Wednesday: Hili dialogue

June 15, 2022 • 6:30 am

A Note on Our Weather: The weather has been strange here. Two days ago we had the first tornado warning in my area since I arrived here in 1986. We didn’t have a funnel cloud, but had very high winds, thunderstorms, and lightning.  Every siren in Chicago was blaring a warning. But the storm passed quickly, but did do damage in the Chicago suburbs. I was worried about the ducks and ducklings, especially because with a tornado like this there can be severe hail that’s fatal to birds. But they all came through it, and we had no hail.  Here’s a tweet Matthew sent showing the cell that produced it:

And it’s gotten very HOT: the high yesterday was 98° F (37° C, and it felt hotter as it was humid), and it’s predicted to be about the same today 95° F  or 37° C). Then we’ll cool off.  Oy! The ducks!



Good morning on Wednesday, June 15, 2022, a Hump Day, or “Usuku lokubetha nje”, as they say in Xhosa. It’s also Global Wind Day and, in the UK, National Beer Day.  I’m celebrating the latter as I think that, of all sovereign nations, the UK has the best beer in the world. I haven’t of course, been everywhere, and the UK has some bad beer (notably the lagers), but its cask ales cannot be equaled anywhere. Thank Ceiling Cat for the organization that kept real ale going in the UK: CAMRA—the Campaign for Real Ale.

Here’s one of my faves, which I believe won CAMRA’s “Beer of the Year” award twice. It’s a delicious session pint, not overly hopped like Americans think “craft beers” have to be.  Burton Ale by Ind Coope used to be my second favorite, but they stopped producing it in 2014. Brits: band together to save one of the glories of your culture!

Wine of the Day:  I had this Barolo with a lovely rare strip steak and my usual accompaniments: rice and ripe tomatoes.  It’s an old bottle from my stash and I have no record of the price, but it seems to go for about $50 now. I’m sure I paid much less than that.

It’s a gutsy Barolo, and though not world class was eminently drinkable, with a nose of berries and roses, but also a lot of tannin.  Although it’s 12 years old, I could see it improving for the next five years. (There was almost no sediment.) The second day, after being held under vacuum at room temperature, it was even better than on the first. I wouldn’t pay $50 for it now, but to my ruination I’m starting to develop a taste for this pricey King of Italian Reds.  For a good review of this bottle, go here.

It’s a nice, hearty wine for steak.

Stuff that happened on June 15 include:

  • 763 BC – Assyrians record a solar eclipse that is later used to fix the chronology of Mesopotamian history.
  • 1215 – King John of England puts his seal to Magna Carta.

Here’s the Magna Carta with the King’s seal on it:

These were animal-to-human transfusions, which makes it remarkable that anybody survived!:

The first blood transfusion from animal to human was administered by Dr. Jean-Baptiste Denys, eminent physician to King Louis XIV of France, on June 15, 1667. He transfused the blood of a sheep into a 15-year-old boy, who survived the transfusion. Denys performed another transfusion into a labourer, who also survived. Both instances were likely due to the small amount of blood that was actually transfused into these people. This allowed them to withstand the allergic reaction.

Denys’s third patient to undergo a blood transfusion was Swedish Baron Gustaf Bonde. He received two transfusions. After the second transfusion Bonde died. In the winter of 1667, Denys performed several transfusions on Antoine Mauroy with calf’s blood. On the third account Mauroy died.

  • 1752 – Benjamin Franklin proves that lightning is electricity (traditional date, the exact date is unknown).
  • 1844 – Charles Goodyear receives a patent for vulcanization, a process to strengthen rubber.

It was serendipity! Here’s the account from Wikipedia:

One day in 1839, when trying to mix rubber with sulfur, Goodyear accidentally dropped the mixture in a hot frying pan. To his astonishment, instead of melting further or vaporizing, the rubber remained firm and, as he increased the heat, the rubber became harder. Goodyear quickly worked out a consistent system for this hardening, which he called vulcanization because of the heat involved. He obtained a patent in the same year, and by 1844 was producing the rubber on an industrial scale.

. . . and the patent:

Here are the pictures that resolved a longstanding controversy. I’ve highlighted the two frames showing that all four feet of the horse are off the ground (click to enlarge):

Here they are loading up supplies on July 14 when they started:

(From Wikipedia) Captain John Alcock stowing provisions aboard Vickers Vimy aircraft before trans-Atlantic flight 14 Jun 1919

Here’s Charlie being led away after the guilty verdict (photo by Alarmy):

  • 1977 – After the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975, the first democratic elections took place in Spain.

And this just in. . . Franco is still dead!

  • 1992 – The United States Supreme Court rules in United States v. Álvarez-Machaín that it is permissible for the United States to forcibly extradite suspects in foreign countries and bring them to the United States for trial, without approval from those other countries.
  • 2012 – Nik Wallenda becomes the first person to successfully tightrope walk directly over Niagara Falls.

Here’s a precis of his frightening walk:

Da Nooz:

*Other news has pushed the fighting in Ukraine out of the headlines, but things look grim as Ukraine continues to cede territory to the Russsians in the Donbas region.

Russian forces and their separatist allies control an estimated 80 to 90 percent of the Donbas, according to Ukrainian officials. Donbas, which comprises the territories of Luhansk and Donetsk, makes up about nine percent of Ukraine’s land, but is an important industrial and cultural region for the country. Sievierodonetsk is the biggest city in Luhansk not yet under Moscow’s control.

With hundreds of civilians trapped in the city under unrelenting bombardment, the destruction of the bridge could also create an intensifying humanitarian crisis, since Ukrainian forces are now hobbled in their ability to retreat or evacuate civilians and the wounded. Ukrainian officials said Russian forces have also been making targeted attacks on the city’s Azot chemical plant, where local officials say about 500 civilians have been sheltering.

And the U.S., which supplies arms and a lot of money to Ukraine, proclaimed something that seems magnanimous, but to me sounds like we’ve given up on Ukraine:

But a day before 40 Western allies are scheduled to meet in Brussels to discuss Ukraine’s increasingly desperate plea for more heavy weaponry, a top Pentagon official insisted that the United States would not press Ukraine into negotiating a cease-fire.

“We’re not going to tell the Ukrainians how to negotiate, what to negotiate and when to negotiate,” Colin H. Kahl, the under secretary of defense for policy, said on Tuesday. “They’re going to set those terms for themselves.”

*Today’s session of the January 6 Congressional hearing has been postponed, but testimony will resume on Thursday. Still, the latest revelations are pretty sordid. On January 3, a low-level Department of Justice employee named Jeffrey Clark went rogue and scuttled over to the White House with a plan for a Trump victory. But he wanted something in return:

Clark, an environmental lawyer by trade, had outlined a plan in a letter he wanted to send to the leaders of key states Joe Biden won. It said that the Justice Department had “identified significant concerns” about the vote and that the states should consider sending “a separate slate of electors supporting Donald J. Trump” for Congress to approve.

In fact, Clark’s bosses had warned there was not evidence to overturn the election and had rejected his letter days earlier. Now they learned Clark was about to meet with Trump. Acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen tracked down his deputy, Richard Donoghue, who had been walking on the Mall in muddy jeans and an Army T-shirt. There was no time to change. They raced to the Oval Office.

As Rosen and Donoghue listened, Clark told Trump that he would send the letter if the president named him attorney general.

“History is calling,” Clark told the president, according to a deposition from Donoghue excerpted in a recent court filing. “This is our opportunity. We can get this done.”

They didn’t, but Trump liked the idea:

Clark was “somewhat apologetic” and promised he wouldn’t do it again without permission, according to Rosen. But Clark had already made an impression on the president. The next day, Trump told Rosen in a phone call that “people are very mad with the Justice Department” not investigating voter fraud and referred to having met with Clark.

Rosen told Trump that the Justice Department could not “flip a switch and change the election,” according to notes of the conversation cited by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“I don’t expect you to do that,” Trump responded, according to the notes. “Just say the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican congressmen.” The president urged Rosen to “just have a press conference.”

So we have the President leaning on the Attorney General to say the election was “corrupt”. Crikey, this is more convoluted than the Watergate crisis.

*Stocks continued to fall as we enter even deeper into the latest bear market, and the Federal Reserve Bank is predicted to levy a huge hike in interest rate: rumors of 0.75%, which sounds small but isn’t, as it could plunge the U.S. into a recession.  It would be the biggest raise in interest rates in three decades. Biden is blaming this on Putin, but he’s only partly right.

A recession could damage company profits and tip weaker companies into failure. One closely watched indicator flashed a warning sign that a recession could be ahead: The yield curve difference between two-year and 10-year government debt was inverted at times on Monday and Tuesday. The spread between the two yields widened to as much as 0.0522 percentage point late Monday, before flattening out on Tuesday morning. The U.S. yield curve last inverted in April.

I don’t understand all that, but I’ll leave the predictions to those who do.  And there ay be more economic trouble ahead:

Not only is Wall Street convinced that the Fed will take more severe action against inflation Wednesday, it also believes that it will raise rates by another three-quarters of a point in July. Nearly 90% of investors believe the Fed will hike rates by that same amount next month, following similar expectations from Goldman, Jefferies and Barclays.
Such strong medicine for inflation could pose a threat to the US economy, however. In a note to clients Tuesday, Goldman analysts warned tightening financial conditions could further drag growth “somewhat beyond” what the Fed “should be targeting to have the best chance of bringing down inflation without a recession.”

*In February, women’s basketball star Brittney Griner was detained in Russia when she went there to play. She is accused of carrying an e-cigarette apparatus holding cannabis oil. She’s incarcerated, and the Russians have just extended her detention for the third time: she’ll be in stir until at least July 3. Although the State Department says Griner was “wrongfully detained”, it’s possible that the Russians are holding her as punishment for the U.S. siding with Ukraine, hoping to swap her for some Russian prisoner in either U.S. r Ukrainian hand.

*The Wall Street Journal reports that stores are starting to receive shipments of stuff they ordered way back at the beginning of the pandemic, and people aren’t so keen on that stuff any more. Ergo, there are going to be some bargains out there. What do you look for?

Target, Walmart and Macy’s announced recently that they are starting to receive large shipments of outdoor furniture, loungewear and electronics everyone wanted, but couldn’t find, during the pandemic.

The problem for retailers—that these goods are delayed by almost two years—could be a windfall for those in the market for sweatpants or couches. Look for prices to start dropping around July 4, analysts say.

“There are going to be discounts like you’ve never seen before,” says Mickey Chadha, a Moody’s Investors Service analyst who tracks the retail industry.

Retailer discounts are part of an effort to get shoppers interested in buying things again as Americans shift their spending to concertseating out, and travel they missed out on. Deep discounts are expected on oversize couches, appliances and patio furniture that are more expensive for companies to store in their warehouses, analysts say.

. . . And if your drawers aren’t already bursting with work-from-home loungewear, stores will try hard to get you to take it off their shelves. “It might be a good time to buy sweatpants. They’re certainly going to be on sale this summer,” says Dan Wallace-Brewster, who directs marketing at e-commerce software company Scalefast. Office wear might not be discounted, he says.

Well, I do need a new leather couch, as mine is starting to show cracks, but the rest, well, I got enough stuff.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is sleeping very oddly:

A: What are you doing?
Hili: I’m entertaining the idea of changing the position of my body.
In Polish:
Ja: Co ty robisz?
Hili: Rozważam możliwość zmiany pozycji ciała.

And a picture of Szaron:


From I Have Cat:

A Stephan Pastis cartoon from Stash Krod. I never use those pompous words in Starbuck’s; I always ask for a “large”:

Cat art sent in by Su:

Two tweets from reader Ken. His first reference to Ingraham actually refers to a caption I put on a 2009 photo of me taken with Dinesh D’Souza at the Ciudad de las Ideas in Puebla Mexico. I caption it, in disgust, “I shook the hand that fondled Ann Coulter.” (D’Souza and Coulter were an item.) I didn’t know until today that D’Souza also dated Laura Ingraham, too! Oy!

Ken’s captions:

Your fondled-Laura-Ingraham-by-proxy buddy Dinesh D’Souza isn’t happy that Bill Barr and the Jan. 6th committee laughed as his debunked “documentary,” 2,000 Mules:

Wikipedia’s summary of D’Souza’s movie:

2000 Mules is a 2022 American political film by Dinesh D’Souza that falselyclaims unnamed nonprofit organizations paid Democrat-aligned “mules” to illegally collect and deposit ballots into drop boxes in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin during the 2020 presidential election. D’Souza has a history of creating and spreading conspiracy theories.

Also, as a complete rebuttal, D’Souza made the keen observation that Barr is overweight:

Here’s Barr’s derisive comment about the movie:

Reader Barry says that this is only a few blocks from where he lives:

From the Auschwitz Memorial:

And one who survived:

Tweets from Matthew. Here he’s referring to Erwin Chargaff, who discovered that the ratio of As to Ts in DNA is 1, as is the ratio of Gs to Cs. That gave rise to the pairing rule that, in the double helix, Gs pair with Cs and As with Ts. Chargaff didn’t get a Nobel Prize for that (he didn’t realize its significance), and was bitter about it. That shows in the tweet below, when he didn’t even cite Watson and Crick’s paper!

A larval cicada:

Best video of the month so far. Sound up, and be sure you watch until the end.

A bellwether cat!

20 thoughts on “Wednesday: Hili dialogue

  1. Actually the important thing about the Eadweard Muybridge photographs is not so much that it resolved the question of whether or not horses bought all four hooves off the ground, but when, if you look at the pre-Muybridge depictions of horses in motion, what’s shown looks unnatural, and it turned out it was!

  2. 1992 – The United States Supreme Court rules in United States v. Álvarez-Machaín that it is permissible for the United States to forcibly extradite suspects in foreign countries and bring them to the United States for trial, without approval from those other countries.

    Alverez-Manchin was a Mexican doctor who had helped keep DEA agent Enrique (“Kiki”) Camarena Salazar alive so that he could be tortured by members of a Mexican drug cartel. The DEA sent an operative into Mexico to kidnap Alverez-Manchin and bring him across the border so he could be tried in US federal district court for the Salazar murder.

    At the time Alverez-Manchin was decided, I took it to be, at least in part, the Rehnquist Court’s message to Manuel Noriega, who had just been convicted two months earlier of drug and money-laundering charges in a Miami federal courtroom, that Noriega would have no chance of success in raising the circumstances of his being brought to the US from Panama (which plainly did not involve anything resembling traditional legal extradition) on an appeal from his conviction

    1. So, the Exceptional Nation can legally take liberties with citizens of less exceptional nations. Why not dispense with extradition treaties and directly capture foreign nationals like Huawei’s Meng Wanzhou?

  3. I haven’t watched 2,000 Mules, yet, but I am not prepared to dismiss it out-of-hand because Wikipedia calls D’Souza a conspiracy theorist and the MSM says it is “debunked” (but has not actually debunked it). My understanding is that the documentary uses phone location data and security video to show individuals repeatedly visiting ballot drop-boxes and depositing ballots. We know that ballot harvesting is a thing (Guillermina Fuentes Enters Guilty Plea in Yuma County Ballot Harvesting Case), and not a conspiracy theory. The question really is, how extensive was it, and why shouldn’t we be trying to prevent it. The fact that no ones wants to investigate it in the 2020 election is hardly surprising, especially given that a non-Democrat suggesting election stealing is liable to an accusation of sedition. For Barr to have dismissed claims of election fraud out-of-hand then and now, I think, just shows that he wants to be done with this all. Since he didn’t investigate it, his responses aren’t especially powerful.

    1. Barr’s DOJ did investigate. They found nothing. Countless court cases were brought. No evidence was found. The staying power of rumor and innuendo on the right is a marvel to behold.

      1. “The staying power of rumor and innuendo on the right is a marvel to behold.”

        Yes, and this is why the country is disintegrating, as witnessed by the successes of Trumpists in yesterday’s Republican primaries.When a significant portion of the population ignores or refuses to accept overwhelming evidence then we must ask: is all hope gone?

        1. Here’s an example of what the future may look like. The Associated Press reports that in Otero County, New Mexico, its three member Trumpist canvassing commission, refused to certify the primary results because it didn’t trust the Dominion voting machines and for no other reason. The New Mexico Secretary of State is appealing to the state’s supreme court to order the results certified.

          So, here we have a preview of the right-wing game plan: gain control of the government agencies that certify elections, refuse to certify the elections when its candidates lose, and sow chaos. Five months from now, we can expect all hell to break loose.

        2. Of the 10 Republican congresspersons who voted to impeach Trump at his second go-round, four have retired, two have lost primaries to Trump-backed opponents, and the remaining four still face primary challenges from such Trump-backed opponents.

          Hell hath no fury like that of Trump directed at anyone who votes his or her conscience.

    2. Maybe you missed the part in the video of Barr above where he references that the GBI (the Georgia Bureau of Investigation — the state’s counterpart to the FBI) has investigated the claims in 2000 Mules regarding Fulton County and found them meritless. Here’s a summary of the ways in which the claims made in the movie have been debunked.

      Even Fox News, One America News, Newsmax and other right-wing outlets won’t touch that turd.

      Though D’Souza is correct in one respect — Bill Barr does have a bit of weight issue. 🙂

      1. I wish there was a “like” button for the comments. I would hit it for practically every comment that Ken Kukec makes.

    3. We know that ballot harvesting is a thing (Guillermina Fuentes Enters Guilty Plea in Yuma County Ballot Harvesting Case) …

      Know who else committed voter fraud in the 2020 election — I mean, besides the four registered Republicans at a Florida old-folks home who voted both there and in the states where they lived before retiring?

      Trump’s former chief-of-staff Mark Meadows (one of the most vocal proponents of Trump’s Big Lie), who was living along with his wife in Virginia, but claimed in his application for a mail-in ballot that his permanent residence was some janky mobile home in Scaly Mountain, NC — a mobile home that, as far as anyone can tell, Meadows himself had never even visited. (Meadows was considering a run for elective office in 2022 in North Carolina, where he’d previously served as a congresscritter, and didn’t want to register in another state.) As a result of this misconduct, Meadows has been struck from the North Carolina voter rolls.

    4. Guillermina Fuentes pleaded guilty to collecting and depositing four ballots from people who were not family members. in an August 2020 primary election.

      If this is the strongest evidence you can advance that “ballot harvesting is a thing”, then I think “conspiracy theory” is the right call.

      As others have stated, Barr *did* investigate claims of fraud (in contravention to established DOI practice of waiting until vote certification is complete).

  4. Regarding Wine of the Day: If he were to find the time, I would love for our host to do a column which compares and contrasts qualities of barola and rioja (in addition to cost of course). I enjoy both but do not have a sophisticated enough palette nor enough wine knowledge to know why.

  5. On January 3, a low-level Department of Justice employee named Jeffrey Clark went rogue and scuttled over to the White House with a plan for a Trump victory.

    Clark was an environmental (or, more accurately, anti-environment) lawyer who’d recently been named, due to a series of resignations, as acting head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division (the #3 spot at DoJ). At the Jan. 3rd Oval Office meeting, acting AG Jeffrey Rosen, and his #2, Richard Donoghue, told Trump that Clark was incompetent to undertake the analysis he’d been offering, or to be promoted to acting AG, in part because Clark had never tried a case and had no experience whatsoever in criminal law.

    Clark started to protest about all the complex environmental litigation he’d been involved in, and Donoghue told him, “How about you go back to your office, and we’ll call you when there’s an oil spill?” Pretty sick burn, that.

    1. Pilsner Urquell is certainly my favorite beer, and pretty much the only beer I drink nowadays, but I’d be reluctant to say it’s the “best” beer. I’ve never had it on tap, nor have I seen it on tap in the US; I wish I could taste their tap version.

    2. ‘Best beer’ is of course a matter of taste, and therefore I disagree about Pilsner Urquell! I appreciate our host’s shout-out to both Tim Taylor’s and CAMRA; draught Landlord is hard to find in SE England, although the bottled version is widely available (and still pretty good).

      There are now at least 3,000 breweries in the UK, most of them producing great beer. We all have our favourites; restricting myself to just a few local producers, five of mine are:

      Long Man (Litlington, E Sussex)
      Cellarhead (Flimwell, E Sussex)
      Larkins (Chiddingstone, Kent)
      Westerham (Kent)
      Tonbridge (East Peckham, Kent)

      I fully appreciate that other people will have different views. Let a thousand beers bloom!

    3. I honor my Czech ancestors with a bottle of Pilsner Urquell from time to time but I have to say my preference is for the excellent UK brews like PCCE’s favorite. So there!

Leave a Reply