Tuesday: Hili dialogue

September 21, 2021 • 6:30 am

Greetings from Massachusetts on Tuesday: September 21, 2021: National Pecan Cookie Day.

It’s also the beginning of Sukkot, a weeklong commemoration of the fictional story of Jews wandering in the desert for 40 years*, National Chai Day, World Alzheimer’s Day, and International Day of Peace. 

*It was Alan King who said that all Jewish holidays can be summarized thus:

They tried to kill us,
We won;
Let’s eat!

News of the Day:

*I am again way behind in the news, and haven’t looked at a site or newspaper in days. I see from the NYT this morning, however, that two non-Texans have sued a doctor in Texas who said he performed an abortion that violates Texas’s new restrictive and clearly unconstitutional abortion law. I am quite worried that Roe v. Wade will be overturned by this conservative court. Let’s have a poll:

Will Roe v. Wade be overturned by the Supreme Court by the end of Biden's term

View Results

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Feel free to highlight other important news in the comments.

*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 676,191, an increase of 2,087 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 4,714,987, an increase of about 8,100 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on September 21 includes:

  • 1780 – American Revolutionary War: Benedict Arnold gives the British the plans to West Point.

Here’s one of his spying letters with the Wikipedia caption, “One of Arnold’s coded letters. Cipher lines by Arnold are interspersed with lines by his wife, Peggy.”  Arnold escaped capture for his espionage and moved to New Brunswick, Canada, where he traded with the West Indies until he died at 60. 

Here’s a 3-minute documentary of an activity that is best considered entertainment rather than sport:

  • 1942 – The Holocaust in Ukraine: On the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, Nazis send over 1,000 Jews of Pidhaitsi to Bełżec extermination camp.
  • 1942 – The Holocaust in Ukraine: In Dunaivtsi, Ukraine, Nazis murder 2,588 Jews.

Here is a famous but horrifying photo of the mass murder of Jews in the Ukraine. Wikipedia labels it

The Last Jew in Vinnitsa”, the 1942 photograph showing a Jewish man near the town of Vinnytsia about to be shot dead by a member of Einsatzgruppe D. Also present are members of the German Army and the German Labor Service.

  • 1972 – Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos begins authoritarian rule by declaring martial law.
  • 1981 – Sandra Day O’Connor is unanimously approved by the U.S. Senate as the first female Supreme Court justice.
  • 1996 – The Defense of Marriage Act is passed by the United States Congress.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1866 – H. G. Wells, English novelist, historian, and critic (d. 1946)

Wells in 1918:

A first edition of his The War of the Worlds (1898) will run you about $6000:

  • 1874 – Gustav Holst, English composer and educator (d. 1934)
  • 1912 – Chuck Jones, American animator, producer, and screenwriter (d. 2002)
  • 1934 – Leonard Cohen, Canadian singer-songwriter and poet (d. 2016)
  • 1947 – Stephen King, American author and screenwriter

I was surprised to learn that King is religious:

King chose to have faith after weighing the alternatives.
“I made a decision to believe in God because it’s better to believe than not to believe,” he said, noting that his belief became possible while in the throes of addiction. “So it was easy to say, ‘If I’ve got a power greater than myself okay, that’s fine, I can use that to make life livable and good.'”

  • 1950 – Bill Murray, American actor, comedian, producer, and screenwriter
  • 1957 – Ethan Coen, American director, producer, and screenwriter
  • 1967 – Faith Hill, American singer-songwriter, producer, and actress

Those whose existence was obliterated on September 21 include:

Here’s the old philosopher looking scary:

  • 1904 – Chief Joseph, American tribal leader (b. 1840).

Chief Joseph was a leader of the Nez Perce during the years it was pursued by the Army after a series of his warriors’ violent encounters with settler. He and his group fled to Canada, but were trapped and ultimately forced onto a reservation. Here he is in 1877, the year his band was captured.

A fantastic runner, Flo-Jo won three golds in the 1988 Olympics. You’ll see the performances in the video; that woman could RUN! Tragically, she died at only 38 after an epileptic fit.

Wikipedia also has a section on Flo-Jo’s “style”, which includes her signature nails:

Her nails also garnered attention for their length and designs. Her nails were four inches long with tiger stripes at the 1988 Olympic trials before switching to fuchsia. For the Olympic games themselves, she had six inch nails painted red, white, blue, and gold.  Although many sprinters avoided accessories which might slow them down, Griffith-Joyner kept her hair long and wore jewelry while competing. She designed many of her outfits herself and preferred looks which were not conventional.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is still wary of Kulka, though she doesn’t chase her or hiss at her.

Hili: Kulka is over there!
A: I didn’t notice that she had followed us.
In Polish:
Hili: Tam jest Kulka!
Ja: Nie zauważyłem, że przyszła za nami.

Here’s a lovely picture from the past of Hili when she was a kitten, cuddled up with her great late friend Darwin the Dog:

Two from Lenora:

From Jesus of the Day:

From Masih:

From Barry, a needy magpie seeks cuddles:

From Ginger K. Kitty loves its bath (sound on).

Tweets from Matthew. Look at the spread of the word “wolf”!

This is the new volcanic eruption on the Canary Islands:

The artist, centuries ago, had seen a leopard in Europe:

Enlarge the video to see the many marmalade hoverflies (Episyrphus balteatus):

And enlarge this video to see the spooky election fraud. Matthew explains:

The two tellers are standing shiftily in front of the ballot box, so the camera can’t see what is happening. A hand reaches over from behind the curtain on the right and repeatedly shoves ballots into the box…

52 thoughts on “Tuesday: Hili dialogue

  1. The wolf map is cool. I’ve often wondered why the word wolf occasionally sprouts an “e” at the end. The superfluous letter first appeared on my surname when one of my ancestors enlisted in the Union Army.

    1. My mom’s family name got changed when granddad signed up in 1899. It was easier to change his name legally at the courthouse than for the Navy to fix it.

    2. I have a friend whose last name is “Wolfer”…I wonder if an ‘r’ was added to Wolfe at some point. His paternal ancestry is German.

  2. The fact that not even four judges considered the Texas appeal worth hearing seems to indicate to me that Roberts, Kagan, Sotomayor, and Breyer expect to lose on Dobbs. They couldn’t even get 5 judges to agree on a ‘temporary stay, because the law is likely to lose on the merits once we rule on Dobbs’ sort of decision.

  3. We can now say a record has been reached in deaths due to the virus. Surpassed the dead from the Civil War and the 1918 Flu. Have really come a long ways.

    1. The pre-2010 “official” estimate of Civil War military deaths considerably underestimated the real horror of that war, especially considering that the US population in 1860 was 10% of what it is now. Total war loss is now thought to be somewhere near 750,000 (see link at end) about equally divided North and South. At the current Covid-19 death rate of 2000 a day, it will take a month or two before fatalities reach Civil War proportions.
      https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-17604991

      1. Less than half of those estimates would have been bullets or actual battle deaths. Statistics were a moving target in Civil War days. Antietam where more Americans were killed than any other day in history was around 3500 dead. But over the following days and weeks probably another 2000 died from injuries. They cut off body parts at a rapid rate and many died later of infections and you name it.

  4. I find it ironic that a doctor is Texas performed an abortion that is subject to the new law in Texas. He is being sued, which is the desired outcome, so that his attorneys can argue the Texas law violate Roe v. Wade and is unconstitutional. The Texas law was specifically written to evade such a determination from the Supreme Court before it went into effect. However, the Supreme Court has also agreed to hear a case (from Alabama, I think, or some other southern State), This case WILL allow the current Supreme Court to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision. I do believe the majority of the court will rule for that.

    1. I find it unconscionalble that the law allows people with no standing nor involvement to sue. One from Arkansas who just wants the cash, and the other from Chicago who wants to be famous for having his name on the test case.

      If this law is left to stand, it’s not only an invitation for other states to use the template for abortion, but for any other legal issue that is unpopular. What if anti-vaxxers decide that there should be a bounty on administering vaccines?

      This is just bad on so many levels.

    2. The case you’re thinking of arose in Mississippi, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Docket No. 19-1392. It’s set for oral argument on December 1st of this year.

    3. The case you’re thinking of is Mississippi v. Dobbs. SCOTUS will hear it on December 1, and rule on it by June 2022. As you say, it asks the court to rule directly on Roe and Casey.

      Darn, scooped by the lawyer! 🙂

    4. Yeah, with Trump’s 3 ultra-right-wing-radical justices, this SCOTUS is drunk on power fueled by religiosity. Roe will soon be gone, then Obergefell, Lawrence v. TX and perhaps even Griswold v. CT. What will the American public do when this unelected group of religious zealots completely upends the laws in this country; laws that the vast majority approve of and have been living with for decades? Will the citizens of this country perceive SCOTUS as an illegitimate branch of government? What happens when SCOTUS nullifies marriage licenses and allows Big Brother in people’s bedrooms again? Will blue states just ignore their rulings? This democracy is spiraling down the drain.

      1. I’ve always thought it ridiculous that states have individual marriage laws. The current Supreme Court may well find a reason and overturn Lawrence v. Texas, and thus allow states to outlaw certain sexual practices. That will be fun (sarcasm). But same sex marriage is all over the nation now. Will the courts really allow states to not recognize a same sex couple married in Illinois but moved to Texas?

      2. As bitter as it tastes, I’m having what you’re having, Mark. It’s all just so grim. And we here in blue states may fare well for a while, but as you said, what then?

        1. The only solution I see is ending the filibuster and expanding the court(s). I say go full FDR on the Senate republicans (not that FDR expanded the courts, but he used the threat for leverage).

    1. Of course since about 60 percent of those farmers are republicans is does not really mean anything. And since nearly 50% of them are not vaccinated it also means very little. This is the state that gave us Herbert Hoover and Steven King.

  5. The giving up of one’s problems to a Higher Power is standard in the addiction community (AA, for example). It’s a practical psychological “trick” to acknowledge and accept that one cannot control one’s addiction by oneself. By passing the buck, as it were, many people are able to then manage their addiction.

    So my reading of what Stephen King said is that his decision to believe was much more of a practical one that allowed him to manage his life more successfully, and not some Road to Damascus conversion.

    1. I agree, and if it’s a choice between a sort of luke-warmish “belief” in some vague form of deity versus cocaine and alcohol addictions that are rapidly killing you…I guess the former is preferable.

  6. 1957 – Ethan Coen, American director, producer, and screenwriter

    The Coen brothers — Joel and Ethan — have jointly directed and produced all their films. Under Directors Guild of America rules, however, they were prevented from receiving joint directing credit until their 2004 film The Ladykillers. In their earlier films, Joel was credited as the director, Ethan as the producer. The brothers also jointly edit their own movies, under the pseudonym Roderick Jaynes.

  7. Am I the only pedantic wanker here that can’t read the cat purr decibel joke thing without thinking, “That’s not how sounds add! Decibels are a logarithmic scale!” I need help.

    1. My first thought too. Seems like I’ve heard it said that it takes 20 people to yell twice as loud as one person. (Corrections/clarifications welcome.)

      1. So all the cats in the world would produce only about 158 to 168 decibels. Quite loud, and certainly beyond the pain threshold, but not all that impressive. Whereas 100 million jets would be about 230 decibels, with each one starting at 150 dB. Unless I’ve made serious mathematics errors, which is quite likely.

        1. Although apparently the theoretic maximum decibel rate at sea level would be 194 because each wave would create a vacuum in between peak and trough, and thus would not propagate at all. Supposedly. I’m not completely sure how true this is, though. That’s in air, of course.

    2. The decibel levels seemed on the high side, too? It’s only “45 decibels (compare that to a barking dog which can come in at 70 decibels)” according to this website: https//owlcation.com/stem/Cat-Mathematics-The-Cats-Meow-Population-Growth-Cat-Geometry Given that the decibel scale is logarithmic, that’s a pretty huge difference!

  8. Under the existing constitutional framework regarding abortion set out in Planned Parenthood v. Casey — a plurality opinion jointly coauthored by three Republican appointees to SCOTUS: justices O’Connor, Kennedy, and Souter — a state cannot unduly restrict a woman’s right to obtain an abortion before a fetus is “viable.” Now, viability can be a shifting standard, depending upon medical advancements, but it’s as close to a bright-line legal rule as appears possible in the area, and generally occurs at about 23 or 24 weeks’ gestation.

    If SCOTUS upholds the post-15 week abortion ban at issue in the Mississippi law up for consideration this term, it’s difficult to see what they could replace it with that would not be tantamount to outright overruling Roe v. Wade and Casey. If a state can cut off the right to abortion arbitrarily at 15 weeks, then why not 12 weeks, or six weeks, or eliminate it completely?

    If, on the other hand, SCOTUS were to strike down the Mississippi abortion statute on the basis of Casey — a great big doubtful IF, I grant you, which would require that Chief Justice Roberts and at least one of the five other doctrinaire conservative justices vote with the three liberals — I predict two things would happen: First, the constitutional right to abortion established originally in Roe will never again come up for a serious challenge before SCOTUS.

    Second, the Religious Right, which has consistently voted for Republican presidents (who have nominated 15 of the last 19 SCOTUS appointees), and which cut a Faustian bargain with a libertine reprobate like Donald Trump — a man who wouldn’t know Second Corinthians from a pair of Greek columns or from the rich leather interior on Ricardo Montalbán’s 1975 Chrysler Cordoba — based on his express promise to nominate Supreme Court justices who would overrule Roe v. Wade, will go absolutely freakin’ berserk.

    1. I might be pessimistic, but I just cannot fathom them upholding Roe & Casey. The debt to the evangelicals is now due. It’s just a damn shame it happened this way.

      1. Yeah, that’s why I voted “yes” in our host’s poll in the post above. Yet hope springs eternal in the human breast.

        If the fifth vote to uphold Casey comes from anywhere it will come from Gorsuch or Kavanaugh, both of whom clerked for justice Anthony Kennedy and may feel some reluctance to overrule one of the key cases that constitute Kennedy’s legacy. (Keggers also replaced Kennedy on the Court and all but gave his solemn oath to Maine senator Susan Collins during his confirmation process — at least according to her, for whatever that may be worth — that he has way too much respect for stare decisis to overrule a super-precedent like Roe.)

    2. The fact that SCOTUS took up the Mississippi case tells me they’re going to overturn Roe. Why would they take the case if they weren’t going to overturn it? Then once that’s done, they’ll probably overturn the Texas law since it is blatantly unconstitutional, but it won’t matter, because all abortions will be illegal at that point.

      I have a serious bout of pessimism today. I think I’ll go eat some lunch.

      1. If SCOTUS overrules Roe, abortion will remain legal in states, primarily blue, that haven’t enacted anti-abortion statutes (at least unless and until the anti-abortion crowd achieves its ultimate goal: ratification of a constitutional amendment conferring “personhood” on fetuses. Should that happen, abortion will, perforce, be punishable as murder in all 50 states, D.C., and the US territories).

        1. If “personhood” becomes the law of the land, I wonder if they’d like to punish women who have miscarriages with manslaughter charges…follows the logic.

          Did you see how anti-abortion activists in Texas are outraged that the two people suing the doctor who illegally performed an abortion are pro-choice? I guess one plaintiff wanted the money and the other did it to test the law. You can’t make this stuff up!

          1. If “personhood” becomes the law of the land, I wonder if they’d like to punish women who have miscarriages with manslaughter charges…follows the logic.

            Oh absolutely, they’re already trying in some states. It’s all about cruelty and control. Even here in WA, a gal I know experienced a later miscarriage and the county tried to turn it into a criminal case (she had done nothing wrong, pregnancy was wanted, but she had a lot of tattoos and didn’t present as affluent). A quick call to an attorney who then called the prosecutor (who was running for re-election) and it got dropped. It’s all very shitty. I’ll be making another donation to FFRF & PP this afternoon.

            1. +1 sorry for the late…I rarely sub. And if you don’t sub, this is simply on the ‘record’ of lost data. Where does it go?

          2. The architect of the Texas anti-abortion law, Jonathan Mitchell — a former law clerk for Antonin Scalia and former solicitor general for the state of Texas — has filed an amicus brief with SCOTUS in the pending Mississippi abortion case. In it, he argues that “[w]omen can ‘control their reproductive lives’ without access to abortion; they can do so by refraining from sexual intercourse.” He further acknowledges that the reasoning in his brief would also lead to the reversal of “the court-invented rights to homosexual behavior and same-sex marriage.”

            Goes to show, this right-wing movement isn’t really about saving the lives of innocent unborn babies; it’s about controlling sexual practices among consenting adults that these religious fanatics disapprove of.

            1. “[B]y refraining from sexual intercourse” – And yet the Texan law makes no exception for rape. Hmmm, I wonder what that says about their intentions?

    3. “Donald Trump — a man who wouldn’t know Second Corinthians from a pair of Greek columns”. LOL! He’s probably confused by the answer to “What’s a Grecian urn?” not being “30 dollars a week”, too.

  9. If Roe is overturned the Women’s March on Washington will look like the first day of kindergarten compared the outrage expressed across the land.

  10. Benedict Arnold – great hero. He was fighting against traitors & rebels!

    The wolf word map is not really helpful – it shows no celtic wodd for example. Also varg is another Norwegian word for wolf which clearly shares etymology with the eastern indoeuropean…

    1. I looked up varg, as this seemed an interesting case. My suspicion was that it was a non-Germanic Indo-European form that had entered eastern Norwegian via a mediating Uralic language. But Wiktionary says that Indo-Europeanists have a different Indo-European etymology for this Norwegian and apparently also general Scandinavian word (i.e. it is not from the Indo-European root *wlkwos at all).
      Edit: Looked up and found *warg in the Old high German dictionary, it’s supposedly cognate with modern German würgen/Würger (strangler, fig: killer), but supposedly no etymological relation with Wolf.

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