Wednesday: Hili dialogue

June 8, 2022 • 6:30 am

Greetings on Wednesday, June 8, 2022, a Hump Day, or, as they say in Nepali, “हम्प दिन”.  It’s National Jelly-Filled Donut Day, a decent pastry so long as the filling is good. The best version I’ve had is actually the Polish variant, pączkiYou can get them in Chicago since we’re the second largest Polish town in the world after Warsaw. Here are some (occasionally they’re filled with rose-petal jam). German Berliners are also good. 

It’s also World Brain Tumor Day and World Oceans Day.

Stuff that happened on June 8 include:

The Vikings apparently overlooked the great treasure of the abbey: The Lindisfarne Gospels (now in the British Library). A page:


Although the Bill of Rights has ten amendments, one of the other two was approved as the 27th Amendment in 1992, and the other is still pending. Here’s an original copy of the amendments (caption from Wikipedia):

  • 1794 – Maximilien Robespierre inaugurates the French Revolution’s new state religion, the Cult of the Supreme Being, with large organized festivals all across France.
  • 1856 – A group of 194 Pitcairn Islanders, descendants of the mutineers of HMS Bounty, arrives at Norfolk Island, commencing the Third Settlement of the Island.

Only one of the four volcanic islands is inhabited, and the population is all of 47. Here’s the sole settlement, Adamstown:

Helen Keller? Danny Kaye? Edward G. Robinson? Oy, those were dire times!

A first edition and first printing of this classic will cost you $10,000-$15,000, and you should read it again now.

  • 1953 – The United States Supreme Court rules in District of Columbia v. John R. Thompson Co. that restaurants in Washington, D.C., cannot refuse to serve black patrons.
  • 1968 – James Earl Ray, the man who assassinated Martin Luther King Jr. is arrested at London Heathrow Airport.

Ray fled to Europe via Canada, but was arrested in London two months after King’s death. He was sentenced to 99 years in prison in 1969 and died in prison of hepatitis C in 1998. Here’s the FBI’s wanted poster when Ray was on the lam:

  • 1972 – Vietnam War: Nine-year-old Phan Thị Kim Phúc is burned by napalm, an event captured by Associated Press photographer Nick Ut moments later while the young girl is seen running down a road, in what would become an iconic, Pulitzer Prize-winning photo.

Here’s that Prize-winning photo.

Phúc just wrote a piece for the NYT called “It’s been 50 years. I am not ‘Napalm Girl’ anymore.” Here’s a new photo of her in Canada.

(From the NY Times): The author at her home in Ontario. Credit: May Truong for The New York Times
  • 1987 – New Zealand’s Labour government establishes a national nuclear-free zone under the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament, and Arms Control Act 1987.
  • 1992 – The first World Oceans Day is celebrated, coinciding with the Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


*American voters are pushing back on rising crime, and pushing back at the polls:

Voters in California delivered a stark warning to the Democratic Party on Tuesday about the potency of law and order as a political message in 2022, as a Republican-turned-Democrat campaigning as a crime-fighter vaulted into a runoff in the mayoral primary in Los Angeles and a progressive prosecutor in San Francisco was recalled in a landslide.

The two results made vivid the depths of voter frustration over rising crime and rampant homelessness in even the most progressive corners of the country — and are the latest signs of a restless Democratic electorate that was promised a return to normalcy under President Biden and yet remains unsatisfied with the nation’s state of affairs.

“People are not in a good mood and they have reason not to be in a good mood,” said Garry South, a Los Angeles-based Democratic strategist. “It’s not just the crime issue. It’s the homelessness. It’s the high price of gasoline.”

If you don’t think “progressive” Leftists are hurting the Democrats, you’re wrong. The SF prosecutor vowed to cut back on “tough-on-crime” policies, which voters took that to mean that incarceration and arrests would be severely curbed for everyone.

*If you’re expecting anything substantive to come out of the bipartisan confab about gun control, forget it. Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas is the GOP’s head negotiator in the discussions, and he’s already reduced expectations to zero:

His message: There won’t be sweeping changes to gun laws. “Law-abiding” citizens’ ability to purchase weapons will not be curtailed. The size of gun magazines will not be limited. The age of assault weapons won’t be raised. Cornyn stressed that any proposal on guns would focus on incremental changes.

    • “What I’m interested in is keeping guns out of the hands of those who, by current law, are not supposed to have them: people with mental health problems, people who have criminal records,” Cornyn said on the Senate floor.

His discussions with Democrats are narrow. Cornyn and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) are leading talks on a modest package of proposals encompassing mental health resources, school safety mechanisms, enhanced background checks and state incentives for red flag laws.

The Republicans are putting all their eggs in the “mental health resource” basket, but I’m betting that the majority of people who buy guns would easily pass a test of sanity. And the government doesn’t have time for extensive vetting of prospective gun owners by psychologists.

*Jean Lee, a NYT reporter who has covered North Korea extensively, says “There’s a reason why Kim Jong-un wants us to know about North Korean’s covid outbreak.” Remember that the DPRK denied the existence of covid for a long time, but now it’s sounded the virus alarm. Why?

In a series of urgent dispatches, North Korea’s state media announced that an unspecified fever was spreading “explosively.” The nation went into lockdown. More than four million cases have been reported, with dozens of deaths.

It’s a frightening prospect for an unvaccinatedundernourished nation of 25 million people. But bad news does not escape North Korea without a reason. Finally acknowledging a viral outbreak may be part of a strategy by its leader, Kim Jong-un, to re-engage with the outside world. The world should be ready to engage, too.

Since the collapse of his nuclear negotiations with President Donald Trump in 2019, followed soon by Covid’s global spread, Mr. Kim has retreated into an isolation that is deep even by North Korea’s hermetic standards. This has been devastating to its people. It’s also a threat to peace and security beyond the Korean Peninsula: He has spent the intervening time shoring up his power — and expanding his nuclear arsenal.

So why admit a Covid outbreak now? Just as Mr. Kim is sending a message with his missile launches, he’s sending another by admitting the outbreak.

. . .But there is likely also an element of political timing involved in announcing the outbreak just before a recent trip by Mr. Biden to South Korea and Japan.

Mr. Kim may be pursuing a dual-track strategy. The missile launches maintain tension with the United States and South Korea — which helps him to justify building up his nuclear arsenal, putting him in a stronger position for any future standoffs or negotiations.

And the Covid confession serves as a face-saving way to secure humanitarian help and other goods from Beijing — which is always concerned about its neighbor devolving into crisis — after Mr. Kim rejected China’s previous offers of vaccines. Just days after announcing the outbreak, North Korea reportedly sent three cargo planes to Shenyang, China, to pick up emergency supplies. More arrived recently by rail. It may be receiving Chinese vaccines already.

But is this profound—or surprising? It’s just a way of getting more stuff from China!

*The Oxford English dictionary traces the word “chief”, used as either an adjective or noun, to Middle English via Old French:

Forms:  Middle English chef, ( chiue), Middle English–1600s chefecheif, (Middle English cheyffcheef(fchif(echyfe), Middle English–1500s cheffechyef, 1500s–1600s cheefechiefe, Middle English– chief.
Frequency (in current use):
Etymology: Middle English chefchief, < Old French chefchief (= Provençal cap, Spanish cabo, Italian capo head) < Romance type *capu-m < Latin caput head.
But about 10% of Native Americans object to the word used in any context other than Native American leadership, reports John McWhorter at the NYT. He also notes that because of the minority who are offended, the San Francisco Unified School District (the same district that originally planned to rename secondary schools originally named after George Washington and Abraham Lincoln) is eliminating the word “chief” from the entire school system. One would think McWhorter would object, but, surprisingly, he says this is a complex problem:


There are no easy answers on this one. One might argue that the interaction between Indigenous people and white people in this country over the centuries justifies defining the word primarily in relation to its use in the hierarchies of different Native American nations.

Still, it is difficult not to notice that, often these days, what is touted as proper terminology is only thought of that way by a small minority of a group, usually those who have had a particular formal education or who are politically active. “Latinx” is probably the most notorious example today.

But we can’t dismiss genuine offense or insensitivity out of hand just because it isn’t felt by a majority of the members of a group. Neither can we dismiss the majority for not being offended. I worry about a looming implication that the less vocal members of a group are missing something that their presumed leaders possess the insight to perceive.

Well, yes, you can dismiss it even if it’s held by less than a majority if it’s used in a pejorative sense. But in this case it isn’t, and I have no idea what McWhorter is talking about in the last sentence.

*The Washington Post reports that provocateur Milo Yiannopoulus has started work as an intern for Congressional loon Marjorie Taylor Greene. And—get this—he was hired for an unpaid internship!

Yiannopoulos announced Monday that he had “finally been persuaded out of retirement,” writing in a Telegram post that he was hired for an “unpaid internship with a friend.”

He attached a photo of a congressional intern identification badge, on top of a Louis Vuitton bag, showing he is an intern in Greene’s office.

How can you be “hired” and not get paid? Well, he and Greene are made for each other, so we can grin a bit and move on.

*Jonathan Chait at the New York Magazine “Intelligencer” column calls out Georgetown University for using a double standard  for free speech with respect to the Right versus Left, going harder on the former. It’s about the offensive tweets of professor Ilya Shapiro, which got him so demonized that his existence at Georgetown was no longer tenable.


Everybody supports freedom of speech for ideas they agree with. The concept only has meaning if it’s applied to ideas you don’t agree with.

I don’t agree with the idea conservative lawyer Ilya Shapiro expressed in January, when he objected to President Biden’s promise to appoint a Black woman to the first Supreme Court opening. (I wrote a column attacking his position.) But rather than simply refute his easily refutable arguments, Shapiro’s critics demanded he be fired by Georgetown, which had just hired him to teach at its law center. Georgetown agreed on principle with the demand that he could be fired for his opinions but kept him on staff on a technicality.

Shapiro is quitting his position on the grounds that Georgetown refuses to grant his opinions the same protection afforded to people with progressive points of view, and I have to admit he appears to be correct about that.

Shapiro was investigated for three tweets, and social media called for his head. The investigation didn’t find him culpable but, curiously, still called for “appropriate corrective measures.” Shapiro quit, and Chait sees a double standard here:

Georgetown has previously (and correctly) allowed left-leaning scholars to express ideas that could certainly be construed as offensive or threatening. Shapiro cites professor Carol Christine Fair of the School of Foreign Service tweeting during Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation process: “Look at this chorus of entitled white men justifying a serial rapist’s arrogated entitlement. All of them deserve miserable deaths while feminists laugh as they take their last gasps. Bonus: we castrate their corpses and feed them to swine? Yes.” In practice, Georgetown is revealing a double standard in which conservatives must avoid giving offense while progressives are free to express any unguarded thought.

. . . Conservatives don’t generally care about free speech. They use the cause cynically to defend their allies.

But we shouldn’t take the fact that conservatives don’t care about free speech to mean liberals shouldn’t either. Just the opposite, in fact.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili ponders her morphology, insisting that she’s still wild:

Hili: White socks would indicate domestication but the totality of behavior allows cats to be classified as wild animals.
A: There are such theories.
In Polish:
Hili: Białe skarpetki wskazywałyby na udomowienie, ale całość zachowań pozwala koty zaklasyfikować do zwierząt dzikich.
Ja: Są takie teorie.

And Baby Kulka on the roof, photographed by Paulina:


From Stephen Law: An American family and its guns:

From Jez, a Scott Hilburn cartoon:

From Tom, a Wiley Miller cartoon:


Ricky Gervais whines about his privilege. This is from his new Netflix special, which I haven’t seen:

A Roomba Dog from my magical Twitter feed (I may have posted this before):

This kid REALLY wants to feed the d*g:

From Barry.  We’ll have a related owl video later this week:

From the Auschwitz Memorial: This isn’t Anne Frank, but it’s a Dutch Jewish girl who died in the camps, and there is a resemblance:

Tweets from Matthew. This first one involves a really bad case of misidentification by American Airlines, and they’re getting the pants sued off of them:

This person has a huge following on Twitter, and if she has stories like this one, it’s no wonder. Listen to the end:

This appears to be a real picture, but how did the cat get inside the sleeve? Plus it’s in danger!

This is very sweet:


20 thoughts on “Wednesday: Hili dialogue

  1. As best I recall from looking at this before, the FBI did not say that Kaye, Robinson, et al. were members of the Communist Party, but of the “Committee on the First Amendment,” which had been formed to support the Hollywood Ten. The CFA was considered by the HUAC and its California Senate equivalent of being a Communist front organization.

  2. The Native advocates are coming at it a little high, I think. First, “chief”, is our word, not theirs. True, during the colonial expansion era, we didn’t use it very much ourselves, making do with terms like president, general manager, foreman, superintendent, prime minister, director, controller, and chairman. Imperialists took to referring to the head man in a native tribe (somewhat dismissively?) as a chief, a term they appropriated as English or French came to replace their native languages. But with our proliferation of bureaucratic organizations we now need the word for our own uses.

    As McWhorter notes, there is not a ground swell of popular sentiment leading the opposition to “chief” in settler organizations. Rather it is a single under-employed advocate who comes up with yet another idea to vex the settlers and knows that no grievance can be dismissed nowadays with an eye-roll like mine. Ordinary Natives couldn’t care less what the head HR lady in the school district is called. Accommodation and appeasement is nearly always the safe route, though. Sometimes the idea comes from within the settler organization itself, just in case someone might be offended, as when the Toronto District School Board did this all off it’s own bat apparently, several years ago.

    There is nothing to stop Indigenous people from referring to their chiefs in their own languages. Since there is often conflict between chiefs elected under the (Canadian) Indian Act and the murky system of traditional, sometimes-called-hereditary-but-not-really-and-more-like-cronyism chiefs, it would be good for everyone if they reactivated traditional names. While it’s true there was no Native concept of elected anything, they ought to be able to think something up. Laurentian University in Sudbury crafted a Cree-Ojibwa expression for its Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Laboratory.

    Prof. McWhorter is uncharacteristically all wet here. A little push-back is in order.

    1. I don’t think English speakers have ever NOT used “chief” in a wide variety of ways, as an adjective, a noun, a title, or a shortening of various titles: chief justice, commander-in-chief, chief of state, chief of staff, fire chief, police chief, chief engineer, chief petty officer, and (more recently) chief executive officer and (more recently still) chief [whatever] officer (which seems to be very trendy these days: chief compliance officer, chief technology officer, chief innovation officer, etc., etc., etc.). And a number of those different personal titles have been shortened to “chief” (or “the chief”) in many contexts. Like most English words you can trace “chief” back to the Middle Ages, and the word (with various spellings, especially in earlier centuries) has been in continuous use ever since. The idea that “chief” can only be used to refer to the head of a Native American tribe is simply nonsense.

      1. The same applies to ‘tribe’ and ‘clan’. I have had difficulty discussing terms with friends from Arabia, why we talk about their ‘tribes’, but Scottish ‘clans’, and whether we should use the Arabic or English terms when discussing their head-of-tribe, which is sometimes translated as ‘prince’ or ‘chief’, depending on the size of the group.

    2. I don’t even understand what the fuss is about, a ‘chief’ is a ‘head’ (literally, since it derives from latin “caput“, meaning ‘head’). Did these tribes have no ‘heads’, no leaders?n Or what?
      Can we still use ‘chef’ for an accomplished cook?
      ‘Chief’ is a common designation for any people in command, I use it, as well as ‘boss’ (derived from Dutch ‘baas’), when asking a question, favour or extra effort from my nurses. They’ve never complained about being addressed as ‘chief’ or ‘boss’.

  3. Evidently, Congress passing any gun control law at all is significant at this point since it would prove that GOP congress people can vote for such a law and survive politically. But… First, they have to pass the law. Second, the politicians have to survive it. It is almost certain that these politicians will face re-election challenges in their districts from challengers claiming that they are 2A turncoats and RINOs. This will happen even if their constituents are in favor of some gun control. Still, one step at a time I suppose.

    1. When Rick Scott was governor of FL, he was able to pass substantive gun laws (50 laws, including raising the age to 21 for some purchases) after the Parkland shooting. So there’s precedent that a Republican can pass strong gun legislation and still be politically viable. In Scott’s case, he was elected to the Senate (where now, of course, he opposes any of the bills he supported while governor of FL). Yes, the hypocrisy is always there, but at certain times, even the GOP can survive common-sense gun regulation. The polls make it clear that this should be EXTREMELY easy to do, but of course, money in politics poisons everything…just like religion.

  4. I can’t see any details about the guy arrested on the plane??
    As to jelly donuts, though I’m not really a fan of any donuts, especially jelly-filled, the apricot-jam-filled Krapfen in Vienna are to-die-for, especially when still warm.

  5. Maybe just my bias but I always associate mariachi bands and music as happy and celebratory. In this environment, it takes a turn. It hurts that I don’t understand Spanish.

      1. Damn, that was a good movie. Speaking of Brolin in a Western, you catch any of his new show “Outer Range” that debuted on Prime in April? I guess it’s a western/sci fi of some sort- looks intriguing. I don’t know anyone who’s seen it, but figured you might. Or maybe another reader?

        1. I’ve seen it. It’s a very bizarre story that I’ll admit to not really understanding all that has gone on. I don’t think I was supposed to. It is one of those shows like “Lost” where each show adds as many new questions as it answers. It is a battle between two families with adjacent ranges. It also involves a bottomless hole in one field that has time-travel features. I’d give it a 6 or 7 out of 10.

          1. Thanks for your assessment, Paul. I don’t mind those shows like “Lost” where the questions out weigh the answers, but my wife doesn’t usually like that type of show. I guess we’ll just have to watch the first episode and see where it goes. If I like and she doesn’t, that’s the type of show I’ll watch alone at night, since I’m a night owl. I didn’t know about the time-travel features…sounds interesting.

            1. A similar sci-fi mini-series to “Outer Range” is “Night Sky” starring Sissy Spacek and J.K. Simmons, also on Amazon Prime. Both of these mini-series have excellent acting and production quality and are worth a watch. But I found them both ultimately unsatisfying—partly, I think, because of the number of directors and writers involved: “Outer Range” has 4 directors and five writers for 8 episodes; “Night Sky” has 8 directors and 5 writers for 8 episodes.

              As a sometime screenwriter I may be biased, but I would venture that you can almost rate a show without watching it just based on the number of writers and directors involved. The above two are in contrast to “The Night Manager” with Hugh Laurie and Tom Hiddleston—one of the best mini-series ever, IMO—which had one director and one writer (not counting John le Carré, who wrote the book).

              1. I agree with all this. Night Manager was excellent. I think they were supposed to have a second season but I guess it never happened.

              2. Thanks for the input, much appreciated. I haven’t seen (or heard of) “The Night Manager”, but I’m a fan of le Carré’s fiction and both Laurie and Hiddleston. I’ll check it out. There’s just so many shows nowadays, even the great ones can pass you by. I’m thankful for WEIT, as I am usually in agreement with what Readers here like, and get many good recommendations.

  6. Right after the Uvalde shooting, Schumer was going to immediately take a vote on the House gun-regulation bill that they’d been sitting on. Then the GOP sent out Collins and Cornyn to “negotiate”. This is the same tactic McConnell has been using for years, and the Dems fall for it every time. So Murphy (D) is swooned by the two cynical GOP Senators that there might be “bipartisan support”, so Schumer tabled the vote. The GOP just stalls and stalls, watering down any proposals, hoping that the public will move on, and in the end, they get what they want (status quo) and the Dems lose all their momentum and any ability to get anything done they want (and look foolish and weak). It’s a very common scenario, and I’m surprised this “Lucy and the football” tactic continues to work on the Senate Dems. Schumer needs to go; he’s too weak and too rigid of a leader in the midst of an unhinged cult of MAGA-Republicans.

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