Tuesday: Hili dialogue

July 12, 2022 • 6:30 am

Welcome to The Cruelest Day: Tuesday, July 12, 2022: National Pecan Pie Day. This is one of the best indigenous American desserts, and near the top of the Pantheon of All Pies. But never buy a pecan pie in which the nuts form a thin layer over a filling of tooth-aching sweet goo. That’s a cheap pie in which they’ve stinted on the nuts. The nuts should be distributed throughout the filling, like this:


It’s also National Jerky Day, National Peanut Butter Cookie Day, Loving Day (see below under 1967), World Day against Child Labor, and Race Unity Day.

Stuff that happened on July 12 includes:

Henry died and she remarried, but died soon thereafter in childbirth—at age 36. Here’s a portrait:

This is the voyage on which he was killed in a battle with the locals in Hawaii in 1779. The map below shows the voyage out until his death in red, and the voyage back in blue, with two captains replacing Cook. (The loot they collected was sent overland from the Kamchatka Peninsula.)

There’s one for each branch of the service (below), and 19 people have won it twice.

I met one MoH winner in my life: Lew Millett, an Army buddy of my dad. Millett (1920-2009) got his medal for leading the last major American bayonet charge; it was in the Korean war.

Here’s Wikipedia’s description of Millett’s actions and a photo, which is as I remember him (though he was a bit younger):

By February 7, 1951, Millett was serving in South Korea as a captain and commander of Company E of the 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment. On that day, near Soam-Ni, he led his company in an assault on an enemy position atop Hill 180 near Anyang. When one platoon became pinned down by heavy fire, Millett took another platoon forward, joined the two groups, and led them up the hill. Wielding his bayonet and throwing hand grenades, Millett yelled encouragement to his soldiers throughout the hand to hand fight. Upon reaching the top of the hill, his men stormed the enemy position and forced the opposing soldiers to withdraw. Although wounded in the shin by grenade fragments, Millett refused to be evacuated until the position was secured.  Historian S.L.A. Marshall described the attack as “the most complete bayonet charge by American troops since [the Battle of Cold Harbor]”. Out of about 50 enemy dead, roughly 20 were found to have been killed by bayonets, and the location subsequently became known as Bayonet Hill.

Retired Army Colonel (COL) Lewis Millett, a Korean War Medal of Honor recipient, salutes the flag at a memorial service commemorating the charge he led up Bayonet Hill in 1951. The service is being held during the joint U.S/South Korean Exercise TEAM SPIRIT ’85.
  • 1962 – The Rolling Stones perform for the first time at London’s Marquee Club.
  • 1963 – Pauline Reade, 16, disappears in Gorton, England, the first victim in the Moors murders.

The perps, Ian Brady and Myra Hindley (below), killed five kids between 10 an 17 around Manchester, England. They were both given a “whole life order” (British words for “life without parole.” Bradey died in an asylum in 2017, Hindley died in prison in 2002.

  • 1975 – São Tomé and Príncipe declare independence from Portugal.  I doubt I’ll ever go back to São Tomé; my fly work there is done. But it’s a lovely island.

Da Nooz:

*Well, the NYT doesn’t pull any punches with this headline (click to read):

An excerpt:

President Biden is facing an alarming level of doubt from inside his own party, with 64 percent of Democratic voters saying they would prefer a new standard-bearer in the 2024 presidential campaign, according to a New York Times/Siena College poll, as voters nationwide have soured on his leadership, giving him a meager 33 percent job-approval rating.

Widespread concerns about the economy and inflation have helped turn the national mood decidedly dark, both on Mr. Biden and the trajectory of the nation. More than three-quarters of registered voters see the United States moving in the wrong direction, a pervasive sense of pessimism that spans every corner of the country, every age range and racial group, cities, suburbs and rural areas, as well as both political parties.

Only 13 percent of American voters said the nation was on the right track — the lowest point in Times polling since the depths of the financial crisis more than a decade ago.

. . .For Mr. Biden, that bleak national outlook has pushed his job approval rating to a perilously low point. Republican opposition is predictably overwhelming, but more than two-thirds of independents also now disapprove of the president’s performance, and nearly half disapprove strongly. Among fellow Democrats his approval rating stands at 70 percent, a relatively low figure for a president, especially heading into the 2022 midterms when Mr. Biden needs to rally Democrats to the polls to maintain control of Congress.

. . . In a sign of deep vulnerability and of unease among what is supposed to be his political base, only 26 percent of Democratic voters said the party should renominate him in 2024.

Mr. Biden has said repeatedly that he intends to run for re-election in 2024

We be in big trouble!

*Speaking of big trouble, Steve Bannon is in it. Last year, when he refused to testify before the January 6 committee, the House voted to hold him in criminal contempt of Congress. He was indicted on two counts by a federal grand jury and faces two years in prison. Bannon’s trial is set to begin next week.

In an effort to somehow exculpate himself, Bannon’s lawyers are now asking for the trial to be delayed. But according to the Washington Post, a judge has refused this request: it’s simply too late for the odious Bannon:

A federal judge on Monday refused to delay Stephen K. Bannon’s trial next week after the Justice Department called an offer by the former Trump aide to testify before the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection a “last-ditch attempt to avoid accountability” on charges of criminal contempt of Congress.

“I see no reason for extending this case any longer,” U.S. District Judge Carl J. Nichols said after a hearing in which he rejected a host of Bannon’s defenses — including claims that Bannon thought his appearance was covered by executive privilege. The judge narrowed Bannon’s defenses at trial mainly to whether he understood the deadlines for answering the House’s demands to appear and to produce documents.

“While I am certainly cognizant of Mr. Bannon’s concerns regarding publicity, in my view the correct mechanism at this time for addressing that concern is through the [jury selection] process,” Nichols said, adding that he found it “unlikely” the court would be unable to find unbiased jurors.

. . . It would set “a bad precedent” and reward another kind of “contempt and obstruction” to allow Bannon to defy the committee, trigger a Justice Department criminal prosecution and occupy a federal court’s docket only to say on the eve of trial, “Actually, I will comply now” in hopes of dismissing his criminal case, Gaston said.

Gaston and Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda R. Vaughn added in a written filing, “The Defendant’s purported desire to testify now does not erase his past contempt.”

I love that last sentence—short and sweet!

*Most Americans have heard ads, or read at the end of newspaper articles about someone who killed themselves, about the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. It’s a great resource, connecting the desperate to trained and sympathetic listeners. But the Wall Street Journal reports that one in six calls to that number (800-273-8255 for another week, operating 24 hours a day), ended without the caller reaching a counselor. That could potentially mean a lot of lives ended that could have been saved. (Some people, however, just hung up.) Note the new number 988 below:

Health officials preparing to broaden the reach of a national mental-health crisis line are working to strengthen an overstretched network of call centers that didn’t connect with about one in six callers in recent years, a Wall Street Journal data review showed.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline will transition on July 16 to a three-digit number for calls and texts, 988, from a 10-digit number that has operated since 2005 in coordination with local crisis centers. The line’s operators, including the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the nonprofit Vibrant Emotional Health, said they expect an increase in calls to the shorter and more memorable 988 number during the next year. Stress, suffering and disruption of routines during the pandemic has worsened many people’s mental health, clinicians have said.

The network of about 200 call centers that answers calls to the line is already under some strain. Some 1.5 million of 9.2 million calls between 2016 and 2021 were abandoned by callers or disconnected before a counselor could respond, according to data provided by Vibrant and analyzed by the Journal. In 11 states, a majority of calls were routed to one of 13 national backup centers from local centers too overtaxed to answer.

Calls are first routed to local crisis centers based on area code and forwarded to national backup centers if no one is available. Answering locally is preferable, officials said.

. . . Some call centers, however, are currently overtaxed. Between 2016 and 2021, a majority of calls in 11 states were routed to backup centers from local centers that were unable to answer, and more than 15% of calls overall were abandoned by the caller or else disconnected before reaching a counselor, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of Vibrant data.

The old number will continue to operate.

*Law nooz from Ken:

A former member of the religious-right group Faith and Action (now part of the Liberty Counsel) claims that the group used to wine and dine conservative Court members Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and the late Antonin Scalia, according to this piece in Politico.

And according to this piece in Rolling Stone, another member of the Liberty Counsel — a group that regularly litigates before the Court and that filed an amicus brief cited in the majority opinion in the recent Dobbs decision — was caught on a hot mic (or hot “mike,” if you prefer) saying that members of the Liberty Counsel regularly pray together with members of the ascendant theocratic wing of SCOTUS.
Nota bene: It is considered highly inappropriate for any person or group to attempt to lobby a justice or justices of the US Supreme Court.

*In the NYT op-ed section, conservative Bret Stephens and liberal Gail Collins have their weekly conversation, this time mostly about who will be the next President. I’ll let you read the whole thing, but here’s an excerpt.

Bret: . . . But tell me, Gail, if [Biden] does step aside, who would you most like to see as the Democratic nominee? Give me a top three.

Gail: I am comfortable being an average Democrat who wants to see who’s out there and how well they perform. So let the games begin! Soon, at least. Right now some plausible possibilities would include the secretary of transportation, Pete Buttigieg — the one way to look good in this cabinet is to be in charge of infrastructure. Some of the senators, like Amy Klobuchar. Also want to keep an eye on the governors — J.B. Pritzker of Illinois was very good at expressing the rage and horror we all felt after the Highland Park shooting.

Along with the rest of the world, I don’t think there’s much to be said for Kamala Harris. You?

Bret: She’s … a Democratic version of Dan Quayle. I’m also not too keen on California’s Gavin Newsom, governor of the state from whose tax rates, housing prices, crime rates and homeless problems residents nowadays flee.

Of the three you mentioned, Klobuchar would be a strong choice, if she can get over her stage fright and make amends for her crummy behavior toward her staff. Roy Cooper, the second-term governor of North Carolina, is a Democrat who has proved he can win in a red state. Sherrod Brown is too far to the left for my taste, but he’s an honorable liberal and conscientious public servant who would unite the party.

Pritzker is a decent governor (also a billionaire), but I do worry because he’s morbidly obese and I wonder if he’d survive even one term of the Presidency. I’d of course vote for him if he ran against a Republican, but every time i see the guy on the local news, which is pretty much every night, I think, “he’s going to blow an artery.”

*The penguins at a Japanese aquarium are mad as hell and they aren’t going to take it any more.  They won’t eat the cheap fish that the aquarium is trying to fob on them. As msn news reports (h/t: Terrance):

For the penguins and otters at Japan’s Hakone-en Aquarium, an hour’s drive southwest of Tokyo, inflation and rising prices have meant a change in diet – and the animals are not happy about it.

Before, the aquarium offered penguins and otters “aji,” or Japanese horse mackerel, which the animals readily ate.

But the aquarium, home to 32,000 animals including sharks and seals, was not immune to the economic woes plaguing many global economies. The price of aji has increased by 20% to 30% since last year, the aquarium said.

So to cut costs, in May the aquarium switched to a cheaper alternative – “saba,” or mackerel.

It has not been well received, with aquarium workers having to get creative to encourage the animals to eat – for instance, the otters and penguins appear more willing to eat the mackerel when mixed with their favorite aji.

The site has a short video of what appear to be King Penguins refusing the cheap-ass mackerel.  Good for them! If you have penguins in captivity, give them what they want to eat!

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is protecting her Nap:

A: May I sit down here?
Hili: Yes, but do not wake me up.
In Polish:
Ja: Czy mogę obok ciebie usiąść?Hili: Możesz, tylko mnie nie budź.
Shhhh……Szaron is sleeping too.


From Stash Krod: an R. Crumb cartoon:

From Jean, a Dan Piraro cartoon:

And I can’t remember who sent me this Dave Blazek cartoon:

The tweet of God. I’m sure his estimate is a minimum, making him the biggest criminal in American history:

From Titania. Oh my Ceiling Cat, what craziness people get up to on Twitter. What kind of privilege did Anne Frank and 6 million other Jews have that wound up sending them to concentration camps for killing? The Nazis went after Jews specifically because they were “non-Aryan”. That means not white! If you don’t know of Idris Elba, go here. Saying that Jews had “white privilege” during the Holocaust is almost as bad as denying the Holocaust itself.

From Gethyn. I might have posted it before, but if so, you get to see it again.

From Simon, who says that “parts of this could be transposed across the Atlantic.” A good takedown of Boris by Jonathan Pie:

From the Auschwitz Memorial:

Tweets from Matthew. He says it’s very hot in the UK now, but when I asked him what his definition of ‘hot” was, it was 32°C (89.6° F). Brits are wussies!

Sound up!

Cat’s are so deft and agile. You will watch this again!

This is just crazy enough to be real. Somebody call the number and find out! Actually, it seems to be genuine!

44 thoughts on “Tuesday: Hili dialogue

  1. Oh my lord, that After the Rapture Pet Care is the best idea I’ve ever seen in my whole fucking life. Sign me up!

    1. I like the part where the volunteers who remain behind to care for the pets are hand-picked to be atheists or non-Christians,
      Of course.

    2. If I was signing up for such a service, I’d want regular “dry runs” much like computer disaster recovery plans should always include regular simulated disasters to make sure the service is working.

      Actually, if I had a cat and Jesus tried to Rapture me, I’d refuse to go unless the cat could come too.

  2. “The Defendant [Bannon]’s purported desire to testify now does not erase his past contempt.”

    Therein lies the difference between criminal and civil contempt. Criminal contempt constitutes punishment for past contumacious conduct — in Bannon’s case for the refusal to respond to congressional subpoenas calling for him to produce records to, and to appear for deposition before, the J6 subcommittee. The crime is complete when the witness fails to comply with the subpoena. (Each count is punishable by a minimum sentence of 30 days and a maximum sentence of one year imprisonment, plus fines.)

    Civil contempt, OTOH, involves taking an uncooperative witness into custody to compel the witness to comply with a court order (including subpoenas). A witness held in civil contempt can purge the contempt by complying with the court order (such as by appearing to testify or produce records pursuant to a subpoena) — sometimes referred to as “having the keys to the jailhouse in one’s own pocket.”

    Congress can refer a contumacious witness to the Justice Department for prosecution for criminal contempt (as it has done with Bannon and some others). But congress lacks a convenient mechanism for compelling a witness to comply with its subpoenas through civil contempt, either directly or by petitioning a court to do so (a gap in congressional authority that ought to be filled in the interest of expeditious justice).

  3. I’m an Illinoisan too, and, like Jerry, I feel that Gov. Pritzker is going to keel over any minute. My wife comments every time we see him on TV that he looks fatter than the previous time. Of course, we’ve had rotund Presidents before. Witness WH Taft, who was featured here on WEIT recently.
    IRT Biden, I work in rural Illinois, aka Trumplandia. Here are some signs I saw for the first time yesterday:
    Gun Owners for Trump
    Traitor Joe (haha)
    When tyranny is the law, rebellion is a duty.
    I think the Dems in their bubble have no idea what the denizens of MAGA World are doing and planning to do. They are going to be shocked again.
    Reporting from the front lines, StephenB signing off for now.🪖

    1. Right on. Get out of the major cities and you will see many Go Brandon and Fuck Biden signs in front yards.

    2. Thank you for your service, StephenB. I too live deep in MAGA territory and it feels like it has been a continuous presidential campaign here since 2016. I’m still amazed at how many people will put a flag on their front porch with “F*CK JOE BIDEN” in huge letters (I censored the naughty word for this family oriented site). Someone erected such a flag on their home across the street from an elementary school – classy. After public outcry, they took it down (the authorities rightly declined to intervene). Between the Amish and Trumpsters, I feel like I’m the only one who isn’t in a cult around here.

    3. Despite the extremism of the Trumpists you may meet, there is mounting evidence that Trump the man may be losing his hold on the Republican Party.

      The NYT reports the following:

      “As Donald J. Trump weighs whether to open an unusually early White House campaign, a New York Times/Siena College poll shows that his post-presidential quest to consolidate his support within the Republican Party has instead left him weakened, with nearly half the party’s primary voters seeking someone different for president in 2024 and a significant number vowing to abandon him if he wins the nomination.”

      Looking forward to the 2024 presidential race, this finding raises several questions at this time.

      1. If Trump decides to run again, his nomination is not guaranteed. Will a horde of right-wingers jump in the nomination race?

      2. If so and Trump still gets the nomination, will the contested race hurt Trump in the general election even if all the challengers eventually support him, which is likely?

      3. If Trump doesn’t get the nomination, will his thirst for revenge (with the support of the MAGA hardcore) tear the Republican Party apart, thus giving the Democratic nominee (presumably Biden) a great chance to win?

      4. If some other Republican than Trump gets the nomination and wins the general, will that person, perhaps Ron DeSantis, be more of a danger to democracy than Trump since any other Republican will not commit Trump’s many likely blunders?

      The contours of the 2024 presidential race are still uncertain, both on the Democratic and Republican sides. Whether or not democracy will survive the next president, if a Republican, should have us all nervous.


      1. My hypothesis is that Trump will run again. This being because his deep narcissism will prevent him from doing otherwise.

      2. Ron DeSantis, who won election as Florida governor in 2018 by less than a point, is up for reelection in November. Trump has yet to endorse him. One of the ways Trump could screw DeSantis over as a potential 2024 GOP presidential rival would be for him to convince his Florida MAGA dead-enders to sit the election out, causing DeSantis to lose the governorship and, thus, his credibility and base of support.

        If Trump seeks, but does not receive, the 2024 Republican nomination, he will tear the GOP apart. He’s a timebomb, and every Republican with even a toe in the establishment camp knows it.

        1. I think your assessment is probably correct. I cautiously share it. If it were to happen I’d probably die in a fit of manic cackling glee while gorging on double schadenfreude pie.

      3. From the WSJ editorial board:

        Donald Trump’s whisperers are saying he may soon announce his plans to run for President in 2024, and Democrats are keeping their fingers crossed that he does. Since his surprising victory in 2016, Mr. Trump has been the main cause of Democratic electoral success.

        Dems are praying that Trump runs again. He is the gift that keeps giving.

      1. I have read this Tablet piece, thanks for the reminder. No, I have not heard this topic discussed at all among my fellow Illini, but I live in an area that is solid Blue. It may be mentioned sotto voce in the MAGA parts of the state, where JB Pritzker is reviled. I expect it will surface in negative ads from the Repubs as we get closer to the November election.

          1. I’m sure the MAGA Illini are not shy about speaking of JB in unflattering terms. What they’re saying hasn’t reached my ears, though, most likely because they go on the Q.T. when I’m around.🤔

    4. Re Yard Signs,
      Here in blue western Mass we see a picture of the orange one saying “Miss Me Yet?”

  4. Kamala Harris seems like a nice enough and charming enough person, and she’s on the right side of some key issues. But she’s thus far failed to demonstrate the gravitas US citizens ought to expect from their president.

    Nonetheless, pace Bret Stephens, I don’t think it’s fair to compare her to J. Danforth Quayle yet. After all, she hasn’t corrected a school kid for spelling “potato” correctly or picked a fight with a fictional pregnant teevee character.

    Plus, she’s stuck in the notoriously no-win job of vice-president. (Just ask Mike Pence.) As was said by John Nance (“Cactus Jack”) Garner — who gave up the speakership of the House of Representatives to become FDR’s first running-mate in 1932 — the office of Veep isn’t worth a bucket of warm piss (usually bowdlerized in more decorous times to “a bucket of warm spit”).

    1. Don’t know about nice (I seem to remember some of her staff said otherwise), but the Quayle comparison was off.

      1. I hadn’t heard that about Harris, though I have heard it about Amy Klobuchar, whose public persona is the very embodiment of “Minnesota Nice.” (Stephens makes reference to this about Klobuchar in the subject dialogue with Gail Collins.)

        In either case, I’m not sure how legitimate a beef it is. As I’m sure I needn’t tell you, Ruth, under the same circumstances in which a man may be called a tough taskmaster, a woman is like to be labelled a bitch on wheels.

  5. The tweet of God. I’m sure his estimate is a minimum, making him the biggest criminal in American history …

    Explains why God hasn’t shown His face in Texas since Christ left Chicago.

  6. I called the number and got Never Gonna Give You Up 🙂 I like their choice of music.

    Never gonna give you up
    Never gonna let you down
    Never gonna run around and desert you
    Never gonna make you cry
    Never gonna say goodbye
    Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you

    Can’t we arrange for pets to be snatched at the rapture? It can’t be all that complicated.

    1. I thought at first you were talking about the suicide help line…and I thought, “Rick Astley is NOT a singer someone contemplating suicide needs to hear, and that might explain the number of dropped calls.”

  7. If Joe announces he is not running, then he enters the early phases of being a lame duck president. Justice Clarence Thomas may then announce his retirement, with the understanding that his replacement will be blocked for the next two years by Mitch 666 McConnell.

    OTOH, if Joe does now announce he is not running, a positive would be the considerable buzz around who will run next, surrounded by a considerable atmosphere of excitement and attention. That would, in an odd but I think predicable way, re-invigorate democratic voting during the mid-terms and we could do less terribly during that time.

  8. Hey, Safari is working much better now (so maybe that issue is fixed?). But I need to insert my email and name each time rather than having it auto-load. What are other people experiencing?

    1. It was only ever intermittent for me but it is working fine at the mo.

      I log in to this site using my WordPress id, but that only works if I turn off cross site tracking, probably because something on the page tries to make a call to wordpress.com

  9. I remind the religious every chance I get how many abortions their god commits. Sexually active, fecund women frequently expel one or more zygotes in their menstruation. 2 billion such women on the planet at any given time would be my guess. A 100 million lost fertilized cells a month would be conservative. I then suggest their souls in heaven will crowd out those who actually lived.

    1. Should we tell him? Someone likes to play word games and pretends failed implantations, miscarriages and abortions all have the same meaning.

    2. “The LORD giveth, and the LORD taketh away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.” What I imagine good Christians would say. They likely would also throw in something re: Job: “Where were you when I hung the stars?” Hitch referencing Abraham and Isaac going on “a long and gloomy walk” comes to mind.

  10. Let’s stipulate that Trump is an awful person who never should have been president, and should never be president again.

    However, I think a strong argument can be made that the *reaction* to Trump was worse than Trump.

    — there were so many “too good to check” stories about Trump that turned out to be wrong that the credibility of the MSM is now toast

    — entangling the FBI in a political dirty trick has destroyed the FBI’s reputation

    — suppressing the Hunter Biden laptop story has destroyed the credibility of Twitter and Facebook

    — it is pretty clear that all presidents will be impeached from now on if the House is controlled by the opposition

    — the rules for impeachment were changed just for Trump, and these will be the rules going forward

    — ripping up the State of the Union speech on live TV will now be expected

    — the new rules for House committee investigations will have the majority leader pick all of the committee members

    — rioters from the opposing party will be treated differently than rioters from one’s own party

    — contempt of Congress referrals will be acted on going forward

    All of the norm-breaking steps the Dems took in the last couple of years will now be standard operating procedure.

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