Saturday: Hili dialogue

February 13, 2021 • 7:30 am

Hili is late today because Professor Ceiling Cat, chronically sleep deprived, overslept by more than an hour. But welcome to Cat Sabbath: Saturday, February 13, 2021, and National Italian Food Day. Remember that cats weren’t made for the Sabbath, but Sabbath for the cats.

Remember too tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, so be sure to get your significant other a treat. Today, however, is Galentine’s Day, celebrating female-female friendship (I don’t think there’s a similar holiday for men.). Apropos, it’s Kiss Day.

Other food holidays include National Tortellini Day, National Crab Rangoon Day, and National Cheddar Day, declared so by Oregon’s Tillamook Creamery in 2019.  If you go to a Costco, be sure to buy the large brick of Tilamook three-year-old aged cheddar: a real bargain. Finally, it’s World Radio Day. You can listen to all the world’s radios at the awesome site Radio Garden. This is one of the most fantastic places on the Internet. I like to rotate the globe eastward and hear some Indian music.

News of the Day:

Trump’s defense rested after using only 3 hours of the 16 allotted. Their defense appears to be “Democrats did it too!” and “It was free speech: Trump wasn’t inciting anybody.” To be sure, I sort of share Andrew Sullivan’s take in his latest website post, “Convict him.”

I’ll be honest and confess I don’t quite buy the case that president Trump directly incited a ransacking of the Capitol, and I wish the House had stepped back some more and pursued a broader charge of dereliction of duty and violation of his oath of office. Nonetheless, Trump did directly encourage his mob to march toward the Capitol building, and to rally menacingly outside of it, in order to pressure the Senate and, in particular, Mike Pence, to overturn the clear and legal results of last November’s election. And he was definitely aware of the violent proclivities of his loyal mob, summoned to DC on that specific day. At times, the House managers showed how his speech was echoed instantly in the crowd as it went along, and how instrumental it was in justifying their more violent aspirations.

But direct incitement is the criterion for violating the First Amendment. However, I’m not quite sure whether adherence to that Amendment would be grounds for exclupating him in this case, as there seem to be no legal standards for conviction save a 2/3 vote. At any rate, “dereliction of duty” is broad enough for me to cover the present indictment.  And so I share Sullivan’s conclusion “Marginalize him. Stigmatize him. Convict him.”

But even if he’s found not guilty, as will surely happen, Trump’s trouble are just beginning. Many sites report (the New Woker is one) that his financial empire is crumbling, partly because of the pandemic, partly because firms and banks have backed away from him since The Incitement. Will we finally see him live—in a courtroom?

Scotland’s been hit with a ton of snow this winter. According to the Guardian, the stalwart Scots are not only bearing it with equanimity, but having a high old time naming “gritters” (trucks that spread salt and ash) and snowplows, many after musicians and bands. Samples: Spreadie Van Halen, Skid Vicious, and Gritallica.  And the Scottish government has set up a website so the public can track these vehicles: “Trunk Road Gritter Tracker.” Here’s a screenshot with the names of the gritters (h/t Jez):

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 480,683, a big increase of about 4,500 deaths over yesterday’s figure We will likely exceed half a million deaths within the month. The reported world death toll stands 2,395,885, a big increase of about 15,400 deaths over yesterday’s total, or about 10.7 deaths per minute.

Stuff that happened on February 13 includes:

In this case the adultery seems to have been real; Howard wrote a love letter to Thomas Culpepper, a courtier of Henry’s, after she was married to the king. It’s smoking hot! Here’s the letter (the only one that survives from Howard) and you can see the transcription here:

A partial transcript (she was apparently fond of run-on sentences); the letter is signed “yours as long as life endures, Katheryn”:

That which doth comfortly me very much when I think of it, and when I think again that you shall depart from me again it makes my heart die to think what fortune I have that I cannot be always in your company. It my trust is always in you that you will be as you have promised me, and in that hope I trust upon still, praying you that you will come when my Lady Rochford is here for then I shall be best at leisure to be at your commandment, thanking you for that you have promised me to be so good unto that poor fellow my man which is one of the griefs that I do feel to depart from him for then I do know no one that I dare trust to send to you, and therefore I pray you take him to be with you that I may sometime hear from you one thing.

Such was love in the sixteenth century. It is fairly certain, though, that Howard and Culpepper did make the Beast with Two Backs.

This was one of the biggest stories of that decade. Hauptman was electrouted on April 3, 1936.  Here’s Lindbergh testifying at his trial:

Here’s a photo of one of the sit ins, and a second photo of a protestor being attacked:

What a bunch of morons. Look at the expression of glee on the bespectacled woman!

You may have heard of this, especially if you read creationist paper.  Some of the crazy theories around this include these (from Wikipedia):

  • An ancient advanced civilization (such as Atlantis);
  • Prehistoric ancient astronauts;
  • Human time travelers from the future leaving or losing the artifact during a visit to the past.

Here’s a photo; the spark plug is a Champion plug from the 1920s. The scientific explanation is that “the spark plug became encased in a concretion composed of iron derived from the rusting spark plug. Iron and steel artifacts rapidly form iron-oxide concretions as they rust in the ground.”

Here’s a video of the murder; of course the Dear Leader ordered it:

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1766 – Thomas Robert Malthus, English economist and scholar (d. 1834)
  • 1891 – Grant Wood, American painter and academic (d. 1942)
  • 1910 – William Shockley, English-American physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1989)
  • 1919 – Tennessee Ernie Ford, American singer and actor (d. 1991)
  • 1923 – Chuck Yeager, American general and pilot; first test pilot to break the sound barrier (d. 2020)

Here’s Yeager in the cockpit of his Bell X-1 (the plane in which he broke the sound barrier), which he named “Glamorous Glennis” after his wife:

  • 1943 – Elaine Pagels, American theologian and academic

Those whose lives were effaced  on February 13 include:

Here’s one of Cellini’s masterpieces: Perseus with the Head of Medea (1545-1554). As Wikipedia notes, “The sculpture is thought to be the first statue since the classical age where the base included a figurative sculpture forming an integral part of the work.”

  • 1728 – Cotton Mather, American minister and author (b. 1663)
  • 1883 – Richard Wagner, German composer (b. 1813)
  • 1958 – Georges Rouault, French painter and illustrator (b. 1871)
  • 2002 – Waylon Jennings, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1937)
  • 2016 – Antonin Scalia, American lawyer and judge, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (b. 1936)

Hard to believe it’s the fifth anniversary of Scalia’s death. He was, as many know, a good buddy of his court opponent RBG.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is welcomed upstairs as she’s learned to climb up the veranda and lurk at Paulina’s second-floor window. (Photo by Paulina).

Paulina: Would you like to come in for a snack?
Hili: With pleasure!
In Polish:
Paulina: Wejdziesz na przekąskę?
Hili: Chętnie!

And here’s a picture of Szaron’s eye with a Polish caption that, Malgorzata says, is impossible to translate into English. Polish-speaking readers are welcome to try. (Photo by Paulina).

Polish caption: Oko czekające na zaopatrzność.

Another cat/lawyer meme from Jean:

Also from Jean; clearly the Bernie memes haven’t been fully supplanted by the cat/lawyer memes:

From David:

Titania has always been eerily prescient (I’ve already shown the first tweet; the one you should look at now is the second):

From Luana: The UK, lobbied by gender activists, is considering ditching recording sex in the March census in favor of “gender self-identification”. Some academics are pushing back.

From Barry, who noted, “This will be the first time in your life you will say ‘Good dog!’ and mean it”:

Tweets from Matthew. This first video is stunning:

Wild canid 1, wild felid 0. This isn’t right!

A poor costumed kitty celebrates the Lunar New Year:

And a cat is bested by an obstreperous rat:

Finally, this should show you how small viruses are:

36 thoughts on “Saturday: Hili dialogue

  1. That rat’s behavior fascinates me: “Get the f*ck away from me, you jackass.” The rat clearly could have escaped—and it looked like it was about to—and not bother the cat but instead decided to show the cat who’s boss before skittering away.

    1. My take is that the rat was not confident it could slip easily under the wall — getting stuck half-way through could be fatal — and wanted to chase the cat far enough away to have time to check that the hole was open. Rats can give nasty bites; the cat was wise to retreat.

    2. Evolution has already decided this question. Clearly many cats (domesticated ones?) can be easily discouraged by an sufficiently aggressive rodent. My guess is that our keeping of well-fed cats as pets ensures that rodents will become more and more aggressive. This trend is exemplified by the famous NY pizza rat!

      1. There are many videos like this on the internet, of rats standing their ground and not content to be prey. They are tenacious and scrappy creatures. Cats don’t like that (that’s why dogs were bred to be “ratters” instead). Even the pet rats I’ve had who were very curious and wanted to be friendly with my cat were disappointed to learn that she did not share the same sense of species egalitarianism they did, as she would run away.

    1. Love it.

      Brian Ski-No

      Ziggy SaltDust and the Plowers for Cars

      Sweepy Van

      Credence ClearRoader Revival

      Rocky Music

      Old & Clearing the Way (for us bluegrass fans)

      Talking Treads

  2. My first question must be – If Trump did not directly incite this mob to do what was done at the capital, who did? After hours of evidence showing exactly that, let us see your evidence. Also, the democrat’s team already removed the first amendment from this impeachment so why would you still refer to this?

  3. I’ve been of the opinion that if there were real evidence that Trump was involved in the fracas at the Capitol on January 6, with him out of office the appropriate action would be to charge him criminally. That this isn’t being done, or apparently contemplated, and Impeachment pursued (with some possible action under the 14th Amendment if that fails), leads me to conclude, first, that there is not sufficient evidence, and, second, that the Democrats are primarily interested in eliminating Trump as a contender in 2024. I do not support a policy of saving us from ourselves when it comes to the ballot.

    1. Your opinion makes no sense based on a close following of the proceedings. The impeachment has nothing to do with criminal action against Trump and that action can still happen anytime if desired. If you do not understand the differences here between impeachment and criminal action you need to go back and do some study. Start this understanding by knowing that impeachment is a civil action – NOT criminal.

      1. The problem is that the Democrats and the media that holds water for them have repeatedly made a legal argument: that Trump’s speech falls outside First Amendment limits because he incited the mob. They haven’t argued a mere dereliction of duty, or some kind of negligence that would justify impeachment. DrBrydon is correct in his assessment: they have not provided sufficient evidence for the assertion.

        1. I guess you are holding water for the Dr. But you are also wrong. Trump and everything he said going back many months has nothing to do with the first amendment. Why this is so hard to understand is beyond me. It is very simple. Because he is president he took an oath. His oath is to protect and defend the constitution. You or the doctor did not take this oath so the 1 amendment applies to you. None of the stuff coming out of the president’s mouth is.

        2. Although the articles of impeachment didn’t call out dereliction of duty explicitly, the impeachment trial can definitely consider it. An impeachment is a job review of sorts, not a criminal trial. For this reason, dereliction of duty is implied in all impeachments. In general, it’s a referendum on whether the President’s behavior was consistent with his oath of office and the Constitution. Now that they’ve decided to call witnesses, I suspect and hope we will hear more about Trump’s encouragement of the mob and the dereliction of duty implied by his refusal to call off the mob and his full support of what the mob was trying to achieve.

        3. The First Amendment does not protect a president — or any other officeholder — from the political ramifications of his or her speech, including impeachment.

          Were Trump to face indictment for criminal incitement, he could seek refuge in Brandenburg v. Ohio. But he can be impeached for what is otherwise constitutionally protected speech. (It no more offends the First Amendment for a president to be impeached for constitutionally protected speech, than it offends the First Amendment for a citizen to decide to vote against a president — or for a US senator to withdraw a campaign endorsement from a president — for constitutionally protected speech.)

          Consider, for example, if a president were to take the stage, give a Nazi salute and say, “Sieg Heil! Six million Jews were not enough!” Or suppose a president advocated that all black US citizens should be deported to Africa.

          Those statements constitute constitutionally protected speech under the First Amendment. Do you doubt that they would also constitute adequate grounds for impeachment? (Keep in mind that the same Article I, Section 3 impeachment clauses that give congress the power to impeach presidents, also give congress the power to impeach other federal officers, including Article III judges. Do you doubt that if a federal judge were to make the constitutionally protected statements referenced above it would provide a sufficient basis to remove him or her from his or her lifetime appointment to the bench through impeachment?)

          1. Let me put the principle even more succinctly: impeachment isn’t “the government” punishing a citizen for protected speech; it is one coequal branch of government exercising a check and balance on another.

            Accordingly, the First Amendment Free Speech clause isn’t in play.

            1. I’m aware that it technically plays no role, but it’s the argument on which the Dems have staked their claims. Or that’s how it started, at least, but it seems like they realized partway through that it wasn’t exactly a tight argument.

              The point is that, if we’re taking the argument for impeachment on its face, and I’ve heard many of the Senators supporting impeachment say in no uncertain terms that impeachment is proper because Trump’s speech was incitement that fell outside First Amednment bounds, then that’s what I’m going to evaluate the argument on.

              As Jerry said in a post later today, I wish the Dems had widened the scope of their impeachment significantly because then I would almost certainly be able to say that their claims are true, but they didn’t, and that’s nobody’s fault but their own.

    2. There is real evidence that Trump incited the insurrection on Jan 6th. Any fair minded person would conclude that the House Managers made an excellent case. And regardless of the conviction vote in the Senate, which is expected to fall along party lines with republicans enabling Trump’s monstrous behavior, I am hopeful that once Merrick Garland is confirmed as Attorney General, Trump will be held criminally liable for inciting violence.

      1. “Any fair minded person would conclude…”

        Does this mean that I’m not “fair minded,” or does it mean that an “excellent case” does not necessarily mean a winning one? Because I don’t think they ever made a case that his speech fell outside First Amendment protections, which it certainly seems they were trying to do. His speech never even came close to directly inciting the mob. Did his speech incite it? Yes. Did that speech reach the threshold of violating the First Amendment? Not by a long shot, in my opinion. All kinds of speech can incite riots, but that does not mean that they intended to incite a riot or that they fall outside First Amendment bounds; in fact, if Trump’s speech does fall outside the First Amendment, there are an awful lot of activists out there from just the last few months alone who would be in serious legal trouble.

        1. How many of those activists were sitting US presidents? Trump’s Jan 6th rally remarks and tweets, in the context of the big lie he had been promoting for months, were an unambiguous call to direct action to storm the capitol. I have no opinion on whether you are or are not fair minded.

      2. Given that a fair number of those arrested for invading the Capitol say that they believed that they were following the orders of the Commander-in -Chief, it’s hard to see how his words didn’t incite their behaviour.

        1. I believe that Trump did incite the mob’s behavior. He got exactly what he wanted, short of overturning the election, of course. However, that many in the mob thought they were doing what Trump wanted is not very compelling in the context of the impeachment trial. After all, these people believe all sorts of loony things. Cherry picking their beliefs to support an argument makes a weak case. What is needed is to show that Trump intended to incite their behavior, was at happy with that behavior, didn’t want that behavior to stop, and failed to do anything to stop it even though his power and responsibility as President demanded that he do so. Hopefully the witnesses will make that case for the public at least as the GOP senators are a lost cause.

  4. As most of you know by now, the Senate has voted this morning to introduce witnesses to the impeachment trial. I’m pretty sure this was triggered by the recent revelation of a phone call between McCarthy and Trump in which McCarthy asks Trump to call off his mob, Trump tells him to pound sand, and McCarthy tells him to F-off. Three weeks later, McCarthy goes to Mar-a-lago to make up but that’s a whole other story.

    The witnesses won’t make any difference in the outcome but nothing will. At this point, all we can hope to come out of this second impeachment is to embarrass and tarnish Trump, and those who stand behind him, in the eyes of voters. It won’t change minds overnight but I think it will add to the body of Trump knowledge that will gradually erode his support. We at least have to get that out of the trial.

    1. That is all good info on what is happening. But we should try to get that thing out of the way always stating is does not matter because they will lose anyway. We should all know this is not the way to look at this. If thinking you would not succeed was reason not to do it, would you do anything??

      1. While I agree with your conclusion in this instance, deciding not to do something because it won’t succeed is a good general policy. This is what stops us from running across the freeway to fetch the chair that has fallen off the truck for example.

        1. Paul, really? What stops us from running across the freeway is we are not stupid enough to want to get run over. Not doing things like going to college, trying out for that job – those are the examples that apply to this conversation.

  5. Cellini:
    Sculpture could be entitled ‘Letting it all hang out’.

    And I’m not just referring to the sexual organ.

    Doesn’t Berlioz celebrate the man (in music of course), but do I remember correctly?

  6. “A British mathematician has calculated every single COVID-19 particle circling the world at the moment could fit inside a single 330ml Coke can.”

    Every single electron in the entire universe could be fitted inside another electron.

    Well, if there actually are an infinite number of them, then you can choose how big you wish (zero x infinity) to be.

    1. Yes. Taking this argument to the next logical step, the claim about all the COVID-19 particles into a Coke can has to be accompanied by some statement about what kind of packing is allowed. I guess they are assuming that there is no attempt to press the particles together and that the thought experiment is done at standard temperature and pressure. If so, I think it’s a reasonable calculation.

      1. I assume the calculator merely has a definite volume for the particle, divides that into the coke can volume, gets the number of particles which will ‘fit’. If she or he actually takes account of repulsion, etc., it would be more than a few pages, if it made any sense. And especially, the title “mathematician” as opposed to ‘physicist’ is used.

        Of course if I did that with electrons, the division would be zero over zero (makes no sense on its own, but 0 x number = 0 does).

        Until the time when theory has made an extraordinary advance in which the electron is no longer elementary, but actually composite, I’m more-or-less correct I think. Protons and neutrons do have volume in that somewhat phoney, ‘ignore quantum subtleties’, sense, but quarks, electrons, and neutrinos don’t, as the fermion elementary constituents of ‘stuff’.

        As they calculate, all the visible universe fits inside a single nucleus of hydrogen, i.e. a single proton, before (10 to the minus huge) seconds after the initial singularity, IIRC. Coke cans had trouble existing in those times. But neither did that nucleus be capable of existing.

        Steven Weinberg’s near 50 year old book “The first three Minutes” is still mostly good and very readable on that last. There have been a few changes, such as neutrino mass > 0 since then, but little needs fixing.

        1. I’m having trouble seeing your point. Are you saying that you find the Coke-virus calculation to be wrong? Are you suggesting that some kind of repulsion would invalidate it? I’m no expert, but I’m thinking that a virus is still such a large construction of molecules that it can’t have much of a net charge. The packing of the Coke can would be at a scale where nuclear forces wouldn’t come into play. What’s left?

          1. My point re the viruses in the can is just as Steve below says: I’ll bet any motion or repulsion or whatever causing pressure macroscopically was ignored by the genius who made the calculation.

            Rather it was doing long division, not anything that would require a physicist or could require a mathematician.

            And that the model of elementary particles is of having zero volume. The volume of the classical objects of which we are familiar has to do with average spacings between these zero volume objects, which has more to do with their typical velocities and the fundamental forces.

            [So does the mass almost: the sum of the (formerly called rest) masses of the quarks and electrons that make up your body is something like 5 or 10 kg, IIRC. The rest is E/c**2 of those quarks etc.]

            But I imagine the volume of a typical particle which is a Covid 19 virus is fairly constant. I have no idea how close they on average stay with respect to each other. In fact I doubt that’s meaningful, that there is any natural or even artificially produced object which is nothing other than Covid particles; except maybe for an accidental very small number of them happening to be having a feast together on the Mass Murderer’s lungs, which unfortunately for the remainder of our species was not the last supper.

    2. Why did it take a mathematician? The math involved is high school level – volume of coke can divided by volume of virus particle. At least a virologist could more expertly assess the likely number of virus particles in the world, as well as the volume of the virus particle. Grumble, grumble.

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