By Their Fruits

It might seem strange for an atheist to quote the Bible; but from the stopped-clock-right-twice-a-day department…

Trump’s never-ending lies made me think of Matthew 7:15-20.  Near the end of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus warns against false prophets.  He says that, just as you can’t expect to get grapes from thornbushes nor figs from thistles, so you can’t expect to get the truth from those who customarily lie.

Will “Bible believers” who “love Jesus” be moved by teaching that’s actually attributed to Jesus in a gospel?  A few might; but for the most part, nope, not a chance.  “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” (KJV)

That Horrible Debate

I still can’t process the “debate” that some of us endured on Thursday; but it’s clear that Biden’s awful performance is almost all of what the media want to talk about.  Trump’s Gish gallop of one bare-faced lie after another is hardly mentioned.

How can that be?  The only thing I can think of is that Biden’s performance was shocking, but Trump’s lies were unsurprising.

The Debate

I guess I’ll watch the big debate tonight.  I don’t expect to learn anything new about either Biden’s or Trump’s policies; but this boomer thinks it’s a civic duty…or something.  This time, it might be fun to see how Trump reacts to having his microphone cut off when it’s not his turn.

I don’t watch enough TV to justify getting cable; so I won’t be watching on CNN; but all of the usual five broadcast networks will air the debate beginning at 8:00pm central time (my time since I live in St. Louis).  Curiously, the online version of TV Guide shows FOX dumping out at 9:37 with all the others ending at 10:00.  I’m guessing that FOX is worried about having to find nice things to say about Trump in post-debate analysis. 😎  I’ll probably watch on PBS even though I’ll likely have to put up with Amy Walter making self-fulfulling prophecies about “electability” in the post-debate segment.

Two of the networks will have pre-debate analysis:  ABC News Special: Race for the White House from 7:00 to 8:00, andFOX News Special: Democracy '24 from 7:30 to 8:00.  I wouldn’t normally pay any attention to corporate media’s predictions of what will happen, preferring to see what actually happens; but the FOX show is only half an hour long; and it might be interesting to see whether they mindlessly repeat Trump’s claim that Biden will be using performance-enhancing drugs or something even more stupid.

In any event, I guess I’ll have to miss parts one and two of Planet of the Spiders on the Retro TV network.

Social Media and Me

I’ve never used social media*, so I’ve never been affected in any way by the problems Facebook, Xitter, etc.  Am I missing something?

I remember PZ trying to choose between Mastodon and BlueSky, and Mike the Mad Biologist recently mentioned a couple of things that he likes about BlueSky.  Should I try out one of those?  What will I be able to do that I can’t do now?


*OK, I guess blogs are a kind of social media; but aside from that…

I did create a LinkedIn account near its beginning, but I wound up never using it for anything.

My Next Excuse for Riding Trains

I won’t be blogging about riding trains until November when I’ll be traveling to Wrocław, Poland to attend a meeting of the ISO C++ standards committee, but I’m starting to think about it, and I’ve worked up a possible itinerary that includes a three-day conference in Berlin the week before and a one-day conference in Wrocław afterwards.

As I’ve said before, I like to fly Icelandair across the Pond because I like to get off the plane and stretch my legs in Keflavík.  Also, because travel to these meetings is the only thing I spend my fun money on, I’m fortunate to be able to afford Icelandair’s Saga class if I don’t try to afford other stuff that I don’t really want that much anyway.  (Business class on other airlines would probably be out of my price range; and besides, I wouldn’t want to sit in an airplane long enough to get all the way to Europe in one fell swoop.)

Unfortunately, Icelandair serves Berlin only five days per week, so the eastbound trip doesn’t work well.  I’m currently thinking about going a day late and missing almost all of the first day of Meeting C++.  I could fly into Frankfurt instead and take an ICE directly from the airport to Berlin; but then I’d have to return from Frankfurt to get the round-trip air fare; and getting from Wrocław to Frankfurt by train doesn’t look easy.

Update 2024-04-20:  I think I’ve found a way to get from Wrocław to the Frankfurt airport by train, and I like that better.  The link above is to the new version.  The version flying into and out of Berlin is still available here.

Nokia will be sponsoring a one-day conference called code:dive that’s still not officially announced, so I don’t know when or where it’ll be.  My rough itinerary assumes that it’ll be in the same hotel the Monday after the ISO meeting, which could be wrong; so the westbound trip is still subject to change.

Update, 2024-04-17:  I’ve added another option for the first leg that saves a long layover in Chicago.  That train originates in Kansas City and is often delayed on the former MoPac west of St. Louis, so I’m a bit leery about counting on it:  missing the very first connection would likely destroy the whole trip.

I checked out train 318’s arrival times in Chicago and the likelihood of making my connection back to the 1st of October, and it doesn’t look too dangerous; but I’m still not sure I’d want to chance it.  (If I look only at Mondays, which is the weekday I’ll be traveling, I never miss the connection on any of the 29 days; but it’s not clear whether the weekday actually has any effect.)  I probably won’t be making any reservations until the end of July or so, so I’ll check again then.  I’ll probably just stick with the Texas Eagle in any event since that will allow checking a bag all the way to New York.  (The Missouri-Illinois corridor trains don’t have checked baggage service.)

I’ve also been told that Nokia’s code:dive conference will definitely be on Monday, November 25th, but not at the Double Tree where the WG21 meeting will be.

Some Fun Time Zone Geekiness

There were a few e-mail messages on the FtB backchannel a little while ago.  An FtB blogger who lives in Ireland was wondering when the next FtB Podish-Sortacast will happen (https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2024/03/09/in-my-prime/, scroll down a bit), probably just under an hour from when I get this posted.

That got me to thinking about civil time in the Irish Republic.  It winds up that they observe the same time as Great Britain and Northern Ireland, except they get there with rather tortured reasoning.

In the U.K., they switch from “Greenwich Mean Time” (GMT, same as UTC+0) to “British Summer Time” (BST, UTC+1) on the last Sunday in March at 01:00:00 local wall clock time, and they switch back from BST to GMT on the last Sunday in November at 02:00:00 local wall clock time.

In Ireland, they switch from ”Irish Standard Time” (IST, UTC+1) to GMT on the last Sunday in November at 02:00, and they switch back from GMT to IST on the last Sunday in March at 01:00.

Yes, really. Go figure. 😎

The POSIX TZ environment variable for Europe/London:  GMT0BST,M3.5.0/1,M10.5.0
The POSIX TZ environment variable for Europe/Dublin:  IST-1GMT0,M10.5.0,M3.5.0/1

Why did they bother?

The Big Picture

Robert Reich likes to draw cartoons.

I’m on one of his e-mail lists, and early this morning I got a message that contains a link to a video of him drawing a really big one (ca. 6½ minutes) explaining how the economy got into the state that it’s in.

That was cute; but there should be an image, like maybe a JPEG, of the completed drawing so that we can see the whole thing all at once.  It doesn’t matter if it’s huge:  it would be good to be able to scroll around and zoom in/out.

Travel to Wrocław in the Fall

I got an e-mail message last night giving the dates are for the C++ standards committee meeting in Wrocław, Poland, so I’ve made some preliminary guesses about what my travel itinerary might look like.  There are still some unknowns, however; although it’ll almost certainly be Amtrak between St. Louis and Boston, Icelandair between Boston and some city in Europe, and then one or more trains to/from Wrocław.

As I’ve said before, I don’t like flying very much; and so I take Icelandair to/from Boston, mostly because I like getting off the plane and stretching my legs in Keflavík.  Also, I can usually afford Saga Class on Icelandair if I don’t try to afford other stuff that I don’t really want that much anyway; but business class on other airlines is typically pricier.

We’ll see how it actually works out…

U.S. Sanctions on West-Bank Israelis

16:00 UTC−6:  DW News leads with a report that Biden has signed an executive order imposing economic sanctions on four named Israelis who were involved in anti-Palestinian violence in the West Bank.  I see this as a baby step in the right direction.  We’ll see whether U.S. policy toward Israel develops any morality.  Stay tuned…

16:30−6:  BBC World News America leads with the same story.

17:10:  my local TV news has a couple of sentences about the sanctions.  They say it’s in response to the killing of a Palestinian-American teenager.

17:30:  no mention of the sanctions on NBC Nightly News.

18:00:  nothing about the sanctions during the headlines on PBS Newshour either.

Now I’m saddened again.  NBC did have a short report about a growing movement within the Arab-American community for sitting out the next election.  They won’t vote for Trump, but they don’t think they can vote for Biden either.  Let’s hope that that doesn’t give the election to Trump.  Maybe there’s some good news in John Morales’ comment below.

More on Trump and Colorado

I seem to be getting all my news on this from Mike the Mad Biologist.

A comment reports that the Supreme Court has denied certiorari (they won’t be hearing the case), which means that the Colorado decision stands; but a comment on my previous post suggests that the Colorado ruling includes a stay that’s permanent if the case is appealed.

It’s about half an hour until my Monday-Friday TV news routine begins.  We’ll see whether DW News, BBC World News America, my local news, NBC Nightly News or PBS Newshour confirms the certiorari denial and whether that means that the Colorado decision is permanently stayed or is in effect since the appeal failed.

In any event, the ruling affects the primary election, not the general election; and I read somewhere else (I can’t remember where) that Colorado Republicans are already talking about having a caucus instead of an election so there won’t be a ballot for Trump to be kept off of.

I’m making a trip to the grocery store tomorrow.  I’ll definitely be buying some popcorn.

05:30 UTC−6:  oops, it turns out that I totally misunderstood.  The question that SCOTUS declined to weigh in on was whether POTUS has immunity from prosecution on the insurrection charge, so an appeals court will decide that first.  This was reported as a minor victory for Trump because that other case could go on for quite a while.

We don’t know anything more about Colorado after all.  (I’m in the mood for some popcorn anyway.)