Friday: Hili dialogue

Good morning at the end of another work-from-home week: it’s Friday, June 26, 2020, National Chocolate Pudding Day, which always reminds me of Bill Cosby, who used to advertise the Jello brand of this pudding on television. I wonder if he gets it in stir? (Cosby, 82, is roughly two years into a 3-10-year sentence for aggravated sexual assault, and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court just granted him the right to appeal his conviction on two major issues.)

It’s also Take Your D*g To Work Day (odds are that Fido’s already there), National Food Truck Day (I doubt whether these are still operating), and Tropical Cocktails Day. Finally, it’s Ratcatcher’s Day in Hamelin, Germany, International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, and World Refrigeration Day. 

News of the Day:

In England, the new leader of the Labour Party, Keir Starmer, has fired shadow education secretary Rebecca-Long Bailey for sharing a tweet that contained a ludicrous conspiracy theory: that Israel’s secret services taught the Minneapolis Police Department the neck hold that killed George Floyd. Under Starmer, Labour is slowly purging its anti-Semitic elements.

Coronavirus is surging again in the U.S., to the extent that the state of Texas, hard hit, has paused its plans to reopen.

Today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 124,393 an increase of about 2,400 over yesterday’s report.  The world death toll now stands at 488,191, an increase of about 5600 from yesterday.

And in a truly boneheaded move, the Trump administration has just asked the Supreme Court to invalidate Obama’s Affordable Care Act, which surely is providing insurance for many who are afflicted during the pandemic. The “optics” are horrible here, but whoever said that Trump was empathic?

Finally, as if you weren’t sufficiently depressed, have a look at this NYT column by David Brooks:

Kvetch of the Day: It’s still an anxious time at Botany Pond, although things seem to be calming down a bit. Although Honey goes after Dorothy at the early (5:30 am) feeding, later on in the day there seems to be no antagonism. I’m going to push back the first feeding till later today as an experiment. But sometimes I wish Dorothy hadn’t had a second batch of ducklings. That said, I’ll do my best to nurture them and help this hapless hen. We are evaluating whether to leave Dorothy in the pond or capture and rehab her offspring at a rehab center. Given that I think she deserves to have her own family (yes, I know that’s anthropomorphic), and that I don’t want to traumatize mother and offspring (capture would involve separating mom from kids), our inclination now is a cautious watch-and-wait strategy. But the uncertainty is psychologically debilitating, at least for me.

Also, Honey’s offspring have started flying within in the pond, though only for short hops. They often exercise their wings by beating them vigorously.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Andrzej tells Hili that things are only going to get worse.

Hili: When was the Golden Age?
A: I’m afraid it is now.
In Polish:
Hili: Kiedy był złoty wiek?
Ja: Obawiam się, że jest teraz.

And this video is REAL! As reader Gregory, who sent the link, notes, “There are a few bright moments from time to time these days. Here’s Mexico’s Vicente Fox announcing his bid for US President 2020.  Enjoy.” I did. This is fricking HILARIOUS! It is Vincente Fox, even giving Trump the finger.

A tweet. Trump may be a horrible President, but he’s an edgy comedian:

A tweet Matthew sent me that I translated and retweeted.

More tweets from Matthew. Read the thread for details; apparently this kind of data collection is legal. They simply collected cellphone data from people who were at the sites of anti-racism protests. 1984 is here—just 36 years late!

This sounds good, and it’s not a Deepity because there are bourbon biscuits, though I had to look them up. Here’s a description.

Various video clips of the common loon (Gavia immer). Look at that first smooth landing!


  1. Ken Kukec
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    Tropical Drinks Day?

    Gentlemen, we have “boat drinks”:

  2. Randall Schenck
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    Good article from Brooks. Social justice cult does not solve problems it just invents new ones. Meanwhile Kansas is doing their part to catch up with Texas and Arizona. Bringing in 4000 kids from around the state to play basketball in Wichita this weekend. That should spread the virus around better.

  3. Serendipitydawg
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    it’s Friday, June 30, 2020 It’s the 26th over here 😀

    • Posted June 26, 2020 at 11:22 am | Permalink

      Yeah, I was thinking of my sister’s birthday when I wrote that. It’s fixed now, thanks!

      • Raskos
        Posted June 26, 2020 at 11:35 am | Permalink

        A real frightener. I’m supposed to begin lecturing on the 30th.

  4. Jim batterson
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    Re: food trucks – they are active in my town as a good wayto get take out while staying physically distant. One established restaurant even hired a food truck to park atthe curb and serve some of their menu.

    • Posted June 26, 2020 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      Same in my area. Since the patrons don’t have to enter an enclosed space, it’s mostly business as usual for food trucks. In fact, I’m guessing they’re getting more business than usual. I don’t frequent them but that’s mostly because I never know where they are when I’m hungry.

    • Mark R.
      Posted June 26, 2020 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

      Food trucks are open around here as well. I might stop by today as it’s “town day”. But at least I finally found comfortable masks that exceed CDC guidelines!

  5. TJR
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    You don’t have bourbon biscuits in the US?? Next think you’ll be saying you don’t have treacle crunch cream or plain chocolate hobnobs.

    If you’ve not heard it, I highly recommend “On the 7th Day”, a quite brilliant biscuit-themed song by Blabbermouth and Murray Lachlan Young.

    Apologies in advance if it embeds

    • Posted June 27, 2020 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

      As a child, I always though of Bourbon biscuits as being the best ones. That was, of course, before I discovered plain chocolate hobnobs.

  6. chrism
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    I went to read the original article that Long-Bailey had promoted – the bit about chokeholds was a tiny part in a somewhat deranged screed about the need to destroy capitalism. I came away from it with some sadness as I rather liked Maxine Peak back in her Silk days, and now I know she’s an idiot. I can understand Long-Bailey, as a Corbyn-bot, would like most of it, but it was a bit thoughtless to promote it when it might be seen as anti-semitic (frankly, I don’t think saying the Mossad get up to dirty tricks is necessarily anti-semitic,. They have done so, no doubt are doing so, and they are very good at some of them. One can like or dislike that regardless of one’s feelings towards the Jewish people or the state of Israel. I would certainly suspect though, that those who invent nonsense about Jewish security forces teaching the US police to use chokeholds are probably revealing more of their own prejudices than anything else!) I don’t think what Long-Bailey did would have been a firing offense if Starmer liked her and wanted her around. This was a splendid excuse to kick her off his front bench and an indication he wants to create the impression he is cleaning house of the Corbyn/Momentum entryists.

    • Posted June 26, 2020 at 8:16 am | Permalink

      I *think* that Starmer wouldn’t have put RLB on his front bench if he was just waiting to sack her. But if he was just waiting for her to screw up by tweeting some idiotic antisemitic conspiracy theory, then it really proves how predictable this was.

      • Posted June 27, 2020 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

        He doesn’t have complete control of the Labour party. He had to put Long-Bailey on the front bench to keep the left wing happy.

        This was exactly the excuse he needed to get rid of her.

    • A C Harper
      Posted June 26, 2020 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      This was a splendid excuse to kick her off his front bench and an indication he wants to create the impression he is cleaning house of the Corbyn/Momentum entryists

      My emphasis. My somewhat cynical view is that Sir Kier Starmer is trying to rehabilitate the image of the Labour Party without worrying about the substance. I suspect he will fail both the image and substance efforts, but the Labour leader after him might reap the benefit.

      • chrism
        Posted June 26, 2020 at 9:23 am | Permalink

        You have correctly divined the thrust of my sentence.

  7. Historian
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    The Brooks op-ed in the NYT is interesting because it reveals his mentality and his approach to solving the deep problems we face today. He identifies five problems: the virus, the education of whites about the burdens of African-Americans, a political realignment, the Social Justice movement, and economic collapse. The largest part of the article discusses his views on Social Justice, which he doesn’t like. He says this about Social Justice:

    “Fourth, a quasi-religion is seeking control of America’s cultural institutions. The acolytes of this quasi-religion, Social Justice, hew to a simplifying ideology: History is essentially a power struggle between groups, some of which are oppressors and others of which are oppressed. Viewpoints are not explorations of truth; they are weapons that dominant groups use to maintain their place in the power structure. Words can thus be a form of violence that has to be regulated.”

    This paragraph reveals Brooks’ innate conservatism. Does he really deny that history, or at least most of it, can be understood as varying groups vying for power: economic, social, political? Apparently, he does. He also seems to believe that political viewpoints are explorations are truth. This is laughable. He pines for the “good old days,” when supposedly reasonable people got together to make reasonable decisions. He hopes against hope that the existing power structure, now threatened by Social Justice as well as Trumpism, can resist successfully the assault on its power.

    Brooks doesn’t seem to understand that the existing power structure has failed to provide the supporters of Social Justice the rights and benefits they claim they deserve as citizens of the country. In other words, the emergence of Social Justice and its tendency to radicalism is not surprising. What does Brooks propose to meet this challenge to the existing power structure? As a good conservative, but anti-Trumper, he wants to see the existing structure remain in power, and having learned its lesson will pass legislation to address the legitimate demands of Social Justice while rejecting the radical ones. Of course, he ignores the overwhelming evidence that even if Biden should get elected, the chances of significant reform are slim because of Republican opposition and power structure doesn’t want it anyways, , such as was the case in the Obama administration.

    So, Brooks offers no solutions, just a hope. Even if Biden gets elected, the problems of the nation will not go away. One can add climate change to Brooks’ list of crises. The future is more uncertain than usual. Brooks offers nothing to deal with them.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted June 26, 2020 at 8:07 am | Permalink

      But, other than the pandemic most of these problems are the same ones that have been around for a long time. They are all just sticking out more today, getting more coverage in our internet world. We have also never had a president anything like what we have today and if we can agree with Brooks on anything, he must go. If not soon the rule of law will be gone along with all of our government regulations of society. Our current form of government will also soon be gone if Trump and his kind are not removed from power and into history. This is all we need to agree on at this time, forget all the others if we do not.

    • Posted June 26, 2020 at 8:10 am | Permalink

      I agree. I don’t see any reason for him to cloak his griping about SJWs amidst the other four crises, each of which is much more serious than his actual subject.

      (I have no problem with people criticising woke-ism, but I would prefer to see a bit more proportionality. Of course there will be loons at the extremes.)

    • GBJames
      Posted June 26, 2020 at 9:28 am | Permalink

      I almost always have a similar response to Brooks’ commentaries. I rarely find any suggestion of a solution to any issue.

      I’m not quite so pessimistic about what might be accomplished in a Biden administration assuming that there is a clear Democratic sweep of Congress and that the Senate doesn’t go back to allowing the minority to control the agenda via filibuster.

    • Roo
      Posted June 26, 2020 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      Does he really deny that history, or at least most of it, can be understood as varying groups vying for power: economic, social, political?

      I think the conservative point of view is that having this happen within countries is Balkanization that should be avoided, while struggles between countries are often considered patriotic.

      That said, I’m not sure how Balkanized America is actually becoming. In some ways I think what is happening on the Left is a push towards narrative unity after a period where relativism was en vogue. Suddenly you hear phrases like “moral clarity” being bandied about in circles where the concept of right and wrong were taboo until very recently. Or – Disney just decided that Splash Mountain, based on a problematic movie but focused on a colorful trickster rabbit from African folktales, will be made more diverse by being turned into Princess and the Frog, about a standard issue, ballgown wearing princess.

      The thing about focusing on equal outcomes is that it is based on the a priori assumption that we all definitely want the same things in life. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing – I think there’s a good case to be made for that idea, although there are probably some exceptions (For example, you often hear about how we need more women in boardrooms, when I think you could also make a case that we just need fewer boardrooms, and we need to pay women in care professions more. But even that is a relatively minor disagreement, and ends in the assumption that almost all people want more pay, which seems universal and something I can’t argue with). But it is not particularly compatible with relativism. In some ways it increases the notion of a shared vision quite a bit.

    • Jim Danielson
      Posted June 27, 2020 at 9:38 am | Permalink

      While Brooks complains about the quasi-religion of social justice he completely ignores the problem of Christian dominionism and the Christian persecution complex.

    • Posted June 27, 2020 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

      Two of his alleged crises are not actually crises. Political realignments are fairly normal and only a crisis for the people being aligned away from – in this case the GOP. The education of whites about the burdens of African Americans: how is that a crisis. To be sure, there has been some civil unrest as a result, but it hasn’t reached crisis proportions yet.

      A crisis he didn’t mention is the attacks on democracy and the US political institution from the Right.

  8. jezgrove
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    The Vicente Fox video is hilarious!

    • Posted June 26, 2020 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      I like his fake “Time Man of the Year” in the background, with himself on the cover!

    • Mark R.
      Posted June 26, 2020 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, I forwarded that to a bunch of friends.

  9. Nicholas K.
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    Is it June 26 or 30th?

    My having chocolate pudding or not today depends on the answer!

  10. Charles A Sawicki
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    We have lots of loons, but I’ve never seen one land. Nice water ski on the belly, ours just float around low in the water.

  11. rickflick
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    The loon video is delightful. Grebes also use backpacks, like some human parents.

  12. Posted June 26, 2020 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    I hope Dorothy and her ducklings can be kept together.

  13. eric
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    I fully support your non-intervention in Dorothy’s case, and think you’re likely doing what’s best for her and her future broods in the long run. She has many years ahead of her as a mom, and thinking about what’s going to make her a better mom throughout her lifespan, probably the one thing that is most important is practice. Taking away her ducklings may ensure their individual survival, but it prevents her from learning the skills she needs to successfully nurture future broods to adulthood.

  14. Posted June 26, 2020 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    In case anyone’s interested, here’s a good article about the sacking of the UK Labour shadow cabinet member RLB, written by Jonathon Freedland–

    “Once more, Jews have had to wonder why those who are usually so intolerant of microaggressions against other minorities are so curiously forgiving of pretty macro aggressions directed against Jews.”

  15. Claudia Heilke
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    It’s Friday, June 26, not June 30. June is my favorite month. I’d like to hang onto it as long as possible.

  16. Posted June 26, 2020 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    I guess Trump’s latest attempt to “cancel” Obamacare is all about fulfilling a campaign promise. It is starting to be noted that Trump has absolutely nothing new to offer voters since 2016. He has no 2020 platform other than a promise of more chaos and incompetence.

    • rickflick
      Posted June 26, 2020 at 11:14 am | Permalink

      Trump has passed just two substantive laws: One, new sanctions on Russia, and one giving the Department of Veterans Affairs more power to dismiss inept employees. Mostly he just does signing statements to undermine Obama’s efforts.

  17. Jonathan Wallace
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    I’ve never found Bourbon bicuits to be very pleasant. Any woman I looked at as if she was a Bourbon biscuit would not surmise that I felt any attraction towards her!

  18. Raskos
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    Thank you for the video of the loons. Haven’t seen or heard one in years, but when I was a youngster they were a regular feature of our summer visits to my uncle’s cottage in Muskoka. Brought back some good memories.

  19. Posted June 26, 2020 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    It is a dilemma for sure, PCC(E). It might be best to leave well enough alone for now, wrt Dottie. Should her brood be removed en masse, she might breed again! Egads! Of course, I know you’ll figure out what’s best for her ducklings, should they need rescuing from imminent danger.

    These recent developments lead me to wonder if Honey saw something less than maternal in Dorothy’s behaviour, something that endangered the two broods combined, that warranted the original thrashing. Or could it be a chicken or the egg scenario – could the initial chaos have somehow hampered Dorothy’s mothering instincts? So many unknowable unknowns to wonder about now……

  20. Matt
    Posted June 26, 2020 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    “How will we reach 200k dead by September if we close businesses? Dead people matter!”
    –millions of Trump supporters

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