Sunday: Hili dialogue

February 19, 2023 • 6:45 am

Welcome to the Sabbath that was made for man and woman, but not cats: February 19, 2023: National Chocolate Mint Day.  Here are America’s best—a Chicago tradition:

It’s also National Arabian Horse Day, Iwo Jima Day (the day in 1945 when the five-week battle in the Pacific began), International Tug of War Day, and, in Maharashtra, India, Shivaji Jayanti, marking the birth of the founder of the Maratha Empire.

The famous raising of the American flag on Mount Suribachi took place on February 23, four days after the battle began. Here’s a video of that raising and the Pulitzer-Prize-winning photograph of the same event

Movie caption from YouTube: “U.S. Marines raising American flag on Mount Suribachi, Japan during the Island Hopping Campaign of World War II. Shot by Marine photographer Bill Genaust, February 23, 1945.”

Below is the Pulitzer-winning photo by Joe Rosenthal—the only photo to win the Prize the year it was published.  From Wikipedia:

The flag raising occurred in the early afternoon, after the mountaintop was captured and a smaller flag was raised on top that morning. Three of the six Marines in the photograph—Sergeant Michael Strank, Corporal Harlon Block, and Private First Class Franklin Sousley—were killed in action during the battle; Block was identified as Sergeant Hank Hansen until January 1947 and Sousley was identified as PhM2c. John Bradley, USN, until June 2016. The other three Marines in the photograph were Corporals (then Privates First Class) Ira HayesHarold Schultz, and Harold Keller; Schultz was identified as Sousley until June 2016[2] and Keller was identified as Rene Gagnon until October 2019. All of the men served in the 5th Marine Division on Iwo Jima.

Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima. Two flags were raised; the one above is the second and larger one.  They had to climb a ways to get to the top!

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the February 19 Wikipedia page.

Da Nooz:

*First, an obituary to come, and ineffably sad. The Washington Post headline tells the tale: “Former President Jimmy Carter opts for home hospice care for final days.” Well, he’s 98.

Jimmy Carter, at 98 the oldest living former president, has chosen to spend his final days at home in Plains, Ga., in hospice care after a series of brief hospital stays, the Carter Center announced Saturday.

Carter “has the full support of his family and his medical team,” the center’s statement said of the decision made by the nearly century-old one-time peanut farmer and engineer, who became the United States’ 39th president for one term from 1977 to 1981.

Carter has overcome serious health problems, including in 2015 when he was diagnosed with melanoma that had spread to his liver and brain. After treatment, doctors said he defied the odds and announced later that year that he was cancer-free.

The Carter Center’s announcement did not specify whether he has had a return of cancer, or whether another health condition prompted his decision that he was ready for hospice rather than continuing medical care.

The release stated that the family “asks for privacy during this time and is grateful for the concern shown by his many admirers.”

Count me among them. Regardless of what you think of Carter’s job as President, or his pronouncements thereafter—and I do have some beefs abut them—I still think he’s the best EX President I’ve seen in my lifetime. While other’s cash in on their fame after leaving the White House (viz. Obama’s multiple mansions, millions in books deals, and Presidential Center—with a golf course—spoiling the lakefront a few blocks from my house), Carter eschewed the limelight, and spent his time nailing together houses for poor people. He was a kind man and a good one, and I’ll be sad to see him go.

*Neither Russia nor Iran were invited to the annual Munich Security Conference, which, as Wikipedia notes,

has become the most important independent forum for the exchange of views by international security policy decision-makers. Each year it brings together about 350 senior figures from more than 70 countries around the world to engage in an intensive debate on current and future security challenges. The list of attendees includes heads of states, governments and international organizations, ministers, members of parliament, high-ranking representatives of armed forces, science, civil society, as well as business and media.

The leaving out of Russia and Iran is significant enough, but what’s more significant is the announcement of Kamala Harris, the U.S. representative, that Russia committed “crimes against humanity” in the Ukraine. From the NYT:

Ukraine was again front and center on Saturday as international leaders met in Munich for a security conference. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said that Western unity against Russian aggression was “stronger than ever,” China’s top foreign policy official warned that “the Cold War mentality is back,” and Vice President Kamala Harris stressed Western resolve in supporting Kyiv.

In an address to the conference on Saturday, Ms. Harris emphasized the Biden administration’s commitment to backing Ukraine and said that “there is no doubt” that Russia had committed crimes against humanity in Ukraine. Her remarks followed an address by Wang Yi, the Chinese Communist Party’s senior member for foreign affairs, whose presence has been billed by the Chinese state news media as a sign of Beijing’s moderating influence in a forum that otherwise would be dominated by U.S. interests.

Here are the latest developments:

  • Many are eager to see whether Mr. Wang meets with Mr. Blinken after the diplomatic crisis sparked this month by the discovery of a Chinese spy balloon floating over the United States. Mr. Wang called the United States’ recent shooting down of what he called a civilian balloon “absurd and hysterical” and an effort “to divert attention from its domestic problems.”

  • Mr. Blinken appeared alongside Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s foreign minister, and expressed confidence that Ukraine would be victorious because “Ukrainians are fighting for their own country,” adding, “the Russians are not.” He said that Western unity was “stronger than ever” and that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia would face a “day of reckoning.”

*The Benin Bronzes are going back to Nigeria, and I think that some day the Elgin Marbles will likely go back to their Athenian home.  I think this is a proper solution—so long as the Greek government ensures that the marbles will be both protected and exhibited, which they will. In the meantime, go see them when you’re in London.

Sadly, the NYT, in a bout of Pecksniffery that I thought had passed, is making it a moral dilemma about whether to even SEE these objects before they’re returned. “When a Visit to the Museum Becomes an Ethical Dilemma :Western museums are major tourist attractions, drawing travelers from around the world. But what responsibility do we bear as spectators for patronizing institutions that display what critics say are stolen works?” ss

The bronzes have been at the center of an international firestorm as calls mount for Western museums to take responsibility for how they obtained objects that were seized during the colonial era, or looted by Nazis and other invading forces.

For museumgoers, the ethical dimensions of viewing plundered art have become impossible to ignore. Western museums are major tourist attractions, drawing travelers from around the world. But what responsibility do we bear as spectators for patronizing institutions that display what critics say are stolen works? Should we be asking how these museums got their treasures? Does our conception of a modern-day ethnological museum need a dramatic rethink?

The answers to those four questions are, in order, “None,” “Perhaps,” and “No”.  Yes, if objects were stolen or acquired under dubious circumstances (as with the Elgin Marbles), then yes, we should be asking if they should be returned, not forgetting that when they’re returned, they should also be on public display. But we bear NO responsibility as spectators for earlier thefts except in one circumstance: if our patronage would make a museum loath to return something to its rightful owners. I just don’t think that our patronage makes a difference.  For crying out loud, the Elgin Marbles are the biggest draw to the British Museum, but they should be given back despite that—and I believe that they will be, or at the least will be shown alternatingly in Athens and London. The pressure to act rightfully comes not from patronage, but from moral suasion, and that’s what is getting the bronzes and marbles back.

You should read Christopher Hitchens’s book The Parthenon Marbles: The Case for Reunification, which was published in 2008. His case, as I recall, is purely a moral one. Regardless of whether you think that there are good reasons for the British Museum to keep the marbles (and there are some), there is no reason not to go see them until this matter is settled.  I refuse to feel guilt for looking at a world-class object in a Museum that is under dispute, because my looking breaks nobody’s bones nor picks anyone’s pocket.

*Biden signed an executive order to ensure not just racial equality, but racial equity in government (you can see the order here):

President Joe Biden on Thursday ordered the federal government to do more to address racial inequality as the challenges and complexities of systemic racism are again drawing the public’s attention.

The order, signed during Black History Month, requires that an initial review into long-standing disparities in government services and treatment that he ordered on his first day in office become an annual requirement for federal agencies. The reviews are aimed at increasing access to federal programs, services and activities for disadvantaged communities. The new order also directs federal agencies to have equity teams and name senior leaders who would be accountable for increasing equity and addressing bias.

“My Administration has embedded a focus on equity into the fabric of Federal policymaking and service delivery,” Biden wrote in the order, adding that, “By advancing equity, the Federal Government can support and empower all Americans, including the many communities in America that have been underserved, discriminated against, and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality.”

. . .Chiraag Bains, the president’s deputy assistant for racial justice and equity, said that the new order shows Biden is “doubling down” on the commitment he made on his first day as president “to put equity at the center of how this government operates.”

The order institutionalizes Biden’s pledge that government be open and accessible to all and “is a recognition that achieving equity is not a one- or a a two-year project. It’s a generational commitment,” Bains told The Associated Press.

Note that Biden’s announcement begins by touting equal opportunity, but as you see in the document, and in the report above, “equal opportunity” morphed quickly into equity, a term that pervades the document. The two words do not represent the same thing, and inequity does not equate to racism, much less a lack of equal opportunity.  Either Biden is deliberately conflating them to advance a progressive agenda, or he’s too addled to know the difference. I don’t accept the latter explanation: I think that he bought more heavily into wokeness than I originally guessed. (h/t Luana)

*Here are the fruits of religious authoritarianism, and the Washington Post headline tells the tale: “Her baby has a deadly diagnosis. Her Florida doctors refused an abortion.” You knew this was coming, and it’s here: these religious Republicans would rather let children be born, suffer, and die a “natural” death rather than stop suffering more mercifully.  The details (the first sentence is heartbreaking):

Deborah Dorbert is devoting the final days before her baby’s birth to planning the details of the infant’s death.

Nobody expected things to happen the way they did when halfway through their planned and seemingly healthy pregnancy, a routine ultrasound revealed the fetus had devastating abnormalities, pitching the dazed couple into the uncharted landscape of Florida’s new abortion law.

Deborah and Lee Dorbert say the most painful decision of their lives was not honored by the physicians they trust. Even though medical experts expect their baby to survive only 20 minutes to a couple of hours, the Dorberts say their doctors told them that because of the new legislation, they could not terminate the pregnancy.]

In fact that’s not true: the Florida law does allow an exemption for “fetal abnormalities that are fatal”. But the doctors wouldn’t abide by it; the likely reason is PROSECUTION.

Florida’s H.B. 5 — Reducing Fetal and Infant Mortality — went into effect last July, soon after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a half-century constitutional right to abortion.

The new law bans abortion after 15 weeks with a couple of exceptions, including one that permits a later termination if “two physicians certify in writing that, in reasonable medical judgment, the fetus has a fatal fetal abnormality” and has not reached viability.

It is not clear how the Dorberts’ doctors applied the law in this situation. Their baby has a condition long considered lethal that is now the subject of clinical trials to assess a potential treatment.

Neither Dorbert’s obstetrician nor the maternal fetal medicine specialist she consulted responded to multiple requests for comment.

A spokesman for Lakeland Regional Health, the hospital system the doctors are affiliated with, declined to discuss Dorbert’s case or how it is interpreting the new law. In an emailed statement, Tim Boynton, the spokesman, said, “Lakeland Regional Health complies with all laws in the state of Florida.”

You can’t depend on unfinished clinical trials to guide your decisions here, and the doctors erred. Lakeland Regional Health is not complying with simple decency, and they would be complying with the law if they had let Dorbert terminate her pregnancy.  This is the real reason the doctors are doing this:

Florida physicians who violate the new law face penalties including the possibility of losing their licenses, steep fines and up to five years in prison.As a result, Katz said, they “are likely to err on the side of questioning whether the conditions are fully met.”

They discovered at 24 weeks that the fetus had Potter Syndrome with multiple abnormalities and no kidneys. Dorbert begged for a termination of her pregnancy, it was no dice. At any rate, the clinical trials are now closed:

This month, researchers released initial results for 18 babies, who, like Deborah’s, were missing both their kidneys. With their amniotic fluid replenished through regular infusions, their lungs were able to develop enough for most to survive at least two weeks after birth.

Two weeks of suffering: that’s the most they could expect if they HAD the treatment. Without that, the baby will die, suffering, within a couple of days. It’s pure torture for the baby and the parents, but the State of Florida, damn its soul, would prefer suffering.  They’re like a governmental Mother Teresa.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is perturbed and out of focus:

Hili: Can you explain the concept of complexity to me?
A; It’s simple, when we start to feel lost it means that the situation is complex.
In Polish:
Hili: Czy możesz mi wyjaśnić pojęcie złożoności?
Ja: To proste, kiedy zaczynamy się gubić, to znaczy, że sytuacja jest złożona.
And a picture of baby Kulka (remember, “Kulka” means “ball” in Polish, as she was a tiny furrball when found):


From the Cat House on the Kings:

From Now That’s Wild:

Matthew, in Cambridge, sent this as a “moving panel from the Scott Museum.” It describes the finding of Scott and his men, frozen to death in a tent on their return from the South Pole. Note that they dragged 35 pounds of fossils with them to their death (but the fossils helped buttress a theory that the continents were all joined). Click to enlarge:

Over at Mastodon, God is dead.

Masih meets the erstwhile chess champion who’s now a Russian dissident living in exile. Kasparov speaks English after her Farsi. (His first name, by the way, has two “r”s):

I posted about this yesterday, and am glad to see that Sullivan’s against this draconian law as well; he was born a Brit:

From Luana: postmortem changes of words to match the Zeitgeist (Dahl died in 1990). Is “Kipling” now canceled as well?

They should NOT be tampering with an author’s words after he’s dead, regardless of how “offensive” they are:

From Amy, the next installment of the tweet in which a Turkish firefighter who saved a cat from the earthquake rubble (and then the cat wouldn’t leave his side) has now adopted the moggy. AS HE SHOULD HAVE! Long live Enkaz!

From the Auschwitz Memorial: Six-year-old girl gassed upon arrival:

Before we get to Matthew’s tweets, let’s hear from Tina Purcell, who happens to be his wife. Now I see what he’s like when I’m not around!

And tweets from the curmudgeon himself. Luscomb died in 1985 at 98.

Another cat-related item from Matthew. This is a lovely painting.


36 thoughts on “Sunday: Hili dialogue

  1. I underscore what Jerry wrote about Jimmy Carter and add that I think he’s a candidate for the best ex-President the USA will ever have. I have enjoyed listening to his memoirs as audiobooks narrated by himself. Oh, and allow me to pull this from my Six Degrees of Separation file: My boatswain’s mate father served on the USS Mississippi and ended his service right before Carter came in board that vessel as Training and Education Officer. May Jimmy Carter have a peaceful passing!

    1. Indeed, inevitable but still so sad. Not that long ago he wrote that he and Rosalynn had come to peace with whatever lay ahead for them. I’m just proud to be able to say that I shook his hand once.

      Wonderfully low-key he certainly is. And also quick-witted. But the enormously impressive Carter Center probably takes up as much real estate as Obama’s golf course – to a far better purpose. A highly recommended destination for anyone visiting Atlanta!

      And, he helped co-found the American Chestnut Foundation together with his friend Norman Borlaug who was the grad student of Charles Burnham, who provided the initial initiative together with a renegade grad student. (To continue degrees of separation, Burnham was a fellow grad student with George Beadle and Barbara McClintock. In continuing the Carter Family’s devotion to this effort, his daughter-in-law Becky is now on TACF’s Board.

          1. The implication being that saying that Trump will say something nasty is in itself nasty and detracts from the great gravitas.

  2. On this day:
    1600 – The Peruvian stratovolcano Huaynaputina explodes in the most violent eruption in the recorded history of South America.

    1807 – Former Vice President of the United States Aaron Burr is arrested for treason in Wakefield, Alabama and confined to Fort Stoddert.

    1878 – Thomas Edison patents the phonograph.

    1942 – World War II: Nearly 250 Japanese warplanes attack the northern Australian city of Darwin, killing 243 people.

    1942 – World War II: United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs executive order 9066, allowing the United States military to relocate Japanese Americans to internment camps. [Also rescinded on this day in 1976 by President Ford.]

    1953 – Book censorship in the United States: The Georgia Literature Commission is established.

    1954 – Transfer of Crimea: The Soviet Politburo of the Soviet Union orders the transfer of the Crimean Oblast from the Russian SFSR to the Ukrainian SSR.

    1963 – The publication of Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique reawakens the feminist movement in the United States as women’s organizations and consciousness raising groups spread.

    1985 – William J. Schroeder becomes the first recipient of an artificial heart to leave the hospital.

    2002 – NASA’s Mars Odyssey space probe begins to map the surface of Mars using its thermal emission imaging system.

    1473 – Nicolaus Copernicus, Polish mathematician and astronomer (d. 1543).

    1660 – Friedrich Hoffmann, German physician and chemist (d. 1742). [Credited with conducting the first scientific investigation into carbon monoxide poisoning caused by burning charcoal.]

    1717 – David Garrick, English actor, playwright, and producer (d. 1779).

    1911 – Merle Oberon, Indian-American actress (d. 1979).

    1924 – Lee Marvin, American actor (d. 1987).

    1940 – Smokey Robinson, American singer-songwriter and producer.

    1943 – Tim Hunt, English biochemist and academic, Nobel laureate. [Cancelled for his ill-advised comments about his “trouble with girls” in labs.]

    1946 – Karen Silkwood, American technician and activist (d. 1974).

    1948 – Tony Iommi, English guitarist and songwriter.

    1950 – Andy Powell, English singer-songwriter and guitarist.

    1957 – Ray Winstone, English actor.

    Cashed in their chips:
    1916 – Ernst Mach, Austrian-Czech physicist and philosopher (b. 1838). [The anniversary of his birth was marked in yesterday’s list.]

    1952 – Knut Hamsun, Norwegian novelist, poet, and playwright, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1859).

    1980 – Bon Scott, Scottish-Australian singer-songwriter (b. 1946). [“Have a drink on me”, as his band mates said on their next album.]

    2001 – Stanley Kramer, American director and producer (b. 1913).

    2016 – Umberto Eco, Italian novelist, literary critic, and philosopher (b. 1932).

    2016 – Harper Lee, American author (b. 1926).

  3. Carter maybe be our best ex-president but it still sticks in my mind how he reacted to the fatwa against Salman Rushdie, which was essentially to blame the victim. As he said in an op-ed at the time: “While Rushdie’s first amendment freedoms are important, we tend to promote him and his book with little acknowledgment that it is a direct insult to those millions of Moslems whose sacred beliefs have been violated.” And since the long-dead Dahl is also in the news, both sickeningly and amusingly, for being censored and sanitized for insulting language on his books, it’s important to recall what he had also blamed Rushdie. For me, this taints the legacy of both men. I can appreciate what Carter us done for Habitat for Humanity, and can appreciate the joy that Dahl’s (pre-sanitize toon) books brought children but especially in light of the recent near-fatal attack on Rushdie, I cannot help but despise the two men for their cowardly and ignorant attitudes.

    1. I don’t disagree with your take on their condemnation of Rushdie,but really, do you DESPISE Carter for the attack on Rushdie that occurred when he was 97 years old and no longer President. As I said, Carter wasn’t perfect, but as ex-President he lived an admirable life, and I’m not sure why you pick on one thing the guy did to DESPISE the man.

      1. I suppose it is a feeling that arose following the attempted murder of Rushdie. If Salman Rushdie had lives a long happy life and never felt the sting of a knife in his face and body, nearly bleeding out on stage in front of a crowd, I could chalk it up as just a dumb thing Carter wrote all those years ago but my feelings for him definitely changed after the attack. That’s just how I feel. Everyone is free to disagree (and despite me for it) as I have become accustomed to being just outside the norm on this site.

    2. I’ll add the Roald Dahl comment that he made about Rushdie to remind us what an absolute turd the man was, which was that he had caused all the trouble in order “…to get an indifferent book on to the top of the best seller list.” And that “…he knew exactly what he was doing and he cannot plead otherwise.”
      What a shame it is that Dahl died before the wokees came after his books. Granted, censorial unapproved editing is a far cry from a death warrant with a bounty on your head, living under guard for years, or being stabbed over ten times, losing an eye and feeling in part of your hand.

      1. Roald Dahl was a sh*t (choosing my words with care), no argument. But if I could only have his books or Rushdie’s……
        Why would you like Dahl to be alive to see this dishonour done to his writing? Isn’t that simple cruelty on your part? Let the dead rest: you’ll be glad of it one day. 🙂

        1. Only because he found it so easy to dismiss the threats of physical violence towards Rushdie over his book but I do not doubt he would be livid at the pathetic censorship of his books. It’s not simple cruelty, maybe a bit of schadenfraude, or a bit of poetic justice that I crave. He should have spoken up for his fellow writer just as today writers should speak up for his written legacy and push back against this silliness.

  4. With respect to the sad case in Florida the sticking point will be the final clause:

    “The new law bans abortion after 15 weeks with a couple of exceptions, including one that permits a later termination if “two physicians certify in writing that, in reasonable medical judgment, the fetus has a fatal fetal abnormality” and has not reached viability.”

    “Has not reached viability” isn’t in your quotes but I assume it is part of the statute? That would imply this exception only operates between 15 weeks and viability, and some 24 week neonates will survive. Obviously, this one won’t and a humane interpretation would be to allow the pregnancy to end here. We don’t have a hard and fast date for viability, as even with the best neonatal cate premature infants don’t always survive. Roughly 80% of 28 weekers will pull through, and maybe 50% of 24 weekers (this is stunning, it was 0-5% when I was last doing paeds). Since this babe is doomed anyway, there is little point except cruelty to go on with it, but it is more or less certain in Florida that some DA looking for re-election would lay charges against the docs on the grounds that 24 weeks is viable and god might grant a miracle!

    1. The Florida law does indeed say that for abortion to be allowed under the fatal-abnormality exemption, the fetus must not have reached viability. Viability is not defined in the law but if a doctor tried to claim that a 28-weeker (or however far along it is) was “not yet viable” just in order to abort this fetus she would be aggressively cross-examined by the prosecution.

      To run into serious trouble, a doc doesn’t have to have the bad luck to be practising in a district where the DA is ambitious. All it takes is for an aggrieved nurse or family member to complain to the police that the woman was beyond 24 weeks. A complaint to the state self-regulator would also have to be investigated even if the DA decided not to prosecute. The regulators take a dim view of doctors breaking the law and their evidentiary standard is preponderance of evidence, not guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Doctors have been convicted of professional misconduct on the same facts that led to criminal acquittals.

      I should add that even if the doctor was sympathetic and wanted to do the abortion, the hospital would not let her book the case if, in its opinion, it would be against the law.

      I have faith that the medical team can ensure that a newborn with no kidneys and other malformations will not suffer during her brief life. If the mother finds the emotional anguish of carrying the doomed pregnancy to term unbearable, she can always travel out of state. There are ways out of this that don’t require catastrophizing in national media.

      1. If the mother finds the emotional anguish of carrying the doomed pregnancy to term unbearable, she can always travel out of state.

        I really abhor this type of flippant attitude that puts the entire burden upon the woman as if it’s just a simple errand to run off to another state and get an abortion. In cases where the pregnancy was accidental, your statement has the implication of: that’s what you get for getting pregnant, dummy. In this case, she must first find a clinic/hospital out of state that will terminate a 2nd/3rd trimester pregnancy and then drive hundreds of miles to get there. And from Florida, who knows how many states she’d have to drive through before she can access a legal abortion. Besides being a major inconvenience and expensive, it’s horribly cruel.

        1. But after all that, Mark, her choices are still to travel or to wait for nature to take its course. I know you are mad at Florida and the Supreme Court and her hospital who won’t break the law and me for not seeing it as a catastrophe and God knows who all else for closing off an easier choice but those are still her choices, unless you can suggest something else she could do.

          1. Are you baiting me? Just quit it. If you believe that women are equal to men, you wouldn’t bait like this. I know, you like to bait. Just quit it.

  5. I thought Kipling has been among the first to be cancelled, back when it was still just called “political correctness”? I would remind everyone that there is a thriving market for used books online, supported by sites like abebooks, ebay, and even Amazon. Get you Dahl.

    1. I still enjoy reading many of Kipling’s poems on occasion. And I have never, and will never, support the cancellation of any writer, dead or alive, for any reason. But, let’s face it, there are few works of lit more embarrassing than Kipling’s poem “The White Man’s Burden.”

      1. From occasions in my teaching activities when students have been harshly critical (sometimes justifiably so) of my prodding them to do thinking rather than their well-practiced regurgitating, I have some sympathy for his line “The blame of those ye better”.

  6. Equality —> Equity. It’s purposeful and it’s wrong. Biden (or his advisors) surely know the difference, but are taking advantage of the fact that most of the public doesn’t make such seemingly fine distinctions. They are anticipating, probably correctly, that the morphing of one into the other won’t be noticed.

    I noticed.

    1. It is clear to me that upon reading Biden’s executive order that it does not equate equity with equal outcomes. I was glad to see that the document actually provides its definition of “equity.” This is it:

      For purposes of this order: (a) The term “equity” means the consistent and systematic fair, just, and impartial treatment of all individuals, including individuals who belong to underserved communities that have been denied such treatment, such as Black, Latino, and Indigenous and Native American persons, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and other persons of color; members of religious minorities; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) persons; persons with disabilities; persons who live in rural areas; and persons otherwise adversely affected by persistent poverty or inequality.

      Note also that this definition conforms to the standard definition of equity: the state or quality of being just and fair. One may quibble that the definition is not consistent with how many others define the term today. One may also argue that the document is a wink-wink to government agencies to allow them to implement the order to achieve equal outcomes, not just opportunities. But, I interpret the document as a throwback to Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society, which was, in part, an attempt to end the centuries of discrimination against Black people through equal opportunity. Biden came of age during the Kennedy-Johnson era and what those presidents espoused are the values that he has adopted — equal opportunity.

      This executive order revokes Executive Order 13950, which was signed by Trump. The essence of the latter order was to order government agencies and those contracting with the government that they cannot teach or advocate an “ideology is rooted in the pernicious and false belief that America is an irredeemably racist and sexist country; that some people, simply on account of their race or sex, are oppressors; and that racial and sexual identities are more important than our common status as human beings and Americans.” The provisions of this executive order could have been an inspiration for Ron DeSantis. I think the Biden administration revoked this order because they viewed it as code words to actually promote discrimination. This may not be true, but I suspect that the minority constituencies that support Biden wanted Order 13950 to be revoked.

      My conclusion is that Biden’s order is political in nature. After all, he is a politician and does what politicians do. But, as written it does not promote the notion of equal outcomes. How others interpret and implement it within the government remains to be seen.

      1. Yes, but of course you know that the only way people judge “fair, just, and impartial treatment” these ways is if EQUITY IS ACHIEVED. That is why the finding of unequal outcomes is immediately imputed to unequal treatment. I have NO confidence that Biden will treat the government otherwise. To my mind, it does indeed promote the notion of equal outcomes. For example, look at this bit:

        Sec. 5. Conducting an Equity Assessment in Federal Agencies. The head of each agency, or designee, shall, in consultation with the Director of OMB, select certain of the agency’s programs and policies for a review that will assess whether underserved communities and their members face systemic barriers in accessing benefits and opportunities available pursuant to those policies and programs. The head of each agency, or designee, shall conduct such review and within 200 days of the date of this order provide a report to the Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy (APDP) reflecting findings on the following:

        How are those “systemic barriers” recognized? By INEQUITIES, of course, just as they always are. They’re not going to go snooping around and giving people tests for unconscious bias, nor look at the regulations to see if they hold back minorities. They’re going to see if there is unequal representation of minorities and, if they find it, which they will, immediately institute policies to rectify that.

  7. I understand that it was Dahl’s heirs (who own the copyright to his books) who requested the bowdlerization of his work. What copyright (or other) protection exists against this kind of project applied to Darwin’s views in “The Descent of Man”?

    1. What copyright (or other) protection exists against this kind of project

      Probably none. If you’re right that the edits were requested by Dahl’s heirs, who are (by inference) the legal owners of the copyright (either by default inheritance or a specific cause in Dahl’s will), then obviously they can grant permission to themselves, their assignees or delegates (professional pecksniffs for the publishers, working for hire) to stop publication of the original versions but allow publication of their approved versions.
      It’s their copyright.
      It’s their property.
      They can do with it what they want – that’s what “their property” means.

      applied to Darwin’s views in “The Descent of Man”?

      By analogy, until the early 1900s, the copyright would have been vested in one (or more) of Darwin’s offspring, who could indeed have down this, or issued “Authorised, updated” editions, had they so desired. Then some time about WW1, the copyright would have lapsed, and anyone could have published any derived or duplicated works they wanted.
      I forget what Darwin’s other offspring did in the late 19th century, but George was fairly busy in the maths of celestial dynamics, the evolution of satellite orbits, etc, and probably wasn’t interested in the idea of interrupting that work to update his father’s work.

    2. I look forward with interst to the new edition of ‘Revolting Rhymes’ which as I recall was very non-woke in places.

  8. Also, this just crossed my window, with all the doo-dads included. I had never heard of it before, but it’s apparently related to Mardi Gras: And since cats are (metaphorically?) involved:

    Today is also Fastelavn in Denmark 🎭
    An old Danish tradition where children dress up in costumes and try to smash open a hanging cask called “cat barrel”. Fortunately, these days the barrels only contain candy 🍭🍬🍫
    The winners are crowned as the Cat Queen (Kattedronning – the one who knocks the bottom out of the barrel) and the Cat King (Kattekonge – the one who knocks off the last remaining board) 😸👑
    During Fastelavn, children roam their neighbourhood, and at each house they sing “Fastelavn er mit navn, boller vil jeg have. Hvis jeg ingen boller får, så laver jeg ballade” (Mardi Gras is my name, buns I want. If I don’t get buns, then I make trouble).

  9. Why would there be a sabbath for cats?

    The sabbath is reserved for those who would gas that young girl there in the photo. In Torah terms, since this is day seven, our day of redemption, well, cats have no need of redemption, as they won’t be gassing or nuking anyone, any time soon, so no sabbath for cats.

    Next, I cannot prove that One. I cannot calculate pi either, but I am pretty sure that the theory of everything is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, and what with being infinite, I am also certain that our finite universe cannot possibly contain all the information that is pi, and that’s pretty much how I think of that One. Something like this:

    Re incompatible, please resurrect Michael Faraday so you can tell him. You have a unit of measure in tribute to you?

    Do not recall that uranium fission device was product of faith, ditto Zyklon B.

    Did I mention, as Hoffman related to Balsam in Little Big Man, when summing Balsam’s philosophy…maybe we’re all fools and none of it matters? Our gal was a fool who didn’t matter and so she was gassed. The Nazi scum, the outworking of Balsam’s philosophy since the Reichstag fire. In case you missed the movie, the stars twinkle in a void and the two legged creature dreams and schemes beneath them all in vain, all in vain…So maybe we’re fools and none of it matters.

    Please, tell me, what scientific rule, theorem, whatever, says that the little girl has any value? I spent much time on south campus during my time at UCLA, astro, bio, chem, physics, math, even worked in Young Hall, chem building, and there is nothing. Science, to its credit, doesn’t even pretend to answer the value question. Need north campus sociologists for that.

    Faith(s) certainly not perfect, but if I have learned one thing during my 60 years, well, as Bill Maher so aptly put the matter, humans are not good people. Why the redemption noted initially is needed, is in fact the whole point of the exercise. How/why we can have more scientific understanding that you can shake a stick at and still end up with more humans dead last century than I care to contemplate and, no, population increase does not change things such that it somehow becomes more palatable.

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