Monday: Hili dialogue

November 14, 2022 • 6:45 am

Welcome to the beginning of the work week: it’s Monday, November 14, 2022, and National Pickle Appreciation Day (make mine half sour). You want to buy them on Grand Street on the Lower East Side of NYC at The Pickle Guys:

Half Sours

It’s also National Spicy Guacamole DayWorld Diabetes Day, International Girls Day, World Orphans Day, and National American Teddy Bear Day.  Here’s my own bear in a photo from 2002, and by now you should know his name:

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this day by consulting the November 14 Wikipedia page.

Da Nooz:

This morning’s House composition from the NYT (in the Senate, it’s 50 Dems an 49 Republicans, with Georgia heading for a runoff):

*Over at the NYT, Elizabeth Warren gives some suggestions about what Congress and the President should do now that the Senate is Democratic (she assume the House will go to the GOP). Her first suggestion is to get rid of people like Sinema and Manchin. In fact, her piece is more a rah-rah session for Democrats than a list of suggestions.

Democrats delivered a lot, but we can do more to make Americans’ lives better. A few lobbyist-friendly Democrats in our own party blocked much of the president’s agenda for working families. They torpedoed the president’s plan to reverse the Trump tax giveaways. They blocked proposals to cut skyrocketing housing and child care costs. They thwarted efforts to fight corruption, end gerrymandering, defend democracy and protect abortion rights. If these Democrats had listened to voters instead of special interests, we would be in an even stronger electoral position today because we would have delivered even more for Americans.

She says that Americans need stronger pro-choice laws (agreed), but the Congress probably can’t do that if the House goes Republican; she adds that rising prices are due to the greed of corporations (I have no dog in that fight). Here’s the only real advice that Warren dispenses, and it’s either nothing new or impracticable. I had hoped for more.

Democrats should fight back by making this lame-duck session of Congress the most productive in decades. We can start by lifting the debt ceiling now to block Republicans from taking our economy hostage next year. Democrats must then continue delivering for families. Where we can pursue legislative action, we should fight aggressively. When Republicans try to obstruct such action and the president can act by executive authority, he must. Most of all, the Democrats should be aggressive in putting Republicans on the defensive, pressing hard on why they are blocking much-needed initiatives to help Americans.

Be aggressive! When in doubt, try for an advantage by claiming Native American heritage.

*Similarly, the Washington Post’s editorial board has weighted in with a piece called “Here’s how Congress can make the lame-duck session a mighty one.” Here the advice is better and more tangible. I quote:

a. “Prevent the risk of a catastrophic default “(Warren also says this, though I’m not sure whether they can do this without the House’s assent).

b.Fight Russian aggression.” 

Congress should lock in economic and military aid for Ukraine while supporters — in both parties — still dominate Capitol Hill. To Russian President Vladimir Putin’s undoubted delight, U.S. aid has faced bipartisan skepticism in recent days, as some on both the Democratic left and Trumpian Republican right questioned the need to spend billions helping that country defend itself against Russia.


c. “Protect democracy at home.”

Another overriding priority should be passing a legislative response to the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack, which President Donald Trump spurred in part on the basis of his tendentious interpretation of an obscure 1887 law on procedures for counting electoral votes. That law should be amended to make clear the vice president has no authority to reject states’ electoral votes, as Mr. Trump was pressuring Vice President Mike Pence to do.


d. “Don’t let a wish list get in the way of realism.”

Democrats have a long list of other goals: a bipartisan bill guaranteeing same-sex marriage rights; a permitting reform bill that would ease construction of clean-energy infrastructure; confirming more Biden-picked judges; action on the child tax credit.

. . . But enough Republicans are interested in permitting reform and perhaps even the child tax credit that they could pass in some form in future Congresses.

If wishes were horses. . . .

*A bomb planted in one of Istanbul’s busiest areas exploded yesterday, killing six and wounding 81. It was an act of terrorism, not unfamiliar in Turkey:

The blast occurred just after 4 p.m. on Istiklal, a vast canyon of a street lined with restaurants and shops on Istanbul’s European side, sending crowds of tourists running for their lives. Sirens could be heard wailing in the aftermath of the explosion.

Police, some in riot gear, blocked off the street. Armored vehicles rumbled along the largely empty avenue, which would normally be packed with shoppers and tourists on a warm Sunday afternoon. A police helicopter roared overhead.

Turkey’s Vice President Fuat Oktay, speaking on live television, said a female assailant had detonated a bomb in what he described as an act of terror.

. . .The bombing was the first such attack in years in Turkey, which was the target of a catastrophic series of gun and bomb attacks by Islamic State from 2015 to 2017. Extremist militants attacked Istanbul’s main international airport, tourist areas and a nightclub in an era of violence and instability resulting from the wars in neighboring Syria and Iraq.

That previous series of attacks, along with a failed military coup attempt in 2016, badly hurt Turkey’s tourist industry and devastated the country’s economy. The country has also waged a decadeslong long struggle with Kurdish militants who have carried out bombings primarily targeting the country’s security services.

The problem is that despite Erdogan’s attempt to re-Islamicize Turkey, it remains heavily infused with Western values thanks to Atatürk and its location, as well as its membership in NATO. The country has fought against extremist Islam for years, even cooperating with the U.S. Yet it’s not Muslim enough for the likes of Islamist extremists, and it’s sealed its border with Syria—a no-no.

*Below Dave Chappelle’s introductory monologue on the last Saturday Night Live, one that NPR characterized as “Dave Chappelle disappoints on ‘Saturday Night Live‘”.  Their quote:

One line in particular seemed to stun the audience, before they offered scattered applause: “I know the Jewish people have been through some terrible things all over the world. But you can’t blame that on Black Americans.”

What that has to do with a professional athlete posting a link to antisemitic film with no explanation – and then taking several long days to disavow the film’s antisemitic content – I do not know.

What I do know, is that one of comedy’s boldest and most incisive voices had a chance to led insight to the long struggle Black America has had with antisemitism. But instead, his monologue seemed filled with justification and minimization – failing to mention, for instance, allegations that Ye has expressed admiration for Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.

You be the judge. In my view, that line was a no-laugh dud, but was just trying to separate the black community in general from anti-Semitism. Other stuff was funnier, including his take on Herschel Walker, and I wasn’t the least offended by his stereotypical intimations that Hollywood is controlled by Jews (after all, there are a lot of them in the business), and Chappelle, like many comedians, is pushing the boundaries with these stereotypes. Why wasn’t Sarah Silverman accused of “ageism” when she sang her song to a bunch of old people telling them they were going to die soon? This is what edgy comedians do.

NPR, in contrast, seems to think that Chappelle’s mission is to ameliorate tensions between Jews and blacks—and yes, there are some—but no, his lesson is to make people laugh by walking a fine line between truth and parody. NPR, of course, is terminally woke. It’s not surprising that they see comedians as having a mission to promote social justice.

The bit on Trump being a truthful liar is sheer genius, as is his last three words: “whoever they are.” Chappelle is one of the best comedians we have.

*Finally, there’s a sensible article in the NYT’s “Tech Fix” column asking why people don’t take care of their smartphones as carefully as they do their cars. I’ve wondered this, too, and when I replaced my iPhone 5s, it was in great shape after many years; it just wouldn’t synch with my provider’s new network. When they took it out of the Otterbox, the technician marveled at how pristine it was. Given the price of a new smartphone, I’m baffled why people just buy a new one instead of replacing the battery, which Apple can do for about fifty bucks. From the piece:

“Everyone knows the tires on your car wear out and you need to replace them,” said Kyle Wiens, the chief executive of iFixit, a site that publishes instructions for repairing electronics. “There’s a psychological delusion around not having to do maintenance on electronics like we do with cars.”

As a result, the average amount of time that people own a car before replacing it, about eight years, dwarfs the length of time before a phone upgrade, about three and a half years. But with some care, the life of a good phone can be stretched to six years.

Here’s why people are too lazy to keep their phones in shape and buy new ones:

The most common reason given for replacing a phone was a loss in performance, such as slower software or a degraded battery. Only 30 percent of those who said they had a partly malfunctioning phone (like a battery that depletes quickly) said they had considered repairing it.

The second most common reason given for replacing a phone was simply feeling that it was time to buy a new one.

Ruth Mugge, a design professor at Delft and an author of the study, said there was a misperception among people that three and a half years was as long as a phone could last — even among people whose phones were still working beyond that time.

This belief, she said, is shaped by an environment that triggers an urge to upgrade. One is the marketing push from phone carriers, which send emails reminding you to trade in your old phone for credit toward a new one. Another is peer pressure, as friends and colleagues replace their phones every few years.

. . .For starters, you can treat your phone as if it were more like your car. If your phone is still mostly working, you can take care of it by doing basic maintenance like replacing its battery.

Phones lack the helpful reminders that mechanics provide to car owners, like the sticker showing the date of the next oil change, but you can do this yourself. Set up a calendar event to bring your phone to a repair shop for a fresh battery every three years, which is usually when the battery loses its vitality, causing the phone to shut off after a few hours (and, perhaps not coincidentally, when people believe their phones are wearing out).

You can also create an annual calendar reminder to do a phone checkup. That could involve simple steps like purging apps and photos you no longer need to free up digital storage space, which can speed the phone back up.
PCC(E)’s suggestions: check on your battery (you can do this on an iPhone). When it gets below 80%, get it replaced. Put your phone in an Otterbox to protect it. It’s worth it. When you have your phoe on your desk, move it far away from any liquids that could spill on it. That’s all you need to do!

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili and Paulina have a serious chinwag about the culture wars:

Paulina: What are you looking at so intently?
Hili: I’m observing how they substitute critical theory for critical thinking.
(Photo: Paulina)
Paulina: Czemu się tak przyglądasz?
Hili: Patrzę jak zastępują krytyczne myślenie krytyczną teorią.
(Zdjęcie: Paulina)


A Gary Larson Far Side cartoon from Thomas: “the quest for fire”.

From D. J.:

From Things With Faces (a great site). This one shows door hardware that looks like a frog riding a motorcycle:

God continues to have antagonism with Twitter:

From Masih: More women dissidents in Iran:

From Simon, who says, “Herding bears is like herding cats.”

From Barry: an amorous orang:

From Ziya Tong, found by Matthew (it’s a video):

From the Auschwitz Memorial: dead at fifteen. 

Tweets from Matthew. THE TRUTH!

A fantastic find of quartz crystal:

Sound up to hear an elephant PURR!

31 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue

  1. a. “Prevent the risk of a catastrophic default “ (Warren also says this, though I’m not sure whether they can do this without the House’s assent).

    The way I read Warren’s piece, she’s saying this should be done during the lame-duck session, between now and Jan. 3, 2023, when the new congress is sworn in, while Dems still have control of both houses.

    1. Indeed. That’s the whole point of the “be aggressive” argument, to do this while both houses are under Dem control.

    2. So what is the endgame regarding the national debt? Just keep borrowing until there is a financial crisis? Are all attempts to limit spending doomed to fail?

      1. Given concerns about fiscal responsibility, are you aware that going back at least as far as Reagan that all RP administrations have increased the federal deficit and that all DP administrations have reduced it? See Chart 1 here, US Federal Deficits or Surpluses by US President from FY 1981-2021 The deficit has decreased under the Biden Administration so far also, though it is not included in the linked article.

        Given this data I don’t see any reason to take RP fears of DP spending serious. Like nearly all of the RP’s claims, they are lying. Lying like it’s opposite day. For decades they have been the party of financial irresponsibility, not the DP.

      2. As the US Treasury Dept.’s website explains, “[t]he debt limit does not authorize new spending commitments. It simply allows the government to finance existing legal obligations that Congresses and presidents of both parties have made in the past.”

        Every time this issue comes up, wingnuts in the Republican caucus grandstand by engaging in brinkmanship with the full faith and credit of the United States by threatening to cause a catastrophic default on previously incurred debt. This has nothing whatsoever to do with actually curbing future federal spending in a good faith effort to lower the federal debt.

  2. I have an iPhone SE (1st version) from 2016. I can get a kit with a new battery and relevant tools on Amazon for 22 quid. Anyone done this? Am I likely to find myself with a iPhone in pieces, no longer working, and be unable to put it together again? (I guess I could wimp out and get Apple to do it for 50 quid.)

    1. I’ve gone inside my old iPhone for a different reason (can’t remember why). It can be done, but be sure to watch How To videos first.

    2. You also run the risk of Apple disabling the non-Apple battery the next time your device gets a software upgrade. They are not supposed to do that anymore, but….

    3. I replaced my iPhone 5 this week, after about a decade of use. During that time, I replaced the battery a couple of times.
      The process is not really that difficult. The hardest bit to get right is removing and replacing the adhesive. The cheap Amazon battery worked fine each time.

  3. The Post says this about raising the debt ceiling in the above cited editorial:

    “Democrats should take these risks off the table by raising the debt limit in the lame duck, by whatever means necessary. If too few Republicans are willing to help, Democrats should use the reconciliation process, which allows them to pass certain types of legislation through the Senate with a bare majority vote, to increase the debt limit substantially. This would eat up precious floor time in the final weeks before the 117th Congress goes out of business. But there could hardly be a more urgent matter than preventing the global financial instability that could result from even partial U.S. debt default.”

    Through the use of the reconciliation process in the Senate (thereby eliminating the filibuster requirement of 60 votes to end debate — a simple majority of senators will suffice) during the lame duck session of Congress, Democrats can raise the debt limit to such an amount that in the coming session of Congress the Republican controlled House would have no opportunity to use the limit to blackmail Biden to reduce social programs. During the lame duck session the Democrats will still control the House and Pelosi can get the legislation through the House. Ironically, raising the debt ceiling in the lame duck session is a favor to the Republicans. The ideological radicals in the next session will not be able to damage the Republican Party by bringing the nation’s financial system and international standing to their knees. Democrats need to show a little political courage and end the debt limit threat permanently!

  4. The friendly orangutan’s facial expressions and gestures were priceless. At the very end of the clip he appears to be saying, “But she’s wearing a banana-colored tube top!”.

    1. That ‘friendly’ orangutan is clearly responding to verbal commands: this is not spontaneous behaviour, but the tourist trade. How does anyone think it was trained to do this? This is severe mistreatment of a captive animal.

      1. Birutė Galdikas describes how a ‘small’ (not necessarily young) male orangutan actually raped her cook, despite the crew trying to pull him away.
        It maybe, but I’m not convinced, this was actually ‘trained’ behaviour.
        At least the girl in the track appears to get away unscathed.

      1. Much of humor involves playing with stereotypes. Chappelle’s gentle stereotypes about Jews in Hollywood are as nothing compared to the stereotypes of Jews in Hollywood that Budd Schulberg played off of in his novel What Makes Sammy Run? or that Norman Mailer played off of in his novel The Deer Park.

        1. Humor is also topical and after all, it’s all about timing, isn’t it? There’s are fine balances in comedy and Chappelle is a master at them, but there it seems to me there is a reason why the sensitivities of Jewish people in America are higher these days. It is worth considering that when comparing to other times and places.

        2. Is Chappelle congenially predisposed to the reverse?

          I gather that Budd Schulberg himself was Jewish.

          Are Southern Appalachian hillbillies (like me) entitled to take trigger warning umbrage at Trae Crowder or Jeff Foxworthy? Try as I might I can’t work up any umbrage.

          At the same time this is not an age when comedians poke fun at themselves. Maybe they don’t find themselves all that interesting.

          1. I gather that Budd Schulberg himself was Jewish.

            Yes, and so was Norman Mailer. I saw Mailer speak at the Miami Book Fair when he was pushing 70. He mentioned that, though he hadn’t been in a shul in many decades, being Jewish was something that remained fundamental to his self-identity. I think it also had a role in his writing — not as fundamental a role in his writing as Jewishness had in the writing of, say, IB Singer or P. Roth or B. Malamud or S. Bellow — but always there in the back of his consciousness, just the same.

    1. I think Chappelle is currently America’s greatest comedian, a cross between George Carlin and Jon Stewart: George for his wordplay and Jon for his insightful commentary on society. The ADL being “offended” means they never watched Johnny Carson in the 60’s whose guests continually poked fun at who runs Hollywood. Relentless. Why so sensitive now?

    2. “I thought it was a good, thoughtful, funny bit.”

      I agree. Chapelle was tying to establish a rule of thumb about first reactions to racial slurs: Never bypass the question “Is it true?”

  5. Apropos mobile phones, there are other reasons why people might be forced to switch to a new model than a battery that no longer holds a charge. The manufacturer may cease to provide upgrades to the operating system for older models. This is especially common for Android phones and it has several knock-on effects. One is that older phones are less secure. Another is that app developers often don’t put a lot of effort into making their software backwards compatible, especially when newer versions of iOS or Android have new features that they want to include. After a while, owners of older phones get tired of seeing “this app is not available for your phone”.

    1. In South Africa you’re a champ if you can hold on to a phone for more than 2-3 years before it is stolen.
      I’m against the death penalty in principle, but I’m open to arguments in favour when cellphone stealing or Eskom executives are concerned (no, I’m not serious there, of course, but one nearly would).

    2. This is a big part of it. I have a Pixel 4a which takes excellent photos and does everything I want from a phone. I will be content to keep this for several years, but Google will stop updating it sometime in the next 12 months. It remains to be seen if that will impact its security, or my ability to use the apps I have loaded. So when I need a new battery I need to weigh the cost of repair against a newer model, and the uncertainty around software compatibility has to be accounted for.

  6. I only replace my phone when it no longer supports the OS version that my company requires for security purposes.

  7. Go Hili! As far as I can tell, critical theory (as in critical race theory) is in an epistemological sense, the polar opposite of critical thinking.

  8. The bear video was shot in Winsted CT, about a mile from my house. We never had bears around here until a few years ago but now we see them all the time.

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