Sunday: Hili dialogue

March 26, 2023 • 6:45 am

It’s Sunday, March 26, 2023, and National Nougat Day.  Nougat is one of the few sweetmeats I have no use for, especially the white variety.

It’s also National Spinach Day, Solitude Day, Purple Day  in Canada and United States (“a global grassroots event that was formed with the intention to increase worldwide awareness of epilepsy, and to dispel common myths and fears of this neurological disorder”), and, in Hawaii, Prince Kūhiō Day  a Hawaiian prince (1871-1922)) who did a lot for the islands. As Wikipedia notes, “Prince Kūhiō Day is one of only two holidays in the United States dedicated to royalty, the other being Hawaiʻi’s King Kamehameha Day on June 11.” After U.S. Big Business overthrew the Kingdom of Hawaii, the Prince served in Congress as a representative of the Territory of Hawaii—the only Congressperson ever born into royalty. Here he is:


Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the March 26 Wikipedia page.

Da Nooz:

*The BBC reports that a Florida principal was forced to resign his position after he showed a statue of Michelangelo’s “David” to the students and an uproar ensued (h/t Gravelinspector). The story was also reported by ABC (h/t Dom). From the BBC:

A principal of a Florida school has been forced to resign after a parent complained that sixth-grade students were exposed to pornography.

The complaint arose from a Renaissance art lesson where students were shown Michelangelo’s statue of David.

The iconic statue is one of the most famous in Western history.

But one parent complained the material was pornographic and two others said they wanted to know about the class before it was taught.

The 5.17m (17ft) statue depicts an entirely naked David, the Biblical figure who kills the giant Goliath.

The lesson, given to 11 and 12-year-olds, also included references to Michelangelo’s “Creation of Adam” painting and Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus”.

Principal Hope Carrasaquilla of Tallahassee Classical School said she resigned after she was given an ultimatum by the school board to resign or be fired.

Local media reported that Ms Carrasquilla did not know the reason she was asked to resign, but believed it was related to the complaints over the lesson.

They also said Ms Carrasquilla had been principal for less than one year.

So they fire her without telling her why, and the “why” is because the kids were exposed to naked bodies in classical art. It was, of course, in Florida. What a bunch of sniveling Pecksniffs!

Here’s a right-wing nightmare inspired by this event, sent by reader Barry:

*Shoot Me Now Department. If the Republicans didn’t threaten American well being, I would find items like this amusing rather than infuriating. Yes, the neuronally deprived Marjorie Taylor Greene is up to her publicity-seeking antics again:

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene swept into the District of Columbia jail to check on conditions for the Jan. 6 defendants, with Republican lawmakers handshaking and high-fiving the prisoners, who chanted “Let’s Go Brandon!” — a coded vulgarity against President Joe Biden — as the group left.

A day earlier Speaker Kevin McCarthy met with the mother of slain rioter Ashli Babbitt, an Air Force veteran who was shot and killed by police as she tried to climb through a broken window during the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.

And the House Republican leader recently gave Fox News’ Tucker Carlson exclusive access to a trove of Jan. 6 surveillance tapes despite the conservative commentator’s airing of conspiracy theories about the Capitol attack.

Taken together, the House Republicans can be seen as working steadily but intently to distort the facts of the deadly riot, which played out for the world to see when Donald Trump’s supporters laid siege to the Capitol, and in the process downplay the risk of domestic extremism in the U.S.

In actions and legislation, the Republicans are seeking to portray perpetrators of the Capitol riot as victims of zealous federal prosecutors, despite many being convicted of serious crimes. As Trump calls for the Jan. 6 defendants to be pardoned, some House Republicans are attempting to rebrand those who stormed the Capitol as “political prisoners.”

The result is alarming to those who recognize a dangerously Orwellian attempt to whitewash recent history.

“There’s no question Marjorie Taylor Greene and other Republicans are attempting to rewrite history,” said Heidi Beirich, the co-founder of the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism. “They’re making light of what was a serious attack on our democracy.”

The tour Greene led at the local jail Friday comes as nearly 1,000 people have been charged by the Justice Department in the attack on the Capitol — leaders of the extremist Oath Keepers convicted of seditious conspiracy. The 20 or so defendants being held at the jail, many in pretrial detention on serious federal charges, are among those who battled police at the Capitol, officials said, in what at times was a gruesome bloody scene of violence and mayhem.

It’s as if these Republicans think the January 6 attacks were merely a bit of fun, but had the rioters actually encountered Democrats and their leaders, there would have been violence. It was nothing less than an insurrection.

*Like many of you, I’ve subscribed to newspapers or other services at a low fee, which automatically renews and goes up in price after a year—and you’re never informed.  I now have on my computer a list of when all these low=price come-ons are set to expire. In some cases it’s easy to cancel, in others it’s hard or nearly impossible (the FTC has fine companies for that), but none of them inform you that you “cheap time” is up.

That may change if the FTC imposes its “click to cancel” rule, which will not only make it much easier to opt out of renewal, but let you know before the subscription auto-renews:

“The vision is that it should be as easy for consumers to cancel subscriptions as it is to enroll,” Levine said. “If they enrolled online, the company should use online mechanisms to let consumers cancel. If they enrolled on the phone, they should be able to cancel on the phone without waiting on hold forever.”

Among other provisions, companies would have to provide an annual reminder to consumers enrolled in negative-option programs involving anything other than physical goods before they are automatically renewed.

In the process of trying to persuade you to stay — it’s referred to as a “save” — companies would have to ask whether you would like to consider such offers or modifications to your subscription plan. But once you decline, they must cancel the negative-option arrangement immediately.

The agency’s notice of proposed rulemaking is part of its effort to strengthen existing consumer protections in the negative-option space.

Unscrupulous companies have become incredibly clever in taking consumers down a rabbit hole where they can’t find their way to cancellation.

You can subscribe to the Federal Trade Commission’s notices about when rules like this take effect simply by submitting your email address here.*A r

*An article in the Jerusalem Post reports that CUNY (the City University of New York) has, in the last two years, become the “most systematically antisemitic school” in America. Take that with a grain of salt, since the report was prepared by a group at CUNY, but do have a look at the 12-page report (it’s free here) and judge for yourself the level of Jew-hatred. From the Post article:

The report, compiled by Students and Faculty for Equality at CUNY (SAFE CUNY), an NGO that describes itself as an alliance of CUNY students or scholars, alleges that there are alarming levels of deep-rooted, systemic antisemitism at the highest levels of CUNY “perpetuated through lies, coverups, retaliation campaigns, intimidation against whistleblowers, and corruption that has penetrated the deepest corners and the most senior leaders of the university.”

Jeffrey Lax, the Orthodox Jewish business department chair at CUNY’s Kingsborough Community College and founder of SAFE CUNY, told The Jerusalem Post that the report took months to research, source, and uncover.

“We received many tips on our email tip line from incredible CUNY sources and this really helped us to expose what the report reveals,” Lax, who does not wear his yarmulke on campus, said.

“Shockingly, in a city of 1.7 million (20%) Jews, our report reveals that a years long campaign has in 2023 resulted in the total expungement of Jews from senior leadership positions at CUNY. After the retirements of Jennifer Raab and Senior Vice Chancellor Pamela Silverblatt, there are no longer any Jews among CUNYs top 80 senior leadership, including 0 of 25 campus presidents,” Lax continued. “In a city with a 20% Jewish population, it is unfathomable that the largest urban US university located in that city failed to employ any Jewish administrative leaders by happenstance,” the report says.

. . . “CUNY’s three most powerful leaders –the chancellor, the 23,000 member union president, and the head of diversity–  are all anti-Zionists, CAIR supporters, and/or BDS activists,” Lax said.

. . .While the report shies away from investigating or re-investigating the “relentless barrage of antisemitic incidents since at least 2015,” CUNY has made a slew of headlines in recent years for anti-Jewish occurrences.

Last year, The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) filed a Title VI complaint against CUNY, which has 25 college campuses across the five boroughs. It alleges that CUNY has ignored a sustained pattern of antisemitic activity.

The number of administrators who belong to CAIR and adhere to the BDS principles, both anti-Semitic initiatives, is shocking. In fact, CUNY’s top discrimination officer, Saly Abd Alla, is not only the former director of CAIR but also a BDS activist (remember that BDS has the goal of completely eliminating the state of Israel).  This kind of bigotry would never stand if it involved blacks, but it’s okay because it’s only the Jews.

*And, for your delectation, here are some of the National Book Critics Circle Awards for this year. They’re not as prestigious as the Pulitzer Prizes, but the NBCC awards are chosen by over 600 book reviewers and critics, and are a good way to find good books:

Beverly Gage won this year’s biography award for “G-Man: J. Edgar Hoover and the Making of the American Century,” which The Washington Post’s Book World named one of its 10 Best Books of 2022. In his review for The Post, Kai Bird wrote that “G-Man,” which drew on some previously classified sources, “now becomes the definitive work” on Hoover. “This new material is simply stunning, and Gage uses it to write a highly nuanced — sometimes even sympathetic — account of the man.”

Ling Ma won the fiction prize for “Bliss Montage,” a collection of stories that Michele Filgate called “uncanny and haunting” in her review for The Post. “These stories use fantastical situations to address the isolation and absurdity of being confined by labels.” (Ma’s previous book, a novel called “Severance” — no relation to the Apple TV Plus show — was published to acclaim in 2018.)

Hua Hsu, a staff writer at the New Yorker, won the NBCC prize for autobiography. In “Stay True,” another of The Post’s 10 Best Books of 2022, Hsu remembers his unlikely friendship with a college classmate named Ken. Hsu describes the devastating aftermath of Ken’s murder early one morning in 1998. While that tragedy is at its center, the book is also a wry chronicle of 1990s culture. “With warmth and humor,” Charles Arrowsmith wrote for The Post, Hsu has produced an “extraordinary, devotional act of friendship.”

The nonfiction award went to Isaac Butler for “The Method: How the Twentieth Century Learned to Act,” about the performance technique pioneered by Konstantin Stanislavski, prominently taught in the United States by Stella Adler and Lee Strasberg, and utilized perhaps most famously by Marlon Brando, among the many boldface names who appear throughout Butler’s account.

. . . This was the first year the NBCC awarded the Gregg Barrios Book in Translation Prize, which is shared by an author and translator; the inaugural winner was “Grey Bees,” a novel by Ukrainian author Andrey Kurkov, translated by Boris Dralyuk.

I’m most keen on the Hoover biography; what a bizarre (and often odious) character he was, possessed of immense power for decades.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili must have had too much ‘nip (my photo!)

Hili: I had such a strange dream.
A: What about?
Hili: About appellate court for saints.
(Photo: JAC)
In Polish:
Hili: Dziwne rzeczy mi się śniły.
Ja: Jakie?
Hili: Sąd apelacyjny dla świętych.
(Zdjęcie: J.A.C.)

And a photo of Baby Kulka up in the trees:


From Jesus of the Day (note the text error):

From The Sarcasm Society via Stephen, food to share with someone you want to dominate:

. . . and from Stash Krod, a Gary Larson “Far Side” cartoon:

From Masih, the Morality Police don’t like dancing or music, or especially the absence of hijabs. The Google translation from Farsi:

Received video: “Hello, Christ, John I was dancing alone on the night of April 4th in the street of Rasht Municipality, when an intelligence agent (who is seen in the film in white clothes) came to record and kicked the poor old man who was playing music and threatened him to pack up. Face. At the same moment, he took out a wireless from his pocket and called the patrol to come there and said in front of me that there is a girl in a yellow dress and come and arrest her. I quickly ran away.

» Soon, the one who will dance and stay in the main squares of all the cities is us, and the one who will run away, this ISIS group who are enemies of dance and joy and afraid of all three words “#WomanLifeFreedom” #Mehsa Amini

From Luana, who says that to deter bike theft, they make bikes with a rod that sticks out when somebody who’s not the owner sits on it. The result:

From Barry, who says, “Nice haul! I wonder what it did with the money.”

From Simon, who can’t believe it. I can’t wait!

From Malcolm, the lynx in your cat:

From the Auschwitz Memorial, a woman who didn’t make it:

Tweets from Matthew, the first one showing ducks popping up:

All is well in DodoLand!. Watch to the end.

And Pepper, one of the three cats Matthew serves, getting in the way.

25 thoughts on “Sunday: Hili dialogue

    1. Pornographic? The size of his genitals -in ‘rest’- are expressly reduced, as in the Ancient Greek tradition. Did they look at his hand? These parents are sexually obsessed, or just nuts.

  1. On this day:
    1484 – William Caxton prints his translation of Aesop’s Fables.

    1636 – Utrecht University is founded in the Netherlands.

    1812 – A political cartoon in the Boston Gazette coins the term “gerrymander” to describe oddly shaped electoral districts designed to help incumbents win reelection.

    1830 – The Book of Mormon is published in Palmyra, New York.

    1934 – The United Kingdom driving test is introduced.

    1942 – World War II: The first female prisoners arrive at Auschwitz concentration camp in German-occupied Poland.

    1971 – East Pakistan declares its independence from Pakistan to form Bangladesh and the Bangladesh Liberation War begins.

    1975 – The Biological Weapons Convention comes into force.

    1979 – Anwar al-Sadat, Menachem Begin and Jimmy Carter sign the Egypt–Israel peace treaty in Washington, D.C.

    1982 – A groundbreaking ceremony for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is held in Washington, D.C.

    1997 – Thirty-nine bodies are found in the Heaven’s Gate mass suicides.

    2017 – Russia-wide anti-corruption protests in 99 cities. The Levada Center survey showed that 38% of surveyed Russians supported protests and that 67 percent held Putin personally responsible for high-level corruption.

    1516 – Conrad Gessner, Swiss botanist and zoologist (d. 1565).

    1859 – A. E. Housman, English poet and scholar (d. 1936).

    1874 – Robert Frost, American poet and playwright (d. 1963).

    1900 – Angela Maria Autsch, German nun, murdered in Auschwitz helping Jewish prisoners (d. 1941).

    1911 – Bernard Katz, German-English biophysicist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2003).

    1911 – Tennessee Williams, American playwright, and poet (d. 1983).

    1925 – Pierre Boulez, French pianist, composer, and conductor (d. 2016).

    1930 – Sandra Day O’Connor, American lawyer and jurist.

    1931 – Leonard Nimoy, American actor (d. 2015).

    1934 – Alan Arkin, American actor.

    1940 – Nancy Pelosi, American lawyer and politician, 52nd Speaker of the United States House of Representatives.

    1941 – Richard Dawkins, Kenyan-English ethologist, biologist, and academic.

    1943 – Bob Woodward, American journalist and author.

    1944 – Diana Ross, American singer-songwriter, producer, and actress.

    1948 – Steven Tyler, American singer-songwriter and actor.

    1962 – Richard Coles, English pianist, saxophonist, and priest. [A member of both Bronski Beat and the Communards, and a radio presenter; broadcast his last episode of BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Live yesterday morning.]

    1973 – Larry Page, American computer scientist and businessman, co-founder of Google.

    I’ve cheated the Duck of Death more times than anyone I know, and I’ll fight like a wildcat until they nail the lid of my pine box down on me: [Eddie Rickenbacker: Medal of Honor recipient, he was the most successful and most decorated United States flying ace of WWI. He was also a racing car driver.]

    1726 – John Vanbrugh, English playwright and architect, designed Blenheim Palace and Castle Howard (b. 1664).

    1797 – James Hutton, Scottish geologist and physician (b. 1726).

    1814 – Joseph-Ignace Guillotin, French physician and politician (b. 1738). [Proposed the use of a device to carry out death penalties as a less painful method of execution than existing methods. Although he did not invent the guillotine and opposed the death penalty, his name became an eponym for it.]

    1827 – Ludwig van Beethoven, German pianist and composer (b. 1770).

    1892 – Walt Whitman, American poet, essayist, and journalist (b. 1819).

    1923 – Sarah Bernhardt, French actress and screenwriter (b. 1844).

    1932 – Henry M. Leland, American machinist, inventor, engineer, automotive entrepreneur and founder of Cadillac and Lincoln (b. 1843).

    1959 – Raymond Chandler, American crime novelist and screenwriter (b. 1888).

    1973 – Noël Coward, English playwright, actor, and composer (b. 1899).

    2016 – Jim Harrison, American novelist, essayist, and poet (b. 1937).

  2. (Caveat: I have been away from the details of the K12 schools policy world for about twenty years but think that this is about at least 90% correct)

    Just a note that the Tallahassee school is what they call a “classical public charter school”. The key words here are charter and classical. Charter schools vary in definition state to state but generally, each charter has its own board of trustees which oversees the school (like hiring, evaluating, firing principal) in accordance with an agreement or “charter” signed off by the local school district’s board. They are called public because though they operate semi-autonomously from the public school district under a separate charter, they do receive public funds. When the charter idea was first raised in the 1980’s, I was serving on a local public school board and I (jim’s opinion!) saw them and their supporters as creating a fig leaf to grab for public funding of religious schools in Virginia, but once they got a toe-hold they have become much broader than that. Generally parents have to apply to a charter school and agree to the school’s rules if accepted.

    The other adjective is “classical”. Classical schools generally follow a curriculum and method that reflects what is often referred to a Greek/Roman classical western canon of liberal arts and humanities. Classical schools can be private, home-based, or charter.

    So the unhappy Tallahassee school parents had already made two choices: they chose this charter school (and its rules and curriculum) in which to enroll their child; they chose a classical curriculum. Also the principal had chosen to work in this unique school, where apparently contract protections are less than those in the regular public schools.

    1. Slate Magazine has an interview with the Board Chairman of the school that compelled the principal to resign. His response to questions seems incoherent at times, but he claims the firing was not due to the showing of the David statue. Apparently, this is the philosophy of the school: “Parents choose this school because they want a certain kind of education. We’re not gonna have courses from the College Board. We’re not gonna teach 1619 or CRT crap. I know they do all that up in Virginia. The rights of parents, that trumps the rights of kids. Teachers are the experts? Teachers have all the knowledge? Are you kidding me? I know lots of teachers that are very good, but to suggest they are the authorities, you’re on better drugs than me.” It’s just the kind of school DeSantis would love – one where what teachers can teach is decided ultimately by parents, even if it is just a distinct minority of parents.

      1. Welcome to charter schools! They can be excellent or dreadful and everything in between. Each is its own world. I did not mention it above, but in addition to trying to find a way to fund religious schools with public money, there was also a slice of parents who wanted their mostly racially segregated private schools some public dollars.

        In fairness to their board of trustees and its chair, i do not know that they are required to get any leadership and management training as almost all public school board members are and also wedo not know if there is a relationship between the resignation and the statue event…ergo hoc, propter hoc? Bottom line: thisis the isolated little world of this particular charter school and the parents who have chosen to send their children to it.

        1. Mea Culpa. I just read the charter application of this school to the Leon County FL school board and part of the boiler plate is that the charter board members must participate in governance training per Florida statute. My apologies to governance board members.

  3. IRT MTG, I am sincere in this request, my dear friends. Please tell me how we who endorse liberal democracy are to live with the looney Republicans and the MAGA cult members, who are no longer on the fringe but now have considerable political power. And please don’t say that we have to engage them in respectful conversation; it takes two to tango, and they don’t want to dance with us. In fact, they want to subdue and control us. This situation reminds me of the Blood Test Scene in John Carpenter’s movie, The Thing, wherein the uninfected humans are roped to the Thing in disguise. Except we are roped to the Thing undisguised.
    I’d link to the scene on YouTube, but it’s very chilling and gruesome.

    1. Marjorie Taylor Greene is a close associate of Republican Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy. Indeed, McCarthy won the speakership because Greene supported him. This sick relationship is indicative of the fact that the Republican Party is now the party of right-wing authoritarianism. I am comfortable in characterizing the Party as dominated by fascists, whose base is composed of fascist enablers. I use the expression “fascist enablers” to describe the base because these people (largely white, rural, religious and culturally conservative) probably have little or no idea what fascism means. Rather, they see the country as they perceive it once existed slipping away, being replaced by others that do no share their conception of the proper social order. Democracy is not important to them. A pluralistic society is only desirable to the extent that they dominate it. The excesses of the Woke serve to reinforce their fears. Although Trump and DeSantis attack each other, their promises are essentially the same: the return of the country to the social and cultural system of the 1950s or earlier, by any means necessary.

      Political “experts” have debated for decades, more vigorously since the emergence of Trump, as to whether the Republican base is motivated primarily by economic or cultural issues. Those that argue for economic issues point out that since the 1970s the wages of the white working class have been largely stagnant and that they blame the liberal elite (whom they consider globalists whose policies have hurt them) for this condition. Others point to the cultural and demographic changes that have taken place for the past half century or longer that have resulted in the Republican base now dominated by previous Democrats and the Democratic Party now composed largely of urban, minority, and college educated voters.

      Ron Brownstein is a political analyst for The Atlantic. His reporting has confirmed my bias in that he comes down squarely on the predominance of cultural issues. In a recent post, he concludes “how fully the concrete has settled beneath a modern political alignment that revolves more around culture than class.” If he and I are correct then we must acknowledge how perilous the times are. Economic differences can be settled by compromise. But, cultural values represent the deepest beliefs of people – what gives meaning to their lives. In other words, beliefs that people are willing to fight and die for.

      Source :

      1. I appreciate your well-considered reply. From your closing paragraph I take it that there is no escape from the Thing and so more violence and oppression are coming our way.😨

        1. Yes, we’re doomed. My only consolation (not!) is that I’m old enough so that I don’t expect to be around when the worst of it happens.

            1. StephenB, perhaps you’ve already read this essay on authoritarianism by Karen Stenner. If so, I apologize for this reply. If you haven’t read it, I think you might find it worth your time. At the end, she has a number of suggestions for bridging the gulf between those who believe in the value of liberal democracy and those desire a more homogeneous society.

              I think I originally was led to this essay by a link posted by Dr. Coyne.

              We’re not going to win over the most radical of those with authoritarian personalities, but Stenner’s essay gave me some hope that our democracy is not doomed.


              1. Braver Angels is also very committed to “bridging the gulf” between Red & Blue, starting with the premise that everyone must be able to really listen to and understand the concerns of someone from the “opposing” side first.

                IMO, better than our post presidential election behavior with each side thinking they can sweep the other side of a cliff and ignore them.

    2. “I’d link to the scene on YouTube, but it’s very chilling and gruesome.” I’m sceptical there, YouTube has a rigorous demonetising policy of censorship of anything even remotely gruesome. Even the word ‘kill’ is a nono there it appears. YouTube is thoroughly ‘sanitised’.

      1. But Nicolaas this scene is indeed on YT. Search for “the Thing blood test scene.” What YT seems to be widely demonetizing are videos mocking religion. Just ask Brian Dalton, Stephen Woodford, Alex O’Connor, and AronRa, among others.

  4. When Jeffrey Lax says that his organization has received tips from “incredible CUNY sources” I guess he means something like “wonderful”. But it is still a somewhat unfortunate word choice, since if there is one thing we like sources to be it would be “credible”.

  5. … one parent complained the material [Mic’s statute of David] was pornographic …

    Under the standard established by SCOTUS, a work is obscene only if “the average person, applying contemporary community standards”, would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest[.]”

    Does this one blue-nosed, uptight parent represent the contemporary standards of the Tallahassee community in question?

    1. It would be interesting if the principal tried to sue, but it sounds like from reading above comments that the contract is weak.

    2. Doesn’t need to, Ken. It is a charter school and its self-anointed/appointed board of trustees can pretty much make it up as they go along….as I understand it. Please let us know if you find otherwise. Hell, they may not even have to respect Tinker! But like I said above I have been out of the policy game for many years so have not seen any case law since charters became a reality.

      Btw, the charter application (contract) details for this school is available at

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