Friday: Hili dialogue

January 22, 2021 • 6:30 am

We’re almost through the “work” week: it’s already Friday, January 22, 2021, and National Southern Food Day, celebrating America’s finest regional cuisine. Here, for example is the archetypal dish: the “meat and three” (served always with sweet tea and usually cornbread). Here we have BBQ, black-eyed peas, collards, and mac-and-cheese (the last is always seen as a “vegetable” in the South), along with a corn muffin and sweet tea (also called the “table wine of the South”).

It’s also National Blonde Brownie Day, Roe vs. Wade Day, celebrating the anniversary of the 1973 decision (see below), and Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day (cats have only one question, and you know what it is).

News of the Day:

Although it’s still tough times, there’s something to smile about: Bernie Sanders’s informal Vermont attire at the Inauguration, which spawned a thousand memes and tweets. You’ll see some of them in the tweets at the bottom.

As the AP reports:

Many people quickly highlighted the 79-year-old independent Vermont senator’s look, and created endless memes, from Wednesday’s inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, which he said was more about keeping warm than fashion.

“You know in Vermont, we dress warm, we know something about the cold, and we’re not so concerned about good fashion, we want to keep warm. And that’s what I did today,” Sanders told CBS on Wednesday.

People were particularly enthralled with Sanders’ mittens, which were made by a Vermont elementary school teacher who has a side business making mittens out of recycled wool.

“I love it that he loves them, and that he wears them,” Jen Ellis, an elementary school teacher, told NECN-TV. “And I’m totally honored that he wore them today.”

Jen Ellis has been flooded with requests for interviews.

Joe Biden has been busy signing 17 executive orders (most of which I like) and overturning unwise decisions of the Trump administration. I won’t reprise his efforts to combat the pandemic, including a federal mask mandate on public transportation (see here), and invoking the Defense Production Act to up the supply of vaccines (something Trump should have done) and  other measures. You can see a summary of his executive orders here.

Over at the New York Times, Ezra Klein has a long piece on what Biden needs to do to avoid a disastrous Democratic defeat (loss of the Senate and perhaps even the House) in two years. He’s worried in particular about the Senate filibuster, which takes 60 people to stop:

President Biden’s agenda will live or die in the Senate. Odds are it will die, killed by the filibuster.

And referring to Biden’s “rescue plan” and bills for D.C. statehood and improved campaign financing regulation, Klein says this:

. . . none of these bills will pass a Senate in which the filibuster forces 60-vote supermajorities on routine legislation. And that clarifies the real question Democrats face.

At the City Journal, the much maligned Heather MacDonald has some words that, just because she’s a critic of the Left, shouldn’t be ignored. She criticizes Biden’s speech for actually being divisive, and foresees the return of Wokeness:

The diversity obsessives in the federal science bureaucracies waited out Donald Trump’s presidency. They will now redouble their efforts to treat a researcher’s race and sex as scientific qualifications in the awarding of federal research grants. Expect to see any mention of merit or excellence denounced as a form of bigotry, a response that the University of California and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, as well as an army of corporate diversity trainers, have already perfected.

The next four years will likely be one long anti-white-privilege struggle session. Any real effort to close racial achievement gaps, such as fighting the “acting white” ethic that prevents many inner-city children from trying hard in school, will be deferred and discredited. Biden is betting that white liberals, at least, will continue hanging their heads in penance for their hereditary crimes and trot off to their latest show trial. Given past behavior, he’s probably right.

What is going on with the impeachment? The House vote is done and dusted, but Nancy Pelosi is holding off on sending it to the Senate, where a trial could begin within a day after its receipt. Mitch “666” McConnell has suggested delaying the Senate trial until February so that Trump’s legal team can have time to prepare. Trump just hired a lawyer from South Carolina to represent him.

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 410,336, large increase of about 4,200 deaths over yesterday’s figure. We may past half a million deaths in less than a month. The world death toll stands at 2,102,386, a big increase of about 14,900 deaths over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on January 22 includes:

  • 1901 – Edward VII is proclaimed King after the death of his mother, Queen Victoria.
  • 1905 – Bloody Sunday in Saint Petersburg, beginning of the 1905 revolution.
  • 1924 – Ramsay MacDonald becomes the first Labour Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
  • 1927 – Teddy Wakelam gives the first live radio commentary of a football match, between Arsenal F.C. and Sheffield United at Highbury.
  • 1968 – Apollo 5 lifts off carrying the first Lunar module into space.

Here’s a photo from Wikipedia showing “S67-50927 (November 1967):  Lunar Module-1 being moved into position for mating with Spacecraft Lunar Module Adapter (SLA)-7 in the Kennedy Space Center’s Manned Spacecraft Operations Building.”

  • 1970 – The Boeing 747, the world’s first “jumbo jet”, enters commercial service for launch customer Pan American Airways with its maiden voyage from John F. Kennedy International Airport to London Heathrow Airport.
  • 1973 – In a bout for the world heavyweight boxing championship in Kingston, Jamaica, challenger George Foreman knocks down champion Joe Frazier six times in the first two rounds before the fight is stopped by referee Arthur Mercante.

Here’s a short video showing the full fight. Frazier took a real beating. I’m glad that boxing is no longer popular:

Here’s that commercial; remember it? It was a great one, playing off the year of introduction:

  • 2006 – Evo Morales is inaugurated as President of Bolivia, becoming the country’s first indigenous president.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1552 – Walter Raleigh, English poet, soldier, courtier, and explorer (d. 1618)
  • 1561 – Francis Bacon, English philosopher and politician, Attorney General for England and Wales (d. 1626)
  • 1788 – Lord Byron, English poet and playwright (d. 1824)
  • 1849 – August Strindberg, Swedish novelist, poet, and playwright (d. 1912)
  • 1898 – Sergei Eisenstein, Russian director and screenwriter (d. 1948)
  • 1931 – Sam Cooke, American singer-songwriter (d. 1964)

Cooke was shot to death under mysterious circumstances in a Los Angeles motel. He was only 33.

  • 1938 – Peter Beard, Australian photographer and author (d. 2020)

Beard, the scion of wealth, spent many years in Africa taking photographs that put into books with handwritten annotations. He owned land in Kenya adjacent to where Karen Blixen once lived, and made it his African home.  Here’s one of his pictures:

PETER BEARD (B. 1938) Lion Pride, 1976 unique gelatin silver print, printed c. 1990 signed, dated, titled ‘from Ndutu…Southern Serengeti’ and inscribed in ink (on the recto) image.
  • 1959 – Linda Blair, American actress

Those who crossed the Rainbow Bridge on January 22 include:

  • 1901 – Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom (b. 1819)
  • 1966 – Herbert Marshall, English actor (b. 1890)
  • 1968 – Duke Kahanamoku, American swimmer and water polo player (b. 1890)

With the huge surfboards that were standard at the time, Duke (a five-time Olympic swimming medalist) helped popularize the sport of surfing. Here he is in 1921 with his huge redwood board:

  • 1994 – Telly Savalas, American actor (b. 1924)
  • 2000 – Craig Claiborne, American journalist, author, and critic (b. 1920)
  • 2008 – Heath Ledger, Australian actor and director (b. 1979)
  • 2012 – Joe Paterno, American football player and coach (b. 1926)
  • 2018 – Ursula K. Le Guin, American sci-fi and fantasy novelist (b. 1929)

Le Guin below. I haven’t read any of her works, as I’m not much into science fiction, but I know she has many fans:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is indoors, avoiding the other cats:

Hili: Kulka is upstairs, it’s cold outside, Szaron is at home. I will be sitting in the hallway.
A: As you wish.
In Polish:
Hili: Na górze Kulka, na dworze zimno, w domu Szaron. Posiedzę sobie w korytarzu.
Ja: Jak wolisz.

Little Kulka has just played in the snow, and now wants to come inside (she learned the trick of jumping onto the windowsill from Hili):

Caption: “And Kulka outside the window.”

In Polish: A za oknem Kulka

From Natalie via Harmonia Early Music (see caption), a cat that smiles. It’s the Weird Medieval Cat of the Week:

From Chansonnier de Jean de Montchenu, Savoy c. 1475.

From reader Bruce:From Laurie.  He could be Polish, too, as in my experience they eat five meals per day, including a “second breakfast”:

Two tweets from Simon: Titania takes on Biden’s new executive order:

And the Bern talks to the Dude:

Tweets from Matthew. I’ll write about this cool paper tomorrow. There’s more to be learned about house cats!

Now this is a news intro!. From the BBC:

THIS is what the Internet is best at. Bernie in mittens! Somebody should do Bernie on Mount Rushmore. . .

Another (Matthew loves these):

Bernée avec chat:

Remember this place?

This is an excellent one:

Do your own! It really works.

See? I put Bernie atop El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. He climbed it freestyle and in mittens—a first!

65 thoughts on “Friday: Hili dialogue

    1. It’s strange to describe Southern food as “fine”. It’s stick-to-the ribs, high calorie, high fat, high cholesterol, high sodium and high sugar cuisine that matches perfectly our evolved craving for this type of nourishment…so therefore, it’s damned good. But regionally speaking, I’d take the Northwest, Californian or Southwest before the South in a (healthy) heartbeat.

      1. “Finest” does not imply “fine”, e.g. the finest theological thinking. But if one agreed with what was actually said–“finest”–that’s saying something less than positive about USian food in general.

  1. Re: Southern food being the finest regional cuisine – sorry, no. I’m glad I live in NM, the home of the REAL finest regional cuisine.

    Re: Heather MacDonald – “diversity obsessives”? Why is it that the previous administration was never characterized as “white male supremacist rich people obsessives”? Frankly, I’d rather see a multiplicity of viewpoints and experiences contributing to the discussion than the homogeneity of the previous bunch.

    Re: Bernie – Put a hat on, Dude. The mittens may be cute, and even functional, but you’re making me cold just looking at your head.


      1. Yes.

        Nopales are prepared by putting the “paddles” in the direct flame of a gas burner for a few seconds, letting them cool, and scraping the surface with a paring knife. It helps to wear gloves when you do this because the little spines have microscopic barbs and can get stuck in your skin, even after they’ve been burned, but more so before.

        Once the spines are removed, the nopales can be diced and steamed or fried. They are most often served in dishes with other ingredients, such as calabacitas.


        1. There are also a few spineless/glochid-less varietals of Opuntia ficus-indica available. I have one to use for tortoise food. I also have some native Missouri Opuntia humifusa (or maybe O. macrorhiza not sure which yet) growing in my yard, whose cladodes (the paddles, aka nopales) are fully spined and covered with those nasty glochids. The local box turtles don’t seem to mind and will dine upon them without hesitation or any apparent pain or displeasure. Same goes for peccaries in the Southwest.

    1. Re: Heather MacDonald – “diversity obsessives”? Why is it that the previous administration was never characterized as “white male supremacist rich people obsessives”?

      They were.

  2. The piece at City Journal by Heather MacDonald seems thin-skinned and churlish. It should hardly be considered “divisive” for a new US president to denounce white supremacy given the rising tide of its violent extremists plaguing this nation and that the building in front of which he was giving his inaugural address had just two weeks earlier been subject to a far right rampage in which confederate flags were paraded through the hallways, a noose was hung outside, and dangerous lunatics were chanting to lynch the vice president and to murder the speaker of the house.

    1. Excuse the intrusion, please, Jerry and Ken, but Barbara and I have a legal question: Does Trump have to attend the impeachment hearings to be held by the Senate, or does he just carry on playing golf at Mar a Lago, while his attorney does his best?

      1. He doesn’t have to attend. He didn’t the last time. Presumably he’ll send some highly competent lawyer who he can then refuse to pay.

      2. Does he even have to send an attorney? He probably can attend the hearings, but there have been enough condemned men (and women) refusing to leave the cells for sentencing, trials in absentia, etc that there’s hardly a compulsion to actually attend. Dragging the unwilling from their cells can put prison ossifers at appreciable risk. He’d probably be remanded in custody, being a flight risk (but would any airline carry him, and to where? Libya is out of the “refuge for deposed leaders” business now, so … KSA? Or just retire to playing golf on a 1-hole course at a 1 room dacha on the Lena.)

        1. KSA is possible but there’s a religion test, and orb grabbing doesn’t count.

          Azerbaijan is most likely – he has “friends” there and I think a Trump Tower there as well. The dictator loves him, as in “All the best people”. “Trump moves to Baku” has a nice ring to it.

          Or Turkey has some nice golf courses and a chowderhead of a dictator like him.

          Another option for ex-dictators, Panama! But it is probably out, especially since they stripped his name from his building there a few years ago.


          1. KSA is possible but there’s a religion test,

            Religion test? For citizenship, maybe. I’ve never known anyone who has sought citizenship there. Plenty who have taken the dollar and stuck the inconveniences of living and working there for as long as possible. In many cases of the longer term migrant labourers, the guys have worked in the oilfield for as long as their wives could stand living there as women. (Naturally, non-white migrants don’t generally get the option to bring their families to stay – it’s a good way of getting them to have a “home to go to” when the contract ends.)
            I’ve had problems myself – but in UAE, not KSA – with being questioned severely over putting “atheist” on my application for permission to leave the city into the “security zones” that constitute the oilfield – and my workplace. That, traditionally, is a worse answer than claiming to be a Jew or a JW, because at least they are believers, not the most dangerous of not believing in anything. But that was in the UAE, not the KSA. I’ve heard that the KSA is even tighter about such things (holy sites are more defiled by unbelief than heterodox belief, it seems), but not experienced it myself. Plus, of course, being an atheist in the KSA is, TTBOMK, still a capital crime.
            Azerbaijan – yes, that would probably be a Trump-friendly regime. I’m not so sure about the Azeris I worked with welcoming him, but it’s not likely that their opinions would be asked.
            If he did flee US jurisdiction to one of these countries – or indeed, the Lena-side dacha which Putin has probably set aside for him – do you think he’d have the brass neck to try taking his SS security escort with him?

      3. As GBJ said, Trump does NOT have to attend the impeachment proceedings (although he has the right to, and it would make it extra interesting if he showed up at least once to vent his spleen), just as he didn’t attend his first impeachment trial.

        Trump has hired South Carolina attorney Butch Bowers to represent him at this impeachment trial. Bowers is reputed to be a competent lawyer and represented former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford regarding the ethics complaint that arose after he used a state aircraft to visit his gumar in Argentina (while telling his wife he was hiking the Appalachian Trail).

        Hope Bowers got his fee upfront.

    2. I loved Karl Rove’s quote on Fox: “The racism thing to me is — I was offended in the speech.”

      Now that’s rich, Karl is offended that white supremacists were called out and denounced by President Biden. Republicans have a real hard time confronting white supremacy and nativism…or even seeing it in the first place.

  3. My prediction is that the Dems will nuke the filibuster. Moscow Mitch right now is showing them why they have to do it. He’s basically filibustering the Senate’s organizing process, preventing committee chairs from being named and gumming up the works.

    1. The strongest case for abolishing the filibuster is that it is anti-democratic – it repudiates the principle of majority rule. However, it has remained a Senate rule for many decades because often politicians consider it more important to block legislation that they don’t like than pass legislation they do. So, if the Democrats kill the filibuster and pass legislation they like, the Republicans will do the same thing when they regain power. It is frightening to think what the Republicans would do if they gain the ability to pass legislation to repeal Medicare, social security, Obamacare, environmental laws, climate change legislation, civil rights legislation and so much more. Democrats need to decide if short term gain outweighs the inevitable long term pain. It is not at all an easy decision to make.

      1. Republicans have already demonstrated their willingness to abandon the filibuster in order to get what they want. They did so to pack the federal courts with extremists. If the Dems don’t get rid of it they will be unable to pass anything and in the next election cycle they will pay for it. The best way to not become the minority is to actively legislate to address the nation’s problems.

      2. Due to US senate procedures, the filibuster is a tradition increasingly honored in the breach. Because of the so-called “reconciliation process,” the 115th US congress came within a single vote (John McCain’s memorable, Caesar-like thumbs-down) of repealing Obamacare by a simple majority vote. That congress also passed Trump’s fat-cat tax-cut by a simple majority vote. And now all lifetime appointments to the federal bench, including those to the highest court in the land, are confirmed by simple majority vote.

        1. You are implying that the legislative filibuster is becoming less important. Apparently, most senators would disagree with you on this since the retention of the filibuster has become a major issue in the reorganization of the Senate.

          1. “Most senators” is an exaggeration, It is an issue because Moscow Mitch wants a veto on all legislation. When he was in control he refused to allow anything to come to the floor for a vote, except judicial nominations, because his interest is to not legislate.

          2. I don’t think there’s much doubt that the filibuster is less important than it once was. After all, it was once the primary tool by which southern US senators managed to block civil-rights legislation, including anti-lynching bills, for nearly a century.

            That’s not to say that it now lacks all importance and isn’t worth fighting over.

      3. What goes around, comes around. The democrats got rid of the filibuster for judges which is what allowed Coney Barret to be approved with only 52 votes.

        ‘Then-Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said at the time, “You’ll regret this, and you may regret this a lot sooner than you think.”‘

        If the Democrats are wise enough to look towards the future or remember the past, they will not get rid of the filibuster. When the Republican regain the Senate (in two years or twenty), McConnell’s words will once again ring true.

      4. Democrats want to pass legislation that the majority of Americans want, including a more robust Covid relief plan, better/cheaper/more accessible healthcare, sane gun control legislation, better environmental protections, improved social security, higher taxes on the rich and corporations, and compassionate criminal justice and immigration reform. They won’t be able to do any of this with the filibuster in place, so it must go. Once Americans see what the Democrats can and will do, the Republicans will either have to tack to the center and get on board, or become completely irrelevant. Once Democrats are able to actually pass legislation that Americans want, Americans will favor Democrats and will vote for them. That’s how it works…if the filibuster needs to go for this to happen, then what is the alternative? Stalemate, and Dems are perceived as weak and ineffective and they’ll be the ones who become completely irrelevant. I don’t see this as a very difficult choice. It’s time to take the gloves off…it’s time to channel the bold aspirations of Presidents like FDR, JFK and LBJ.

    2. Well I mostly hope you’re right. But I’m pessimistic.
      1. The Dems have pretty much never – well at least in the modern era – had the cajones to play hardball politics the way the GOP fairly regularly does.
      2. Biden is a traditionalist who is sincere in wanting to work for bipartisanship. McConnell will string him along, of course, never actually cooperating on anything. But Biden will prefer to keep trying rather than support ‘the nuclear option.’ He’ll lose at least several months to Senate inaction this way.

      But, here’s hoping I’m wrong.

      1. Obama wasted a Democratic congress and the first 2 years of his presidency kissing the butts of Republicans. I’m still bitter about it.

  4. There’s a piece over on RealClearPolitics today called Dems Spell ‘Unity’ C-A-N-C-E-L. “Through the funhouse mirror of hyper-partisanship, that angry mob of thousands became all 74 million Americans who voted for Trump in November.” I hear the word “unity” a lot, but I don’t hear a repudiation of the social media purge, or the idea of punishing Trump’s “enablers” or putting Trump followers in re-education camps. Nobody likes a sore winner.

    1. I chuckle when people get accused for what they did not do or what they haven’t done yet. Seeking instant gratification is childish.

    2. That’s rich. A mob of right wing lunatics invades the Capitol, inspired by Republican leaders in the White House and Congress, and the problem is who Democrats aren’t repudiating?

  5. I’m glad that boxing is no longer popular …

    Boxing’s slide in popularity has several causes — scandals in scoring various championship bouts; confusion occasioned by the alphabet soup of sanctioning bodies; the control exercised by thuggish, crooked promoters; and competition for athletic talent from other sports, especially at the higher weight classes. The hundredth best basketball or football or baseball player in the US is a millionaire. The hundredth best cruiserweight or heavyweight is a palooka taking a beating for short-end money.

    I’ve long had a repulsion/attraction relationship to the sport (and no longer follow it as closely as I once did). On one hand, it is an undoubtedly brutal sport, at times sickeningly so. On the other, it is sport at its most elemental, its most primal — two men and a referee in a ring, battling to see who can best whom. And, at it’s best it is a sport of exquisite timing and speed and balance, of heart and courage and grace, and, on occasion, even of great beauty.

    1. From what little I know of the regulation of boxing in Britain, they are required (by insurance companies, if not by the law) to have at least a ring-side doctor. And the number of doctors interested in taking the blood money is falling.
      I can’t recall a case of a medic being struck off by the GMC for being the “cover” doctor for a boxing bout, but it’s going to happen. It’s a racing certainty that some have already been ejected from group practices because their partners consider their involvement in organised assault and battery to be company they don’t wish to have.

      1. A ring-side doctor has been the norm in professional US boxing for a long time. Just about any sort of sporting event at just about any level will have an ambulance standing by onsite, even at the grade school level.

        1. And those doctors are at risk of losing their license for assisting the performance of a crime – viz : battery? That has been the way that the medics that I was at uni with were arguing on the long dark minibuses to the mountains. These days they’re the people who’ll be standing for election to the GMC and similar posts.
          I’ll admit there was one medical student of my acquaintance who was a boxing fan, but he’s out of consideration because his plan was to take a free medical education from the UK, then move to America to make a profit. I wouldn’t be surprised if he took another brown envelope of blood money, but hopefully he’s in a minority over there. Somehow, I don’t think he’d have found a comfortable position within the NHS, with a theft history like that.

    2. I think MMA/UFC have gobbled up a lot of the market, especially when it comes to the younger generation. I rarely watch these matches, but have enjoyed the ones I’ve seen.

  6. I’m struck by the fact that, as far as I can tell, everyone in the Apollo photo is a white male. The fact that it’s striking is a sign that we’ve made progress. Getting to the moon was a huge accomplishment and I like to think that we can do so much more once we fully utilize the potential of all of humanity. It saddens me to think of all the talent that has been wasted over the years. I’m torn by diversity initiatives since, as a white male, it feels often like they’re just as much about excluding white males as including others. There’s a thin line between restorative justice and retribution. But overall we’re making progress (Pinker be praised!). We must keep working to create a system whose only goal is to get more done and the only way to do that is for everyone to have a chance to contribute.

  7. Lifelong Democrat and I have no hope for the party. Wokism will ensure our minority status. While conspiracy lunacy should tear the Republican party apart, it won’t. They’ve demonstrated that they’ll espouse anything to maintain power.

  8. “When I was a boy, it took three of us to carry our surfboard to the beach.” Actual quote from a guy I was talking with. The Hawaiian version of the Four Yorkshiremen.

  9. On the constant hysteria and complaining about “wokeness” which I don’t think has never really been defined other than what on the left annoys the complainer (what they view as too far left, I guess), I’d like to just say that unlike the right, the extremists (woke-ists?) on the left do not control the party, they’re a fringe as it stands now. Yes they push some things and affect some policies, but that’s what a real party does, listen to all of its constituents. In my mind it makes the democrats better than the republicans, who march in lockstep regardless of who’s pulling the levers. We ended up with a very moderate administration and congress, after all. How many members of congress would you characterize as “woke?” A mere handful? I agree that we need to be vigilant and criticize ourselves and that is one thing I very much appreciate about what Jerry does here. It’d be nice to see that on the other side, other than the johnny-come-lately Lincoln Project – where the hell have they been the last, oh, 23 years? On the trans athletes thing – that’s an issue closer to home for me, as a trans woman. I’ve seen lots of arguments pro and con, and one thing I do know is that the Olympics has allowed transgender athletes since like 2004 and there’s hardly been a torrent of male to female transwomen dominating every sport, to put it mildly. 99.999% of us trans women don’t give a damn about participating in sports, we just want to live our lives in peace with dignity and a modicum of respect. Yes, it’s possible that we may see male to female transgender athletes claiming that status only to dominate a particular event (can we call them trans-posers?), but let’s not be overly reactionary in advance – we’re not going to get complete nuance on every policy the first time around, and we hardly ever get that no matter how many times a policy is amended or changed – look at the state of our Constitution and its interpretation: it’s been around for over 230 years and is still being worked on. Why haven’t we seen, for example, authoritative or repressive and competitive countries doing selective breeding to produce biological women with inordinately high testosterone and muscle mass, heavier physiques, to dominate? Maybe it’s just too obvious and everyone would know they’re cheating. Is that any more or less likely than trans-posers? How about sports where the biology of a mtf trans athlete would give no advantage, or be a disadvantage? I guess that my general point here is this: haven’t trans people put up with enough crap and abuse from society only to be further nitpicked at every single attempted advance? That’s what burns me about Titania McGrath – whoever writes that can easily sit back and point out the foibles of trying to navigate these issues, but I doubt it’s someone who lives them every day.

    1. I appreciate your weighing in here, but I would take issue with your implication that I think all transgender women are going to go into sport. And I think I’ve shown my sympathy for transsexual people sufficiently on these pages. But I am not going to simply ignore the one issue where “rights” are indeed at stake, because it does raise a classical problem of a conflict of liberal values.

      I think it’s unfair of you to say that I am “nitpicking” at transgender people for this and should just shut up about sports. This is going to be an increasing problem over time, and there’s no reason to avoid it now. And no, I don’t think the Olympics have “solved” that problem with their hormone-titer regulations, for muscle strength already differs between men and women at puberty. It’s a difficult moral, social, and ethical problem, and worthy of attention.

      And, as I’m sensing now, the extreme Left is indeed beginning to have big heft in the Democratic Party.

      Finally “the constant and complaining hysteria about wokeness” is one reason why so many centrists voted for Trump. If the Dems go further left, into the arms of the woke, they’ll lose big time in two years.

      1. Jerry – I apologize, I didn’t mean to imply that you think all trans women will go into sport or want to, but I was trying to put some scope around the issue. I also wasn’t saying that you personally nitpick trans people, but this indeed is the case in general – social media, news stories, etc. It’s kind of like mansplaining that women put up with, I guess. I know you’re not really a part of the problem, but I haven’t seen anyone like me weigh in here although honestly I don’t have a lot of time to read all the comments all the time. I agree it’s a topic worthy of attention, and I can’t and wouldn’t tell you to to shut up about anything – I’m also a firm believer in broad freedom of speech. However, let’s address what we can now with the understanding that we don’t have all the answers nor do we have all viewpoints understood, and also have the perspective that the sky isn’t falling because a tiny minority of athletes might cheat. Finally, I’d probe your assertion about the extreme left gaining big heft in the Democratic party – do you see evidence of this in policy, in rhetoric, in the number of “woke” elected members of government? I have a slightly different view on why centrists voted for the orange buffoon – I think the messaging from the right is much more focused on victory than on accuracy or truth, they’ve been this way for as long as I can recall. I think their barbed rhetoric scares people, it’s what they’re really good at, and that kind of message tends to carry whether it’s factual or not. There’s a constant barrage of scary stories that people buy into viscerally. Messaging matters, for sure, but I don’t know how to get around that problem without either resorting to the same tactics employed by them (which is abhorrent to me) or by having good dialogue, which we can have here among us but which has become almost impossible to engage in with the majority of the hysterical right. Huffington post used to be a decent outlet years ago, but I think it devolved into what it is now as a reaction to the analogous outlets on the right, which have been around far longer in their current form. I know the length of this reply along with that of my original comments might preclude publication as I know you don’t like anyone to dominate the threads, but I respect you greatly and felt you deserved clarification and fuller exposition. Thanks for listening and speaking up!

    2. I think a good definition of woke is not that it is too far to the left, but rather that it is based on a factual fallacy. It is not just an opinion on the left which I disagree with, but a (usually) good intention which throws the baby out with the bathwater, is in conflict with science, or whatever.

  10. IF it is even cared to be known and affecting the .entire. population
    of the United States of America, ” stuff that happened on
    January 22, ” includes not only the federally legalized access
    to .s a f e. abortions but also its … … DEcriminalization thereof.

    As of ” … … on January 22, 1973, the Supreme Court in Roe v Wade
    invalidated all of these laws, and set guidelines for the availability
    of abortion ” within
    so 48 years’ worth. .O N L Y. Less than one – half century. Today.

    When, o’course, before … … before the controlling men
    of the United States government … … as of the cruel careers
    of such ones there as Mr Anthony Comstock, abortion AND
    its related matters ( read that: tangible birth control methods
    and materials ) was NOT criminalized. At all.
    For centuries and millennia. Before. Before these … …
    … … commanders. Of their GILEAD – style controlling.


    1. ” … … affecting the .e n t i r e. population ? ” I am
      disgustingly and far, far too often asked.

      My quickie answer that usually shuts up the queryer,
      ” Aaaah, yeah, the .entire. population. Cuz
      i) what if you are a powerful community / governmental
      leader and your mistress comes up preggers, then
      wha’da’ya’ command her t’do, Sir ? and
      ii) where, over ALL o’th’ centuries, are the babes /
      the kiddos of those nuns made, by priests / by other men,
      pregnant ? ”

      Let alone, the answers that are the far, far more common two:
      ” i) What do you do when the boyfriend does not want you
      to be pregnant ? and ii) What do you do when YOU do NOT
      want to be pregnant * but your boyfriend does want to T A K E
      from Y O U … … the ‘ end ‘ product of his exalted spermatozoan ? ”

      * Chicagoans, for a wee amount of time, had had J A N E.
      Back … … w h e n these men / these Gilead Commanders ruled.


  11. “Bernie Sanders’s informal Vermont attire at the Inauguration, which spawned a thousand memes and tweets.”

    I’m standing by (steeling myself) to bear up under NY Times “Styles” section pontification on the matter.

  12. Although Heather MacDonald is spot on when it comes to woke, etc, if you listen to her for any amount of time beyond that topic she devolves into a deranged, retrogressive harridan. My enemy’s enemy is not necessarily my friend even if we have some overlapping ideas. She is …odious.
    I predict that in 50 years they’ll look back at boxing (and bull fighting, and Heather MacDonald) embarrassed and outraged and the kids will say: “Wow. They DID that?” I’ll be 100 years old and probably deaf but I’ll bang my dribble cups together to emphasize the point to my nurses.


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