Sunday: Hili dialogue

June 13, 2021 • 6:30 am

Welcome to Sunday, June 13, 2021: Cupcake Lover’s Day (again, the apostrophe implies that only a single lover of cupcakes is being honored). It’s also National Children’s Day, Weed Your Garden Day, World Softball Day, and Race Unity Day.

Wine of the Day: I wanted a good heavy red to go with my weekly steak, and I had a hankering for my first love: the Rhones. Lord knows when I bought this bottle, but the price is written on the label along with the advice “decant”, meaning the wine store guy probably told me that this would have a sediment. Well, it had better, being an 11-year-old southern Rhone.

I just looked up my favorite wine guy’s assessment of this wine, which is this:

Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
The powerful, rich 2010 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Anonyme reveals an off-the-chart level of extract, lots of glycerin (nearly 16% natural alcohol) and copious black cherry, blueberry, forest floor, lavender and graphite characteristics. This full-throttle red requires 3-4 years of cellaring and should keep for two decades.
Rating: 95+
(For Parker, a rating that high means a spectacular wine.) I’m not going to say I detected lavender and graphite, but there was a hint of loam from Northern Ireland, damp grizzly bear fur, and, seriously, dark black cherry. The wine was dark ruby, could evolve for some additional years, and the second glass was much better than the first. I put it under vacuum and left it for tomorrow, when I expect it will be even better.

News of the Day:

Yes, there were three mass shootings on Friday night in three separate states, with two killed and at least 30 injured.

Austin, Texas: 14 wounded, two critically
Savannah, Georgia: one killed and seven wounded
Chicago, Illinois: one killed, nine wounded

As Neil Young sang in “Ohio,” “How many more?” Or to quote Bob Dylan, “How many deaths will it take till we know that too many people have died.”

CNN reports that a scuba diver got swallowed by a humpback whale and spent 30 seconds in the whale’s mouth before the leviathan spit him out! Michael Packard, a lobster diver, was ingested about 45 feet down before the whale realized it had bit on something it couldn’t chew. This situation seems to be a first, though there wasn’t really any danger of Packard being swallowed since the throat of humpbacks are too narrow to accommodate humans.   (h/t: Bill, who adds, “I’m sure those in the Abrahamic tradition will use this story as affirmation of the story of Jonah.”)

An op-ed by Timothy Egan in the NYT, “Biden may be the calm between two storms“, warns of Democratic wokeness sabotaging our chances of governing the country by losing elections in 2022 or 2024. The message: stay on positive accomplishments like economics and vaccination, and stay away from defunding the police and forcing schools to teach CRT.

Bad idea of the year department: An old plantation in North Carolina tweeted this, canceling the Juneteenth event meant, as reader Ken says, “commemorate the hardships that Emancipation visited upon plantation owners and returning Confederate soldiers.” OY!  You can read more about this misstep, and the troubles ahead for Latta Plantation, here.

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 599,678, an increase of 384 deaths over yesterday’s figure. We will pass 600,000 deaths by tomorrow or Tuesday.  The reported world death toll is now 3,811,523, an increase of about 9,700 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on June 13 includes:

Here’s a portrait of “Die Luterin”, as von Bora was called, painted during her lifetime by Lucas von Cranach the Elder.  She helped Luther develop important elements of his new doctrine, and they even had kids (are there any Luthers left?)

  • 1774 – Rhode Island becomes the first of Britain’s North American colonies to ban the importation of slaves.
  • 1893 – Grover Cleveland notices a rough spot in his mouth and on July 1 undergoes secret, successful surgery to remove a large, cancerous portion of his jaw; the operation was not revealed to the public until 1917, nine years after the president’s death.

Here’s the last known photograph of Cleveland, taken the year before he died (1907). Note, though, that Wikipedia says it was not a cancer but a benign epithelioma. Fix it, Wikipedia!

  • 1898 – Yukon Territory is formed, with Dawson chosen as its capital.
  • 1927 – Aviator Charles Lindbergh receives a ticker tape parade down 5th Avenue in New York City.

Here’s a film of that parade, though the sound cuts out after about five seconds (it resumes after a minute):

Here’s Marshall in 1957. As a lawyer, he’d successfully argued the case of Brown v. Board of Education, which eliminated segergation in public schools, before the Supreme Court.

Here’s the Times’s front-page article about the papers:

  • 1997 – A jury sentences Timothy McVeigh to death for his part in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1831 – James Clerk Maxwell, Scottish physicist and mathematician (d. 1879)
  • 1865 – W. B. Yeats, Irish poet and playwright, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1939)

Here’s Yeats (one of my favorite poets) as a young man; there’s no date for this photo. Irish poets learn your trade!

  • 1897 – Paavo Nurmi, Finnish runner and coach (d. 1973)
  • 1918 – Ben Johnson, American actor and stuntman (d. 1996)

I will keep showing this scene from The Last Picture Show with Ben Johnson starring as Sam the Lion. This is his Soliloquy at the Water Tank, just as good as any soliloquy of Shakespeare. (Johnson won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for this role).

Those who “passed” on June 13 include:

  • 1965 – Martin Buber, Austrian-Israeli philosopher and theologian (b. 1878)


  • 1986 – Benny Goodman, American clarinet player, songwriter, and bandleader (b. 1909)
  • 2010 – Jimmy Dean, American singer and businessman, founded Jimmy Dean Foods (b. 1928)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn: Hili is impatiently waiting on the windowsill to come inside (Andrzej has to go out and carry her in; she refuses to walk in on her own!)

Hili: Could you let me inside?
A: Wait. I will just finish this sentence.
Hili: You always have excuses.
In Polish:
Hili: Czy możesz wpuścić mnie do domu?
Ja: Zaczekaj, tylko dokończę to zdanie.
Hili: Zawsze masz jakieś wymówki.


From Facebook:

From Bruce:

A groaner from Nicole:

This tweet was sent to me by reader Jay (I retweeted it; do read the article), who adds “Twitter is now hiding links to the article as ‘potentially sensitive content.'” What the hell?

Two tweets from Ginger K.  The first is via our friend Masih, showing the natural reaction to being forced to cover your head for school.

And some science:

Tweets from Matthew. This quote comes from a contrarian “scientific” journal:

This is a modern day ripoff of Winsor McCay’s fabulous cartoon strip Dream of the Rarebit Fiend:

Matthew tweeted one of his beloved optical illusions:

I’m curious about whether a plane will even start after 435 days of inactivity.

This isn’t exactly true. For instance, you can swap “rectangular” with “green” or  “little” with “old” without changing the meaning:

52 thoughts on “Sunday: Hili dialogue

  1. I was looking for that word order pic everywhere – thank you! I shall type it into my notes now – any ideas of the book it is in?

      1. We use size before opinion when talking about something big (“She has big beautiful eyes.”) We use size after opinion when talking about something small (“She has a cute little nose.”)

  2. Egan’s piece seems quite sensible, and his take is one that, per the recent poll, many of here obviously agree with. But there’s a strange subtext: Critical Race Theory isn’t really bad, but the Republicans are distorting and taking advantage of it to persuade Americans that it’s hostile to white people. As though it’s not hostile to white people?? Cynical Theories shows in excruciating (yes, literally) detail just how racist CRT is at its foundations. It’s hard for me to picture how Egan can be saying such sensible things on the one hand but view CRT as anything but a pernicious racialization of political life, 100% contrary to the ideals exposed by MLK and the great leaders of the civil rights movement. Can anyone shed light on this apparent glaring contradiction?

    1. One can search the internet and discover different understandings of the term “critical race theory.” But, this doesn’t matter. CRT, whatever it may have originally meant, is a catchword similar to what communism was in the 1950s – something to be feared because its implementation would mean the destruction of all things Americans hold dear. The term “critical race theory” is a gift to the right wing because it allow them to encapsulate in one expression all the fears of conservative white America – the diminution of their social domination in favor of other groups. Such a phenomenon is not new. In the South, prior to the Civil War, most whites supported slavery even though a minority owned slaves. How was this possible? Through effective propaganda, the ruling class persuaded the white masses that their personal freedom depended upon the enslavement of black people. There is much documentation to support this. Now, as then, for many white people their sense of self-esteem and self-worth depend upon feeling superior to others.

      So, the coming elections will revolve around cultural issues pushed by the Republicans and economic ones by Democrats. My study of history has helped me to reach the conclusion that absent extreme economic deprivation, cultural issues determine how people think, act, and vote. While Democrats should and must talk about economic issues, they need to find an effective way to counter the cultural attack. This is their dilemma. It is a difficult task because they need to show white voters that their policies will help them while not alienating those that call for extreme social change. They are walking a tightrope and may fall off.

      1. In this modern age where the internet drives everything, especially politics, I think your hope is without help. Just as the far right and left are at war the democratic party has become split into it’s own extremes. The civil war started when reason left the building. So now the building is split even more so than it was in 1860. And they had no internet to enrage the masses as we have today. Good luck with that dilemma.

      2. …a catchword similar to what communism was in the 1950s – something to be feared because its implementation would mean the destruction of all things Americans hold dear.

        Huh. We agree. Of course, it’s more than similar. All you have to do is take out class and put in race.

      3. There is plenty of sharp pushback to CRT coming from other places than the Republican far right. (Cf our host’s post at for one of a number of blog entries where he scrutinizes CRT and finding it severely lacking. Jerry, what are some of your other posts where you talk in more detail about CRT and its flaws?). And old-style left-think rooted in class analysis and class conflict has been similarly harsh in its judgment of the content of CRT, which in the view of many in that part of the left collaborates with global capital in reframing the conflict between those who work and those who own in a way that divides the former and takes the onus of socioeconomic responsibility off the latter (see, e.g., the Trot take on CRT at Unless one thinks that contemporary Trotskyites are yet another ethnonationalist constituency, it’s hard to correlate all challenges to the racialization of political relationship that’s central to CRT with a uniformly regressive Blood-and-Soil perspective.

        Your own comments about the ante-bellum South make the point nicely: it was the plantation owner class, the ‘Chivalry’, that, following the guidance of John C. Calhoun, convinced their dirt-poor white sharecroppers that while the latter were at the bottom of the economic barrel, they shared racial aristocracy with the wealthy gentry vis-à-vis the black slaves. Substituting racial/ethnic identity for class consciousness has been an effective technique of the powerful for a very long time, as the WSWS manifesto on CRT that i’ve referenced above insists. It’s not just white Christian nationalists who scorn CRT.

        1. I was not implying that criticism of CRT is solely confined to the right-wing, just as criticism of “communism” was not confined to the right-wing in the 1950s. What I was saying that these terms in the public mind are associated with something “bad,” even though it may not know exactly why. I am also saying that the term “critical race theory” serves as an effective propaganda tool for the right-wing as did “communism” in the 1950s. In both cases, moderate leftists denied support of the supposed ideology that underpinned these terms, but it did not do them much good from the political perspective. This is why CRT is a gift to the right-wing. Their continuous and unrelenting attempt to associate all Democrats with CRT will put Democrats on the defensive, although the vast majority do not deserve the criticism. Another way to put it is that consumers of Fox News and other right-wing media are being exposed to another case of disinformation (that all Democrats or those on the left support CRT and its implementation) that they believe with relish.

          1. Agree completely, Historian.

            I’m not sure at this point that a lot of the Democratic mainstream understand the degree of peril they face on this front, and how urgent it is that they work out effective counterstrategies early to shortcircuit that kind of smear campaign. The advice of hardheaded realists like Carville will be essential in any such effort. But first of all there has to be recognition of the danger.

    1. The best French red wines are Burgundy and Bordeaux, in that order. Burgundies make one joyful, Bordeaux more grave.
      I was a bit puzzled by your enthusiasm for Rhone wines, until I saw you were talking about Chateauneuf du Pape,. Those wines are not Rhone wines (only in the geographical sense), but a class of their own. Undisputed great wines, competing with good Burgundies, but strangely enough not made with Pinot noir.

      1. Following the link below you will find a map of Rhone Valley wines. Châteuneuf-du-Pape belongs officially to the “appellations Rhône Méridional”, i.e. Southern Rhone.

        Whether Bourgogne is better than Bordeaux is a matter of taste. There are surely plenty of wine producers outside of these two areas who make better reds than some mediocre Bordeaux or Burgundy. And wine making is continuously evolving following costumer taste, with the Chinese market getting more important, and climate change. I heard on a French TV station that today’s Bordeaux are pretty different then they used to be just 50 years ago and they will be different in a couple of decades when climate there will be similar to that of today’s Southern Spain.

  3. Yes, he is right. CRT will cause the democrats to go down in defeat because such things as insurrection, maximum states rights, racism, abortion and taking away voting rights, that is what is popular. Everyone knows it. Spying on members of congress, pardoning felons are very popular these days. No need for taxes because we aren’t going to do anything except steal for ourselves.

    1. Randall, you sound bitter there (I admit there are some good reasons). Your points are close to irrefutable. Yet, I’m still hoping to see Trump and Barr in orange suits.

      1. No, not bitter. I just find this internal war within the democratic party a great waste of time and energy that could be doing much more good if directed toward the cult party on the right. When the enemy is us and them you have two ways to lose.

  4. … a scuba diver got swallowed by a humpback whale and spent 30 seconds in the whale’s mouth before the leviathan spit him out! Michael Packard, a lobster diver, was ingested about 45 feet down before the whale realized it had bit on something it couldn’t chew.

    Dang, I were that diver, Mr. Packard, think I’d spend the rest of my days humming the Johnny Mercer tune popularized by Der Bingle with the lines about “Jonah and the Whale, Noah and the Ark”:

  5. Krylov’s paper is quite powerful and spot-on in a way that only one who lived through such oppression (real oppression, not a figment of an ideological imagination) can be. I hope someone writes a book chronicling the current woke insanity infesting science and the history of such attempts to insert politics into science. It needs to be written. We need another Four Horsemen. I will read the book she mentioned, Josephson’s Totalitarian Science and Technology, but it’s clear we need an updated version for today’s anti-science hyper-political climate. I’m not saying PCC(e) should be the author but this issue clearly strikes a chord so…or perhaps a collection of essays. I’m sure Dawkins, Dennett, Harris, and a few others feel similarly.

    1. But a Woke person or CRT advocate will only see in it an attempt to compare their causes to Stalinist purges. Gulags, and summary executions and such. And on that interpretation they will dismiss it. I know the article — a damn good article — is emphatically not making that comparison, but they won’t see themselves in it. They can’t.

      1. Agreed, and I don’t think there’s much use in arguing with them. They are certain they and only they are correct, as all religious folk do (they just lack a messiah). However, I would like to see more pushback, to show the silent majority (at least I hope we ARE the majority, are at the very least a sizable minority) that there is a resistance, so to speak. And perhaps for some who’ve swept up in the fervor of the Elect will have doubts about their new emperors and their clothing by being exposed to or even just aware of such arguments against wokeism.

  6. I do not know much of that Jonah who was swallowed by a whale since I was raised in a Catholic culture that does not read the bible. But I know the case of Pinocchio, who, if I remember well, found his father in the stomach of a whale. I do not understand how they could resist the gastric acids.

  7. The Latta Plantation event blurb sure is provocative.

    The site manager, “an American man of African descent” (!?), put out a statement, currently at Unless there’s some subversive rhetoric in there that I did not recognize, it does not read incendiary to me. With the event, or in a larger sense, he is trying to cover history outside the usually trodden time periods of the American Revolution and the Civil War. But something got lost between this intent and whoever approved the blurb. Perhaps there was sabotage or self-sabotage.

  8. “The message: stay on positive accomplishments like economics and vaccination, and stay away from defunding the police and forcing schools to teach CRT.”

    I think Biden is smart enough to stay away from those things but I wonder if he’s smart enough to avoid the GOP labeling his administration with these things and making them stick. Local Leftists (and a few Dem congresspeople) will advocate for these things and the GOP will make it part of Biden’s policy. This is something Fox News is really good at. Biden needs to come out strongly against these ideas to have any chance of deflecting these attacks.

  9. “I’m curious about whether a plane will even start after 435 days of inactivity.”

    My understanding is that these planes come with explicit instructions on how they are to be taken out of service, maintained during the idle period, and put back in service. Since these procedures aren’t done by pilots, any technicians going into the cockpit would probably leave the note intact.

  10. Obama quoted Yeats when he awarded his then VP Joe Biden the Presidential Medal of Freedom: “Think where a man’s glory begins and ends and say my glory was I had such friends”. This exact quote had been used in a Seinfeld episode in a birthday card given by Kramer to Elaine- played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who (bear with me) herself had gone on to play a fictional VP. Coincidence?

    And I was just wondering if the voiceover cut out of the Lindbergh footage was a summary of his political views?

  11. A jury sentences Timothy McVeigh to death for his part in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

    Do juries pass sentence in the USA? In the UK, they say “guilty” or “not guilty” and, if guilty, the judge determines the sentence.

  12. IMO, this whole “the woke will cost the Dems the election” is a smokescreen which diverts attention from the GOP voter suppression that is going on. The latest tallies show that 14 states have passed 24 laws restricting voting access so far this year (with dozens still pending in another 18 states.)

    – 17 of those passed in nine states are deemed “highly restrictive” by the Brennan Center.

    All nine of those states are under unified GOP control with the exception of Kansas, where Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly vetoed the law only to be overridden by the Republican-dominated state legislature

    – No Democrat co-sponsored any of the 17 bills.

    In spite of this totally partisan movement to restrict voting in the name of the non-existent problem of “voting fraud,” Sen Manchin (D-W.VA) will resist any federal voting laws to correct because it has to be “bi-partisan.” This is why Democrats will lose upcoming elections.

    1. Why would anyone who states that the woke will cost the Dems the election have an interest in setting up a smokescreen for GOP voter suppression? Note that those who want the Dems to lose the elections aren’t complaining about the woke. Those who complain are old-school liberals who disagree with the current fashion that the best reaction to Trumpism is to be just as stupid, but with a different sign.

    2. I don’t think it is a smokescreen. There are many GOP voters now who don’t like Trump but I suspect they are deadly afraid of a Woke government. It is not a rational fear but one that has been drummed into them for decades, way before Woke was mentioned. It used to be called the Nanny State. Personally, I like the idea of the government providing services that are not efficiently or fairly supplied by the private sector. Somehow, the GOP thinks that would be a fate worse than death.

      1. The nanny state was a pejorative term for old-style social democracy such as in Sweden in the 1950s and 1960s. It has practically nothing to do with wokeness in any way, shape, or form.

        There might be folks who dislike Trump but see him as the lesser of two evils when compared to the woke. I don’t see it that way, but I can understand how some people can.

        But there is still no credible reason why anyone would say that the woke will cost the Dems the elections except those who would prefer the Dems to win the elections. But I don’t think that includes Republicans who dislike Trump.

        1. I just read “nanny state” used in conjunction with the government that Dems are accused of wanting to install. While it has a long history as you say, it’s a term very much still in use today. It’s true that it refers to something completely different than CRT but the Woke definitely want to legislate speech and use laws to prevent “hate” which is an aspect of the nanny state.

          Many of the Never Trumpers (eg, The Bulwark) and Dem strategists (eg, James Carville) are warning the Far Left component of the Dem party to rein in their more ridiculous ideas or risk them being weaponized by the GOP into losing elections. I think “Woke” is a handy blanket term for them.

          1. Correct terminology is essential. Typical “nanny states” such as Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland typically rank much higher on the scale of freedom of the press than the USA. No silencing of free speech in nanny states.

            I agree that the Dems should reign in The Squad and the other buffoons as it will hurt them in the elections. They should do so, or at least downplay them, even if they were right. An additional reason to reign them in is because they are wrong.

            1. Just how do you suggest the Dems “reign in” those whom you term “buffoons?” Does it not occur to you that these members of Congress have been elected to represent their jurisdictions? Should they not have a voice? If their constituents disagree with their actions they vote them out. It’s called representative democracy.

              1. You are confusing the right to express one’s opinion with the advisability of that opinion. “Reign in the buffoons” doesn’t mean stop them from speaking but convince them that their opinions are unwise or, failing that, convince their listeners of the same. Condemn their opinions in the hope that they stop expressing them. When Ilhan Omar recently stated in a tweet that the US was similar to Hamas, many told her that she was crazy for saying that. AFAIK, no one in a position of power told her she had no right to say it. None of it has much to do with representing her constituents. Though, as you suggest, if they don’t like what she’s saying, they may not reelect her.

              2. I’m not confused at all. “Reign in the buffoons” is very different from “convince them that their opinions are unwise.” “Reign in” suggests that they should be silenced. You yourself said, “They should do so…even if they were right.” People like Pelosi have already condemned their opinions.

                The problem is, Americans have no tolerance for talking about or teaching, things like the history of racism in America. Or how it persists, in virtually every facet of life that matters, to this day. That will never win votes. So in that way, the ‘Woke’, are hurting the Democrats’ chances.

              3. It only means “silence” in the sense that they no longer say the stupid things that they say but it’s still their decision, right? If AOC wants to keep on expressing a particular opinion, no one is going to arrest her. She might get censored in the House, slammed in the press, or voted out but that’s about it.

                We’re all for getting rid of racism but the Woke’s radical practices make it worse, not better. Some of the things they believe would be laughable if they weren’t so ugly. Certainly Critical Race Theory has no chance of reducing racism. It’s more like trying to cure racism with more racism. As McWhorter says, it’s a religion. And don’t get me started on “cultural appropriation”. What a stupid idea.

    3. Voter suppression, gerrymandering, anti-CRT propaganda, attacks on the Woke, the tradition of the president’s party in Congress losing seats in mid-terms, and the paper thin majorities of Democrats in Congress currently all combine to make 2022 very challenging for Democrats. Probably the Democrats will significantly outpoll Republicans for House seats nationwide, but that’s not how representatives are elected. This is why I commented yesterday that it will take a minor miracle for the Democrats to hold Congress. We can hope that this will happen, but if I were betting my wager would be on the other result.

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