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September 05, 2022

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Hartmut, does it matter that "United States" is actually a truncation of "United States of America"? "America" being singular....

a deliberate insult to G*d Almighty who decreed that the US motto should be the proper English 'In G*d we trust'

Which is, of course, why the Bible is written in English -- so we could read Jesus'words exactly as He spoke them.

The United States ("the" being a definite article) seems to indicate singular.

The stars are shining.

Etc.

OK I give up.

The exception that proves the rule? English as she are spoke.

The people have spoken, it would seem.

Didn't anyone study the periodic table of the elements in chemistry, assuming they studied the sciences at all?

My favorite football team is the Philadelphia Eagles.

Did anyone wash the dishes after dinner? The mashed potatoes were perfect.

Of all the seasons, fall has the nicest weather, at least when the clouds aren't too thick.

Are the examples I've given sufficient?

hsh, you had to bring a sports team into it, didn't you!

I've been staying out of this little scrum, but now I have to note a difference between American and British usage in relation to teams.

I root for the Boston Celtics. The Celtics are a great team. Boston is ahead at halftime.

British usage seems to be: Boston are ahead at halftime.

Grrrrrrr!

Pre-Covid, before I stopped paying even a scrap of attention to the NBA, NBC sports seemed to have acquired a British aura and was using the plural for sports teams when referred to by the names of their cities.

Did someone say something about collective nouns?

Did someone imply that there is only one "English"?

:-)

Over the pond, but also an elegy for Lilibet. This is BoJo speaking in the House of Commons on the death of the Queen. He is a scoundrel, and severely flawed in the parts of character regarding integrity, honesty and honour, but his delusions of a Churchillian quality are not entirely absurd, as this shows.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=adsBMbJsm8Q

And, as I have been arguing to many friends, although the principle of a hereditary head of state is ridiculous, still: give me Charles, or William, rather than the risk of a Trump-type or a representative of the half of the country who voted for Brexit.

As to language, here's a passage, quoted at Daily Kos from here (note: it's a UK outlet):

The rally comes amid concerns that Mr Vance, whom Mr Trump endorsed in the GOP primary for Senate, is missing in action in the state. Mr Vance shot to prominence after he wrote the bestselling book Hillbilly Elegy after his work for Peter Thiel’s firm Mithril Capital. The book’s release concurred with Mr Trump’s ascent within the Republican Party and seemed to explain his appeal to white-working class voters.

Writers: you'd think they cared enough about language to know what words mean.

Hartmut, does it matter that "United States" is actually a truncation of "United States of America"? "America" being singular....

Nope. The dogs of war, the bells of St.Mary's and the children of man claim otherwise.

British English is fairly relaxed about grammatical number. "The team is playing well" and "the team are playing well" are both entirely acceptable, perhaps with slightly different shades of meaning.

It occurs to me now that the finite verb in "the team are playing well" is often reduced to a schwa, almost as if we don't quite feel comfortable with it.

On Janie's recent remark about Shakespearean quotations, the King ended his first address to the nation, about his mother: "May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest". It was moving.

The flights of angels quote brought to mind something similar that has stuck in my mind all these years, fifty-nine to be precise: "May the angels, dear Jack, lead you into paradise." Spoken by Cardinal Cushing of Boston at JFK's funeral.

Google being what it is, you can find out all about it online. The line itself, minus the "dear Jack" part, is from the Catholic litury, not from Shakespeare.

Cardinal Cushing "helped presidential candidate John F. Kennedy deflect fears of papal interference in American government if a Catholic became president," and was much later implicated in covering up sexual abuse by priests.

One thing leads to another.

In Fire in the Lake Frances Fitzgerald argued that it was specifically Diem's catholicism that brought then senator Kennedy into committing to support the regime against the Viet Minh. Not, to be sure, papal interference, but still a case of religious identity that shifted the course of a nation and has been screwing our politics up for decades.

(Tangential, but I don't feel like I have anything helpful to add regarding the queen's passing.)

The Møøses of Maine is abundant. Meeses of Maine are redundant?

Am I doing this right?


I have been sacked.

although the principle of a hereditary head of state is ridiculous, still: give me Charles, or William, rather than the risk of a Trump-type or a representative of the half of the country who voted for Brexit.

At least we know Charles is unlikely to embrace the climate change deniers. Whatever his personal political inclinations.

give me Charles, or William, rather than the risk of a Trump-type or a representative of the half of the country who voted for Brexit.

You mean someone like Boris Johnson or Liz Truss? If the monarch had any ability to rein them in, that might be relevant. As it is, I don't see how it makes much difference.

I haven’t seen much of Truss. But from what I have seen, it kinda reminds me of 2017 and how I wished for the sober statesmanship of the W administration.

When you were a carefree tenured professor living your best life, and then are suddenly forced to chair your department.

Reading the news from Ukraine for the last few days, the large numbers of towns, villages, and settlements reported to have changed hands, the nominally long distances the Ukrainians have penetrated. Then I look at the total area involved and realize that it's all happening in a space about half the size of my moderate-sized county (for western values of moderate).

But when I read the Russians announcing that they are "redeploying" their forces toward the regional capital of Donetsk in the south “in order to achieve the goals of the special military operation,” it reminds me of their previous redeployment, after failing to take Kyiv. Although this time seems to have combined Russian troops fleeing in disarray with significant weapons and ammunition stores being abandoned. But then, they were in danger of being surrounded and cut off by the Ukrainians' pincer movement.

The territory recovered may be only the size of a "moderate-sized county" here. But there are counties in California which are bigger than entire European countries. And I'm talking places like Belgium and the Netherlands, not pipsqueaks like Luxemburg. I always have to remind myself of just how compact things are there.

It may also be worth noting that Kupiansk and Izyum, two of the cities Ukraine recaptured, are rail hubs. As such, they have been important for Russian logistics across their captured territory. Not that Russian logistic capabilities as shown in this war have been anything to write home about. This could make things even worse for them.

When I say "Russian troops fleeing in disarray," this is what I'm talking about.

https://twitter.com/DarthPutinKGB/status/1568563472048193536

Coupla problems there. That was obviously a Nazi Ukrainian tree that was selflessly and heroically neutralized. And you spelled “victoriously advancing back to the Motherland” wrong.

If the Ukrainians boot the Russians out of everywhere, including Crimea, Putin will doubtless announce that, "having achieved all the objectives of our Special Military Operation, our victorious troops are returning to their home bases." (Assuming that the "success" of his war hasn't resulted in his forced retirement. Possibly with extreme prejudice.)

P.S. Pete, you realize what we have there is the first occasion where an Ent has been caught on camera.

They’re notoriously slow to mobilize, but once they get going…

;-)

Mud in the spring, trees in the fall. You get the impression that nature doesn't approve of the Russian invasion. (Or, at least, of Russian tanks.)

But, without wanting to be superstititous, let's not get our hopes up too much. Putin is a very dangerous man, and perhaps even more so when it looks like he (or Russia - and perhaps to him it is the same thing) seems about to lose face.

Is he in danger of that, tho? I suspect the Russian people have made their minds up about Ukraine at this point. Putin’s standing in the world is unrecoverably in the bog, and he - rightly, I think - is more concerned with knives out internally.

Maybe he keeps Crimea & Donetsk. Maybe, and with Troubles-like insurgency. And the idea, maybe, that Russian military might is still a force to be reckoned with.

My sense from pre-invasion was that this would blow up in his face & I have seen little to move me from that position. When was the last time Belarus topped the papers?

This isn’t Afghanistan, but there are parallels.

Putin is a very dangerous man, and perhaps even more so when it looks like he (or Russia - and perhaps to him it is the same thing) seems about to lose face.

Dangerous, certainly. But it's becoming clear that his invasion is turning into a no-win situation. At which point, not being suicidal, it seems to me he'll decide to cut his losses and spin like crazy.

What, after all, are his options?

  1. He could do the cut his losses thing. Undesirable, but the alternatives are worse.
  2. He could spend heavily on more mercenaries, to replace the troops he is losing. Which, unfortunately for him, doesn't address the equipment losses. He's already down to buying from North Korea, which has large but not unlimited stores. (And won't willingly draw those down too far, given their perception of their own situation.) China, so far, isn't being super open-handed. And probably doesn't mind that much if their northern and western flanks are getting steadily more secure.
  3. He could do a general mobilization. Which would be massively unpopular. So far, most of the unhappiness with the war is from the families of the casualties. But if every family is being impacted....
  4. He might (God forbid!) decide to go nuclear. But even just tactical nukes would get him a world of trouble. Even countries which support him otherwise don't want to see a world where nuclear weapons are not just threatening, but in routine use.
In short, good options are in short supply. If the Ukrainians decided to go on the offensive inside Russia, general mobilization becomes viable. But even just artillery or missiles onto military targets in close by parts of Russia wouldn't do it.

Pete: I meant lose face in Russia itself. That's still a possibility, because the media censorship in Russia might mean (and the last time I checked, admittedly several days ago, still meant) that a majority of the population swallowed his lies and supported his Ukraine "special operation".

wj, I believe that people who know him are far from discounting your option 4. But let's hope that's wrong. You make a rational case; let's hope he's able to be rational.

GftNC,

To be clear, I meant that minds were made up in the same way that minds are made up here in the States. As in, there are Trumpers & there are not. Propaganda is a thing, certainly, but so is the internet. I did not mean to suggest that the Russian people were unified.

I believe that people who know him are far from discounting your option 4. But let's hope that's wrong. You make a rational case; let's hope he's able to be rational.

Or, if not rational, at least not suicidal. Because if he takes option 4, he has to know that taking him out becomes priority 1 for a host of countries.

Sure, he's got security. But probably not the whole Russian military any more. Some things will scare the rest of leadership more than him. So he might get to keep a dache somewhare, and some personal security. Pots of money, even. Or not.

Also, defending against a drone fired missile (for just one option) is a whole different deal than merely stopping a possible sniper. Not to mention that the missile doesn't care if you never go near a window.

Zelensky’s speech tonight.

Another level.
https://twitter.com/christogrozev/status/1569044030272454663

Wow. That’s some powerful stuff. More importantly, I believe it.

I mean, doesn’t matter what I believe, but one can feel the steel behind those words. Ukraine has the leader it needs. I don’t doubt that his words resonate with the people.

One of the commenters called it a "Churchill like speech." And I've got to say, that was my immediate reaction as well.

It is amazing how sometimes someone from a most improbable background will rise to the moment and change the course of history. And we can already see that Zelensky is one of those.

That is true even in the worst possible case scenario where Russia eventually conquers. Russia's stature, and that of Russia's military, will be a very long time recovering.

I’m reluctant to believe any war-time reporting entirely, but if the bulk of western reporting is nominally true, Ukrainian forces are making remarkable progress. I don’t have a sense of what Russia may be able to bring to bear but, despite Medvedev’s posturing, it looks like resources are depleted.

I hope this is true & hostilities end by the close of autumn. If not sooner.

That is a remarkable speech. As they say, "Cometh the hour, cometh the man". His speeches and his behaviour certainly are having a Churchillian effect on his people. God (or FSM) help Ukraine.

Putin could check the weather reports for the right time to have 'an accident' (to be blamed on Ukraine) occur at the Saporishija nuclear power plant when the wind is blowing away from Russia. Going nuclear with (however implausible) deniability.

I’m reluctant to believe any war-time reporting entirely, but if the bulk of western reporting is nominally true, Ukrainian forces are making remarkable progress.

Apparently part of the reason is that various Ukranian officials had been boasting for a few weeks about how they were shortly going to make big gains in the south. Which motivated the Russians to shift some forces away from the southeast, where the attack actually happened.

Disinformation still works -- even if your opponent is good at it. Guess it helps to be persistently underestimated.

And the next time the Russians will have to ask themselves, whether it's a ruse again to lure them somewhere else or the genuine thing. Has happened in both world wars.

I, for one, look forward to Putin tripping on a grand staircase and 'accidentally' impaling his head on an ice-ax.

If you want to laugh, bitterly.
https://twitter.com/MattGertz/status/1569321565531115523

I believe the current fashion is to lean out just a little bit too far from that 8th storey window, Snarki.

I guess Pucker Gnarlson's people don't watch Russian TV, where we are starting to see some cracks in the media façade:

https://twitter.com/JuliaDavisNews/status/1569070513909022720

The first clip shows just how far things are slipping.

"Our heroic troops are advancing victoriously in good order towards the rear, while our battered and smashed enemies follow us in total disarray."

I have read that the media characters are actors mouthing what someone tells them to say, not actually giving their real opinions. I find that a little harder to believe as the façade starts to crack, but I won't be surprised if some of these opinion people end up in jail, or worse, because of things they're saying now.

Someone has to take the fall, and it's not going to be Putin. At least, not unless someone unseats him...

Façade.

Yeah, I got nuthin’ but the whole Cédille thing seems to be trending and I wanna get in on it. And I’m just counting the minutes until my Seahawks get obliterated by our former quarterback. We’re gonna party like it’s 1982.

nous, I saw Zeal & Ardor last night. Just “wow!” I don’t know if they could ever get popular enough for it, but I could see their performance style scaling up to large arenas very well.

The opening act, Imperial Triumphant, was interesting. I might dig into them a bit. Heavy, jazzy avant with a creepy, stylized stage show.

Back across the pond, from a piece in today's NYT on Nina Totenberg's book about her friendship with RBG, this made me more tolerant of her choice not to resign in time for Obama to nominate her replacement, a choice about which I had previously been very critical:

For those seeking insights about any remorse Ginsburg might have felt about not retiring while a Democrat was safely serving as president, Totenberg offers little, possibly because Ginsburg was not always forthcoming with her; of a meeting the justice had with Barack Obama at which the president gently tried to raise the question of her retirement, Totenberg says, “She never told me about it.” Nor does she report how Ginsburg responded to the news of Donald Trump’s election. But she does seem to speak with authority when she explains that Ginsburg had been eager to give “the first female president the power to nominate her successor.” And at the time of the election, Totenberg points out, Ginsburg was not in a health crisis. “It was a gamble, and she lost,” she writes.

Also, I saw this chez cleek:

https://twitter.com/kenolin1/status/1568390158336270337

Posted for anybody with MAGA friends and family, if you still talk to them about this stuff. It seems really hard to argue with, on grounds that Rs would normally love. And it's only 2.5 minutes long.

Hmmm. Maybe they're sulking because they didn't get one of those 3 Supreme Court nominations? Sulking would be sooo Trumpian.

Of course, while she mentions it in passing, why did that hotshot NewYork law firm that used to work for him decide to bail. (My first guess would be unpaid bills. But "sure loser" might be an option. As would "client who persistently lies to us.")

This, from the Washington Post, typifies Russia so far:

As Russian forces fled in disarray in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region Saturday, . . . Putin sounded strikingly tone deaf as he opened a giant new Ferris wheel in Moscow. “There is nothing like that in Europe,” he boasted via video-link.

Within hours, the Ferris wheel had broken down, and tickets had to be refunded.

'Tis true, you wouldn't be likely to see something like that in Europe.

"Putin sounded strikingly tone deaf as he opened a giant new Ferris wheel in Moscow."

Clearly a highly efficient "jumped out of a balcony" machine.
#insert <YakovSmirnovJoke.h>

"Putin sounded strikingly tone deaf"

A drummer, perhaps...? (Certainly he's beaten the war drums.)

Why doesn't Jabbabonk get reputable lawyers?
I'd guess lots of MAGAts would argue that they all get intimidated by the thugs from DoJ and the FBI. They fear for the lives or worse - their law licences. Even constitutionalist SCOTUS justices can't get outdoors anymore due to the danger of being brutally* protested against and denied their rightful peace and quiet at luxury restaurants.
That His Orangeness can't get lawyers is proof that he is an innocent victim of the Abyssal** State.

*signs with aspersive and derogatory messages have been rumored to have been carried within a mile of their houses.
**Deep clearly has become insufficient by now. And abyssal has a nice ring of abysmal for the thesaurically challenged.

...or worse - their law licences.

This. The tony white-shoe law firms that normally handle things for the national Republican Party were there shortly after the election. And disappeared as soon as it was apparent that the "strategy" was to claim fraud with no evidence. There are real penalties for lawyers that lie in court, or bring lawsuits they should have known were frivolous if they had done their pre-courtroom work.

It is possibly worth noting that even the lawyers that did file the suits dropped the fraud accusations. What showed up in the court cases were accusations of procedural errors. They lost all but one of those, and in the one case they won, the particular jurisdiction had already admitted fault and corrected the problem.

There are real penalties for lawyers that lie in court, or bring lawsuits they should have known were frivolous

This is, naturally, flat out tyranny. After all, they would be doing so in service of the Dear Leader, who can do no wrong.

It is possibly worth noting that even the lawyers that did file the suits dropped the fraud accusations.

Not only did they drop them, in several instances** the judge flat out asked them if they were alleging fraud. And they hastily assured him that they were absolutely doing no such thing.

** Instances in which, IIRC, those same lawyers had stood on the courthouse steps and told reporters about how much fraud there had been.

If you consider all the conspiracies that some people believe have been perpetrated against Donald Trump, it's hard to believe he was ever elected president in the first place, at least unless you think some of the people out to get him voted for him.

I have to wonder of Georgia is watching closely. Trying to pick the moment to reclaim their occupied territory.
Rapid loss of territory in Ukraine reveals spent Russian military

Moscow’s rapid loss of more than 2,300 square miles of territory in northeastern Ukraine has raised the prospect that the Russian military is spent as an offensive force for the foreseeable future, which could limit Russian President Vladimir Putin to defending the Ukrainian territory he already holds while leaving him open to additional defeats, according to military analysts.
If the Russian is burnt out enough, they might pull it off. Even though they aren't nearly as big or as well armed as Ukraine.

This is, naturally, flat out tyranny. After all, they would be doing so in service of the Dear Leader, who can do no wrong.

As I patiently told a former colleague, "Just because you say, 'Look! A crime may have been committed!' the investigative powers/tools of the state are not suddenly yours to command."

I have to wonder of Georgia is watching closely. Trying to pick the moment to reclaim their occupied territory.

Until I got to the next bit, my thought was, "What? Georgia's decided to try to physically grab the bit that Tennessee has due to a surveying error made a couple hundred years ago?"

Georgia dearly wants to have the courts correct that error because it would give them access to the Tennessee River, from which they would immediately start pumping water into the river basin that serves Atlanta.

my thought was, "What? Georgia's decided to try to physically grab the bit that Tennessee has

Mea culpa. I should have written "the Republic of Georgia." Although it occurs to me that some could misread that, initially, as "Republican Georgia." Sigh.

Safest to write "საქართველო"

I look forward to Moldova and Ukraine ganging up to crush Trans-Nistria.

As for Georgia, Putin can only have it if he takes Alabama also, too.

Alabama, or as we used to call it in flag football, "Two Mississippi."

As for Georgia, Putin can only have it if he takes Alabama also, too.

Kind of unfair to Georgia. Maybe offer Putin Alabama and Mississippi instead.

The Brits could offer Putin a safe retirement in South Georgia, if the situation at home should become untenable.

It's of course a question, whether South Georgia is large enough to qualify for an 'in' instead of an 'on'.

It's of course a question, whether South Georgia is large enough to qualify for an 'in' instead of an 'on'.

I think it's 'on' an island whenever one is mentally processing it as an island. I'm sure it's 'on' South Georgia.

As for Georgia, Putin can only have it if he takes Alabama also, too.

Not for a few years, until Congress without Richard Shelby decides that they won't keep critical parts of the US space program in Alabama any more. The remaining Atlas Vs will be built in Alabama. The new Vulcan Centaur will be built in Alabama. Bezos's BE-4 rocket engines will be built in Alabama. The SLS is built in Alabama. A lot of work gets done at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama (6,000 employees).

It's of course a question, whether South Georgia is large enough to qualify for an 'in' instead of an 'on'.

Say rather a question of whether South Georgia is large enough for Putin's ego.

Well, Napoleon got St.Helena. South Georgia is 30 times larger (and 17 times larger than Elba).

South Georgia is 30 times larger (and 17 times larger than Elba).

But further south than St Helena, not to mention Elba. That is, farther from Russia (and Europe generally). While the British have proven themselves capable of launching a military action at that distance, Putin has struggled with a much shorter range. He just doesn't have Napoleon's track record.

Well, he has lasted far longer in Moscow than the Corsican upstart. Anf who says that Putin has to send troops down there. The World community will provide free transport (one-way-ticket) - provided the Brits will part with the real estate.
I think Putin should be able to deal with the Argentinians without too large an army.

Further to that link from cleek's place about Trump's inability to find top lawyers to represent him, Politico reports that his Save America PAC has had to pay a lawyer $3 million in advance to represent him.

Furthermore:

Save America itself is facing scrutiny from the Justice Department. Last week, numerous grand jury subpoenas asked people in Trump world about the PAC’s fundraising and spending activities. The language in those subpoenas was broad, according to reports, and also asked witnesses for information about a host of people linked to Trump’s efforts to reverse the outcome of the 2020 presidential contest.

https://www.politico.com/news/2022/09/15/trumps-save-america-paid-3-million-to-cover-top-lawyers-legal-work-00056968

Anf who says that Putin has to send troops down there. The World community will provide free transport (one-way-ticket) - provided the Brits will part with the real estate.

I wasn't thinking of getting him there. More about his prospects for success in fighting his way free and back to Europe. A bit more challenging than the little hop from Elba.

P.S. It also seems unlikely that Putin would use his time in exile as productively as the Little Colonel.

In his 300 days as Elba’s ruler, Napoleon ordered and oversaw massive infrastructure improvements: building roads and draining marshes, boosting agriculture and developing mines, as well as overhauling the island’s schools and its entire legal system.
The folks on Elba still hold fond memories of him. (Can't see Putin achieving that!)

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