'Of course when I say “the paper,” I mean the suits who owned the Sun-Times back then.'

It might be interesting to reflect on your choice to refer to the Sun-Times owners -- or anyone -- as "suits". It implies a certain amount of contempt for a large segment of society.

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Great crop of ToTWs - I particularly like the English language Tweet and the windshield Tweet.

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Completely agree on Van Dyke -- I'm freshly outraged, so thank you for that.

Wordle-wise, I started with "MINCE" today and got it pretty quickly on the fourth guess but feel like I had a decent chance at third. I think beginning tomorrow I'm going to start with the previous day's answer. You can never get it on the first guess in that case, but that would be dumb luck anyway. Otherwise, I was just starting every day with TEARS, which gets old and sad....

Speaking of Mincing Rascals, just caught the latest excellent episode, thank you, in which you mocked Trump's stuff about how white people are being sent to the back of the line for Covid treatments. Yes, his comments were exaggerated, but the seed of them is real and pretty nutso, IMHO. From the Jan. 7 Wall Street Journal op-ed by liberals John Judis and Ruy Teixeira:

"New York state recently published guidelines for dispensing potentially life-saving monoclonal antibodies and oral antivirals like Paxlovid to people suffering from mild to moderate symptoms of Covid-19. These treatments are in short supply, and they must be allocated to those most in need.

"According to these guidelines, sick people who have tested positive for Covid should be eligible to receive these drugs if they have 'a medical condition or other factors that increase their risk for severe illness.' These include standard criteria like age and comorbidities like cancer, diabetes and heart disease—but, startlingly, they also include simply being of 'non-white race or Hispanic/Latino ethnicity,' which 'should be considered a risk factor, as longstanding systemic health and social inequities have contributed to an increased risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19.'"

This seems to suggest at the very least that a non-white person should be placed ahead of a white person with otherwise similar risk profiles when determining who gets first access to therapeutics in limited supply. I'm not sure how else you could read it. Pretty wild. Being non-white is not actually in itself a risk factor. Other health conditions are. This isn't a case where those with particular genetic backgrounds are more prone to particular illnesses -- like sickle cell for African-Americans.

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"Because second-degree murder can cover such a wide range of circumstances, Illinois law allows for sentences ranging from probation to 20 years in prison. Aggravated battery with a firearm, however, carries a mandatory sentence of six to 30 years."

"Trial Judge Vincent Gaughan chose to sentence Van Dyke on the technically lesser charge because, he said from the bench, it was more serious that Van Dyke had committed murder (though in the second degree) than that he’d shot McDonald."

"His decision flew in the face of the Illinois Supreme Court’s 2004 ruling in People v. Lee."

-- Zorn

Just leave Van Dyke alone, and down-the-line he’ll likely get the longer sentence, when NEXT time he murders someone in flagrante delicto (caught red-handed, in the very act) – but only if he commits the murder(s) outside of Chicago, that is.

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Out of context headline.

Asked about the afterlife, Eric Zorn says, “I plan to fertilize my garden.”

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“This issue is about the freedom of the individual to see dignity and morality in rejoining the circle of life. And the freedom to act on the belief that there can be nothing more sanctified than living on to repay, if only at the microbial level, the planet that gave you so much.”


Yes. With all sobrieties given, the federal government may disseminate human composting kits – 4 free kits per household – as, although possibly invidious, fallback from traditional methods of burial, even when considered desecration. On the other hand, retail kits – supporting a competitive market -- might be sold at Walgreens and CVS for somewhere around $30.00, to make them equally available to everyone who wants them.

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Bravo to Representative Kassidy! Skipping lightly over the church's self-imposed wounds ("Crisis" magazine? In your mailbox on a regular basis? Seriously? Seek help! my wife banned books including "Panic", "Collapse", and "Falter", from the main library bookshelves and consigned them to my basement cave; the idea of getting such a publication delivered, PERIODICALLY...anyway):

The idea of composting human REMAINS, as described, is technologically trivial and is clearly part of our cultural ouvre (see the comparison to livestock practices). What's less culturally trivial would be composting human WASTE...although the effect on our pathogenic environment would dwarf the other thing. Think about it: is the finest flower of city life (that's really all "civilization" means, anyway) the practice of dumping our shit into the water supply? This was a fine idea when you could "send it away" down the river or whatever; now that, here on Spaceship Earth, there IS no "away", perhaps we can do better?

O well -- the feco-phobes probably still win that argument today (you can read all about it, including the full text of the book Stuart Brand called "the definitive guide to getting our shit together", here: https://humanurehandbook.com ). But I'll leave you and the bishop with the lyrics to Lee Hayes' immortal "In Dead Earnest":

If I should die before I wake, all my bones and sinew take

Put me in the compost pile, and decompose me for a while

Worms, water, sun will have their way, reducing me to common clay.

All that I am will feed the trees, and little fishies in the sea

When cabbages and corn you munch, you may be having me for lunch

And then excrete me with a grin, chortling "there goes Lee again!"

Sing us out, Pete: https://youtu.be/X6tJKfVyGbE

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Jan 21, 2022Liked by Eric Zorn

The obvious libertarian response to human composting is - of course, why not? A better bill in the Illinois legislature would be to list methods which are not allowed and let everyone do whatever they like outside that list. There is no reason for the state to be in the position of approving innovations. Nor should they add unnecessary features, like the bio-degradable box. People were laid in holes for centuries without a box or shroud. The state's sole interest should be in protecting public health.

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I hope the Sun-times, WBEZ, deal works out, but I do not see how it will. Public radio is funded with public donations, donations from public charitable foundations, corporate donations, and government subsidies. I suppose that it is possible to merge a subscription revenue stream, overhead cost reductions, and additional donations to fund the new combined organization. But I am glad to see that they are being creative in establishing a new model.

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You make a good case for Vrdolyac. But what does 'release to proper care' mean? If there is a state mental hospital for felons that is one option. The other is releasing him entirely, to be cared for by his family or in private care of their choice. Maybe it doesn't make a difference to society and the justice system. But if it made sense to incarcerate an old man, does it make sense to release him entirely because he is sick? I don't feel too strongly on this because he committed non-violent crimes. But how would this argument be used for a violent criminal? Shouldn't they still be locked up, even if not in a penitentiary?

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I am quite unfamiliar with the subtleties of the US legislative process, so I welcome input to my perspective.

It seems to me that the current legislative practice is an explicit attempt to roll everything into a single bill for an up down vote. Expedience, efficiency? It appears to me to be a practice that exacerbates the political divide. At the constituent level, that legislation gets viewed and boiled down to a political party desire as opposed to social, governing issues. I'm certain that there are specific aspects in the rolled up legislation that would be appealing to constituents regardless of political allegiance. It would appear to me that if the legislation were more delineated, it would force individual party members (our elected officials) to discuss the issues on their merits and not on a political basis.

Just a random thought looking for outside perspective.

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Jan 22, 2022·edited Jan 22, 2022

Mark Maxwell was very very good on Mincing Rascals. I imagine you don’t control the guests EZ, but I hope he comes back. Great insights on Illinois politics. (btw- similarity of his name to my handle here is a complete coincidence. :) )

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