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February 18, 2021

Comments

Maybe I'm late, but I can't let this go:

He rejected the idea that the holocaust was a product of a culture and civilisation (Germany) which thought itself, and was thought by others, to be a pinnacle of Western culture and civilisation. He contended that responsibility for the holocaust was the Nazi party's, not Germany's, but he asked for evidence of the bolded text above, which was my contention.

The notion that the Holocaust was some sort of massive, inexplicable, aberration caused by one political movement at one particular time, is just wrong.

There was more than a millenium of Christian antisemitism behind it. Read Luther. Study the history of the Vatican's treatment of Jews - Pope Paul IV established a ghetto in Rome in 1555, about 40 years after the first one, in Venice. When Pius XI remonstrated with Mussolini over some antisemitic legislation Mussolini's answer was that it was no worse than the church's treatment of the Jews. Ritual murder accusations were a convenient way of creating local saints, and stimulating tourism.

Closer in time to the Nazis, both Czarist Russia and Poland, like most of Eastern Europe, were intensely antisemitic.

Do I need to say all this? Nazism grew in a fertile field.

Wanted to comment on something that I find interesting. Following on GftNC's quote, Hartmut noted the divide between German Kultur and French "Zivilisation" (I love how the z gives you that sense of gitanes and runny cheese) and I find it interesting that the German strengths are generally reflective of a masculine bent (fine German engineering! Science! Alles klar?) while French strengths are more feminine, I think (I was at a dinner party when I lived in France and when the hostess brought out the souffle, everyone started applauding and saying magnifique, tres bien!) So the whole Germans take on the rest of the world not once but twice seems a bit overdetermined...

Do I need to say all this? Nazism grew in a fertile field.

As far as I am concerned you don't need to say it, and I would be surprised if you need to say it for the benefit of any of our regular commenters either. Regarding McKinney, we shall see whether his views evolve when he comes back on this subject. It seems to me that he is taking it seriously.

I find it interesting that the German strengths are generally reflective of a masculine bent (fine German engineering! Science! Alles klar?) while French strengths are more feminine

We all have our blind spots. For example, this view of what fields are masculine and feminine was definitely common in the early and middle 20th century. But today, the portion of STEM graduates are women is vastly higher than it was then. Not that gender stereotypes have disappeared. But in some parts of the world they have faded substantially.

I'm sure that bernard is aware of Raul Hilberg, but if anyone isn't, if you want to talk about the Holocaust, you have to be familiar with the arguments he made. Wikipedia for him
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raul_Hilberg

and his book
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Destruction_of_the_European_Jews

this about where to place the book in the historical record and the intellectural issues related to it
https://www.thenation.com/article/archive/conscious-pariah/

but this link, by his daughter, is one I like.
https://www.haaretz.com/.premium-lessons-from-my-father-a-holocaust-scholar-1.5269350

But rarely were a state's recources and a complex bureaucracy employed for a systematic extermination of not only the group itself but also the descendants of ex-members (i.e. of baptized Jews). All previous examples I can come up with had the intent to 'merely' expell them (see the Spanish Inquisition and its generations long quest for crypto-Jews and 'new Christians').
But even Hitler thought (and wrote it down in Mein Kampf) that the one-dop-rule used in the US went too far (e.g. in Virginia the 1/16th cut-off put into law in 1910 was declared to be still too lenient in 1924).
Pre-20th century I have to go back to AEthelred the Badly Counseled or to Mithiridates of Pontos to find an actual summary killing order organized by the state to be executed at a secretly pre-planned date.
The Armenian genocide served as an actual inspiration for Hitler (again noted in Mein Kampf) who also took the lesson from it that he would easily get away with it (despite the Turks losing the war and the Armenians being Christians).

It wasn't systematic extermination, but same thinking

https://encyclopedia.densho.org/Manzanar_Children's_Village/

I find it interesting that the German strengths are generally reflective of a masculine bent

The Fatherland, after all.

So then what do we do with Mother Russia?

Admittedly, wikipedia indicates that it's much more complicated than this. (What isn't?)

Related: I can stand the word "homeland," as it was was force-fed into our American lingo about ourselves after 9/11. It carries horrible echoes in any number of directions, but I won't sidetrack the thread by trying to list them.

Homeland and heartland are fighting it out to see who's worse.

what JamieM and hsh said.

JanieM!
damn my fingers.

damn my own fingers: "I can stand" -> "I can't stand"

Presumably "heartland" carries some of the same creepy current (racist) implications as "la France profonde"?

Well, fwiw, the Wikipedia entry for la France profonde has this "see also" list.

See also

Pure laine
Deep England
Deep South
Middle America
The Discovery of France
Heartland (United States)

Do I need to say all this? Nazism grew in a fertile field.

...and those fields certainly did not all of a sudden go fallow in 1945.

At least you have not to deal with Heimatfilm
(or worse, its Rule 34 variety).
(The subvariant Bergfilm https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mountain_film should not be thrown in with its horrible relatives though. It has some actual merit and the photography is still breathtaking).

Meanwhile, this.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-trump-tax-returns/2021/02/22/05053b14-751c-11eb-8115-9ad5e9c02117_story.html

"the court denied Trump’s motion in a one-sentence order with no recorded dissents." The thing about life tenure is that people just won't stay bought.

The Discovery of France

chiming in for a moment to ignore the topic under discussion and say that this ^^^ is a great book.

Robb has a couple of other books out, all worth reading.

One warning on bobbyp's link: the piece is from 1999. I didn't notice that at first and was very surprised to read that Baltimore Country Club had “No Dogs, No Coloreds, No Jews” signs posted less than 30 years ago. "In the 90s! What?" No, more like 1970 or so, which is far less surprising, if no more acceptable.

(I should have been tipped off by the mention of a shooting at a Jewish daycare "in August." I just assumed I was clueless and that there was so much other stuff in the news that I missed it somehow.)

See also

Pure laine
Deep England
Deep South
Middle America
The Discovery of France
Heartland (United States)

Well, while we've all heard of the Deep South, Middle America, the Heartland, and la France Profonde has always been a talismanic expression to certain kinds of Frenchmen (and presumably women), I have never heard the expression "Deep England", or indeed "The Discovery of France" (except for the book of the same name, which is where I think I got the fascinating info about cagots, the "untouchables" of France). As for Pure laine, I was entirely unfamiliar with this particular meaning, while having seen "Pure new wool" on countless sweater labels. Fascinating stuff.

The thing about life tenure is that people just won't stay bought.

A more realistic take here.

'heartland' bugs me a lot more than 'deep south'.

the 'deep south' isn't claiming superiority over me (though maybe when used by northerners, it's a bit of a slur).

but 'heartland' is trying to imply that Missouri is the true definitive heart of America, therefore everyone else is an appendage or something.

f that

Echoing cleek. In fact, I vaguely remember a conversation right here on this very blog long ago, on this very same topic, more or less, where I expressed appropriate outrage that anyone would have the overweening gall to suggest that Brooklyn isn't quintessentially American....thinking of my immigrant grandmother, who grew up there from the age of about nine years old, along with so many others.

I must say I'd never heard of "deep south" being used either as a slur, or as a mark of superiority, either. As for Brooklyn not being "quintessentially American", or NYC not being part of "the real America", I have never forgotten Jon Stewart doing a bit on it (possibly after a typically disgusting usage by Sarah Palin), in which after 9/11 he said that Osama bin Laden must have been really pissed off to discover that he had attacked a fake America instead of the real thing.

I must say I'd never heard of "deep south" being used either as a slur, or as a mark of superiority, either.

sometimes it gets used as a kind of dismissive shorthand for "poor, racist, backwater".

Huh. Thanks cleek. I always associated it with elaborately good manners (kids saying Yes Maam or No Sir), a particularly charming accent (to an English person) and Spanish moss. And racism, I guess. We live and learn...

Echoing cleek.

echoing Janie.

live where you want, live however you want, do your thing.

but America is bigger than you. it contains multitudes. that's what is good about it.

References to "the heartland", it always seemed to me, reflected a desire to return to the (imagined) society of a century or more ago. At least, as it was imagined to be for WASPs.

It wasn't like that then either. But the disinterest in fact when fantasy is available was growing even a half a century ago, when the whole "real America" nonsense really got rolling.

Deep South

Reel America

Deep South, perhaps like Deep State, is a deep misunderstanding.

Heartland is a meaningless category. Ask the coastal elites, yet another meaningless category thought up by certain paranoid-for-a-purpose types, who moved to the coasts from their hometowns in the middle of the country.

To work mostly.

Maybe it's just a hankering for saltwater.

How come there are no coastal elites along the Gulf Coast?

Is America the only country in the world wherein the folks living on the coasts are considered "elite", whatever that is?

Limbaugh made the term "coastal elite" a gratuitous insult. So insulting that he landed in Palm Beach, the brick.

Lotta coast everywhere.

Huh. Thanks cleek. I always associated it with elaborately good manners (kids saying Yes Maam or No Sir), a particularly charming accent (to an English person) and Spanish moss. And racism, I guess.

Can't always assume the racism. Yes, I know that Deep South = Red. But Deep South also = larger proportion of African-Americans, which makes the vibe multidimensional. In Deep Southern cities, there's a lot of the charm and less of the racism.

I'm from the South, and love the South. I applaud Virginia every year (because we have an election here every year) for turning blue. Yes, that's in large part thanks to Northern Virginia government workers and immigrants. But in that sense too, Virginia (formerly the capital of the Confederacy) is creating an America in an image that makes me happy.

My old man was born and raised in GA. his people are in and around Statesboro.

There is something to this:


Deep South also = larger proportion of African-Americans, which makes the vibe multidimensional.

And I'd say that, if you live in the South, chances are that you actually have more contact with black people on a daily basis than someone who lives up north. Which contributes to making the interactions more about the people in question, and less about what color they are.

All of that said, based on my own family experience spending time in the deep south when I was a kid, say, 50 or 55 years ago, things were not so great for black people then.

They are better now. But, depending on how you measure 'long', it hasn't been that long.

And no, I don't forget that it's been not quite 50 years since white folks in Boston freaking rioted rather than have their kids go to school with black kids.

Some day, we'll walk in the rays of a beautiful sun. Maybe. We're not there yet.

There's always a new way down.
Yes, I am a pessimist.

Huh. Thanks cleek. I always associated it with elaborately good manners (kids saying Yes Maam or No Sir), a particularly charming accent (to an English person) and Spanish moss. And racism, I guess. We live and learn...

definitely all that. probably mostly all that.

also, when southerners use it, they sometimes say it with great pride - that rebel, f-you-Yankee, pride.

maybe it's that any regional label can get used positively and negatively, depending on who is using it.

maybe it's that any regional label can get used positively and negatively, depending on who is using it.

Not just regional.

For example:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outlaw_motorcycle_club#One_percenter

Some outlaw motorcycle clubs can be distinguished by a "1%" patch worn on the colors. This is said to refer to a comment by the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) that 99% of motorcyclists were law-abiding citizens, implying the last one percent were outlaws.

Much like some people now proudly label themselves as "deplorables" through various means.

This is clearly the market operating as it should...

His Lights Stayed on During Texas’ Storm. Now He Owes $16,752.
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/20/us/texas-storm-electric-bills.html

Deep South -- just another way to structure "us and them," or "they're not the real _____" (fill in the blank).

Illustrative (if in a lighthearted way), and maybe I've told this story before.....but what the heck:

When my son was a junior in college he brought nine friends home for Thanksgiving – and a very diverse group they were, too, including several from the South, a couple who weren't American, and a wide range of "races." Almost everyone made something special for the meal -- on top of us home folks making all the usual T-day stuff. A skinny, homesick freshman from Texas, who had somehow weaseled his way onto the trip even though the rest of the friends barely knew him, made me almost cry by talking about how if he were home in Texas, he'd be eating his grandma's tamales that day.

It was the most memorable Thanksgiving I ever had.

After dinner the young people sat around having a friendly but quite fierce argument about where the "true" South began (and as a corollary, where the best barbecue was made). I remember being unsurprised by an argument about barbecue, but, as a Yankee, bemused by the gradations of southernness and how much they seemed to matter.

This is clearly the market operating as it should...

The service these people bought functioned exactly as specified. Whether or not people this dumb/ignorant should have been allowed to buy service like this is a different question.

Were there any alternatives? Given how much effort and bribery went into the system, I'd not be surprised, if the only other choice was no service at all. But thatÄs just speculation on my part.

where the "true" South began

I say the true south is wherever grits is on the menu.

prove me wrong.

Texas' so-called "deregulation" has the minor saving grace of being better than California's. Deregulation that, early on, left the state a big, fat sitting duck for Enron.

prove me wrong.

https://www.clementinesca.com/menu
Grits on the menu, right here in coastal northern California. Nobody, but nobody, would call the San Francisco Bay Area part of the true South.

Q.E.D.

The service these people bought functioned exactly as specified. Whether or not people this dumb/ignorant should have been allowed to buy service like this is a different question.

Whether people this corrupt/greedy should have been allowed to sell service on this basis is yet another question.

As I understand it, the fundamental problem was a supply constraint, due to weather-related breakdowns at generating plants and the lack of grid interconnection. In "econ-speak" the supply curve shifted dramatically to the left. This was not because of any increase in the cost of generation, but because of the structure of the market and the lack of preparedness of the utilities.

In market dreamland what should happen is that prices shoot up, attracting other suppliers, and the prices quickly come back down.

But that didn't happen, because it couldn't, for basic physical reasons.

Alternatively, customers could use less, leaving supply for others, but there's a limit as to how low you can go, and it's not clear that shifting the available power around was either easy to do or any kind of an adequate solution.

So no, the market didn't actually work like it "should have," no matter what the Kennedy School's Prof. Hogan says.

I say the true south is wherever grits is on the menu.

Sort of like the South ends and the Southwest begins where people quit arguing about barbecue styles and start arguing about pepper superiority and Mexican food styles.

"Fort Worth is where the West begins and Dallas is where the East peters out" —Amon Carter

"Texas' so-called "deregulation" has the minor saving grace of being better than California's. Deregulation that, early on, left the state a big, fat sitting duck for Enron."

Now, there's a selling point.

Stick to barbecue.

Gotta say, that sentence has the most psychedelic (I must be seeing things) two instances of of the word "deregulation" I've ever come across in a libertarian utterance.

Next, there'll be a Texas bumper sticker reading "Texas, where the the tax hikes AND the hats come bigger and more often".

Perhaps a billboard at the border "UN Troops eat free in Texas."

Keep the government outta my Medicare, especially when deregulating it.

So no, the market didn't actually work like it "should have"

True 'dat. In fact, there is no actual "market" that functions according the all the assumptions built and/or smuggled into so-called "classic free market micro-economics". They are legion, and when examined closely...utterly laughable.

It gets worse in macro. Trust me.

As I understand it, the fundamental problem was a supply constraint, due to weather-related breakdowns at generating plants and the lack of grid interconnection.

Start with the natural gas production system. Much of it froze up solid -- literally. The producers declared force majeure and said they wouldn't meet their contracts. Generators had to shut down because they had no fuel. If gas production had come even close to meeting demand, most of the problem would have been avoided.

Interconnection is, IMO, being way overplayed. At the worst point, Texas supply was short some 30-40 GW of generation. There is no way on earth that much interstate transmission is ever going to be built to connect Texas. Or in this particular case, where neighboring states were subject to the same weather and were struggling to meet their own needs, that 30-40 GW of spare capacity would have been available.

In market dreamland what should happen is that prices shoot up, attracting other suppliers, and the prices quickly come back down.

But that didn't happen, because it couldn't, for basic physical reasons.

In particular, there's the little detail that it takes a while to build more power generation capacity. Of course, in dreamland you could see the demand coming and build to be ready. But when everything is driven by quarterly results, that's difficult . . . even assuming you are willing to accept the science that might warn you a demand spike (actually several) is in prospect.

Some claim that ERCOT came within minutes of the whole grid collapsing before starting rolling blackouts. Then some of the substations they shut down supplied gas wellheads, pumps, and gas processing plants. If the grid had collapsed, it would have taken weeks or months to get it up and running again.

The deregulation allowed retail customers to freely pick whoever they wanted to front their electric usage. But the politicians, bureaucrats, and their cronies made sure that they could keep their fingers in the pie.

Since the subject has come up again.

"Anyone can look at Texas and observe that fossil fuel resources could have performed better in the cold. If those who owned the plants had secured guaranteed fuel, Texas would have been better off. More emergency peaking units would be a great thing to have on hand. Why would generators be inclined to do such a thing? Consider, what would be happening if the owners of gas generation had built sufficient generation to get through this emergency with some excess power? Instead of collecting $9,000 per MWH from existing functioning units, they would be receiving less than $100 per MWH for the output of those plants and their new plants. Why would anyone make tremendous infrastructure that would sit idle in normal years and serve to slash your revenue by orders of magnitudes in extreme conditions?

The incentive for gas generation to do the right thing was taken away by Texas’s deliberate energy-only market strategy. The purpose of which was to aid the profitability of intermittent wind and solar resources and increase their penetration levels. I don’t believe anyone has ever advanced the notion that fossil fuel plants might operate based on altruism. Incentives and responsibility need to be paired. Doing a post-mortem on the Texas situation ignoring incentives and responsibility is inappropriate and incomplete."
Assigning Blame for the Blackouts in Texas

According to the story, the price cap was raised to $9 per kWhr last Wednesday, and prices were at that level for five days, with one resident being charged $16,752 for "keeping the lights on".

Well, if $16,200 of that was for the peak price period, that would be 1800kWHr, 360 kWHr per day for five days, 15kW being used 24 hours a day. Which is vastly more than I can imagine using on lighting.

I'm sympathetic to someone who has their savings wiped out by unforeseen charges. But could they not have turned the dials down and some lights off in the middle of an electricity supply crisis?

Why would anyone make tremendous infrastructure that would sit idle in normal years and serve to slash your revenue by orders of magnitudes in extreme conditions?

are you trying to make the case for government owned utilities?

because rationalizing the suffering of millions by applauding the wondrous revenue electricity producers scored is doing it.

Which is vastly more than I can imagine using on lighting.

It's been a long time since I lived in Texas, but crappy insulation and resistive electric heating piles up the kWh's in a hurry.

I often feel like I live in a sieve, not an apartment. In summer it doesn't matter much. In winter, the bill shoots up and I'm still cold.

One of the interesting questions that will be asked soon in the Texas courts is whether the natural gas companies were legally entitled to declare force majeure, or if not, how much liability they'll be on the hook for. Texas law requires companies to have practiced "reasonable diligence" in order to prevent the problem. There will be a lot of public pressure for the courts to say, "The same thing happened in 2011 and you took no action is not reasonable."

As I understand it (McKinney and other lawyers feel free to correct me), force majeure requires that the events that keep you from fulfilling a contract are unforeseeable. And it's pretty hard to argue convincingly that this event was not foreseeable. I understand that they have to try, since they've got nothing else. But I have trouble seeing anyone being persuaded.

Some claim that ERCOT came within minutes of the whole grid collapsing before starting rolling blackouts....

That would be ERCOT that claimed that.
It might even be true.

wj,

In construction contracts the force majeure clause generally lists those circumstances over which neither party has any control over (war, epidemics, etc.), thus relieving them from any liability (time and cost) that may arise as it relates to the agreement.

The Texas utilities could reasonably have both foreseen a freeze ocurrance (it happened before!), and taken measures (not all that expensive from what I see) to deal with this not zero probability. The costs could have been pro-rated into customer utility bills.

To free marketeers, this is an externality, and devil take the hindmost. To those shivering in their homes? Well, not so much.

This is just another example (there are way too many of them) of privatising the profits and socializing the costs.

This reminds me of some of the more outrageous claims asserted during the healthcare debate. Those who said we would be better served with high deductibles and skimpy coverage (more risk-less cost!) vs. a system that would cover all at some basic level.

I often feel like I live in a sieve...

In the Pac NW back in the days (1950's and 60's) when my house was built, contractors didn't even bother to use building insulation since hydropower was so inexpensive. Electric baseboard heat was ubiquitous. It was either that or a messy coal/fuel oil furnace.

ProBono: If my math is correct, a 48" 1,500 watt electric baseboard heater running full out 24/7 will demand 36kWHr. Now imagine a Texas McMansion with 10 of these things.

Grits on the menu, right here in coastal northern California.

Yeah, but that’s coastal elitist foodie grits. It’s probably stone-ground from fair-trade organically grown landrace strains of maize, processed by hand in artisanal batches.

:)

I’m tempted to say the true south is anyplace with a Waffle House, but they’re all over the place now, too.

When I was a kid, we had grits every weekend, when my old man would cook breakfast. But that was uncommon, most folks didn’t even know what it was. It wasn’t something you’d ever see up north outside of maybe a soul food restaurant. Now, it’s available most places.

Same with barbecue. One of my favorite things about going to see my old man’s family in GA was barbecue pork sandwiches. We’d go to a roadside joint with a big barbecue pit and eat our fill. It was outstanding. And part of what made it so was that it was a treat, it wasn’t something you could get north of maybe DC.

TBH, for me personally, the true south is anyplace I can get fried chicken as good as my aunt Melba’s. The fried chicken at the late lamented Bob the Chef’s in the South End here in Boston came as close as anyplace north of DC that I’ve ever found, but fried chicken ain’t horse shoes or hand grenades, so close don’t count.

And speaking of coastal Northern CA, RIP Lawrence Ferlinghetti, last man standing of the Beat Generation. The man thought everyone should be able to read, write, and enjoy poetry, right there in the vernacular, even without a MA in English. Thanks for the words, Mr Ferlinghetti, hope you hear the voices you left behind.

Ferlinghetti! No! (/although 101 is admittedly a good innings).

A Coney Island of the Mind was an absolute touchstone for me. I know I have posted this before, but if not now, when?

I Am Waiting
BY LAWRENCE FERLINGHETTI

I am waiting for my case to come up
and I am waiting
for a rebirth of wonder
and I am waiting for someone
to really discover America
and wail
and I am waiting
for the discovery
of a new symbolic western frontier
and I am waiting
for the American Eagle
to really spread its wings
and straighten up and fly right
and I am waiting
for the Age of Anxiety
to drop dead
and I am waiting
for the war to be fought
which will make the world safe
for anarchy
and I am waiting
for the final withering away
of all governments
and I am perpetually awaiting
a rebirth of wonder

I am waiting for the Second Coming
and I am waiting
for a religious revival
to sweep thru the state of Arizona
and I am waiting
for the Grapes of Wrath to be stored
and I am waiting
for them to prove
that God is really American
and I am waiting
to see God on television
piped onto church altars
if only they can find
the right channel
to tune in on
and I am waiting
for the Last Supper to be served again
with a strange new appetizer
and I am perpetually awaiting
a rebirth of wonder

I am waiting for my number to be called
and I am waiting
for the Salvation Army to take over
and I am waiting
for the meek to be blessed
and inherit the earth
without taxes
and I am waiting
for forests and animals
to reclaim the earth as theirs
and I am waiting
for a way to be devised
to destroy all nationalisms
without killing anybody
and I am waiting
for linnets and planets to fall like rain
and I am waiting for lovers and weepers
to lie down together again
in a new rebirth of wonder

I am waiting for the Great Divide to be crossed
and I am anxiously waiting
for the secret of eternal life to be discovered
by an obscure general practitioner
and I am waiting
for the storms of life
to be over
and I am waiting
to set sail for happiness
and I am waiting
for a reconstructed Mayflower
to reach America
with its picture story and tv rights
sold in advance to the natives
and I am waiting
for the lost music to sound again
in the Lost Continent
in a new rebirth of wonder

I am waiting for the day
that maketh all things clear
and I am awaiting retribution
for what America did
to Tom Sawyer
and I am waiting
for Alice in Wonderland
to retransmit to me
her total dream of innocence
and I am waiting
for Childe Roland to come
to the final darkest tower
and I am waiting
for Aphrodite
to grow live arms
at a final disarmament conference
in a new rebirth of wonder

I am waiting
to get some intimations
of immortality
by recollecting my early childhood
and I am waiting
for the green mornings to come again
youth’s dumb green fields come back again
and I am waiting
for some strains of unpremeditated art
to shake my typewriter
and I am waiting to write
the great indelible poem
and I am waiting
for the last long careless rapture
and I am perpetually waiting
for the fleeing lovers on the Grecian Urn
to catch each other up at last
and embrace
and I am awaiting
perpetually and forever
a renaissance of wonder

Re: grits

http://www.bumpyroadfarm.org/

Tallahassee is definitely southern, not quite coastal elites (although at one time in recent years I heard it stated that it allegedly had the highest % of car radios tuned to NPR during commuting hours).

The traditional alternative if you happen to be in the area. I would list the drive out Centerville Road to Bradley's + store visit as in the top 3 of things to do for an out of town visitor. Their grits and corn meal are good, the smoked country sausage is the best I have encountered. Most visits home to mom I'll go out there and load up on several pounds to portion away in the freezer.

https://www.bradleyscountrystore.com/

The Texas utilities could reasonably have both foreseen a freeze ocurrance (it happened before!), and taken measures (not all that expensive from what I see)...

We need to be careful when we say "utility" because in Texas, for the most part, there are no vertically-integrated utilities. There are generators, and consumers, and companies that operate transmission and distribution networks to connect those first two groups. Then there are suppliers of fuels like coal and natural gas. Such arrangements can be made to work. The poster child for it is the PJM ISO.

There's little that a generator can do to deal with "My gas supplier cut deliveries in half," which seems to me to be the biggest problem Texas had. Once the supply is unstable enough, generators and demand centers start automatically disconnecting from the grid to protect themselves from damage. See, eg, the 2003 Northeastern blackout that got big because of the cascade of generators and demand centers taking themselves offline.

Given that, then one part of the solution is the natural gas industry has to spend a sh*tload of money winterizing and reducing their dependency on electricity (part of the cascade was positive feedback). So, de-water and dehydrate gas at or very close to the wellhead. Run the pumps in lots of places off your own gas rather than electricity. Modify your treatment plants. Perhaps do a lot of cross-connections in the pipeline network so that generators can switch sources.

(/although 101 is admittedly a good innings)

Yes. Sorry to see him go, but 101 is a damned good run.

Priest, those grits sources look great. I will check them out!

Plumbers are now overemployed for a bit.

Plumbers are now overemployed for a bit.

Are plumbers and pipefitters in Texas unionized much?

Russell, Bradley’s site is decently set up for e-commerce/shipping, etc. The Bumpy Road folks is a smaller operation, I have only been able to get their products at a local fresh seafood market, and not regularly. But there was the one time they had small packages of smoked grits. Only got one because I didn’t know what to expect. Wish I bought all they had, haven’t seen it since. But the shrimp and grits that I made with them was fantastic.

Native American cultural appropriation...

"Three-quarters of the grits sold in the U.S. are bought in the South, in an area stretching from Lower Texas to Washington, D.C., that is sometimes called the "grits belt". The state of Georgia declared grits to be its official prepared food in 2002. A similar bill was introduced in South Carolina to name it the official state food, but it did not advance. Nevertheless, South Carolina still has an entire chapter of legislation dealing exclusively with cornmeal and grits."
Grits

Delurking to add some nuance to the force majeure question ... "unforeseeable" is not often the focus force majeure arguments. In my experience, it is the fight over whether performance was truly "impossible" or merely "really expensive".

Force majeure clauses typically list out the triggering events (e.g., fire, flood, storm, act of God, governmental authority, labor disputes, war) which automatically makes them "foreseeable".

Where the concept "unforeseeable" comes up is in the catch-all that force majeure clauses generally contain. Here's an example:

"Should either Party be prevented or hindered from complying with any obligation created under this Agreement, other than the obligation to pay money, by reason of fire, flood, storm, act of God, governmental authority, labor disputes, war **or any other cause not enumerated herein but which is beyond the reasonable control of the Party whose performance is affected,**"

Interestingly, this has come up before in Texas energy cases (see TEC Olmos, LLC v. ConocoPhillips Co., No. 01-16-00579-CV, 2018 WL 2437449, (Tex. App. 31 May 2018)) and the upshot is that "unforeseeable" will be applied to force majeure catchall clauses in Texas and crazy market conditions that could be managed through option contracts or futures contracts or insurance will be deemed "foreseeable".

a 48" 1,500 watt electric baseboard heater running full out 24/7 will demand 36kWHr. Now imagine a Texas McMansion with 10 of these things.

People heat McMansions with electricity? I am so naïve.

People heat McMansions with electricity?

LOL...I may have gone a bit overboard.

If you lived in a place where winters are "mild" and you have fierce summer heat, why would you bother to put in a gas furnace and the associated expensive ductwork? You might go electric forced air, but that too would be a significant up front cost (tin benders make good money).

I found this little squib interesting. (For HSH, it's from 2017)

i buy grits (and more importantly, Sea Island Red Peas!) from Geechie Boys. they're in SC.

Cost of 'freedom'...

https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/540271-texass-deregulated-electricity-market-raised-cost-to-consumers-by-28
...Texas’s deregulated electricity market has raised costs to consumers by $28 billion since 2004, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis published Wednesday.

The analysis found that consumers purchasing power from the deregulated electricity market have paid significantly more than state residents whose sources were traditional electric utilities....

Sea Island Red Peas!

If you lived in a place where winters are "mild" and you have fierce summer heat, why would you bother to put in a gas furnace and the associated expensive ductwork?

How are you proposing to handle fierce summer heat in a McMansion w/o ductwork for central air conditioning?

Pollo et al,
Thanks for the education on force majeure.

The internet is a hotbed of duct-work arguments these days.

a series of arguments about tubes

Grits! Cornbread! Biscuits! Country ham and redeye gravy! BBQ! You have no idea how seductive and exotic the idea of the Deep South is to many foreign foodies, and others (despite some negative connotations).

I have had a fantasy about driving through the South over a few weeks or months, probably with a really cool, good, muso friend of mine who has an interesting friend who lives in the Mississippi delta. We've talked about doing it; I don't think he's all that serious about it, but I am!

My fantasy was seriously exacerbated by the documentary Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus, which I loved and recommended to this friend. He loved it too. I don't know if or how USA residents would be able to view it, but this is the Wikipedia link.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Searching_for_the_Wrong-Eyed_Jesus

If my fantasy is ever realised, you'll hear about it.

It may be available in some way on Youtube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0RUjNSuCYI

(it features Harry Crews, whom I had never heard of, but was a writer previously admired by my friend).

How are you proposing to handle fierce summer heat in a McMansion w/o ductwork for central air conditioning?

In my day, central air was something 'rich' people had. We relied on opening doors and windows to let the bugs in, or used noisy swamp coolers.

But yes, where did those ducts go? My bad. But never fear, mitsubishi is here.

I am sure y'all are grateful that I have not weighed in about grits, as that is a topic where my ignorance is total. Just one of many, I might add.

So thank your lucky stars.

But jambalaya....ummmm!

I think I had grits once. I know I've seen them. Who wants to talk about scrapple, cream chipped beef, or pork roll?

white hots, beef on weck and garbage plates!

We used to get scrapple every year growing up. Comes of raising pigs, and being determined to use everything. Like bacon, it's a little bit about the flavor and a little bit about the salt.

But jambalaya....ummmm!

Yes, I did spend a week in New Orleans years ago with an old friend, and tried many of the famous specialties. My problem was I don't like green bell peppers (love red, yellow and orange), and they are a pretty much non-negotiable ingredient in many of their famous dishes. But I adored basic things like boiled crawfish, and po'boys.

I always thought scrapple was the same as brawn, but that is held together with meat jelly, whereas I believe scrapple has a carb component to hold it together. And it seems to be not dissimilar to the French Tete de Veau. This kind of nose-to-tail eating, or of cucina povera (pretentious, moi?) is often completely delicious. I am all in for trying scrapple, wherever I might find it, and generally all in for trying many other Pennsylvania Dutch specialities.

Meanwhile, I'm off to look up white hots, beef on weck and garbage plates, on the assumption cleek hasn't just made them up to tease the Brits!

Hmm, I'm wrong about Tete de Veau, which I thought was more or less identical to brawn, but it seems not to be made from the scraps etc. A French equivalent is apparently fromage de tête, tête pressée, tête fromagée (which translates as "cheesed head") or pâté de tête.

Creamed chipped beef on toast. In military chow halls, more likely ground beef. And unaffectionately known as shit on a single.

Hmm. Well, beef on weck sounds interesting, and I guess white hots might be OK if from a reputable manufacturer (I feel the same about regular hot dogs). But as for garbage plates, I remain (uncharacteristically, but I hope eloquently) silent. But for the record, I once paid a hefty penalty in a charity fundraiser rather than do the forfeit I'd incurred, which was to eat a Pot Noodle, and to this day I have never eaten one.

shingle. Although a single was more than enough.

p.s. I rather think russell's hacking knot has been totally, and comprehensively, eclipsed.

First had beef on weck and scrapple because college friends were from the relevant regions. Never had a white hot (or if I did, it didn't seem remarkable enough to remember). Never heard of a garbage plate. Did have chipped beef now and then growing up.

Strangest food I ever ate (and that includes my five weeks in China, where I was often eating I knew not what) was czernina, at Polish Fest in Milwaukee. A Polish-American friend dared me to try it without knowing what was in it. I tried it, and I didn't think much of it. Turns out it's otherwise known as duck's blood soup.

I've had blood sausage and it was okay, and I wouldn't have minded the soup, except that it had raisins in it. I really don't like raisins, and the combination of flavors was just weird. (Wikipedia doesn't mention raisins as an ingredient, but it does mention other dried fruits.)

PS my friend thought I would be grossed out by the idea of eating blood, and would refuse to try the soup if I knew. But my Italian grandpa used to fry beef blood, so that was no big issue for me.

Raisins, though.... Or liver. Get outa here.

GFTNC, you should definitely tour the south. Eat the food, listen to the music, hang out with the people. It’s a beautiful part of the world.

You could start in Pennsylvania, actually, and have some scrapple, then head south from there.

I love scrapple, and it was a breakfast favorite when I lived in Philly. It is a food about which one should not ask too many questions.

My wife worked for a few years consulting with a French company, and spent about two weeks a month in France for about a year. She went all over, including into the fabled France profonde, and on one occasion was offered tete de veau. It is, basically, a calf’s head, on a plate, with or without bone. She and her translator/companion had the salad.

On vacation in Italy a couple of years ago, my wife and I went to a small local restaurant in Montone, in Umbria. They advertised traditional Umbrian cuisine. Employing my extremely limited tourist Italian, I vaguely recognized lamb as one of the offerings, and asked for that. Our waitress, a lovely young woman who was assigned to us because of her excellent command of English, asked “Oh, you like the lungs and heart?”. I went for the grilled boar.

I’m gonna order me some stone ground grits tonight!

Bon apetit, y’all.

Hmmmm.... Scrapple, when I had it as a child, was pork skin, with some remaining fat. Period.

But I get the impression that you all are talking about something a bit different. We get "countries divided by a common language" even without involving the Brits.

It is a food about which one should not ask too many questions.

Which is what my grandma said about Genoa salami, which we, her grandchildren, would have eaten in large quantities had we been allowed. My dad insisted that we always at least have some bread with it.

Grandma's (almost) exact words: "Yous wouldn't eat it if yous knew what goes into it." ;-)

We either didn't believe her or didn't care. I could still eat salami in large quantities, and sometimes do, just as a treat.

wj: "Scrapple, also known by the Pennsylvania Dutch name Pannhaas or "pan rabbit", is traditionally a mush of pork scraps and trimmings combined with cornmeal and wheat flour, often buckwheat flour, and spices. The mush is formed into a semi-solid congealed loaf, and slices of the scrapple are then pan-fried before serving." (Wikipedia)

I remember it as being a bit greenish. But I haven't had it for decades.

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