Sunday: Hili dialogue

August 14, 2022 • 6:30 am

Good day to you on Sunday, August 14, 2022: National Creamsicle Day. I loved these; it was my preferred buy from the Good Humor Man. What a great idea to encase vanilla ice cream inside a coating of orange sherbet! I bet they still make them, but I also bet that they don’t use real ice cream (probably a “frozen dairy preouct”. It’s also a good name for an orange and white cat.

It’s also Melon Day, National Tattoo Removal Day, Partition Horrors Remembrance Day, commemorating “the victims and sufferings of people during the Partition of India in 1947,”  and National Navajo Code Talkers Day. The Partition of India may have been the biggest refugee crisis in history, involving the movement of 10-20 million people and an unknown death toll between 200,000 and a million. Without religion, this wouldn’t have happened.

As for the code talkers, you should learn about them; they were invaluable in speaking their native language as an unbreakable code during the Pacific phase of World War II. (There were several other Native American languages used besides Navajo) Here’s a video about their performance on Iwo Jima, and you can hear what the “code” sounded like:


Stuff that happened on August 14 includes:

The date and “first sighting” are disputed, but it’s clear that the islands were uninhabited when the first European saw them.

That took a long time! The construction began in 1248 and was halted in 1560. It began again in 1840. 592 years in the making! Is that a record for constructing a single building.

Here’s the cathedral—the most visited landmark in Germany:

There’s no proof that this thing got off the ground, but if it did it anticipate the Wright Brothers by over two years. Wikipedia notes this:

Photographs exist showing the aircraft on the ground, but there are no photographs known of the aircraft in flight. A drawing of the aircraft in flight accompanied the Sunday Herald article. The No.21 was a monoplane powered by two engines—one for the wheels during the ground run, the other driving the propellers for flight.

Enough ancillary information is given (including the flight of an exact replica) to suggest that this contraption did get off the ground, even though it was aeronautically unstable. Here’s a photo and the Wikipedia caption:

(From Wikipedia): Gustave Whitehead and his 1901 monoplane taken near Whitehead’s Pine Street shop. His infant daughter, Rose, sits on her father’s lap, and the engine that powers the front landing-gear wheels is on the ground in front of the others.

You’d think that if one of the functions of capital punishment is deterrence (it’s said by some to be so), all executions would be public. But the real motivation is retribution, and there’s no evidence that capital punishment deters anyone from murder. Here’s Bethea swinging from the gallows: the last time the public watched someone executed. Look at that crowd! Berea was an African-American, and was killed at age 26.

Da Nooz:

*The NYT reports that the suspect in the stabbing of Salman Rushdie, 24 year old Hadi Matar, has been charged with attempted murder and assault, while the NY State police and the FBI are trying to suss out a motive.

Antonio Lopa, who lives across the street from Mr. Matar, said he saw between 10 and 15 F.B.I. agents outside Mr. Matar’s home on Friday afternoon. They stayed until nearly 1:30 a.m., he said.

Officials said at a news conference on Friday that they were working to get search warrants for a backpack and electronic devices that were found at the institution.

I’m more concerned about Rusdhie’s condition, which we know only from his agent. UPDATE:  the NYT says that Rushdie was stabbed ten times, but adds some good news (my emphasis):

Mr. Rushdie, who had spent decades under proscription by Iran, was put on a ventilator Friday evening after undergoing hours of surgery, but by Saturday he had started to talk, according to his agent, Andrew Wylie.

He’s going to live! Here;s what we knew yesterday:

Mr. Rushdie, who had spent decades under proscription by Iran, was on a ventilator after undergoing hours of surgery and could not speak, Andrew Wylie, his agent, said in an email on Friday evening. Efforts to reach Mr. Wylie on Saturday were unsuccessful.

Mr. Wylie said on Friday that the author’s condition was “not good.” Mr. Rushdie might lose an eye, his liver had been damaged and the nerves in his arm were severed, he said.

The state police did not provide an update on Mr. Rushdie’s condition on Saturday morning. A spokeswoman for a hospital in Erie, Pa., where Mr. Rushdie is being treated, said it would not provide information on patient conditions.

Here’s an Independent video from yesterday of the suspect, Hadi Matar, pleading “not guilty”:

*One of Trump’s lawyers either misinformed or lied to the Justice Department by signing a statement two months ago that Trump had already turned over all classified material. That wasn’t true, because the recent search turned up more such material, some classified as “top secret.”

At least one lawyer for former President Donald J. Trump signed a written statement in June asserting that all material marked as classified and held in boxes in a storage area at Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence and club had been returned to the government, four people with knowledge of the document said.

The written declaration was made after a visit on June 3 to Mar-a-Lago by Jay I. Bratt, the top counterintelligence official in the Justice Department’s national security division.

The existence of the signed declaration, which has not previously been reported, is a possible indication that Mr. Trump or his team were not fully forthcoming with federal investigators about the material. And it could help explain why a potential violation of a criminal statute related to obstruction was cited by the department as one basis for seeking the search warrant used to carry out the daylong search of the former president’s home on Monday, an extraordinary step that generated political shock waves.

If this is the case, then somebody knew that Trump had held back documents and reported that; in other words, there was a leak in the Trump camp:

It also helps to further explain the sequence of events that prompted the Justice Department’s decision to conduct the search after months in which it had tried to resolve the matter through discussions with Mr. Trump and his team.

An inventory of the material taken from Mr. Trump’s home that was released on Friday showed that F.B.I. agents seized 11 sets of documents during the search with some type of confidential or secret marking on them, including some marked as “classified/TS/SCI” — shorthand for “top secret/sensitive compartmented information.” Information categorized in that fashion is meant to be viewed only in a secure government facility.

Trump and/or his team could be charged under not only for the “obstruction statute” but also “the Espionage Act and a statute that bars the unlawful taking or destruction of government records or documents.” Of course, even an indictment is not a sentence, but if the government withholds an indictment if it sees Trump as culpable, there will be some very angry people. But the real anger—the anger that could lead to violence and insurrection greater than that of January 6—will be if Trump is indicted. Republicans will go bonkers, and they have guns.

*There are revelations at the Stamford Advocate, a Connecticut paper, that Alex Jones’s lawyer might have leaked some of the medical records of families of the Sandy Hoo school-shooting victims. (h/t: Reese)

Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis of Waterbury ordered Norm Pattis, one of Jones’ many attorneys, to explain how, exactly, those medical records wound up in the hands of Jones’ attorney in Texas. Pattis is expected to explain what happened during a hearing that will likely take place next week, amid a series of lawsuits pitting Jones against the families he repeatedly defamed by claiming that the Sandy Hook massacre was a “hoax.”

Pattis must also explain what actions he and other attorneys representing Jones in his hometown of Austin took to protect the confidentiality of the records of several of the plaintiffs who are suing Jones, Bellis said.

The possibility that those records had been mishandled was revealed last week, when an attorney representing two Sandy Hook parents stunned a Texas courtroom by announcing that Jones’ attorneys had mistakenly sent a cache of documents to him that included medical records and the entire contents of Jones’ cellphone..

This is a severe violation of privacy and of legal and medical ethics, and I wonder what good those records would have done Jones anyway. I presume he wanted them to show that parents weren’t really as traumatized as they claimed, in which case a psychologist or psychiatrist would probably be complicit in the leak.

*If you’re one of the saps like Joe Biden who thinks that we can negotiate a nuclear deal with Iran in good faith, read the NYT op-ed, “What the U.S. gets wrong about Iran.” The answer: virtually everything. (The piece is by a “senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where he focuses on Iran and U.S. foreign policy toward the Middle East”).

Under [Big Religious Boss] Mr. Khamenei’s leadership, anti-Americanism has become central to Iran’s revolutionary identity, and indeed few nations have spent a greater percentage of their finite political and financial capital to try and topple the U.S.-led world order than Iran. On virtually every contemporary American national security concern — including the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Chinese threats against Taiwan, nuclear proliferation, and cyberwarfare — Tehran defines its own interests in opposition to the United States.

Although the nuclear program has easily cost Iran over $200 billion in lost oil revenue and has not deterred Israel from reportedly carrying out brazen assassinations and acts of sabotage against Tehran’s nuclear sites, the more committed the United States has been to diplomacy, the lesser Iran’s sense of urgency to compromise. Even if the nuclear deal is revived, Tehran’s worldview will endure.

. . . Multiple U.S. administrations have attempted to coerce or persuade Iran to reconsider its revolutionary ethos, but have failed. The reason is simple: U.S.-Iran normalization could prove deeply destabilizing to a theocratic government whose organizing principle has been premised on fighting American imperialism.

The short take:  First, don’t trust Iran. Second, don’t trust that Iran will adhere to any agreements about nuclear weapons. Third, Iran is going to get nuclear weapons, and Israel seems to be the only country taking this seriously. 

*And as long as you’re in the NYT op-ed section, have a look at John McWhorter’s conciliatory new piece, “Let’s have fewer cancellations. Let people take their lumps, then move on.” (I can’t resist pointing out, since McWhorter studies linguistics, that the antecedent to “move on” is unclear. He means people who give lumps to other people—the lumpers, not the lumpees.) He’s right, but the givers of lumps aren’t going to pay any attention to McWhorter, who is remarkably sanguine about what’s going on. He even seems to find E. O. Wilson culpable of racism (though urging forgiveness), though it’s not clear that McWhorter knows the whole saga of Wilson and Rushton:

One more: The biologist E.O. Wilson, who died last year, faced accusations of racism, a charge that continues to be explored. One article describes an epistolary cordiality with the Canadian psychologist J. Philippe Rushton, who had openly racist views about Black people. In one such letter, Wilson reportedly praised Rushton’s paper arguing that “Black and non-Black people pursue different reproductive strategies.” That’s far from ideal, but even less ideal is any sense that this aspect of Wilson must be ongoingly considered amid our assessment of his pioneering genius. I was knocked out by his book “Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge,” about the progress of our understanding of the world, and considering how he may have felt about Black people would have been quite irrelevant to the experience.

Whether we’re talking about the past or the present, the idea that being insufficiently progressive or sensitive can wind up being the measure of a person’s worth is a call to disavow intelligent assessment in favor of gut-level impulses. It’s an all-or-nothing kind of thinking that, in the guise of insight, teaches a form of dimness. We seem to spontaneously understand this in some instances. We need to extend that basic common sense, that basic ability to make distinctions and see the whole picture, when evaluating trespasses by people of all walks of life and across time.

Well, maybe the column will prompt those who attacked Wilson or Alice “Lizard People” Walker to be gracious and admit that those people had good sides, too. But I wouldn’t hold my breath. I’m wondering what prompted McWhorter to say the obvious: people can do both good and bad things in the same life. That hasn’t stopped those who want to cancel people like Jefferson or Ed Wilson.

*Finally, Bari Weiss is writing her own words on her website, and when she is passionate, as she is about the attempted killing of Salman Rushdie in her column, “We ignored Salman Rushdie’s warning“, she reverts to the old Bari whose writings made me subscribe to her site. Read it, ye Woke, and despair. (h/t Divy):

We live in a culture in which many of the most celebrated people occupying the highest perches believe that words are violence. In this, they have much in common with Iranian Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who issued the first fatwa against Salman Rushdie in 1989, and with Hadi Matar, the 24-year-old who, yesterday, appears to have fulfilled his command when he stabbed the author in the neck on a stage in Western New York.

The first group believes they are motivated by inclusion and tolerance—that it’s possible to create something even better than liberalism, a utopian society where no one is ever offended. The second we all recognize as religious fanatics. But it is the indulgence and cowardice of the words are violence crowd that has empowered the second and allowed us to reach this moment, when a fanatic rushes the stage of a literary conference with a knife and plunges it into one of the bravest writers alive.

. . . Salman Rushdie has lived half of his life with a bounty on his head—some $3.3 million promised by the Islamic Republic of Iran to anyone who murdered him. And yet, it was in 2015, years after he had come out of hiding, that he told the French newspaper L’Express: “We are living in the darkest time I have ever known.”

You would think that Rushdie would have said such a thing in the height of the chaos, when he was in hiding, when those associated with the book were being targeted for murder. By 2015, you might run into Rushdie at Manhattan cocktail parties, or at the theater with a gorgeous woman on his arm. (He had already been married to Padma, for God’s sake.)

So why did he say it was the “darkest time” he had ever known? Because what he saw was the weakening of the very Western values—the ferocious commitment to free thought and free speech—that had saved his life.

“If the attacks against Satanic Verses had taken place today,” he said in L’Express, “these people would not have defended me, and would have used the same arguments against me, accusing me of insulting an ethnic and cultural minority.”

He didn’t have to speculate. He said that because that is exactly what they did.

“They” includes some cowardly members of PEN America who refused to attend a gala because PEN gave Charlie Hebdo an award for Courage in Freedom of Expression. Here’s Weiss’s ending, an eloquent attack on the stupid and harmful notion that “words are violence”:

Today our culture is dominated by those who blur that line—those who lend credence to the idea that words, art, song lyrics, children’s books, and op-eds are the same as violence. We are so used to this worldview and what it requires—apologize, grovel, erase, grovel some more—that we no longer notice. It is why we can count, on one hand—Dave Chappelle; J.K. Rowling—those who show spine.

Of course it is 2022 that the Islamists finally get a knife into Salman Rushdie. Of course it is now, when words are literally violence and J.K. Rowling literally puts trans lives in danger and even talking about anything that might offend anyone means you are literally arguing I shouldn’t exist. Of course it’s now, when we’re surrounded by silliness and weakness and self-obsession, that a man gets on stage and plunges a knife into Rushdie, plunges it into his liver, plunges it into his arm, plunges it into his eye. That is violence.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is beefing:

Hili: Szaron is occupying my armchair again.
A: The armchair was empty.
Hili: That is no excuse.
In Polish:
Hili: Znowu Szaron zajął mój fotel.
Ja: Fotel był pusty.
Hili: To nie jest żadna wymówka.


From Malcolm.  I don’t have frozen ice, but I have unfrozen ice.

From Merilee:

A quote from Rushdie by Joann:

Just for fun. Look at those dinosaurs! (Click on tweet to enlarge photos):

Kissing a call duck. I couldn’t get close enough to Honey to do this:

From Luana; Rowling asking for support for Rushdie, and—after getting her own death threat—presumably asking Twitter to stop the threats.


From Simon: a party invitation to the Tolkiens’ house!

From Barry: an iguana used as a scratching post:

From the Auschwitz Memorial. I haven’t listened to the link, but it’s unusual for a Catholic priest to be murdered in Auschwitz. My guess is that he was helping Jews.

Tweets from Dr. Cobb. I hope this first one doesn’t have to be used in an obituary:

What is this. One reader tended a guess, but what is the slot for?

And a fantastic statue. For more about Knorozov, go here; a photo of him and his kitty, Asya, is below

Yuri and Asya. They both look peeved.

54 thoughts on “Sunday: Hili dialogue

  1. You’d think that if one of the functions of capital punishment is deterrence (it’s said by some to be so), all executions would be public. But the real motivation is retribution, …

    I suspect that, back in the old days of 1936, the real motivation for capital punishment was more practical: it was just much less hassle and vastly cheaper to take a man out on the morrow and hang him than to pay his board and lodging for the rest of his natural life.

    I do realise that, after lawyers got involved, that calculation no longer holds. And it seems that US taxpayers don’t seem to mind paying $80 billion a year to incarcerate more of their fellows than any other nation.

    1. It is very hard to judge the effectiveness of deterrence. How do you measure something that doesn’t happen?

      1. Not as hard as you might think.

        You measure the thing, say murder, when deterrence is being used and when it is not being used.

        And in fact many studies like this have been done.

      2. Twenty-three of the United States have abolished capital punishment, One way to measure the deterrent effect of the death penalty is to compare the murder rates in those state to murder rates in states that continue to employ the death penalty. Another is to compare the murder rates in the states that have abolished the death penalty before and after its abolishment.

        Such comparisons suggest no deterrent effect.

      3. Well, one way to measure the effect of deterrence of capital punishment would be the frequency of capital crimes. Be it in more or less comparable areas, or in the same area with changing laws (eg. the UK abandoned capital punishment quite recently, so numbers are kinda reliable).
        There obviously are confounding factors that have to be taken into account, but I think that studying the deterrent effect of capital punishment is eminently feasible.
        AFAIK neither of these comparisons show a robust deterrent effect of capital punishment, at least until now.

        1. Oops, Steve ad Ken beat me there, but their posts hadn’t appeared yet. Hence no apologies needed for saying the same, I’d say.

  2. 1040 – King Duncan I is killed in battle against his first cousin and rival Macbeth. The latter succeeds him as King of Scotland.

    Fair is foul, foul is fair, as the witches say.

  3. Yes. The Bari Weiss‘ essay makes a very important connection to some real dangers of wokism. Her thoughts are anticipated somewhat by Jonathan Rauch in chapter one, “New Threats to Free Thought” in his enlightening 1993 book, “Kindly Inquisitors”.

  4. Raymund (Maximilian) Kolbe was a confusing character. As a Franciscan friar, he had several stints as a missionary in the Far East, mostly Japan. He was a great promotor of Marianism (the importance of the Virgin Mary), and a great opponent of Free Masonry (note that about half the Founding Fathers, including Washington, were Free Masons) and was an anti-semite too -he more or less equated Free Masonry with Judaism. However, despite his anti-semitism, he gave about 2000 Jews a hiding place in his monastery in Niepokalanów. He was outspokenly anti-communist and anti-nazi. I think the latter did him in. If I’m not mistaken he’s a saint now.

  5. I don’t understand the tweet of Diodorus. The picture is of an ostracism shard. Is that supposed to be related to the quote? As far as I know Diodorus wasn’t ostracized.

  6. That wasn’t true, because the recent search turned up more such material, some classified as “top secret.”

    According to The New York Times. Tell me why I should accept anything they say as true and not motivated by non-journalistic considerations?

    As for Rushdie, I love how authorities are still “looking for a motive.” Gosh! What could it be? The FBI, I am sure, is try to figure out a way to blame this on “domestic terrorists.” You know, like parents who ask awkward questions at school board meetings.

    1. The official inventory of seized documents left at Mar-a-Lago and filed with the US district court for the Southern District of Florida after the search and seizure, discloses 11 sets of classified documents seized — three of them bearing the classification “confidential,” three bearing the classification “secret,” four bearing the classification “top secret,” and one one bearing the classification “TS/SCI” (top secret/secured compartmented information).

      This is a matter of public record and in no way depends upon the credibility of The New York Times.

      1. Being currently classified, and being marked with a classification, are not always the same thing. When I was doing battlefield archaeology, most of our source maps we used were marked “secret” or “top secret”. When the maps were produced, they were critical military documents. There are likely archived copies of those same maps in the archives with notations about when and why they were declassified, but most of the copies just became souvenirs after the battle, and retain the original markings

        1. I explained in a comment here yesterday how none of the criminal statutes cited in the search warrant depends upon the documents seized being classified.

          And I explained in another comment in the same thread yesterday how Trump has available to him the means to vindicate himself by filing a motion for return of property (and a request to unseal the search warrant affidavit). If the documents seized from him that bore security classifications had in fact been legitimately declassified, there is no reason for Trump to hesitate in moving to make everything — the search warrant application and all the documents taken from Mar-a-Lago — public.

          Let’s see if he does so.

    2. For the first remark, I think the DoJ was quite clear, not just the NYT, and Ken already responded.
      As for Rushdie, I can’t but agree. It has become obvious the attacker was a Muslim fanatic. Inspired by the blind hatred fundamentalist Muslims are so very much prone to.

  7. Re. “… like Joe Biden who thinks that we can negotiate a nuclear deal with Iran in good faith,” and “First, don’t trust Iran. Second, don’t trust that Iran will adhere to any agreements about nuclear weapons.”

    As far as I remember, both Obama (along with the EU partners), back when the original JCPOA was negotiated, and Biden in more recent comments, have repeatedly emphasized, when asked whether they trust Iran, that no, they do not trust Iran by any means; that it is not about trust, it is about a very specific inspection regime, concrete verification, and consequences upon abrogation.

    And the JCPOA deal was working until the US abandoned it: IAEA inspectors were there, inspecting any site they requested access to. It was probably the only chance of avoiding a war over the issue, the consequences of which are likely to be horrific and lasting.

    1. As I understand it, JCPOA was structured around appeasement and was so full of holes that it was only delaying the development of nuclear weapons.

      1. I’m not really sure what “structured around appeasement” means; but yes, one can certainly debate, as has been done intensively, whether the agreement was “full of holes”. It is obviously a very complex debate. My main point, of course, was that the JCPOA was not based on “good faith” toward or “trust” of the Iranian regime, nor are current efforts to revive some sort of replacement deal.

        In any case, I think it is still rather difficult to imagine a realistic better option than the JCPOA, as imperfect as it may have been. Negotiating some kind of deal in which Iran suddenly magically agrees to abandon all nuclear interests is simply not in the cards. The current situation of limbo is certainly not tenable, and almost definitely will lead to a nuclear-armed Iran in short order. And a war with or invasion of Iran would very likely be a disaster with horrific repercussions throughout the Middle East for many decades.

  8. Relative to Salman Rushdie, I just finished Kai Bird’s The Outlier: the Unfinished Presidency of Jimmy Carter (628pgs, 2021). In it, he attributes the rise of fundamantalist Islam to the US providing the Shah with refuge during Carter’s term, and that that only happened as a result of persistent badgering orchestrated by Henry Kissinger and David Rockefeller. If Carter had followed his instincts and refused the Shah entry, the Ayatollah would not have gained the traction that he did, Iranian students would not have gotten into an uproar and seized the US Embassy & hostages, etc.

    The whole book is a very good one.

    1. I think the US’s giving the Shah safe haven is what enflamed the anti-American aspect of Iran’s Islamism. The rise of Islamism itself was do to the Iranian populace’s coming to see that the Islamists were the only one of the many groups opposed to the Shah (and his brutal SAVAK secret police) that had the coordination and strength of conviction actually to depose the Shah.

      Little did the Persian people realize at the time that they were jumping off the griddle into the fire.

      1. Yes, the Shah and his SAVAK were hated and despised so much that anything appeared to be better. All Iranians I know admit that was a mistake. From the griddle into the fire indeed.
        Could anything be worse than the Shah? Rhetorical question, it appeared, but yes, it could, and it was.

    2. As far as I understand, it was not just that the Shah was given refuge in the US that contributed to Islamic fundamentalism in Iran, it was the fact that the CIA was instrumental in overthrowing the democratically elected Mosaddegh and that the US supported and aided the brutal, corrupt and incompetent Shah for many years. Still, this is surely only one contributing factor among many for the rise of fundamentalist Islam.

      1. And of course it didn’t help that the US sold weapons to both sides of the Iran-Iraq war during more or less its entire duration.

  9. The venue at which Rushdie was to speak had refused to apply additional security, despite repeated recommendations to do so.

  10. On the ‘frozen ice’ comment, it can be fun to look at bags of ice. Ice is just ice, so companies have to single themselves out somehow, usually with a sense of humor. My favorite bagged ice was labelled “Made from a secret family recipe“.

  11. Not sure why the New Woke Times says the authorities are still trying to determine a motive. Other news outlets, such as ABC, are reporting the bastard’s social media contains plenty of pro-Iran, pro-Revolutionary Guard material and his contained phone contained photos of the dead major general Qasem Soleimani and the dead leader of Iraq’s pro-Iran militant group Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. There’s a claim of his alias being inspire by the no. 1 and 2 of Lebanon’s hezbollah …at what point do we say, yeah, he was inspired to attempt the assassination because he is a terrorist and supporter of violent islamofacist extremism? But then I recall Sam Harris’ podcast (4/24/19) discussing the very clear statement written several years ago in Dabiq by ISIS, clearly stating their goals. People twisted themselves into quite complicated knots to deny what was clearly stated.

  12. Regarding the execution photo, couldn’t help noting that there appears to be only one black person in the picture.

  13. I’m a bit puzzled here, isn’t real ice cream a ‘frozen dairy product’? AFAIK real ice cream should be a ‘frozen diary product’.
    Do they use a non-dairy products such as soya? I don’t understand the complaint.

  14. Weiss says:

    “The words are violence crowd is right about the power of language. Words can be vile, disgusting, offensive, and dehumanizing. They can make the speaker worthy of scorn, protest, and blistering criticism. But the difference between civilization and barbarism is that civilization responds to words with words. Not knives or guns or fire. That is the bright line. There can be no excuse for blurring that line—whether out of religious fanaticism or ideological orthodoxy of any other kind. “

    Weiss is absolutely correct, but she leaves out one important characteristic of words: they can incite violence. Most people that engage in political or ideological violence are motivated by the words of others. The incitement to violence need not be explicit, implicitly calling it for it works as well. From the January 6th insurrectionists to the lone wolf, such as the recent one that attempted to enter the FBI building in Cincinnati, acted because of the words of others. For those that argue that good speech is the proper response to bad speech need to explain why this strategy does not have a stellar track record in regard to violence. I believe that free speech is worth the cost because censorship is even costlier. But, I get annoyed at those that refuse to acknowledge that the cost of free speech is heavy indeed and will remain heavy because no matter how many exhortations there are on the virtues of free speech many humans will resort to violence in response to those exercising their free speech rights.

    Weiss is correct that “the difference between civilization and barbarism is that civilization responds to words with words. Not knives or guns or fire.” But, why does she assume that American society is civilized?

    1. Excellent post by Historian.
      I would also add that words can in fact be extremely damaging and destructive, whereby I am thinking primarily, though not only, of abusive domestic situations. Still, I do think it is important to be able to distinguish between words, as abusive and dangerous as they may be, and violence, which at least in my usage is reserved for physical violence.

    2. You speak truth, my friend. Allow me to accentuate the opposite, which is also true: the right word, rightly timed—bon mot—can pacify and liberate. Let us seek and speak these liberating bons mots.

      1. To follow up on your final question, the USA and indeed the rest of the world are experiencing a resurgent “might makes right,” now on steroids because of its coupling with “wealth makes right.”

    3. Indeed, one of the antinomies of free speech is that it is those of us who believe most strongly in the power of the written and spoken word to move people are also the most vociferous supporters of free speech — which requires us essentially to take the position that, while sticks and stones may break our bones, words will never hurt us.

      Is is, as you point out, a sticky wicket, but the least bad of the alternatives.

  15. My grandmother, who was around 12 at the time, saw Whitehead fly his plane two years before the Wright Brothers flew theirs. She told my mother about it, who then wrote a paper about it for History class (she got an A). I realize that this isn’t “proof,” but I take Grandma’s word for it.

    Very often, an idea (powered flight, the telephone, the electric light, television, etc.) is in the air, and numerous inventors are working independently–with varying degrees of success–to make it happen. For instance, I have just started a book entitled “The Man Who Invented Motion Pictures” by Paul Fischer. It is the story of Louis Le Prince, who shot his first movie in 1888, several years before Thomas Edison invented a similar device. However, it was Edison’s version that made it to the market, not Le Prince’s, so Edison is remembered as “the” inventor of movies. The same thing happened with Whitehead and the Wright Brothers.

    1. In lots of cases, theoretical innovations outpace technological feasibility. At the turn of the 20th century, people had been zooming around in fairly reliable gliders for a decade or so, and sort of racing to find an engine light enough to let them achieve what they all knew was on the horizon.
      I guess the Wright brothers had a few advantages. Firstly, they photographed the aircraft in flight. Beyond that, although the 1903 flyer was not a reliable aircraft, it had a number of key innovations which were incrementally improved to lead within a few years to completely airworthy aircraft. The engine was aluminum, water-cooled, with iron cylinder liners, powered by gasoline. Control was attained through warping the shape of the airfoil, very much like modern aircraft. By 1905, the Wrights had refined to design to the point where they were able to take off, fly figure 8s until the fuel ran low, then safely land.
      There were witnesses to Whitehead’s flight, and I am not in a position to disagree with what they saw. However, his #21 aircraft was sort of a dead end. It was steered by weight shifting, like a hang glider. The acetylene engine is not well documented, and the claims about it’s power to weight ratio are sort of fantastic. I think any modern engineer would be very excited to see one demonstrated.
      The Whitehead #21 replicas do not attempt to use any sort of vintage style engine, which sort of defeats the purpose.
      The Sunday Herald article does Whitehead no real favors. It starts by noting that he partnered with W. D. Custead on the design and construction, but Custead seems to be a crank. The article quotes Whitehead as remarking “I never felt such a strange sensation as when the machine first left the
      ground and started on her flight. I heard nothing but the rumbling of the engine
      and the flapping of the big wings” after the flight.
      Anyway, it is interesting stuff, from what must have been an incredible time to be an engineer or inventor.

    2. The Wright brothers’ flight was powered, sustained and controlled. From reading the Wikipedia description of the number 21, it fails in the “controlled” aspect. I am quite happy giving the credit to the Wright brothers.

  16. Crucial to their success, the Wrights recognized the need to warp the wings to achieve controlled flight and, by 1904, the ability to turn a circle. With their gliders, they had pioneered the non-intuitive concept of banking the wings to induce a turn (just as their experience building bicycles told them!) and went rapidly from there to the control of attitude in three dimensions. The rudder doesn’t turn the plane like a ship’s does; rather it counteracts inertial tail yaw from the turn generated by the wings. This evolved into modern flight control, making aviation into something that you could teach other people to do. They opened a flight school outside Pau, France, where the regional airport has a monument to Orville at the entry road.

    If Whitehead’s contraption was “aeronautically unstable” —it had no vertical tail fin and roll control was supposed to be achieved by the pilot shifting his weight, which the Wrights had already discarded as inadequate—, it was not a true aircraft even if it did get off the ground. The Wrights had invented the controllable airplane even before they put an engine into it. Their claim to primacy was not a fluke of luck or timing. They had the (W)Right Stuff.

  17. The slot in the milking stool is for picking it up with one hand, a necessity if one also carries a bucket.

  18. With respect to ‘creamsicles’—when I was a lad in the UK they were called ‘Mivvis’ if made by Lyons Maid, and ‘Splits’ if made by Walls. My favourite in either case was raspberry.

    1. I’m embarrassed to admit that I never knew what was in a Creamsicle until today. Among ice cream on a stick, I always chose either solid homogeneous Fudgesicles or the bars with the thin chocolate glazing that cracked when I bit through it. There was something about the name Creamsicle that put me off in a way I can’t describe. Maybe it reminded me of cream soda, which I hated. Of maybe just too much choice, the curse of our decadent lives.

      I’m sure I would have liked them.

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