Tuesday: Hili dialogue

August 23, 2022 • 6:30 am

Good morning on August 23, 2022, and National Cuban Sandwich Day. It turns out that this is only a mild form of cultural appropriation since the sandwich was devised by Cuban immigrants working on sugar plantations in Florida. They are good, though. From Wikipedia:

Although there is some debate as to the contents of a “true” Cuban sandwich, most are generally agreed upon. The traditional Cuban sandwich starts with Cuban bread. The loaf is sliced into lengths of 8–12 inches (20–30 cm), lightly buttered or brushed with olive oil on the crust, and cut in half horizontally. A coat of yellow mustard is spread on the bread and the meats are added in layers: roast pork (Pernil or sometimes marinated in mojo), glazed ham, and salami. Swiss cheese and thinly sliced dill pickles complete the traditional ingredients.

Once assembled, a Cuban sandwich can be toasted in a sandwich press called a plancha, which is similar to a panini press but without grooved surfaces. The plancha both heats and compresses the sandwich, which remains in the press until the bread surface is slightly crispy and the cheese has begun to melt. It is usually cut into diagonal halves before serving.

Here’s one:

It’s also National Spongecake Day, Buttered Corn Day, Hug your Sweetheart Day, International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition, and European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism. 

Today’s Google Doodle (click on screenshot) celebrates the birthday and life of Anna Mani (August 23, 1918-2001). Her Wikipedia bio notes this:

Anna Mani (23 August 1918 – 16 August 2001) was an Indian physicist and meteorologist. She retired as the Deputy Director General of the Indian Meteorological Department and served as a visiting professor at the Raman Research Institute. Mani made contributions to the field of meteorological instrumentation, conducted research, and published numerous papers on solar radiation, ozone, and wind energy measurements.

A photo:

Stuff that happened on August 23 includes:

Here’s the scene of Wallace, drawn and quartered, from the movie Braveheart. You don’t want to know what’s going on below his chest.

This expedition set a record for going the farthest south, and is notable in other ways:

The brainchild of the Anglo-Norwegian explorer Carsten Borchgrevink, it was the first expedition to over-winter on the Antarctic mainland, the first to visit the Great Ice Barrier—later known as the Ross Ice Shelf—since Sir James Clark Ross’s groundbreaking expedition of 1839 to 1843, and the first to effect a landing on the Barrier’s surface. It also pioneered the use of dogs and sledges in Antarctic travel.

Here’s Borchgrevink using a theodolite in front of the expedition’s ship, the S.S. Southern Cross:

William Colbeck photographs and clippings, State Library of New South Wales, PXA 2123, http://archival.sl.nsw.gov.au/Details/archive/110373973

Well here’s a Wikipedia mistake of some sort: the photo below is labeled “Capt. Lowell Smith and Lt. John P. Richter receiving the first mid-air refueling on June 27, 1923.” The date is off.

Refueling in mid-air by Capt. Lowell H. Smith and Lt. John P. Richter, at Rockwell Field, California, June 1923. They stayed in the air 4 days. DeHaviland airplanes used.

Here are Bartolomeo Vanzetti (left) and Nicola Sacco (right); both were executed though it’s likely that although Sacco was guilty of felony murder, Vanzetti was innocent:

Here’s a photo of the perp, Clark Olofsson, with some hostages in the bank vault. Although he held them six days, they bonded with him, and ultimately Olofsson was sentenced to only ten years of prison.

More were found later, and here’s the whole family interred at the St. Petersburg Cathedral, photographed on August 1, 2011:

Da Nooz:

*As you recall, a federal judge has ordered the Department of Justice to “unseal” part of the affidavit that led to the raid on Mar-a-Lago, and that means revealing what sort of criminal investigation they were conducting and why they were looking for the evidence they sought. But the judge left it up to the DOJ, which didn’t want any of the affidavit unsealed, to decide which parts could be released. That’s led to a story in the Washington Post reporting the expected outcome. It turns out that the judge will look at the proposed redactions and decide if the censored document can be released:

A federal judge who said last week that he is “inclined” to unseal some of the affidavit central to the FBI search of former president Donald Trump’s Florida estate left open the possibility in a written order Monday that it would be so heavily redacted that releasing it would be “meaningless.”

After hearing arguments in court on Thursday, Federal Magistrate Judge Bruce E. Reinhart ordered Justice Department officials to submit proposed redactions by Thursday at noon Eastern time.

The Justice Department has opposed releasing the document, saying that its investigation is in the “early stages” and that making the affidavit public could chill potential witnesses, risk the safety of those already interviewed and reveal future investigative steps. News organizations are pushing for its disclosure, citing public interest in a case stemming from Trump’s possession of classified documents.

“I cannot say at this point that partial redactions will be so extensive that they will result in a meaningless disclosure, but I may ultimately reach that conclusion after hearing further from the Government,” Reinhart said in the written order Monday.

Perhaps because I’m a Democrat, I’m on the side of the DOJ. Although I favored release of the Pentagon Papers and other “classified” information, if the release of information here really does endanger people and is legal, I’d say the legal system takes precedence over the press’s right to know.

*But on the other hand, conservative columnist Henry Olsen in the Washington Post writes “Let voters read virtually all of the Mar-a-Lago search affidavit.” His rationale?

The FBI’s search of Mar-a-Lago was a legal proceeding, but it was also a political act. Attorney General Merrick Garland’s decision to authorize the raid infuriated tens of millions of people — and excited an equal number who have long wanted their bête noire thrown in jail. Regardless of whether the FBI search uncovered potentially valuable evidence for a criminal investigation, these equal and opposite reactions are its primary social impact.

This fact means that it’s not appropriate for the judge to follow normal procedures in assessing how much of the affidavit to reveal. The more that is kept secret, the less public justification — and in politics, public knowledge is crucial for legitimacy — there is for the search. That lack of information helps fuel the attacks on the FBI, both verbal and physical, that further undermine our entire federal law enforcement system. Those consequences cannot be in the public interest.

Reinhart should also consider the impact on the nation if an investigation conducted largely in secret results in an indictment of Trump or someone close to him. Many Trump supporters already believe, with much justification, that there’s a “deep state” conspiracy to bring their hero down. Secrecy would feed political unrest that has societal effects that are more important to the nation’s well-being than the investigation itself.

“Deep state conspiracy to bring their hero down?” Justifiable? I don’t think it’s a conspiracy, but a WIDESPREAD HOPE!

. . . Disclosure of the affidavit would provide concrete and specific information, beyond what “people familiar with the investigation” say to the news media, that the public could assess to determine for themselves if the search was justified.

These considerations mean that Reinhart should resist any temptation to release a heavily redacted affidavit. That result would be worse than if he released nothing at all. Conspiracy theorists would be quick to contend that the release was a sham intended to conceal the truth.

Forgive me, but I beg to disagree. Either Trump isn’t indicted, in which case nothing happens except that Republicans get pissed off, or he is, and the information will come out in the courts.

*The Russians are now claiming that the death of Daria Dugina in a deliberate car bombing was planned and executed by Ukrainians. Daria’s father is a prominent supporter of Putin and a big backer of the invasion of Ukraine, and, I hear, so is Daria. As I mentioned yesterday, I think that this operation that would be a stupid thing for Ukrainians to do, as this is really a war crime: the execution of civilians. I don’t think that a savvy regime would do this, so for the time being I’ll reserve judgment about the Russian accusation.

Ukraine has denied having anything to do with the car bombing on Saturday that killed Ms. Dugina, 29, on a highway in an affluent district outside of Moscow.

Russia’s domestic intelligence agency, the F.S.B., issued a statement on Monday saying that the attack “was prepared and committed by the Ukrainian intelligence agencies.” The claim could not be independently verified.

Some Russian media reports had said that Ms. Dugina’s father, Aleksandr Dugin, an ultranationalist writer who helped build the ideological foundation for President Vladimir V. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, was the likely target of the blast.

But the F.S.B.’s statement described Ms. Dugina — herself a hawkish commentator who had earned a following with frequent appearances on state media — as the intended target.

*This column by the estimable Maggie Haberman is five days old, but well worth reading, “Another Trump mystery: why did he resist returning the government’s documents?

The question, as with so much else around Mr. Trump, is why? Why did he insist on refusing to turn over government papers that by law did not belong to him, igniting another legal conflagration? As with so much else related to Mr. Trump, there is not one easy answer.

Here are the main possibilities.

I’ll give her list and a precis, but you’ll have to read for yourself:

Exciting documents. Mr. Trump, a pack rat who for decades showed off knickknacks in his overstuffed Trump Tower office — including a giant shoe that once belonged to the basketball player Shaquille O’Neal — treated the nation’s secrets as similar trinkets to brandish.

“L’état, c’est moi”: “From my own experiences with him, which is bolstered by those around him who are speaking in his defense, his actions seem to fit the pattern that as ‘king,’ he and the state are one and the same,” said Mark S. Zaid, a lawyer who frequently handles cases related to national security and security clearances, including during the Trump presidency. “He seems to honestly believe that everything he touches belongs to him, and that includes government documents that might be classified.”

Ripping up paper: He also had a habit of ripping up paper, from routine documents to classified material, and leaving the pieces strewn around the floor or in a trash can. Officials would have to rummage through the shreds and tape them back together to recreate the documents in order to store them as required under the Presidential Records Act.

Personal information: Mr. Trump, Mr. Bolton said, never told him he planned to take a document and use it for something beyond its value as a memento.

It was “sort of whatever he wants to grab for whatever reason,” Mr. Bolton said. “He may not even fully appreciate” precisely why he did certain things.

But officials worried, particularly about the documents falling into the wrong hands.

Other advisers wondered if Mr. Trump kept some documents because they contained details about people he knew.

Haberman comes to no conclusion, and mine is “all of the above”, for the man is mentally ill and it’s impossible to suss out his motives.

*The Associated Press reports a severe and disturbing shrinkage of glaciers in Switzerland, but they’re shrinking nearly everywhere in the world. I wonder why?

Switzerland’s 1,400 glaciers have lost more than half their total volume since the early 1930s, a new study has found, and researchers say the ice retreat is accelerating at a time of growing concerns about climate change.

ETH Zurich, a respected federal polytechnic university, and the Swiss Federal Institute on Forest, Snow and Landscape Research on Monday announced the findings from a first-ever reconstruction of ice loss in Switzerland in the 20th century, based in part on an analysis of changes to the topography of glaciers since 1931.

The researchers estimated that ice volumes on the glaciers had shrunk by half over the subsequent 85 years — until 2016. Since then, the glaciers have lost an additional 12%, over just six years.

“Glacier retreat is accelerating. Closely observing this phenomenon and quantifying its historical dimensions is important because it allows us to infer the glaciers’ responses to a changing climate,” said Daniel Farinotti, a co-​author of the study, which was published in scientific journal The Cryosphere.

By area, Switzerland’s glaciers amount to about half of all the total glaciers in the European Alps.

The article goes on to explain how they managed to come up with this figure. Since it’s the Swiss, I assume they’re pretty close, giving us just one more cause to worry about what we know is going to happen.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is leveling false accusations at Kulka:

Hili: Kulka has drunk up all the water from the bucket.
A: I think that you are exaggerating.
In Polish:
Hili: Kulka wypiła całą wodę z wiadra.
Ja: Chyba przesadzasz.


Marie sent a Far Side cartoon by Gary Larson:

From Not Another Science Cat Page:

From Divy, a Scott Metzger cartoon:

The Tweet of God:

Speaking of God, here’s a response to one of his tweets

From Malcolm. I may have posted this a while back, but, hey, it’s still worth seeing:

No, I’m mad at Scientific American because they make up stuff and distort science for ideological ends.

I’ll take a dozen!

From the Auschwitz Memorial: gassed at three:

Tweets from Matthew: A clever answer to first the tweet’s question:

70% answered “human abstractions”.  They’re wrong, but read chapter 1 of my book with Allen Orr, Speciation, to see why.

This is adorable: a goat who thinks it’s a cat:

23 thoughts on “Tuesday: Hili dialogue

  1. I love the “what gives people a feeling of power” cartoon.

    It reminded me vividly of when I attended the first large gathering of my new spouse’s friends and family. I wanted to make a good impression, so, when the family cat stalked into the room and singled me out for the honor of serving as its cushion for most of the evening I was delighted. What a great testimonial!

    However, my delight wore off as the evening dragged on. First, the cat hooked a claw into my thigh through my skirt. But I couldn’t object to either the damage to my dress or my skin, because the cat might then leave me. And what’s worse than not being selected is being selected and then rejected, since its more personal that way.

    Second, the cat was not a warm and relaxed companion. For the entire hour or so he remained on my lap he was a state of high muscular tension, with the tip of his tail twitching in intense irritation. He basically radiated hate at all the strangers in his house and made it clear that in his opinion, I was just the least worst of a very bad lot.

    1. Reminded me of Freddie Widgeon in P. G. Wodehouse’s Goodbye to All Cats. He goes to his beloved’s house determined to make an impression on her father and finds the place, Matcham Scratchings, full of cats and dogs. The visit starts badly when a cat scratches Freddie’s shirt as he is dressing for dinner. Then things get worse very quickly. In the end, he gets dumped by the girl.

        1. 🙂 To some degree of approximation, in a certain sense, that is what he got. It is his defenestration of cats — two of them, one living one dead — that got him into trouble with daddy.

  2. … conservative columnist Henry Olsen in the Washington Post writes “Let voters read virtually all of the Mar-a-Lago search affidavit.”

    Henry Olsen is fulla shit.

    I’d like to get a look at the Mar-a-Lago search warrant affidavit at least as much as anyone else. But Olsen’s argument boils down to, since around 40% of the US public is completely unreasonable and beyond the reach of rational argument — after all, they believe, despite the utter dearth of facts to support it, Donald Trump’s baseless lie that he won a landslide electoral victory that was stolen from him by massive voting fraud, QED — that the United States system of justice should allow itself to be blackmailed into abandoning standard legal procedure by the threat of violent civil unrest from this segment.

    Any democracy willing to capitulate to such threats is not a democracy worth saving.

    1. Weeks ago the sentiment in your last sentence was not as accepted as it is now. I think Garland’s statement about his commitment to pursue the evidence where it leads was a subtle turning point. Lately, it’s become more widely agreed that the Donald needs to face the music.

  3. Henry Olsen’s analysis is not very convincing.

    “That lack of information helps fuel the attacks on the FBI, both verbal and physical, that further undermine our entire federal law enforcement system. Those consequences cannot be in the public interest.”

    This sounds reasonable, however this reasonable model of behavior has long since ceased to be valid with respect to the RP and most of their supporters. It makes no difference what their enemies do, they will respond with accusations, rage and invent new conspiracy theories or fit it into existing ones. And those ranging from less radical to “on the fence” will, despite being wrong over and over again, give at least some credence to their claims. We’ve seen this time and time again. Anyone at this point suggesting that the DP, liberals, Deep State, those trying to do the right thing, should do ‘X’ so that the Right won’t have a fit are delusional.

    “Reinhart should also consider the impact on the nation if an investigation conducted largely in secret results in an indictment of Trump or someone close to him.”

    1, same as above. 2, all of the facts are certain to come out, be released, after the case has been resolved. That should be good enough. There are excellent reasons for investigations to keep information secret during the investigation, not the least to protect the target of the investigation. The DOJ is following the rules on this one, as they should. To the extent they may bow to political pressure, let’s hope it doesn’t compromise their investigation in any way.

    “Many Trump supporters already believe, with much justification, that there’s a “deep state” conspiracy to bring their hero down.”

    Pure crap. Olsen is either detached from reality, i.e. has drunk the Kool-Aid, or his intent is simply to keep the conspiracy theory alive.

    1. You and Ken (comment #3) make excellent points. Olsen is an enabler of domestic fascists, many of whom are itching to be domestic terrorists. In today’s political climate, anyone who mentions the “deep state” is an enemy of democracy. There cannot be any compromise with the fascists. If the evidence warrants that Trump must be indicted for any of his many crimes, it must happen. The rule of law must be preserved. The government must be prepared to meet and crush any violence that ensues from a Trump indictment. There can be no giving in to blackmail.

  4. I wonder to what degree the global glacial melt, such as is happening in Switzerland, has contributed to the very tiny speedup of the Earth’s rotation, due to conservation of angular momentum. I tried to do a “back-of-the-envelope” calculation not long ago to see how much of a net drop in the average distance of the Earth’s mass from its center of rotation would be needed to produce the results stated, and it wasn’t very much, but I am not confident enough in my numbers. I wonder if anyone else has done any actual, rigorous, quality work on this.

    I know that NASA calculated that a Chinese Three Gorges Dam SLOWED the Earth’s rotation by .06 microseconds, and that was hardly the equivalent of all the glacial melt from Greenland to Switzerland to…well to every other glacier on Earth, with the water running from the mountains down to sea level.

    1. I commented earlier but it did not appear. So my apologies if I repeat myself.
      That is so fascinating, that melting glaciers increase the Earth’s rotation.
      Over the hundreds of millions of years, the Earth’s rotation has slowed down. In the early Permian a year had at least 400 days. 34 days over 300 million years translates to 0.01 seconds a year (if my back of the envelope estimates are correct). That is way more than the 0.06 microseconds of the Three Gorges Dam.

      Of course , minute changes in the speed of the Earth’s rotation are probably the least of our problems with Global Warming. I’m much more worried about the expansion of the seas by rising temperatures, from 4 degrees on, water expands. The oceans are deep baskets with shallow overflowing rims. Melting glacier water will of course exacerbate the volumes, but they are cold water, so they might even counter the expansion. Would they? I have not yet seen an estimate, let alone a serious calculation.

  5. Maggie Haberman’s proposals are reasonable, but I think it’s a bit simpler than that. Trump does things that a stubborn 5 year old would do. I think it’s because he has a 5 year old mind.

    1. Well, I think one thing is about sure. It was not the Ukrainians. Why would they? Just to give Putin some propaganda ammunition? Or maybe to put Putin in a bad light ,’falsely’ accusing the Ukrainians? Or Putin doing it to make it appear that the Ukrainians would falsely want to put Putin in a bad light by falsely accusing the Ukrainians? etc, etc. ad infinitum. Like Russian dolls.
      No, I think that the idea that Ukraine was behind this assassination is rather weak, to put it very mildly . It would have been a cockamamie scheme (as Americans would say).

  6. First mid-air refueling was a couple of years earlier according to business insider:

    Wesley Mays, a famous daredevil of the late-1910s and early-1920s, climbed from one biplane onto another with a 5-gallon jug of fuel strapped to his back.

    Three men worked together to pull off the stunt. Mays, the daredevil, was joined by two pilots, Frank Hawks and Earl Daugherty. Mays rode along with his gas can in the plane piloted by Hawks. Then, he climbed out of Hawks’ passenger seat and walked onto the right wing tip.

    From there, he waited for Daugherty to bring his wingtip in range and grabbed it. Mays lifted himself onto the wing and worked his way between the planes’ wings and into the cockpit. He poured the gas into the engine and strapped himself into his waiting seat, sealing his place in history.

    The Army Air Corps got in on the aerial refueling action 2 years later in Jul. 1923,


  7. “The question, as with so much else around Mr. Trump, is why? Why did he insist on refusing to turn over government papers that by law did not belong to him…”

    There is another possibility, but it requires a suspension of the belief that Trump acts only with malice, and that those trying to bring him down have always acted transparently, and within the law.

    It is known from extant documents that Trump used presidential authority to declassify the files relating to Crossfire Hurricane and related matters. He seems to have followed normal procedures by sending copies for review and redaction of particularly sensitive personal or intelligence information, after which the material would be released.
    Instead of doing so, the bureaucracy stalled on processing the documents. Finally, on 17 Jan 2021, the FBI sent Trump a list of passages in the documents that they felt “crucial to keep from public disclosure”. On 19 Jan, Trump accepted those redactions, and sent the copies back for what was supposed to be an expedited release.
    Of course, once Biden was sworn in, those documents never did get released, and are probably in the warehouse with the Ark of the Covenant.

    It would have been the wise thing for Trump to retain the unredacted versions of those documents, as insurance against the possibility that his order of declassification might not be carried out, or that they might be subject to modification or become “lost”. This would be particularly important if those documents exonerate him of misdeeds he has been accused of, or if they implicate others in prosecutable offenses.

    I do not claim this is the only possibility, or even the most likely. I do advise those examining the issue to at least consider as a possibility that the DNC might be willing to cross a few legal boundaries in order to influence the outcome of events, or even the possibility that the FBI might not be above acting for partisan political reasons.
    Critically, even the assumption that Trump is pure evil does not convey with it assurances that all of his enemies are pure good.

    1. Is there any evidence to support this theory, Max?

      If this theory is legit, why did Trump and his minions first claim that the General Services Administration had packed up the classified files by mistake, without his knowledge or consent; then, that the FBI had planted the classified documents at Mar-a-Lago during its search; then, that he had signed a standing order automatically declassifying all material he took with him from the Oval Office — a standing order as to which no evidence of its existence has yet been offered, and as to which 18 former high-ranking Trump administration officials have essentially declaimed in unison “bullshit!” — rather than to come forward with this theory in the first place?

      I’m open to plausible theories, but not to “let’s keep throwing stuff against the wall to see if anything sticks.”

      Trumpworld’s rank amateurishness is almost as embarrassing as its rank mendacity.

      1. Moreover, the documents at issue — whether classified or not — belong not to Donald Trump personally, but to the American people under the Presidential Records Act.

        Even assuming Trump had a legitimate interest in assuring that unredacted versions of the classified “Crossfire Hurricane” documents were preserved, there’s no reason that this interest would not have been satisfied by turning the unredacted documents over to the National Archives (where they lawfully belonged) for preservation (unless Trumpworld’s conspiracy theory includes the National Archives as part of the “deep state” plotting against Trump, too).

        This claim reeks of desperation.

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