Wednesday: Hili dialogue

October 26, 2022 • 6:30 am

Good morning on Wednesday, October 26, 2022, a “Hump Day” known as Hrbový den in Czechoslovakia. It’s National Mincemeat Pie Day, a pie that’s okay, but which to me is better when it includes real meat. It’s less than a month until Coynezaa begins: my own holiday that extends from Christmas to my birthday (Dec. 30).

It’s also Texas Chicken Fried Steak Day, National Pumpkin Day, National Mule Day, Birth of the Báb, and Intersex Awareness Day. 

Chicken fried steaks are best consumed in Texas, where they are BIG. They often include white gravy on top. Here’s me devouring one in Texas, along with the obligatory libartion of sweet tea in a quart Mason jar. Look at the size of that puppy!

Readers are invited to comment on notable events, births, and deaths on this day by consulting the October 26 Wikipedia page.

Da Nooz:

*Things get pretty gloomy when you look at the update at Five Thirty Eight, with only two weeks to go until the election. Even if the Democrats take the Senate, this is a recipe for a stalemate. I voted by mail yesterday, but since this is a Democratic state, my vote hardly counts.

And that’s buttressed by the NYT article, “Democrats, on defense in blue states, brace for a red wave in the House.”:

Republicans are pressing their advantage deep into Democratic territory in the closing stretch of the 2022 campaign, competing for an abundance of House seats amid growing signs that voters are poised to punish President Biden’s party even in the bluest parts of America.

Republicans need to win only a handful of seats to take over the House of Representatives, which Democrats now control by a narrow margin of 220-212. But with two weeks until the election, Republicans are looking to run up the score and win a more expansive — and governable —majority by vying for districts in Democratic bastions, including in Rhode Island, which has not sent a Republican to Congress for nearly three decades.

“We thought for a little bit that we could defy gravity, but the reality is setting in,” said Sean McElwee, executive director of Data for Progress, a progressive research and polling firm. With Democrats on the defensive in so many places, Mr. McElwee said the goal should now be to limit the party’s losses so it could conceivably try to take back the House in 2024.

Simply making incursions so deep into Democratic terrain is a victory for Republicans. Win or lose, they have diverted limited Democratic resources. But Republicans need just five seats net to flip the chamber, and with the current daunting map, some Democratic strategists worry the party could lose far more: 20 or even 30 seats.

. . .Polling, including the recent New York Times/Siena College survey, shows that voters are increasingly focused on the economy and inflation, and that economy-focused voters are lopsidedly backing Republicans.

“At 8 percent inflation you are effectively losing a month’s paycheck every year of your buying power — and they’re going to vote on that,” said Matthew Brouillette, the president of Commonwealth Partners Chamber of Commerce, a Republican-aligned business group.

*This is a surprise—and a setback for progressive Democrats, who wrote a letter to President Biden in June (news just released) urging him to negotiate directly with Putin to settle the war in Ukraine. That’s right on his own, presumably not needing the assent of Ukrainian President Zelensky.  But isn’t Zelensky supposed to do the negotiation with Putin? The letter was a misstep, but the letter was withdrawn.

The Congressional Progressive Caucus has rescinded a letter, signed by 30 House liberals and sent to the White House on Monday, that urged President Biden to negotiate directly with Russia to bring an end to the war in Ukraine.

The withdrawal comes a day after the letter, led by Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), triggered fierce pushback from many Democrats. The retraction was also a stunning misstep for a prominent House liberal who has expressed interest in seeking a leadership position in the party.

Apparently Jayapal didn’t get any okays from the rest of the Democrats. Bad move, since the whole House would have to vote on the bill.

In the wake of the letter’s release, Democrats and Ukrainian officials argued that it was unrealistic to negotiate with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Those officials also worried the letter could create more pressure on Biden as he tries to sustain domestic support for the war effort, at a time when the region is heading into a potentially difficult winter and Republicans are threatening to cut aid to Ukraine if they retake Congress.

On Tuesday, Jayapal said the letter had been drafted several months ago and “released by staff without vetting.” She also sought to distance Democrats from recent comments by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who suggested that a GOP-led House would not support additional aid to Ukraine.

“As Chair of the Caucus, I accept responsibility for this,” Jayapal said in a statement. “The proximity of these statements created the unfortunate appearance that Democrats, who have strongly and unanimously supported and voted for every package of military, strategic, and economic assistance to the Ukrainian people, are somehow aligned with Republicans who seek to pull the plug on American support for President Zelensky and the Ukrainian forces.”

Democrats were not made aware that the letter would be issued Monday, including those who had signed the letter over the summer, according to three congressional aides who spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak frankly about private discussions.

Jayapal is apparently seeking a greater leadership role in the party, and the letter was co-signed by other “progressives”:

The letter was signed by some of the best-known and most outspoken liberal Democrats in Congress, including Reps. Jamie Raskin (Md.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Cori Bush (Mo.), Ro Khanna (Calif.) and Ilhan Omar (Minn.). Its release came as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) spoke Monday at an international summit on Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, where she downplayed the possibility that U.S. aid to Ukraine would end if Republicans took the House.

Jayapal and some of the others walked that letter back pretty fast.  James Carville is right: these people are hurting the chances of Democratic control over Congress with their support for extremist stands, though many Republicans are also calling for a ratcheting down of aid to Ukraine.

Here’s a 180°:

You can see the original letter and its signers here; they include every member of “The Squad”, including Ayanna Presley and Rashida Tlaib.

*You’ve surely heard about the school shooting in St. Louis on Monday, in which a former student came back to his high school armed with an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle, killing a teacher and a teenage girl before he himself was killed by police. I should have written about it yesterday, but mass shootings are so common now that they seem like “dog bites man” stories. My bad: we have to keep this narrative of school shootings alive because our lax gun laws keep allowing people to get killed. 

The killer was ready for some more substantial murder, too:

The 19-year-old gunman who killed a teacher and a 15-year-old girl at a St. Louis high school was armed with an AR-15-style rifle and what appeared to be more than 600 rounds of ammunition, Police Commissioner Michael Sack said Tuesday.

Orlando Harris also left behind a hand-written note offering his explanation for the shooting Monday at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School. Tenth-grader Alexandria Bell and 61-year-old physical education teacher Jean Kuczka died and seven students were wounded.

Police killed Harris in an exchange of gunfire.

Sack read Harris’ note in which the young man lamented that he had no friends, no family, no girlfriend and a life of isolation. In the note, he called it the “perfect storm for a mass shooter.”

Sack said Harris had some ammo strapped to his chest, some in a bag, and other magazines were found dumped in stairwells.

The attack forced students to barricade doors and huddle in classroom corners, jump from windows and run out of the building to seek safety. One terrorized girl said she was eye-to-eye with the shooter before his gun apparently jammed and she was able to run out. Several people inside the school said they heard Harris warn, “You are all going to die!”

Can you imagine hearing those words? Fortuitously, Harris’s gun jammed, or the carnage would have been much worse. (The cops also responded promptly.) 600 rounds of ammo!

Other damage:

The seven injured students are all 15 or 16 years old. All were listed in stable condition. Sack said four suffered gunshot or graze wounds, two had bruises and one had a broken ankle — apparently from jumping out of the three-story building.

The school in south St. Louis was locked, with seven security guards near each door, St. Louis Schools Superintendent Kelvin Adams said. A security guard initially became alarmed when he saw the gunman trying to get in one of the doors. He was armed with a gun and “there was no mystery about what was going to happen. He had it out and entered in an aggressive, violent manner,” Sack said.

That guard alerted school officials and made sure police were contacted.

Harris managed to get inside anyway — Sack declined to say how, saying he didn’t want to “make it easy” for anyone else who wants to break into a school.

You want to buy AR-15 rifles by mail order? You can find them for sale here.

*Kanye West, one of the richest musicians around (and former husband to Kim Kardashian), is being dropped by his sponsors and disinvited from appearances because he apparently has a history of anti-Semitic remarks. Now known as “Ye”, West and his remarks have been disavowed by his ex-wife.  I had no idea about any of this as I don’t follow popular music news, but I did some Googling and found that yes, West has bought into the “Jews are in a conspiracy to control the media” trope, not too far from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.  Here is a bit of what he said:

Ye continues to amplify antisemitic tropes and conspiracy theories. During an interview on Revolt TV’s “Drink Champs” series that was posted and then removed on October 16, Ye repeatedly blamed “Jewish media” and “Jewish Zionists” for numerous alleged misdeeds, stating that “Jewish people have owned the Black voice” and that “the Jewish community, especially in the music industry…they’ll take us and milk us till we die.” Referencing Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, he also commented that he was “#MeToo-ing the Jewish culture. I’m saying y’all gotta stand up and admit to what you been doing.”

Ye doubled down on his antisemitism during an October 17 interview with Chris Cuomo on NewsNation, criticizing the so-called “Jewish underground media mafia” and alleging that “every celebrity has Jewish people in their contract.” He also claimed that his life was threatened by his Jewish managers, lawyer and accountant due to his political beliefs. On both “Drink Champs” and “Cuomo,” Ye repeated his previous defense that Black people cannot be antisemitic, stating that “we are Semite, we Jew, so I can’t be antisemite.”

Ye’s comments have been embraced by antisemitic extremist groups. During an October 16 sermon for the Nation of Islam’s annual Holy Day of Atonement commemoration, Student Minister Ishmael Muhammad referenced Ye’s recent remarks. Extremist Black Hebrew Israelite sects also praised Ye over the weekend for helping spread their teachings to more people. Other extremist groups, including White Lives Matter and the Goyim Defense League, have leveraged Ye’s comments to further their own agendas and inspire new propaganda campaigns.

He’s also been locked out of Twitter and Instagram.

But. . . but he can’t be anti-Semitic because he’s black:

I can’t get worked up about this: the guy’s already a gazillionaire and stands to lose little except his reputation and his Adidas contract. What bothers me most is that historically, blacks and Jews were friends, but I guess that ended when Louis Farrakhan became the head of the Nation of Islam.

*Speaking of pop-culture stars, basketball icon Brittney Griner, in prison in Russia for nine years for bringing a vape device containing hash oil into the country, has had her latest appeal rejected by a Russian court. I thought she’d be released by now, traded for two Russians held by America, but she’s still serving out her draconian sentence, and it’s not helped by Putin’s hatred of America.  Griner’s now been in prison for eight months.

Griner appeared in court via video link from detention outside Moscow on Tuesday. Her lawyers asked for a suspended sentence, while Russian prosecutors maintained that 9½ years, just shy of the maximum of 10 years, is fair. Griner’s attorneys earlier said she wasn’t expecting “miracles.”

“We are very disappointed,” Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov, Griner’s attorneys, said in a statement. “We still think the punishment is excessive and contradicts to the existing court practice.”

Griner addressed the court through an interpreter. “I want to apologize for this mistake,” she said. “I did not intend to do this, but I understand the charges brought against me,” adding that she hoped that her guilty plea was taken into account.

Griner’s attorneys said they would confer with their client about the possibility of further appeals, and that they intended to make use of “all the available legal tools.” Once the appeal process is over, she is set to be transferred to a penal colony.

A fricking penal colony!!!!!  

Russia has one of the highest incarceration rates in Europe. Most of its prison facilities are known as penal colonies, in which prisoners are required to perform labor. Investigations by Russian media outlets have brought to light prisoner abuse in such facilities.

But there’s still hope for a prisoner swap:

One path to resolve her situation — and that of Paul Whelan, a former U.S. Marine also imprisoned in Russia — could be an exchange of prisoners. Griner’s biggest fear is that she is not exchanged and will have to serve the entire sentence in Russia, her lawyers said.

“In recent weeks, the Biden-Harris Administration has continued to engage with Russia through every available channel and make every effort to bring home Brittney as well as to support and advocate for other Americans detained in Russia, including fellow wrongful detainee Paul Whelan,” Sullivan said.

In August, Russia acknowledged for the first time that negotiations were underway to release Griner and Whelan, but did not confirm media reports indicating a potential swap for Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer serving a 25-year sentence in the United States.

Griner is 32 and would be well past basketball-playing age if she served her whole 9.5-year sentence. The NBC News last night showed Biden saying that they weren’t making much progress with the prisoner swap.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili’s getting all jealous and legalistic:

Hili: Petting Kulka is illegal and contrary to international law.
A: You are following the fashion of using concepts you don’t understand.
In Polish:
Hili: Głaskanie Kulki jest nielegalne i sprzeczne z prawem międzynarodowym.
Ja: Ulegasz modzie używania pojęć, których nie rozumiesz.


From Science Humor. Get it?

From Facebook, and this goes for lattes, too!

From Thomas, a Bob Thaves cartoon:

I’d forgotten about Titania McGrath, but here’s her latest tweet. You can read the article at the Daily Record.

From my favorite duck site:

Sound up to hear the gnawing of this diligent rodent:

From Barry, a tweet that makes me very sad:

From Malcolm. Sound up; you might want to see this place when you’re next in London:

From the Auschwitz Memorial: Gassed at six years old:


Tweets from Matthew.  This is one from Iran, and the Google translation is this: “HUGE Sharif University students in Tehran managed to repel the pro-regime militiamen who wouldn’t let them, boys and girls, enter the cafeteria together. The men chant ‘Woman, life, freedom!’ » Women answer « ‘Man, fatherland, development!’ »”  Sound up, of course.

Vanquished by a CHICKEN!:

This was a close one. Good thing it was on a mountain!

35 thoughts on “Wednesday: Hili dialogue

  1. Looked at the AR-15 rifles by mail order store. It’s called Cheaper Than Dirt, store policy is: “Buy now, pay later.” “There are no hard inquiries so you can get prequalified and choose from multiple financing options with no impact to your credit score. Apply today and get approved in seconds.”

    And, they come in stylish colors— yellow, tan, bronze, and a very calming Wild Orchid.

    1. This mail order availability is not as horrifying as it sounds. You may pay online, but the gun won’t be shipped directly to you. The gun must be shipped to a Federal Firearms License holder (typically a gun store), where you can pick it up and it will be registered after a background check, just as it would for an in person purchase.

    2. This is disingenuous. They are never, ever going to mail you an AR-15 unless you are an established federal firearms dealer. Even then, it is no small matter.

      If you order a gun from an online seller, they send it to an approved dealer in your area who puts you through the same federal background check as any other gun sale. If the gun you order is not legal in your area, they will not send it at all.

      1. Did you know that even in the disarmed people’s republic to your north you can mail order a rifle to come directly to your home, even without a firearms acquisition license? It’s true, but there is a catch: it must be a flintlock. And you will need that license to buy some blackpowder for it, if you can find any for sale (the shortage of blackpowder up here is a bit of a nuisance).
        Just imagine the slow-motion shootings and bank robberies we would have if this were generally known!

        1. Black powder rifles and muskets are not considered firearms here, either. That is on a federal level. A felon with caught with a long rifle would have to be prosecuted under state law, except in certain circumstances.

          One sort of funny aspect of these arguments is that people sometimes make the claim that you could not own a cannon back in the colonial era, which is just not true. You could, and you still can.
          If you want a working copy of a civil war parrot gun, a 20 pounder at that, they are available. Or an 8 inch siege mortar. You cannot use explosive shells in them, but if you have enough pasture, you can blast away with solid shot until you go completely deaf and your land looks like the moon.

          Making black powder is not particularly difficult. Getting the charcoal right is the bit that requires the most art. Milling the ingredients is sort of sensitive, but making a ball mill that will not spark is not a big deal either.

  2. Regarding the pending Republican takeover of the House, pundits are speculating as to the size of the victory. I avoid reading such articles because the actual results will be known soon enough. Headlines will suffice. The important thing to know is that the size of a Party’s victory in the House is largely irrelevant if the Party stays united, which has been the case in recent years. For the past few years, Pelosi has managed to get everything passed she wanted despite a very slim Democratic majority because she is a master at reining in dissidents in her own Party. The Republicans will be able to do the same thing (probably), hence the pending circus. The real value of having a large majority in the House is that it will be more difficult to flip it by the opposition Party in future elections.

    1. After Fetterman’s performance in the debate with Dr. Oz, I’m now seriously thinking that the Democrats will lose the Senate, too. Oz will win, Ron Johnson (WI) will be back, and Kari Lake will be sent to Washington by the Arizonans. Thoughts?

      1. On election night, I hope have the ability to avoid watching the returns coming in. Failure to do so will be very bad for my mental health.😊

        1. Yeah, Lake is running for Governor. I have a friend who just moved from Washington to Arizona. She is terrified of Lake winning since she hates the MAGAs. Oh well, I hope the sunshine out shines the shit show.

  3. One thing we should do, IMO, is make sure not to make these shooters famous, nor even dreaded. They should be referred to in general as, for instance, “The Pathetic Loser who was, thankfully, killed by police before he killed too many other people because he was lonely.”

    His name should never be mentioned again. He should be sneered about and insulted (even though he is dead), because, frankly, for a weak-ego-ed person with no prospects, it seems positive get a sense of fame or at least notoriety by getting a gun and killing innocent people. His name should be stricken from every book and tablet, stricken from all pylons and obelisks, stricken from every monument and media of Earth, except perhaps the surface of toilet paper.

    This is not because he was evil, per se, since I don’t believe in free will, but as a means to diminish the (sometimes posthumous) reward such people receive in our society. I’ve heard that, during the blitz, there were chamber pots with Hitler’s face on the bottom…MAYBE something along those lines might be considered appropriately derogatory, but probably just the obliteration of any positive or even fearful memory of this punk would be the best option.

  4. Notable science birthdays are a bit thin today:

    1874, Martin Lowry, chemist, Brønsted-Lowry acid-base theory

    But a good day for cosmonauts:

    1926, Yuri Aleksandrovich Letunov

    1939, Vladimir Mikhailovich Beloborodov

    1940, Gennadi Strekalov

  5. Regarding pumpkin ales, many are overly spiced and quite thin bodied. They leave me with a drying mouthfeel, like I just licked a cinnamon stick. Schlafly, on the other hand, is quite nice. Full-bodied, good spice balance, moderate maltiness, and 8% ABV. I will never turn my nose up at a pint of Schlafly Pumpkin Ale, the others…at least those I’ve tried, I wouldn’t dump them down the drain, I wouldn’t bother buying them in the first place.

    1. I wouldn’t buy pumpkin beers, either, but I’d certainly be willing to try the one by Dogfish Head, purely on the strength of their reputation (i.e. their 90 and 120 minute IPAs).

      1. The Dogfish Head pumpkin ale is a sad story. Years ago, in their early days, their seasonal pumpkin ale was a small batch special brew of such limited quantity that you were lucky if any place near you got a keg of it. And if they did it would only be one keg, so you pretty much needed to show up the day they tapped it if you wanted to try it.

        I was lucky enough to have it once. It was outstanding. Not over-spiced, subtle, complex, I’d put it in the top 10-20 ales I’ve ever had. It was that good. If I had to choose between it and Westvleteren 12, I’d have to think a moment.

        Unfortunately the current, readily available iteration is a very different ale. It is mediocre at best. I was excited to find it in bottles at my local beer and wine store, but was sorely disappointed when I drank it.

  6. November repealed! Problematical in some respects, but at least a potentially disastrous election can be avoided.

    “It’s less than a month until Coynezaa begins: my own holiday that extends from Christmas to my birthday (Dec. 30).”

    1. Are you trolling? Or do you really think an election should be cancelled because your side looks likely to lose it?

  7. Of course, Kanye’s real heresy is spoorting Trump. Had he stayed on the reservation, this would have passes quickly for him.

    1. He was also trounced earlier this month for wearing a “White Lives Matter” t-shirt at a Paris fashion show. He’s just a shock jock…and yes, supporting Trump did him no favors. Good riddance, I say; though I doubt riddance is in his future.

  8. Those London mosaics are remarkable! So much in the realm of urban murals is dreadful. These are a refreshing antidote.

    1. The use of space and the figures’ postures remind me of Roman mosaics, especially the incredible mosaics found in Sicily at Piazza Armerina.

  9. Ok, to the 1,000 reasons I should NOT try to climb a mountain, I’m adding another one. Here’s someone unphased by dangling from rock ledges above deep chasms who nevertheless got flustered.

  10. Brittney Griner, in prison in Russia – It seems Russia and China have a perfect formula for a get-out-of jail free card. They do not appear to mind placing relatively minor infractions (or nothing at all) in jail for many years. At least threatening to until a prisoner exchange can be negotiated. It’s almost kidnapping and hitting you up for ransom.

  11. I know I’m way out of the mainstream, and it’s good I don’t hold any political office. I might even reconsider after a sober examination of the situation, but an Entebbe style raid to free Brittany Griner is what I’d like to see.

    1. She apparently did try to smuggle the dope. Marc Fogel also tried to do much the same, and got a 14 year sentence.
      I sympathize with their families, but I do not understand the thought process of someone who thought it would be a good idea to smuggle drugs into places like Russia or Singapore.
      One of my first impressions of Soviet law enforcement was that their searches are very thorough.
      If you have a drug habit, it might be best to avoid such travel, or at least find a safer way to buy it at your destination.

Leave a Reply