Saturday: Hili dialogue

October 1, 2022 • 6:30 am

It’s cat shabbos again (until sundown): Saturday, October 1, 2022, and of course the beginning of the month. I’ll put up Thomas Wolfe’s “Hymn to October” as the next post, a wonderful bit of prose celebrating the month by one of my favorite writers. It’s National Pumpkin Spice Day, and if you want to see Everything Pumpkin Spice, just go into Trader Joe’s this month. They even have Pumpkin Newtons, filled with pumpkin jam rather than fig, and I have to admit that I bought some for grins. They were good!

October is also these food months:

National Apple Month
National Applejack Month
National Caramel Month
National Cookbook Month
National Cookie Month
National Dessert Month
National Pasta Month
National Pickled Peppers Month
National Pizza Month
National Popcorn Poppin’ Month
National Pork Month
National Pretzel Month
National Seafood Month

It’s also World Vegetarian Day, International Coffee Day, Homemade Cookie Day, Astronomy Day, National Black Dog Day (not the depression dog, but real ones), International Day of Older Persons, Lincolnshire Day (in the UK) and International Raccoon Appreciation Day. Here are some individuals of Procyon lotor to appreciate (their natural range is only the North and parts of Central America, but they’ve been introduced to Japan, the Caucasus, and Europe):

From the Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center

Stuff that happened on October 1 includes:

A first edition of this classic, issued in 24 softcover parts, will run you $16,684:

Boston won the best-of-nine series by five games to three. Here are the Boston Americans in 1903:

Here’s a 4½-minute news report on the verdicts:

Here are the sentences:

I was surprised to learn (this from Wikipedia) that this change, occurring during the Cold War, and meant to affirm our difference from the godless Soviet Union, wasn’t met with unanimous approbation. But people got used to it, and then got to like it. Now it’s “tradition,” and therefore allowed by the First Amendment.

The initial reactions of the general populace was far from unanimous approval. On the one hand, Christian newspapers were generally happy with the phrase being included in coins, though some advocated for more religiously connotated mottos, such as “In God alone is our trust” or “God our Christ”. On the other, non-religious press was less impressed by the developments. The New York Times editorial board asked to “let us try to carry our religion—such as it is—in our hearts, and not in our pockets” and criticized the Mint for including the motto only on golden and larger silver coins.  New York Illustrated News ridiculed the new coins for marking “the first time that God has ever been recognized on any of our counters of Mammon,” with a similar comparison made by the Detroit Free Press. The different opinions on its inclusion eventually grew into a dispute between secularists and faith congregations. Others still started to make jokes of “In God We Trust”. The American Journal of Numismatics suggested that people would misread the motto as “In Gold we Trust”, which they said was “much nearer the fact”. Newspapers also started reporting on puns made of the slogan. Already in 1860s, newspapers reported signs reading “In God we Trust — terms cash,” “In God we trust. All others are expected to pay cash” and the like.

The phrase, however, gradually became a symbol of national pride. Just six years after it first appeared on coins, the San Francisco Chronicle called it “our nation’s motto”; similarly, groups as diverse as prohibitionists and suffragists, pacifists and nativists, Democrats and Republicans, Christians and Jews all adopted the motto or endorsed its usage by the end of the 19th century.[7] The motto stayed popular even as fewer denominations had “In God We Trust” embossed on coins.

Here’s leader Mario Savio’s famous activist speech at Berkeley, delivered on the steps of Sproul Hall on December 2, 1964:

  • 1969 – Concorde breaks the sound barrier for the first time.

Here’s a three-minute compilation of sonic booms by other planes; the videos showing the Concorde breaking the sound barrier doesn’t let you hear the sound:

After some Googling, I finally found its first use here:

On 1 October 1971, CT scanning was introduced into medical practice with a successful scan on a cerebral cyst patient at Atkinson Morley Hospital in Wimbledon, London, United Kingdom.

Da Nooz:

*His back to the wall, Vladimir Putin is ratcheting up his rhetoric and his actions. As the NYT reports, Putin now claims that the four regions of Ukraine in which he coerced into having illegal referendums all voted to join Russia (surprise!), and dialed his denunciation of the West up to 11:

President Vladimir V. Putin on Friday asserted that Russia would take control of four Ukrainian regions and decried the United States for “Satanism” in a speech that marked an escalation in Moscow’s war against Ukraine and positioned Russia, in starkly confrontational terms, as fighting an existential battle with Western elites he deemed “the enemy.”

Speaking to hundreds of Russian lawmakers and governors in a grand Kremlin hall, Mr. Putin said that the residents of the four regions — which are still partially controlled by Ukrainian forces — would become Russia’s citizens “forever.” He then held a signing ceremony with the Russian-installed heads of those regions to start the official annexation process, before clasping hands with them and chanting “Russia! Russia!”

Satanism? Who is the invader and murderer of civilians here?

Even by Mr. Putin’s increasingly antagonistic standards, the speech was extraordinary, a combination of bluster and menace that mixed conspiratorial riffs against the American-led “neocolonial system” with an appeal to the world to see Russia as the leader of an uprising against American power.

He referred to “the ruling circles of the so-called West” as “the enemy,” a word he rarely uses in reference to the West — and struck a tone of spiteful anger and defiance.

“Not only do Western elites deny national sovereignty and international law,” he said in the 37-minute address. “Their hegemony has a pronounced character of totalitarianism, despotism and apartheid.”

He forgot a few pejoratives there. Are tactical nuclear weapons next? One thing we know: this man will not tolerate Russia being a loser.

*In response, the U.S. dumped a new basket of sanctions on Russia, “targeting government officials and family members, Russian and Belarusian military officials and defense procurement networks.” A nice gesture, but it won’t do squat.  And some cowardly states at the U.N. refused to condemn Russia’s palpably illegal annexation of Ukrainian land:

A United Nations resolution condemning Russia’s “illegal, so-called referenda” in Ukraine, and calling on “all states” in the world to not recognize Russian annexation, failed to pass at the Security Council on Friday after Russia’s veto. Four nations abstained from the vote, despite U.S. exhortations to “stand up and defend our collective beliefs.”

The outcome was similar to one two days after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February, with a slight change in abstentions. China and India abstained in both, as did the United Arab Emirates. This time, the UAE voted in favor of the resolution, with both Brazil and Gabon abstaining.

The resolution was vetoed only because Russia is one of five permanent members of the Security Council, and only those members have veto power. But I’m appalled at IIndia’s abstention in particular. How would they feel if Pakistan invaded Kashmir and held referenda, declaring that Kashmir was no longer part of India? The rest of the vote was 10-1 among the total of fifteen nations.

*This week’s news summary on Bari Weiss’s site, “TGIF: Lizzo, Coolio, and everyone in between,” is by Kat Rosenfield filling in for Nellie Bowles. Rosenfield tries to evoke the famous Bowles snark, but she fails. I hope Bowles will return soon (she’s just had a baby).

*The separation of church and state in America is dying. As reader Ken reports,

By a 2-to-1 vote, a panel from the ultraconservative federal 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has ordered judgment entered in favor of a Texas state justice of the peace (and Pentacostal minister) who performs a prayer ceremony in his courtroom before holding hearings:

JAC: Be sure to read at least this tweet, but there are others as well. It’s a horrific encroachment of religion on a courtroom, which is of course an arm of the government.

The decision in the case, Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc., v. Mack, can be accessed here. You might find the dissenting opinion of Judge E. Grady Jolly, beginning at page 33 of the decision, interesting reading.

The beginning of Jolly’s dissent is what is reproduced in the tweet above. Talk about coercion! You’d better stay and you’d better stand during the prayers if you want Judge Mack to pay attention to your case.

The Freedom from Religion Foundation’s take on this case (they were the losing litigant, is here. A snippet of that:

Despite no evidence of any other U.S. judge currently opening with prayer or that courtroom prayer is a tradition, the ruling claims to be based on historic practice, including because some courts open with “God save this honorable court” or similar utterances. The ruling also inaptly compares the practice to legislative prayer. Jolly witheringly critiqued these conclusions from the majority and wrote that the plaintiffs had produced considerable evidence that Judge Mack’s prayers are coercive to those who attend court sessions. Jolly asserts, “For the majority to find that there is no evidence of coercion, suggests, in my opinion, willful blindness and indisputable error.”

. . . FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor blasted the decision, saying, “A courtroom is not a church, and a judge’s bench should not be a pulpit. This is a dishonest decision, both in claiming a tradition of courtroom prayer and in denying that it is coercive.” She added that manipulation of the facts to privilege religion and ignore constitutional dictates barring establishments of religion by government actors is a hallmark of Christian nationalist-influenced court decisions.

. . . Mack ran for justice of the peace on a platform promising to create a chaplaincy program and open court with prayer. The decision notes that Mack invites the chaplains to open court with prayer in order to “honor and thank” them.

The U.S. Supreme Court now uses “history and tradition” test to see if such violations are constitutional. And since there’s no other court doing this, they can’t even employ this test with any validity. But if this is appealed up to the U.S. Supreme Court, I predict they’d uphold the decision, as they did with the praying football coach in Washington State.

*Reader David: sent this:

You commented in Wednesday’s “Hili dialogue” on a report in the Telegraph about a family doctor in England who faced disciplinary action over complaints from patients that he had tried to force his Christian beliefs on them.  The National Secular Society released this news item earlier in the week, which I thought you might find interesting.  It appears that the doctor had been doing this for a number of years, and it was quite aggressive and inappropriate in many cases.

Having read the report, yes, it looks as if this doctor, Richard Scott, was almost committing malpractice, causing a lot of stress in his patients. Look at the sentence that I’ve put in bold below:

NHS England’s decision arose following concerns raised by the National Secular Society.

An acquaintance of a “highly vulnerable” patient contacted the NSS in 2019 after Dr Scott made her feel “discomfort at the use of prayer.” In an interview with BBC Radio 4 earlier that year, Dr Scott said he introduces faith into consultations with people with depression or anxiety as “most people are desperate, they’ll at least listen.” He also described how he had recently “converted” a patient to Christianity.

By his own admission, Dr Scott has received “about 10” complaints regarding imposing his religious views on patients.

Minutes from Dr Scott’s surgery, Bethesda Medical Centre in Margate, also revealed “too many complaints are received from patients” about having religion “pushed upon them” when they attend the surgery.

This followed a 2012 General Medical Council (GMC) investigation which found that Dr Scott had told a patient “his own religion could not offer him any protection” and he would suffer “for the rest of his life” if he did not “turn towards Jesus”.

Crikey! Now his punishment seems light: all he has to do is attend a “professional boundaries course.” I predict that this won’t stop him, as he was warned before. He just can’t stop shining the light of Jesus on his patients.

*Finally, if you’re an animal lover like me, you’ve surely wondered what happened to pets, zoo animals, and wild animals during hurricane Ian. The Washington Post has some stories about that, concentrating on zoo animals.

First, they report that an earlier AP story about a shark swimming in a man’s backyard in Fort Myers, which went viral, may well be real (it’s a sharklike fish but Snopes is mixed on whether it’s a shark. (The WaPo has the video.)

I was impressed at how the zoos were already prepared for the hurricane, as they have contingency plans.

As the storm approached this week, spoonbills and cranes in addition to Odette were gathered from free-flight aviaries at ZooTampa at Lowry Park. Anoas, a type of diminutive water buffalo, were loaded into a trailer towed by a John Deere tractor. Critically endangered red wolves — fewer than 300 still exist — were hauled onto a box truck to be brought indoors.

. . .Inland at the Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens near Orlando, zookeepers made sure rare Florida black bears, leopards and PJ the greater one-horned rhinoceros were bunkered safely in barns.

Meanwhile, macaws, hornbills and hawks were brought into the zoo’s ballroom, with handlers on hand to ride out the storm. Two bald eagles and a caracara were stored in the facility’s bathroom. During the commotion, birds of prey were draped with sheets.

“It just helps keep them quiet and relaxed,” zoo director Stephanie Williams said.

And then there’s this orange tabby, rescued from rising floodwaters by a kind-hearted guy named Mike Ross. It went viral:

Mike is going to keep the cat if he can’t find the owner, and I recommend that Megan keep Mike.

To end, here’s a photo of a shoebill stork being secured from the storm, but watch the video on the WaPo:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili takes cover from the sun:

A: Why are you all covered up?
Hili: I forgot to bring my sunglasses.
In Polish:
Ja: Czemu tak się zasłoniłaś?
Hili: Zapomniałam okularów słonecznych.

***********************

From Ducks in Public:

From Planetary Landscapes:

From Bizarre and Wonderful World. I haven’t checked this for accuracy:

The Tweet of God: Will this tweet still be up on Saturday when I post this? YES, it is. I wonder why it’s not considered defamation to put this up about an existing corporation.

A sad tweet from Masih:

A related tweet sent my Nancie. It’s a great political cartoon.

From David, but remember that correlation doesn’t imply causation:

From Malcolm: As the kids say, this guy has “mad skills”:

From the Auschwitz Memorial:

Tweets from Matthew. First, a warning from Sir David:

You could also say this for the U.S.:

 

33 thoughts on “Saturday: Hili dialogue

  1. Well, this Florida animal did ok, but would be happy if his power came on. It appears as if the flood waters have receded enough for crews to work in our area. It was only 73 yesterday; hopefully today will be cool, too.

    1. Glad you are ok, Dr B. I do not think that people who have not watched helplessly as tidal water moved toward their house in the constant noise of greater than 60mph winds, can appreciate how scary the uncertainty of how things will end up is. TV views do not replicate the full impact on all of the senses and the mind.

  2. “….others made fun of “In God we Trust….” – Yep, one of my chief engineers had a sign on his wall warning us: “In god we trust. All others must bring data”.

  3. This event is just too cute not to share. 😍

    https://www.zdf.de/nachrichten/panorama/kuhherde-wildschwein-frida-100.html

    A herd of cows in Lower Saxony has recently been enriched by an unusual member: young boar Frida has joined the cows. About three weeks ago, he discovered the small animal during morning feeding, said farmer Friedrich Stapel.

    In the meantime, the young animal has become a real attraction in the community of Brevörde in the district of Holzminden.

    Young boar Frida, who got her name from local children, is already properly integrated into the herd, Stapel said. A cow is particularly caring for the young animal.

    The local hunter has already been informed not to shoot the animal. As a farmer, he knows that wild boars can cause a lot of damage, said the 66-year-old.

    Frida is currently grazing with the cows in a meadow near a hiking trail on the Weser River. She probably lost touch with her conspecifics when they crossed the river, the farmer suspects. In winter, the boar probably comes with the mother cows in the stable. Stapel commented, “Leaving it alone now would be unfair, after all.”

  4. Putin is backed in a corner because he will not concede defeat. With his mentality, this is impossible. Desperate people do desperate things. One thing he may do is engage in endless war – his Vietnam or a repeat of the Russian experience in Afghanistan. He will send tens of thousands of young Russians to be slaughtered. He will pretend that things are going fine. This, in turn, could spark great unrest in the country that he will crack down on, possibly inciting civil war. Chaos in Russia will make him more desperate. Alternatively, he may use nuclear weapons as he has threatened. One should assume dictators mean what they say. If he does so, the U.S. and Nato will have to respond. More sanctions will be meaningless. A military response will ensue that could spark World War III and effectively end the world because Putin could initiate a full-scale nuclear exchange.

    The end result of Putin’s war will be very bad at best or catastrophic at worse. The only way I see to end this horror is for a palace coup to depose Putin that will end the war in Ukraine on terms not favorable to Russia. This is unlikely to happen, but if it does, the consequences of Russia being ruled by a junta of generals cannot be predicted. At the least, world stability will become very shaky.

    No matter what happens in Ukraine, Putin’s war will undoubtedly be viewed by future historians as one of the most significant events of the 21st century. The war also demonstrates how just one person out of the billions on the planet can destroy it at his whim. The availability of weapons of mass destruction to unstable dictators makes clear that no matter how “good’ the world is at any point, regression to the stone age can happen in the blink of the eye.

    1. > If he does [use nuclear weapons on Ukraine], the U.S. and Nato will have to respond.

      Why do you say this? Ukraine is not an ally of the United States. There is no treaty obligating the United States to retaliate with nuclear weapons in any circumstances. Nato, as Nato, does not control any nuclear weapons. They are all under the sovereign control of the United States, the United Kingdom, and France. The circumstances under which those countries would decide to use nuclear weapons are deliberately vague, in order to complicate the strategic thinking of a potential or actual adversary. I think it is unlikely in the extreme that any of those three countries would retaliate with nuclear weapons on Russian territory or military assets were Russia to attack Ukraine with the aim of a limited nuclear war to obtain a battlefield victory.

      Whether nuclear weapons have any military utility in Ukraine and whether Putin’s command structure would let him do it, I don’t know. But I know that no Western nuclear state is going to use nuclear weapons against a nuclear-armed adversary except in the face of an existential threat to itself.

      Edit: since by “respond”, you may not have meant necessarily a nuclear response, I will clarify that no military response against Russian territory is imaginable, nuclear or not. Even a conventional strike against Russia’s nuclear assets—very hard to pull off, actually—risks being interpreted by Russia as a first-strike attempt, prompting him to use them or lose them.

      1. By respond, I did not mean nuclear weapons. However, I think an attack on Russian territory or at least Russian forces in Ukraine by very lethal conventional arms is quite imaginable. It didn’t matter that Ukraine is not part of Nato when it has supplied the country with massive amounts of arms. To allow Putin to nuke Ukraine, even with tactical nukes, will conjure up images of Munich and appeasement if there is no response. Where would Putin go next after Ukraine — perhaps Poland or the Baltic states (which are part of Nato)? One can argue whether the analogy is applicable, but certainly it will be in the minds of Nato. It may conclude that the line against Putin must be drawn somewhere. If Nato attacks Russia then Putin may decide to go full nuclear and then hello armageddon. This is why I say that Putin’s war will result in consequences somewhere from the very bad to the catastrophic.

        1. I think you have made your own argument. The only country with the means to attack Russia is the United States. Other countries in Europe might wish the United States would attack Russia for them, thus ensuring that Putin’s nukes will explode in faraway North America and not knock down any European windmills or tourist-attracting cathedrals and art museums.. But in reality America will not do this. It will tell Europe to save itself for a change. Russia’s GDP before the war was the size of Canada’s. If Europe can’t fight them off, then it sucks to be Europe.

          I believe military assistance to Ukraine was a good idea but the idea that you must therefore attack Russia is the ultimate sunk-cost fallacy. Ukraine ‘s proxy war with Russia, heroically fought, has exposed Russia’s pre-existing weaknesses and weakened it still further, at no cost in American lives. Well done.—no snark or sarcasm conveyed. But you aren’t going to attack Russia over a nuke in Ukraine.

    2. Putin’s mobilisation disproportionally targets ethnic minorities. See eg. Tartars or Dagestani. (And with the ‘annexation’ probably Ukrainians too).
      Sending reluctant civilians dressed as soldiers into battle, with little training or equipment, just means death (‘cannon fodder’) and defeat. I suspect Putin is using this mobilisation as a method of ‘ethnic cleansing’ of the Russian Federation, eliminating potentially seditious populations. I certainly would not put it past Putin’s machinations. It would be another war crime though, if this scheme could be exposed as fact.
      In the mean time Ukraine is winning this war. ‘Annexation’, Russian mass mobilisation or even tactical nukes will not change that obvious observation. I can’t really think of anything that could change the outcome, but maybe my imagination is falling short there.
      I’ve been wrong more than once in this war, starting with the assumption Putin would not be crazy enough to actually start the invasion.

  5. Are tactical nuclear weapons next?

    If Putin deploys one tactical nuclear weapon, I doubt he’ll be around long enough to deploy a second. One way or another, I think he’ll get his ticket punched first.

  6. I have to agree that the English GP was going way too far in his efforts to proselytize. My form of atheistic ecumenicalism says that we are all allowed be wrong in our own ways, as long as those ways don’t impinge upon anything important. It sounds like his actions were not only unwanted and ill-mannered, but that they detracted from his therapeutic efforts in consultations. That won’t do in my book, and he must be slapped down firmly.
    The real horror of people convinced that they are in the right isn’t just the way they try to enforce their views on the rest of us, it is that they are usually wrong. “Honour the man who seeks truth, but beware of the man who has found it.”

    1. “Honour the man who seeks truth, but beware of the man who has found it.”
      That’s a great quote, Christopher!

  7. “In Gold We Trust”

    Sold!

    Oh that is so funny! Never occurred to me! And my sense of humor should’ve picked it up…

    I’m disappointed, frankly – and ashamed.

  8. As the storm approached this week, spoonbills and cranes in addition to Odette were gathered from free-flight aviaries at ZooTampa at Lowry Park.

    When I lived in Tampa for a couple years in the ’80s, Lowry Park had really fallen on hard times, but I understand it’s been completely rebuilt since. It was the zoo where the characters played by Robert De Niro and Ray Liotta (Jimmy Conway and Henry Hill, respectively) were going to throw the deadbeat gambler to the lions in Marty Scorsese’s film Goodfellas.

    1. Thanks for the reminder – I gotta see that again! These YouTube movie “snacks” are sad … but so good…

  9. I wonder why it [the mock Chevron ad]’s not considered defamation to put this up about an existing corporation.

    I should think that it falls into the same defamation exception carved out by SCOTUS in Hustler Magazine v. Falwell (1988), regarding the parody Campari ad that claimed Jerry Falwell lost his virginity to his mother in an outhouse.

    1. As a fossil-fuel enthusiast [edit: and shareholder], I quite liked the ad. Free, harmless publicity, especially since the claims are so obviously false that they make the Green movement look plainly silly.. At least they spelled the company’s name right.

      Of course, those who pine for gasoline at $20 a gallon, or better yet unavailable at all will find it hard-hitting and devastating. But Chevron’s board is probably laughing at it.

  10. I like pumpkin spice in most everything, but recently I went to a store to buy d*gfood. There I saw pumpkin spice d*g treats, and I thought this may be the beginning of the end.

  11. Apropos the “I’m in a really bad place” tweet at the end of today’s Hili Dialogue, he’s almost certainly referring to the fact that the UK economy is currently heading into a black hole thanks to the catastrophic “mini-budget” released by the new Chancellor of the Exchequer (chief finance minister) a week ago. First the pound sterling dropped to near-parity with the dollar, then the Bank of England had to pump 45 billion pounds (45 billion dollars, more or less) into the bond market to rescue a bunch of pension funds from imminent insolvency.

    So, whilst we in the UK have a lot of sympathy with the troubles of our American friends, it’s really not the same thing.

    1. I think the US’ or UK’s economic woes pale in comparison to Germany’s. Germany’s economy has become heavily relying on cheap Russian gas, but that (pipe-)line has been closed now.
      A recession is inevitable, only the depth of which is still in dispute.
      To Trump’s credit, he was one of many warning about Germany’s dependence on cheap Russian gas.
      From 2014 onwards , the Germans should have known that the Gas Company called ‘Russia” (with Putin as the Capo da capo) was not a reliable partner

      1. “Closed” is not strictly correct. “Open to the sea in four places, 200 feet down” is more accurate.

      2. … Capo da capo …

        I think the Italian phrase you were looking for, Nicky, is capo di tutti capi — the boss of all bosses (generally used in the US regarding the leader of “the Commission” comprising the bosses of the five New York crime families and, perforce, leader of the American mafia).

  12. I’m very skeptical of Tsokolakyan drawing 5 distinct images with his machine. First of all it looks almost impossible. Second, it is very easy to fake when it’s all shown in high speed. Someone tell me he’s legit because it is very cool.

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