Saturday: Hili dialogue

October 22, 2022 • 6:30 am

Welcome to cat shabbos: Saturday, October 22, 2022: National Nut Day, celebrating our last President. It’s also Eat a Pretzel Day, Wombat Day, INTERNATIONAL CAPS LOCK DAY, and International Stuttering Awareness Day.

Speaking of stuttering,  you may remember the excellent movie “The King’s Speech“, dealing with the stuttering of George VI, who unexpectedly became King when his brother abdicated. The new King, severely afflicted with a stutter since age five, had to put the kibosh on his ailment so that he could address his nation without embarrassment. The movie nabbed 12 Oscar nominations, and won Best Picture and Best Actor for Colin Firth’s portrayal of George VI.  Here’s an absorbing segment from 60 Minutes on the movie and on the real King himself, with original footage of George VI stuttering and recently discovered letters between the King and his speech therapist. The genesis of the book that gave rise to the movie is fascinating. I highly recommend that you watch this 14½-minute piece:

Readers are invited to add in the comments notable events that happened on this day; to do so, look at the October 22 Wikipedia page.

Da Nooz:

*The Washington Post revealed that some of the “classified” papers retrieved in the FBI’s search of Mar-a-Lago were really classifiedand had some sensitive stuff in them.

Some of the classified documents recovered by the FBI from Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home and private club included highly sensitive intelligence regarding Iran and China, according to people familiar with the matter. If shared with others, the people said, such information could expose intelligence-gathering methods that the United States wants to keep hidden from the world.

At least one of the documents seized by the FBI describes Iran’s missile program, according to these people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe an ongoing investigation. Other documents described highly sensitive intelligence work aimed at China, they said.

Unauthorized disclosures of specific information in the documents would pose multiple risks, experts say. People aiding U.S. intelligence efforts could be endangered, and collection methods could be compromised. In addition, other countries or U.S. adversaries could retaliate against the United States for actions it has taken in secret.

The classified documents about Iran and China are considered among the most sensitive the FBI has recovered to date in its investigation of Trump and his aides for possible mishandling of classified information, obstruction and destruction of government records, the people said.

These documents could inform foreign governments about our methods of collecting top secret information, and their removal from the White House might constitute a violation of the Espionage Act. Remember that these papers are in the hands of the Justice Department and are not part of the group of documents being reviewed by the “Special Master”. That means they could be used in a criminal investigation, which is clearly going on, and perhaps (one can hope) in an indictment.

*Speaking of the Trumpster, yesterday the man was handed a subpoena by the House committee investigating the January 6 insurrection.

The nine-member panel issued a letter to Trump’s lawyers saying he must testify, either at the Capitol or by videoconference, “beginning on or about” Nov. 14 and continuing for multiple days if necessary. The letter also outlined a request for a series of corresponding documents, including personal communications between Trump and members of Congress as well as extremist groups.

“We recognize that a subpoena to a former president is a significant and historic action,” Chairman Bennie Thompson and Vice Chair Liz Cheney wrote in the letter to Trump. “We do not take this action lightly.”

The panel rooted its action in history, listing past presidents from John Quincy Adams to Gerald Ford who testified before Congress after leaving office — and noting that even sitting presidents have responded to congressional subpoenas.

It is unclear how Trump and his legal team will respond. He could comply or negotiate with the committee, announce he will defy the subpoena or ignore it altogether. He could also go to court and try to stop it.

Well, Steve Bannon ignored it, and he’s sitting in jail. Somehow the President seems to be above the law. The AP article continues:

If Trump refuses to comply with the subpoena, the panel will have to weigh the practical and political implications of holding him in contempt of Congress.

“That’s a bridge we cross if we have to get there,” Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a Republican member of the committee, told ABC on Sunday. “He’s made it clear he has nothing to hide, is what he says. So, he should come in.”

If the full House voted to recommend a contempt charge against Trump, the Justice Department would then review the case and decide any further step.

Other witnesses have faced legal consequences for defying the committee, including close Trump ally Steve Bannon, who was convicted of contempt in July and was sentenced Friday to four months behind bars. But holding a former president in contempt would be another matter, truly exceptional.

HOWEVER, all Trump has to do is stall until January 3, when the current Congress dissolves, and he’s home free. That of course means there’s no chance we’ll see him testify.

*Yay! Nellie Bowles is back from maternity leave and has resumed her Friday news summary on Bari Weiss’s site. This week’s is called “TGIF: I’m back baby!” And has Bowles inimitable snarky take on the news. Here are a couple of items:

→ You’d be happy about the economy if you didn’t have kids: When an MSNBC News host suggested voters care more about economic issues than about abortion rights, Georgia governor candidate Stacey Abrams argued the two are entwined. Thread, meet needle.

“Let’s be clear: Having children is why you’re worried about (the) price for gas. It’s why you’re worried about how much food costs. For women this is not a reductive issue, you can’t divorce being forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy from the economic realities of having a child.”

So, single, childless people care less about the price of gas? Abortions would make people more relaxed about inflation? My single friends are the ones buying those expensive plane tickets, complaining about hotel costs. I’m at home making frozen potstickers.

→ Trump is still the head of the Republican party: For anyone hoping the calm, buttoned-up Florida Governor Ron DeSantis takes over as the more civilized head of the Republican party, it’s not looking likely. At least not without Donald Trump’s gracious exit and selfless blessing. And if there’s one thing we all know Trump is great at, it’s gracious, selfless acts.

A new poll shows 47% of likely GOP voters would vote Trump if the election were held today, while only 28% would vote DeSantis. To get a sense of the internal conservative dynamics of this, watch Megyn Kelly break it down to Dave Rubin, who looks pretty sad about it. As Kelly bluntly says: “The only way DeSantis is going to become the Republican nominee is if Trump chooses not to run and endorses him or dies.”

We are all doomed to have Biden versus Trump for a thousand years. When they’re 500-year-old mummies, they will still run against each other. Candidates who are mummies or, otherly-living persons, are no less capable than you or me. To suggest otherwise is frankly ableist. Speaking of . . .

→ Spilled milk (and soup) for the climate: Eco-protesters this week did a few interesting actions to make people hate eco-protesters, mostly involving gluing themselves to things. First, they threw soup at an iconic Van Gogh painting of sunflowers and glued their hands to the wall. Then, they went into a grocery store and did what I guess is called “a milk pour,” just dumping milk jug after milk jug into the aisle to protest milk-drinking. The protestors are actually pretty articulate and compelling (watch one of the van Gogh girls explain herself here). They’re also funny. After a group this week glued themselves to the floor of a VW facility, they got upset that VW wouldn’t help them out, writing: “VW told us that they supported our right to protest, but they refused our request to provide us with a bowl to urinate and defecate in a decent manner while we are glued, and have turned off the heating.”

This was all in Europe. When climate activists blocked a highway in Washington, D.C., earlier this month, it went, well, a little differently.

“Move before I pull my gun out,” said one woman. “Test me, fucking test me.” .

*The Bad Nooz: Here’s a tweet that could be called “The Worst Angels of our Nature.” It links to a Substack article by David Rozado (h//t Reese).

An excerpt from Rosado’s analysis:

I have recently published a paper where we describe a chronological (2000–2019) analysis of sentiment and emotion in 23 million headlines from 47 news media outlets popular in the United States. We used Transformer language models fine-tuned for detection of sentiment (positive, negative) and emotions (anger, disgust, fear, joy, sadness, neutral) to automatically label the headlines.

Results show an increase of sentiment negativity in headlines across written news media since the year 2000.

The solid blue line shows the average yearly sentiment of headlines across 47 popular news media outlets. Shaded area indicates the 95% confidence interval around the mean. A statistical test for the null hypothesis of zero slope is shown on the bottom left of the plot. The percentage change on average yearly sentiment across outlets between 2000 and 2019 is shown on the top left.

Headlines from right-leaning news media have been, on average, consistently more negative than headlines from left-leaning outlets over the entire studied time period.

I knew the world was going to hell . .

*First, Republicans were ahead. Then, after the Dobbs decision, everyone said that abortion would break the GOP’s back. But now David Brooks explains “Why republicans are surging“. He says more than just, “It’s the economy, stupid!”:

It’s hard to win consistently if voters don’t trust you on the top issue. In a recent AP-NORC poll, voters trust Republicans to do a better job handling the economy, by 39 percent to 29 percent. Over the past two years, Democrats have tried to build a compelling economic platform by making massive federal investments in technology, infrastructure and child welfare. But those policies do not seem to be moving voters.

Democrats have a crime problem. More than three-quarters of voters say that violent crime is a major problem in the United States, according to a recent Politico/Morning Consult poll. Back in the 1990s, Bill Clinton and Joe Biden worked hard to give the Democrats credibility on this issue. Many Democrats have walked away from policies the party embraced then, often for good reasons. But they need to find another set of policies that will make the streets safer.

Democrats have not won back Hispanics. In 2016, Donald Trump won 28 percent of the Hispanic vote. In 2020, it was up to 38 percent. This year, as William A. Galston noted in The Wall Street Journal, recent surveys suggest that Republicans will once again win about 34 to 38 percent of the Hispanic vote.

It’s hard to win consistently if voters don’t trust you on the top issue. In a recent AP-NORC poll, voters trust Republicans to do a better job handling the economy, by 39 percent to 29 percent. Over the past two years, Democrats have tried to build a compelling economic platform by making massive federal investments in technology, infrastructure and child welfare. But those policies do not seem to be moving voters.

The Jan. 6 committee and the warnings about MAGA fascism didn’t change minds. That committee’s work has been morally and legally important. But Trump’s favorability rating is pretty much where it was at the committee’s first public hearing.

The Republicans may just have a clearer narrative. The Trumpified G.O.P. deserves to be a marginalized and disgraced force in American life. But I’ve been watching the campaign speeches by people like Kari Lake, the Republican candidate for governor in Arizona. G.O.P. candidates are telling a very clear class/culture/status war narrative in which common-sense Americans are being assaulted by elite progressives who let the homeless take over the streets, teach sex ed to 5-year-olds, manufacture fake news, run woke corporations, open the border and refuse to do anything about fentanyl deaths and the sorts of things that affect regular people.

Well, Brooks is a professional pundit. But it’s hard to make a case that the Democrats are surging. . . In my view, nobody is surging but politics is bubbling like the La Brea Tar Pits.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili has become an identitarian:

Hili: Identity is important.
A: In what sense?
Hili: It’s good to know whom are you eating.
In Polish:
Hili: Tożsamość jest ważna.Ja: W jakim sensie?Hili: Dobrze jest wiedzieć kogo się zjada.


I found this photo on the Internet and am captioning it “Prince Charles (now the King) imitates Al Franken”:

From Merilee, a Far Side cartoon by Gary Larson (the d*gs will never figure it out, though cats have.

From Jean:

From God, and I can’t say I disagree with Him:

From Masih; a peaceful Iranian protester’s own cellphone recorded her death:

I found this tweet, which apparently shows the recording of the vocals on Sympathy for the Devil:

From Simon, who asks, “Is anybody looking for a short-term sabbatical?”

From Barry. This German news report is hilarious when you hear the English quote. In translation (spoken English in bold) it’s “”whereupon the deputy chief whip left parliament with the words: I’m fucking furious and I don’t fucking care any more. I won’t translate this now, but this a party,…”

From the Auschwitz Memorial: a 12 year old boy gassed upon arrival:

Tweets from Matthew. An anagram here:

Remember the movie with this palindrome in it?

Yep, it’s supposed to say “arise”:

18 thoughts on “Saturday: Hili dialogue

  1. Some also want former Prime Minister Boris Johnson back, even though his tenure was punctuated by a series of scandals.

    Maybe we’ll get Boris Johnson and Donald Trump back. That would be fun. Just like old times 🙂

    Remember the movie with this palindrome in it?

    Yes. I saw a recent photo of Jack Nicholson. He’s not on a diet.

    1. From an international politics pov. (basically the Ukraine war now), I would have no serious problems of having Boris back, despicable as he is, he was pretty good there, but the Donald, as Putin’s poodle, might be an unmitigated disaster. Let us hope Ukraine will already have won this war by 2024. (and by ‘won’ I mean having kicked Russia back to the 1991 borders, guaranteed by -among others- Russia in 1994, in exchange for Ukraine giving up its nukes)

  2. I found this tweet, which apparently shows the recording of the vocals on Sympathy for the Devil

    I think the answer is that it might be. It’s a scene from Jean-Luc Goddard’s film 1 + 1 which is based around the entire recording process of Sympathy for the Devil. It’s many years since I saw the film but I’m pretty sure they recorded the vocals a number of times.

  3. Results show an increase of sentiment negativity in headlines across written news media since the year 2000.

    Yep. I noticed it starting around 1990, when talk radio shifted from news to opinionated pseudo-news. The outrage it generated largely drove 1994’s Republican Revolution.Since then, most American media outlets have emulated the trend. Outrage and FUD bring viewers.

  4. That’s Beethoven in The King’s Speech – the soundtrack cut is named “Speaking Unto Nations” :

    …, but the Beethoven piece is Symphony 7, II – Allegretto :

    … that moment in the movie I thought “jeez, what IS this? It is so powerful and heavy, almost ripping me in pieces, yet utterly healing”

    Beethoven, duh!

  5. Jerry, I was flipping through the acknowledgements of Fogel and Engerman’s Time on the Cross and what name should I see amongst those who read and commented on parts of the manuscript but Richard C. Lewontin. I was like, Hey! I know who that is! I’d love to know which part he read and what his comments were.

  6. Mightily important: Ms Doris Tayler ( Lessing ) birthed today
    exactly two months’ time before my own Daddy’s birthing day:

    ” You’d never believe, when I was young, we genuinely believed religious wars
    were over. We’d say, at least it’s impossible to have a religious war now.
    Can you believe that ? … I’m so afraid of religion. Its capacity for murder is terrifying.

    — Interview with Harvey Blume, ‘ Doris Lessing: Hot Dawns, ‘
    Boston Book Review, July 1, 1998 (date approximate) ”


  7. Notable science birthdays:

    Clinton Davisson, 1881, Nobel Prize winner 1937 for the Davisson-Germer electron Diffraction experiment

    Charles Glen King, 1896, biochemist who isolated vitamin C

    Frank Spedding, 1902, chemist notes for uranium extraction necessary for nuclear weapons

    George Beadle, 1903, Nobel Prize winner for the role of genes in regulating biochemical events within the cell (according to Wikipedia, perhaps someone here can expand on what that means)

    Karl Jansky, 1905, discovered cosmic radio emissions

    And Jeff Goldblum, 1952, who isn’t a scientist but played one on TV.

  8. “Steve Bannon ignored it, and he’s sitting in jail.”

    Sadly, Bannon is still not sitting in jail. He remains on the street while he appeals his sentence.

  9. Great jumping jesus, I just spent the better part of two hours trying to work out the anagram. I gave up, went to do some chores and in the midst a thought came to me…it couldn’t be….
    but it was.

    Very clever.

  10. “You’d be happy about the economy if you didn’t have kids.”

    Some economists think that those of us with kids might be the only ones who find a silver lining in recent economic events. This guy thinks high inflation and low investment income are here to stay, and that they are deliberate attempts by governments to circumvent central banks and inflate their way out of very high debt. It won’t help people like me who need investment income in retirement. But might help my kids by making today’s debts less valuable in the future in inflated dollars.

  11. People aiding U.S. intelligence efforts could be endangered, and collection methods could be compromised.

    Exactly as suspected, that some of the documents contain that sort of information.

    …[and] refuse to do anything about fentanyl deaths

    Yep, I’ve noted that. It needs to be on the table. The only viable solution I can think of is emphasis on education at a very early level, but even if there is no solution it needs to be part of the discussion.

  12. I’ve always felt Mick Jagger had one of the ugliest voices in popular music.

    Apparently, not a lot of people share that opinion…:-)….

  13. The lady (Charles doing the Al Franken) positively appears to enjoy it. Leeann Tweeden, a former Hooters and Playboy cover girl (not to mention ‘humping’ a surprised Robin Williams), does not appear to have a comparable sense of humour.
    I regret that Al Franken got nailed on a basically empty charge, he would have made such a great candidate. Could he make a come back? It is not as if he boasted about grabbing pussies.

  14. Apart from high inflation the US economy is doing fine, at least compared to all other economies. High inflation is not limited to the US, it is a world wide phenomenon.
    I’m completely mystified why US-ians have more confidence in Republicans than Democrats as far as the economy goes, just look at the National Debt. Reagan’s Voodoo Economics (a term coined by Papa Bush, btw) increased it by 186%, Baby Bush’s by 101% (I don’t have the data for Trump yet, but suspect it will not be any better). The idea that the economy does better under Republicans than under Democrats is so obviously, utterly, not based in fact.
    Of course, national debt as percentage of GDP is just one way of measuring, but on the other measurements its not really different.

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