Thursday: Hili dialogue

June 10, 2021 • 6:30 am

Welcome to Thursday, June 10, 2021: National Iced Tea Day. It’s also National Black Cow Day (a tassty American fountain drink made with root beer and ice cream, also known as a “root beer float”), National Herb and Spice Day, and World Art Nouveau Day.  Here’s a nice piece of Art Nouveau furniture that I would love to own.

News of the Day:

The Keystone Pipeline, designed to convey oil from northern Alberta to the lower 48, is dead, defunct, singing with the Choir Invisible. It is an Ex Pipeline. The Biden administration, continuing its truly progressive environmental policy, revoked the pipeline’s permit yesterday. In light of that, the pipeline developer abandoned the project.

The Washington Post reports that some of the Capitol rioters in jail for their actions are being kept in jail by the continual pronouncements of Trump and his minions that the election was stolen. From the paper:

In keeping a Trump supporter and felon in jail in Michigan pending trial, Jackson highlighted a message in which the man said he was in D.C. on Jan. 6 because “Trump’s the only big shot I trust right now.”

The man has been charged with obstructing a congressional proceeding and related crimes, and his “promise to take action in the future cannot be dismissed as an unlikely occurrence given that his singular source of information . . . continues to propagate the lie that inspired the attack on a near daily basis,” Jackson wrote. [Judge Amy Berman Jackson denied the man bail.]

This isn’t the only person in this situation, for such folks are deemed dangers to public safety so long as the “stolen election” scenario is promulgated. I had no idea that Trump is still banging this drum, as I’ve been happily ignoring and/or unaware of his actions since he became President-Eject.

Have you wondered what’s up with Elizabeth Holmes, accused (with her Theranos colleague Sunny Balwani) of wire fraud and conspiracy, and now of destroying evidence about the efficacy of her blood-testing machines? Preparations for a July trial are in fact underway, and we’re at the jury selection stage. Prosecutors have accused her legal team of trying to stack the jury, since the team submitted 41 pages of questions (112 questions), many of which, say the prosecution, are irrelevant.  Holmes faces 20 years in jail. If you read John Carreyrou’s fascinating book about Holmes and Theranos (highly recommended by yours truly), you’ll want to see her in a prison suit.

Queen Elizabeth has been canceled! According to the BBC, Oxford students at Magdalen college have voted to remove the Queen’s photo portrait from one of their common rooms. The reason? Colonialism!:

“. . . for some students, depictions of the monarch and the British monarchy represent recent colonial history”.

As far as I know, the Queen hasn’t engaged in acts of colonialism. But it doesn’t matter, for her ancestors did!  (h/t Jez)

You probably didn’t know this (nor did I), but judges can increase the sentences of someone who was acquitted of a crime and later convicted of a lesser crime. That is, if you’re acquitted of a murder, and later convicted of a robbery whose normal penalty is four years in jail, your prior acquittal could lead the judge to more than double your sentence. This procedure, called “acquitted conduct sentencing”, seems manifestly unjust, but is widespread. Reader Paul informs me that, according to this article in Persuasion, the Senate Judiciary Committee will begin considering a bill that bans this kind of sentencing.

Also from the BBC, a remarkable body-surfing duck (named “Duck”) in Ausralia. He spends up to two hours a day riding the waves. Click on the screenshot to go to the video:

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 598,355, an increase of 417 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 3,777.879, an increase of about 14,200 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on June 10 includes:

Here’s a memorial to Bishop I photographed when I visited Salem two years ago. I wonder who left the flowers.

  • 1793 – The Jardin des Plantes museum opens in Paris. A year later, it becomes the first public zoo.
  • 1829 – The first Boat Race between the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge takes place on the Thames in London.
  • 1886 – Mount Tarawera in New Zealand erupts, killing 153 people and burying the famous Pink and White Terraces. Eruptions continue for three months creating a large, 17 km long fissure across the mountain peak.

Sadly, these silica deposits, once the tourist sight in New Zealand, are no more. They may exist underwater, but it’s unlikely anybody will ever see them again. No color photos exist, but here’s a painting of the White Terraces:

Here’s the Sharif. In the movie Lawrence of Arabia, Alec Guinness played his son Faisal.

  • 1942 – World War II: The Lidice massacre is perpetrated as a reprisal for the assassination of Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich.
  • 1944 – In baseball, 15-year-old Joe Nuxhall of the Cincinnati Reds becomes the youngest player ever in a major-league game.
  • 1947 – Saab produces its first automobile.

Here’s a prototype for the first Saab, the “Ursaab”:

  • 1963 – The Equal Pay Act of 1963, aimed at abolishing wage disparity based on sex, was signed into law by John F. Kennedy as part of his New Frontier Program.
  • 1964 – United States Senate breaks a 75-day filibuster against the Civil Rights Act of 1964, leading to the bill’s passage.
  • 1991 – Eleven-year-old Jaycee Lee Dugard is kidnapped in South Lake Tahoe, California; she would remain a captive until 2009.
  • 2002 – The first direct electronic communication experiment between the nervous systems of two humans is carried out by Kevin Warwick in the United Kingdom.

Notables born on this day include:

Here’s part of a larger Courbet painting, “The Painter’s Studio: A Real Allegory Summing Up Seven Years of My Life as an Artist, 1854-5“, and there’s a cat:

McDaniel was of course the first African-American to win an Oscar: for Best Supporting Actress (in Gone with the Win) in 1940. Her role now makes people cringe, but it was a breakthrough. Here’s her award; note that she says she hope she will “always be a credit to her race.”

  • 1915 – Saul Bellow, Canadian-American novelist, essayist and short story writer, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2005)
  • 1921 – Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (d. 2021)
  • 1922 – Judy Garland, American singer, actress, and vaudevillian (d. 1969)
  • 1928 – Maurice Sendak, American author and illustrator (d. 2012)
  • 1929 – E. O. Wilson, American biologist, author, and academic.

Happy birthday to Ed, who is 92 today, the same age as my own Ph.D. advisor (and Wilson’s erstwhile nemesis), Dick Lewontin.  Here’s a photo I took of Ed talking to Patty Gowaty at a lunch for bigwigs (I was a littlewig there) at Harvard in 2007:

  • 1965 – Elizabeth Hurley, English model, actress, and producer
  • 1982 – Tara Lipinski, American figure skater

Those who packed it in on June 10 include:

  • 323 BC – Alexander the Great, Macedonian king (b. 356 BC)
  • 1926 – Antoni Gaudí, Spanish architect, designed the Park Güell (b. 1852)
  • 1967 – Spencer Tracy, American actor (b. 1900)

Tracy had a famous, l26-year relationship with Katherine Hepburn though, as a Catholic, he remained married to another. Here are the pair in “Adam’s Rib” (1949):


  • 2004 – Ray Charles, American singer-songwriter, pianist, and actor (b. 1930)
  • 2016 – Gordie Howe, Canadian ice hockey player (b. 1928)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn: Hili is watching the birds carefully.

Hili: Young starlings are bigger and bigger.
Paulina: Focus on what’s obtainable.
(Photo: Paulina R.)
In Polish:
Hili: Młode szpaki są coraz większe.
Paulina: Koncentruj się na tym co osiągalne.
(Zdjęcie: Paulina R.)

A photo of Szaron by Andrzej;

From Nicole:

From Bruce:

A groaner from Jesus of the Day:

From Titania. A reader sent me this paper from The Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, but at first I thought it was surely a hoax (just glance at the paper for a minute!). But it seems to be real! The world is going to hell. If any reader wants to navigate the paper and report back in the comments (free link in the previous sentence), you’re welcome to do so.


From a reader. I suppose this kind of word salad is why Kendi refuses to debate anyone who disagrees with him:

From Luana: a new paper that says neo-Darwinism still rules okay:

Also from Luana. I’m not a big fan of Greenwald, but here he highlights on area in which liberalism is getting devoured by termites. I wrote about the ACLU article here.

Tweets from Matthew. Keep watching this video, and tell me how many shelduck ducklings you see. I wonder if any were kidnapped?

Odonate peekaboo:

Just when you think people can’t get any loonier about the COVID vaccine:

43 thoughts on “Thursday: Hili dialogue

  1. Also the good news of the day is that Maya Forstater has won her appeal.

    (She had been sacked for saying, in a non-work context, that people cannot change sex; she sued for wrongful dismissal; a first ruling said that such a belief was not protected under employment law since it was “not a belief worthy of respect”; that ruling has been overturned, and now such speech is protected under UK employment law.)

    1. And of course it was Tweeting in support of Maya Forstater that got J. K. Rowling demonised by the woke. (An infamous Tweet where Twitter capped the number of “likes” to give the impression that it was less popular than it actually was.)

    2. Actually they first ruling said it was “not a belief worthy of respect in a democracy”. I think that makes the judge’s words more egregious it it was deservedly slapped down.

  2. You mention you had no idea Trump is still banging the drum of the big lie…wow. That is all he and his cult has been doing since the insurrection. All of the states doing their voter restrictions laws are directly related to this. The Senate refused to investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection as it must be done. To sicken us even further – the guy who was killed (the capital policeman) by the insurrection was actually a Trump fan. Voted for Trump. It does not get much sicker than that. I do not think any democrats understand how close they are to losing this democracy.

      1. We really do live in a divided country. Ignoring Trump may be possible in Chicago but it certainly isn’t possible out here in the hinterlands. Everywhere I go there are signs (often featuring profanity) declaring that Biden stole the election or that Trump is still their president. While it may be an enjoyable respite to ignore these people, urban liberals do so at our peril.

      2. I’m afraid you’ve missed your opportunity. Trump shut his blog down earlier this month. It turns out it is a lot harder to write a long form piece than to tweet whatever comes into your head.

        1. Trump’s still on gab (or whoever writes for him). He doesn’t have to do a damn thing; he’s a celebrity. Nothing has diminished his appeal to the truly faithful; he will be magically be reinstated in August, donchaknow?

      3. All I have to say about that is – I hope you enjoy your hiatus. Lets hope others will fight the war for you.

        1. “War” is a strong word, but I’m beginning to think it’s appropriately strong. Things have already gotten out of hand and I don’t think the weight of tradition can save the democracy from a catastrophic end.

    1. “I do not think any democrats understand how close they are to losing this democracy.”

      Senators Manchin and Sinema sure don’t. Or perhaps they just don’t care.

    1. It reminds me of a 146-year-old chap somewhere in the US. He attributed his longevity to a typographical error. I can’t remember his exact age when he was interviewed, but it was pretty high, and 146 is what stuck in my mind. I don’t know if he is still around.

      1. I was born in 1946 and one year long ago the CDOT issued my driver’s license as born in 1916. I got carded and the bouncer at Denver’s College Inn asked if I had something with my real age on it 😊 I should have kept it, but had to turn it in to get a new license.

        1. I once was issued a WA state driver’s license that listed my gender as “F”. I thought about how I could somehow use that to a mischievous end, but I couldn’t think of anything. When I renewed, I had them correct it to “M”. Like you, I wish I could have kept it, but had to turn it in to get the new one.

    1. I assumed it was the Gould/Eldridge stuff that started back in the 1970’s, that Dawkins and Gould later fought over. It was mentioned in my biology text book from around 2010, but we never discussed it in class and I haven’t heard anything more about it since, and assumed it never really gained traction and had been long forgotten, at least since Gould’s 2002 passing, though I am not a biologist. I’ve also never read his massive evolution tome which has been sitting on the bookshelf for five years or more. I’m told it’s quite the cure for insomnia though.

  3. … some of the Capitol rioters in jail for their actions are being kept in jail by the continual pronouncements of Trump and his minions that the election was stolen.

    It’s approaching 500 arrests now made of the January 6th Capitol rioters, and I’ve yet to see a single one who qualifies as the “very special” people Donald Trump took to tv that day to send his love to and tell to “go home in peace.”

    I’ve also yet to see among them a single antifa member running a false-flag operation designed to make Trump supporters look bad.

    1. That is an amazing story. It is also a surprising maintenance failure on the part of the airline. Using whatever bolts and screws they wanted to install the windshield. I’ll bet those pilots don’t loosen up the belts much after that.

  4. I don’t see Kendi’s answer as circular, naive, deer-caught-in-the-headlights, nor word salad. The definition he gave is consistent with previous writings and is working to shift “racism” away from individual behaviors and onto power structures (see e.g. This is the second instance where I perceive McWhorter as misreading anti-racist proponents (the other that comes to mind was Robin DiAngelo’s discussion of Jackie Robinson).

    1. Of course it is circular! How can defining “racism” in terms of the concept “racism” not be circular? And failing to be aware of this is certainly “naive”.

      1. Kendi’s definition from the clip (and from's%20Glossary%20of%20Terms.pdf)

        Racism is powerful collection of *racist* policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by *racist* ideas

        He does not define racism in terms of racism, but in terms of racist policies and racist ideas. Again, if you read his definition of *racist* it is about people. So racism is about the ideas of racist people enacted in policies that uphold those ideas. If you want to go turtles all the way down, then every word is defined by other words and is therefore circularly defined, but I don’t think that’s the argument you and McWhorter and others are trying to make.

        1. “Racism” and “racist” are so similar that if he is defining the first one in terms of the second he then needs to continue the explanation until he’s defined that. If he doesn’t realise that he’s naive.

        2. You’re right of course. That must be Kendi’s point. He’s essentially basing his new racism (racist institutions) on the old racism (racist people). Still, it’s an important enough definition that we might expect him to make it more clearly.

          The CRT idea must be at least partly based on the realization that calling people “racist” only gets you so far. So many people are willing to respond to the “racist” accusation by simply claiming that they aren’t racist, along with all sorts of indignation about how the accuser can’t read their mind. If they can’t go after the people, then go after their institutions.

  5. Kendi’s definition of racism might pass in Aspen but it’s amazing he doesn’t have one ready at hand that isn’t completely circular. No self-respecting intellectual should be able to get away with this.

    1. Yes. I noticed when he finished stating his definition, the interviewer and the audience seemed to freeze up, as if they were about to point out the fallacy, but then decided they’d better not.

  6. “. . . for some students, depictions of the monarch and the British monarchy represent recent colonial history”.

    Without that colonialism, those students probably wouldn’t be in a room where there is portrait of the Queen. 😐

    1. Since Oxford is an ancient elite institution that undoubtedly benefited from colonialism, these students should flex their powers of self-righteousness by going to different, less tainted universities instead.

      But of course they won’t, since that would threaten their chances of joining the elite. And the best way to retain your privilege AND feel good about yourself is to make useless acts of performative “activism” like removing the portrait of the Queen. No wonder Labor is having problems reaching the working class!

  7. What’s with all the extra female ducks on the pond today? I think I just counted 10. Dorothy was going after one of them that got too close to her brood. At times she seems to have all of her 10 with her, but other times only 9 (you had said she rejected one of them).

  8. In the 1980s when I was a teen I took a (Cessna) air tour over that volcano in NZ, Mt. Tarawera – it is spectacular.

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