Friday: Hili dialogue

May 12, 2023 • 6:45 am

We’ve reached the end of the “work” week: it’s Friday, May 12, 2023, and National Nutty Fudge Day. I prefer my fudge sans nuts, as every nut takes up a space where fudge could be.

It’s also Limerick Day (the poem, not the city), National Odometer Day (my 2000 Honda Civic has only about 80K miles), International ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia Awareness Day, and International Nurses Day.

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the May 12 Wikipedia page.

Da Nooz:

*I didn’t watch Trump’s town-hall with CNN’s Kaitlin Collins the other night, as I had little interest, and, sure enough, watching these two clips before I posted them, I had that sick feeling in my stomach to see the man ranting again.

Here’s a CNN fact-check of Trump’s remarks:

Here he is lying his butt off about the classified documents found in his house. And the audience sounds like they’re on his side. Note his claim that he has the magical power to declassify documents by merely taking them.

Some people say that CNN shouldn’t have given Trump a platform. I don’t agree: people want to know how he’s reacting to current events.  It’s free speech, even if it’s odious and lying speech. It helps people see who they are voting for or against should he run again.

Here’s another clip in which he refuses to say which side he’s on in the Ukraine/Russia conflict but says that within one day of becoming President, he’d have that war over and done with.  I tell you, though, Kaitlin Collins has moxie! I haven’t seen many interviewers call out Trump like she does.

Here are the NYT’s “Five takeaways from Trump’s unruly CNN Town Hall”:

Trump won’t let go of his lies about 2020 or Jan. 6

The G.O.P. audience stacked the deck, but revealed where the base is

Republicans cheered, but so did Democrats looking to the general election

Trump aggressively dodged taking a stance on a federal abortion ban

He deepened his legal jeopardy with comments on investigations.

If he gets re-elected next year, I’ll have to go on big-time antianxiety drugs!

* The Title 42 regulation that severely curbed illegal immigration into the US, expired at midnight last night. The NYT describes the chaos at the border that already began before the regulation was lifted.

All along the nearly 2,000-mile border with Mexico, U.S. border agents, soldiers and local officials were striving to maintain order on Thursday as migrants waded across the Rio Grande, lined up at international bridges, filled federal immigration processing centers and huddled on the sidewalks of American border towns.

The tension was prompted by the imminent lifting of a Covid-era policy, known as Title 42, that for more than three years has allowed the government to swiftly expel many people who crossed the border before they could apply for asylum. The order was set to expire along with the national Covid health emergency at 11:59 p.m. Eastern time.

But pressure at the border has already been building in the days leading up to the end of Title 42, which has been used to turn back hundreds of thousands of people seeking to enter the United States since 2020. Many migrants said they were fearful that the situation could become even more chaotic and uncertain in the coming days.

In some places along the border barrier in Arizona and Texas, hundreds of people from a range of distant countries, including Peru, Brazil, Ghana and Thailand, waited in orderly lines to turn themselves in to Border Patrol agents and request asylum. Elsewhere, Texas National Guard troops laid out concertina wire and guarded it, preventing migrants from entering the country.

Over the past two days, more than 11,000 migrants a day have crossed the southern border illegally, according to internal agency data obtained by The New York Times. The Border Patrol is already over capacity by about 10,000 people at its holding facilities.

11,000 per day is a lot, and that’s only the illegal crossings, not to mention that in the near future the figure will be 13,000 per day. Even using the present rate, that means over four million per year if the rate keeps up. Really, it’s time for Congress to reach across the aisle and do something. Kamala, of course, hasn’t done squat, though this was her bailiwick touted when she was elected VP

*A related article tells how Biden’s quick fixes are supposed to work:”Who gets in? A guide to America’s chaotic border rules.” Here’s the NYT’s flowchart:

Humanitarian parole, limited to 30,000 people per month, applies only to citizens of Cuba, Haiti, Venezuela, and Nicaragua. Ukraine and Afghanistan may also be exceptions.

Asylum “appointments’ (#2 above) are limited to 1,000 per day, and require using a glitchy app, which means you need the Internet:

Migrants can use the app to make an appointment with border officials at a port of entry, who then can decide whether to allow them into the United States with a notice to appear in immigration court down the line.

It sounds relatively easy, except that the app has been glitchy, and the likelihood of getting an appointment has been compared to winning a lottery ticket.

Then there’s option #3: crossing illegally.

If migrants did that when Title 42 was in place, U.S. officials could send them back to Mexico within minutes, which will no longer be an option. Now, people who enter the country without proper documentation will either be put into formal deportation proceedings, which is a years-long, drawn-out process, or an expedited removal process that is intended to process and deport people much faster.

Families and children will mostly be put on the first, slower track, which means they will be given a date to appear before an immigration judge, but will be allowed to wait inside the country, living and working legally until their case is decided.

Most single adults will be turned away, but families will all be allowed in and enter the system.  The process could take years, and many immigrants disappear before their case comes up. This will, I think, be the most problematic part of the process given the huge time delays involved. Further, the Biden administration planned to release many families without court dates—a recipe for more disaster. But, according to the WaPo, a judge stopped that:

With Border Patrol stations and processing centers maxed out, officials authorized the release of migrants without court dates at locations where facilities exceeded 125 percent of their holding capacity or other thresholds were surpassed. But a federal judge stepped in late Thursday to block the release plan, granting a temporary restraining order sought by Florida’s attorney general

The ruling cuts off a potential pressure valve for the Biden administration after senior officials have repeatedly assured they are prepared for the strains and have a broader strategy that will reduce illegal crossings.

*And the WaPo describes Texas, as you’d expect, using “aggressive tactics,” going the extra mile to crack down on immigration.

As Texas leaders prepare for the end of the Title 42border policy — the pandemic-era public health rule that resulted in automatic expulsions for most migrants — Kinney County offers a lens into the more aggressive tactics some border sheriffs have adopted even before the expected surge in the weeks ahead. The Biden administration plans to lift the order Thursday, and already, growing numbers of migrants are arriving at the Southwest border.

“We can’t stop it,” said Maverick County Sheriff Tom Schmerber, who oversees a border community adjacent to Kinney County. “We really aren’t prepared for what’s coming.”

Kinney County officials were the first to declare a local “border crisis” emergency two years ago, allowing authorities to act with the same executive powers they often utilize after a major storm. Here, deputies act as a de facto U.S. Border Patrol extension, spending much of their time capturing migrants. Sheriff’s deputies have arrested nearly twice as many migrants in the past two years as there are residents in the remote ranching community.

The county has become the showpiece of Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s controversial border initiative, Operation Lone Star, which directs troopers to arrest migrant men and charge them with state crimes. Proponents say the $4 billion program is needed in the absence of a stronger federal response. In recent weeks, at least one other county sheriff’s office has joined the operation, bringing the total to nearly 50, roughly a fifth of all Texas counties. Some border sheriffs are preparing to devote more officers to detaining suspected smugglers and border crossers.

Local residents say this is going too far, and it looks like it. One could argue that this really is a state of emergency, or perhaps it’s an attempt at retribution against the Biden administration. But this is just one more reason that we need Congress to work together to pass sensible but humanitarian immigration reform.

*According to Wisconsin Public Radio, the University of Wisconsin system has just announced it will eliminate all required DEI statements for job applicants. That’s the good news. The bad news, which isn’t that bad, is that they did this under the threat from the GOP-controlled state legislature to cut university funding if the statements stayed. (They should have eliminated the statements because they involve viewpoint discrimination and compelled speech.) h/t David:

The University of Wisconsin will no longer require diversity, equity and inclusion statements from job applicants, UW System President Jay Rothman announced Thursday.

The move comes after Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has threatened to cut state funding to Wisconsin’s public universities. Specifically, Vos has criticized DEI programming at UW as an attempt to “indoctrinate” students with taxpayer dollars.

It’s common for universities to ask potential faculty to submit statements describing how they’ve used their work to further diversity, equity and inclusion. Rothman did not provide an estimate of how many UW positions have previously required such statements, but described the number as “limited.”

“We remain absolutely committed to the principles of DEI,” Rothman told reporters Thursday. “But when some people believe mandatory diversity statement in employment applications are political litmus tests, then we are not being inclusive.”

Sometimes applicants use such statements to discuss what they could offer as member of group that’s underrepresented in academia. Critics have charged that such statements are being used to pressure applicants into affirming liberal viewpoints.

But they don’t say whether such statements could be mentioned in job applications as an option (I doubt that would fly). Here’s the way UW will get around it:

UW officials have no plans to back budget cuts for positions or programming dedicated to DEI, Rothman told reporters Thursday. He also said the elimination of DEI statements would not preclude university officials from asking about the promotion of diversity and inclusion during job interviews. And, he said, that definition of diversity should be broad.

This kind of legislative sword of Damocles is underway in many states. I’d prefer that DEI statements be eliminated because they’re wrong and also illegal (nobody’s filed a lawsuit yet, and it would be hard to find a volunteer).

Legislation has been proposed in at least 20 states that would curtail such initiatives in some form, according to a tracker from the Chronicle of Higher of Education. That includes banning mandatory DEI statements, prohibiting DEI offices or staff and prohibiting institutions from considering race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin in admissions or employment.

It’s hard to believe that DEI offices will be closed. Although they’re the ones promoting such statements, they are well ensconced in many schools and they wouldn’t have any work to do if discrimination like that mentioned above were banned. We shall see how schools react to the Supreme Court’s upcoming banning of racial preferences in school admissions.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is keeping a weather eye on the weather:

Hili: It’s going to rain.
A: Why do you think so?
Hili: They said so on the radio.
In Polish:
Hili: Będzie padać.
Ja: Dlaczego tak sądzisz?
Hili: W radiu mówili.


A cat meme from Nicole:


From Ron, a New Yorker cartoon by William Haefeli:

From Jesus of the Day, an old one but still a good one:

Lagniappe from Malcolm:

From Masih: two minutes of her interview on the BBC:

I found this one from “Why you should have a duck”:

From Luana: Et tu, Smith?

From Simon, a Brit:

From Barry, who asks ,”How does one answer this?”

From the Auschwitz Memorial, a woman dead at 26 in the camp:

Tweets from Matthew. The first one, showing a crow loving being brushed, elicited this comment, “If it hasn’t been trained it’s amazing.” Indeed!

Sound up, and listen to the end:

23 thoughts on “Friday: Hili dialogue

  1. On this day:
    1364 – Jagiellonian University, the oldest university in Poland, is founded in Kraków.

    1510 – The Prince of Anhua rebellion begins when Zhu Zhifan kills all the officials invited to a banquet and declares his intent on ousting the powerful Ming dynasty eunuch Liu Jin during the reign of the Zhengde Emperor.

    1551 – National University of San Marcos, the oldest university in the Americas, is founded in Lima, Peru.

    1593 – London playwright Thomas Kyd is arrested and tortured by the Privy Council for libel.

    1846 – The Donner Party of pioneers departs Independence, Missouri for California, on what will become a year-long journey of hardship and cannibalism.

    1926 – The Italian-built airship Norge becomes the first vessel to fly over the North Pole.

    1926 – The 1926 United Kingdom general strike ends.

    1932 – Ten weeks after his abduction, Charles Jr., the infant son of Charles Lindbergh, is found dead near Hopewell, New Jersey, just a few miles from the Lindberghs’ home.

    1941 – Konrad Zuse presents the Z3, the world’s first working programmable, fully automatic computer, in Berlin.

    1949 – Cold War: The Soviet Union lifts its blockade of Berlin.

    1965 – The Soviet spacecraft Luna 5 crashes on the Moon.

    2002 – Former US President Jimmy Carter arrives in Cuba for a five-day visit with Fidel Castro, becoming the first President of the United States, in or out of office, to visit the island since the Cuban Revolution.

    2008 – An earthquake (measuring around 8.0 magnitude) occurs in Sichuan, China, killing over 69,000 people.

    2017 – The WannaCry ransomware attack impacts over 400,000 computers worldwide, targeting computers of the United Kingdom’s National Health Services and Telefónica computers.

    1812 – Edward Lear, English poet and illustrator (d. 1888).

    1820 – Florence Nightingale, Italian-English nurse, social reformer, and statistician (d. 1910).

    1828 – Dante Gabriel Rossetti, English poet and painter (d. 1882).

    1842 – Jules Massenet, French composer (d. 1912).

    1889 – Otto Frank, German-Swiss businessman and Holocaust survivor; father of diarist Anne Frank (d. 1980).

    1903 – Wilfrid Hyde-White, English actor (d. 1991). [His death was noted here on 6 May.]

    1907 – Katharine Hepburn, American actress (d. 2003).

    1910 – Dorothy Hodgkin, English biochemist, crystallographer, and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1994).

    1918 – Julius Rosenberg, American spy (d. 1953).

    1924 – Tony Hancock, English actor, producer, and screenwriter (d. 1968).

    1925 – Yogi Berra, American baseball player, coach, and manager (d. 2015).

    1928 – Burt Bacharach, American singer-songwriter, pianist, and producer (d. 2023).

    1937 – Beryl Burton, English cyclist (d. 1996).

    1937 – George Carlin, American comedian, actor, and author (d. 2008).

    1937 – Susan Hampshire, English actress.

    1942 – Ian Dury, English singer-songwriter (d. 2000).

    1948 – Steve Winwood, English singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist.

    1948 – Steve Winwood, English singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist.

    1980 – Rishi Sunak, English politician. [And current UK prime minister.]

    1981 – Rami Malek, American actor.

    2003 – Madeleine McCann, British missing person.

    There’s nothing certain in man’s life but this: That he must lose it:
    1700 – John Dryden, English poet, playwright, and critic (b. 1631).

    1967 – John Masefield, English poet and author (b. 1878).

    1970 – Nelly Sachs, German poet and playwright, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1891).

    1994 – John Smith, Scottish-English lawyer and politician, Labour Party leader, Leader of the Opposition (b. 1938).

    2001 – Perry Como, American singer and television host (b. 1912).

    1. 1942 – Ian Dury, English singer-songwriter (d. 2000).

      He packed a lot of you-know-what into those 58 years of living:

  2. Why should Biden wait on Congress to do something about the border? He’s completely ignored them in all the other areas he’s wanted something done. If he wanted a change, he just issue another proclamation.

    1. Despite your assertion, this issue is not being ignored. A friend of mine who works for Homeland Security said that it’s officially been approved where intake centers for asylum seekers are being opened up in many central and South American countries to help people to apply to legally immigrate. It’s going to take some time to get into process but should eventually begin to take some of the pressure off the border states. It’s also going to take cooperation between the parties to get more done. When it comes to the GQP, all I see are legislators like Ted Cruz taking performative photo jaunts to the borders but doing nothing to go help this situation. Convince me I’m wrong.

  3. No long term strategy for managing immigration will be possible without Congressional action – executive orders are temporary at best, subject to reversal by subsequent occupants of the White House. And, to quote from today’s “Letter from an American” by historian Heather Cox Richardson, “No such measure has passed, as Republicans refuse to accept any bill that allows for a path to citizenship, even for the Dreamers, and Democrats, who would like to expand immigration, refuse at the very least to agree to any bill without that provision in it.” Also, remember that the Senate passed such a measure back in 2013, but the House, in the hands of Speaker Boehner (who was my representative), refused to take it up. That was followed by one of his top assistants, Eric Cantor, being successfully primaried over the issue. Since then, the GOP has been, to put it mildly, uncompromising.

  4. The CNN Trump show has come under severe criticism not so much for having Trump speak on the network, but rather the network allowed the show to become nothing more than a Trump rally with the host unable or incompetent to challenge Trump’s incessant flow of lies. Also, the audience was stacked with Trump supporters that applauded his every falsehood. At the Atlantic, former Republican Tom Nichols puts it this way:
    To be clear, I am not taking issue with CNN offering Trump time on the network. Trump is far and away the front-runner for the GOP nomination. Neither CNN nor any other network can refuse to cover him; as I’ve said, it would be a disservice to let him spread his toxic slurry out of the public eye. But “covering” Trump does not mean packing an audience with supporters and then setting the resolutely misogynist Trump against a young female reporter in a situation that practically could have been designed by the Trump campaign itself.

    Indeed, Licht [Chris Licht, CNN Chairman] and his producers seemed determined to place Trump right in his comfort zone. Although Collins tried repeatedly to contradict Trump, Licht had to know—perhaps was even expecting—that Trump would simply steamroll her, as he did. (She also missed several opportunities—particularly on abortion—to stop Trump as he rocketed beyond the Van Allen belts, but I accept that correcting him is basically impossible.) Only once did she finally manage to get under his skin with repeated questioning, and in response, he pulled out his standard insult of calling her “nasty.”

    CNN’s hope that the show would boost ratings apparently has failed. Only around 3.1 million people watched. The pundits have speculated whether or not the show helped Trump. Some think it allowed Trump to solidify his support with his base. Some think that the low ratings indicate that Trump has now become tiresome to the American public as he repeats the same nonsense that most have heard a multitude times before. Others think that the show has once again revealed the sociopath that is. My guess is that the show changed few minds, but embarrassed CNN.

    1. I agree. It was altogether fitting and proper for CNN to give Donald Trump a public platform. But if that platform was to take the form of a townhall meeting, it should have been held before a fair cross-section of the American public, so that Trump would have had to have faced at least some challenging questions, not just before likely New Hampshire 2024 GOP presidential primary voters, almost all of whom began their questions by announcing that they had supported Trump in 2020.

      As a US citizen, I found the attendees’ audible reactions to Trump’s arrant lies (especially regarding the 2020 election’s having been rigged and the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection) and to Trump’s crude, truculent insults toward those he perceives as enemies, a national embarrassment.

      1. What do you expect from a proto fascist ? Trump’s equivocation
        on the Ukraine-Russia war shows that he admires Putin and wants
        Russia to win.

    2. I agree too. Sure, responsible media should cover Trump because he is a near certain presidential candidate. They should report on Trump’s activities having to do with his campaigning and on his various legal issues. They should invite him to be interviewed, just like other contenders, though we know that Trump would never accept such an invitation unless it was on his terms, like this so called Town Hall charade.

      But that’s not what CNN did here. They simply gave Trump a prime time slot to air his own show. They probably had to in order to get him to agree. It was merely a Trump rally, free of charge and with national coverage. CNN should be, and is, free to do things like this, but I think it was a bad call for several reasons.

      But I’m not sure this was a good thing for Trump either. Like Ken I found this shit-show to be a national embarrassment and I think it’s possible that some of those that could go either way when voting might have felt the same, based on what I’ve been hearing, and just as importantly, not hearing. I’m always pessimistic when it comes to claims that ‘X’ example of Trump’s low character will be the final straw that loses him significant support, but it does seem to me that his support has been on the wane over the past few months.

    3. Well said, Historian.

      I also found it laughable that CNN’s new Chairman, Licht (German for “light” gotta love the irony) was about the only person from CNN who thought the townhall was a great success. (It did get good ratings, but at what cost?) He’s obviously trying to take the network right-ward and I’m sure this stunt was to try and coax Fox viewers, who may be wary of Fox after the Dominion revelations, to change brands. Who knows if it will work. But normalizing Trump like this is a disgrace worthy of Fox or Newsmax. I never watch CNN, but I’ve heard a lot of people say they will stop watching the network because of this; maybe they’ll be replaced by Fox viewers.

      One thing hasn’t changed, from the wild laughter of this MAGA crowd, it is quite apparent that his supporters are still a basket of deplorables…

      1. Actually, the ratings weren’t that good. Less than Biden’s town hall attracted last year, apparently.

  5. Per the Boston Globe, CNN said they used a “traditional approach” to select the audience, which was composed of:

    ‘…Republican and undeclared voters “who say they plan to vote in the upcoming New Hampshire Republican primary.”
    The spokesperson declined to elaborate on what that “traditional approach” entails.
    Senior vice president Matt Dornic, who oversees strategic communications for CNN Worldwide, said in a series of tweets Thursday that the town hall attendees included people who had been invited by a variety of organizations and “curated” by the network.
    “The audience was curated by CNN through community groups, student politics and government, faith groups, agriculture and education orgs, as well as (Republican) groups,” Dornic wrote. “The school and campaign also invited guests.” ‘

  6. My cat doesn’t quite match that crow but comes close. She loves the brush on her head. She can be indifferent if her name is called, but if I’m sitting in a chair and hold up the brush so she can see it, she comes running and jumps in my lap. When the brush is brought near her, she will grab the brush with both arms and try to brush herself. She has sometimes pulled it out of my hand. Unfortunately, she doesn’t have the dexterity to brush herself well. If the brush is on the floor and she sees it, she will brush her head against it, scoot it in my direction and give me a meaningful look.

    Regarding Trump on CNN, I only caught a little bit where he was asked about apologizing to Pence. Of course he saw no reason to apologize to Pence and still claimed Pence made a mistake for not ignoring the electoral college vote. I couldn’t watch much more than that. It doesn’t really matter for me because about the only way I’d consider voting for him is if Cthulhu decided to run on the Democratic ticket. Then Trump might actually be the lesser evil. Barely.

  7. Since there were “house slaves” as well as “field slaves,” will Smith ban the word “house” next?

  8. Baseball is in deep trouble, and the MLB and other organizations should be taken to task for promulgating harm through the ubiquity of “ball fields”–which are steeped in segregationist ideology as is demonstrated by the separate but equal “left”, “center”, and “right” *fields*. And imagine the humiliation of the player who must stoop to *field* a ground ball all while the spectators whip the team into a frenzy. Never mind that a pitcher strives to join the ranks of those who have innings indelibley stamped: KKK. America’s past-time is really America’s-past time.

  9. The great crowds of would-be immigrants to the US at the southern border are certainly a paradox. In 2020, almost every US university administration ruefully confessed its systemic racism, its record of historic injustice, and its oppression of the minoritized. Yet millions of Latinx are desperate to become minoritized in the US, rather than beating at the doors of progressive venues like Nicaragua, Cuba, and Venezuela. In fact, the latter, under the utopian rule of the Unified Socialist Party, has created a flood of out-migration. The latest figures from the UN IOM show that about 6.1 million Venezuelans, 20% of the population, have fled from their utopia.

  10. I don’t think Harris is responsible for the border, per se. Her responsibility was to tackle the root of the problem, not the symptoms. That’s why she’s visited Nicaragua, Honduras and Mexico. Though, obviously, none of those visits did anything to assuage border crossings- indeed, they’ve increased. Harris was handed a Sisyphean task, so I can’t find it in me to blame her.

  11. Harris has performed her job admirably from Day 1 . . . as a form of impeachment insurance. Not even the stupidest of congressional Republicans would try to force Biden out of office. Okay, maybe the stupidest ones would try.

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