Friday: Hili dialogue

April 14, 2023 • 6:45 am

Greetings from Paris at the beginning of le week-end: Friday: April 14, 2023, and National Pecan Day (some of my southern friends pronounce the nut “PEE-cun”, with the accent on the first syllable).

It looks as we’ll have a truncated version of Hili until I return next Wednesday, as I am managing to sleep late, which gives little time to write much. On the other hand, I’m managing to sleep late!

You can look at significant events on this day by Googling the April 14 Wikipedia page.

Da Nooz

*The FBI has apprehended one of the people who leaked secret US government documents, most notably pertaining to Russia and Ukraine. That didn’t take long! An Air National Guardsman, and only 21 years old. How did he get his hands on those documents?

The F.B.I. arrested a 21-year-old member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard on Thursday in connection with the leak of dozens of highly classified documents containing an array of national security secrets, including the breadth of surveillance the United States is able to conduct on Russia.

Airman First Class Jack Douglas Teixeira was taken into custody to face charges of leaking classified documents after federal authorities said he had posted batches of sensitive intelligence to an online gaming chat group, called Thug Shaker Central.

As reporters from The New York Times gathered near the house on Thursday afternoon, about a half-dozen F.B.I. agents pushed into the home of Airman Teixeira’s mother in North Dighton, with a twin-engine government surveillance plane keeping watch overhead.

Some of the agents arrived heavily armed. Law enforcement officials learned before the search that Airman Teixeira was in possession of multiple weapons, according to a person familiar with the investigation, and the F.B.I. found guns at the house.

Not long after, cameras caught a handcuffed Airman Teixeira, wearing red shorts and boots, being led away from the home by two heavily armed men.

Teixeira is in big trouble for violating the Espionage Act, and yet we don’t know either how he got access to the documents or why he would post them. Surely there are others involved. The article continues:

Indeed, the disclosures were potentially damaging to all parties in the Ukraine war as well as future intelligence collection. While some officials, including President Biden, have downplayed the damage from the leak, it will take months to learn whether U.S. intelligence loses access to important methods of collection because of the disclosures.

The F.B.I. had been zeroing in on Airman Teixeira for several days, tracking its own investigative clues as well as some of the same information that The Times and The Washington Post had developed about the Discord group where he had shared the documents, officials said.

*Meanwhile, the Washington Post is reporting the contents of the documents, including this:

The war in Ukraine has gutted Russia’s clandestine spetsnaz forces and it will take Moscow years to rebuild them, according to classified U.S. assessments obtained by The Washington Post.

The finding, which has not been previously reported, is among a cache of sensitive materials leaked online through the messaging platform Discord. U.S. officials attributed their assessments to Russian commanders’ overreliance on the specialized units who have been put to use as part of front-line infantry formations that, like the Ukrainians, have suffered massive numbers of dead and wounded.

Typically, spetsnaz personnel are assigned the sorts of stealthy, high-risk missions — including an apparent order to capture Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky — for which they receive some of the Russian military’s most advanced training. But when Moscow launched its full-scale invasion last year, senior commanders eager to seize momentum and skeptical of their conventional fighters’ prowess deviated from the norm, ordering elite forces into direct combat, according to U.S. intelligence findings and independent analysts who have closely followed spetsnaz deployments.

The rapid depletion of Russia’s commando units, observers say, shifted the war’s dynamic from the outset, severely limiting Moscow’s ability to employ clandestine tactics in support of conventional combat operations. U.S. officials believe the staggering casualties these units have sustained will render them less effective not only in Ukraine but also in other parts of the world where Russian forces operate, according to the assessments, which range in date from late 2022 to earlier this year.

*The controversy over the abortion pill, banned by one federal judge and allowed by another, will now go to the Supreme Court, and only Ceiling Cat knows what will happen there. If the Court takes it upon itself to rule on the safety of drugs, we’re all lost.

The Justice Department will take an emergency dispute over medication abortion drugs to the Supreme Court, Attorney General Merrick Garland said Thursday.

Garland’s announcement comes after a federal appeals court overnight froze parts of a Texas judge’s order that would have suspended the US Food and Drug Administration’s approval of a medication abortion drug. But the US 5th Circuit Court of Appeals only partially granted the request by the Justice Department and the drug’s manufacturer to put US District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk’s ruling on hold, with the appellate panel effectively making the drug harder to obtain by leaving in place aspects of Kacsmaryk’s ruling that will reverse moves by the FDA that expanded access to medication abortion pills.

In the new statement, Garland indicated that the Justice Department will ask the Supreme Court to intervene now in the emergency dispute over how the FDA has approached the drug, mifepristone.

“The Justice Department strongly disagrees with the Fifth Circuit’s decision in Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA to deny in part our request for a stay pending appeal,” Garland said, referring to an appellate ruling that left parts of the judge’s ruling in place while reinstating the FDA’s approval for the drug, mifepristone.

He added, “We will be seeking emergency relief from the Supreme Court to defend the FDA’s scientific judgment and protect Americans’ access to safe and effective reproductive care.”

Danco Laboratories, a mifepristone manufacturer that intervened in the case to defend the drug’s approval, also plans to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court, a lawyer involved told CNN.

Still in place are restrictions to the drug for everyone, including cutting back its use to only seven weeks into pregnanacy, and a ban on obtaining the pill via telehealth calls, mail, or virtual visits to providers. You have to go to a doctor or hospital to get it, though it’s possible it can still be prescribed off label until ten weeks into pregnancy.

A tweet from CNN’s Supreme Court analyst:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili’s doing indigenous herbal medicine:

A: Why are you chewing these twigs?
Hili: I’m checking medicinal properties of their bark.
In Polish:
Ja: Dlaczego gryziesz te gałązki?
Hili: Sprawdzam lecznicze właściwości ich kory.

From Thomas:

From Nicole:

From Merilee:

From Masih, who is a conduit from the women of Iran.

Titania’s new column at The Critic:

From Simon, who says, “This truly has the makings of a decent sized scandal.” Have a gander:

 Another creationist loon, sent by Barry:

From Malcolm, who notes that these are only the observed losses:

From the Auschwitz Memorial. Mengele experimented on twins in gruesome ways and then killed them, so all four died.

Tweets from Professor Cobb. This is some costume; figure it out at the end:

This new paper has them domesticated in Mesopotamia around 10,000 years ago, something we already suspected given the finding on Cyprus. Their ancestor is the African wildcat, Felis sylvestrus lybica. Click the link to go to the paper.

What does a penguin think when it sees its first human?

31 thoughts on “Friday: Hili dialogue

  1. On this day:
    966 – Following his marriage to the Christian Doubravka of Bohemia, the pagan ruler of the Polans, Mieszko I, converts to Christianity, an event considered to be the founding of the Polish state.

    1561 – A celestial phenomenon is reported over Nuremberg, described as an aerial battle.

    1775 – The Society for the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage, the first abolition society in North America, is organized in Philadelphia by Benjamin Franklin and Benjamin Rush.

    1816 – Bussa, a slave in British-ruled Barbados, leads a slave rebellion, for which he is remembered as the country’s first national hero.

    1865 – U.S. President Abraham Lincoln is shot in Ford’s Theatre by John Wilkes Booth; Lincoln dies the following day.

    1881 – The Four Dead in Five Seconds Gunfight is fought in El Paso, Texas.

    1912 – The British passenger liner RMS Titanic hits an iceberg in the North Atlantic and begins to sink.

    1935 – The Black Sunday dust storm, considered one of the worst storms of the Dust Bowl, sweeps across the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles and neighboring areas.

    1958 – The Soviet satellite Sputnik 2 falls from orbit after a mission duration of 162 days. This was the first spacecraft to carry a living animal, a female dog named Laika, who likely lived only a few hours.

    1981 – STS-1: The first operational Space Shuttle, Columbia completes its first test flight.

    1986 – The heaviest hailstones ever recorded, each weighing 1 kilogram (2.2 lb), fall on the Gopalganj district of Bangladesh, killing 92.

    1999 – A severe hailstorm strikes Sydney, Australia causing A$2.3 billion in insured damages, the most costly natural disaster in Australian history.

    2003 – The Human Genome Project is completed with 99% of the human genome sequenced to an accuracy of 99.99%.

    2022 – Russian invasion of Ukraine: The Russian warship Moskva sinks.

    1827 – Augustus Pitt Rivers, English general, ethnologist, and archaeologist (d. 1900).

    1876 – Cecil Chubb, English barrister and one time owner of Stonehenge (d. 1934).

    1904 – John Gielgud, English actor, director, and producer (d. 2000).

    1912 – Robert Doisneau, French photographer and journalist (d. 1994).

    1924 – Shorty Rogers, American trumpet player and composer (d. 1994).

    1924 – Mary Warnock, Baroness Warnock, English philosopher, and academic (d. 2019).

    1925 – Rod Steiger, American soldier and actor (d. 2002).

    1929 – Gerry Anderson, English director, producer, and screenwriter (d. 2012).

    1932 – Loretta Lynn, American singer-songwriter and musician (d. 2022).

    1936 – Frank Serpico, American-Italian soldier, police officer and lecturer.

    1945 – Ritchie Blackmore, English guitarist and songwriter.

    1950 – Francis Collins, American physician and geneticist.

    1951 – Julian Lloyd Webber, English cellist, conductor, and educator.

    1957 – Mikhail Pletnev, Russian pianist, composer, and conductor.

    1958 – Peter Capaldi, Scottish actor.

    The Duck of Death doesn’t disappear… he catches up: [With apologies to Patrick Carman.]

    1759 – George Frideric Handel, German-English organist and composer (b. 1685).

    1916 – Gina Krog, Norwegian suffragist and women’s rights activist (b. 1847).

    1917 – L. L. Zamenhof, Polish physician and linguist, created Esperanto (b. 1859).

    1925 – John Singer Sargent, American painter (b. 1856).

    1935 – Emmy Noether, German-American mathematician and academic (b. 1882).

    1964 – Tatyana Afanasyeva, Russian-Dutch mathematician and theorist (b. 1876).

    1964 – Rachel Carson, American biologist and author (b. 1907).

    1986 – Simone de Beauvoir, French novelist and philosopher (b. 1908).

    1995 – Burl Ives, American actor, folk singer, and writer (b. 1909).

    1999 – Anthony Newley, English singer-songwriter and actor (b. 1931).

    2015 – Percy Sledge, American singer (b. 1940).

    2021 – Bernie Madoff, American mastermind of the world’s largest Ponzi scheme (b. 1938).

      1. Among his many other roles, Steiger also costarred as Marlon Brando’s brother “Charley” in Elia Kazan’s On the Waterfront, with its famous back-of-the-taxi-cab “One-way ticket to Palookaville/I coulda been a contender” scene.

      2. Whenever I see “Rod Steiger” I always think “Rod Serling”…I’ve had that brain glitch as long as I can remember. The Illustrated Man was a favorite growing up.

  2. Talkin’ Southern: PEE-can; IN-surance…always emphasize first syllable. And always drop the “g” at the end of a word…votin’, runnin’, and excellent to hear that you are sleepin’ in!

    1. ha! But I’d say it maybe more like “IN-shawnts”

      … and of course, you don’t sleep in a pecan. But we already knew that.

      1. Yes, thanks for the catch. Certainly in deep South and Tennessee mountains, as there are nuanced regional differences across the South and even across some states. I had a college classmate from Smyrna, GA who I could barely understand sometimes myself.

        1. I’m from East Tennessee, where we “warsh” clothes. In self-mockery they pronounce “suave and debonair” as
          “swaaaaaave and de-BONE-er.” I’ve noticed that Canadians and Virginians pronounce “out” and “about” the same way.

    2. I too would say PEE-can & suppose that common BE pronunciation.

      The cat article is interesting for the light it throws on human s & the spread of agriculture. I think there are still disputes over the Corsican wild cat, but it is probably introduced, as this map shows, from North Africa, only some give it a sub-species name.

  3. “… I’m managing to sleep late!”

    I’d call that Achievement Unlocked, right there, for PCC(E)! With the insomnia and struggles and all…

  4. That young airman posting batches of sensitive, highly classified information at Thug Shaker Central on Discord could prove disastrous on many fronts. In the coming months and even years we can now expect to see a sharp uptick of people confidently citing evidence obtained from Some Random Guy On the Internet.

    1. Even though a large majority of Floridians disagree with the six-week ban, even a strong majority of Republican voters. 75+% overall and 62+/- % of Republicans.

      1. An interesting aspect of the Florida situation is that, unlike the US constitution, the Florida state constitution actually has a provision, Article 1, section 23, expressly protecting Florida residents’ “right to privacy.” That section guarantees a Florida resident “the right to be let alone and free from governmental intrusion into the person’s private life[.]”

        This textual right to privacy in the Florida constitution has long been understood to protect a woman’s reproductive rights at least to the extent that the US constitution’s non-textual “right to privacy” did under cases such as Roe v. Wade (1973)and Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992). Florida’s new six-week abortion ban is certainly headed for review by the Florida Supreme Court under this provision.

        The Florida Supreme Court has seven justices. Currently, one of the seats is vacant. The six filled seats were all appointed by Republican governors — four of the six by Ron DeSantis himself. We’ll find out how many of these appointees have the integrity and independence to give force and effect to Article I, section 23 of the Florida constitution.

        1. Thanks Ken, that’s interesting. Same pattern as at the federal level. I sure hope we can get rid of DeSantis next election.

        2. Indeed, interesting… privacy… as with “personhood”, will we hear about “privacyhood” in the future? An amusing notion, perhsps…

      2. The GOP will be ruling from the minority in most states they control and any Federal branches they control for the foreseeable future. I don’t think this is sustainable, even in an easy-to-manipulate government like ours.

        1. +1

          I’ve said many times in the past 15 or so years that what we are seeing with the RP is akin to the reaction of an animal that realizes it is cornered and that it’s fight or die time. They’ve known since at least Bush Jr’s reign, I’m thinking specifically of that sweaty genius Karl Rove, that they were losing ground on voters and that the numbers were trending towards losing more as time went on. They’ve known for decades that they can’t win (majority control) fair elections and so they’ve worked very hard for many years to make sure that elections are unfair to their advantage.

          With one caveat I agree, it can’t last forever, and they know it. The caveat is that we have to not lose it all to them first. They’ve been able to get away with far too much for far too long and have conditioned a sizable minority to accept their false narratives and lies, and have conditioned yet more people to accept them at least enough to believe that both sides are just as bad. It’s possible that it’s too late for us to fix things.

          1. “It’s possible that it’s too late for us to fix things.”

            I think that will depend on the next couple of election cycles. If we don’t beat them at the ballot box, and beat them decisively, they’ll keep pushing their radical and unpopular agenda. Hell, even if they do get beat decisively, they’ll probably keep pushing their b.s., because at this point, they don’t have a platform to run on or a party to rally around- it’s just a cult of personality led by one deranged buffoon.

  5. From Simon, who says, “This [Harlan Crow’s purchase of three properties from Justice Thomas and his family] truly has the makings of a decent sized scandal.”

    The scandal, of course, is in Justice Thomas’s failure to disclose these real estate transactions in the financial disclosure forms he is required to file pursuant to 5 USC section 13104.

    Clarence Thomas (with the aid of his wingnut wife, Ginni) is rapidly becoming a sucking chest wound on the American body politic.

  6. As someone who lives in the Vancouver area, where 450square foot 1br apartments sell for a half a million dollars, the idea that you could buy three properties for under $150k is unrelatable!

    1. Two of the properties are empty lots in a part of town nobody has wanted to build in. The other property is the house where Thomas’s mother lives. Harlan Crow has agreed to fix the place up and to let her continue to live there.

      So, when you consider it in that light, it’s not really a lot of bang for Crow’s buck as far as real estate goes — though it’s tough to put a price on influence.

  7. Yes, thanks for the catch. Certainly in deep South and Tennessee mountains, as there are nuanced regional differences across the South and even across some states. I had a college classmate from Smyrna, GA who I could barely understand sometimes myself.

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