Saturday: Hili dialogue

August 21, 2021 • 6:30 am

Good morning on Caturday Saturday, August 21, 2021: National Sweet Tea Day (also known as “The Table Wine of the South”). This hyperglycemic beverage is the perfect accompaniment to heavy and greasy Southern cooking, like BBQ. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it, and you always have the option of unsweetened tea or (my preference) half sweet/half unsweet. It’s also National Spumoni Day, World Honey Bee Day, Poets Day, International Homeless Animals Day, National Brazilian Blowout Day (a form of hair straightening), and National Senior Citizens Day (“We who are about to die salute you”). It is, of course Cat Sabbath, which started at sundown yesterday and finishes this evening. Cats are not allowed to work on Cat Sabbath, although they never work anyway.

News of the Day:

The pandemonium continues in Afghanistan, where the mission to rescue U.S. citizens and those who helped the U.S. military or NATO has morphed into a mission to rescue Afghan refugees. The thing, is, though, that virtually anyone who doesn’t want to leave in a medieval theocracy qualifies as a “refugee”, for they are in fear of their lives. At some point the Taliban will stop letting people leave, lest they have no country to oppress.

And the people are continuing to protest. Here’s, Crystal Bayat a brave woman who did not want her identity hidden (h/t: Matthew):

Topic two: Covid. In a good NYT op-ed, “The quiet rage of the responsible,” Paul Krugman takes after the anti-vaxers and anti-maskers who cry “it’s my body and my choice”, or “you’re taking away my freedom.” An excerpt:

So how do you feel about anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers? I’m angry about their antics, even though I’m able to work from home and don’t have school-age children. And I suspect that many Americans share that anger.

The question is whether this entirely justified anger — call it the rage of the responsible — will have a political impact, whether leaders will stand up for the interests of Americans who are trying to do the right thing but whose lives are being disrupted and endangered by those who aren’t.

To say what should be obvious, getting vaccinated and wearing a mask in public spaces aren’t “personal choices.” When you reject your shots or refuse to mask up, you’re increasing my risk of catching a potentially deadly or disabling disease, and also helping to perpetuate the social and economic costs of the pandemic. In a very real sense, the irresponsible minority is depriving the rest of us of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Why is this so hard to understand?

As I’ve mentioned before, the Democrats appear to be doing a 180 on the “defund the police mantra“. Finally realizing how stupid that slogan was (duh!), they’re now mounting initiatives to strengthen the police. To be sure, it was the “progressive” Democrats who raised that ridiculous cry.  But it’s too late: the Republicans picked up the ball and ran with it a while back. Expect to see this as a big campaign issue in the midterms. It might even lead to a Republican governor of California.   (h/t Ben)

A lawyer in Kenya, Dolo Ididis, is suing both Israel and italy in the International Court of Justice for “selective and malicious prosecution of Jesus”. Although the ICJ rejected a similar lawsuit years ago, he’s resurrected it and contends this:

Indidis’s case states the methods of questioning during Jesus’s trial by the Romans were problematic; the information used in the case was flawed and probably lacking; and that punishing him while the trial was still ongoing contradicts all forms of justice.

The Kenyan lawyer hopes the ICJ this time will agree that “the proceedings before the Roman Courts were a nullity in law for they did not conform to the rule of law at the material time and any time thereafter.”

In other words, Jesus wasn’t given a fair trial, and therefore was not guilty of the crimes of which he was convicted and for which he was killed. But if Jesus wasn’t executed, we wouldn’t have the chance of being saved, so what is the Kenyan lawyer trying to do? Dismantle Christianity? (h/t Ginger K.)

Amaya, a 6-year-old killer whale, died suddenly and of unknown causes at San Diego’s SeaWorld. At least SeaWorld has ended its breeding program for orcas and no longer puts on killer whale shows (credit the movie “Blackfish” for that), but it’s time for aquariums and venues like SeaWorld to stop keeping large, free-roaming sea mammals in captivity. Every one of these mammal’s genes is thwarted by their confinement in these aquaria which, in the guise of education and research (neither is accomplished) are actually jails that make money for the wardens as outsiders come to gawk at the inmates.

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 627,631, an increase of 975 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 4,429,426, an increase of about 11,200 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on August 21 includes:

  • 1770 – James Cook formally claims eastern Australia for Great Britain, naming it New South Wales.
  • 1791 – A Vodou ceremony, led by Dutty Boukman, turns into a violent slave rebellion, beginning the Haitian Revolution.

As Wikipedia notes, “The revolution was the only slave uprising that led to the founding of a state which was both free from slavery (though not from forced labour), and ruled by non-whites and former captives. It is now widely seen as a defining moment in the history of the Atlantic World.”

Turner’s revolution was not as successful, and he was captured, hung, and they flayed, with his skin supposedly made into purses for souvenirs.

These were debates between the two candidates for the U.S. Senate, and were largely about slavery, a big topic in those days. They generated a lot of national media attention, but, after seven debates between August and October, Lincoln lost the election. However, the publicity he gained helped his election as U.S. President two years later. Here’s Lincoln in 1860 and Douglas in 1858:

The Beat writer William S. Burroughs, author of Naked Lunch was his grandson, and therefore was independently wealthy.

Here’s a drawing from that patent application with a photo of an early version of the machine below.

The theft was clever, and the painting was returned after two years (Peruggia spent only a short time in jail. Here’s the happy return in 1913. Part of the painting’s fame derives not from its quality alone, but from the fact that it was once stolen.

This core killed at least two physicists. Here’s a short video about the deadly piece of plutonium:

Here’s Daghlian’s hand nine days after he was irradiated. It took him 25 days to die.

In 1946, physicist Louis Slotin had an accident with the same demon core, which went critical and caused him an even more painful death, which took only six days after the accident (he was separating the surrounding spheres with a screwdriver, which slipped).

  • 1959 – United States President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs an executive order proclaiming Hawaii the 50th state of the union. Hawaii’s admission is currently commemorated by Hawaii Admission Day.
  • 2000 – Tiger Woods, American professional golfer, wins the 82nd PGA Championship and becomes the first golfer since Ben Hogan in 1953 to win three majors in a calendar year.

Notables born on this day include:

Here’s Beardsley’s “Woman and Cat” (1893):

  • 1904 – Count Basie, American pianist, composer, and bandleader (d. 1984)
  • 1936 – Wilt Chamberlain, American basketball player and coach (d. 1999)
  • 1938 – Kenny Rogers, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, producer, and actor (d. 2020)
  • 1967 – Charb, French journalist and cartoonist (d. 2015)

Here’s a photo of Charlie Hebdo artist Charb (real name Stéphane Charbonnier), killed by Islamic terrorists at 47. Below: one of Charb’s antiracist cartoons for a poster (translation in caption):

(From Wikipedia): Charb 2000 MRAP anti-racism campaign poster (translation: “I would hire you, but I don’t like the color of … uh … your tie!”) [JAC: MRAP is a French anti-racist movement.]
Those who bailed from life on August 21 were few, and include:

  • 1940 – Leon Trotsky, Russian theorist and politician, founded the Red Army (b. 1879)

Here’s Trotsky’s bathroom, photographed in Mexico City in November, 2012:

  • 1971 – George Jackson, American activist and author, co-founded the Black Guerrilla Family (b. 1941)
  • 1974 – Buford Pusser, American police officer (b. 1937)

From Wikipedia:

Buford Hayse Pusser (December 12, 1937 – August 21, 1974) was the sheriff of McNairy County, Tennessee, from 1964 to 1970, and constable of Adamsville from 1970 to 1972. Pusser is known for his virtual one-man war on moonshining, prostitution, gambling, and other vices along the Mississippi–Tennessee state line. His efforts have inspired several books, songs, and movies, and a TV series. He was also a wrestler known as “Buford the Bull” in the Mid-South.

Here’s Buford Pusser. I just like the name. (He was badly wounded, and his wife killed, in an assassination attempt.)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili’s patrolling the garden again

Hili: There never used to be a dandelion on the lawn.
A: Times are changing.
In Polish:
Hili: Dawniej na tym trawniku nie było mleczy.
Ja: Czasy się zmieniają.

And here is Szaron with little Kulka:

An optical illusion courtesy of Phil Plait:

. . . and it comes with this diagram, with all the small squares being the same color:

From reader Norm:

From Lorenzo the Cat: a sign that all cat staff should put on the front door.

Masih asks us to imagine how the Taliban act towards women who aren’t Western and being interviewed by CNN at the same time:

A tweet from Barry, who says this:

It’s one thing to see a bird prance around in a water fountain, but this is something different. This bird is clearly playing. I sent this to a friend who wrote: “It looks similar to an Irish magpie, which can be quite clownish in their behavior.”

From reader “another fred”: best cat-inspired music ever!

Spot the abseiler in the second tweet (the guy descending by rope). You’ll have to enlarge the photo:

A touched up photo of Ellen Terry from 1864. Read about her here.

A potter wasp with by Matthew’s paean to the wasp followed by a video of these remarkable creatures:

An Attenborough video. Don’t tell me you’re not impressed by this insect!

A beautiful tiger crosses a river:

19 thoughts on “Saturday: Hili dialogue

  1. What is interesting about the Lincoln-Douglas debates is that Lincoln lost the Senate race because at that time senators were chosen by state legislatures. As Wikipedia puts it:

    “The districts were drawn to favor Douglas’s party, and the Democrats won 40 seats in the state House of Representatives while the Republicans won 35. In the State Senate, Republicans held 11 seats and Democrats held 14. Douglas was re-elected by the legislature 54–46, even though Republican candidates for the state legislature together received 24,094 more votes than candidates supporting Douglas.”

    Douglas’s positions revealed himself to be a virulent racist that believed that the people of the territories should decide whether or not they wanted slavery. This was called popular sovereignty. However, this was not good enough for the southern slaveholding elite. They wanted guarantees that the federal government would do nothing to ban slavery in the territories during the territorial period with the hope that the territories would be eventually admitted to the Union as slave states. These opposing positions tore apart the Democratic Party and played an important (although perhaps not decisive) part in Lincoln’s 1860 presidential victory.

    Of course, Lincoln took the standard Republican position that Congress had the right to ban slavery in the territories, but had no constitutional right to regulate or ban slavery in the states where it already existed. Although describing slavery as a great evil, he did not advocate full social and political rights for black people. However, by the end of his life, he became a much stronger supporter of the rights of black people.

  2. I first heard the term “Christ Killers” in a short course for my History credit, on Hitler. When the prof. started talking about the charge against the entire Jewish race as “Christ Killers” to justify the horrific Shoah I was dumbfounded because it was such a stupid excuse for their murderous beliefs. I grew up Catholic and I knew from catechisms that Jesus had to die in order to be raised from the dead and defeat the death of sin. If the Jews in Jerusalem had indeed been responsible for Jesus’ death, then the Church and the Nazis should be ever thankful. Did they not read the Parable of the Wheat? Unless he seed dies, it can’t be reborn and grow more wheat.

    Of course, I later learned that this had been the excuse for numerous pogroms and persecutions of Jews in Europe for centuries, and just became another reason for me to abandon religion even before I just flat out realized I’m an atheist. Religions are very good at finding justifications for hatred and evil.

    I also wonder why the Romans got a pass in this Christ-Killer thing. The Jews in Roman Palestine had no authority to execute prisoners and needed to the Romans to do so. Pontius Pilate washed his hands of it, but they remain stained (Out, Damned Spot!) At least this Kenyan Lawyer is broadening his scope to cover everyone.

    And, I want to acknowledge that I am thankful to the Jews who survived the Shoah or lost family and friends for not holding me, as a German, responsible for the torture and deaths.

    1. Growing up in and dealing with the indoctrination of the Southern Baptist Church, I would hear a local adult or student peer – during the week and not under the roof of the church building on Sunday when everyone was going through the pretense of being at their best behavior – talk about “jewing someone down on the price” of something, I at a tender age not being fully aware of the provenance of the reference. Of course, a good Tennessee Southern Baptist capitalist/free enterprise businessman defers to no one regarding his ability as “a shrewd businessman.”

      Whom did these good, pious Southern Baptist human primates expect to do their part to effectuate the crucifixion/execution of Jesus, the necessary sacrifice for the sins of the world so as to make possible everlasting life in Heaven? Too bad Southern Baptists weren’t around then to walk their big talk so that they might press for Jesus’s execution – to their own eventual eternal benefit despite subjected to centuries of abuse instead of the Jews. Not one word of thanks to the Sanhedrin/Pharisees/Sadducees.

      What if Judas had refused to do his part? Ought he have otherwise been (even more) condemned for condemning humanity to everlasting punishment in the lake of fire?

      This would seem to be a sterling example of the old saying, “No good deed goes unpunished.”

      1. I think that the modern Southern Baptist would press the Romans to execute both Jesus son of Joseph and Jesus Barabbas. For wearing masks.

  3. Lincoln Douglas debate….I have just finished a recently published book, “Until Justice Be Done: America’s First Civil Rights Movement, from the Revolution to Reconstruction” by Kate Masur. She covers quite a bit of the race politics in Illinois during the pre-civil war period including, of course, Lincoln. I found the book very informative in filling in gaps…no make that chasms…in my Formal education during the 1950’s and 60’s in Virginia public schools. But I am not an historian and would appreciate hearing opinions on Prof Masur’s book from a subject matter expert among Jerry’s readers.

    1. The historian gives a very good look at the Lincoln / Douglas debates and the situation in Illinois at the time. The collapse of the democrats as he explains was very important to the success of Lincoln in the 1860 elections. His ability to get the republican nomination was a close thing as well, and the fact that the convention was held in Chicago may have made the difference. Understanding Lincoln’s position on slavery at that time makes many wonder why South Carolina reacted in such a way as they did after the election of Lincoln. However, they believed that stoping the growth of slavery into the territories was the same as killing slavery.

  4. In other news Reuters reports “FBI finds scant evidence U.S. Capitol attack was coordinated.” They go on, though, to repeat the error that it was the worst attack on the Capitol since 1812 (ignoring the 1954 attack in which five Representatives were shot on the floor of the House by Puerto Rican nationalists, as well as the 1915 Senate bombing by a German sympathizer, and the 1971 Weather Underground Senate bombing).

    1. I would not put much faith or credibility in the FBI findings for a couple of reasons. Their own security and reporting failed to warn of the Jan. 6 event in advance. The FBI director was questioned about this and provided no reasonable explanations. The Trump period in office did much to corrupt the operations of the FBI and that is without question. Therefore, any investigation by them could be taken with a grain of salt.

  5. I can’t be alone in remembering that I bought my first electronic calculator because I wanted an adding machine. Slide rule’s good enough for everything else.

  6. Um… this Kenyan chap’s a lawyer? Italy didn’t have a corporate existence until 1871; Israel came into being in international law in 1948. The putative Jesus was therefore not tried under the laws of either country. Why does this genius think that such a lawsuit could possibly have standing in any court in the known universe?

    I gotta say, I’d have to think long and hard before hiring him to pursue a breach-of-contract complaint…

    1. That’s what I thought too, when I read this about the Kenyan lawyer. Seriously, he doesn’t have anything better to do than try to defend an imaginary character? I weep for humanity. Or, as Jerry would say: “what a world”.

  7. 1831 – Nat Turner leads black slaves and free blacks in a rebellion in Southampton County, Virginia, which will claim the lives of 55 to 65 whites and about twice that number of blacks.

    William Styron wrote a novel about it back in the late Sixties, The Confessions of Nat Turner. By the time I read it while in college in the early Seventies, it was already controversial (although James Baldwin and Ralph Ellison had defended Styron’s writing of it, which was good enough for me). It’s hard to imagine the cultural appropriation push-back Styron would get for writing such a novel, or that Random House would get for publishing it, today.

  8. * I hope California’s voters haven’t forgotten the lessons of the last recall election. Replacing experienced politicians with celebrities has never worked. And any Republican governor in the state will have his hands tied by the legislature and have nothing to show for his tenure besides gridlock.

    * Shortly before he was murdered Stéphane Charbonnier completed the short book “Open Letter: On Blasphemy, Islamophobia, and the True Enemies of Free Expression.” It has been translated into English, with an introduction by Adam Gopnik, and is very much worth reading, though our gutless press barely reviewed it. Some dismissive reviews came from journalists who wanted to give the murdered cartoonists a posthumous character assassination.

  9. I’ll never forget my first… sweet tea, that is! It was a couple of decades ago in Greensboro, North Carolina. It was ambrosia!☺️

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