Wednesday: Hili dialogue

Good morning on a humpish sort of day: Wednesday, February 12, 2020. And of course it’s International Darwin Day, celebrating the day that our greatest biologist was born in 1809. If you haven’t read On the Origin of Species, today is a good day to start. (I recommend the first edition to get an idea the full flavor of its impact on an unsuspecting world.)

Besides that, it’s Lincoln’s Birthday (Lincoln and Darwin were born on the very same day in 1809), Hug Day (be sure to get affirmative consent), and National Freedom to Marry Day, celebrated on this day because;

The most notable National Freedom to Marry Day was February 12, 2004 when, following a directive from San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom to his county clerk, the City and County of San Francisco began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Finally, it’s a triple food holiday: National Plum Pudding Day, National PB&J Day (that’s peanut butter and jelly), and National Biscotti Day.

News of the Day: As in Iowa, Bernie Sanders and Mayor Pete finished on top in New Hampshire, and of course the pundits are now touting The Bern as the Democratic standard bearer, though Buttigieg was right up his tuchas . It was a poor night for Elizabeth Warren, a rather heartening one for Amy Klobuchar, who got six delegates, and a disaster for Joe Biden and everyone else who got less than 10% of the vote and no delegates, as these numbers show:  But it is early days, and the vote is from two small and white states. I’ll have a discussion post up within an hour or so, so reserve comments on the outcome until then. Thanks.

Oh, and the miscreant Jussie Smollett was re-indicted by the Cook County prosecutors for falsely reporting a hate crime. This is big news in Chicago because the faked “crime” was committed here. The re-indictment does not constitute double jeopardy because Smollett never pleaded guilty or began being tried. The dropping of the charges by Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx was a big mystery at the time, and I suspect she’ll be out of office when we vote in the primaries in a month.

Stuff that happened on February 12 includes:

  • 1832 – Ecuador annexes the Galápagos Islands. [An appropriate even to report on Darwin Day.]
  • 1909 – The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is founded.
  • 1924 – George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue received its premiere in a concert titled “An Experiment in Modern Music”, in Aeolian Hall, New York, by Paul Whiteman and his band, with Gershwin playing the piano.
  • 1946 – African American United States Army veteran Isaac Woodard is severely beaten by a South Carolina police officer to the point where he loses his vision in both eyes. The incident later galvanizes the civil rights movement and partially inspires Orson Welles’ film Touch of Evil.

The attack on Woodard is disgusting, as the man did nothing: the cops attacked him simply because he was black. A few sordid details from More :

Isaac Woodard Jr. (March 18, 1919 – September 23, 1992) was a decorated African-American World War II veteran. On February 12, 1946, hours after being honorably discharged from the United States Army, he was attacked while still in uniform by South Carolina police as he was taking a bus home. The attack and his injuries sparked national outrage and galvanized the civil rights movement in the United States.

The attack left Woodard completely and permanently blind. Due to South Carolina’s reluctance to pursue the case, President Harry S. Truman ordered a federal investigation. The sheriff, Lynwood Shull, was indicted and went to trial in federal court in South Carolina, where he was acquitted by an all-white jury.

Here’s the poor guy, permanently blinded in his twenties by racist cops who were acquitted by a racist jury.

More stuff on February 12:

  • 1974 – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1970, is exiled from the Soviet Union.
  • 1993 – Two-year-old James Bulger is abducted from New Strand Shopping Centre by two ten-year-old boys, who later torture and murder him.
  • 2004 – The city of San Francisco begins issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in response to a directive from Mayor Gavin Newsom.

Here are Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon, the first same-sex couples to get a marriage license in America (the California Courts overruled that decision, but it was reinstated):

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1637 – Jan Swammerdam, Dutch biologist and zoologist (d. 1680)
  • 1663 – Cotton Mather, English-American minister and author (d. 1728)
  • 1809 – Charles Darwin, English geologist and theorist (d. 1882)
  • 1809 – Abraham Lincoln, American lawyer and politician, 16th President of the United States (d. 1865)
  • 1857 – Eugène Atget, French photographer (d. 1927)
  • 1884 – Max Beckmann, German painter and sculptor (d. 1950)
  • 1885 – Julius Streicher, German publisher, founded Der Stürmer (d. 1946)
  • 1939 – Leon Kass, American physician, scientist, and educator

Those who packed it up on February 12 include:

  • 1554 – Lady Jane Grey, de facto monarch of England and Ireland for nine days (b. 1537; executed)
  • 1929 – Lillie Langtry, English singer and actress (b. 1853)
  • 1942 – Grant Wood, American painter and academic (b. 1891)
  • 1976 – Sal Mineo, American actor (b. 1939)
  • 1979 – Jean Renoir, French actor, director, producer, and screenwriter (b. 1894)
  • 2000 – Charles M. Schulz, American cartoonist, created Peanuts (b. 1922)
  • 2014 – Sid Caesar, American actor and comedian (b. 1922)

Grant Wood is of course best known for his iconic painting American Gothic, but here’s another illustration he did for a book:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili can’t even have a lie-down without being disturbed:

A: I need your opinion.
Hili: Everybody wants something from me. I don’t have a quiet moment.
In Polish:
Ja: Potrzebuję twojej opinii.
Hili: Wszyscy mają do mnie jakieś interesy. Nie ma chwili spokoju.

Here’s painting by Lucian Freud (one of my favorite modern painters) sent in by Winnie, who saw it in London at the Tate. It’s Girl with a Kitten (1947). Some art-critic information:

Girl with a Kitten is one of eight portraits that Lucian Freud made of his first wife, Kathleen Garman (1926–2011), between 1947 and 1951. In this closely cropped composition, in which she is pictured against a beige wall, Garman holds a kitten by its neck in a tense grip, her knuckles especially prominent, seeming to half-strangle the animal without concern. Given that Garman was generally known as Kitty (a short form of Kathleen as well as a familiar term for a kitten), her treatment of the cat raises – and consciously leaves entirely unresolved – questions about her self-image. Garman stares into the middle distance with a pensive expression, while the kitten looks directly at the viewer. Every element in the painting is depicted with equal scrutiny, from the reflections in Garman’s pupils to the static energy of her wavy hair – a precision achieved through the use of fine sable brushes on finely woven canvas. A silvery light suffuses the image, granting the shadows in Garman’s pearl-like skin and the soft blue garment she wears a chill uniformity.

Cat body language from The Cat House on the Kings:

From Cris Froese Pics via Elzbieta, half of Leon’s staff:

Zuby is a trip! Check out his other tweets, which I dare not retweet.

The picture below is not of a goat or a monster animal. Look at it carefully to figure out what’s going on.

From reader Barry, who admires this handsome bird:

One of Bernie’s anti-Semitic surrogates (people whom he’s asked to campaign on his behalf): the odious Linda Sarsour:

One from Heather Hastie. Obama takes the gloves off here, though it was a few years ago.

Tweets from Matthew. The problem with this one is that we don’t know whether the snake was ultimately deterred:

A great title of this article, which ultimately refers to sexual selection:

A really nice idea: you get doubly warmed and get some exercise:

17 Comments

  1. Dominic
    Posted February 12, 2020 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    Does Buttigieg have an edge?

    Will Warren burrow for votes?

    Is Steyer a stayer?

    Is Biden biding his time?

  2. DrBrydon
    Posted February 12, 2020 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Everyone is calling Sanders the winner in New Hampshire because he got the most votes. The fact is that he tied with Buttigieg in the number that matters: delegates. The Sanders camp wants the message to be that he won. Right now he is behind (by one) in the delegate count.

  3. Randall Schenck
    Posted February 12, 2020 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Don’t know if they have ever done a specific testing of this idea from evidence but Lincoln must have been from the poorest and least educated of all Presidents. It’s not possible to come from lower on that ladder than Lincoln. Self made is an understatement.

  4. jhs
    Posted February 12, 2020 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    There are reasons Bernie Panders is popular among young voters.

    (I apologize for repeatedly expressing my dislike towards him. His campaign tactics are a bit dirty for my taste.)

  5. Ken Kukec
    Posted February 12, 2020 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    The big news that’s been somewhat overshadowed by the campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination is the withdrawal of four career prosecutors — and the resignation from the Justice Department of one of them, a former SCOTUS clerk — from the Roger Stone case, after AG William Barr’s Justice Department overruled their recommendation that Stone be sentenced within the range set by the federal sentencing guidelines.

    Such a recommendation is standard practice from US Attorney’s offices in our federal courts, and I am unaware of a single case in which Main Justice has overruled its own prosecutors in such a manner — let alone where it has done so for a friend (and possible criminal cohort) of the United States president.

    Donald Trump has issued a series of false, unhinged tweets about this case, further eroding the rule of law in this nation, and undercutting the traditional independence with which the Department of Justice operates within the executive branch. Trump plainly views our federal justice system as personal tool with which to reward his friends and punish his enemies, and Attorney General Barr seems only too willing to enable him to so use it.

    • rickflick
      Posted February 12, 2020 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      Just one of a long list of reprehensible behaviors of this guy. I’m expecting the corruption and craziness to accelerate and reach a crescendo in November. Fortunately, this could work against him as voters panic that he may be a serious threat to democracy. Unfortunately, people might not care enough about living in a democracy.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted February 12, 2020 at 8:57 am | Permalink

      When you are looking at Barr, it is the same as looking at Trump. There is no difference. The justice department just picked who they donate to annually for charity. They picked Hookers for Jesus over Catholic charities. Why you say? The Catholic charities have been working with Democrats. The Hookers For Jesus are a Christian conservative group.

    • Charles Sawicki
      Posted February 12, 2020 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      It would be beneficial to our future if officials in the JD could be held responsible for actions like what amounts to special treatment of Trump friends like Stone and the investigation of Biden which is clearly political.
      I’m not a lawyer, but I bet that this wont happen. The system isn’t in place to deal with corruption at the highest levels of the JD. Hopefully I’m wrong.

    • John Conoboy
      Posted February 12, 2020 at 10:28 am | Permalink

      Ken, Do you think there is a chance that this action might piss off the judge? She gets the final say in sentencing. She is an Obama appointee.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted February 12, 2020 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

        I’ll be very surprised if, despite the prosecution’s change in position, Judge Amy Berman Jackson does anything other than impose a sentence within the range called for by the US Sentencing Guidelines on Stone, more likely than not near the top end of the Guidelines, which would seem a condign punishment for the crimes the jury found Roger Stone guilty of perpetrating.

        I think she’ll simply ignore Trump’s rage-tweeting and the DoJ’s capitulation to it.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted February 12, 2020 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

          Let me add: this is precisely why the US constitution gives federal judge’s lifetime appointments, rather than to make them subject to the influence of electoral politics.

  6. Roger
    Posted February 12, 2020 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Back in the day, “Jeff and Flash” was all the rage. As I recall, “hump day” was the only word in their vocabulary. I used to listen to them but their phony laughter at the dumbest things started taking a toll on my nerves. I’ve hated morning radio DJs ever since.

  7. Posted February 12, 2020 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Happy Darwin Day!

  8. loren russell
    Posted February 12, 2020 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    Anyone else amused that the author of the mongoose bigger stink vs. bigger balls study has found a job outside academia — as an analytics guy with major league baseball.

    I can only imagine his elevator speech connecting the his findings on the habits and sexual physiology of male mongoose to MLB pitchers-and-catchers camp.

  9. loren russell
    Posted February 12, 2020 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Whilst reading the mongoose study, I see a number of fun articles in Gizmodo today. Readers here may be interested in a study of crows suggesting that the common crow and northwestern crow, separated in the Pleistocene are now introgressing. The fish crow soon will be gone, and only common crows will pine for Alaskan fjords! The article sez speciation, then despeciation. Our host would probably not agree…

    Also, perhaps germane to the panpsychotic thread, an article claiming that there is a localized on-off switch for consciousness in the thalamus of squirrel monkeys: “Anesthetized-monkeys-wake-up-instantly-when-researchers-stimulate…”

  10. Jonathan Wallace
    Posted February 14, 2020 at 4:58 am | Permalink

    There are some moths named in honour of Jan Swammerdam. These are micro-moths that are significantly exceeded in size by their name when printed in any readable font size e.g. Paraswammerdamia albicapitella!


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