Friday: Hili dialogue

July 1, 2022 • 6:30 am

It’s Friday, July 1, 2022, and the end of work today (many will leave early) will mark the beginning of a three-day holiday, for July 4 is American Independence Day (see below).  It’s also National Gingersnap Day, and July marks these food months:

National Baked Bean Month
National Culinary Arts Month
National Hot Dog Month
National Ice Cream Month
National Picnic Month
National Pickle Month

That’s a good passel of months: not a dog in the lot (except for the hot dog, a culinary specialty of Chicago). It’s also Bobby Bonilla Day (see here), Canada Day, (in Canada, of course), International Tartan Day, International Chicken Wing Day (I prefer thighs), International Reggae Day, and Second Half of the New Year Day (today’s the 182nd day of 2022, so we’re halfway done).

Stuff that happened on July 1 includes this:

  • 1770 – Lexell’s Comet is seen closer to the Earth than any other comet in recorded history, approaching to a distance of 0.0146 astronomical units (2,180,000 km; 1,360,000 mi).

Here’s a 1½-minute video about the comet:

Here’s the first page of the back-to-back publication, a way of avoiding a priority fight over who thought of natural selection. You can read both papers here.

And a relevant tweet (from Matthew); read the sentence.

The Confederates lost, of course in what is considered to be the turning point of the Civil War. On November 19 of that year, Lincoln gave the famous Gettysburg Address, one of the finest pieces of American rhetoric. And there’s a photo! Here it is, and I’ve circled Old Abe. The Wikipedia caption is below it. But how could those people hear him?  There were no microphones.

You can read the text of the Address here; there are five copies of the speech in Lincoln’s hand, and we’re not sure which one he delivered.

(From Wikipedia): One of the two confirmed photos of Lincoln[1][2][3] (center, facing camera) at Gettysburg, taken about noon, just after he arrived and some three hours before his speech. To his right is his bodyguard, Ward Hill Lamon.

Here it is, and it had the QWERTY keyboard. Unfortunately, it could produce only capital letters and wasn’t popular at first. But then typewriters caught on, and the rest is history, though almost none of them are used any more.

One of the units of the U.S. Army, the “rough riders”, or !st Volunteer Cavalry, was led by Theodore Roosevelt. It was a victory for the Americans, but a bloody one. Roosevelt became famous (and later President), and was posthumously awarded a Medal of Honor for his deeds. Here’s a cropped photo showing Roosevelt (I’ve circled him) and the Cavalry:

Here’s the plane Wintgens used in his victory, and then a photo of him decorated for eight victories in the air:

Here’s a map of the connection between the Atlantic Ocean and the Great Lakes, with the St. Lawrence Seaway in the purple box:

Wikipedia describes the origin of the name:

The term ZIP is an acronym for Zone Improvement Plan; it was chosen to suggest that the mail travels more efficiently and quickly (zipping along) when senders use the code in the postal address. The term ZIP Code was originally registered as a service mark by the USPS; its registration expired in 1997.

  • 1963 – The British Government admits that former diplomat Kim Philby had worked as a Soviet agent.

Philby (below) defected to Moscow in 1963, worked for the KGB for a while, and died in 1988. Here’s a photo and his grave in Kuntsevo Cemetery, Moscow:

  • 1979 – Sony introduces the Walkman.

Here’s the original Walkman, a TPS-L2 model. Did you have one of these devices? (I didn’t but don’t know why.)


Here’s a bilingual version of the song in which Canadians extol what they like about their country:

  • 1990 – German reunification: East Germany accepts the Deutsche Mark as its currency, thus uniting the economies of East and West Germany.
  • 1999 – The Scottish Parliament is officially opened by Elizabeth II on the day that legislative powers are officially transferred from the old Scottish Office in London to the new devolved Scottish Executive in Edinburgh. In Wales, the powers of the Welsh Secretary are transferred to the National Assembly.

Here’s the official opening of the Parliament. Lots of ceremony, which I like, and lots of kilts!

That reminds me of a kilt joke:

A shifty-looking guy in a kilt walks into a London pub. He orders a pint and very very carefully puts down the plastic bag he is carrying.
The bartender asks “What’s that?”
The guy answers “6 pounds of explosives”
“Thank God for that” says the barman, “I thought it might be bagpipes.”
  • 2007 – Smoking in England is banned in all public indoor spaces.

Da Nooz:

*Crikey, another damn 6-3 Supreme Court vote against reality. Reader Ken let me know:

The Court handed down its decision in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency today, sharply restricting the EPA’s authority to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.

You can access the majority, concurring, and dissenting opinions here.

Here are the live updates from the NYT (click on screenshot to read):

An excerpt:

The Supreme Court on Thursday limited the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate carbon emissions from power plants, dealing a blow to the Biden administration’s efforts to address climate change.

The vote was 6 to 3, with the court’s three liberal justices in dissent, saying that the majority had stripped the E.P.A. of “the power to respond to the most pressing environmental challenge of our time.”

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., writing for the majority, only glancingly alluded to the harms caused by climate change. Justice Elena Kagan began her dissent with a long passage detailing the devastation the planet faces, including hurricanes, floods, famines, coastal erosion, mass migration and political crises.

The question in the case, Chief Justice Roberts wrote, turned on the scope of the language of the Clean Air Act. Under it, he wrote, Congress had not clearly given the agency sweeping authority to regulate the energy industry.

And now Congress can’t do that because legislation won’t pass without some R*p*bl*c*n approval! Trump may be gone, but his legacy is the new Supreme Court, which will destroy this Republic. 6-3 vote by 6-3 vote.

*The good news is that Ketanji Brown Jackson has been sworn in as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. The neutral news is that she’s replacing liberal Stephen Breyer, so the votes will still be 6-3. More good news is that this is the first time four women have ever served simultaneously on the Supreme Court. The horrible news is that one of them is Amy Coney Barrett. But even if she (or any conservative on the bench) were replaced by a rational and liberal Justice, the vote would still be 5-4.

Oh well, have a nice photo:

(from WaPo) Justice Stephen G. Breyer poses with his replacement, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, in a photo released by the Supreme Court on June 30. (Supreme Court/AFP/Getty Images)

*On the other hand (knock me over with a feather!), the Supreme Court just sided with a Biden Administration decision: his decision to end Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy—a policy that forced asylum seekers arriving at our Southern border to wait in Mexico while their cases were considered. From the NYT:

The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a challenge to the Biden administration’s efforts to end a Trump-era immigration program that forces asylum seekers arriving at the southwestern border to await approval in Mexico.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote the majority opinion, joined by Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh and the court’s three liberal members. Justice Amy Coney Barrett agreed with much of the chief justice’s analysis.

The challenged program, known commonly as Remain in Mexico and formally as the Migrant Protection Protocols, applies to people who left a third country and traveled through Mexico to reach the U.S. border. After the policy was put in place at the beginning of 2019, tens of thousands of people waited in unsanitary tent encampments for immigration hearings. There have been widespread reports of sexual assault, kidnapping and torture.

Soon after he took office, President Biden sought to end the program. Texas and Missouri sued, and lower courts reinstated it, ruling that federal immigration laws require returning immigrants who arrive by land and who cannot be detained while their cases are heard.

How is it possible that Kavanaugh, Barrett, and Roberts could join the three liberal justices? Don’t tell me that the conservatives are going to split sometimes and vote with the liberal Justices?

*The Wall Street Journal reports that Biden now endorses making an exception to the Senate’s filibuster rule, which requires 60 votes to stop debate on a bill and bring it to a vote. This requirement prevents the Senate from approving nearly all Democratic legislation. (If it were overruled, and Dems voted as a bloc, there would be a 50/50 tie which would be broken by the vote of our Democratic Vice President.)

What Biden has in mind is a new Congressional law that will reinstate the Roe v. Wade situation:

President Biden endorsed making an exception to filibuster rules to pass legislation codifying Roe v. Wade into law, an effort that would face obstacles because of key Democrats’ opposition to the move.

“The most important thing to be clear about is we have to codify Roe v. Wade into law and the way to do that is to make sure Congress votes to do that,” Mr. Biden told reporters during a press conference in Spain. “And if the filibuster gets in the way, it’s like voting rights, it should be provided an exception for this…to the filibuster.”

Changing the filibuster rules of the Senate would allow legislation protecting abortion access to pass the chamber with 51 votes rather than the 60 votes usually required for bills to advance. Mr. Biden had previously backed an exception to filibuster rules to pass long-stalled election bills. It was the first time that the president publicly backed changing the filibuster rules to pass legislation codifying Roe v. Wade into law.

The filibuster could be changed with a simple majority vote, but not all Democrats in the 50-50 Senate are on board with such a move, saying it would fundamentally change the nature of the Senate and could backfire if the GOP takes control of the chamber.

The problem is that two Democratic Senators, Sinema and Manchin, oppose overturning the filibuster rule, so the Dems won’t get the 50/50 vote they need to get pro-choice legislation moving. In other words, two Senators are all that stands between the horrible situation just created by the Supreme Court and reinstating the Roe v. Wade principles as a federal law that applies in all states.

*Finally, a bit of humor to leaven all the anxiety. The AP reports that Putin, famous for riding not bareback but barechested, has created a “Chestgate” situation by mocking those Western leaders who laughed at his half-naked riding. He was stung by remarks by Justin Trudeau and Boris Johnson at the G7 summit.

Russian President Vladimir Putin shot back at Western leaders who mocked his athletic exploits, saying they would look “disgusting” if they tried to emulate his bare-torso appearances.

Putin made the comment during a visit to Turkmenistan early Thursday when asked about Western leaders joking about him at the G7 summit.

As they sat down for talks, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson jested that G7 leaders could take their clothes off to “show that we’re tougher than Putin” amid Russia-West tensions over Moscow’s military action in Ukraine.

Canadian premier Justin Trudeau joked that Western leaders could try to match Putin’s naked torso pictures with a “bare-chested horseback riding display,” one of his widely publicized athletic adventures.

Speaking to reporters, Putin retorted that, unlike him, Western leaders abuse alcohol and don’t do sports.

“I don’t know how they wanted to get undressed, above or below the waist,” he said. ”“But I think it would be a disgusting sight in any case.”

He noted that to look good “it’s necessary to stop abusing alcohol and other bad habits, do physical exercise and take part in sports.”

Putin looks a bit soft in the tum in this photo, though:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is being the prima donna:
Me: Are you laying here?
Hili: Yes, I’m devoted to considering beauty.

In Polish:

Ja: Tu leżysz?
Hili: Tak, poświęcam się rozważaniem na temat urody.


A cartoon from Private Eye sent in by Matthew:

From Bruce:

And a Frank and Ernest cartoon by Bob Thaves, sent in by reader Tom:


I found this tweet, and you will not regret watching it!

The real Twitter account of God is BACK and I’m putting up two excellent new tweets:


Reader Scott found a fantastic Twitter site: “Why you should have a duck,” and here’s one specimen. No ducks were harmed in the making of this video!


From Simon, who says, “This is cute—so long as Mom doesn’t object.” Oh to be that guy! (Sound on.)

And an unusual form of art, also sent by Simon. Too bad it’s ephemeral.

From the Auschwitz Memorial: (via a retweeter):

Tweets from Matthew. Does this one represent “English Life”?

The origin of a meme? Watch a gif of the tweet here; Matthew says it comes from a 1922 Charlie Chaplin movie called Pay Day.

30 thoughts on “Friday: Hili dialogue

  1. The president is granted considerable power to regulate entry across our borders. In particular there is this language: “He shall have the power and duty to control and guard the boundaries and borders of the United States against the illegal entry of aliens …” which means that Trump could instate the Remain in Mexico policy, but Biden can cancel it.
    It is politically brave and humane for President Biden to end the Trump era policy, bc it will mean a flood of immigrants into our detention centers (but away from the rampant abuses they suffered in Mexico). But it will also provide yet more fuel to anti-immigration politics.

  2. Apropos the cow in Cambridge, there are several open green spaces along the River Cam where medieval grazing rights are still exercised, including Midsummer Common and Coe Fen in the centre of the city. It’s not unusual to see cattle if you’re walking along the river.

    I doubt that similar arrangements exist in other English cities. Having said that, I lived in east London in the early 1990s, in one of the outer suburbs a mile or two from the southern edge of Epping Forest, an expanse of ancient woodland where medieval grazing rights also survive. On a couple of occasions, a herd of cows that had somehow escaped from Epping Forest (despite the cattle grids) ambled down my street, stopping to nibble on plants in peoples’ gardens, before discovering that the street was a dead end and ambling back.

  3. A federal law to enshrine abortion rights would almost surely be ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. It is not interstate commerce. Even liberal judges would conclude that the federal government has no jurisdiction. So probably not a good battle to end the filibuster on, Especially as the next Congress will have all sorts of nutty laws and the filibuster may be needed by the good guys.

    Maybe Roberts and Kavanaugh sided with the liberals on the Remain in Mexico ruling to stick it to democratic candidates who wanted to run for re-election without this issue pending. Is that too cynical?

    1. I agree that legislation protecting a right to abortion would be just as vulnerable as Roe v Wade has proven to be. The argument that Roe v Wade was, tactically, a bad way to protect abortion rights and that the Democratic party should have long since passed legislation to protect abortion rights has always seemed naïve to me.

      If the DP had ever been able to pass such legislation through both houses and make it law, as soon as the RP had both houses they would have killed it. And the RP has had a clear majority in both houses, or close enough to block legislation via unscrupulous tactics, for the majority of the past 30+ years. Same applies now, except worse. Say the DP gets abortion rights legislation passed now and then the RP gains majorities in both Houses and kills it. In the past it’s possible that the SC may have found the RP abortion-rights-killing legislation unconstitutional. No chance of that with this SC.

      If the RP wins majorities in both houses this next election cycle things will get much worse than what we are seeing right now. They’ll have control of the law making branch of government and the organ that is supposed to be a check and balance on the law maker’s.

      When it was happening I couldn’t believe that Obama, and the DP, allowed the RP to get away with blocking his SC nominee without at least trying some “dirty tricks” of their own. I’d like an explanation for why he / they apparently didn’t understand the importance of that issue when so many other people did, or why they did understand and yet decided to grin and bear it anyway. Just one more instance of the DP choosing decorum over possibly getting dirty in a fight to counter precedent / rule breaking tactics by the RP. If they had tried and succeeded many things may have worked out differently than they have, besides simply changing the balance of the SC by 1.

    2. A federal law to enshrine abortion rights would almost surely be ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. It is not interstate commerce.

      Were Republicans to regain control of congress and the presidency in 2024 and pass federal legislation outlawing abortion nationally, do you think the Court as currently constituted would find similar Commerce Clause infirmities in the legislation?

      I do not think the nation can long endure with half the states respecting women’s reproductive freedom and half the states not. (I should think rightwingers agree: they believe abortion is murder; imagine the chaos that would ensue if half the states outlawed murder and half did not, if a perpetrator could cross state lines to murder a victim then return with impunity.)

      To quote Honest Abe quoting Mark 3:25, a house divided against itself cannot stand.

      1. I suspect the red states will follow Europe and allow abortion up to 12-15 weeks, whereas blue states will probably allow abortion until the umbilical cord is cut.

        1. Have you some basis for these suspicions?

          They sound baseless to me. Red states with trigger laws have made (or are in the process of making) all abortions illegal. And Mississippi, which had a 15-week ban in place, went out of its way in its briefs in Dobbs to ask SCOTUS to go beyond trying merely to uphold its 15-week law, and instead sought and succeeded in having the Court overrule Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey completely, thereby allowing it to ban all abortions.

          Also, blue states have always been free to set more liberal abortion laws than required by Roe and Casey, since those cases merely set the constitutional minima, not the ceiling, yet none did. Why would they seek now to “allow abortion until the umbilical cord is cut” (in your words) when not one of them ever did so before, when the right to abortion was constitutionally guaranteed?

          If you think this issue through, those claims make no sense.

          1. The abortion laws in California and New York allow abortion after 24 weeks to protect the life or health of the mother. New York specifically says health includes mental health. Massachusetts allows abortion after 24 weeks for health also but has language that says the doctor must be satisfied that the threat to health is grave.

            You can get through the health loopholes in California and New York with the all-purpose diagnosis of reactive depression of pregnancy. This was the diagnosis given on every single application to the hospital therapeutic abortion committee I sat on as a student (non-voting) observer back when TACs were required under Canada’s then-extant life-or-health law. Never once was this diagnosis questioned or vetted and every single application was approved without discussion. All were first-trimester applications. (Hospitals with different cultures may have taken a different approach including not doing abortions at all.)

            Whether they know it or not, women in those two states can have abortion on demand up to birth alive if they can find someone willing to do it. The more advanced the pregnancy, the less willing the doctor will be.

            In Massachusetts, the “grave” threat to health after 24 weeks is intended to force the doctor to be prepared to do some ‘splainin’ at the licensing regulator. Presumably if the woman says she is thinking about suicide (or homicide against the father), the doc would be covered although the usual local standard of care would govern. NARAL doesn’t like the Massachusetts law because it puts too many barriers in the way of late-term abortions.

            Any state that allows a health exemption after 24 weeks is in effect allowing abortion on demand up until live birth. Health is all-encompassing and is whatever a doctor and a patient say it is.

            It is true that the Red states are moving in the direction of banning abortion entirely, as Louisiana did, and not in a European direction.

            1. My point, Leslie, was that there is no reason to believe (as Lysander suggested) that the Dobbs decision will result in blue states liberalizing their abortion laws because the cases Dobbs overruled — Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey — placed no restrictions on when states could allow abortions, only upon when states were forbidden from preventing women from obtaining abortions. No state currently allows elective abortions purely as a form of birth control “until the umbilical cord is cut” as it stands, and (pace Lysander) the Dobbs decision provides no incentive for states to do so in the future.

              Third-trimester abortions are extremely rare in the United States and invariably involve tragic circumstances. I trust women and their doctors to reach the right decisions in such circumstances. I don’t believe that women are requesting, or that obstetricians are recommending, that women wait until the very last minute to have an abortion as a matter of convenience. If there are abuses that occasionally occur, I think they can be dealt with by state regulatory and medical-licensing agencies. The criminal justice system is almost always too blunt an instrument to employ in such cases.

              1. OK, I see your point, Ken. It is wishful thinking to imagine that Red states will liberalize their abortion laws merely because there is no longer a constitutional impediment to passing restrictive laws. Although perhaps (here I relapse to wishful thinking) when they see what God hath wrought, they might eventually decide it’s time to second-guess him.

                What I’m going to do is try to find out when the liberal states liberalized their laws. Presumably abortion must have been illegal everywhere at one point, then by 1973 must have been legal to some extent in some states, not in others. (I think you said NY relaxed it’s law in 1970?). So did liberal states become even more liberal after Roe to go with the Zeitgeist, or if they were already as liberal as Roe and later Dobbs set out, did they remain static after the decisions which were irrelevant to their own law?

              2. Here is some evidence: blue states have already started liberalizing their abortion laws.

                The new law, signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday, safeguards rights laid out in Roe v. Wade and other court rulings, including a provision permitting late-term abortions when a woman’s health is endangered, The Associated Press reports. The state’s previous law, which had been on the books for nearly 50 years, only permitted abortions after 24 weeks of pregnancy if a woman’s life was at risk.

                Supporters said the election of President Donald Trump and the nomination of conservative justices helped galvanize efforts to pass this law.


  4. > Changing the filibuster rules of the Senate would allow legislation […] to pass the chamber with 51 votes rather than the 60 votes

    And it will also allow the other side to do the exact same thing the next time they have a majority without holding a supermajority. Any tool one side implements (or breaks), the other side will abuse, too. It’s the Law of Unintended Consequences, and people keep forgetting about it.

    1. Why is it so important to have a uniform abortion law throughout the U.S.? Why not let red states have more restrictive laws and blue states less restrictive? Why try to force it? Why not let things evolve with public opinion?

      1. That’s precisely the same argument that was made about slavery before the Civil War, about women’s suffrage before ratification of the 19th Amendment, about Jim Crow before passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, about anti-miscegenation laws before Loving v. Virginia, and about same-sex marriage before Obergefell v. Hodges.

        Do you think those latter two cases were wrongly decided and should be reversed now?

        1. Eventually something along these lines will be realized in most red states. It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen.

          Republican Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin will pursue a ban on most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, his office said Friday, making immediate use of the Supreme Court’s decision to grant states the right to regulate abortion access.

          “Virginians elected a pro-life governor and he supports finding consensus on legislation. He has tapped Senator Siobhan Dunnavant, Senator Steve Newman, Delegate Kathy Byron and Delegate Margaret Ransone to do so and prioritize protecting life when babies begin to feel pain in the womb, including a 15-week threshold,” Youngkin spokesperson Macaulay Porter said in a statement.

          1. Democrats control the senate in the Virginia legislature, and Joe Biden carried the state in the 2020 by 10+ points. Youngkin won a surprise victory for governor in the last election when incumbent Democrat Terry McAuliffe stepped on his dick during the 2021 campaign — all of which is to say, Virginia is hardly a bellwether Republican state.

            I certainly hope you’re right about red states and legalized abortions, but see little reason to share such optimism. In any event, in the meantime, in states that have banned abortion, women with unwanted pregnancies — particularly impecunious women who cannot afford to travel out-of-state — will suffer gravely.

        2. That is a very good point.
          Lysander also make a worthwhile reference further up in the comments, about Europe, which could be expanded to the whole developed world. There does not seem to be much of an international consensus on abortion rights, in contrast with the other issues you mentioned.

          1. True, but there was no consensus about the other issues either — in this country, or around the globe — until the events/court decisions I referenced helped advance and/or establish that consensus.

            1. I find that weird eg it says the Netherlands only legalised abortion in the eighties, but I remember Belgian girls going to the Netherlabds for abortion in the early seventies, because it was legal there.
              Am I missing something?

              1. I don’t know. Progressive loosening of the law to improve access? You could say Canada legalized abortion in 1969 because from that year on anyone who wanted an abortion could get one if they were willing to jump through a hoop or two. The Law of the Hoops was overturned by our Supreme Court in 1988. Maybe something similar happened in Holland.

              2. My first guess would be that in the 70s it was not yet legal, but was no longer prosecuted, and was only made legal in the 80s. Many countries have seen a similar development with marijuana use.

    2. Given the current situation post Dobbs, it seems to me that the best approach would be to (attempt to) pass minimalist legislation on the national level, i.e. legal abortion access in the first few weeks (perhaps 12?) in cases of rape, incest, danger to the life of the mother and severe child impairment, and to leave further liberalisation to the states. Whether such an approach might get enough votes, I don’t know.

  5. I got a walkman in the mid of eighties as I was about 13/14 years old but I did not use it often. This may also have something to do with the fact that I did not have any particular taste in music at the time and listened more to the radio.

  6. That reminds me of a kilt joke:

    A shifty-looking guy in a kilt walks into a London pub. He orders a pint and very very carefully puts down the plastic bag he is carrying.
    The bartender asks “What’s that?”
    The guy answers “6 pounds of explosives”
    “Thank God for that” says the barman, “I thought it might be bagpipes.”

    Yeah, that one absolutely had them rolling in the aisles up here when the news of Harry Stanley’s murder was making headlines. Needless to say, the murderers got away without punishment.
    Be very careful trying that one north of the border.

    1. I thought for a moment that you were going to regale us with the fine old kilt joke that ends “Aye, and if ye do it again, lassie, you’ll find it’s grew some more!”

    2. That was 23 years ago. I think we can laugh at jokes about Scots with bags of pipes now.

      1. Apropos of bagpipes, I recall an anecdote resulting from the institution of bagpipes into Carnegie Tech, founded by Scotsman Andrew Carnegie. In 1900, he donated $1 million for the creation of a “technical institute for the city of Pittsburgh, envisioning a school where working-class men and women of Pittsburgh could learn practical skills, trades and crafts that would enhance their careers, lives and communities”. While piping might be a ‘craft’ to enhance careers, it was not introduced there until 1939. It has been said that Andrew had left Scotland specifically to avoid the din of bagpipes.

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