Tuesday: Hili dialogue

June 14, 2022 • 6:30 am

Good morning on Tuesday, June 14, 2022. It’s National Strawberry Shortcake Day, which is mde with various pound cakes or fluffy cakes throughout the U.S., but with regular, unsweetened biscuits in New England. Truth be told, I like the cake version better than this one:


It’s also Baltic Freedom Day in the U.S., Flag Day, also in the U.S., World Blood Donor Day, and Liberation Day in the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands,

Stuff that happened on June 14 includes:

  • 1287 – Kublai Khan defeats the force of Nayan and other traditionalist Borjigin princes in East Mongolia and Manchuria.

Here’s a portrait of Khan, labeled by Wikipedia “Portrait of young Kublai by Araniko, a Nepali artist in Kublai’s court.” This is what Khan must have looked like, though his pleasure dome is covered by a hat. 

  • 1775 – American Revolutionary War: the Continental Army is established by the Continental Congress, marking the birth of the United States Armed Forces.
  • 1777 – The Second Continental Congress passes the Flag Act of 1777 adopting the Stars and Stripes as the Flag of the United States.

Here’s that flag, with 13 stripes for 13 colonies:

  • 1789 – Mutiny on the Bounty: HMS Bounty mutiny survivors including Captain William Bligh and 18 others reach Timor after a nearly 7,400 km (4,600 mi) journey in an open boat.
  • 1822 – Charles Babbage proposes a difference engine in a paper to the Royal Astronomical Society.

The “difference engine” is the first mechanical computer. Sadly, Babbage had the idea, and built part of a difference engine, but never made a whole, working one. Here, from Wikipedia, is what is labeled “Part of Charles Babbage’s Difference Engine (#1), assembled after his death by his son, Henry Prevost Babbage (1824–1918), using parts found in Charles’ laboratory. Whipple Museum of the History of Science, Cambridge, England.”

Here’s the very first Bear Flag, photographed in 1970, followed by the modern California State flag:

This was the first nonstop trans-Atlantic flight, preceding Lindbergh by 8 years, but Lindy got all the credit credit for going solo.  Alcock and Brown also took on mail, making it the world’s first airmail flight (see below). Their flight lasted 16 hours, while Lindberg’s at 33 hours, was more than twice as long.

There were people who had to pay the tax on legal sales, like doctors who could prescribe cannabis, but if you sold it illegally, you were also violating the requirement to pay a tax as well as selling an illegal drug. Here are some tax stamps:

The dangers of “marihuana” were vividly pointed out in the movie “Reefer Madness” (1936). Here’s the trailer; it’s hilarious:

And a book about the end, by our own Matthew Cobb (click to buy; it’s a very good book!):

  • 1940 – Seven hundred and twenty-eight Polish political prisoners from Tarnów become the first inmates of the Auschwitz concentration camp (see below).
  • 1949 – Albert II, a rhesus monkey, rides a V-2 rocket to an altitude of 134 km (83 mi), thereby becoming the first mammal and first monkey in space.

Albert died upon reentry because the parachute of his capsule failed to open.

It was one year later that Ike decreed that the phrase would also have to appear on all U.S. currency. At the annual meeting of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, they always raffle off pre-1955 currency without the motto, which they call “clean money”.

“Clean money” from 1935: no motto.

New money, violating the First Amendment:

  • 1966 – The Vatican announces the abolition of the Index Librorum Prohibitorum (“index of prohibited books”), which was originally instituted in 1557.

Took them long enough, didn’t it?!

The Brits rejected a peace deal before the war, producing a typical Sun headline:

Da Nooz:

*Well, you heard (or heard about) the January 6 hearings in Congress today. The knife seems pointed at Trump’s heart, and I have no problem with that. I just wonder whether they’ll charge him, and with what?

Today’s highlights featured a wealth of testimony from Trump acolytes and appointees who said they told him he lost the election, or at least couldn’t claim that he won.  One was former attorney general William Barr, who said that Trump became “detached from reality.” (That’s one explanation; the other is that Trump knew he lost but lied about it.) Another revelation was that Trump, rejecting the opinions of his advisors on election night, relied instead on a drunken Rudy Giuliani to buttress the “Big Lie” of his landslide victory.

We might never know whether Trump lied about the election or was deeply deluded, but one thing stands out as a possible crime if the former is true:

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, Democrat of California, wrapped up Monday’s session by laying out how Mr. Trump’s campaign, a related political action committee and his allies raised $250 million by claiming they were fighting widespread election fraud at a time when they knew there was none.

I think this is wire fraud, but I’m not a lawyer. Please weigh in if you are. Finally, Attorney General Merrick Garland said on NBC News last night that he had six prosecutors watching the case full time and closely.

*All kinds of worries—not just the war in Ukraine—are beginning to cause an economic meltdown in the U.S. Yesterday the Dow fell 875 points, or 2.8%, while the S&P 500 fell 3.9% and the Nasdaq composite 4.7%. This puts us officially in a “bear market,” down more than 20% from a January high, a fall that hasn’t been seen since 2020. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies (always a wonky idea, I thought) are also plummeting, inflation is skyrocketing, and the Fed will undoubtedly hike interest rates to cool off the inflation. That could trigger a recession. As for me, I have free books from the library and a decent collection of wine, so I’ll be okay. But I have a cushion and others don’t, so there may be rough times ahead. That’s is NOT good news for the Biden administration or the prospect of Democrats in the election this fall.

*While much of the left valorizes Palestine and demonizes Israel, it’s worth noting that the only Arab country still funding Palestine is, yes, Algeria. The Palestinian Authority, which controls only half the territory, is complaining:

In an interview with Palestine TV, PA prime minister Mohamed Shtayyeh discussed how the world has drastically reduced aid to the regime which is widely viewed as corrupt.

He said that the entire Arab world has stopped funding the PA, with the sole exception of Algeria.

When virtually the entire Arab world has decided that the Palestinian Authority is not worth investing in, the rest of the world should listen.

One major reason the Arab world has lost interest in the Palestinian cause is because of the ongoing split between the West Bank and Gaza. Today is the 15th anniversary of Hamas’ Gaza coup, and the PA half-heartedly demanded that they should be in control of the sector. They claimed that Hamas’ takeover was part of a Zionist plot against them. Saying absurd things like that doesn’t help endear the PA to the Arab world, either.

Shtayyeh also complained that the US has not resumed its aid to the PA that ended under Donald Trump. The Biden administration has resumed funding UNRWA and USAID programs in the territories, but not the PA itself. Part of the reason is because of the Palestinian Authority’s insistence that it continue to pay terrorists and their families as a core part of its budget.

Sadly, UNRWA also funnels money into teaching hatred to Palestinian children, and both organizations have funneled money to terrorists. T

One reason why a two-state solution seems increasingly far away is this schism between the Palestinian Authority, which controls the West Bank, and Hamas, the terrorist organization that controls Gaza. If there is to be a Palestinian state, who would run it?

*Immigrants and refugees have received bad news from both the UK and US in independent legal decisions. In the U.S., the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that immigrants detailed while awaiting a hearing before an immigration judge do not have the right to be released. From the NYT:

The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that a federal law does not require that immigrants detained for long periods while they are fighting deportation be granted hearings to decide whether they may be released on bond as their cases move forward.

The ruling will affect thousands of immigrants detained for many months while their cases are decided by immigration courts facing long backlogs.

Seven justices joined Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s majority opinion, which was tightly focused on the words of the relevant statute. Justice Stephen G. Breyer issued a partial dissent.

*And in the UK, Boris Johnson’s government is getting ready to deport scads of refugees and asylum-seekers to Rwanda:

A British government’s plan to deport asylum-seekers of various nationalities to Rwanda is set to go ahead after an appeals court on Monday refused to block the policy that the U.N.’s top refugee official said sets a dangerous precedent for migrants fleeing war and oppression.

Immediately after the decision by a three-justice panel of the Court of Appeal in London, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s office said the first deportation flight would go ahead as scheduled on Tuesday.

Migrant advocacy groups have attacked the policy as inhumane and illegal ever since April, when Johnson announced the plan as way to deter people from risking their lives by paying smugglers to take them to Britain in leaky inflatable boats.

Filippo Grandi, the U.N. high commissioner for refugees, lashed out against the policy, describing it as “all wrong.”

*Finally, things continue to go south in Ukraine as the Russians slowly but surely advance in Donbas.

If Russia prevails in the battle of Donbas, it will mean that Ukraine loses not only land but perhaps the bulk of its most capable military forces, opening the way for Moscow to grab more territory and dictate its terms to Kyiv. A Russian failure could lay the grounds for a Ukrainian counteroffensive — and possibly lead to political upheaval for the Kremlin.

I can’t see Russia losing this one, but I really hope I’m wrong.

Everything is screwed up now. It wasn’t always like this, was it?

Even Hili is depressed in Dobrzyn:

Hili: It all borders on a bad joke.
A: What borders on a bad joke?
Hili: But I told you – all of it.
In Polish:
Hili: To wszystko zakrawa na kiepski żart.
Ja: Co zakrawa na kiepski żart?
Hili: Przecież powiedziałam, że wszystko.


A Tim Whyatt cartoon from Stash Krod. I wouldn’t last through more than five minutes:

From Su, a very clever Mark Parisi cartoon:

From Bored Panda, another reason you should have a duck:

People are slow to send tweets these days. If you find one or a few really good ones, do send them along. (I don’t follow Twitter.)

The Tweet of God:

A tweet from Barry. Maybe the ducklings don’t want to go to water!

Sarah Silverman on the perfidy of Big Prune. The New Yorker also has a (free) and generally positive review of a new play based on Silverman’s 2010 memoir, “The Bedwetter.”

From the Auschwitz Memorial: The camp opens 82 years ago:

Tweets from Matthew.  Here’s a thread of medieval drawings of animals, and you have to guess what the animal is. It isn’t easy since medieval artists couldn’t draw animals if their life depended on it.  There are twelve drawings. I’ll put up two of them, and after you guess, go below the fold to see the answers.

Can you guess  what they’re saying. I call this behavior “machine-gunning.”

Oy! This guy tries to follow Jordan Peterson’s advice, and look what happens?

Click “read more” to see the two animals:

Animal #1: Giraffe

Anmal #2: Turtle

45 thoughts on “Tuesday: Hili dialogue

        1. I didn’t say I could do it quickly, only that it’s a fairly simple calculation as long as you can remember how to do long division – and you know your eleven times table.

          1. Oh, ok – I was just joking around about racing.

            What I mean is nothing to do with tables or long division. I mean to put 117 in your mind, then slide it over to the left by one, underneath the first 117. But backwards, starting from 1287.

            So you see the 7 drops straight down. The 1 in the hundreds place drops straight down. Then what adds to 8, but also so any remainder (or not) adds to 2? I was stuck on THAT part. Working it out, I know now, 7+1 is 8, 1+1 is 2. No remainders.

            All cold mental math was the idea – no writing. Hope that makes sense and is interesting but if anyone wants to race these, lemmee know 😉 JK.

  1. 13 stripes just copied from the east india company. I thought it was corporate america from the start.

    1. Its white supremacy – in this case, one set of “whites” plundering another set of “whites”, becoming “supreme” in the process, though I do not see how it is “supreme”.

      I mean, if it was Fudge Supreme, there might be a case.

    2. Given the hoopla about East India Company tea in the Colonies, I find it hard to believe they would consciously copy their flag.

  2. Bill Barr’s testimony doesn’t really match what he was saying publicly regarding the election. He also stated he would vote for any Republican presidential nominee, including Trump, in 2024. I doubt that Merrick Garland will act on any of this information and press charges against Trump.

    1. “We might never know whether Trump lied about the election or was deeply deluded”

      Are these mutually exclusive?

  3. The dangers of “marihuana” were vividly pointed out in the movie “Reefer Madness” (1936). Here’s the trailer; it’s hilarious …

    When I was in college, they’d show weekly movies in an auditorium (mostly foreign films or early independents or classics). I think admission was 50 cents.

    Often, they’d open the show with Reefer Madness for laughs (given that many people in the auditorium audience were at the time smoking weed). Alternatively, and for the same purpose, they’d open with Dick Nixon’s “Checkers” Speech.

    1. Re: marijuana: I’ve always wondered how its tar content compared to that of tobacco. Regarding the numerous news reports and opinion pieces addressing the former’s prospectived/desired legalization, I’ve never heard it mentioned. I haven’t done – and can’t be “arsed” to do – an exhaustive net search on the matter, but, per the below link, it seems that the tar content of marijuana is approx. four times that of tobacco, though there is some amount of throat-clearing caveating about that.


      Would supporters of marijuana legalization favor filters being added to blunts to blunt the tar accumulation? IIRC marijuana smokers try to breathe in as deeply as possible in order to acheive the desired effect. I gather from what I read that marijuana smoke is not a little acrid – perhaps menthol is called for to ameliorate the acridity? Or would that be construed as trying to get certain demographic groups hooked on marijuana? It would seem inconsistent if not hypocritical to condemn that in the case of tobacco but not marijuana. Unless of course these supporters recommended that one smoke neither tobacco nor marijuana.

      Re: Sarah Silverman on prunes: in the beginning of an episode in “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” “Yesterday’s Enterprise,” Guinan (Whoopi Goldberg) advises the Klingon Worf (Michael Dorn) on how to better interact with the ladies. She then presents a drink new to him, prune juice. He quaffs and expresses great enthusiasm for it: “A warrior’s drink!”


      My residual, latent Southern Baptist Puritanism protests my voicing it, but, “shuboshuate” is a poor substitute for the Anglo-Saxon. Elderly or not, by whatever means everyone needs to take a shit, but a Klingon is not inclined to take shit.

    1. “Stick it up your junta” is a pun on “stick it up your jumper”, a childish response of defiance. The Sun, although widely read, is not a newspaper of record.

      1. The Sun, although widely read, is not a newspaper of record.

        It is a paper of record – it records and promotes many of the nastier, more venal and disgusting aspects of British society.
        Or as they say in Liverpool, “Never, ever buy the Sun.”

    2. How long did it take for the British to decide to send a task force? For the fleet to get ready, steam up and arrive at the Falklands? The British counterattack in South Georgia started by the end of April, and early May in the Falklands. One could easily argue that the actual war only started by then. Remarkably fast in a sense, but still well after the article in the Sun dated April 20 (and no, I’m not defending the Sun, which is not exactly a highly reliable source).

      1. How long did it take for the British to decide to send a task force? For the fleet to get ready, steam up and arrive at the Falklands?

        Decide? Probably a matter of hours, for the political decision.
        Enact – as in requisition civilian British-flagged ships, order them to Southampton ; package and deliver supplies to the quayside and load ; assemble troops and equipment (there was a tremendous run on khaki and DPM waterproofs, rucksacks and bivvi tents because of the notorious;y terrible equipment issued by the QM – manufacturers like Berghaus and Karrimor had to go onto 24×7 production to try to keep up), load them … that was about 3 weeks.

  4. Wikipedia seems somewhat remiss since they forgot

    1966 – Birth of Jeremy Pereira, the single most important event of my entire life so far.

    The “difference engine” is the first mechanical computer.

    I think I would challenge that on two grounds.

    Firstly, I can’t think of a definition of “computer” under which the Difference Engine both qualifies and is the first in the class. There were mechanical calculators before the Difference Engine and, while it was vastly more sophisticated than any of its predecessors, the Difference Engine was not Turing Complete and so would fall into the same class as those machines. The first Turing Complete (i.e. arbitrarily programmable computer) machine would be the Analytical Engine, except for my second ground which is…

    Secondly, the Difference Engine was not built until the 1990’s and by then it was a long way behind the curve of computers generally. My general feeling is that the first example of a human engineered object needs to exist as more than a concept on paper. Otherwise, Leonardo invented the aeroplane. Granted that the Difference Engine would have worked if it had been built unlike Leonardo’s flying machines.

    1. Didn’t Leonardo invent the screw-wing, aka helicopter?
      Maybe not: the corks with four (or more) bird feathers attached, flying from a rope coiled around the cork predate Leonardo.

  5. I just wonder whether they’ll charge him [Trump], and with what?

    In his opinion rejecting the attorney-client privilege assertion by lawyer John Eastman (who advised Trump on the bogus “alternative” electors scam) on crime-fraud grounds, federal district judge David Carter found that Trump likely violated two federal criminal statutes, 18 USC sections 371 and 1512(c)(2). (NB: When Eastman was subpoenaed for a deposition before the Jan. 6th select committee, he asserted his 5th Amendment self-incrimination privilege 146 times.) You can read Judge Carter’s opinion here.

    Also, former US Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan (and current professor of law at the University of Michigan) Barbara McQuade has drafted a “Model Prosecution Memorandum” setting out the case for prosecuting Trump under these statutes. (Such so-called “pros memos” are what local federal prosecutors submit to Main Justice when seeking authorization to proceed in certain complex and sensitive cases.) Prof. McQuade’s model memo is available here.

    As for the grifty quarter billion dollars Trump raised after the election, it bears some indicia of wire or mail or consumer fraud, particularly given that the entity on whose behalf in the money was purportedly raised — “The Election Defense Fund” — did not actually exist. (Quelle surprise!.) But details, especially regarding where the money went and how it was spent, are still too sketchy to say. (We do know that $60,000 was paid to DJT, Jr.’s inamorata, Kimberly Guilfoyle, for the minute-and-a-half speech she gave at Trump’s rally on the Ellipsis on Jan. 6th — which isn’t a bad hourly rate, if you can get it.)

    1. I’m not an attorney, but our current AG seems cautious to the point of chicken-shit, so it may depend upon him getting a backbone.

  6. “And in the UK, Boris Johnson’s government is getting ready to deport scads of refugees and asylum-seekers to Rwanda”

    News reports here in the UK suggest that the first flight to Rwanda may only have one or two refugees on board. Human rights groups and refugee support charities are fighting this wicked and inhuman policy hard in the courts.

    1. >”. . .to deport scads of refugees and asylum seekers . . .”

      As the linked article reminds us, the sensible and humane resettlement policy applies only to asylum seekers, the ones wading unannounced out of the surf onto beaches in England. The policy has nothing to do with bona fide UN High Commission refugees who are, by definition, vetted by the host government and invited to settle permanently therein.

      I can tell you that lots of people in Canada would love to send our asylum claimants somewhere far away while their claims of persecution can be adjudicated and, usually, dismissed as unfounded. They are gaming our obligation under international law and so undermining public support of immigration generally, which we cannot afford to have happen.

    2. Of course it is wrong to deport people to anywhere they don’t want to go. However, Rwanda is a very good place to go these days.
      I was there in 2014, during the commemoration of the horrendous, ghastly genocide. It is very much still in the ‘never again’ mode. The people are very keen on foreigners. And very friendly to outside entrepreneurs. If I were to choose between Rwanda or the UK for a place of refuge, I might rather choose the former. The level of freedom and democracy may not be 100% up to standard, but it is not very far there.
      Economic growth in Rwanda is also leaving many other countries in the dust (7+% in 2019, fell to -3.5% in 2020 due to Covid, but rebounded with 11% in 2021).
      If you want to invest without much red tape, go to Rwanda. Your application for a business project will be approved (or -rarely- rejected) within 24 to 48 hours, no months of limbo.

      1. Glad to know that Rwanda is doing well. I think the only speech Paul Kagama will put you in jail for is implying that the genocide wasn’t all the Hutus’ fault or that the Tutsis had it coming. But that needn’t concern expats.

        Have to disagree about deportation. A sovereign country can for any reason or no reason at all deport a non-citizen to any country who will take him. His country of citizenship is obligated to take him back. We don’t normally deport people back to their home countries if they likely will be persecuted by the state, though, and this includes the death penalty for crimes they committed back home, so a third country where they could be welcomed to prosper would be attractive. Any other constraint on deportation constitutes open borders, not compatible with a welfare state.

  7. A useful piece from Jonathan Turley on the hearings: “Pelosi’s Court: How the Jan. 6 Committee Undermined its Own Legitimacy.”

    Also, a poll from Issues and Insights. Aside from looking at Trump’s “alleged incitement” (25%), respondents also think that the Committee should be looking at lack of Capital Hill police (23%), role of other trained agitators (22%), the response by D.C. Police and U.S. Capital Police (20%), and the lack of intelligence capabilities (FBI) (19%), among other things that the Committee is studiously ignoring. The breakout of the results by party alignment is interesting, with Dems wanting investigation into role of other trained agitators and lack of Capital Hill police at 24% and 23%, respectively.

    1. Keep at it, DrBrydon. You can probably find a poll somewhere that says 23% of respondents think the Nuremberg trials should’ve focused on the failures of the Maginot Line. 🙂

  8. The medieval drawings are so far from the mark in these two examples that I would assume that the monks had never seen either of the two, just read/heard descriptions, and then made assumptions from what they’d read, extrapolating from animals they knew (goat and fish, in this case). Yes, it’s true they weren’t much good at drawing cats either, but their cats are not that far off. Also, for some reason I find cats challenging to draw, too, while acceptable giraffes and turtles are easy to sketch at the first attempt.

    1. The medieval pictures are great and it is always a chuckle to try to figure out what the artists are attempting. I agree with Ruth – they were drawn from the written observations of others. I will add these two to my Middle Ages art album. Over the past two years I have collect many online works and illuminations from early codexes. This winter I plan to do a presentation for my Art History class using some of these.

  9. Speaking of the Jan. 6th hearings, the committee has just announced they’ve postponed Wednesday morning’s hearing without giving a reason so far. New evidence? Another witness getting cold feet?

  10. I do think California has one of the coolest state flags. Too bad it represents a species that is now extinct in the state. It’s a strange human tendency to revere things we have destroyed. I guess it’s supposed to absolve guilt or something.

    1. Sure. Dinosaurs are pretty neat as abstractions, but you don’t want one in your yard when your kids are playing out there.

  11. “I can’t see Russia losing this one, but I really hope I’m wrong.” I not just hope you’re wrong, but there is a good probability you are wrong. A necessity you are wrong. Russia relies on it’s strengths in numbers of artillery, and to a lesser degree airforce and Navy. If the West continues to supply Ukraine with HIMARS (more than those pathetic 4) and other MRLS systems (and ammunitions, cruise missiles, radar systems, stealth planes, etc), Ukraine will prevail. The thing is the crews manning these systems need to be properly trained and that takes a week or 2-3, and probably more for the more sophisticated systems.
    We really are in a kind of “Munich” situation. We know that giving in to the demands of an expansionist dictator will not give ‘peace for our time’.
    I may have mentioned before what Churchill remarked to Chamberlain: “You were given the choice between war and dishonour. You chose dishonour, and you will have war.”
    I’m not sure everybody realises what is at stake here (although I’m sure most here on WEIT do): the West -not just NATO- simply cannot afford to let Russia get away with this invasion. If it does, it is only the beginning of a great protracted war, that is what history teaches us.
    It is said NATO fights a ‘proxy war’ in Ukraine,, and in a sense that is true. But it is our war, the war for freedom and democracy, that the Ukrainians are fighting for us.

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