Wednesday: Hili dialogue

November 3, 2021 • 7:00 am

Welcome to un jour de bosse—Wednesday, November 3, 2021: National Sandwich Day. I will have one (PB&J) to celebrate.

It’s also Eat Smart Day, World Jellyfish Day, International Stress Awareness Day, and Give Someone a Dollar Today Day (I’ll be glad to accept your George Washingtons). 

Wine of the day: I’ve repeatedly recommended the white wines of Spain, and here’s a terrific bargain for only $10: an Albariño from Galicia. It was fresh, lively (these wines aren’t keepers), and redolent with citrus—especially grapefruit. I can’t resist a wine that smells of grapefruit, and I’ve found that only in Spanish whites.  If you’re looking for a good house white, have a butcher’s at Albariños and Rueda from Spain, and Torrontés from Argentina. Prices are low and quality can be high, but ask or look at reviews. At least the one below is around, though remember that you may have to pay more thatn $10 (I shop at a discount wine store). I drank this with CHICKEN THIGHS braised with hoisin sauce, served with rice and green beans.

News of the Day:

As I posted earlier, Youngkin won the Virginia gubernatorial race, and not by a razor-thin margin, either. This is bad news. You can ignore the first item below if you wish, as I wrote it yesterday evening.

*As of Tuesday evening, as I wrote this, the gubernatorial election in Virginia, the focus of so much attention, is showing a big turnout. I have no predictions on this squeaker, where the polls show the race neck and neck. Some apparently think the big turnout is a harbinger of a Democratic victory. One can hope:

Although there’s still time for voting to slow down — and rain was falling in some parts of the state on Tuesday afternoon — so far nearly every county appears on track to exceed 2017 turnout.

During the presidential race last year, roughly 75 percent of registered voters in the state showed up at the polls. Democrats have openly worried that low voter enthusiasm would result in dampened turnout, particularly in the suburbs, which they have relied on for recent election wins.

*The Republican candidate for Virginia’s governor, Glenn Youngkin, has been making hay by accusing the Democrats of promoting the teaching of Critical Race Theory in schools. I have no idea about the extent to which this is a problem, but all it takes for the Republicans is one example (in this case a mother beefing about her teenager being assigned Toni Morrison’s Beloved, to ignite Republican racial mania. I’m opposed to laws banning the teaching of CRT, which in reality is a mishmash of good and dubious elements, but this shows how wokeness can play into the hands of Trumpites. For an editorial decrying this polarization, see this one by Greg Sargent in The Washington Post.

*David Brooks’s new column in the NYT, “The Self-Isolation of the American Left, is definitely anti-woke:  (h/t Luana)

A training for Loudoun County, Va., public school administrators taught that “fostering independence and individual achievement” is a hallmark of “white individualism.”

A Williams College professor told The Times last week, “This idea of intellectual debate and rigor as the pinnacle of intellectualism comes from a world in which white men dominated.”

If you want to stage a radical critique of individualism and intellectual rigor, be my guest, but things get problematic when you assign the “good” side of this tension to one racial category and the “bad” side to another racial category.

But their core intuition is not crazy: One subculture is sometimes using its cultural power to try to make its views dominant, often through intimidation.

When people sense that those with cultural power are imposing ideologies on their own families, you can expect the reaction will be swift and fierce.

*Things aren’t going particularly well for Elizabeth Holmes in her Theranos trial for wire fraud, with the defense going after a representative of big investor Betsy DeVos, and the representative repeatedly correcting Holmes attorneys and the judge expunging the questions. Of course the defense hasn’t yet begun its case, but the prosecution’s evidence seems strong. Here’s Holmes arriving at the courthouse with her mom.

From the WSJ: Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes, left, arriving at the federal courthouse in San Jose, Calif., on Tuesday.DAVID PAUL MORRIS/BLOOMBERG NEWS

*The United States Free Speech Union has a new short post on its Substack website (The Free Voice) called “Outrageous affronts to academic freedom.” Ben Schwarz (formerly an editor at The Atlantic) writes about two recent incidents:

Those of us who are dismayed at MIT’s decision to cancel Dorian Abbot’s Carlson Lecture should be no less alarmed by two recently reported abridgments of academic freedom:  The University of Florida’s barring three professors from offering expert testimony in a voting rights suit against the State of Florida and Collin College’s firing of a professor, allegedly for her social media criticisms of then-Vice President Mike Pence and of what she saw as the college’s lax handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.

*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 748,197 an increase of 1,277 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 5,030,936, an increase of about 8,100 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on November 3 includes:

  • 1493 – Christopher Columbus first sights the island of Dominica in the Caribbean Sea.
  • 1534 – English Parliament passes the first Act of Supremacy, making King Henry VIII head of the Anglican Church, supplanting the pope and the Roman Catholic Church.
  • 1783 – The American Continental Army is disbanded.
  • 1838 – The Times of India, the world’s largest circulated English language daily broadsheet newspaper is founded as The Bombay Times and Journal of Commerce.

This is the paper I read in India. Some data from Wikipedia:

The Times of India (TOI) is an Indian English-language daily newspaper and digital news media owned and managed by The Times Group. It is the third-largest newspaper in India by circulation and largest selling English-language daily in the world.  It is the oldest English-language newspaper in India, and the second-oldest Indian newspaper still in circulation, with its first edition published in 1838. It is nicknamed as “The Old Lady of Bori Bunder”, and is an Indian “newspaper of record”.

Near the beginning of the 20th century, Lord Curzon, the Viceroy of India, called The Times of India “the leading paper in Asia”. In 1991, the BBC ranked The Times of India among the world’s six best newspapers.

It is owned and published by Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. (B.C.C.L.), which is owned by the Sahu Jain family. In the Brand Trust Report India study 2019, The Times of India was rated as the most trusted English newspaper. Reuters rated The Times of India as India’s most trusted media news brand in a survey.

Congress couldn’t determine the winner in this election, and so allowed both Menand (below) and his opponent to speak to the House. Subsequent voting showed that both men failed to receive even a decently positive vote, so nobody got the seat.

Encouragement my butt; the U.S. engineered that to get hold of the Panama Canal (I just finished an excellent book on the Canal).

Taft is buried at Arlington National Cemetery; his headstone is below:

He was elected four times, and that prompted the creation of the 22nd Amendment limiting U.S. Presidents to two terms only.

She had a sad fate; as Wikipedia notes:

The Soviet scientists had planned to euthanise Laika with a poisoned serving of food. For many years, the Soviet Union gave conflicting statements that she had died either from asphyxia, when the batteries failed, or that she had been euthanised. Many rumours circulated about the exact manner of her death. In 1999, several Russian sources reported that Laika had died when the cabin overheated on the fourth orbit. In October 2002, Dimitri Malashenkov, one of the scientists behind the Sputnik 2 mission, revealed that Laika had died by the fourth circuit of flight from overheating. According to a paper he presented to the World Space Congress in Houston, Texas, “It turned out that it was practically impossible to create a reliable temperature control system in such limited time constraints.”

Here’s Laikia, found as a stray in the streets of Moscow. Poor dog!

  • 1964 – Lyndon B. Johnson is elected to a full term as U.S. president, winning 61% of the vote and 44 states, while Washington D.C. residents are able to vote in a presidential election for the first time, casting the majority of their votes for Lyndon Johnson.
  • 1979 – Greensboro massacre: Five members of the Communist Workers Party are shot dead and seven are wounded by a group of Klansmen and neo-Nazis during a “Death to the Klan” rally in Greensboro, North Carolina, United States.

Here’s a photo captioned “KKK members take weapons from the back of a car prior to the shooting between them and members of the Workers Viewpoint Organization/Communist Workers Party on Noember 3, 1979.

News & Record file
  • 1986 – Iran–Contra affair: The Lebanese magazine Ash-Shiraa reports that the United States has been secretly selling weapons to Iran in order to secure the release of seven American hostages held by pro-Iranian groups in Lebanon.
  • 1992 – Democratic Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton defeats Republican President George H. W. Bush and Independent candidate Ross Perot in the 1992 U.S. presidential election.
  • 2020 – The US Presidential Election takes place between Democratic Joe Biden and Republican incumbent President Donald Trump. On November 7, Biden was declared the winner

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1794 – William Cullen Bryant, American poet and journalist (d. 1878)
  • 1903 – Walker Evans, American photographer and journalist (d. 1975)

Evans was a great all-around photographer, but is best known for photos of the Depression and the Dust Bowl, graphically showing the poverty of that era. Here’s one of his pictures:

Walker Evans. Alabama Tenant Farmer Family Singing Hymns. 1936. Gelatin silver print, 4 13/16 × 7 13/16″ (12.3 × 19.8 cm). Gift of the photographer.
  • 1918 – Bob Feller, American sailor, baseball player, and sportscaster (d. 2010)
  • 1933 – Amartya Sen, Indian economist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate
  • 1943 – Bert Jansch, Scottish-English singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 2011)

I had Jansch’s first album and wore out the vinyl listening to it. Here’s one of the songs from that album (see a live version here).

Wintour is only two months older than I, and was one of the models for Amanda Priestly, the tyrannical fashion editor in The Devil Wears Prada. A photo and then a clip from the movie, where she’s played by Meryl Streep.

A note from Wikipedia:

According to the BBC documentary series Boss Woman, she rarely stays at parties for more than 20 minutes at a time and goes to bed by 10:15 every night. She exerts a great deal of control over the magazine’s visual content. Since her first days as editor, she has required that photographers not begin until she has approved Polaroids of the setup and clothing. Afterwards, they must submit all their work to the magazine, not just their personal choices.

She often turns her mobile phone off in order to eat her lunch, usually a steak (or bunless hamburger), undisturbed. High-protein meals have been a habit of hers for a long time. “It was smoked salmon and scrambled eggs every single day” for lunch, says a co-worker at Harpers & Queen. “She would eat nothing else.”

The real Wintour:

The faux Wintour:

  • 1987 – Colin Kaepernick, American football player

Those who reached the end of the line on November 3 include:

  • 1926 – Annie Oakley, American entertainer and target shooter (b. 1860)
  • 1954 – Henri Matisse, French painter and sculptor (b. 1869)

Here’s Matisse with his cat Minouche in the 1940s (for a lot of other pictures of Matisse and kitties, go here):

Matisse, The Cat With Red Fish (Le chat aux poissons rouges):

Coyne, once a Congressman and certainly no relation. (He was, however, from Pennsylvania, where both my maternal and paternal grandparents lived.) Still, a Coyne, which is not to be sniffed at:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn: Hili is never satisfied:

A: What do you see there?
Hili: A beautiful view without the prospect of a meal.
In Polish:
Ja: Co tam widzisz?
Hili: Piękny widok, bez perspektyw posiłku.

And a picture by Paulina of Baby Kulka playing with her toy:

From Merilee:

From Chris:

From reader Pliny the in Between’s Far Corner Cafe: (sic on “Ceaser”)

From God (accept no substitutes):

Masih is, as usual, quite eloquent:

Tweets from Matthew. First, a beautiful skein. If you enlarge the photo, you’ll see it/them:

What a sad photo:

You must hear this bird call:

Looks like early artists had as much trouble drawing ducks as drawing cats. Look at this travesty of a mallard. It looks like a dodo!

Antennae, tweeted by Matthew himself.

The happy tale of two rescued kittens:

16 thoughts on “Wednesday: Hili dialogue

  1. Disappointed in Paul McCartney’s book. Before purchasing it I KNEW it was set up alphabetically, but I assumed, because Paul had said that it was his life told through his lyrics, that there would be an index or appendix listing the songs in chronological order. I’ll read it, of course, but for The Beatles song at least, I guess I’ll have to do the legwork.

  2. Of course the [Elizabeth Holmes’s] defense hasn’t yet begun its case, but the prosecution’s evidence seems strong.

    I’m of the mind that the vast majority of acquittals in criminal cases are won during the prosecution’s case, by the defense poking a hole in the prosecution through cross-examination of the prosecution’s own witnesses. There are exceptions, of course, where the defense snatches victory from the jaws of defeat during the defense case-in-chief, but they are rare, and rarer still is the case won by the defendant’s taking the stand in his or her own defense — though there are some affirmative defenses (such as self-defense in a homicide case) that may all but require that the defendant take the witness stand.

    If the defense has established its “theory of defense” (the holy of holies in presenting a case to a jury at trial) — which is to say, if the defense can plausibly argue to the jury in summation that evidence beyond a reasonable of one or more of the essential elements the prosecution bears the burden of establishing to convict is lacking — the best thing the defense can do is rest and get directly to closing argument. I suspect that more viable defenses have been pissed away than established during defense cases-in-chief.

  3. When you have clearly lost the mandate of the voters, nothing works better than condescending to them, especially on the basis of race:

    I assume this is directed at the suburban moms who came out in 2020 for Biden but flipped 15 points for Youngkin. However, to really do the job you should also insinuate they are stupid because their house wives or something, beyond being of the wrong “race”. The Democrats are really learning their lesson from this loss, the fault is the stupid voters.

    Its a good thing Black Supremacy is not a thing, if someone wrote a similar piece about Black people they would be condemned as a white supremacist inciting racial hatred.

  4. The alleged teaching of CRT is a very loud issue in several rural and ex-urban school districts (they are called school divisions in VA) in Virginia. There are knots of very loud and totally uncivil right wing activists that disrupt school board meetings, carry guns into those meetings, and threaten bodily harm to school board members and their families. All of this behavior is amplified via the force multiplier of local tv news across the Commonwealth. And because CRT has no clear central definition, and VA history as traditionally taught is a fairy tale of genteel plantation owners, requiring some significant reckoning, and neither local boards nor the state board of education seems to make public their real plans, many people just believe or create in their minds the worst possible outcomes. So the ground was tilled and fertile (with right wing fertilizer) just waiting for Youngkin to plant his tRUMPian, divisive, hatred.

    1. Well, whether or not one equivocates on the meaning of CRT or disagrees that it is being taught in Virginia schools, McAuliffe said repeatedly that parents shouldn’t control what their kids are taught. If a person believes that, he shouldn’t have kids.

      1. An Australian 2 cents worth. We have no input into what books are selected for our children’s education and are quite happy with the process. It is always assumed that the educators know what they are doing and choose the most appropriate reading material based on the curriculum objectives for that child’s year. How on earth would I presume to know the best book for any of the streams ie book a is far better than book kb for say the teaching of physics or the history of colonialism. This is what we pay the teachers to do. Having said that we have our fair share of numpties here and I would hate for them to have any input on the reading material of my children. I prefer to leave these decisions to the professionals. System seems to have worked out fine … far.

      2. … McAuliffe said repeatedly that parents shouldn’t control what their kids are taught.

        I’m aware of McAuliffe’s having said such a thing precisely once (although right-wing media replayed that single instance over and over and over again). Can you provide citations or links to instances where McAuliffe made such comments repeatedly?

  5. 1964 – Lyndon B. Johnson is elected to a full term as U.S. president, winning 61% of the vote and 44 states, while Washington D.C. residents are able to vote in a presidential election for the first time, casting the majority of their votes for Lyndon Johnson.

    The six states that voted against LBJ were Arizona (the home state of his opponent) and five states of the former Confederacy across the (formerly solidly Democratic) deep south — Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina.

    The summer before, Johnson (himself a son of the South from Texas) had pushed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law. Arch-conservative Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater had voted against it, and the GOP convention that nominated him had adopted a platform with a plank opposing it. (New York’s GOP governor, Nelson Rockefeller, who had, like other northern Republican liberals, endorsed the CRA ’64, got booed at the convention when he denounced right-wing extremism from the podium.)

  6. [Walker] Evans was a great all-around photographer, but is best known for photos of the Depression and the Dust Bowl, graphically showing the poverty of that era.

    Evans took the photographs that accompanied James Agee’s prose in the iconic book Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.

  7. Although I too doubt there’s much actual teaching of CRT in American public schools, I have to think that many in control of the curriculum would really like to. After all, these are education administrators, the heart of the CRT movement. The Dems position that CRT isn’t really happening in schools rings hollow with me. “Nothing to see here. Move along.” is not an adequate response. Perhaps last night’s election results show that but I doubt the Dems will learn the lesson. Too many of them pander to the far Left. Even if they don’t 100% embrace CRT themselves, they feel they can’t afford to alienate them. Perhaps they can’t now as they’ve let the stink of CRT, and Wokeness generally, settle in. After the GOP has labelled them for years, they will have a hard time distancing themselves from it.

  8. Albarino is indeed a lovely wine. That one looks fantastic. Very glad that our host enjoyed it so much.

    Also glad to see him using a bit of Cockney rhyming slang. Looking forward to more of the same!

  9. I wasn’t familiar with the Greensboro Massacre and have been reading the accounts referenced on the Wikipedia page since the photo appeared here. Can anyone explain what exactly is happening in the photo? If the man in the light shirt with the tails out is a Nazi/KKK guy, — only they had long guns — why is he leveling a shotgun at one of his confederates who is pulling weapons out of the trunk of the car? He doesn’t appear to be looking at the photographer (or pointing the shotgun at him) as if menacing him. And the other guys don’t seem to be concerned. From the news footage and other stills he seems to turn away immediately after, once the Nazis have armed themselves, and a similarly clothed man can be seen participating in the attack on the Maoists. The TV footage in the Reference 2 includes only a few of the 88 seconds of gunfire. The leader of the Maoists, Waller, died during a tussle over a shotgun but the man in the photo is not him.
    Is it fog of war? But you aren’t supposed to point guns at people on your side.

    If the answer is just, “Because they really are that stupid,” I’m OK with that.

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