Thursday: Hili dialogue

November 10, 2022 • 6:30 am

Welcome to Thursday, November 10, 2022. It’s National Vanilla Cupcake Day, and a blander sweet I can’t imagine. It’s all white, too!

It’s also World Science Day for Peace and Development, Area Code Day (first used in 1947, but not implemented on this day), Sesame Street Day (the show first aired on this day in 1969), Day of Remembrance of Atatürk  (I’m a fan of the great Turkish secularist), United States Marine Corps birthday, and World Keratoconus Day (look it up). 

Here’s Atatürk:

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this day by consulting the November 10 Wikipedia page.

Da Nooz:

*Well of course the Big Nooz is the midterm elections, with the predicted Red Wave of Republican hegemony failing to materialize. Sadly, it looks as if the House of Representative will go Republican, but the Senate is still anybody’s guess. Here are the latest figures from the NYT, which are the same as this morning’s figures except the WaPo gives Democrats in the House 183 seats.

The Senate:

The races in contention are Includes ArizonaGeorgiaNevada and Wisconsin. The Georgia election won’t be decided until December, in a race between Warnock and Walker. I predict that Democrat Warnock will take that one. Then they need win only one of the other three races to have fifty seats, which give them control of the Senate. Democrats are narrowly ahead in Arizona, and Republicans in Nevada, but it’s a squeaker, as votes remain to be counted. With 99% of the votes counted, Republican Ron Johnson is still ahead, so put that in the Republican column, giving the GOP 49 seats. They need two more to gain control of the Senate. The 50/50 split which makes the Senate effectively Democratic makes it easier for the Democrats to win the Senate, and Professor Ceiling Cat predicts they will

The House:

Republicans need only five seats to gain control of the House of Representatives. And few doubt they’ll get them. But, as the AP notes:

Even if the GOP ultimately wins the House, it won’t be by a margin as large as during other midterm cycles. Democrats gained a net of 41 House seats under Trump in 2018, President Barack Obama saw the GOP gain 63 gain in 2010 and Republicans gained 54 seats in 1994, during the Bill Clinton administration.

What we can expect, then, is a Democratically-controlled Senate that can affirm Biden’s federal judicial appointments, but a Republican-controlled House that will immediately begin investigating all sorts of Democratic issues (think Hunter Biden or even Afghanistan). It will be a mess.

*One person who didn’t do too well in the elections was the Trumpster, who predicted a Red Tsunami and campaigned ardently for it. His biggest failure was the decisive election of Florida governor Ron DeSantis, whose victory puts his hat firmly in the ring as a 2024 Republican Presidential candidate. Trump didn’t campaign for him and DeSantis didn’t want him to. As for the others,

Donald J. Trump wasn’t on the ballot Tuesday, but he’d spent the past two years behaving otherwise, aiming to deliver key victories to a Republican Party from which he’s likely to seek, once again, a presidential nomination.

Several battleground races remained too close to call early Wednesday, but it was clear there would be no “giant red wave” that Mr. Trump had spent weeks pleading with his supporters to deliver.

In some key states, Trump-backed candidates lost or were faring poorly. In Pennsylvania, the Democrat Josh Shapiro won the governor’s race against the Republican Doug Mastriano, while the Democrat John Fetterman defeated Mehmet Oz, a Republican, to flip control of a U.S. Senate seat. In Michigan, Tudor Dixon, Mr. Trump’s pick in the governor’s race, came up short in her bid to unseat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

In Arizona, where Kari Lake and Blake Masters had campaigned together as “America First” candidates in Mr. Trump’s mold, both were behind in their races for governor and Senate, respectively, although results were too close to call.

Some of Mr. Trump’s candidates fared well, such as J.D. Vance, the Republican Senate nominee in Ohio. And the candidate in whom Mr. Trump was most personally invested, the former football player Herschel Walker, whose Senate candidacy in Georgia has been rocked by allegations that he had encouraged women to have abortions that he paid for, appeared poised to force a runoff.

. . . The close races on the rest of the electoral map confounded Mr. Trump. At an election-night party at his Mar-a-Lago resort, he was not particularly interested in addressing the crowd, according to a person familiar with the events.

*Five states either protected abortion rights with referendums on the ballot or refused to endorse abortion restrictions.  The big surprise was Kentucky, which refused more restrictions:

Voters in reliably red Kentucky rejected a ballot measure aimed at denying any state constitutional protections for abortion while voters in battleground Michigan enshrined abortion rights in their state’s constitution — joining Democratic California and Vermont in taking that step.

The Kentucky result bucked the state’s Republican-led Legislature, which had imposed a near-total ban on the procedure and put the proposed state constitutional amendment on the ballot. It also mirrored what happened in another red state, Kansas, where voters in August rejected changing that state’s constitution to let lawmakers tighten restrictions or ban abortions.

At last the American public’s general support of the Roe v. Wade decision is starting to come out in votes among the states.

. . .Nationally, about two-thirds of voters say abortion should be legal in most or all cases, according to AP VoteCast, an expansive survey of over 90,000 voters across the country. Only about 1 in 10 say abortion should be illegal in all cases.

About 6 in 10 also say the Supreme Court’s abortion decision made them dissatisfied or angry, compared with fewer who say they were happy or satisfied.

And as for Kentucky,

Kentucky lawmakers added the proposed amendment to the ballot last year, a move that some thought would drive more conservative voters to the polls. But after the Roe decision, abortion-rights supporters raised nearly $1.5 million to fight it.

Initial returns indicated that thousands of Kentucky voters who backed GOP Sen. Rand Paul for reelection opposed the abortion amendment.

Well cut off my legs and call me Shorty. Hallelujah!

*Let’s not forget that there’s still a war in Europe. There’s some good news for Ukraine today: the Russians are going to completely retreat from the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson, the only region capital they’ve captured since the invasion in February.  Here’s where it is, with Russia to the right:

The move is a major setback for Russian President Vladimir Putin, who had declared the annexation of the Kherson region.

The announcement came at the end of another day of fresh Ukrainian advances that put Kyiv’s troops within striking distance of Kherson city.

Ukrainian officials expressed skepticism about a full withdrawal. “Actions speak louder than words,” presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said on Twitter, adding that he expected some Russian forces to linger and that Ukraine would declare the city liberated based on its own intelligence, not televised Russian statements.

A U.S. military official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said Wednesday that “as far as we can tell,” it appears Russia’s withdrawal from Kherson is underway.

. . .Some Russian hardliners cheered the decision to withdraw from Kherson. Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov said on Telegram that Surovikin, the commander, made a “difficult but right choice between senseless sacrifices for the sake of loud statements and saving the priceless lives of soldiers.” Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group, also told Russian outlet RIA Novosti that Surovikin “acted like a man who is not afraid of responsibility” by withdrawing with minimal losses.

*Finally, WNBA star Brittney Griner was transferred to a Russian penal colony (aka a latter-day gulag) and not even her lawyers know where she is.

Brittney Griner, the WNBA star who has been detained in Russia since February, is being moved to a Russian penal colony — a type of prison facility known for its brutal living conditions — her legal team said Wednesday.

The 32-year-old was arrested at the Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow on Feb. 17 and accused of entering Russia with vape cartridges containing cannabis oil, which is illegal in Russia. She pleaded guilty to carrying the cartridges, saying it was an “honest mistake.” She was sentenced to 9½ years in prison in August, and a judge rejected her appeal late last month.

“We do not have any information on her exact current location or her final destination,” her attorneys Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov said in a statement.

“In accordance with the standard Russian procedure the attorneys, as well as the U.S. Embassy, should be notified upon her arrival at her destination,” a process they said normally takes up to two weeks.

Although no further information about the Griner’s new facility has been publicly released, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrote in a tweet Wednesday: “We strongly protest the movement of Brittney Griner to a remote penal colony and the Russian government’s use of wrongful detentions.”

Russia has one of the highest rates of incarceration in Europe, with almost 520,000 inmates held in prisons throughout the country, according to the Associated Press. Most of its facilities are known as penal colonies because inmates are required to carry out labor during their sentences.

The camps share many similarities with the gulags or forced-labor camps used during the Soviet Union, and media investigations have highlighted alleged abuses against prisoners in penal colonies.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is pugnacious. Send her to Ukraine!

Hili: First I attack with my left paw and then with my right.
Paulina: Why attack at all?
Hili: Peace requires firmness.
(Photo: Paulina)
In Polish:
Hili: Najpierw atakuję prawą, a potem lewą łapką.
Paulina: A możesz nie atakować?
Hili: Pokój wymaga stanowczości.
(Zdjęcie: Paulina)


From Anna:

From Bruce, a Dave Whamond cartoon:

From Rick:

God disowns his own book:

From Masih: An Iranian woman blinded in an acid attack for going hijab-less commits two crimes at once:

From Malcolm: a cat who obviously loves to slide:

From Luana: Emerging wokeness in Canada:

From Barry: a takedown by Take That Darwin:

From the Auschwitz Memorial, a woman who barely lived two weeks after arrival:

Tweets from Matthew Cobb. What’s the term biologists use for a bunch of eagles? Either a “soar of eagles” or a “convocation of eagles.”

A physics nerd joke, but a real paper:

As Matthew told me, “This will warm your soul.” Yes, a chick, a duckling, and a kitten:

22 thoughts on “Thursday: Hili dialogue

  1. That cartoon reminds of an old joke the punchline of which is Mickey saying, “I didn’t say Minnie was crazy, I said she was f***ing Goofy.”

  2. I’ve seen a number of articles suggesting that the election was bad for Trump or was a sign of the weakening of his hold on the GOP. While I would be happy if that were true, I am not sure it is. Trump endorsed over 140 candidates, and only ten or so lost. Of course, he didn’t do well in setting himself against DeSantis, who was a huge winner. It’s certainly possible that, now that the mid-terms are over, we’ll see people other than would-be presidential candidates, considering the idea that Trump isn’t the automatic candidate in 2024. This point of view does seem to be acting as a pressure valve on the politisphere. If the Republicans do win control of Congress, that will certainly draw attention away from Trump.

    1. Trump claims a won:loss of 142:9. But in each of those 151 contests you would have to analyze his contribution to the victory and the loss. How many of the districts in which “his” candidate won would have gone GOP anyway, and in how many did he make a material difference? Ditto for the losses: how many key races might the GOP have won had not Trump backed the loser, especially having assisted the primary victory of an unelectable candidate over a GOP candidate with a better shot?

      I suppose this will be grist for endless recriminations among Republicans.

      1. The biggest reason these midterms were a huge blow to Trump is PA and MI. These two states were key to Trump’s “machine” for getting elected “no matter what” in 2024. The governor in PA selects the Secretary of State and Mastriano, had he won, would have installed someone that would do whatever it took to grant Trump PA’s electoral votes. A similar scenario would have been true in MI had Whitmer lost. So it doesn’t really matter the percentage of wins to losses, the big deal is his prospects for running and winning in 2024 just got a lot more difficult. If the elections in AZ (governor and Senator), NV or GA goes to the dems, that will be another blow to Trump’s 2024 aspirations.

        1. Ah. Good point on the governors. Missed it because there is no similar office or official in Canadian provinces that has any impact whatsoever on national elections.
          I get schooled every day here.

          1. I learn a lot about Canadian politics from readers like you as well. Doesn’t Canada have a national, standardized election “board” of some sort that makes sure all the provinces follow the same rules? From the little I know, it seems Canadian elections run a lot smoother than ours.

            1. Yes, and Yes. But the stakes are lower and both major parties have mostly indistinguishable policies: get re-elected with parochial tax-and-spend policies tailored to the minor differences in the voter base of the two. Canada no longer has aspirations on the world stage. We wear the label of génocidaires proudly (if insincerely) as proof of our unworthiness when the collection plate comes around.

              Voter turnout, while declining over the past decade or two, is higher than yours but the ballots are shorter — only one contest, the local MP, is on the ballot — and we don’t have to do it every two years if the government survives longer in the House.

              1. Thanks, Leslie. Good information and I’m jealous. We definitely have way too many elections. But now US elections have become a multi-billion dollar business. sigh.

  3. A local background view on one of the more visible dem losses here in Virginia: Incumbent dem Congresswoman Elaine Luria lost by 4 pts to challenger republican Jen Kiggans in VA second congressional district which was recently redrawn with an apparent +6 pt republican favorability. Luria had won two previous elections against a former Navy SEAL who was involved in accusations of shady electioneering in both years. The district, which includes all of the city of Va Beach is heavily navy with many people who work at navy bases and shipyards. Luria is an Annapolis engineering grad, retired surface warfare commander and Kiggans is a retired navy helo pilot and nurse practitioner. Kiggans is also a current state general assembly delegate, an election denier and full blown antiabortion; Luria is a moderate dem (opposing Biden on his DoD budget recommendation) and member of the House Jan 6 Investigation Committee. While it was not an issue that I saw raised, for additional identity politics, Luria is Jewish; Kiggans is Catholic.

    So Luria beat her six point starting deficit but not by enough to win. At the end of the day, the state’s 11 congressional house seats are divided 6 dem – 5 rep which in my mind is a pretty fair representation of the overall electorate. I will miss Elaine as a quiet “doer” for the area.

    1. Thanks for taking the time for this analysis in Virginia.

      New York’s redrawn districts also helped the Republicans. It’s ironic that New York gerrymandered the state to give the dems a slight advantage, but the NY courts rejected the new map, citing it was too gerrymandered. With the “fair” maps, Republicans were able to pick-up 5 seats. In Georgia, the districts were redrawn in a blatant gerrymandered fashion favoring Republicans and severely weakening historical black districts. These new gerrymandered districts were upheld by Georgia’s courts (of course). So another example of how playing fair in American politics means you’ll lose. I think the same thing happened in Florida, where new highly gerrymandered districts favoring Republicans were redrawn and upheld by their courts.

      1. Thanks mark. I think republicans play on the VA dems being way too progressive and dems help them out by slam-dunking some progressive legislation in years of total dem control…and bragging about it (the kind of thing that helped get the odious liar Youngkin elected governor last year). Kiggans used that in her ad strategy by fully identifying luria as a biden/pelosi liberal. Luria spent a lot of her media time identifying Kiggans with trump, jan 6, and anti-abortion. She had some nice cerebral ads talking about who she was or rather wasn’t….not an election denier, not an insurrectionist, etc. luria was really well funded by national PACs and had a range of really slick ads…but these ads require the viewer tohave an open mind. One last superficial equivalence between the two: both have retired navy officer husbands. At least VA dem congresswomen Spanberger and Wexton were re-elected!

  4. > It’s National Vanilla Cupcake Day, and a blander sweet I can’t imagine.

    How about plain cupcakes?

    I’ve occasionally spoken with confectioners who have the hardest time explaining to customers that ‘plain’ is not ‘vanilla’; it does not have any vanilla extract. People with a vanilla allergy can eat plain (i.e. non-vanilla) ice cream. Some restaurants carelessly make chocolate milkshakes with vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup, not realizing it can trigger a vanilla allergy.

    1. I didn’t know people had vanilla allergies! But proper vanilla ice cream is really good. I had always thought it was boring, but that was based on the “plain” ice cream you describe.

  5. From NYT piece linked to in Jerry’s post above:

    “In an interview with NewsNation conducted before polls closed, when asked how much credit he believed he deserved for any of the more than 330 candidates he endorsed throughout the cycle, Mr. Trump said, “Well, I think if they win, I should get all the credit. And if they lose, I should not be blamed at all …”

    Now there’s someone so pathologically narcissistic he’s lost all self-awareness of how narcissistic he sounds.

  6. “Democrat John Fetterman defeated Mehmet Oz . . . In Arizona, where Kari Lake and Blake Masters had campaigned together as “America First” candidates . . . .”

    A couple of days ago Matt Walsh referred to Fettermen as a “vegetable” and a “cucumber.” As apparently befits a good (Catholic, I gather) Christian.

    In a periodic email newsletter a couple of days ago, the Atlantic gave a head’s up on an article about Kari Lake having gone with her (now former) TV station chums to a drag queen show at a nightclub, and comparing that to her opposition to drag queen readings (twerkings also?) to children in school, as if Lake were inconsistent or hypocritical in that stance. Apparently The Atlantic sees no meaningful difference between a night club and a school.

  7. The NYT posted a column today by Sohrab Ahmari, a well-known Catholic religionist (and former atheist) and cultural conservative. Apparently, I was not familiar with his range of views since I was surprised that his piece did not blame the disappointing Republican showing in the election on the Party not emphasizing cultural issues enough. No, he blames the election result on the Republican Party being fake populists. Although the Party claims to represent the interests of working people, in fact it is in the thrall of business with its anti-labor, anti-union positions. Consequently, many younger working class people turned against the Party.

    I do not know if Ahmari’s analysis will hold up after the results are sliced and diced by political scientists and other experts (I am skeptical). However, the value of the piece is his honesty in his willingness to tell the truth: The Republican Party’s claim to be a worker’s party is a giant con. Democrats need to emphasize this in future elections.

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