Wednesday: Hili dialogue

September 22, 2021 • 6:30 am

Greetings from Massachusetts on Wednesday: September 22, 2021: National Ice Cream Cone Day.

It’s my penultimate day in Cambridge. This R&R has gone by too quickly!  And please note that this is the last day of Summer. Fall begins at 3:21 p.m. today. Google celebrates the beginning of fall with a nice doodle; click on it to see falling leaves:

It’s also National White Chocolate Day, World Rhino Day, National Elephant Appreciation Day, National Hobbit Day, and the season-changing holidays:

And, according to Wikipedia, it’s the earliest date for the autumnal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere and the vernal equinox in the Southern Hemisphere:

News of the Day:

Once again I’m ignorant of the news; please use the comments, if you can, to fill us in on what’s important.

*Yesterday’s readers’ poll on the likelihood of Roe v. Wade being overturned before the end of Biden’s present term gave roughly equal predictions of overturning versus keeping:

*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 678,557, an increase of 2,046 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 4,724,126, an increase of about 9,100 over yesterday’s total.

It was a thin day in history. Stuff that happened on September 22 includes:

  • 38 – Drusilla, Caligula’s sister who died in June, with whom the emperor is said to have an incestuous relationship, is deified.
  • 1642 – The first commencement exercises occur at Harvard College.
  • 1806 – Lewis and Clark return to St. Louis after exploring the Pacific Northwest of the United States.
  • 1973 – Argentine general election: Juan Perón returns to power in Argentina.

Juan Peron and Evita. He was elected as President three different times.

  • 2002 – The first public version of the web browser Mozilla Firefox (“Phoenix 0.1”) is released.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1515 – Anne of Cleves, Queen consort of England (d. 1557)[5]
  • 1791 – Michael Faraday, English physicist and chemist (d. 1867)
  • 1902 – John Houseman, Romanian-American actor and producer (d. 1988)

The performance I remember of Houseman: Professor Kingsfield in “The Paper Chase” (1973):

Left to right: Hans Scholl, Sophie Scholl, and Christoph Probst. All three, members of the “White Rose,” were guillotined in 1943 for distributing anti-Nazi materials.

  • 1956 – Debby Boone, American singer, actress, and author
  • 1958 – Andrea Bocelli, Italian singer-songwriter and producer

Yes, the video may seem schmalzy, but you have to admit that this performance of “Con te partirò (“Time to say goodbye”) with Bocelli and Sarah Brightman, a huge hit, is quite moving:

  • 1958 – Joan Jett, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, producer, and actress

Those whose ticker stopped ticking on September 22 include:

  • 1539 – Guru Nanak, Sikh religious leader, founded Sikhism (b. 1469)
  • 1776 – Nathan Hale, American soldier (b. 1755)
  • 1961 – Marion Davies, American actress and comedian (b. 1897)
  • 1989 – Irving Berlin, Russian-born American composer and songwriter (b. 1888)
  • 1999 – George C. Scott, American actor, director, and producer (b. 1927)

Scott won the Best Actor Oscar for his performance in “Patton”, but this scene alone deserves an Academy Award:

  • 2001 – Isaac Stern, Polish-Ukrainian violinist and conductor (b. 1920)
  • 2007 – Marcel Marceau, French mime and actor (b. 1923)
  • 2010 – Eddie Fisher, American singer (b. 1928)
  • 2015 – Yogi Berra, American baseball player, coach, and manager (b. 1925)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is perturbed:

Hili: What a horrible mess in this wild nature.
A: Does it disturb you?
Hili: Yes, I can’t see what’s under these sticks.
In Polish:
Hili: Straszny bałagan w tej dzikiej przyrodzie.
Ja: Przeszkadza ci?
Hili: Tak, nie widzę co jest pod tymi patyczkami.

. . . and a photo of Szaron:

From Facebook:

From Facebook; Cohen was born on September 21, 1934, and died in 2016.

A tweet from Jesus of the Day with a poignant explanation:

The graves of a Catholic woman and her Protestant husband, who were not allowed to be buried together. On the Protestant part of this cemetery J.W.C van Gorcum, colonel of the Dutch Cavalry and militia commissioner in Limburg is buried. His wife, lady J.C.P.H van Aefferden is buried in the Catholic part. They were married in 1842, he was a protestant and didn’t belong to the nobility.

This caused quite a commotion in Roermond. After being married for 38 years the colonel died in 1880 and was buried on the protestant part of the cemetery against the wall. His wife died in 1888 and had decided not to be buried in the family tomb but on the other side of the wall, the closest she could get to her husband. Two clasped hands connect the graves across the wall.

A tweet from Titania. I’d forgotten that Trudeau did this (not just once, but three times) which for nearly everyone would result in immediate cancellation. Why has he gotten a pass?

From Barry. I may have shown this before, but it’s a black-crested titmouse picking fur off a sleeping fox for the bird’s nest:

From Simon. This is clearly a seagull rather than a duck, but the poor choice of nesting site still obtains:

From Ginger K. Why doesn’t the cat just ride in the cart?

From the Auschwitz Memorial:

A lovely video tweet (sound up) Matthew.: I didn’t think dog milk could nourish kittens, but I guess they’re old enough to be eating solid food, too. As Matthew says, the world would be better if it were like Dodo:

Two more tweets from Matthew:

Patricia Churchland, who like me thinks that panpsychism is both untestable and dumb, goes after a proponent of the theory that all matter is conscious:

More interspecies love. Sound up if you want music:

52 thoughts on “Wednesday: Hili dialogue

    1. I don’t have the time to read through the docs now, but since the story is from the New York Times, I am inclined to doubt their interpretation. Even the Forbes article hedges and says “. . . suggesting the campaign knew the fraud claims were false but let them spread anyway.”

        1. Yes, actually they would have been the first to know the fraud since they invented it. Those soon to be disbarred attorneys. Dominion is suing all of them as well.

  1. More news:

    A Covid therapy derived from a llama named Fifi has shown “significant potential” in early trials.

    It is a treatment made of “nanobodies”, small, simpler versions of antibodies, which llamas and camels produce naturally in response to infection.

    Once the therapy has been tested in humans, scientists say, it could be given as a simple nasal spray – to treat and even prevent early infection.

    It’s early days though…

    1. Yes, I’ve been keeping an ear out for news of various inhalants that could block the virus for a time. There were a couple getting some buzz early in the pandemic, but I have not heard further on them.

  2. Don’t forget Governor Northam of Virginia, who had a blackface revelation shortly after he was elected. I think his survival is less due to his being a Democrat (since there were plenty of calls for him to step down), and more to due with his basically ignoring the issue until it blew over. There is a lesson there.

    1. I live in Virginia and believe that you are correct about Gov Northam in general, though he has taken a number of affirmative actions and positions throughout his term after that to atone…and he maintained that he was not sure that the picture in his medical school yearbook from 25 years earlier was of him. Almost every high level dem in the Commonwealth immediately piled on (a la Sen Al Franken’s situation) demanding his resignation, but he toughed it out, doing his job and good affirmative action deeds until things kind of went away. Also it did not hurt him that the dems that might replace him if he stepped down were also in deep public relations guano.

    2. I dread the day that somebody woke notices that, in the opening scene of Life of Brian, John Cleese is in black face (as the traditionally black member of the Three Wise Men). After that, we won’t be allowed to watch it any more.

      1. Oh, I don’t know…I’d love to hear Cleese’s response to such would-be opprobrium. This is the man who was the first person (supposedly) at a British memorial service to say “fuck”, after all.

          1. I mean, I have no reason to doubt that he and Graham may have been nasty to her (and David Frost and others), but I also have no reason to believe her either. As the saying goes, “if you meet one asshole in a day, they’re an asshole. If you meet assholes every day, you’re an asshole.”

            Still, as I said, it wouldn’t surprise me of people of such genius and stature as those guys were pricks, especially when they thought (probably quite rightly) that they were more talented than the people they looked down upon. Actually, if I’m not mistaken, Chapman was known to be quite an asshole sometimes. I just have no idea whether or not what she’s said is true. Either way, it wouldn’t change my opinions on their work, both in comedy and, for Cleese, in public life generally, where he has been a vocal advocate for freedom of thought and speech and humanist principles for decades.

          2. She’s a curious character herself, too, though. But I can believe it. He’s never been one to mince words, and he surely wasn’t MORE diplomatic as a young man. But very, very funny.

      2. If it’s going to happen, I hope it does while Cleese is still alive and speaking publicly, because I’d love to hear him respond with his eviscerating wit and elan!

  3. 2015 – Yogi Berra, American baseball player, coach, and manager (b. 1925)

    And aphorist. Give the man his due, please.

    1. I just had to go look up a list of some of his best to remind myself. So much fun (though it’s not certain he actually said some of them). And some are surprisingly thought-provoking, like, “Little League baseball is a very good thing because it keeps the parents off the streets.” Or “If the world were perfect, it wouldn’t be.”

  4. My donkey lets birds take his undercoat every year. Granted, he’s not a fox (carnivore), but it’s still pretty funny to see him with birds on his butt every spring. I’m sure it feels good to him to get rid of the undercoat, too, as the weather warms.


  5. I’m 99% sure that SCOTUS has no plans to overrule Roe. One thing most people don’t understand about SCOTUS is that they get thousands of requests a year, but they choose cases based on whether they’re just right for ruling on an issue they want to address. I think they’ve been waiting for something like the lawsuit against the doctor in Texas, as it will be the perfect case for reinforcing Roe against such things. I sincerely doubt that even a SCOTUS as conservative as the current one will make the US the only First World nation where abortion is outlawed in most or all of its land, especially with nearly 50 years of precedent upholding that right.

    1. “I think they’ve been waiting for something like the lawsuit against the doctor in Texas, as it will be the perfect case for reinforcing Roe against such things.”

      I do not share your optimism that the Court is looking to reinforce Roe v. Wade. The Texas case, now that a doctor is being sued, can now go before the Supreme Court. But the Supreme Court also agreed to hear Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (from Mississippi) — this case would give the Court reason to overturn Roe v. Wade.

    2. Why, then, do you think SCOTUS granted certiorari to hear Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the case arising from the Mississippi law imposing a15-week abortion ban (and in which the State of Mississippi has asked the Court in its brief to rule on the validity of ALL pre-viability abortion restrictions)?

      One of the main reasons the Court grants cert in such cases is to resolve conflicts among the lower federal appellate courts. In this instance, however, no such conflicts exist. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals invalidated the Mississippi abortion law at issue in Dobbs, as have all other federal appeals courts that have addressed similar abortion restrictions (save for the recent Texas statute, which has thus far evaded review due to its unique procedural posture).

      The only reason, then, for the Court to have granted cert in Dobbs is that it intends to revisit the prevailing constitutional standards regarding abortion laws set out in its prior decision, Planned Parenthood v. Casey. The Court can, thus, do one of three things: 1) uphold the Casey decision according to its terms; 2) accept Mississippi’s invitation to overrule Casey (and, thus, Roe v. Wade) in its entirety (by holding that there is no constitutionally protected right to an abortion); or 3) uphold Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban under a some new constitutional scheme that replaces Casey (an outcome that would invite states to enact evermore restrictive abortion laws, which the Court would eventually have to address piecemeal).

      Of those potential outcomes, the Court’s upholding Planned Parenthood v. Casey (and, with it, Roe v. Wade) in its entirety seems the least likely to me.

      1. Funny you mentioned Planned Parenthood v. Casey, as that’s the case I’ve been thinking about the most in trying to predict the Court’s motives. My three best guesses are:

        (1) The Court wants to uphold but either redefine or apply further restrictions to the viability standard
        (2) The Court wants to either narrow or repudiate the undue burden standard
        (3) The Court wants to widen the state’s interest in the “life” of an unborn child

        None of the above would require the overturning of Roe, and, in fact, might even be considered a return to some of the holdings in it. The Court may want to narrow some of the holdings of subsequent cases based on Roe, but I doubt very much that it will in any way overturn any of Roe‘s central holdings, or even completely overturn any of the central holdings in cases like Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

        I’m just someone who’s very interested in and reads a lot about the law, but not a lawyer, so let me know if there’s some reason the Court can’t do any of the above in its decision regarding Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

        1. I think your analysis is pretty accurate, but the devil is in the details. I don’t see how the Court could affirm the essential holding of Casey while upholding Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban.

          Also, I’m not sure where the five votes required to uphold Casey would come from. Obviously, SCOTUS’s three liberals want to preserve Casey, and Chief Justice Roberts might well be willing to concur in that result on separate grounds. But where do you find the fifth vote?

          I addressed some of these issues in comments to a thread in yesterday’s Hili dialogue here.

          1. They don’t need to uphold the ban. They can still create narrower tests/levels of scrutiny and then say that the Mississippi ban doesn’t live up to them.

            Regarding the fifth vote: who knows? Much stranger things have happened. Hell, Casey was strange in that regard.

            EDIT: But when you say, “where will a fifth vote come from,” I don’t know how applicable that is to my comment. My comment was based on the idea that either all of the conservatives, or some of the conservatives and some of the liberals, will strike down the ban, but narrow certain elements of previous holdings. The idea is that at least anywhere from one to four of the most conservative justices can get behind it, saying that they did something, even if they didn’t overturn Roe or even come close to doing so.

    3. I don’t think you quite understand that the 3 justices Trump appointed are all from the Federalist Society. This “society’s” raisons d’être is to make abortion illegal in the U.S. Here they have their chance with the Mississippi case and they took it. For me (and I do hope I’m wrong) it’s a no-brainer that they intend to overturn Roe (and probably Obergefell and other laws they deem immoral.) They see themselves as America’s Evangelical Purity Police, and they’re drunk on power.

      1. I understand just fine. How many years ago was it that everyone was convinced that Obamacare was about to be overturned? And then Roberts turned out not to be what everyone assumed he was.

        1. Sorry, but I don’t think you do understand. The 3 justices Trump appointed make Roberts look like a liberal when it comes to social justice issues and precedent. Add to them Alito and Thomas and you have an unbreakable majority of Federal Society Justices; many (all?) who truly believe God sent them to SCOTUS to overturn Roe and install laws in America with a Christian Theocratic bent. Maybe you simply underestimate the zeal of Christian fanatics. I used to be surrounded by them in my youth, so I understand their mindset; for them, they are in a literal, spiritual war against Satan and his minions (everyone who reads this site is one of Satan’s minions btw).

          Remember also, when it came to Obamacare, we still had Kennedy and RBG; this court has flipped to ultra radical and we’ve lost two liberal buffers. Again, I hope I’m wrong.

          1. No, I do. I just think that SCOTUS justices are political operatives and can be unpredictable, despite what they’ve said and even the decisions they’ve made over the years.

            And I think there’s a damn good chance that Alito manages to squirm his way out of having to take a firm stance. The three new justices I don’t know about, and neither do you. You won’t know until they make their actual decisions on cases. Just like you didn’t know about Roberts. You might think you know, and you might be right, but you can’t just shout that you’re 100% certain about what exact opinions they’ll hold and think the conversation has somehow ended at your educated guesses. SCOTUS is just as political an institution as Congress and the Presidency, and, at times, it can be even more unpredictable.

            Clearly, this particular exchange is going nowhere. You think you know with 100% certainty what everyone will do. Fine. But I’ve read their opinions and their public remarks. I’ve watched their confirmation hearings. I’ve also read tons of case law over the years that taught me to not ever be certain that I know what a justice will do when I have no SCOTUS history of theirs to go on.

            If you want to lecture me again about evangelical Christianity, The Federalist Society, etc., that’s fine. But I understand your arguments and their sources perfectly and just don’t agree with your certainty. That’s all there is to it. If you want to chalk up every disagreement with what you think to people not being as knowledgeable as you are, I guess that’s your choice.

          2. Oh, one last thing I forgot to mention to explain why I think certainty for SCOTUS judges is a bad idea when you don’t have SCOTUS opinions on which to base it:

            Judges who reach this level are politicians. If you want to reach anywhere close to the top of the federal courts system these days, you need to be a liberal or a conservative. Do you want to have a chance of being appointed by Republican presidents and Congresses? Well, then you damn well better be in The Federalist Society, talk about how much you hate abortion, and make rulings that can be defended as upholding conservative values. You have to play the game.

            Some of them may be sincere. Others aren’t sincere, but will stick to what they’ve done in the past to seem sincere or merely out of spite. And then there are those who were just playing the game, reached their ultimate goal, and then surprised everyone. And there are a hell of a lot of judges throughout history who have done the latter.

            1. Yup, fair enough, we’ll see on 12/2 where this court is going. And I never said anything about 100% sure…’no-brainer’ is the closest I came. I’ll never say 100% about anything on this earth…or universe.

  6. At first I thought the gull mistaken for a duck meant the tweeter was an idiot. Then I realized it was from someone who probably has a degree in physics and mathematics.

    1. A 3 year old would know a duck from a gull!!!

      I disagree with Jerry- it is a great spot to nest & rather safe from predators. The flange of the train wheel is on the outside so the gull is safe. A bit noisy though…

  7. Suzzanne is a brilliant song, but Leonard and most people do it much too slow for my taste. There is a version that I heard that is a bit faster, with an orchestra behind it, and I would very much like to find it.

  8. I believe it is put up or shut up time for the democrats. Either they are going to get to it on the Reconciliation bill or they just as well forget it. Also, there are so many things that need to get through the Senate now, they must either trash the filibuster or admit they can do nothing and go home. The future is just around the corner for these democrats.

  9. George C. Scott detested Patton for political reasons, but as an actor and a consummate professional, took the role and portrayed him honestly. I was pretty young when I saw the movie, so I associated Scott for many years with Patton and when I read in interview with Scott I was even more impressed with his performance.

    To play the fleshed-out character of a person you loathe takes a good actor.

    1. And yet, here in America, with the highest per capita CO2 emission rate, we have a political party who either thinks climate change is a hoax, thinks it’s too late to do anything about it, or are so poisoned by greed, they don’t give a shit. And there are millions of their constituents who feel the same way (at least that’s how they vote). Then there’s Russia, China, and India who don’t seem to care either, especially since the U.S. doesn’t try to be a positive example. I’m glad I was born in ’69…I’ll probably be one of the last generations who got to live on earth when its climate was ‘normal’. I usually don’t like to dwell on the fact that babies I see are going to live in a rapidly changing world- one changing for the worse. They’ll have shorter and more turbulent lives. A recent (8/25/21) WA-PO- Ipsos poll of teens ages 14-18 revealed that 51% say “now is a bad time to be growing up” which was 31% only 16 years ago. So in 16 years, will 71% of teens say it’s a bad time to be growing up? What a tragedy. Apparently, their parents are even more negative with 60% saying it’s a bad time for teens growing up.

      Right now, Democrats in Congress are trying to pass Biden’s 3+ trillion infrastructure bill that deals with climate change in a way that we’ve never tried in this country. It’s still not enough, but it’s a start (the biggest start America has ever tried). But can they pass it without one Republican supporting it and a couple Democrats on the fence? We’ll see within a week. If they don’t, I for one will just accept the fact that life on this planet is doomed…as well as Biden’s and the Democrats’ political future.

    2. Thanks for bringing this to the fore, Dom. I’ll comment only to say that this news is beyond comment because, as I’ve said in this and other online forums, we are already seriously fuqqed by climate change. There’s nothing we will be able to do to stop disaster. We must instead lay in plans to mitigate injury and damage as much as possible. We must brace for the impact of mass migrations and potable water shortages. Considering how we failed to forestall global warming to begin with, I have no hope that we will lay in these plans, so there will be greater and greater suffering. I almost regret having brought children into this world. My concentration now is on protecting my progeny and providing means for them to recover from the inevitable disaster. Charity begins at home.

  10. I don’t know if it qualifies as news, but I found this pretty amazing. Engineers have created a flying microchip about the size of a grain of sand that emulates windborne seeds in nature. Many of them might be dispersed over an area in order to monitor, say, a chemical spill. They plan to make water-soluble versions that dissolve after they’ve served their purpose.

    And while we’re on the subject of water-soluble electronics, here’s a pacemaker that dissolves in the body after it’s done its job:

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