Friday: Hili dialogue

June 24, 2022 • 6:30 am

Good morning on the TCCIF Day: Friday, June 24, 2022. It’s National Praline Day, celebrating the Southern confection that is the sweetest and most cloying of all candies (I love ’em!).

Source and recipe

It’s also St John’s Day and the second day of the Midsummer celebrations (although this is not the astronomical summer solstice, see June 20).  Here are the related holidays:

Stuff that happened on June 24 include:

  • 1314 – First War of Scottish Independence: The Battle of Bannockburn concludes with a decisive victory by Scottish forces led by Robert the Bruce.
  • 1497 – John Cabot lands in North America at Newfoundland leading the first European exploration of the region since the Vikings.

We’re not sure where he landed, but Canada has designated this spot in Bonavista Bay as the Official Landing Site (see caption). It’s marked with a statue of Cabot:

(From Wikipedia): A statue of John Cabot gazing across Bonavista Bay in eastern Newfoundland

She was queen for 24 years; here’s a painting from 1580:

  • 1880 – First performance of O Canada at the Congrès national des Canadiens-Français. The song would later become the national anthem of Canada.
  • 1916 – Mary Pickford becomes the first female film star to sign a million-dollar contract.

Here’s Pickford in the year she signed that contract, and she has a cat!

The details: “On June 24, 1947 Kenneth Arnold claimed that he saw a string of nine, shiny unidentified flying objects flying past Mount Rainier at speeds that Arnold estimated at a minimum of 1,200 miles an hour (1,932 km/hr).”  The story gets quite complicated, but seems likely it was either a fraud or a mistake.

  • 1950 – Apartheid: In South Africa, the Group Areas Act is passed, formally segregating races.

Ironically, exactly 45 years later there was a moment of reconciliation, involving (of course) the great Nelson Mandela.

And here’s a video of the moment of victory and the presentation of the trophy. As Wikipedia says, “During the remarkable post-match presentation ceremony Nelson Mandela, wearing a Springbok jersey bearing Pienaar’s number, presented him with the Webb Ellis Cup. During his acceptance speech, Pienaar made it clear that the team had won the trophy not just for the 60,000 fans at Ellis Park, but also for all 43,000,000 South Africans.”

How long was it? Over 11 hours! From Wikipedia (my emphasis):

The match began at 6:13 pm (British Summer Time, or 17:13 UTC) on Tuesday, 22 June 2010, on Court 18 at Wimbledon. At 9:07 pm, due to the fading daylight, play was suspended before the start of the fifth set. After resuming on Wednesday, 23 June, at 2:05 pm, the record for longest match was broken at 5:45 pm. Play continued until the final set was tied at 59 games all, at which point the daylight faded again, and so play was suspended once more at 9:09 pm. Play resumed again at 3:40 pm on Thursday, 24 June, and eventually Isner won the match at 4:47 pm, the final set having lasted for 8 hours, 11 minutes.

In total, the match took 11 hours, 5 minutes of play over three days, with a final score of 6–4, 3–6, 6–7, 7–6, 70–68 for a total of 183 games. It remains, by far, the longest match in tennis history, measured both by time duration and also by number of games. The final set alone was longer than the previous record for longest match.

Here’s a 9-minute summary of the match (the end is at 2:55):

Because this is a subspecies (all Galápagos tortoises are considered members of the same species, C. nigra), it may be possible to resurrect this genetically differentiated population because individuals highly related to George’s population (perhaps discards from sailors over a century ago) have been found on Wolf Island.

Here’s a photo of Lonesome George at Galápagos National Park headquarters in 2006. He was probably 101 or 102 years old.

Here’s a photo clearly showing the partial collapse. It doesn’t seem like this happened a year ago, does it?

Da Nooz:

*The Senate passed the bipartisan gun bill, assuring it will become law. The vote was 65-33, and even Mitch “666” McConnell voted with the Dems. The stipulations:

It would enhance background checks for prospective gun buyers ages 18 to 21, requiring for the first time that juvenile records, including mental health records beginning at age 16, be vetted for potentially disqualifying material. The bill would provide incentives for states to pass “red flag” laws that allow guns to be temporarily confiscated from people deemed by a judge to be too dangerous to possess them. And it would tighten a federal ban on domestic abusers buying firearms, and strengthen laws against straw purchasing and trafficking of guns.

It also includes hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for mental health programs and to beef up security in schools.

Don’t expect the Republicans to allow tighter regulations to be passed in the future.

*I haven’t seen the January 6 hearings in Congress today, but I’ve been reading about them. And the noose is tightening around Trump’s neck. Today’s hearing apparently centered on the way Trump tried to manipulate the Department of Justice into overturning the election. This may be the straw that brings the indictment, as he apparently pressured several officials. Here’s a bad one:

Shortly before the attack on Congress, senior Justice Department officials resisted Trump’s attempt to oust the acting head of the department, Jeffrey Rosen, if Rosen didn’t agree to have the agency publicly suggest that the election results were invalid.

“The president didn’t care about actually investigating the facts,” Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), who helped lead the hearing, said Thursday. “He just wanted the Department of Justice to put its stamp of approval on the lies.”

Rosen testified Thursday that the Justice Department “held firm” against political pressure to take sides over the 2020 election results. Rosen said he told Trump that the department could not seize voting machines from the states because there was nothing wrong with the machines; Trump grew agitated.

Rosen wasn’t the only DoJ official pressured by Trump.

The GOP was dead wrong that nobody would pay attention to the hearings. It’s revelations like this one that are turning the public against Trump.

*But wait! It gets worse! The feds searched the home of Jeffrey Clark, a DoJ official whom Trump decided to designate as “acting Attorney General” in hopes that Clark would help overturn Biden’s election. Searches imply warrants and warrants could lead to charges.

Federal investigators searched the home of former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark this week, according to a person familiar with the matter, in an escalation of an inquiry into efforts by former President Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

Investigators searched Mr. Clark’s suburban Virginia home on Wednesday, said the person, who declined to say what specific items investigators were trying to obtain. The search came in advance of Thursday’s hearing by the House Jan. 6 select committee focusing on Mr. Trump’s efforts to enlist senior Justice Department officials, including the acting attorney general, into a wide-ranging effort to stop Joe Biden from becoming president.

The Justice Department is conducting its own parallel investigation of Jan. 6 separate from the House committee. The raid of Mr. Clark’s house is the clearest indication yet that prosecutors have moved beyond the violence at the Capitol itself and are examining the actions of senior officials involved in Mr. Trump’s efforts to stay in office.

I swear: Merrick Garland is going to hand down some indictments.

*In another 6-3 ruling (get used to that vote), the Supreme Court has struck down New York State’s law that a citizen who wishes to carry a concealed handgun in public must show a special need to do so. (The opinion, written by Clarence Thomas, is here. Guess who dissented!)

The 6-3 ruling, written by Justice Clarence Thomas, is the court’s first significant decision on gun rights in over a decade. In a far-reaching ruling, the court made clear that the Second Amendment’s guarantee of the right “to keep and bear arms” protects a broad right to carry a handgun outside the home for self-defense. Going forward, Thomas explained, courts should uphold gun restrictions only if there is a tradition of such regulation in U.S. history.

The state law at the heart of New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen required anyone who wants to carry a concealed handgun outside the home to show “proper cause” for the license. New York courts interpreted that phrase to require applicants to show more than a general desire to protect themselves or their property. Instead, applicants must demonstrate a special need for self-defense – for example, a pattern of physical threats. Several other states, including California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New Jersey, impose similar restrictions, as do many cities.

The lower courts upheld the New York law against a challenge from two men whose applications for concealed-carry licenses were denied. But on Thursday, the Supreme Court tossed out the law in an ideologically divided 63-page opinion.

*The NYT reports an explanation by Thomas that appears buy the widest possible interpretation of the Second Amendment:

Justice Thomas wrote that citizens may not be required to explain to the government why they sought to exercise a constitutional right.

“We know of no other constitutional right that an individual may exercise only after demonstrating to government officers some special need,” he wrote.

*From Ken:

The federal 8th Circuit Court of Appeals sitting en banc has reversed an earlier 2-1 panel decision holding that an Arkansas law requiring that state contractors pledge not to participate in the BDS boycott of Israel violates the First Amendment’s Free Speech Clause. The en banc court’s rationale is that such boycotts constitute mere “economic activity” rather than “speech.”
The decision runs contrary to a long national tradition of treating political boycotts as speech. It also seems inconsistent with the US Supreme Court’s holding in Citizens United v. FEC (2010) that spending money on political causes constitutes protected free speech.
I expect this issue may require resolution by SCOTUS.
Stay tuned.

*You know of Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, the state’s premier college (“The Buckeyes”). Well, did you know that its official name is really “The Ohio State University”, and the school just patented the word “The”? (Even the schools the Wikipedia entry is under “Ohio State University” without the article.) They need to protect their brand!

The Ohio State University has successfully trademarked the word “THE,” in a victory for the college and its branding that is sure to produce eye rolls from Michigan fans and other rivals.

Stating the full name of the school has become a point of pride for Ohio State’s athletes when introducing themselves on television during games. The three-letter article “THE” has also become an important part of the school’s merchandise and apparel.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office approved Ohio State’s application Tuesday. The trademark applies to T-shirts, baseball caps and hats.

. . .For Ohio State, the university doesn’t have an absolute right to use the word “THE” on apparel, Mr. Gerben said. There are numerous other trademark registrations that include the word “THE” in clothing as part of a phrase.

The trademark, however, could stop another party from using just the word “THE” as the name of a brand, he said.

LOL!!!  The wags immediately emerged on Twitter:

Reactions from a patent attorney:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn: Hili apparently foraged for her own wild dinner:

A: Breakfast?
Hili: I already had my breakfast on the grass, now I will have a nap.
In Polish:
Ja: Śniadanie?
Hili: Już jadłam śniadanie na trawie, teraz się prześpię.
And a photo of Szaron:


A groaner from Bruce:

From Merilee. And yes, you can buy one for your d*g:

From Gregory.  I’d ask what the Mormons had been drinking when they made this code, but they don’t drink. “BYU” is, of course, Brigham Young University.

New Israeli fighter pilots:

Irrefutable proof that rock and pop music have gone way downhill!


Really cool animal living in the skin of another. Phronima (note spelling) is a genus of deep-sea amphipod. Watch the video!

From Simon: Raptors are really good at this:

Do I have to say again that cats are smart? Remember the tweet the other day when a cat feigned a leg injury so he could get inside?

From the Auschwitz Memorial: a sad tale of escapees:

Tweets from Matthew. Sound up to hear the baby sloth:

RIP Mr./Ms. Clam! How did they now it was dead, and, most important, how do they know it died of “natural causes”?

An invasive species. How did it get here?

41 thoughts on “Friday: Hili dialogue

  1. The European paper wasp is common throughout the U.S., after having been introduced in the late ’70s – early ’80s. Probably from nests hiding in shipped goods. They are unfortunately making some of our native paper wasps more scarce because they out-compete them.

  2. I am curious about the number and political views of people watching the January 6 hearings, but afraid of asking because of the rancor of Trump followers. Normally I would take an informal poll of friends but don’t want to instigate a hate fest.

    1. Lifelong Independent here, who always seems to vote Democratic. But I’m not watching, it makes me angry all over again. Would rather just read about it. But the recaps on Trevor Noah’s (The Daily Show) are funny.

    2. 70 year old Dem here. I say go ahead and instigate the hate fest. The Trump supporters won’t admit they are wrong but they might get curious and watch some hearings. Give them time.

        1. The crown of thorns did too. But that’s very good, Ken.
          The mutilated body of Christ and the other pagan leftovers in Catholicism did not figure prominently in the imagery of Canadian Protestant Churches when I was little. Our crosses are never depicted as gory crucifixes to have nightmares about.
          But don’t feel bad for what I missed. The best part of growing up in any religious household is that, just as for Catholic kids, sex will always be dirty.

          1. The best part of growing up in any religious household is that, just as for Catholic kids, sex will always be dirty.

            Especially when it’s good. 🙂

    1. Yup, that cartoon had me puzzled for a minute. The BYU dress code contradictions are brilliant – you couldn’t make it up.

  3. The January 6 hearings will have some effect on the Republicans who are still sane, but too many of them are like Rusty Bowers, who provided powerful testimony against Trump but also stated the US Constitution was divinely inspired and that he would still vote for Trump in 2024.

    Regarding the Supreme Court–it (will) say states have total leeway in restricting or banning abortions, but have next-to-no rights concerning the concealed carry of firearms. How can those views be reconciled?

    1. I think the difference maker is that interpretations of the constitution are leading us by the nose, and thwarting what seems to many to be common sense.
      The 2nd Amendment has been long interpreted to mean that owning guns is not to be infringed upon. So SCOTUS is acting to protect part of the constitution. At least how it’s interpreted.

      Meanwhile, the right to an abortion is not addressed in the constitution. But the 14th amendment seems to bring up a relevant area: “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”. Since a human embryo is interpreted to be a human being, then it follows that abortion should be banned. A women’s autonomy is out-gunned by the right to life of a ball of cells.

      1. All laws and constitutions are just whatever judges say they are. You go up the appeal ladder until you run out of judges. We all know that last pitch was Ball Four, not Strike Three, “makes no sense”. But the batter is still out.

        I think the original commenter was just saying that for ideological reasons he wishes it were the other way round, and thinks the way it actually is is illogical or irreconcilable. What if the federal view was more restrictive and the states’ views—some of them—more liberal, as with cannabis? Ought the federal DEA view to prevail? Or should the most liberal view prevail? As long as he got what he wanted he wouldn’t worry about irreconcilability.

        Besides, it is not in principle irreconcilable in a federal system to have some domains under the exclusive control of the feds and others under the exclusive control of the states or provinces. That’s exactly what constitutions set out. Defence and immigration are federal responsibilities in Canada; health, education, and natural resources are provincial. The provinces guard their turf in these areas much more zealously against federal usurpation or encroachment than the states do, it seems to me. (In Canada, guns fall under the exclusive federal responsibility of the Criminal Code. Abortion no longer does—it’s a health matter and the provinces have no power to make it a criminal offence. They could choose not to pay for it or regulate where it can be done.)

        But all that is irrelevant popularly. People who want heavy state restriction on guns and no state restriction on abortion just want them. Ditto the opposite.

  4. Searches imply warrants and warrants could lead to charges.

    A federal search warrant application must be supported by a sworn affidavit from a federal law enforcement officer setting forth facts that establish, to the satisfaction of a federal magistrate, probable cause to believe that a federal crime has been committed and that evidence of that crime will be found at the location sought to be searched.

    Yo, Jeffrey Clark, how you livin’? Been a tough couple days in the spotlight, huh? It’s like to get worse, man.

    Yesterday’s hearing also revealed a dishonor roll of six GOP congresscritters who sought pardons in the waning days of the Trump administration. I can’t recall a sitting congressperson ever seeking a preemptive presidential pardon before; here, we have six.

    1. The real mystery here is what exactly were they looking for a Clark’s home? Surely, he’s had plenty of time to burn any phones, laptops, etc. These days, everything is in the cloud (ie, on a server controlled by a corporation) anyway. Was it done solely as a signal to the world that the DOJ is going after Trump? I know to do such a fake search would be illegal but it seems doubtful that they would get in trouble for getting electronics that don’t have anything on them.

      1. Under Fourth Amendment doctrine, to obtain the search warrant, the government had to present “fresh” information that evidence would be found at Clark’s residence — presumably that he was still in possession of the electronic devices used during the coup attempt and that data could still be retrieved from them. The whole point of the Fourth Amendment’s requirement that a “detached and neutral magistrate” sign off on a search warrant is to prevent the DoJ from using such warrants for an improper purpose.

        If Clark destroyed his devices or tried to wipe information from them, it would certainly constitute evidence of “consciousness of guilt” — and, depending on the circumstances, possibly of obstruction of justice.

        1. Sure but after a year and a half, he had plenty of time to think up plausible reasons for dumping his devices. And, as I said, emails and such are on some server these days. I’m sure you’re right that the DOJ would not jeopardize their case by using false reasons to obtain a warrant. Still, I would like to know what they were really after.

          1. And, as I said, emails and such are on some server these days.

            Wasn’t there a little fuss over someone called “Hillary Clinton” using a private mail server instead of a government one, with an implication that she was intending to hide evidence precisely like this.

            1. I doubt this will be an issue with Clark but who knows. What server is one supposed to use when planning a coup? I assume he’s been out of government since Jan. 20th, 2021 at the latest and now has email on a non-government server. I think he’s been working for some MAGA “think” tank since Trump has left office.

  5. Justice Thomas wrote that citizens may not be required to explain to the government why they sought to exercise a constitutional right.

    Except, shouldn’t they have to show membership in a well regulated militia? Come on Clarence – be consistent.

    1. One of the things I would do with a time machine is go back and explain to J. Madison that the word “regulated” is going to shift somewhat in meaning over the centuries.

      To explain, think playing music by a metronome. But instead of notes, you are taking a series of actions to load and fire a musket or rifle.
      Priming and loading consisted of 15 individual motions, done in a particular order. Then, there is a whole sequence of actions to position ranks forward to firing position, and actually firing.
      I shoot those sorts of guns frequently, and it really takes practice to do it safely and accurately. Doing those drills when someone is shooting cannons at you or charging you with bayonets is much harder.
      A survey of weapons recovered at Gettysburg revealed that half had been loaded more than once, and some had been loaded multiple times. That indicates troops out of regulation, to the point where they just keep putting powder, wadding and shot into the muzzles of their rifles, but neglecting to fire. When one does try to fire one of those, it is very likely to blow up in your face.

      Well regulated militia members would be able to perform the motions required with consistent accuracy and timing.
      If you walked into a shop in 1790, and asked if you could buy a regulator, the proprietor would be a clock maker, or an agent for one, and the regulator itself would be a clock capable of keeping very accurate time.

      1. I’ll admit that I haven’t researched it, but I’m guessing “regulated” had a meaning that varied depending on the context back in those days, just like it does now. I’m also guessing it had nothing to do with time when applied to “militia”. Do you have any references to back up your interpretation?

        1. My Dad is a PHD of Military History, and I grew up with this understanding. As for the count of actions, the come from the Drill Manual in use at the time. Here is one condensed version-

          That is an excerpt from the “Regulations for the order and discipline of the troops of the United States”
          Regulation in 1780 was a noun of action, meaning “state of being reduced to order”. As an adjective, “having a fixed pattern; in accord with a rule or standard”

          Hamilton wrote in “Federalist 29” about the balance of priorities that would enable (White male) citizens “to acquire the degree of perfection which would entitle them to the character of a well-regulated militia”, without disrupting their day to day duties.

          From experience, learning the drill manual is about doing the steps “on the time”. You start very slow, and build up speed and accuracy. All of the steps to prepare a muzzle loading rifle to fire take time. It is most effective to fire by ranks, to cover the enemy with regular and consistent fire. That means as the front rank is firing, other ranks are in the process of reloading, and will be expected to be ready upon the order to step to the right between the front ranks and fire, simultaneously. It can only work when ranks come close to a metronome-like precision in performing the various steps.

          1. Sure, those things you mention can be accommodated in “regulated”, but so can the idea that the militia, having been properly trained, are not to give their weapons to the untrained general public. Any proper militia has a list of regulations. One important one is not to give your weapon to others who are untrained and not in the militia. I would be really surprised that there exists any militia regulations that says nothing about this.

            There’s nothing here about everyone being in the militia. The use of the word assumes that it isn’t the entire population, just the militia. If they meant for everyone to be in the militia, they would have said “people”, as in “We the people”. If they meant for everyone to be “regulated”, they would have said so.

            The idea that our current situation is what the framers had in mind is a joke.

            1. They did not say that the right of “militia members” to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed. Or even “citizens”. They used the phrase “the people”.

              I was not attempting a general debate on the 2nd amendment, just addressing the changing nature of “regulated”

              As far as membership, the law uses the phrase.

              “The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age…”

              George Mason, one of the framers of the Constitution stated that the militia is “the whole people, except for a few public officials.”. That is what he had in mind. There are similar sentiments expressed by many of the framers, as the issue was discussed and debated endlessly, and transcribed.

  6. I was listening to NPR yesterday, and they were running the Jan 6 hearings. The testimony described several examples of allegations of massive voter fraud. This included the claims that the Dominion voting machines had a high error rate, and that a semi truck with ballots from New York had been transported to the swing state of Pennsylvania. These and other claims are apparently widely discussed allegations in conservative news media, and are held as gospel truth by a significant % of people on the right.
    Of course the testimony explained how these allegations are baseless, but that Trump seized on them as particular reasons to put massive pressure on officials to declare the election was stolen.
    I don’t know what others have encountered, but I for one had not heard of these particular allegations in much detail from the middle-of-the-road news media that I listen to and read. To me, they were largely silent about it.

    1. Let’s not forget the Italian satellites that flipped votes on Dominion machines from Trump to Biden, or the Chinese-manufactured thermostats installed at polling places that did the same.

      Trump chief-of-staff Mark Meadows sent Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe on a wild goose chase as to the latter, and forwarded the top two officials at the Justice Dept. a wacko YouTube video on the former.

      As Trump-appointed acting Deputy AG Richard Donoghue succinctly summed up the Meadows video to Trump-appointed acting AG Jeffrey Rosen after they watched it: “Pure insanity.”

      1. Insanity, yes, but effective in motivating the base of the Republican Party. We are making a big mistake in assuming that rational discourse will have any effect on it. The grievances of the Trumpists are too deep and permanent to give us any hope that the growing authoritarian nature of the Republican Party will swing back closer to the center anytime soon.

        1. I’ve been saying since 2015 when Trump shot to the top of the early polls preceding the Republican primaries that Trump will eventually tear the GOP apart. I think that’s still true.

          Even though almost all Republican officeholders secretly (and, increasingly, some not-so-secretly) wish the Party would move on to a post-Trump phase, Trump himself may feel he has to run for president in 2024 to have a platform from which to fight or fend off a criminal indictment (especially since it doesn’t look like he’ll be getting back on Twitter any time soon). If Trump is denied the Party’s presidential nomination in 2024, he will not go gentle into that good night. He will take his deadenders with him and cleave the GOP in two.

          Trump is hardly a life-long loyal Republican. He had to be cajoled into signing the primary candidates’ “loyalty pledge” in 2016. He wasn’t even a registered Republican until he decided that that was the party more likely to be duped into nominating him for president. Before that, Trump would spread his campaign donations around between Republicans and Democrats — or anyone else he thought might be able to help him fix a business problem down the road. He was also a regular on Howard Stern’s shock-jock radio show who — when he wasn’t bragging about what a great rack is elder daughter has — would babble about being in favor of gun control and third-trimester abortions.

  7. And please don’t anybody pronounce them prayleens. Down South nothing will get you branded a Yankee troublemaker.faster.than that.

  8. I swear: Merrick Garland is going to hand down some indictments.

    Under the Fifth Amendment’s “presentment” clause, it’s grand juries that hand-up indictments. But, yeah, I suspect prosecutors in Uncle Merrick’s DoJ will be asking grand juries to do so. There appear to be a whole lotta folks in Trump World who, as Citizen Cope would put it, what they done is, put themselves between a bullet and a target.

  9. Very bad news: Roe v. Wade has been overturned by the Supreme Court.

    And more bad news are following: Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that other cases should be looked at in the future: Griswold v. Connecticut, which secured the right to contraceptives; Lawrence v. Texas, which decriminalized consensual homosexual sex; and Obergefell v. Hodges, which established the right to same-sex marriage.


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