political battle with much pushback. Some black and Latino people would get killed when confrontations over a firearm escalated and you know where that leads.

        Those who would get rid of all the guns need to spell out how, exactly, they would do it on the ground, not just how to get legislation passed that the Supreme Court is OK with.

    2. Like many, I don’t think getting rid of the guns is workable. Americans (many, not all) love their guns. They love their guns more than they love their children, their neighbors, their government, their country, their leaders, themselves. They love guns. More than anything. And they will die before they give them up.

      1. That is a pretty broad claim.
        The truth, at least for rural gun owners, is that we have always had guns, and have never had much of a problem with gun violence.
        Since we are not the problem, rounding up our guns will not measurably solve the problem, which is largely urban and gang related.
        Yet the endless proposed gun control legislation always seems to be aimed squarely at us. More than that, we seem to be sliding into a sort of anarcho-tyranny, where actual criminals are allowed to rampage more or less unopposed, but normal folks face relentless prosecution if they dare interfere.
        Some rural people take the view that you would not be so hyper focused on disarming us out here, unless you had plans to do things to us that would not be possible if we could defend ourselves.

        Others, I think, just have a strong streak of the American trait of BFYTW, where the desire to keep their guns (or whatever else) increases in proportion to others desire to take them away.

        Plus, I think a legitimate case can be made that there are a lot of people who just despise all the rubes in flyover country. Any new law that seems like it will torment the hicks is appealing for that aspect alone.

        1. I’m not suggesting that the government round up your guns. I would never ask you to sacrifice anything for your children or your neighbors or for your country. Keep your guns. I know several people who each have more than 50 guns. With many, many thousands of rounds of ammunition. They will kill and they will die to protect the thing that they love. They love their guns!

          1. Irony. cool.
            But really, I could take a cutting torch to all of my guns, and bury the pieces in a pasture, and it would not make you any safer, unless you have a sideline as a poacher or home invader in Southwest Colorado.

            Having 50 guns does not make a person more dangerous than if they only had one. People collect things, and it often seems odd, a waste of money, or even stupid to people outside the hobby. I have collected swords since I was a kid. Our house is full of them, which would likely horrify a visitor from England. I have a modest collection of classic cars. But just like guns, I can only drive one at a time, a fact my insurance company ignores.

            I read and hear plenty of people who would gleefully vote to send armed agents to kick down the doors and search the homes of rural people for contraband arms, even in communities where there is no gun violence, and the homeowner has not committed a crime.
            Those same people would never advocate a general shakedown inspection of homes in Chicago’s Washington Park, where gun violence and armed robbery are a very real issue.

  7. I like the irony of March 4. Until 1937 it was Inauguration Day.

    Also, at UNC Chapel Hill, a (probably Chemistry) faculty member was shot and killed. Suspect is in custody, not much else in the way of details yet.

    And not all Chop Suey is Chung King. Do not be afraid to order Singapore Chop Suey in a Chinese restaurant.

  8. Among current Republican candidates, Will Hurd is the best I’ve seen. As far as I can tell, he’s a completely normal Republican, in the pre-Trump sense. He has principles. He’s not a science denier. He’s for fiscal responsibility. He’s a foreign-policy realist. And, as he frequently says, he has never bent the knee to Trump, which is not true of either Christie or Haley. He is also the most strongly pro-Ukraine one in the field. Give him a look.

    1. Yes He is great. Heard him being interviewed by Bari Weis on Honestly. Can thoroughly recommend to have a listen. It is so refreshing to hear normality and logical reasoning from a politician.

      He should be in the presidential race.

    2. Jerry, as long as you are picking a Republican not to vote for, why not Asa Hutchinson? I lived in Arkansas during COVID and he is about as sane as they come. Plus he has repeatedly called out Trump. Chris Christie has played both sides of that street too many times for me.

  9. A bit of a kerfuffle this week related to Nikki Haley. Haley tweeted that a vote for Biden was actually a vote for Harris. Jemele Hill, a sportscaster and author, said that that was racist.


    The internet quickly pointed out that Nikki Haley was an Indian-American as is Kamala Harris.

  10. That brainworm story is awful. What if there are more worms in there? Or what if there are worm eggs in here just waiting to hatch. She’s a squirming wormbomb!

    And, I finally know how to use those battery boxes. Nooz you can use!

    Me? Chris Christie, followed by Nikki Haley. I’m voting for Biden, but if a Republican other than Trump wins the nomination, my guess is that we will have a Republican in the White House. The contrast in age will hurt Biden in the general election.

    If Trump wins the nomination, he *could* win the general. (It’s logic.) So, should we want Trump gone now, and accept a probable Republican President? Or should we hope that Trump wins the nomination and trust that the dice will roll in favor of Biden? It’s an exercise in risk management.

    1. I’m not yet ready to say that DeSantis could beat Biden. But I can agree that most of the others could. But the Republican machinery cannot break the spell of Trump at this point.

      1. “More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to hopelessness and despair. The other to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly.”

        –Woody Allen

      2. “But the Republican machinery cannot break the spell of Trump at this point.”

        Sure they can, but they’re too craven to do so. Yeah, they might lose a couple election cycles, (horrors!) but they could probably still save their party in the long run. Clinging to Trump because of his base is as cynical as it gets and as long as they do so, the Republican party (if it actually is a political party anymore) will continue its rapid decline.

        1. Let’s assume that the party leadership wants to put Trump out to permanent pasture.

          Serious question: by what specific mechanism(s) would the Republican party leadership rid itself of Trump if the majority (or plurality) of party primary voters overrules the desire of the party leadership to be done with him?

          1. Mechanisms? Dunno.
            Just come back down to reality in the mind, no mechanisms; stop promoting Trump’s Big Lie, stop pretending Trump is some silver bullet savior (Jesus Superman?) not deserving of 4 separate indictments and 96 charges, many of these charges felonies. Stop pretending Trump is actually a good political candidate and realize he’s a classic con-man + demagogue. Stop looking the other way when open racists endorse Trump (Fuentes fills this box). Stop acting like the Qanon cult is fringe. (Trump’s on board. Whoop! Plays the Qanon anthem at rallies.) Stop analyzing Biden’s every physical move and word with hate-filled scrutiny, and non-contextual speech. (This is where the media sucks.) Stop the arrant chaos by denouncing the sociopathic fool who is Trump. Let the pre-frontal cortex do it’s job for a while. It’s a money thing, really, so stop that. As Jerry said, “it’s a morality question,” and morality is something the GOP relinquished in 2016. It’s only gone downhill since then.

            1. I think you could have stopped at “dunno.” That’s where I am, too.

              People seriously overestimate what the leaders of a party can do when faced with millions of populist primary voters who care nothing about what “leadership” says or does and when their favored candidate is not reliant on the party for funding. If the GOP leadership had a way to rid itself of Trump, then he never would have won the 2016 primary.

        2. Let’s assume that the party leadership wants to put Trump out to permanent pasture.

          Serious question: by what specific mechanism(s) would the Republican party rid itself of Trump if the majority (or plurality) of party primary voters overrules the desire of the party leadership to be done with him?

          PS. I’m the other Doug!

    1. Because I don’t like any of the candidates more than I like the Democratic candidate (Biden), and in other elections I invariably feel the same way. I don’t like the Republican party platform, and I don’t want to go into why now.

      1. And I don’t think there is a Republican party platform anymore. The new platform, if we can call it that is “whatever Trump wants.” And right now it seems all he wants is retribution.

  11. I doubt Trump could pardon himself. If a president has that power then the president is effectively above the law. Hard to square self-pardon with three co-equal branches.

  12. “I really don’t think you can make inroads on the American issue of gun violence without restricting access to guns—and that will take legislatures and, more than that, a change in morality equivalent to that which lead to the civil rights laws of the Sixties.”

    A change in morality. Thank you for that, I think, but it is possible that we are thinking of different forms of morality. “Just take the guns away” is simplistic. (Just make the fentanyl go away, too.) Gun control advocates need to wrestle with the question of why we did not have these recurring mass shootings and school killings in earlier decades when far more households had guns, and when those guns were even more readily available to many youths, particularly those in rural areas. 2nd Amendment types need to wrestle with the fact that the moral calculus, for whatever reason, has changed, and people cannot rely for their safety entirely on other people’s self-discipline and regard for human life.

    Legislation is easier to change than is culture, but I’m not confident that one can work without the other. We see widespread disregard for other people in our culture; physical violence is simply the most extreme manifestation of that.

  13. That battery package trick would be clever if it weren’t for the fact I’ve never been able to successfully open a pack of batteries without destroying the package. That perforated panel on the back is more decorative than functional. They probably delicately cut it open with an x-acto knife for that video.

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