Wednesday: Hili dialogue

August 10, 2022 • 6:30 am

Welcome to Hump Day (or “Roja Hump” in Kurdish): August 10, 2020: National S’Mores Day. Already popular with campers and scouts in the 1920, the name “S’Mores” didn’t appear until 1938. I do love them, though they’re not exactly gourmet food: a melted marshmallow and squares of chocolate (Hershey’s is most popular) sandwiched between two graham crackers. Here’s one prepared in the microwave, though I like my marshmallows slightly over from a campfire.

It’s also National Lazy Day, International Vlogging Day (yuck), and World Lion Day.

Stuff that happened on August 10 includes:

  • 1628 – The Swedish warship Vasa sinks in the Stockholm harbour after only about 20 minutes of her maiden voyage.

The Vasa was recovered and raised in 1961, and you can see this remarkably well preserved warship in its own museum in Stockholm. He’s a video showing its raising and restoration:

After the Sun, Sirius is the brightest star you can see from Earth. Here is Sirus and the fainter Sirius B (the companion deduced by Bessel), which orbit each other at a distance about the same as between the Sun and Uranus.

View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Michael Teoh

Da Nooz:

*Two bad pieces of news from The Man We All Love to Hate.  As I reported this morning, the FBI has searched Trump’s Florida home at Mar-a-Lago, including cracking one of his safes. They are looking for confidential documents that Trump removed from the White House, and it was done without the knowledge of Biden or his aides. Although Trump was reported to be in New York at the time, the NYT says that he was there for at least part of the search, along with one of his lawyers.

These are not the documents that Trump already turned over to the National Archives:

Those materials contained many pages of classified documents, according to a person familiar with their contents. By law, presidential materials must be preserved and sent to the National Archives when a president leaves office. It remained unclear what specific materials agents might have been seeking on Monday or why the Justice Department and the F.B.I. decided to go ahead with the search now.

Mr. Trump had delayed returning 15 boxes of material requested by officials with the National Archives for many months, doing so only in January, when the threat of action to retrieve them grew. The case was referred to the Justice Department by the archives early this year.

. . . Despite the historic and politically incendiary nature of the search, neither the F.B.I. nor the Justice Department has publicly commented or explained the basis for its action, in line with their policies of not discussing active investigations.

Oh, goody: my dream is that we’ll wake up some fine day, not too long from now, and read the headline: “Trump Indicted.”

*But the “crime” here is minor unless there’s some smoking gun relating to his promotion of an insurrection, he may just be guilty of mishandling classified materials. According to the WaPo, though, that can carry a penalty that would cheer all of us:

Any mishandling could be in violation of a law requiring Trump to preserve his records and phone calls of his official duties as president. If he were to be charged and found guilty of willfully hiding or destroying confidential and classified materials — a big if — some legal experts say he could be barred from being president again. Other experts disagree.

That, of course, would ultimately find its way to the Supreme Court, also known as The Black Hole of the Enlightenment (no light gets out).

Every president has violated the Presidential Records Act in some way, such as by using personal phones for texts or emails, for example, presidential historian Robert David Johnson said. But Trump might be the most egregious violator of the law in its 44 years of existence, Johnson said: “Since [Richard] Nixon, there is no example of a president just pretending the law doesn’t exist.”

Trump’s actions have been on a whole other level. According to Post reporting, he tore up hundreds of documents — perhaps more — indiscriminately. His aides used burn bags to destroy documents rather than hand them over for preservation. The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman reports he flushed documents down the toilet. There is a gap of more than seven hours on in his phone logs on one of the most crucial days of his presidency, the day of the Jan. 6 insurrection.

This is all after White House lawyers explicitly told Trump about the law requiring that he preserve documents.

His own Supreme Court may eventually pave his way to the Presidency. Trump is good at gaming the system, moron though he may seem to be. But I echo the cry of Muhammad Ali, “Show me justice!”

*The other bad news for Trump is that a federal appeals court upheld a lower court decision that Trump must turn over his tax returns to the House of Representatives.. But actually, this is going to delay things for a considerable time, for every time I hear the word “federal appeals court”, I also hear “Supreme Court,” and my heart sinks:

In a 28-page ruling, a panel of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit held that a federal law gives a House committee chairman broad authority to request them despite Mr. Trump’s status as a former president.

The Treasury Department refused to turn over the records during his administration. But after President Biden took office last year, the department determined that a renewed request from the House Ways and Means Committee, which said that it was studying a program that audits presidents, was valid.

The appeals court’s ruling does not necessarily mean that Congress will obtain the records. Mr. Trump’s legal team has vowed to fight the congressional effort “tooth and nail,” and he is virtually certain to appeal to the Supreme Court. If at least four justices on the court vote to take any such appeal, that would effectively shield Mr. Trump from a final judgment until next year. If in the meantime Republicans retake the House in the midterm elections, the Ways and Means Committee would be led by a Republican and would most likely drop the request.

This is not connected to the January 6 committee, but to the House Ways and Means Committee, which is investigating Trump’s tax returns. Presumably they’re looking for fraud.  It would be a rather severe violation of the Presidential Records Act:

While the Presidential Records Act does not specify an enforcement mechanism, taking presidential records from the White House could open Trump up to charges of conspiring to impede the proper functioning of the National Archives, said Jeffrey Cohen, an associate professor at Boston College Law School and former federal prosecutor.

He could also be charged under a law, known by its code number 2071, making it a crime to conceal or destroy U.S. public documents, or laws making it illegal to steal or damage government property.

Even if the search warrant pertains to Trump’s handling of official documents, he could end up facing charges for different crimes, said Mitchell Epner, a former federal prosecutor. Trump faces other possible legal entanglements, including a probe into his supporters’ Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. read more

“Once the government starts looking at documents that are seized, they do not need to shut their eyes to evidence of other crimes that they come across,” Epner said.

*I’m full of quotes today, and this one is “Do you believe in miracles?”. If you’re old enough, you’ll remember that announcer Al Michaels shouted that while broadcasting the U.S. victory over Russia in ice hockey in the 1980 Olympics. To me, it’s almost miraculous that Ukraine is still sticking it to Russia, though I still think they’re going to come out of this war at least losing a substantial chunk of the country.

But the plucky Ukrainians seemed to have scored another coup: they are likely responsible for shelling a Russian air base in Crimea, previously stolen by Russia and not really in contention in the latest Russian attack. The Russians deny that Ukraine did it, but I don’t believe them:

A series of explosions at a Russian air force base on the strategically pivotal peninsula of Crimea triggered an evacuation, Russian officials said, fraying nerves as Ukraine presses on with a counteroffensive aimed at liberating the south of the country from Russian control.

The blasts were caused by exploding air-force ammunition but there was no shelling of any kind aimed at the base, the Russian Ministry of Defense said. Aircraft stationed there were undamaged and there had been no injuries, the ministry said.

The explosions bring the nearly six-month war closer to home for Russians who have largely experienced the war as an intervention on Ukrainian territory. An overwhelming majority of Russians supported the country’s seizure of the peninsula in 2014, and it became a popular tourist destination.

Ukrainians greeted the explosions, regardless of their cause, as a sign that Crimea, which Kyiv wants back, was in play after eight years in which they could do little about its loss.

*If you listened to Motown music in the Sixties and Seventies—some of the best pop music of our time—you’ll have seen the names “Holland-Dosier-Holland” as the composers of many great songs.  Sadly, Lamont Dozier died yesterday at 81. He and two co-writers, had a ton of hits. The NYT counts them:

In collaboration with the brothers Brian and Eddie Holland, Mr. Dozier wrote songs for dozens of musical acts, but the trio worked most often with Martha and the Vandellas (“Jimmy Mack”), the Four Tops (“Bernadette”) and especially the Supremes (“You Can’t Hurry Love”). Between 1963 and 1972, the Holland-Dozier-Holland team was responsible for more than 80 singles that hit the Top 40 of the pop or R&B charts, including 15 songs that reached No. 1. “It was as if we were playing the lottery and winning every time,” Mr. Dozier wrote in his autobiography, “How Sweet It Is” (2019, written with Scott B. Bomar).

Look at the list of their hits on Wikipedia; there are many not listed below that are great. Here’s a list of their top ten Billboard songs, with my notation by my favorites (“This Ol Heart of Mine” was first done by the Isley Brothers, and better than Rod Stewart”). Have a listen below

A great one, but only in the original.

And the geniuses of Motown:

(From the NYT): Mr. Dozier, center, with the brothers Eddie Holland, left, and Brian Holland.Credit…Vince Bucci/Getty Images

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, it’s BREAKFAST TIME!

A: Breakfast is in the bowls.
Hili: I’m waking up at once.
In Polish:
Ja: Śniadanie w miseczkach.
Hili: Już się budzę.

And here’s baby Kulka:


From Stephen:  Academic progression shown by cats:

From Divy, a great Far Side cartoon:

From Arvin Grady on FB. Caption: “An elderly couple is feeding sweet potatoes to Manatees that arrived in their backyard.” What a lovely thing to do. Over a thousand of these lovely and gentle creatures died last year from starvation, probably brought on by a combination of climate change and pollution.

Andrew Doyle (who is of course the creator of Titania) has a new book that (s)he’s flogging:

From Barry. This is a pinned tweet from the Western Wellness Center, whose motto on Twitter is “tweeting white positivity.” Oy! There’s some pretty funny responses in the thread, though. As one person pointed out, if these women had the best genes, why are they dyeing their hair blonde?

It’s the Duck Days of summer:

A bizarre tweet from Simon. The CPI is a socialist organization. I don’t agree about the near-identity of both ends of the horseshoe, but the extreme Left does have some strong authoritarian tendencies.

From the Auschwitz Memorial. Prisoners were often killed, especially in the early days of the camp, with an injection of phenol directly into the heart.

Tweets from Matthew. First, the coolest orang around:

Enlarge the photo and look for the light echoes:

Didion surely wrote this after the death of her husband. It’s profound but also profoundly depressing. Matthew sent it to me this morning, not knowing I was pondering mortality:

. . . and a crazy cat to cheer us all up:

21 thoughts on “Wednesday: Hili dialogue

  1. The other bad news for Trump is that a federal appeals court upheld a lower court decision that Trump must turn over his tax returns to the House of Representatives.

    Big deal. Trump promised during the 2016 campaign that he would release all his recent tax returns to the public just as soon as they were no longer under routine IRS audit. The Donald wouldn’t lie about a thing like that. (This must be the Jarndyce v. Jarndyce of routine audits, given that it’s still underway six years on. Maybe the IRS will put some of those 87,000 new agents authorized by the Inflation Reduction Act to go after tax cheats making $400 mil+ on Trump’s never-ending audit.)

    My prediction, FWIW, is that SCOTUS will deny certiorari to review the DC Circuit’s opinion compelling Trump to release his tax returns to congress (since the case raises no certworthy issues) — with Clarence Thomas being the lone justice dissenting from the denial of cert (since he has to go home to Fairfax and explain himself to Ginni).

  2. “There really is almost no difference between the extreme left & extreme right.” A. Vindeman

    I was in elementary school during the “godless communist” hysteria, when we started plastering god everywhere, changed our national motto to “In God We Trust”, added “under god” to the Pledge, etc.

    I remember thinking about the communists and the Americans behind the god obsession that they all looked the same to me. I didn’t understand what all the heat was about.

    Looking back, although I didn’t have the understanding or the vocabulary to express my thoughts, my reaction was dead on. Authoritarians ARE all the same. The specific content of their beliefs may vary widely, but the instinct to use force to promulgate those beliefs is the same.

    Communism and religion spring from an identical premise, namely, “I know what’s better for you than you do”.


    PS: I love the academic progression of the cats! That sequence made me LOL, especially the PhD candidate asleep on the keyboard.

    1. Don’t forget the rest of Vindman’s tweet: “The major difference is that the far left, including the Social Democratic Party, remains fringe, whereas the Republican Party has made extremism mainstream.”

      By definition, extremists are extreme in their views and actions, thus unlikely to tolerate dissenting voices. One must assess which group represents the greatest threat to an open, democratic society. Vindman makes clear which group that is. .

  3. The Mar-a-Lago raid is dominating the conservative media. Following the BLM riots, the Hunter Biden laptop and gun, and the incessant attempts to use the law to exclude Trump from the Presidency, it is further reinforcing the idea that there is a double-standard for justice in America. Indeed, given the major investigations into Trump that have not achieved his political ostracism, this raid does seem a lot like a Putin maneuver against an opponent. I predict that the 87,000 new IRS agents will be heavily focused on conservatives.

    1. Where’s all that polonium I used to have lying around…I think I had some in my old Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Laboratory for kids. We might as well go full Putin if that’s how people are characterizing this.

    2. By “conservative media” I take it you mean the right-wing propaganda bubble.

      I’ve got no truck with Hunter Biden; if he broke the law by pimping off his old man’s good name, let him swing from the nearest yardarm (figuratively speaking). But the biggest double standard in America today is between the rest of us and Donald Trump (who could probably, albeit unfortunately, as he is wont to brag, get away with shooting some luckless pedestrian on Fifth Ave. without it costing him any support from his cultists).

      Any money Hunter Biden scammed pales in comparison to the $20 million in fraud damages Donald Trump had to pay shortly before taking office for his “Trump University” con — the latest in a lifetime of such grifts. And all of it is but a drop in the bucket compared to the $2 billion hedge-fund investment Jared Kushner walked away with from his butt buddy Mohammed bone Saw, despite the advice of the Saudi royal family financial advisors, given that Kushner has zero experience as an investment manager. (And this is on top of the billion dollar loan Kushner and MbS shook down the Qataris for to bail out the white elephant building at 666 Fifth Ave. that the Kushner crime family was a risk of losing in foreclosure — the saving of which was the real goal Kushner, who was clearly unqualified for the. top-secret security clearance bestowed on him by fiat of Trump, had in taking taking a position in the Trump White House in the first place.)

  4. IRT Didion, as I wrote yesterday, memento mori is a beneficial meditation. It sloughs off the restrictive encrustation of egoism.

    1. I once took a “Senior Seminar” course at University called: “Death” And it explained the class was a look at mortality through the lens of media, literature, etc. One of the class requirements was we had to keep a memento mori journal. That was an interesting and yes, beneficial, exercise. It was one of the best courses (and most depressing) I’ve ever taken.

      1. The Didion quote reminded me of the Hopkins poem Professor Ceiling Cat often references, the one ending “It is Margaret you mourn for.”

        1. Interesting reference, I like. I’ll add that during the “Death class,” as I call it nowadays, I was introduced to Marcus Aurelius’ “Meditations”. He had similar expressions on the fact of death.

  5. Didion surely wrote this after the death of her husband.

    Didion lost her adopted daughter, Quintana Roo, just a year and a half after the death of her husband, writer John Gregory Dunne. Dunne had a bad ticker and he and Didion knew he could keel over at any time. Quintana’s death came as a shock, after she had recovered from a coma brought on by a bout of pneumonia, then fell getting off a plane in LA, suffering what would ultimately prove to be a fatal brain injury.

    Didion wrote about these two deaths in her books The Year of Magical Thinking and Blue Nights, respectively.

  6. Lots of good stuff here, as always. And bad stuff, too: Trump. But most engaging is the couple feeding sweet potatoes to those manatees. They are all lined up like giant sweet potatoes themselves!

  7. I’m embarrassed to say this, but I admit that, when 45 goes to a well-deserved prison (no matter how posh that prison may be), I want to send him a monthly “get well” card, reminding him that if he HADN’T run for Prez, his NUMEROUS OTHER crimes would’ve gone unchallenged.

    1. How much you wanna bet that, if and when Trump comes up for sentencing, Mister Faux Macho will play the sick-old-man card? Maybe he’ll shave off his rococo combover so the court can see him in all his baldness. I wouldn’t be surprised if he suffers a recrudescence of his spurious bone spurs, such that he need be brought into court in a wheelchair.

      Anything to stay out of the pokey.

  8. “Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.”
    Just noticed, Is this capitulation at last?

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