Thursday: Hili dialogue

May 26, 2022 • 6:30 am

Good morning on Thursday, May 26, 2022, National Blueberry Cheesecake Day. (Not bad, but if you must have sugary fruit on your cheesecake, go with cherries.) It’s also National Paper Airplane Day in the U.S. and  National Sorry Day in Australia. The latter day, first started in 1998, constitutes a yearly formal apology to the way the settlers treated the indigenous people. I hope they help them out with more than just a holiday or land acknowledgment!

Stuff that happened on May 26 include:

  • 1868 – The Impeachment of Andrew Johnson ends with his acquittal by one vote.
  • 1896 – Nicholas II is crowned as the last Tsar of Imperial Russia.
  • 1897 – Dracula, a Gothic horror novel by Irish author Bram Stoker, is published.

How much will a first edition, first printing of this novel cost you? Around $50,000.

Here’s the 15 millionth Model T driven off the assembly line (three cars per minute) by Henry Ford and his son Edsel; note that the caption below doesn’t jibe with the number actually produced.

Edsel Ford drives his father, Henry, out of the Ford Highland Park Plant in the very last Model T ever made.
  • 1942 — A true story but a bad experiment from 1942. Brinkley claimed that goat testicle implants would cure not only male impotence, but was a virtual panacea for everything. He even had his own radio station, XER, right over the Mexican border. He died impoverished and debunked, perhaps America’s most famous quack. (h/t: Matthew, and see the thread).

This album holds a special place in my heart because I was listening to it when I became an atheist–all over a period of ten minutes or so in 1968. Don’t ask me what spurred my rejection of faith; I can’t even what song I was listening to. Here’s a photo of me holding the very album that effaced my faith (along with my high-school letter in wrestling of which I was very proud at the time). These are among the souvenirs I retrieved when I visited my sister, who rescued our belongings when my mother died.

  • 1998 – The first “National Sorry Day” is held in Australia. Reconciliation events are held nationally, and attended by over a million people.
  • 2020 – Protests triggered by the murder of George Floyd erupt in Minneapolis–Saint Paul, before becoming widespread across the United States and around the world.


*This Washington Post headline made me almost chortle: “After Texas tragedy, [Democrat Chuck] Schumer says that Democrate will negotiate on guns.” First of all, why weren’t they doing it already? And if they didn’t because it would be futile (after all, they’re negotiating with Republicans), why start now? Is this just a performance? The Dems have the House votes, the Senate votes, and the President, so why can’t they do something (see NRA tweet below)?

In his first extended remarks on the horror in Uvalde, Tex. — where an 18-year-old gunman killed 19 children and two adults in an elementary school — Schumer (D-N.Y.) castigated Republicans for their repeated inaction after mass shootings dating back more than a decade, but said Democrats had no choice but to try again.

“I know this is a slim prospect — very slim, all too slim. We’ve been burned so many times before. But this is so important,” he said on the Senate floor. “If you do the right thing and persist, justice will eventually prevail. … And for that reason alone, we must pursue it.”

*From Ken:

FYI, Beto O’Rourke just confronted Texas governor Greg Abbott about this issue, live on national tv, at a press conference regarding the Texas school shootings. Abbott called O’Rourke “a sick son of a bitch” for doing so.

Abbott is facing O’Rourke in the Texas gubernatorial election this fall.

Ken backed off whether Abbott uttered the opprobrium, but this shows the level of heat the issue has fanned. In my view, NOW is the time to make it a political issue, without of course forgetting the grief of family and friends. That grief is what politics should be aimed at preventing

The video:

There’s more on this incident in the New York Times:

Former Representative Beto O’Rourke interrupted a news conference hosted by Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas on Wednesday to accuse Republicans of “doing nothing” to address gun violence in the aftermath of a shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

Mr. O’Rourke, an unsuccessful Democratic presidential candidate who is now running for governor, stood in front of a stage at the civic center in Uvalde, 20 minutes into the news conference held by Mr. Abbott and officials, and shouted that the killings were a “totally predictable” result of lax state and federal gun laws.

When Mr. Abbott’s allies saw Mr. O’Rourke step forward, they began shouting at him, with the mayor of Uvalde, Don McLaughlin, hurling an obscenity, another ordering the El Paso native to “Shut up!” and the state’s lieutenant governor, Dan Patrick, demanding that he sit down.

Mr. O’Rourke, dressed in his signature powder blue dress shirt, did not comply. Moments later, uniformed security guards grabbed Mr. O’Rourke and pulled him away.

Do you think it was okay, given the political situation, for O’Rourke to interrupt the speaker? This person thinks it’s not only fine, but admirable:

*Don’t try to fix your iPhone yourself unless you absolutely, positively know what you’re doing, in which case you’d be an Apple repairperson.  The NYT details the horrors of Apple’s new “self-repair kits”, which one critic deems are “set up for failure.” If you need a new battery (and it’s a LOT cheaper than buying a new iPhone), let the Apple people put it in for you. These kits are a rip-off unless you are a technical expert.

*On the way to the store after work, I heard someone bloviate on NPR that “only someone who is mentally ill would shoot someone else.” Well, if you define “shooting someone” as a sufficient criterion for mental illness, this claim would be tautologically true, but the fact is that sane people do kill people. And according to the Wall Street Journal, the mass shooter in Texas, 18-year old Salvador Ramos, had no history of mental illness, and thus could buy a guy even in states where such a history prohibits gun purchases. The only notice that Ramos was about to kill was on social media:

The gunman who killed 19 students and two teachers Tuesday in an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, wasn’t well known to law enforcement ahead of time and had no documented mental-health issues and no known arrests, state officials said Wednesday.

The first warnings of violence came in the form of Facebook messages shortly before Salvador Ramos, 18, shot his grandmother and proceeded to Robb Elementary, where the mass shooting took place. Ramos wrote on Facebook “I’m going to shoot my grandma” and then, after doing so, posted, “I shot my grandma,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said in a news conference. Less than 15 minutes before arriving at Robb Elementary School, he wrote, “I’m going to shoot an elementary school.”

A spokesman for Facebook’s parent company, Meta Platforms Inc., said on Twitter that the communications were private messages sent to another individual, not public posts.

. . .Shortly after turning 18 last Monday, Ramos bought two semiautomatic AR-15 rifles and 375 rounds of ammunition at a local sporting goods shop, said Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety. He shot his 66-year-old grandmother in the face before using her car to drive to attack the school, Mr. McCraw said. His grandmother was able to contact police as Ramos fled, Mr. McCraw said. She remains in a hospital in San Antonio.

It still took the cops an hour to get to Ramos, and finally got a key to the classroom from the principal. There they killed the suspect amidst “piles” of dead student bodies.

*I’m hoping that Trump’s 15 minutes of political fame are ending, and we get hope from the fact that candidates he backed in this week’s elections have not fared well.

Donald Trump opened May by lifting a trailing Senate candidate in Ohio to the Republican nomination, seemingly cementing the former president’s kingmaker status before another possible White House run. He’s ending the month, however, stinging from a string of defeats that suggests a diminishing stature.

Trump faced a series of setbacks in Tuesday’s primary elections as voters rejected his efforts to unseat two top targets for retribution: Georgia’s Republican governor and secretary of state, both of whom had rebuffed Trump’s extraordinary pressure to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. But the magnitude of defeat in the governor’s race — more than 50 percentage points — was especially stunning and raised questions about whether Republican voters are beginning to move on from Trump.

Nearly six years after the onetime reality television star launched what seemed to be an improbable campaign for the White House, the “Make America Great Again” movement Trump helmed isn’t going anywhere. But voters are increasingly vocal in saying that the party’s future is about more than Trump.

I’m not a pundit (I just play one in these pages), but I don’t think Trump will be the GOP’s candidate for President in two years. People will lose interest in him.

There are two pieces up on the firing of Joshua Katz from Princeton, possibly for opposing University DEI policy: one in Quillette and one from his wife Solveig on Bari Weiss’s site.  The truth, one hopes, will eventually come out in court.


Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili wants some conversation:

A: Will you allow me to reach for a book?
Hili: You can do it later, we are talking now.
In Polish:
Ja: Czy pozwolisz mi sięgnąć po książkę?
Hili: Możesz to zrobić później, teraz przecież rozmawiamy.

And Kulka at the printer.

Caption:  Kulka loves the printer which purrs, growls and spews out paper.

In Polish: Kulka uwielbia drukarkę, która mruczy, warczy i wypluwa papier.

From Stash Krod:

From Bruce:

From Tom: a cartoon by Wiley Miller of Non Sequitur. 

Titania seems to have stopped posting. Well, to hell with her (him)!

Below: Bad Idea of the Year Nominee: “AG” is the Attorney General of the state.  His solution: give teachers more guns to defend themselves  Nothing can go wrong with that, can it?

See when you spot the anomaly, but be sure to watch the whole thing:

Okay, you tell me how part of it hangs in the air briefly before falling, like Wile E. Coyote:

From Ken, whose caption is this:

Herschel Walker, the mentally unstable, spouse-abusing, prevaricating, non-Georgia resident who is poised to become the Republican US senatorial candidate from Georgia demonstrates how on top of current events he is:

From Barry: a parrot flummoxed by its owner’s disappearance:

From the Auschwitz Memorial: rare photos of “arrival and the selection”:

Tweets from Dr. Cobb. Here’s the front page of The Onion yesterday, at once both humorous and dead(ly) serious:

This is some kind of torrent-dwelling waterfowl, but I don’t think it’s a goose. Does anybody know the species?

Look at those NRA donations, which explains why a Senate in a position to pass gun-control legislation can’t do it! If you go to the link in the tweet, you’ll see that NO Senator has refused all NRA donations; the least-donated-to is Kevin Cramer of North Dakota (a Democrat, of course), who got only $13,255.

I didn’t correlate gun deaths per year (or $ donated by the NRA per death), but I’m sure there’s something there.

24 thoughts on “Thursday: Hili dialogue

  1. I hope they help them out with more than just a holiday or land acknowledgment!

    It’s worth pointing out that Australia’s welfare state (universal healthcare, social security spending, unemployment benefits, etc) results in a net transfer from the non-indigenous economy to the indigenous peoples of order about $10 billion a year. So, yes, they do.

  2. The bird, identified as a goosander in the tweet, look like a goosander (Mergus merganser). Which is a duck, and not a goose.

  3. Okay, you tell me how part of it hangs in the air briefly before falling, like Wile E. Coyote

    I have two possible hypotheses:

    1. As each of those things breaks away it imparts an upward force on the things above it. Maybe they’re spring loaded or something.

    2. Visual effects.

    1. I’m not sure if by ‘visual effects’ you mean it is some kind of trickery but if not that would be my hypothesis 3 (and preferred hypothesis). I don’t think it is physically possible for it to hang in the air like Wile E Coyote, as it appears to do and furthermore as the tower is eroded from the front side it seems to me inevitable that it would fall forward towards the camera like a tree being felled rather than falliing vertically downwards. I think this is a manifestation of the digital editing personally.

  4. “the least-donated-to is Kevin Cramer of North Dakota (a Democrat, of course), who got only $13,255.”
    Jerry, you got this one wrong. Cramer is a hyper religious Republican, and Trump backer, not a Democrat.

  5. ALL Texas politicians, not just Beto, are grandstanding and exploiting the Uvalde tragedy.
    The NRA’s annual meeting is in Houston on Memorial Day weekend with the usual crowd attending, the Texas governor, Senator Ted Cruz (but not John Cornyn), Kristi Noem of South Dakota and Mark Robinson of North Carolina, as well as The Former Guy. Singer Don McClean, having more backbone, has dropped out. The rules: “Attendees are prohibited from bringing “firearms, firearm accessories, knives, and other items,” including backpacks and selfie sticks.” So no firearms because they’re not safe?

    1. Donald Trump, always one for a grace note in times of national mourning, is slotted to be the lead fluffer at the NRA’s shindig in Houston this weekend.

      The Secret Service has banned all firearms from the forum while Trump is on stage.

    2. I can’t even believe this. Really? So this is what, the ONE place where they don’t lobby for guns to be on everyone and to be everywhere?

  6. Do you think it was okay, given the political situation, for O’Rourke to interrupt the speaker?

    In general, I don’t think it’s okay for a public attendee to interrupt speakers at press events. If the TX governor were giving a weekly address and this happened to be one of them, the answer is no. If the WH press secretary is giving their daily remarks, let them finish.

    However given the political and social importance of this event, and the fact that the interrupter is the other candidate for Governor, I think we give an exception here. Politics is rough and tumble; just as both Abbot and Beto enjoy less protection against defamation etc. as public figures, they probably need to, on occasion, enjoy less protection from being interrupted.

    And yes, it goes both political ways. I don’t know if anyone interrupted Jay Inslee while he was speaking about the BLM protests in Seattle, but if they had, I’d have been okay with it. As a more hypothetical example, if the WH had decided to have Jen Psaki address this matter live instead of Biden giving a TV address, and she had said something about Texas gun laws to which a present Ted Cruz had immediately objected, I’d be okay with that scenario too. “Let the speaker finish” is a good general rule we should all follow the vast majority of the time. We should also recognize that occasional exceptions are okay, when special circumstances merit them.

    1. Its a hard call, but I do lean to not having public figures be given the hecklers veto, lest all moments of communication between them and the public could be undermined.

      1. Yep, it is more difficult to manage an “occasional exception” policy than it is a “no exceptions” or “anything goes” policy. I agree, the slippery slope is a possible problem to granting some exceptions.

        But the real world is not neat or tidy, and the best solutions to social problems are often not neat or tidy either. As H.L. Mencken said, “there is always a well-known solution to every human problem—neat, plausible, and wrong.”

    2. Perhaps O’Rourke should have been given all the time in the world. Everybody have a smoke and a drink. Wear it out Mr. O’Rourke.

      Would O’Rourke have been disappointed with that response? Will he hypocritically carp and cavil should someone similarly interrupt him as he pursues his gubenatorial campaign?

  7. IRT The Onion page: Be sure not to miss the two headlines in the lower right-hand corner; they’re gems.

  8. The Brady table on Senator’s donations from the NRA would be more interesting if it also showed Democratic Senators. . . .

    1. According to, the NRA gave 97.99% of their donations to Republicans so the list wouldn’t get more interesting. Well, at least not compared to the imaginary list of dirty Democrats you had hoped for.

      On another note, because the politicians all have served different lengths of time, the contributions should be per year to match the deaths per year units.

    2. That is a list of the top 50 recipients. The fact that they are all Republicans is because that’s who got the NRA money, not because Democrats were left off the list. Democratic recipients that received NRA money (if there were any) would appear below Cramer.

  9. “The Dems have the House votes, the Senate votes, and the President…”

    Unless and until the filibuster is eliminated the Dems do not have the Senate votes. There are two Dems who are blocking filibuster reform. Until voters elect a larger Dem majority the will continue to not have enough votes in the Senate.

  10. It is also Sally Ride day, in honor of her birth upon this planet and for her numerous contributions to both aeronautic science and getting kids excited about it the first American woman to ever go on to consecutive Challenger missions and to be the first lgbtq person in outer space and the youngest ever at age 32. She has been my hero for as long as I can remember and through her we got Glen Keen the animator from Disney and the realistic look of Ariel’s hair in The Little Mermaid this year the US Mint released five quarters featuring us women who changed the course of history Maya Angelou Dr Sally Ride Wilma Man Killer and I don’t remember who the other two are off the top of my head but it was released International women’s day of this year and she died 2012 from pancreatic cancer.

    1. See above; they are what we call Goosanders on this side of the pond, and you call Common Mergansers on your side (same species, different subspecies differing in nostril position!)

      1. Thank you Kelvin, I stand corrected; Common Merganser, not Hooded Merganser. (On this side of the pond 😉 I’ll also take your word regarding nostril position; I’ve never gotten close enough to make such an assessment!

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