Tuesday: Hili dialogue

November 15, 2022 • 6:45 am

Welcome to Tuesday: the cruelest day; it’s November 15, 2022. It’s National Raisin Bran Day (a cereal I can tolerate), but beware—the Food Police are on it!

From Wikipedia:

Research suggests that eating commercially produced raisin bran containing sugared raisins produces acid which can lead to cavities, while home-made raisin bran, created by adding plain, unsugared raisins to bran flakes, produces less of this acid.

But bad news from the Internet: one brand is not that good for you.

Because Raisin Bran is chock full o’ raisins and the flakes themselves are rather tasteless, General Mills adds a hefty amount of sugar to this cereal. One cup of the breakfast cereal has 19 grams, which is just one gram shy of a Cadbury Creme Egg’s worth, and that’s not counting the added milk.

It’s also National Bundt Day (a cake), National Spicy Hermit Cookie Day (a cookie, or “biscuit” if you will), Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day (mine is spotless, with no aging food), America Recycles Day, American Enterprise Day, and an international remembrance, Day of the Imprisoned Writer. 

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this day by consulting the November 15 Wikipedia page.

Da Nooz:

*Well, I think most of us are chuffed that the Democrats took the Senate, but the House race is breaking for the Republicans. Here’s the margin as of this morning, with Republicans needing only one more seat to take over the chamber. The good news is that Katie Hobbs, a Democrat who defied Trumpist’s attempts to overturn Arizona’s Presidential vote (she was Arizona’s secretary of state), narrowly won the state’s governorship over Kari Lake, a Trump ally.

And Trump supposedly will announce today that the is going to run again for President. Shoot me now!

And from the Wall Street Journal:

Republicans remained poised to win control of the House of Representatives with more than a dozen races still uncalled Monday, as Congress returned to work and new members set to take office next year began orientation.

Democrats are projected to hold their Senate majority after a weekend win in Nevada, giving them the 50 seats needed to control the chamber. A final Senate race, in Georgia, is set for a runoff on Dec. 6 because neither candidate got a majority.

In the House, the GOP appeared on track to win the barest of majorities, nonpartisan analysts said. On Sunday night, additional vote tallies in California and Arizona put Republican candidates in striking distance of victory, though those races hadn’t been called.

“Dems’ dreams of holding the House majority probably died tonight,” David Wasserman, the House editor of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, tweeted Sunday, referring to shifts toward Republicans in three races in those states.

. . .Headed into the election, Democrats had a 220-212 majority, with three vacancies.

The possibility of an extremely narrow GOP majority is already creating challenges for Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.). Mr. McCarthy is running to be speaker assuming Republicans take back the House, but he is meeting resistance from his party’s right flank, which now has greater leverage to influence the vote.

Mr. McCarthy will need a simple majority of his conference during Tuesday’s leadership vote, to be selected as the party’s preference for leader. To become speaker, he will need a majority of the full House in a vote in January.

McCarty will probably win; he’s running against Arizona congressman Andy Biggs, who was supported by Trump. But these days that support ain’t worth a bucket of warm spit.

*The NYT reports that there’s a government-produced carnage of young protestors in Iran, as the youth, having had enough repression, are calling for freedom—freedom from government terror, freedom in how to dress and whether and how to worship, and freedom from the strictures of fundamentalist Islam. But the price of that freedom is high.

One girl, a 14-year-old, was incarcerated in an adult prison alongside drug offenders. A 16-year-old boy had his nose broken in detention after a beating by security officers. A 13-year-old girl was physically attacked by plainclothes militia who raided her school.

A brutal crackdown by the authorities in Iran trying to halt protests calling for social freedom and political change that have convulsed the country for the past two months has exacted a terrible toll on the nation’s youth, according to lawyers in Iran and rights activists familiar with the cases.

Young people, including teenage girls and boys, have been at the center of the demonstrations and clashes with security forces on the streets and university campuses and at high schools. Iranian officials have said the average age of protesters is 15.

Some have been beaten and detained, others have been shot and killed on the streets, or beaten in the custody of security services, and the lives of countless others have been disrupted as the authorities raid schools in an effort to crack down on dissent.

The authorities are targeting thousands of minors, under the age of 18, for participating in the protests, according to interviews with two dozen people, including lawyers in Iran involved in cases and rights activists, as well as parents, relatives and teenagers living in the country. Rights groups say that at least 50 minors have been killed.

But the Islamic Republic is unleashing its wrath on its youth in ways and on a scale not seen during other protests that have rocked the country over the past two decades, the rights groups say. The nationwide uprising, largely led by women, has seen daily protests in cities across the country calling for an end to rule by hard-line clerics in the aftermath of the death of a 22-year-old woman, Mahsa Amini, in the custody of morality police in September.

Let us spare a thought or a tear for the women and youth of Iran, and do what we can to help—even if it just means calling attention to the problem, and to the vile, repressive government. In my worst moments I imagine the young people banned from school, the women all forcibly veiled again, and the government back in charge. After all, they have the weapons. But can they resist the call of freedom?

Here’s Masih Alinejad’s pinned tweet. Remember the last word of “Braveheart

*As Dave Chappelle said in his SNL intro last week, referring to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago papers, “I’ve been fired from many jobs, and I’ve stolen stuff from the office, like staplers. But I never stole work from work!” So why did Trump do it? The Washington Post has an “exclusive” arguing that his motive wasn’t money or business, but EGO.”

Federal agents and prosecutors have come to believe former president Donald Trump’s motive for allegedly taking and keeping classified documents was largely his ego and a desire to hold on to the materials as trophies or mementos, according to people familiar with the matter.

As part of the investigation, federal authorities reviewed the classified documents that were recovered from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home and private club, looking to see if the types of information contained in them pointed to any kind of pattern or similarities, according to these people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.

That review has not found any apparent business advantage to the types of classified information in Trump’s possession, these people said. FBI interviews with witnesses so far, they said, also do not point to any nefarious effort by Trump to leverage, sell, or use the government secrets. Instead, the former president seemed motivated by a more basic desire not to give up what he believed was his property, these people said.

It’s still ILLEGAL, though, regardless of his motives.

*The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), an organization to defend Jews against anti-Semitism, is toast. Or so says Tablet, a magazine that often does very good reporting. Here they

Pop quiz:

Which of these two individuals do you find more problematic?

Kyrie Irving, a kooky basketball player who believes that the Earth is flat, that JFK was shot by bankers, that the COVID vaccines were secretly a plot to connect all Black people to a supercomputer, and that Jews worship Satan and launched the slave trade?

Or Jonathan Greenblatt, the head of the Anti-Defamation League, who accepted $500,000 from Irving last week without even meeting or even talking to the all-star—and who was then forced to give back the donation when Irving blatantly refused to apologize?

Let’s think about it for a minute. One of these guys is a weirdo with dumb opinions he may or may not actually believe. The other is running a soulless racket which just made it clear that you can say whatever you want about the Jews and buy your indulgences at a discount price.

Don’t get me wrong: I absolutely believe that Irving’s endorsement of a Black nationalist documentary based on an obscure Jew-hating book, to say nothing of Kanye West’s meltdown, will most likely contribute to a surge in antisemitism in America, particularly in the Black community. But we Jews don’t control Kyrie Irving; in theory, we do control the ADL, and we shouldn’t want our chief defense group to behave in a way that advances antisemitic conspiracy theories about shadowy Jews trafficking in money and influence for fun and profit.

All of this leads to one sorry conclusion: It’s time to say goodbye to the ADL. It can’t be killed, so we need to just walk away from this formerly venerable organization, and weaken it before it swerves so far off the road that it takes us with it.

Why is the ADL going soft on anti-Semitism. Because of wokeness, of course. It’s not au courant to like Jews, or even defend the existence of Israel:

. . . . ADL’s new recommendation for how Jews globally should react when violence is done to us: “Jews,” tweeted the same senior staffer, “*have* to be ok with Palestinians *explaining* why some turn to terrorism.” In case you’re scratching your head here, let me simplify: The ADL believes that whenever Jews get violently stabbed, shot, blown up, or beaten, our first reaction must be to search our souls for what we must’ve done to deserve it.

*Finally, in the “oddities” section of the Associated Press, we find an article about the auction of a pair of sandals worn by Steve Jobs in the 1970s. Guess what kind they were? Yep, you’re right: Birkenstocks.  And how much do you think a Jobs-worn pair of Birks went for? Oy!. More than many houses! (Emphasis below is mine.)

 The California house where Steve Jobs co-founded Apple is a historical site, and now the sandals he wore while pacing its floors have been sold for nearly $220,000, according to an auction house.

The “well used” brown suede Birkenstocks dating to the mid-1970s set a record for the highest price ever paid for a pair of sandals, Julien’s Auctions said Sunday.

“The cork and jute footbed retains the imprint of Steve Jobs’ feet, which had been shaped after years of use,” the auction house said in the listing on its website.

The sandals were expected to bring $60,000, but the final sale price with an accompanying NFT was $218,750, Julien’s said. The buyer was not named.

Jobs and Steve Wozniak co-founded Apple in 1976 at Jobs’ parents’ house in Los Altos, California. In 2013, the property was named a historic landmark by the Los Altos Historical Commission.

Jobs died in 2011 from complications of pancreatic cancer.

I am no fan of Birkenstocks, which I put in the same league of “ugly shoes” as Crocs, but if you must see them, here they are:

(From the AP): In this photo provided by Julien’s Auctions are Steve Jobs’ Birkenstock sandals sold at their Idols & Icons Rock N’ Roll auction at the Hard Rock Cafe in New York, Sunday Nov. 13, 2022. The California house where Steve Jobs co-founded Apple is a historical site, and now the sandals he wore while pacing its floors have been sold for nearly $220,000, according to an auction house. The “well used” brown suede Birkenstocks dating to the mid 1970s set a record for the highest price ever paid for a pair of sandals, according to Julien’s Auctions. (Julien’s Auctions via AP)

Why did he keep them?

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, we have another enigmatic Hili dialogue with photographer Paulina. Is Hili referring to the garden, or the whole world?

Hili: We have to institute order.
Paulina: Where?
Hili: Wherever it’s possible.
      (Photo: Paulina)
In Polish:
Hili: Trzeba zrobić porządek.
Paulina: Z czym?
Hili: Z czym się da.
(Zdjęcie: Paulina)


From Seth:

Another Far Side cartoon from Gary Larson:

From Facebook:

God still goes after Elon Musk:

From Masih:

From Jez: Life imitates art:

From the Auschwitz Memorial:  The Netherlands had more Jews murdered in WWII than any other Western European country: it lost three-quarters of its Jewish population.

Tweets from Matthew. First, one from Sean Carroll giving an old Scientific American chart apparently designed to prove that biological sex isn’t bimodal (or binary) but a spectrum. Both he and the ragazine are wrong: note the absence of a row labeled “gametes”, which is what biologists use. (Even Claire, Ainsworth, the author of the article that gave the figure decries Carroll’s conclusion.) Here Carroll has strayed onto the wrong turf. He’s answered by several biologists, but of course won’t respond.  Oh dear, Dr. Carroll, you’re not the arbiter of “Actual science” when it comes to sex

Biologist Emma Hilton from Manchester Uni.:

From another STEM professor:

And a thread by Zach Eliott:

We will resume Matthew’s tweets tomorrow.

42 thoughts on “Tuesday: Hili dialogue

  1. Hooray for science – in particular, Nullius in Verba –

    … my own hunch is that what is meant by this unscrupulous alphabet-soup-identity-vs. gametes confusion is merely _personality_ – there’s lots of different personalities.

    What is wrong with that? Isn’t that parsimonious, compared to that wild chart? Compared to counteracting sex stereotypes … by imposing sex stereotypes (Sastra argues this well!)?

  2. I will be interested to see whether Kari Lake challenges the results in Arizona. There certainly seem to have been plenty of problems, such as polls in Republican districts opening late and then closing at the regular time in spite of a judge’s ruling that they stay open late, ballots shortages, mysterious ballot drops, and ballots being discarded.

    1. The Arizona voting process is touted as the most secure in the US and the most open to scrutiny in the US. Votes are counted by machine AND by hand, and the entire count can be viewed online. Anyone saying that there are nefarious actions going on doesn’t know what they are saying.

    2. Arizona’s Big-Lie induced “fraudit” of Maricopa county votes after the 2020 election disenfranchised (if that’s the correct word) all the voting machines they touched. AZ tax payers had to pay $3 million to replace the machines. Apperently, the machines weren’t calibrated correctly, so there were a lot of glitches. Lake took advantage of this by stirring up misinformation and suspicion about the machines. It had nothing to do with fraud. And I suspect your examples are more of the same Big Lie BS.

  3. Jerry mentioned that videos of some of the Stanford meeting on academic freedom sessions have been posted. As of yesterday, videos from Friday’s sessions were available. You can access the by going to the meeting announcement at https://cli.stanford.edu/events/conference-symposium/academic-freedom-conference
    And scroll down to agenda. By clicking on any title that has “(video)” next to it, you are taken to that half or one hour talk or panel. While all are informative, i recommend our host’s panel (academic freedom in stem), jonathan haidt’s talk (which is stronger if you have read his coddling book), and particularly the panel on academic freedom:practical solutions if you can get past the first presenter. I also found lee jussim’s presentation almost unbelieveable and will leave it at that. Overall this was an important look into today’s academy culture. Thank you WEIT for the connection!

  4. I think I must be having reading comprehension problems. It looks to me like the Anti Defamation League, an organisation whose mission is “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all” accepted a donation from a man who thinks that the Jews worship Satan and started the transatlantic slave trade. That would be absolutely crazy from either the ADL’s point of view or Kyrie Irving’s.

    That sex spectrum chart is missing a graphic that shows the distribution of the human population over the alleged spectrum. It’s funny that nobody pushing the idea of the sex spectrum ever produces such a graphic.

      1. What I don’t understand is :


        If that gets wet at all – as I learned from a cheap IKEA carpet experience – it has permanent dirty dog odor.

        … socks should not be white – a tan color is ok IMHO…

        Unless going for that white sock look.

      2. Socks are also said to improve the performance of Crocs, because as the meme says the holes are where your dignity leaks out.

  5. It is also easy to demonstrate that having more than 2 sexes is an unstable evolutionary strategy and will rapidly collapse to just 2.

    Now we have just two then the Parker, Baker and Smith model (suitably enhanced over years) shows that having 2 differing gametes (one large and one small) is also an evolutionary stable strategy ( yeah yeah I know about mating types !)

    It just pisses me off big time (and I know that I have said this before here but it needs banging into people’s heads) that this discussion in non-biological circles revolves almost exclusively around just one species – ours – and the rest of the sexually reproducing world can go and eff itself (allusion deliberate since we are talking about sex!).

    I an amputee and I know that, jokingly, that means that, on average, humans have less that two legs. That doesn’t mean that the normal number of legs for a human isn’t two and that anything else is abnormal (including my amputation). The same applies, of course, to the sexes.

    1. But what about the clownfish? /sarcasm

      The elephant in the room – so to speak – is that in all of the cases where a human (not a clownfish) is not in the male end or the female end of the “spectrum” something has gone wrong with the reproduction/developmental process. Unfortunately, saying that may be taken as an insult to the people in question.

      The other elephant in the room (it’s getting pretty crowded in here, we may need to put the clownfish in the kitchen) is that, with respect to many trans gender issues, none of this matters. The vast majority of transgender individuals are unambiguously male or female.

      1. Elephants use their trunks as an arm (including as a hand).

        Therefore I identify as three armed because it is found in Nature.

        [ ^^^ rhetorical – at least ]

  6. The significance of the Dems keeping the Senate will be shown in the approval of federal judges that Biden nominates. The GOP and the Federalist Society have always played the long game regarding the judiciary and it has paid off for them. Biden needs to get as many judges in place as possible.

  7. I have read the Tablet article by Liel Leibovitz. Much of the article is an attack on the ADL’s leader, Jonathan Greenblatt, as much as for his private business practices than his role in the ADL and that he did work for Obama whose administration and the Democratic Party Leibovitz takes a dig at. Leibovitz mentions and links to tweets by an unnamed “senior staffer” that turns out to be one Tema Smith, who has a Black parent and curiously, has one brief mention on the ADL website via my search of it. She is not part of the ADL executive team. Just how “senior” can she be? She certainly doesn’t speak for the organization as a whole.

    Leibovitz has converted from being on the Left to anti-woke zealot. See https://www.theamericanconservative.com/liel-leibovitz-takes-the-turn-left-right/ . It seems to me that he sees wokeness no matter where he looks, even when it is not there. I have spent some time scouring the ADL website and find little evidence of wokeness. Has the organization made some missteps? Undoubtedly, yes. But, what organization hasn’t? Cherry-picking is very easy to do. Yes, the ADL supports Black Lives Matter, which is the new bogeyman for the right-wing, but this support hardly dominates the website. Leibovitz’s real complaint against the ADL is that it is liberal and for right-wing Jews that by definition makes it ripe for attack. His article has done nothing to convince me that ADL has abandoned its original mission of fighting anti-Semitism. Perhaps other evidence will come to light to make me change my mind, but this article has not done so.

  8. …Jonathan Greenblatt, the head of the Anti-Defamation League, who accepted $500,000 from Irving last week…

    I recognize the name. He is the same geezer who was pissed off at Dave Chappelle 🙂

    The Jesus account is fake. You need blue and grey check marks to be truly verified.

  9. In the original Tweet of the week that appeared last night, Carroll presented the chart as an intended riposte to our host’s statement that science says sex is binary. Some “sex is a spectrum” twerp then admonished our host to get advice from someone “accredited in biology”! Too funny.

    1. Is there a proper term for when someone who’s an expert in one field (like Carroll in physics) decides they can make pronouncements in another but ends up looking ignorant? If not, what would be a good name for this common problem?

  10. Thank you for the Sean C. clarification. I saw the tweet yesterday and couldn’t believe he was actually saying what he seemed to be saying….and that chart looks like a parody of a spectrum.

    1. It’s a bowdlerized version of what FDR’s first vice president, former Speaker of the House John Nance Garner III, said the vice presidency was worth. In the original, Ol’ “Cactus Jack” (as Garner was known due to his prickly personality) mentioned another bodily fluid — the product of the micturition process.

      1. Your “Cactus Jack” reference reminded me of another prickly quote by Mo Udall when talking about his experience as a Representative: I have learned the difference between a cactus and a caucus. On a cactus, the pricks are on the outside. .
        I have a feeling that whoever becomes the GOP’s House Speaker will soon learn the same lesson. 🙂

  11. Can someone explain to me how the Democrats did as well as they did?
    I expected the independents to decide the election with the numerical superiority of Democrats more or less offset by Republican gerrymandering and rural state advantages. But it looks like most independents voted Republican?

    Democratic votes Republican votes Total votes
    48,018,299 52,632,297 102,219,527
    47.0% 51.5%
    [so far from https://www.cookpolitical.com/charts/house-charts/national-house-vote-tracker/2022%5D

      1. Yes, Cruella or the Evil Queen from snow white immediately came to mind.

        Lake really was cartoonish in her belligerence and presentation, and only unsettling because she was real.

  12. Assuming the GOP takes the House, I’m going to go against the grain and argue that the better-than-expected performance of the Dems is actually bad for them.

    Here is my reasoning:

    1) Biden is a weak candidate and now it will be harder to get rid of him.

    2) Trump has been seriously weakened, which is good for the GOP and bad for the Dems.

    3) The Dems will feel no need to change. Although most commentators here do not seem to see it, most voters associate wokeness with Democrats.

    4) Since the Democrats “won” the midterms, they will get the blame when the recession hits.

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