Saturday: Hili dialogue

The News of the Day: President George H. W. Bush died in Houston yesterday at age 94. He was one of the rare presidents that not only gave birth to another President, but also was not re-elected after one term in office, and the first Vice-President to be elected as President since 1836.  I didn’t know he had Parkinson’s disease, which is probably what did him in, but it seems like just yesterday he was jumping out of airplanes.  Well, he was a better President than his son. Here’s what he did four years ago:

And here’s the letter Bush left in the Oval Office for his successor Bill Clinton:

Back to the regular posting.  It’s December!:  Saturday, December 1, 2018, and the month in which winter begins. Fortunately, I’ll be in Hawaii for several weeks starting at the end of the month. It’s National Fried Pie Day, but you’re likely to find those treats only in the American South. It’s also National Pear Month, National Fruitcake Month, and National Eggnog Month. (Of these, only pears are worth consuming.) It’s also World AIDS Day, devoted to raising awareness of this disease.

On this day in 1824, we had the first case of a President elected while losing the popular vote. In an election involving four candidates, Andrew Jackson won the most votes, but nobody got a majority, ergo the House of Representatives voted to decide who would be President. The winner was John Quincy Adams.  On December 1, 1862, Lincoln gave his State of the Union Address, affirming that slavery must end—something he’d proclaimed ten weeks before in his Emancipation Proclamation.

On December 1, 1913, the Ford Motor Company introduced their moving assembly line. Exactly six years later, Lady Astor became the first woman Member of Parliament to be seated in the House of Commons.

More civil rights: it was on this day in 1955 that Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat to a white man, got arrested for violating segregation laws, and thus inspired the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott: a bellwether of the Civil Rights Movement.  On this day in 1969—and I remember it well—America held its first draft lottery since World War II. We were all sitting around watching it in the dorm, and the third ball they drew from the container read December 30—my birthday. At that moment I knew I’d be drafted and probably sent to Vietnam. But I had a strong record of antiwar work and eventually got my I-O (conscientious objector) status from the Newport News draft board. I worked in a hospital as my “alternative service” for 13 months before, realizing I had been drafted illegally (nobody was drafted into the military that year), I brought suit against the government with the help of the ACLU, won, and was released along with about 2,500 other men.

There were two plane crashes on this day in 1974: TWA Flight 514 crashed near Dulles Airport in Washington, D.C., killing all 92 aboard. On the same day, Northwest Airlines Flight 6231 (another Boeing 727) crashed near JFK Airport, killing all aboard, but the plane was empty save three crew members.  Finally, it was on this day in 1990 that the UK and France sections of the Channel tunnel met under the sea. Yay!

Notables born on this day include Marie (Madame) Tussaud (1761), Georgy Zhukov (1896), Lou Rawls (1933), Woody Allen (1935), Richard Pryor (1940), Bette Midler (1945), Pablo Escobar (1949), and the great Sarah Silverman (1970).

Those who died on this day include George Everest (1866), Aleister Crowley and G. H. Hardy (both 1947), geneticist J.B.S. Haldane (1964), David Ben-Gurion (1973), James Baldwin (1987), Alvin Ailey (1989), and Stéphane Grappelli (1997). Here’s a rare live video of Grappelli and his guitar-playing pal Django Reinhardt, the swingingest guitar/violin duo ever, playing with the Quintette du Hot Club de France. Note that Reinhardt, because of a childhood accident, could use only the thumb and two fingers on his fret hand.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili has a serious question about extraterrestrial life:

Hili: Is it possible that in the whole Universe cats exist only on Earth?
A: It’s likely.
Hili: How can we check it?
A; We have to listen out for meowing coming from afar.
In Polish:
Hili: Czy jest możliwe, że w całym wszechświecie koty są tylko na Ziemi?
Ja: Jest takie prawdopodobieństwo.
Hili: Jak to sprawdzić?
Ja: Musimy nasłuchiwać, czy gdzieś z daleka nie dobiega jakieś miauczenie.

A Happy Owliday tweet from reader Barry, who sent four tweets:

Also from Barry; who knew a plastic spoon could give such pleasure to a bird?

Jerk cat:

Friendly high-fiving cat:

Tweets from Matthew. Friendly people help a mole (I love moles and can’t bear to see people kill them):

Yep, the ontology argument is bonkers, but people still think there’s something to it. If you don’t know it, read about it here:

Why isn’t this guy afraid? And why aren’t the fish afraid?

Tweets from Grania. The first one shows the huge pre-Christmas scrum at holiday sales in Britain. I bet it’s even less crowded in Canada!


Be sure to look at the link:

Cuddly kitten wants cuddles:

And a tweet from the fake DPRK news feed:

Meows from afar.


  1. Alex Gh
    Posted December 1, 2018 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    Well, I think those fish know that great white sharks are not very fast and they keep out of the range of attack. Kind of like in the savanna, zebras can keep an eye on a pride of lions, and still graze at the same time. Being too skittish is metabolically costly, so it would be detrimental, from an evolutionary perspective.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted December 1, 2018 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      And much the same attitude from the diver. Why waste air by breathing fast.
      Seriously – far and away the commonest attack profile for great whites is the strike from below – probably because the diver’s silhouette sufficiently resembles a surface-swimming seal. So, when you’re on the bottom, they’re relatively unlikely to go for you. Gets hairy if you’ve got obligate decompression to do at 3 or 5 m (depending on your tables), but you, the diver, can control that unless you’re already over the limits. And even then, DCS hits are statistical – like shark hits, so you can choose which risk to take. Would, for example, doing your decco directly under the boat reduce your silhouette sufficiently?

      Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili has a serious question about extraterrestrial life:

      Hili to launch the SEFI? Search For Extra Feline Intelligence.
      (Actually, that didn’t finish the way it was started. But I think it improved en route.)

      • rickflick
        Posted December 1, 2018 at 9:23 am | Permalink

        Off the West End Bahamas, diving from a live-aboard, I had a spooky encounter with the reef sharks. The guide had been feeding 5 or 6 sharks on the coral bottom. When it was over, everyone headed for the boat and I was the last one to head up. The anchor rope broke and the boat drifted away leaving me alone decompressing at 6 meters with the sharks circling me expecting more to eat. While gray reef sharks have relatively mild dispositions, I remembered a large tiger shark had been spotted earlier in the same waters. I had about 10 minutes to think about that until the boat circled back and picked me up.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted December 1, 2018 at 9:31 am | Permalink

          You know, I’m not so sure I’d take the trip with the guide who feeds sharks. Particularly with tigers about.
          The “busy” European dive sites I’ve visited, they chuck several big lumps of concrete into the water with a large marker buoy chained to it. Mind you, thinking back, that was in the Med (no tides to speak of) – and in the Atlantic it was “bring your own anchor”. Still shoddy seamanship to let the chain or rope get that worn – for the reasons you describe.

          • rickflick
            Posted December 1, 2018 at 10:07 am | Permalink

            Your cause is mine. I went along with the group, but reluctant about the feeding. The anchor was, as I recall, simply dropped into the coral. Not the most properly executed trip I’m afraid.

    • Posted December 1, 2018 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

      Watching a recent programme on white pointers off the coast of the Chatham Is., NZ, the very fanatical lover of anything shark host, described the strategy of WP’s IIRC like this:
      they attack from the element of surprise (usually meaning from below) if you keep eye balling them they check you out but won’t attack. It’s when you are not looking… a seal just happened along and it swam around with it but always orientated itself with a visual of the animal, it was no match for the seals agility.
      Chatham Is cray fishermen free dive (no diving gear) with white pointers as a occupational hazard… they seem relaxed about it.

  2. Alex Gh
    Posted December 1, 2018 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    Oh, and that kitten that went for “cuddles”, seems to me to search for nipples, if you notice the head movements. I think it’s a moment when the heuristic of “search for milk underneath puffy warm entities nearby who tolerate your presence” though misguided in this instance, resulted in a cute video for us 😉

    • Posted December 2, 2018 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

      I once had two kittens that kept sucking from each other, from the same spot every time, and skin there had become nude.

  3. freiner
    Posted December 1, 2018 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    What a gracious letter from Bush to Clinton. Thank you for posting it, I had not seen it before.

    • Posted December 1, 2018 at 8:32 am | Permalink

      I can’t imagine your current president leaving a letter like that for his successor.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted December 1, 2018 at 9:58 am | Permalink

        GHW Bush wrote that letter not just to his successor, but to the guy who had beaten him in a hotly contested election just two months before.

        Under similar circumstances, Trump’s successor would be lucky to get a “fuck you” tweet.

      • Posted December 1, 2018 at 10:40 am | Permalink

        If he did leave a letter at all, he certainly didn’t write it.

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted December 1, 2018 at 9:09 am | Permalink

      Yes, gracious is the operative term. This is how it should be, but sadly isn’t anymore.(I don’t just blame Mr Trump for that, there are more of them, eg. Mr McConnell comes to mind).
      I think Papa Bush was an infinitely better president than Baby Bush.

      • Posted December 1, 2018 at 11:51 am | Permalink

        “infinitely” would imply that GW Bush’s ability was zero. But if Trump has shown us anything, it is that there was still a long way between GWB and the bottom.

        • Nicolaas Stempels
          Posted December 2, 2018 at 12:11 am | Permalink

          Ok, a figure of speech and yes, Baby Bush turned out to be still quite far from the bottom. Now I wonder, how far is Mr Trump from the bottom?

  4. Randall Schenck
    Posted December 1, 2018 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    George Bush senior was the last president from the greatest generation and one who served in WWII. I recall when he was running against Reagan he called some of Reagan’s economic ideas, Voodoo economics. He was right but still signed on as Reagan’s VP. The only thing to hold against him was the president he gave us.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted December 1, 2018 at 7:36 am | Permalink

      Also, I forgot to say Aloha…

  5. RPGNo1
    Posted December 1, 2018 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr. Bush:

    You supported the German wish for reunification in 1989/1990 as other statespeople were still doubting or even showed open resistance. Germany owes you so much.

    Thank you very much for your great support!

  6. Historian
    Posted December 1, 2018 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    It is inconceivable that Trump would write such a letter to his successor.

    I just read a pundit mention that George H.W. Bush was the last president that a significant portion of the population did not despise. How far the nation has sunk!

    Bush was the last president of the “greatest generation” and fought in World War II. Perhaps his views and attitudes were shaped by that war when for the last time the entire nation pulled together in a common cause.

    • BJ
      Posted December 1, 2018 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

      Notice how one of the other well-respected politicians who seemed to serve out of love of country and recently passed was also of that generation (I’m talkin’ Johnny McC, y’all). I think that generation had a much greater appreciation for this country, its accomplishments, and its place in the world.

  7. Bat
    Posted December 1, 2018 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    With a draft lottery number of 29 the same night that jerry received a 3, i had to travel by bus with about two dozen other college of william and mary students from williamsburg to richmond, va for pre-induction physical and mental examinations. When we all sat for the mental section, the sarge told us that we might as well do our best on the exam. If we failed it by purposely giving wrong answers, we would be kept overnight and take it again until we passed…because he said, if “you are smart enough to be at william and mary, you are sure smart enough to be in the army”

    • Posted December 2, 2018 at 7:14 am | Permalink

      I went for both exams, too, and passed with flying colors. It was only my record of antiwar work and writing that kept me out of Vietnam. But had I not gotten my CO status, I would have gone to jail rather than Vietnam.

  8. Ken Kukec
    Posted December 1, 2018 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    I knew Poppy Bush was ill and 90-something years old. But I was holding out hope that, at some point, he might be well enough to join the other four former US presidents in making a joint appearance, or issuing a joint statement, saying that the actions of the current president are beyond the pale.

    I know there is a venerable tradition of former presidents abjuring from criticism of the incumbent, but these are anything but normal times. It’s nut-cutting time for America, and I think it would take something as out-of-the-ordinary as a joint communiqué from all the living former presidents to call the nation’s attention to the perilousness of these times.

    I disagreed with GHWB on many of his policies when he was president. But he was a gentleman and a patriot, and — unlike the current occupant of the Oval Office — there was never any reason to question that the United States had his undivided loyalties.

    • Historian
      Posted December 1, 2018 at 8:15 am | Permalink

      I doubt that such a communiqué would have done much good, unfortunately, especially since three of the former presidents are Democrats. Trump’s grip on his cult is still strong. So far the evidence is scant that his sway over that group is weakening. I doubt also that the Mueller report will have much impact. This is because the cult cares nothing about democracy, the content of actual policies enacted by Trump, or the demeaning of the office of the presidency. Largely rural, the cult only cares that Trump nurses their grievances as the world changes in a way they fear.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted December 1, 2018 at 8:43 am | Permalink

        I could not disagree more on this but am also sure you know this. This cult that you seem so concentrated on will turn on Trump and will likely do this faster than the pathetic republican politicians. History tells us this is exactly what happened to Nixon. The followers turned on him prior to the politicians. Mueller will have to provide more and will and any idea that we know even a tenth of what Mueller has is surely wrong. Just this past week we have learned of a completely desperate Manafort and considerable lying by Trump and the whole family on his Russian projects. Obstruction was one of the charges against Nixon and Trump already has a bucket full of those. The conspiracy with the Russians is already unfolding so I would suggest paying closer attention to Mueller and less to the cult.

        • Historian
          Posted December 1, 2018 at 8:51 am | Permalink

          The cult has millions of votes, Mueller has one. Nixon had supporters, but not a cult following.We’ll see which one of us is right. If you are (and I hope that is the case), I will admit gladly that I was wrong. I trust you will do the same if I turn out to be right.

          • Randall Schenck
            Posted December 1, 2018 at 9:00 am | Permalink

            You bet. Will be glad to.

        • Posted December 1, 2018 at 10:53 am | Permalink

          I believe that, if there is a turning point, it will be when GOP politicians decide that further support of Trump is toxic to their careers. In general, they are calculating and pragmatic, unlike Trump’s voter cult. I don’t expect the latter to admit they are wrong but I also think they are a but a subset of those who say they support Trump when polled. Most of those aren’t true cult members but just vote GOP out of habit, because their neighbors do, or because they vote for whoever support religious values the most. They don’t want to go down with a sinking ship. If there is no turning point, it is because Trump’s efforts to discredit Mueller have worked to the extent that no one on the Trump side believes his report. If that happens, Trump gets a second term and the country is doomed.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted December 1, 2018 at 8:52 am | Permalink

        I think about 25% of the US public (which translates to roughly 60% of Republicans) are beyond the reach of evidence and rational discourse regarding Trump. I’m hopeful that enough of the others are reachable that — along with the loses they suffered in the recent election — congressional Republicans might yet be convinced that it’s in their own self-interest to stand up to Trump. I’ve abandoned hope that GOP caucuses in congress will take a stand because it’s the right thing to do, or for any other reason than naked political self-interest.

        • Historian
          Posted December 1, 2018 at 9:06 am | Permalink

          The 60% of Republicans that you mention is what I consider to be his cult. These are the people who vote and choose via the primary system Republican candidates. Thus, they have inordinate power beyond their numbers. These are the people Trump is always talking to. As long as these people remain with Trump, the vast majority of Republican office seekers will not break with him. If Randy is right that these people will break with Trump sometime soon then the Republican Party will change. If and until this happens, the sad state of the American government will continue.

          As I’ve commented before, the primary system was put in place to increase democracy (let the “people” choose candidates rather than party bosses in smoked filled rooms). Unfortunately, it seems that the primary system along with gerrymandering, the electoral college and the election of senators by states has resulted in a far from democratic system.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted December 1, 2018 at 9:30 am | Permalink

            That’s precisely why I’m predicting that a civil war will breakout within the Republican Party ranks as it becomes ineluctably clear that Trump has committed high crimes and misdemeanors, a war between the dead-end deplorables of Trump’s base and the more-mainstream Republicans who wish to live on to fight another day.

            Whatever arises from those ashes will look much different from today’s GOP.

  9. George
    Posted December 1, 2018 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    Whenever anyone says something nice about Bush 41, I just remember than no one was more responsible for injecting Lee Atwater into American politics than he was. The Republicans launched their Southern Strategy in 1968. Atwater was the person who fully weaponized it. That, more than the Tangerine Wanker, is what defines the GOP today. All you need to know about Atwater is in this bit of an interview he did.

    Questioner: But the fact is, isn’t it, that Reagan does get to the Wallace voter and to the racist side of the Wallace voter by doing away with legal services, by cutting down on food stamps?

    Atwater: Y’all don’t quote me on this. You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger”. By 1968 you can’t say “nigger”—that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me—because obviously sitting around saying, “We want to cut this”, is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger”.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted December 1, 2018 at 8:15 am | Permalink

      You are correct, running for office in this country was and is a nasty business. However, I am pretty sure that George Bush would not have tolerated an assist by the Russians.

  10. W.Benson
    Posted December 1, 2018 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Lincoln in his Dec 1, 1862 State of the Union proposed (perhaps not sincerely) that the South free slaves slowly over several decades — if the it agreed to peace — and for Washington to compensate slave states for their financial loss. Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was a tactical move based on the legal principle that slaves were property and private property could be seized under a state of war. The EP only freed slaves living in Confederate-held territory. Lincoln said: “Every State wherein slavery now exists which shall abolish the same therein at any time or times before the 1st day of January, A. D. 1900, shall receive compensation from the United States …”
    Lincoln, it seems, never contemplated giving Americans of African ancestry citizenship with voting rights. Rather they were destined to “deportation”. Citizenship was conferred only after Lincoln’s death and was motivated more by political reality — the need to elect Republican candidates in the South — than moral sentiment. Lincoln’s project to deport America’s freed slaves to some tropical land — an idea perhaps influenced by Harvard zoologist Louis Agassiz’s creationist views — did, however, effectively die with the assassination.
    Full Disclosure: I have ancestors who were military guards at President Lincoln’s summer residency, the Soldiers’ Home, and one on the other side shot dead during a bayonet charge on a Union cannon battery.

    • Historian
      Posted December 1, 2018 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      Your discussion of Lincoln depicts him as a person with static views on issues such as slavery, colonization, and African-American citizenship. In fact, Lincoln’s views evolved over time. By the end of his presidency, he had rejected the notion of colonization (a policy, totally unrealistic, that he had previously supported) and also supported black voting rights under certain situations. His message to Congress of December 1, 1862 was the last time he mentioned colonization and compensated emancipation. It must be remembered that slavery was enshrined in the Constitution, thus requiring Lincoln to use the pretext of military necessity to abolish it where he could via the Emancipation Proclamation. He could not universally abolish it at his whim. In addition, he could not risk alienating four slave states that had not seceded – Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri. He supported the 13th amendment that abolished slavery. There is no doubt that Lincoln hatred slavery for his entire life, but there was little he could do about it. The fact is that the exigencies of war provided him with the opportunity to take decisive action against it.

      Lincoln was an ambitious politician, not a saint. He shared also many of the racial views of his time. Still, he did, in my estimation, what no other president would have done (including his Republican rivals at the 1860 convention) – use force to preserve the Union and take the measures necessary to put slavery on the road to a very quick extinction.

      For more detail on Lincoln’s views, I recommend this extended interview with Eric Foner, a noted historian of the Civil War and Reconstruction eras.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted December 1, 2018 at 9:25 am | Permalink

        Foner is certainly one of the best on Lincoln.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted December 1, 2018 at 8:57 am | Permalink

      The reason the EP as you call it only freed slaves in the Confederacy and specifically not boarder states such as Missouri and Kentucky was because Lincoln knew that would be a bad move in a war he was not yet winning. That may have caused the boarder states to joint the south and he did not want that. To release the EP when he did was a bold and strategic move.

      • W.Benson
        Posted December 2, 2018 at 7:36 am | Permalink

        Actually slaves were only freed in the Confederacy because the law only allowed Lincoln to do that. He could seize or deny the enemy of property (slaves) if it helped the war effort. He could not deny loyal citizens of the United States of their slave properties without due process. You are right that it would have been a bad move, but Lincoln could not have (easily) done it even if it were a good move.

    • BJ
      Posted December 1, 2018 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

      When you decimate a place economically and that place is nearby and/or has many people who would like to have a war with you, it’s usually a good idea to try and rebuild their economy. See Japan for a good example. See Iraq or Afghanistan (after we helped them defeat the Russians) for examples of what happens when you don’t help them rebuild.

  11. rickflick
    Posted December 1, 2018 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    The manufacture of large carbon nanotube sheets is shown here:

    “Nearly as strong as steel”.

  12. Posted December 1, 2018 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    If the Universe is infinite, then it is almost a certainty that there are cats on other planets.

    • Posted December 1, 2018 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      And some are undoubtedly very cool cats!

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted December 1, 2018 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

      If the Universe is infinite, then it is almost a certainty that there are cats on other planets.

  13. Posted December 1, 2018 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Richard Nixon was a VP who got elected President. Not directly on, though. Just quibbling.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted December 1, 2018 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      Yes, and while I am in danger of taking up too much space here, I must mention that Nixon committed diabolical and treasonous methods to get the election in 68. This is a great piece in history that we all now know took place. With the help of Anna Chennault and some of Nixon’s staff the South Vietnamese were talked into not attending the peace conference that Johnson was attempting. So Nixon was a big time cook before he even became president. As was his VP I might add.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted December 1, 2018 at 9:46 am | Permalink

      So was Truman, but I read Jerry’s post to mean elected directly from the office of VP. Veep Al Gore won a popular election directly from that office, as I recall, still painfully.

      • Posted December 1, 2018 at 10:12 am | Permalink

        Yeah, me too. I was just being a nuisance. Actually quite a few Veeps who inherited the Presidency went on to be elected in their own right—Teddy Roosevelt, Silent Cal, Truman, LBJ.

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted December 1, 2018 at 10:51 am | Permalink

          However, most of those guys, Truman, Teddy, LBJ all got there first due to the death of the president.

          • Posted December 1, 2018 at 11:14 am | Permalink

            Well, yeah. All of them actually. Only Ford became President by a resignation, and he lost his own election.

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted December 1, 2018 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      Wasn’t LBJ a VP that got elected too?

      • Posted December 1, 2018 at 11:54 am | Permalink

        By the time he faced his first election (for the office of president), he was already the incumbent.

        • Nicolaas Stempels
          Posted December 1, 2018 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

          Yes, that’s right. If we tally: Truman, LBJ, Nixon and papa Bush, we have 4 presidents since WWII that were VP’s at one stage.
          Eisenhower, JFK, Carter, Reagan, Clinton, Baby Bush, Obama and Trump were not. 
          8 vs 4. Ford never got elected.
          Papa Bush was indeed the only one that got elected straight from his VP post.

          • Posted December 3, 2018 at 8:49 am | Permalink

            Ford never got elected.

            for either president or vice president (if you can say the vice president is elected).

  14. Blue
    Posted December 1, 2018 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    I am not one who relishes a fray and likely
    am not to jump in to one unless … … forced.

    The unkindness of late noted now within the
    citizenry of very much of the World has done
    that to me, and Mine, since y2016’s campaign
    … … and is exactly why, Men, I wagered
    then inside its October with Dr Coyne that: Trump .would. win. Yes, I did do that.

    Yes, there always was incivility even to the point of barbarism Worldwide; but for decades now and after those Ancient and Pogrom Times, there has been, instead, plenty of science and food and warmth for All. Yet, AllWeAll have .not. … … shared this largesse.
    We of the Earth have not.

    Certainly I am s a d about it, Randall, but, therefore, am concurring with Historian and with what just a few weeks ago appeared as a feature within .the Atlantic. entitled,
    “The Cruelty IS the Point: ‘ Trump and
    his supporters find community … …
    by rejoicing IN the suffering of those
    they hate and fear.’ ” and from it thus,
    ” It IS that cruelty, &
    that binds his most ardent supporters to him,
    in shared scorn for those they hate and fear:
    … … immigrants, black voters, feminists.”

    IT IS THUS, Randall, Mr Kukec, Historian!
    May I never BE as miserable as are his supporters.


    • Randall Schenck
      Posted December 1, 2018 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      My only recommendation is the same as I said above. Try not to spend much time on Trump and his cult followers. They will crumble as the truth comes out about this scam artist. Cheer up about the last election we just had with the massive vote and return of the House to the Democrats. The wheels are turning and the rules have suddenly changed for this crook.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted December 1, 2018 at 11:14 am | Permalink

      Thank you, Blue, for reminding me of the Atlantic article. Schadenfreude on steroids, and perhaps ingrained in the authoritarian mindset. I’d intended to read it, then became sidetracked and had forgotten about it. In case others want to access it, here’s the link

      The Atlantic has several other articles on the rise of cruelty engendered by Trump in (some of) the populace.

  15. Cate Plys
    Posted December 1, 2018 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    Talk about a fabulous post for today. Among so many, thank you for that gracious letter from Bush I to Bill Clinton–definitely makes me hold Bush I in much higher regard. And the owl GIF. And the Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli video, because I just went to iTunes and got the “Djangology” CD and will be listening to it incessantly. Thanks Prof CCE!

  16. Randall Schenck
    Posted December 1, 2018 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    Going back over the dialog it just hit me – No one was drafted in 1969? I never would have guessed that one. When you consider how many were killed and wounded in 68 it’s just hard to believe. They must have drafted a bunch in the year before (1968) and maybe in 69 they were already reducing the numbers in Vietnam. I was already in the air force and in England so did not know what was going on.

    • Posted December 1, 2018 at 1:33 pm | Permalink


      Of course people were drafted in 1969. 283,586 according to Selective Service records.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted December 1, 2018 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

        I think I selected the wrong year. Maybe he means 1970? If that is not the case, I don’t know.

        • Posted December 1, 2018 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

          PCC is talking about the lottery system, which was introduced in 1969 and changed how the inductees were chosen. The draft itself was in effect from 1940 to 1973.

          • Randall Schenck
            Posted December 1, 2018 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

            Please go back and read his entry. He said – Nobody was drafted into the military that year. This is why they sued. It has to be 1970 or it makes no sense.

            • Posted December 1, 2018 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

              Hmmm. Don’t know what PCC meant. Here are the draft statistics from that period.

              1968 296,406
              1969 283,586
              1970 162,746
              1971 94,092
              1972 49,514
              1973 646

              • Randall Schenck
                Posted December 1, 2018 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

                Thanks. I finally looked them up also so who knows. 162,746 sounds like something more than none. He said whatever had happened, it was illegal so I just don’t get it.

  17. Matt
    Posted December 1, 2018 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    Trump’s funeral will set records for smallest crowd and fewest tears.

  18. Posted December 1, 2018 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    I really enjoyed the letter from GHWB to Clinton. His politics were not mine, but I respected him, and this letter illustrates why. He might have been wrong about many things, but he cared.

    However, I must object to your dismissal of fruitcake. Oh, I don’t mean the ubiquitous kind with candied fruit. But one made with a batter that isn’t too sweet and plenty of real dried fruit bits is very tasty. I got into trouble one year when I made such a cake for my uncle, and he artlessly declared it much better than my mother’s traditional fruitcake, in front of my mother. Thanks, Uncle Les.

    Not being inclined much to bake currently, I satisfy my real fruit fruitcake tooth with panettone from the grocery store.

    • Posted December 1, 2018 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

      I second your fruitcake comment. When I was young in England, I really loved the variety they called Genoa.

  19. Kiwi Dave
    Posted December 1, 2018 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    The ontological argument is ridiculous for several reasons, but only recently did it occur to me that it was actually blasphemous.

    Whereas theists believe an objectively existing god created humanity, this argument implies humanity creates God by acts of definition and (non)conception – very post modern. Or do proponents of this argument believe definitions and conceptions exist independently of human thought?

  20. grasshopper
    Posted December 2, 2018 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    From Jerry Coyne

    Yes, if Trump died a natural death right now, I wouldn’t have anything good to say about him, but he does have family and friends and presumably values his own life. It seems mean and churlish to wish that life would end. (Yes, it might be salubrious for America, but there are a lot of people whose deaths would be salubrious for America, and we shouldn’t wish them dead.)

    And from J.R.R. Tolkein, in Lord Of The Rings, where Frodo and Gandalf are discussing Gollum:

    “I am sorry,” said Frodo. “But I am frightened; and I do not feel any pity for Gollum.”

    “You have not seen him,” Gandalf broke in.

    “No, and I don’t want to,” said Frodo. I can’t understand you. Do you mean to say that you, and the Elves, have let him live on after all those horrible deeds? Now at any rate he is as bad as an Orc, and just an enemy. He deserves death.”

    “Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement.”

    Well said, both.

  21. Diane G
    Posted December 4, 2018 at 2:23 am | Permalink

    “He was one of the rare presidents that not only gave birth to another President…”

    “Rare” hardly begins to cover that…

    • rickflick
      Posted December 4, 2018 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      Well there were the Adams family. That’s two out of 45, which is 4.44%. Bobby Kennedy might well have won the office had he not been assassinated. The chances of this happening again are not negligible.

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