Friday: Hili dialogue

July 15, 2022 • 6:30 am

Good morning on Friday, July 15, 2022: the end of the week but one day closer to our demise. Take your choice: it’s both National Gummy Worms Day (yuk!) or National Tapioca Pudding Day. I’ll take the pudding.

If you like gummy candies, which taste to me like a mixture of Kool-Aid and petrochemicals, you can buy a three-pound one for $32 on Amazon (click on screenshot if you really want to order this confectioner’s nightmare:

It’s also Orange Chicken Day, National Be a Dork Day, I Love Horses Day, and Respect Canada Day.  Canada don’t get no respect!

Here were the top searches that brought people to my website yesterday:

Cutest priest in Italy? I’ve never written about that! “Great seal flashcard”? I’ve written about the Great Seal of the United States, but not a flashcard. And of course there’s the inevitable “penis” search.

Stuff that happened on July 15 includes:

Here’s approximately what the church looked like when the Crusaders took it over. Why did the Christians want it? Easy (from Wikipedia):

According to traditions dating back to the fourth century, it contains the two holiest sites in Christianity: the site where Jesus was crucified, at a place known as Calvary or Golgotha, and Jesus’s empty tomb, where he is believed by Christians to have been buried and resurrected.[3] Each time the church was rebuilt, some of the antiquities from the preceding structure were used in the newer renovation. The tomb itself is enclosed by a 19th-century shrine called the Aedicula. The Status Quo, an understanding between religious communities dating to 1757, applies to the site.

Within the church proper are the last four stations of the Cross of the Via Dolorosa, representing the final episodes of the Passion of Jesus. The church has been a major Christian pilgrimage destination since its creation in the fourth century, as the traditional site of the resurrection of Christ, thus its original Greek name, Church of the Anastasis (‘Resurrection’).

I love this stone, which was a truly fortuitous find. Dating from 196 BC, it has a priestly decree in three languages—Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, Egyptian Demotic script, and the third in Ancient Greek. Because we could read ancient Greek, it was essential in helping decipher the other two languages. I always visit this when I go to the British Museum, though now it’s enclosed in a glass case because too many people were trying to touch it:

Rosetta Stone

This was the end for Napoleon. He was exiled to the remote island of St. Helena, and died six years later, probably of stomach cancer. Below the map is Longwood House, where he lived and died on that godforsaken island:

Longwood House, now a museum owned by the French government.

You can read the whole address here. It caused a firestorm of criticism, which surprised Emerson but shouldn’t have. He was variously demonized as an atheist and a destroyer of the Unitarian faith.

  • 1870 – Reconstruction Era of the United States: Georgia becomes the last of the former Confederate states to be readmitted to the Union.
  • 1910 – In his book Clinical PsychiatryEmil Kraepelin gives a name to Alzheimer’s disease, naming it after his colleague Alois Alzheimer.

Alzheimer and his grave in Frankfurt. The disease was named after him by Kraepelin because Alzheimer was the first to see the brain anomalies associated with this form of dementia:

Of all the countries in Europe, including Germany, I believe the Netherlands lost the highest proportion of its Jews to the Holocaust (72.7%).

  • 2002 – “American Taliban” John Walker Lindh pleads guilty to supplying aid to the enemy and possession of explosives during the commission of a felony.

The “enemy” was the Taliban, for whom Lindh fought. Here’s Lindh after he was captured and sent to  Camp Rhino in Afghanistan. Back in the U.S., he served 16 years of a 20-year sentence, and was released on parole in 2019.

  • 2006 – Twitter, later one of the largest social media platforms in the world, is launched.

Is it a net good? I suppose so, but it’s not an unmixed good for sure!

I really do dislike this song, though I like the “horse dance”:

The “horse dance”:





Da Nooz:

*BREAKING NEWS!:  The NYT reports that renegade Democratic Senator Joe Manchin has rebuffed all Democratic attempts to get him to sign onto most of Biden’s “build back better” agenda, and so that agenda is scuppered:

Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, pulled the plug on Thursday on negotiations to salvage key pieces of President Biden’s agenda, informing his party’s leaders that he would not support funding for climate or energy programs or raising taxes on wealthy Americans and corporations.

The decision by Mr. Manchin, a conservative-leaning Democrat whose opposition has effectively stalled Mr. Biden’s economic package in the evenly divided Senate, dealt a devastating blow to his party’s efforts to enact a broad social safety net, climate and tax package.

In recent months, Democrats had slashed their ambitions for such a plan to win over Mr. Manchin, hoping that he would agree to support even a fraction of the sweeping initiative they once envisioned. His abrupt shift appeared to dash those aspirations.

In a meeting on Thursday with Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader, Mr. Manchin said he would support a package that would include a negotiated plan aimed at lowering the cost of prescription drugs and an extension of expanded Affordable Care Act subsidies set to lapse at the end of the year.

The shift capped off weeks of painstaking negotiations to cobble together a package that could win Mr. Manchin’s support. It came seven months after the West Virginian abruptly walked away from talks and rejected a far larger plan.
Manchin might as well declare himself a Republican, though he’d still get elected in West Virginia. The only saving grace is that at least he’ll support lowering prescription drug prices and extending the Affordable Care Act. I have heard nothing lately about Kyrsten Sinema’s views on these items.

*Uncle Joe is visiting the Middle East on an important tour, and the NYT has a live feed of what’s going on.  I’ll highlight just two things mentioned about his current visit to Israel:

First, Biden’s called for a “lasting, negotiated peace” between Israel and Palestine, one that will involve a two-state solution. That’s what I always favored, and I think one that all sane Americans want (I’m excepting the Far Left, like the Squad, who want one state that’s Palestinian). The reason I am pessimistic about this is that Biden doesn’t have the chops or the people to help negotiate such a peace, and because the Palestinians don’t want two states. They want the “right of return” so that Israel will become a state full of Palestinians itching to get rid of the Jews one way or another. It’s sad for me to think this, but I believe the two-state solution is dead.

Second, although Biden said yesterday that the U.S. would use force to stop Iran from building a nuclear bomb, I don’t believe him for a second. The titular Israeli PM, Yair Lapid, disagreed, saying that all nations should use force to stop Iran’s entire nuclear program. That’s asking too much.

Israel’s caretaker prime minister, Yair Lapid, pushed President Biden on Thursday to go beyond his public commitment to stopping Iran from ever obtaining a nuclear weapon, declaring that all democratic nations must vow to act if the Iranians continue “to develop their nuclear program.”

The distinction between Mr. Biden’s commitment and Mr. Lapid’s declaration was more than semantic: It goes to the heart of their countries’ differing approaches in dealing with Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Israel has conducted a series of covert sabotage and assassination operations to slow Iran’s ability to enrich nuclear fuel, while Mr. Biden has insisted that diplomacy, and a restoration of the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, are the best way to find a permanent solution.

“If they continue to develop their nuclear program, the free world will use force,” Mr. Lapid said at the opening of a news conference in Jerusalem after the two leaders met as part of Mr. Biden’s four-day visit to the Middle East. During those remarks, Mr. Biden listened attentively but never repeated that commitment. Instead, he stuck to talking about blocking Iran from obtaining a weapon — not a program that might be intended to develop one.

If Biden thinks that diplomacy will offer a permanent solution to Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons, I have some land in Florida I’d like to sell him.

*Sometimes I think that Texas should secede from the Union (leaving Austin with the rest of us, of course) because its policies are just so wrongheaded. Get a load of this one. The government’s Department of Health and Human Services, under the direction of Biden, issued a memorandum stipulating that in case of medical emergencies in which a pregnant woman’s life is in danger because of her fetus, states must be allowed to perform abortions. That makes sense, right?

Not to the state of Texas, which is suing the Administration over the ruling. They apparently don’t care if a woman dies if she can’t get an abortion:

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) sued the Biden administration over federal rules that require abortions be provided in medical emergencies in order to save the life of the mother, even in states with near-total bans.

“The Biden Administration seeks to transform every emergency room in the country into a walk-in abortion clinic,” Paxton said in a statement announcing the lawsuit on Thursday.

The suit follows new guidance from the Department of Health and Human Services that asserted federal law requiring emergency medical treatment supersedes any state restrictions on abortion in cases where the pregnant patient’s life or health is at risk.

Earlier this week, the Biden administration sent a memo to state officials reminding them of an existing law called the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, which “requires that all patients receive an appropriate medical screening examination, stabilizing treatment, and transfer, if necessary,” according to the HHS guidance. That requirement exists “irrespective of any state laws or mandates that apply to specific procedures,” the memo said.

Although the HHS guidance focuses on abortions performed in emergency situations, Texas officials have interpreted the memo as an order that all hospital emergency rooms must act as a “walk-in abortion clinic.”

“President Biden is flagrantly disregarding the legislative and democratic process—and flouting the Supreme Court’s ruling before the ink is dry—by having his appointed bureaucrats mandate that hospitals and emergency medicine physicians must perform abortions,” the lawsuit said.

Now does this make any sense? If the mother dies, the fetus almost always dies too. What is gained by letting a mother die under such circumstances? Make no mistake about it, Texans really don’t care about lives, even fetal ones in this case. They care about forcing a religiously-inspired view of life down the throats of everyone else.

*Ivana Trump, former wife (victim?) of Donald Trump, has died in New York of undisclosed causes. She was only 73, Trump’s first wife (Marla Maples was the second), and mother of Ivanka, Donald Junior, and Eric.

After the divorce, Ivana Trump married and divorced twice more while maintaining a jet-setting, globetrotting lifestyle.

In 2017, she told “CBS Sunday Morning” she turned down an offer from Donald Trump to be the ambassador to her native Czech Republic, citing her “freedom” and “perfect life.”

“I was just offered to be the American ambassador to Czech Republic — and Donald told me. He said, ‘Ivana, if you want it, I give it to you,'” Trump said in the interview. “But I like my freedom. I like to do what I want to do, go wherever I want to go with whomever I want to go. And I can afford my lifestyle.”

“OK, why would I go and say bye-bye to Miami in the winter, bye-bye to Saint-Tropez in the summer and bye-bye to spring and fall in New York?” she continued. “I have a perfect life.”

*Here’s a Jesse Singal piece to read if you’re following the culture wars, and he’s taken it out from behind his Substack paywall: “Privileged, highly educated people are rapidly colonizing the racial justice conversation.” With his trademark Singalian persistence and snark, he gives several rather cringe-making stories of rich privileged people who try to paint themselves as victims of racism, bigotry, or “erasure.”  Singal isn’t having it, and adds:

But my point is that this is clearly part of a trend in which some extremely privileged people are increasingly colonizing the discussion over racial justice, dragging it away from a set of important, consequential questions — Who dies because of a lack of access to diabetes treatment? Who lacks health insurance altogether? Who gets thrown in prison for years on bogus charges because they were assigned a narcoleptic public defender? — and toward a culture of endemic microcomplaint. Someone thought my music was Indian-influenced! My organization’s statement condemning racism didn’t have exactly the right tone! I’m sorry: These are not major problems, and do not belong in any genuine, good-faith conversation about American racism. At least not, to borrow from deBoer, until we’ve solved many other, much more pressing problems.

The problem is, among Times readers and their ilk there is an insatiable appetite for these sorts of race stories at the moment. And anyone can produce any story suggesting any field has a race problem — or any problem, really.

. . . All of this is an increasingly superficial ‘reckoning’ that has nothing to do with the problems most Americans face at one point or another. Don’t be surprised if the backlash is a bit more pointed than usual.

I’m reading a lot of Singal and DeBoer these days, and a year ago I hadn’t heard of them. Now I read almost everything they write.

*Yesterday the euro finally slipped below the dollar: one euro was worth 0.998 of a dollar, the lowest exchange rate since 2002. I was in Europe then, and things seemed pretty cheap. But the best time was when a dollar equaled a British pounds, and because I reckon British prices as the price of a pint of real ale in a decent pub, I was in heaven. From the Wall Street Journal:

The euro has been on a steady decline this year, and the selloff intensified in recent days as investors girded for Russia to enact a full-blown gas cutoff that many fear will drive the region into a deep recession. Driving the euro even further lower on Thursday was a brewing political crisis in Italy.

Reaching parity—when two currencies are equal in value—is largely symbolic for investors, and is expected to have a limited impact on financial markets. But a weak euro does affect the region’s economy. It drives up the cost of imports and fans Europe’s already high inflation rate while making what Europe exports cheaper in international markets.

“What it is indicative of is that this is a horrific situation for the eurozone,” said James Athey, investment director at Abrdn, who thinks the euro could fall to 90 U.S. cents or below in the short term.

Europe’s loss is our gain; get your tuchas over there!

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, the cats are having a deep conversation about consciousness:

Szaron: Do you see what I see?
Hili: No, I see what I see.
In Polish:
Szaron: Czy ty widzisz to, co ja widzę?
Hili: Nie, ja widzę to, co ja widzę.
And a photo of the Newest Cats: Szaron and Kulka:


Re Egnor and Luskin’s attack on me from yesterday, a cartoon from reader Pliny the In Between’s Far Corner Cafe (click to enlarge):

From reddit: Cat can haz cheezburger! (h/t Peter):



From Peter, a Gary Larson The Far Side cartoon:

From Merilee, a Bill Whitehead cartoon:

From Titania. The row over calling it the Webb telescope has been settled by NASA, though Prescod-Weinstein is still beefing: the name will stay. But oy, they even call it a “homophobic telescope” in the msn News headling. Telescopes can’t be homophobic!

From Dom, who calls this “Your favorite kind of d*g”. LOL!

From Luana. I inserted “bowling” and got pages of references!

Let’s have an Instagram video sent by Elsie:

From Paul, Jordan Peterson loses the plot re Ukraine. It’s all the fault of the West’s degeneracy, and maybe Ketanji Brown Jackson. . .

From the Auschwitz Memorial. Remember that Russian soldiers were often put in concentration camps:

Tweets from Matthew. This one came from Ziya Tong, and shows what is described as part of the courtship ritual of bald eagles. Whatever it is, it’s stunning:

More fodder for “the better angels” camp:

31 thoughts on “Friday: Hili dialogue

  1. Just a note or slight correction on the Rosetta Stone: That would be two languages (two stages of Ancient Egyptian; then Greek) and three scripts (Hieroglyphs and Demotic scripts for the Egyptian; Greek Alphabet).

  2. Every day is ‘Respect Canada Day’! More importantly, today is St Swithin’s Day, and it rained this morning…..

      1. Oddly I never heard of St Swithin where I grew up in Wiltshire (where pre-Dissolution Hyde Abbey always presented the vicar to the local living, and Hyde Abbey was in Winchester), but on moving to West Wales I found the farmers paid great heed to the weather on July 15th. I don’t think St Swithin has any powers here in Nova Scotia.

    1. I did not know there was a Respect Canada Day.
      I expect it has been canceled by now as we are regularly told by our government that it earnestly agrees with motivated interest groups vying for cash that our country is not worthy of respect….unless the cash disbursements are augmented.
      Still, it’s nice that foreigners noticed. We do get a few things right, and the government has less power over us than it thinks it does.

  3. It is critical that Joe Manchin remains a Democrat, at least until the Democrats elect a few more senators that would break the current 50-50 deadlock in the Senate. Politifact states this: “For bills that have come to a vote, Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema have voted 100% with their fellow Democrats.” This was as of September 2021.

    Now, it is true, of course, that these two are against ending the filibuster, and, as in the present case with Manchin, they can prevent legislation from even being brought to the floor voted on (Majority Leader Chuck Schumer would not want the embarrassment of a Democratic bill being defeated by a Democrat). Nevertheless, they are a hell of lot better than if they were Republicans. It is possible that Sinema could be defeated in a Democratic primary and replaced by a more liberal Democrat that could win the general election. But, this would be impossible in Manchin’s West Virginia, one of the reddest states in the country. If Manchin were no longer senator from that state, he would almost certainly be replaced by a generic far right Republican that could result in the Democrats losing control of the Senate, thus turning over to Mitch McConnell absolute control over judicial nominations.

    Beyond doubt, Manchin is out of step with the base of the Democratic Party. Nevertheless, he is better than any likely replacement or should he become a Republican. Half a loaf is better than none.

    1. Yes, it’s good that Manchin maintains the current Dem. majority. But if Rs take over the Senate, it wouldn’t surprise me if he voted for Mitch and changed his party—he’d have much more power in the majority party, and maybe an easier time getting re-elected in WVA.
      Just think, WVa “seceded” from secessionist VA to remain in the Union. What a change in the last ~150 yrs.

  4. Sometimes I think that Texas should secede from the Union …

    The Texas Republican Party agrees with you. At the GOP state convention last month, the Party added a plank to its platform calling for a referendum on secession. Other planks in the party platform define human life as beginning at fertilization, define homosexuality as “an abnormal lifestyle,” define marriage as being “between one biological man and one biological woman,” call for banishing sex-education from public schools, endorse public-school prayers and bible readings, and eliminate all restrictions on gun ownership.

    Now, we’ve got to figure out how to salvage Austin. Maybe Beto’s old district in El Paso, too.

    1. Re: Texas. Although most of the cities here vote Democratic, the GOP will most
      likely retain control of the state. Through their efforts they are turning Texas into
      a perpetual dictatorship of the most reactionary idiots you can imagine.
      I am not hopeful. If they win in November, it’s the beginning of the end.

    2. If Texas were to secede, I assume they would retain (or seize) control of any nuclear weapons sited in the State.
      – We’ve seen how the Ukraine have been paid back for not proliferating.
      – We know how America want to enforce non-proliferation on Iran, while not enforcing it on any of India, Pakistan or Israel.

      Obviously, Texas will keep (or take) control of nuclear weapons on it’s territory as part of secession.

  5. Ivana Trump, former wife (victim?) of Donald Trump, has died in New York of undisclosed causes.

    Ivana was the one who added the definite article to her ex-husband’s name, dubbing him “The Donald.”

  6. I inserted “bowling” and got pages of references!

    Bowling can’t be sexist or racist, man. The opening credits of The Coens’ Lebowski shows several women rolling, and has a brother converting a 7-10 split (all over Mr. Dylan’s paean to the distaff half of the population):

  7. My father was deported to Birkenau from the Netherlands. He survived but his then pregnant wife was murdered.

  8. “Gangam Style” is certainly not a great song but it is a wonderful piece of performance art. It would be nothing without that video. It is good to have a bit of fun in music sometimes. Another one in that vein that I like is “Gimme Chocolate!” by Babymetal (

    1. Yes! Over the top silly— music, video and an unlikely middle-aged star hamming it up in front of the camera. (I like silly.)

    2. You’re old enough to remember Laurie Anderson’s “performance art” No.1 of “Oh Superman!”. Though I’ve got to admit having forgotten what it levered off the “top spot in the hit parade”, but it was something so horrendous that one welcomed Anderson’s 7+ minutes of “art”.
      If a rap artist sampled John Cage, would anyone notice? Could Cage sue for plagiarism?

        1. We saw her during the “Home of the Brave” era. She is an incredibly creative and talented person.

  9. Hmm. “Can I get abortion in Texas if I have a life-threatening pregnancy?
    Yes. Texas’ ban on abortion makes exceptions for cases in which an abortion would save the pregnant patient’s life or prevent ‘substantial impairment of major bodily function.'”
    I think you are (disingenuously) misrepresenting Paxton’s lawsuit, which seeks to deny federal preemption of state requirements via EMTALA. There is a link to Paxton’s complaint here.
    Please stop spreading disinformation.

    1. This is important to make clear, thanks. No American state, including Texas, prohibits abortion when necessary to save the life of the mother. It is dishonest to claim that Texas is so keen to shove its religious beliefs down the throats of its residents that it would let a pregnant woman die rather than perform an abortion, unless the white knights of the federal government rode to the rescue wielding the Sword of EMTALA.

  10. On my first of many trips to the British Museum when I was a student in London, I was definitely lost. Who needs a floor map? Anyway, there I was in some hall filled with statues when I came across something familiar: the Rosetta stone! I didn’t recognize it at first because I had never seen it in 3-D, as it were. But, yes, I touched the relic. Guilty.

  11. Jordan Peterson comes off as a complete kook in those videos. And not just the words, but his affect in general. He looks like a lunatic trying to present as an intellectual.

    I suppose it probably appeals to his fans who think that’s how serious thinkers look and act.

    1. Doesn’t he though? I thought JP was a serious guy before now, though I didn’t necessarily agree with much of what he was saying. Now he seems a proper loon. I suspect the problem is that he’s dedicated his life to getting clicks. Once you board that train, it a death spiral.

    2. His first video is bonkers, he talks about the West being ‘degenerate’ as a motive for the invasion (bonkers enough in itself), but fails to mention that Ukraine has gigantic untapped, but proven, oil and gas reserves. Where? Under the Donbas, Crimea and the southern coastal area. Exactly where Russia is occupying Ukraine.
      To be fair, it is not just Peterson, it is something many fail to mention, but is essential if one wants to understand what is going on. Despite the irritating calls to subscribe to his site, this video is an eye opener.

    3. JP has never really bounced back from his depression and addiction to benzodiazepines. I think for a while he was able to connect and help some people, but that time is probably past.

  12. World child mortality (under 5) 1800 43%, 1950 22%, 2017 3.7%. Thanks mainly to the sciences of medical research and food production. From mainly developed societies with rule of law and liberal values. That’s white privilege for you.

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