Friday: Hili dialogue

May 5, 2023 • 6:45 am

It’s Friday, May 5, 2023, and National Enchilada Day. Here’s a tasty photo from Wikipedia (I love all kinds of mole sauce):

(From Wikipedia: Enchiladas with mole, served with refried beans and Spanish rice)

It’s also International Space Day, International Tuba Day, Museum Lover’s Day (not erroneous apostrophe placement), No Pants Day, Oyster Day, National Cartoonists Day, World Portuguese Language Day (International), and, of course, Cinco de Mayo in Mexico and the U.S.T

There’s a Google Doodle today celebrating the life of Corky Lee (1947-2021), described by Wikipedia as “a Chinese-American activist, community organizer, photographer, journalist and the unofficial Asian American Photographer Laureate.” Click on the screenshot to read more; it’s up because it’s Asian Pacific Heritage Month.

The article adds this about Lee, who died young:

Lee died at Long Island Jewish Hospital in Forest Hills on January 27, 2021. He was 73, and developed complications of COVID-19 in the time leading up to his death.[6][9][19] It was likely that he had become ill from patrolling with neighborhood watch groups, protecting Chinatown from anti-Asian violence.

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the May 5 Wikipedia page.

Da Nooz:

*I can’t help but be happy about this,  as I think it’s justice properly rendered. Four members of the far-right fascistic gang The Proud Boys were convicted yesterday of an unusual crime—sedition (or “seditious conspiracy”—for their role in the January 6 insurrection. “Seditious conspiracy” is simply a conspiracy to damage or destroy the government.

Four members of the Proud Boys, including their former leader Enrique Tarrio, were convicted on Thursday of seditious conspiracy for plotting to keep President Donald J. Trump in power after his election defeat by leading a violent mob in attacking the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

The fifth defendant in the case, Dominic Pezzola, was found not guilty on the sedition charges, although he was convicted of other serious felonies.

The verdicts, coming after seven days of deliberations in Federal District Court in Washington, were a major blow against one of the country’s most notorious far-right groups and another milestone in the Justice Department’s vast investigation of the Capitol attack.

The trial was the last of three sedition cases that federal prosecutors brought against key figures in the Capitol attack.

The sedition charge, which is rarely used and harks back to the Union’s efforts to protect the federal government against secessionist rebels during the Civil War, was also used in two separate trials against nine members of another far-right group, the Oath Keepers militia. Six of those defendants — including Stewart Rhodes, the organization’s founder and leader — were convicted of sedition; each of the others was found guilty of different serious felonies.

They face a maximum of 50 years in prison for sedition alone, but the NYT notes that they were found guilty of other felonies as well. They’re going to be cooling their heels for a LONG time, although of course 50 years seems far too draconian a punishment, and I doubt they’ll be sentenced to even half that.

*According to the Torygraph, a transwoman won New Mexico’s biggest cycling competition  for women by a long stretch, taking home over $35,000

In what has been described as a “Lia Thomas moment” for cycling, Austin Killips, a 27-year-old transgender rider, has won first prize for women at the Tour of the Gila, the premier road race in New Mexico.

It marked the most significant result yet for Killips, a trans-identifying biological male from Chicago, who also won a medal in women’s cyclo-cross at the US National Championships and who is now tipped to challenge for a place at the Tour de France Femmes and at next summer’s Paris Olympics.

This year’s running of the Tour of the Gila marked the first time in the event’s 36-year history that equal prize money had been offered, with a total purse of $35,350 (£28,145) in both the men’s and women’s races. Killips, who only took up cycling in 2019 before starting hormone replacement therapy, earned almost £8,000 for finishing top of the women’s general classification, plus an £800 bonus as “Queen of the Mountains”.

“Austin is cycling’s equivalent of Lia Thomas,” Inga Thompson, a three-time US Olympian and five-time national road race champion, told Telegraph Sport. Thomas won a US women’s collegiate title in swimming last year, in the 200-yard freestyle, having been ranked 554th in the country in the equivalent male category.

Killips is a candidate to make the US Olympic women’s cycling team in Paris next summer, should the UCI, the global governing body, maintain its policy of allowing transgender riders to compete so long as they suppress their testosterone levels below 2.5 nanomoles per litre over a two-year period. The average testosterone level for women is between 0.5 and 2.4 nmol/l, while the British Journal of Sports Medicine has suggested that trans women are stronger and maintain better heart and lung capacity than women, even 14 years after taking hormone therapy.

Spiked adds this:

Killips, who only began cycling in 2019, smashed to victory, finishing 89 seconds clear of second-placed Marcela Prieto. He took home the $35,000 prize money and also won a bonus prize as he was named ‘Queen of the Mountains’. In the field of professional cycling, where the margins are usually incredibly tight, the distance between first and second place was seismic.

Killips was allowed to compete in the Tour of the Gila thanks to the world cycling governing body’s extraordinarily lax rules on trans athletes. The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) allows biological males to participate in female races, so long as their testosterone levels have been below 2.5 nanomoles per litre for a 24-month period. Believe it or not, these eligibility criteria were even looser prior to June last year, when a policy change halved the testosterone limit and doubled the observation period.

All I can say is that this is wrong, palpably unfair to women, and the UCI is in big trouble. Those who dismissed the issue of transwomen participating in women’s sports as “not worth talking about because it’s so rare” have another thing coming to them!

*From reader Ken:

The hits just keep coming for Clarence Thomas.

It turns out Thomas’s billionaire benefactor, Harlan Crow, paid the private school tuition of a relative Thomas “raised as a son” — and that, as with his other gifts from Crow, Thomas failed to disclose this on his mandatory federal financial disclosure forms:

SCOTUS needs to fix this situation, but fast. There’s a reason why Alexander Hamilton called the courts “the least dangerous branch” in The Federalist Papers (and why legal scholar Alexander Bickel adopted this phrase as the title for his famous treatise on the Supreme Court). The Court has no power to direct any armed forces or law enforcement agency to enforce its orders. Instead, it depends upon the goodwill and respect of the other two branches and, ultimately, upon the goodwill and respect of the American people — which is fading as fast as the picture of Ben Franklin on a cheap, counterfeit C-Note.
The judicial branch needs an inspector general to investigate malfeasance in its ranks, and congress needs to force a mandatory code of ethics down the throat of the hubris-filled snowflakes wearing the SCOTUS robes (who seem to think that the fault for their falling public public approval numbers lies not with them, but with the American public for failing adequately to appreciate them). Either that, or the Justice Department will have to commence criminal investigations.

*Elizabeth Holmes has temporarily delayed her 11-year prison sentence with a last minute appeal, but she also gave her daughter a name that suggests a lack of remorse for her blood-machine grifting. This is from yahoo! news via the Daily Beast; click to read:

Holmes gave birth to her second child with Evans only three months ago, and according to the Daily Mail, which is claiming to have acquired the child’s birth certificate, the would-be Silicon Valley scion christened the baby girl Invicta, which is a feminized take on the Latin word meaning “unconquered.”

“What’s the opposite of remorse? Yeah that,” Bijan Salehizadeh, an investor at Highland Capital Partners who passed on investing in Theranos in 2006 when Holmes couldn’t answer his questions, tweeted Tuesday. “Naming a kid after a poem that political and war prisoners often cite is precious. The demons of denial are raging. Minimum security prison camp with Jen Shah of RH sadly won’t fix that.”

If the Mail indeed isn’t bullshitting, for Holmes to have named her own daughter after her personal defiance in the face of her now-inevitable imprisonment is about as acute a display of narcissism as one’s ever likely to see.

The context of Invicta’s naming is especially chilling when you consider the fact that in January, prosecutors said they learned that Holmes had purchased a one-way ticket to Mexico, and that “only after the government raised this unauthorized flight with defense counsel was the trip canceled.” Yeah: heavily pregnant, she allegedly tried to flee.

By the way, nobody has explained to me why this purchase of a one-way ticket didn’t make the prosecutors put her in jail as a flight risk, and why she’s still free on appeal.

You probably have heard of the male version of the name, “Invictus“, a famous poem by William Ernest Henley. Here’s the whole thing:

Out of the night that covers me,   
  Black as the Pit from pole to pole,   
I thank whatever gods may be   
  For my unconquerable soul.   

In the fell clutch of circumstance 
  I have not winced nor cried aloud.   
Under the bludgeonings of chance   
  My head is bloody, but unbowed.   

Beyond this place of wrath and tears   
  Looms but the Horror of the shade, 
And yet the menace of the years   
  Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.   

It matters not how strait the gate,   
  How charged with punishments the scroll,   
I am the master of my fate:
  I am the captain of my soul.

*We still don’t know who sent two exploding drones over the Kremlin, but my money is now on Ukraine. Russia, however, thinks that Ukraine is doing this at the U.S.’s bequest:

The Kremlin spokesman on Thursday accused the United States of ordering what Moscow alleges was an assassination attempt on President Vladimir Putin with two drones that were sent to attack the Russian president’s official residence.

“We know very well that decisions about such actions, about such terrorist attacks, are made not in Kyiv, but in Washington, and Kyiv does what it is told,” Dmitry Peskov told reporters Thursday.

John Kirby, the spokesman for the U.S. National Security Council, said Peskov “is just lying.”

Kirby said that it was still not clear to Washington what had happened, but he bluntly rebutted Peskov’s claim. “I can assure you that there was no involvement by the United States in this, whatever it was,” he said during an appearance on MSNBC. “We had nothing to do with this. Peskov is just lying there, pure and simple.”

Ukrainian officials have denied any role in the alleged attack. Some suggest Russia staged it to create a pretext for escalating its war.

Peskov called the U.S. and Ukrainiandenials “absolutely ridiculous.”

. . . and a tidbit from the Guardian:

Russian forces in Ukraine are so degraded they cannot mount any significant offensive moves and are focused for now on consolidating control of occupied territory, the US intelligence chief said. Avril Haines said Putin’s strategy is likely to be to prolong the conflict until western support for Kyiv wanes.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is on the hunt, while Paulina’s hunting with her camera:

Paulina: What are you thinking about?
Hili: About the probability that this bird sees poorly, hears poorly and flies poorly.
(Photo: Paulina)
In Polish:
Paulina: Nad czym myślisz?
Hili: Nad prawdopodobieństwem, że ten ptak źle widzi, źle słyszy i źle fruwa.
(Zdjęcie: Paulina)

Paulina’s picture of Szaron:


From Facebook. What is this bird guide?

From Nicole:

From David:

From Masih. The well of brave Iranian women never runs dry:

I wish I had Emma’s snarkiness. Here she goes after a notorious signaler of virtue:

A cat mastermind from Malcolm. Notice that the d*gs can’t open the door, and merely parasitize the cat’s ability:

From gravelinspector. See the paper: the woman’s DNA (yes, the wearer was a woman) soaked into this elk-tooth pendant to the extent that they could tell a lot about her:

From Barry. It’s amazing that this woman can keep her cool when a tiger’s playing with her (sound up):


From the Auschwitz Memorial:

Tweets from Professor Cobb. First, a copycat (I’ve probably posted this before):

Here’s a swarm of bees (a migrating colony) that’s resting on an airplane wing!

. . . And what happened to the bees (they were okay). There’s more in the thread about the delays endured by the passengers. If you enlarge the second video, you can see the bees leave.

34 thoughts on “Friday: Hili dialogue

  1. On this day::
    1260 – Kublai Khan becomes ruler of the Mongol Empire.

    1494 – On his second voyage to the New World, Christopher Columbus sights Jamaica, landing at Discovery Bay and declares Jamaica the property of the Spanish crown.

    1609 – Daimyō (Lord) Shimazu Tadatsune of the Satsuma Domain in southern Kyūshū, Japan, completes his successful invasion of the Ryūkyū Kingdom in Okinawa. [But colonialism is only an evil white oppressor thing, so that’s OK…]

    1809 – Mary Kies becomes the first woman awarded a U.S. patent, for a technique of weaving straw with silk and thread.

    1821 – Emperor Napoleon dies in exile on the island of Saint Helena in the South Atlantic Ocean.

    1821 – The first edition of The Manchester Guardian, now The Guardian, is published.

    1835 – The first railway in continental Europe opens between Brussels and Mechelen.

    1886 – Workers marching for the Eight-hour day in Milwaukee, Wisconsin were shot at by Wisconsin National Guardsmen in what became known as the Bay View Massacre.

    1891 – The Music Hall in New York City (later known as Carnegie Hall) has its grand opening and first public performance, with Tchaikovsky as the guest conductor.

    1955 – The General Treaty, by which France, Britain and the United States recognize the sovereignty of West Germany, comes into effect.

    1961 – Project Mercury: Alan Shepard becomes the first American to travel into outer space, on a sub-orbital flight.

    1980 – Operation Nimrod: The British Special Air Service storms the Iranian embassy in London after a six-day siege.

    1981 – Bobby Sands dies in the Long Kesh prison hospital after 66 days of hunger-striking, aged 27.

    1818 – Karl Marx, German philosopher, sociologist, and journalist (d. 1883).

    1864 – Nellie Bly, American journalist and author (d. 1922).

    1882 – Sylvia Pankhurst, English women’s suffrage movement leader and socialist activist (d. 1960).

    1898 – Blind Willie McTell, American Piedmont blues singer and guitar player (d. 1959).

    1942 – Tammy Wynette, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 1998).

    1943 – Michael Palin, English actor and screenwriter.

    1948 – Bill Ward, English drummer and songwriter.

    1957 – Richard E. Grant, Swazi-English actor, director, and screenwriter.

    1981 – Craig David, English singer-songwriter, musician and producer.

    When life is woe, And hope is dumb,.The World says, “Go!” The Grave says, “Come!”:
    1821 – Napoleon, French general and emperor (b. 1769).

    1981 – Bobby Sands, PIRA volunteer and hunger striker (b. 1954).

    2008 – Jerry Wallace, American singer and guitarist (b. 1928).

  2. If Trump is elected in 2024, the first thing he will do upon taking office is to pardon all the January 6th insurrectionists. His thirst for revenge against all his perceived enemies will be unquenchable.

    1. Given Ron DeSantis’s transparent strategy of staying to the right of Trump on all culture-war issues, I wouldn’t be surprised if (in his effort to siphon off some of Trump’s hardcore MAGA support) DeSantis matches Trump’s promise to pardon all the J6 federal convicts — and, possibly, to go even further (perhaps by erecting a monument to them, similar to the one placed at the Feldherrnhalle to honor the participants in the Beer Hall Putsch).

      1. He might promise to sprinkle some throughout his cabinet and staff and nominate one or two to the Supreme Court if the opportunity arises.

      2. Yeah, and outfitting them in black uniforms and appointing them
        as his personal body guards.

  3. Walls closing in on Thomas? I doubt it. The Dems are desperate to control the Court, and really dislike successful, conservative black men. Nowadays their first reports are invariably slanted and inaccurate.

    1. “The Dems are desperate to control the Court…”

      I’m glad I wasn’t drinking coffee or I would have drenched the keyboard. Have you ever heard of the Republican Mitch McConnell? I guess not…

    1. Considering the discussions here that sex is clearly binary, the fact is that male-to-female transgender folks remain males re sex, with attendant physical attributes.

    2. Great news. The stories Jerry cited made the main points.
      1). Mr. Killips won despite having a testosterone level < 2.5 for 24 months, according to the rules. No surprise, really. This is just another data point.
      And note that he wasn’t taking “hormone replacement therapy.” HRT is what some women take when their ovaries stop working. Mr. Killips’s testes did not fail to produce the estrogen that G*d intended him to make to match his gender. Rather he is taking hormone manipulation therapy. Doping, if you like.
      2) Road-event cycling requires long periods of variable but often modest (for highly trained athletes) aerobic exercise and then an explosive mass sprint in the last 200 – 1000 metres. Competitors collaborate in the peloton for mutual aerodynamic advantage which at pro speed is substantial. If two or three riders break away off the front, they are almost always caught by the peloton who can, when it wants to, maintain a higher average speed than a couple of tiring leaders riding their hearts out. Except in long mountain stages in in the European classics, drafting is a fundamental skill and tactic that makes winning margins so close even after thousands of kilometres of racing.

      Unless one rider is racing in the wrong league. Then it’s just an individual time trial for him. He gets out in front and stays there the whole race.

      Professional cycling has an image-credibility problem to begin with. The UCI has to fix this. No men in women’s races. And to avoid medicalizing sport with doctors’ certificates about pubic hair growth, the prohibition should apply to everyone born male.

  4. Speaking of bad ideas, how about this one?

    The link to the article about the man convicted of raping a seven-year-old child being sent to a women’s prison after changing his pronouns is to an item in The Gateway Pundit, a far-right-wing website notorious for reporting fake news and fringe conspiracy theories (and owned and edited by the man widely regarded as “the stupidest man on the internet,” Jim Hoft). If you read the piece, all it says is that “[u]nder current Bureau of Prisons guidelines, Perry would be able to request housing on the basis of his self-declared gender identity.” (emphasis added) (The speculation in the piece appears to be based on little more than the US Justice Department’s press release originally announcing the defendant’s conviction in this case was later amended with a footnote stating that “The defendant, Robert Perry II, now identifies as she/her.”)

    After a defendant is convicted in federal court, the defendant’s “paperwork” — the Pre-Sentence Investigation Report, the Judgment and Commitment Order, and other relevant documents — is forwarded by the court to the office of a regional designator for the Federal Bureau of Prisons to determine where the offender should be permanently incarcerated. This process can take 90 days or more to complete. I can find no reliable report that the offender at issue here — Robert William Perry — has in fact yet been permanently designated by the BoP, let alone that this offender has been designated to a women’s federal correctional facility. As of a few minutes ago, the Federal Bureau of Prisons official inmate locator reflects no permanent designation for Perry.

  5. Obviously the tiger is playing …

    That’s what Siegfried & Roy no doubt originally thought, too.

    1. Yes, I fear that woman may well end up getting killed or seriously injured if she carries on playing with tigers like that. Then the tiger will probably be shot. Tigers are wild animals not playthings for humans.

  6. > Those who dismissed the issue of transwomen participating in women’s sports as “not worth talking about because it’s so rare” have another thing coming to them!

    The thing is, there only needs to be one in a given sport category to negate a potential winning for all participating women.

    1. Yes, exactly. That one guy will win every event he competes in. Killips thinks he’s on his way to the Tour de France (Femmes).

      The activists claimed that men competing as women would be mostly buried in mid-field just because they were mediocre men, given that there was “no evidence” that men are stronger than women. Ha.

      1. “Killips thinks he’s on his way to the Tour de France (Femmes)”

        Not this year, anyway. It’s been cancelled due to lack of sponsorship.

    2. Yup. Transwomen can do themselves a huge PR improvement by abstaining from women’s sports. Just turn down the selfish-knob and either compete with cis men or gracefully bow out of competitions. No rational person thinks this stuff is fair, most see it as what it is: absurd.

      1. It will take more than grace, Mark, although yes voluntary abstention would build a lot of good will. Right now, all known trans people competing acknowledge themselves to be trans. We don’t ask them to prove it. But unless the movement abandons its claim that transwomen are women, then nothing stops non-compliers from registering as women without telling anyone. To what extent will women’s sport have to insist on satisfactory evidence that all competitors are female so it can confidently exclude all males? You have to be very careful telling a suspicious-looking athlete, “You don’t look like a woman. Step over behind this curtain so the doctor can examine you.”

        At the elite level, genetic testing is feasible. Athletes with Y chromosomes [Edit: or an SRY gene if you like] are allowed to compete if they meet certain criteria, which Mr. Killips shows are easy for transwomen to meet and still win. If transwomen are banned (as women) from competition altogether as seems likely—and they already are in some sports—that will be a more contentious matter. But a ban will have to be imposed, with testing of all for compliance, just as for doping. Humans cheat.

  7. Professor Coyne is clearly able to respect the humanity of trans people while maintaining a well-argued position against transwomens’ participation in women’s sports.

    It’s a shame that so many of the commenters on his website cannot do the same.

    1. I don’t see any disrespect here for transwomen as humans. Some contempt for some aspects of the behaviour of some transwomen, yes. I think people like Lia Thomas deserve scorn for their actions, not for their identities.

    2. I also don’t think that anyone here has shown disrespect for transexuals. I can speak for myself and say that I do want to live in a free, just, caring and loving society to all and by all. For this to happen, I believe that some checks and balances must be implemented in order to the rights of one group do not bypass the rights of other groups. It can’t just be a free for all world, that doesn’t work.

      All this to say that, while there is no scientific proof or threshold that puts transwomen at par with women in sports, they just shouldn’t be allowed to compete in the same category. For example, for what I understood from this piece, Killips only began cycling in 2019 while I can imagine that many women that also participated in the same competition have trained almost their lives. Still, Killips won. As someone said before, humans cheat. This is a critique to a few, nothing to do with the group.

    3. I would like to hear Dean say what on this website he believes doesn’t respect the humanity of people who say they are trans gendered.

    4. Admittedly, I don’t read every WEIT post dealing with woke/trans issues since I pretty much know what’s going on, where I stand on the issue(s), and I manage my online reading time; it goes without saying I usually don’t read comments on posts I haven’t read. But Hili’s D. is a quotidian delight in which I read every post and comment. When I read Dean’s comment in the morning, I was really scratching my head, but again, didn’t think I had the cred to question his assumption since I don’t read all the related posts. I’m heartened to see other readers are also puzzled by this comment. I’ve rarely (never?) read people here disparaging the humanity or not showing due respect for the trans community. That’s why I read WEIT…no drama!

    5. Could you please link to some of the quotes that, you say, disparage the humanity of trans people. There must be a lot of them because you say “so many of the commenters.”

      Please give us, say, half a dozen links to quotes that do this. I do not tolerate disrespect toward the humanity of trans people.

    6. In hindsight my comment was inflammatory. I’d say it was a rhetorical exaggeration, but that wasn’t my headspace when I wrote it. I didn’t mean to unfairly impugn anyone here and I apologize to our host for doing so.

      That said, there are commenters who regularly refer to trans people by pre-transition pronouns, and I do think it’s a hallmark of basic human respect to accept their gender identification. As PCC demonstrates, you can do that and still argue vociferously in support of biological-women-only spaces and sports.

      I have no idea what it is like to feel gender dysphoria, and neither do most (all?) of the regular readers here. In absence of knowing that feeling, you can choose to dismiss it as some kind of mental illness or you can choose to show some empathy and give people some credit for knowing themselves, especially fully grown adults like Austin Killips. (I still don’t think she should be allowed to compete against biological women.)

      1. Gender dysphoria is a mental illness, Dean. It’s in the DSM-V TR. That’s not dismissing it. Not all trans identifiers have gender dysphoria.

        Other than that factual correction, I’m in listening mode.

  8. Maybe that bird book with the omnipresent Canada goose is something from Bill Oddie. He wrote a popular comedy bird field guide book in the 1990s as I recall.

  9. About the Twitter pic of Jesus painting and cat billboard, the contributor, Prof. Francesca Stavrakopoulou, has a book out that
    Jerry and readers might be interested in “God: An Anatomy”. Deep scholarship, lots of pics and very readable.

  10. Not the least funny thing about that bird book is that it indicates that “goose” is two syllables.

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