Sunday: Hili dialogue

May 14, 2023 • 6:45 am

It’s Sunday, May 14, 2023, National Buttermilk Biscuit Day. If you haven’t had this Southern U.S. delicacy, make some (they’re not hard). Here’s a plate from America’s Biscuit Mecca: the Loveless Motel and Cafe outside of Nashville, Tennessee. I asked to be taken there as my honorarium for giving a talk a Vanderbilt in 2012. The preserves are homemade. The difficulty is not to fill up on biscuits before your eggs, grits, and country ham arrive.

The rest of the meal: fried country ham, fried eggs, and grits.  That’s red-eye gravy on the side. There is no finer breakfast in America, or perhaps the world:

It’s also International Dylan Thomas Day (his play Under Milk Wood was first read on this day in 1953), International Migratory Bird Day, National Train Day, Sun Awareness Day, World Belly Dance Day, Hastings Banda’s Birthday in Malawi, and National Unification Day in Liberia.

Most important, it’s it’s also Mother’s Day, so, if your mom is still with us, celebrate her! Google did with a special doodle with ten animal-themed pictures of moms. Click screenshot below to start looking at them.

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the May 14 Wikipedia page.

Da Nooz:

*I guess Peggy Noonan has come a ways since the days she was a prominent conservative, working as a speechwriter for Ronald Reagan and stumping for W in his election bid. I now learn that she won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary, and, in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, she eviscerates both Donald Trump and CNN for giving him a platform.

Well, that was a disaster, a politically historic one. It situated Donald Trump as the central figure of the 2024 presidential cycle, certainly more compelling than the incumbent or the other competitors. It will have an impact on the campaign’s trajectory.

When it was over I thought, of CNN: Once again they’ve made Trump real.

It was one of those events in which you understood within 45 seconds what you were seeing. He was greeted by a standing ovation. The audience didn’t surprise itself by doing this; it knew how it felt.

From that moment Mr. Trump dominated.

He was focused, high-energy, looked capable in his insane way. Tanned, rested and ready. Actually he looked pretty much as he did in 2016; on Wednesday night at least, age hadn’t taken the round side of its ball-peen hammer to him.

He steamrolled the moderator, talking over her, dismissing her, as they stood together, as nasty. He spoke with what seemed like conviction, backed down on nothing, made things up.

It was salutary in that it was a reminder of Donald Trump’s power. But it was all misconceived.

. . . I don’t suppose we’ll ever know, but one got the impression the network agreed to a lot of conditions to get the get. He was addressed as “Mr. President” throughout when, considering the circumstances and after Jan. 6, Mr. Trump would have been just fine. He gave no sign he saw the moderator as formidable. As for the audience, a local New Hampshire official seemed to sigh in a text: “I assume that was part of the deal.”

. . . Ramesh Ponnuru in the Washington Post offered the kind of questions he wished had been asked: Why have so many high-level officials of your own administration, including an attorney general, national security adviser, defense secretary and two communications directors, turned against you? Are you bad at hiring people? With Republicans holding both the House and Senate in the first two years of your presidency, why didn’t you get funding for the border wall? Were you rolled by Speaker Paul Ryan, or did you just drop the ball?

. . . To a Republican who might vote for him, who’d consider it but isn’t committed, Mr. Trump likely came across Thursday night as on point, committed and informed, though a little wild around the edges, and maybe not totally trustworthy. But I imagine a lot of wavering Republicans might be thinking to themselves: inflation, crime, interest rates, senility, we’re slipping, Joe Biden went too far left . . .

This doesn’t sound like a Republican writing!

*One would think that the chaos at the border, as Title 42 was lifted, would spur on efforts in Congress to reform immigration. But one would be wrong. According to the NYT, the rush to the border has only widened the difference between the two parties.

 A crush of asylum claims at the U.S.-Mexico border is complicating an already intractable immigration debate on Capitol Hill, pulling the two parties further apart and threatening to undermine what some lawmakers have viewed as the best hope in a decade for Congress to forge a comprehensive immigration deal.

For decades, bipartisan discussions on such a compromise focused on pairing beefed-up border security with a pathway to legalization for undocumented immigrants and expanded legal pathways to entry. But in recent years, an explosion in the number of migrants asking for asylum — a protected status for those fearing persecution in their home country — has scrambled the equation, exposing deep political and moral divisions.

The shift helps explain why talks on Capitol Hill to find a consensus on a comprehensive immigration overhaul have sputtered, despite lawmakers’ hope that the expiration this week of Title 42 — a pandemic-era policy that had let authorities swiftly expel migrants — would force Congress to act.

But why? It’s because the landscape has changed, and now divisions have widened because Democrats want more open border for those seeking economic advantage, and Republicans want to hold on to the old rules, but even tighten them, making immigrants seeking genuine asylum wait outside the U.S.:

Asylum claims were intended to be reserved for people fearing persecution on the basis of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a social group to seek protection on U.S. soil. But in recent years, they have increasingly become a go-to tactic for migrants with no other options to enter the United States, and who know it could take years before their cases are heard and — if unfounded — rejected.

In recent months, Republicans and Democrats have embraced radically different positions on how to address abuses of the asylum system.

Republicans have proposed steps to restrict access across the board, pushing legislation through the House this week that would require migrants claiming a credible fear of persecution to wait outside the United States for their cases to be heard in court. They only narrowly stopped short of approving language that would have shut down the asylum system if the United States ran out of detention beds.

Democrats have largely gone in the other direction, embracing a right to seek asylum protections as intrinsic to the character of the United States and calling for expanding other pathways to legal immigration to alleviate the strain.

*Chonkasaurus! The discovery in the Chicago River of a HUGE snapping turtle, now dubbed “Chonkasaurus” or “Chonk” for short, is the talk of Chicago.

The enormous snapping turtle has made national headlines in recent days after Joey Santore and Al Scorch, two longtime friends from La Grange and Portage Park, respectively, shared video of him through their social media and YouTube project, “Crime Pays But Botany Doesn’t.”

The duo document natural areas and animals in and around Chicago, humorously narrating their videos with heavy Chicago accents. But their video of Chonk, which they released Sunday, has made big waves — not unlike the turtle himself.

“Look at the size of that thing! Oh my God, it’s a massive turtle,” Santore says in the video, which has racked up more than 68,000 views on YouTube and more than 590,000 views on Twitter.

The duo dubbed the snapper Chonkosaurus, but Chicagoans have quickly shortened that to Chonk.

The video pans to show the enormous snapper sitting in the Chicago River near Division Street in Goose Island as the two friends narrate.

“Look at that beast! Hey, how ya doin’, guy? Ya look good,” one says. The two continue to joke about the snapper’s size, saying, “You look good! I’m real proud of ya. You been eatin’ healthy. … We should take him out to eat.”

The spotting and viral video weren’t planned: Santore and Scorch were simply kayaking and observing invasive plants along a retention wall on a recent warm day.

“We had no intention of necessarily filming,” Santore said. “I just kind of do it on the fly whenever it feels like it’s appropriate or when it could be fun.”

But then they came across the oversized snapping turtle perched on a pile of rusty chains and rotted pylons, Santore said.

The longtime friends were floored by the sight.

“Look at the size of this f—ing thing thing. Holy hell,” they say in the video.


*I didn’t know that Ukrainian President Zelensky had a peace plan, but he presented it to the Pope yesterday, seeking his approval. I don’t know if Zelensky is religious (I doubt it), but you have to pay fealty to the pontiff to get credibility:

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had private talks with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Saturday, later saying he sought support for his peace plan from the pontiff, who in the past has offered to try to help end the full-scale war launched by Russia a year ago.

Zelenskyy held his hand over his heart and said it was a “great honor” to meet with the pope. Francis, using a cane for his knee problem, came to greet the Ukrainian president before ushering him into a papal studio near the Vatican’s audience hall.

In a tweet after the 40-minute audience, Zelenskyy expressed gratitude to Francis for “his personal attention to the tragedy of millions of Ukrainians.” He said he spoke with the pontiff “about the tens of thousands of deported (Ukrainian) children. We must make every effort to return them home.”

and this,, apparently is the peace plan:

Zelenskyy’s 10-point plan would establish a special tribunal to prosecute Russian war crimes. It would also create a European-Atlantic security architecture with guarantees for Ukraine, restore Ukraine’s damaged power infrastructure and ensure safety around Europe’s largest nuclear power plant at Zaporizhzhia.

Earlier in the day, Zelenskyy received from Italian officials pledges of open-ended military and financial support as well as stronger backing for Ukraine’s cherished aim to join the European Union.

“The message is clear and simple,” Premier Giorgia Meloni said after a meeting with Zelenskyy that lasted more than an hour. “The future of Ukraine is a future of peace and freedom. And it’s the future of Europe, a future of peace and freedom, for which there are no other possible solutions.″

Well, all well and good, but it’s ludicrous to think that Russia would agree to a plan that would allow Putin, his cronies, and some of his generals to face a “human rights tribunal”!

*Finally, Ginger K. reminds us that May 15 (TOMORROW) is the deadline for submitting your comments on House Bill HR 734 (bill here), the “Protection of Girls in Women and Sports Act of 2023 (there’s a companion bill s613 pending in the Senate). You can go to this page to bust the chops of your Representative (if they’re a Democrat, as NONE of them voted for it), or write to your Senator about it. However, realize that this is going to be a straight party-line vote in both Houses because of this provision, which is sensible:

“(d)(1) It shall be a violation of subsection (a) for a recipient of Federal funds who operates, sponsors, or facilitates athletic programs or activities to permit a person whose sex is male to participate in an athletic program or activity that is designated for women or girls.

“(2) For purposes of this subsection, sex shall be recognized based solely on a person’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth.”.

Apparently, Democrats favor the demise of women’s sports. Of course I dislike finding myself in bed with Republicans, but that’s what you’ll have to do if you don’t want transwomen taking over women’s sports teams.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili, the editor of Listy, is letting his lackeys do the work.

Hili: I’m looking and I’m impressed.
A: What impressed you?
Hili: That you are still in there going on with it.
In Polish:
Hili: Patrzę i podziwiam.
Ja: Co podziwiasz?
Hili: Że wam się chce.


From Pyers, what really happened during the coronation:

From Nicole:

From Jesus of the Day (I presume that the cats will be raptured):

From Masih: an Iranian woman banned from college for being photographed without a hijab. The Guardian has a story about Sepideh Rashno, her likely torture, and her coercion to apologize on television.

From Malcolm: a cat goes after its tail. (Do they know that the tail is part of their body?)

From Larry the Cat via Simon. Somebody’s feet smell weird!

From Luana. Yes, Smith did it too (it started at USC):

From the Auschwitz Memorial, a woman perished who is among Yad Vashem’s “Righteous Among the Nations,” non-Jews who helped save Jews during the Holocaust.

Tweets from Matthew. Have a look at these clowns!

This is an amazing overhead video of bubble net feeding, which you can read about here: it’s an amazing cooperative feeding strategy of humpback whales.

Ducks make themselves a tiny pond:

14 thoughts on “Sunday: Hili dialogue

  1. On this day:
    1607 – English colonists establish “James Fort,” which would become Jamestown, Virginia, the earliest permanent English settlement in the Americas.

    1796 – Edward Jenner administers the first smallpox inoculation.

    1870 – The first game of rugby in New Zealand is played in Nelson between Nelson College and the Nelson Rugby Football Club.

    1878 – The last witchcraft trial held in the United States begins in Salem, Massachusetts, after Lucretia Brown, an adherent of Christian Science, accused Daniel Spofford of attempting to harm her through his mental powers.

    1900 – Opening of World Amateur championship at the Paris Exposition Universelle, also known as Olympic Games.

    1939 – Lina Medina becomes the youngest confirmed mother in medical history at the age of five. [Words fail me.]

    1940 – World War II: Rotterdam, Netherlands is bombed by the Luftwaffe of Nazi Germany despite a ceasefire, killing about 900 people and destroying the historic city center.

    1948 – Israel is declared to be an independent state and a provisional government is established. Immediately after the declaration, Israel is attacked by the neighboring Arab states, triggering the 1948 Arab–Israeli War.

    1951 – Trains run on the Talyllyn Railway in Wales for the first time since preservation, making it the first railway in the world to be operated by volunteers.

    1955 – Cold War: Eight Communist bloc countries, including the Soviet Union, sign a mutual defense treaty called the Warsaw Pact.

    1961 – Civil rights movement: A white mob twice attacks a Freedom Riders bus near Anniston, Alabama, before fire-bombing the bus and attacking the civil rights protesters who flee the burning vehicle.

    1973 – Skylab, the United States’ first space station, is launched.

    2010 – Space Shuttle Atlantis launches on the STS-132 mission to deliver the first shuttle-launched Russian ISS component — Rassvet. This was originally slated to be the final launch of Atlantis, before Congress approved STS-135.

    1727 – Thomas Gainsborough, English painter (d. 1788).

    1771 – Robert Owen, Welsh businessman and social reformer (d. 1858).

    1851 – Anna Laurens Dawes, American author and suffragist (d. 1938).

    1897 – Ed Ricketts, American biologist and ecologist (d. 1948).

    1899 – Charlotte Auerbach, German-Scottish folklorist, geneticist, and zoologist (d. 1994).

    1914 – William Tutte, British codebreaker and mathematician (d. 2002).

    1926 – Eric Morecambe, English comedian and actor (d. 1984).

    1933 – Siân Phillips, Welsh actress and singer.

    1936 – Bobby Darin, American singer-songwriter and actor (d. 1973).

    1943 – Jack Bruce, Scottish-English singer-songwriter and bass player (d. 2014).

    1944 – George Lucas, American director, producer, and screenwriter, founded Lucasfilm.

    1944 – David Kelly, Welsh scientist (d. 2003). [His death following the “sexed-up” Iraq intelligence dossier was the subject of conspiracy theories.]

    1952 – Robert Zemeckis, American director, producer, and screenwriter.

    1961 – Tim Roth, English actor and director.

    1962 – Ian Astbury, English-Canadian singer-songwriter.

    1969 – Cate Blanchett, Australian actress.

    Everybody dies. The obstetrician slaps you on the ass with one hand and hands you a postdated death certificate with the other:
    1847 – Fanny Mendelssohn, German pianist and composer (b. 1805).

    1881 – Mary Seacole, Jamaican-English nurse and author (b. 1805).

    1912 – August Strindberg, Swedish playwright, novelist, poet, essayist (b. 1849).

    1959 – Sidney Bechet, American saxophonist, clarinet player, and composer (b. 1897). [Died on his birthday, he was born on this day in 1897.]

    1976 – Keith Relf, English singer-songwriter, harmonica player, and producer (b. 1943).

    1979 – Jean Rhys, Dominican-English novelist (b. 1890).

    1987 – Rita Hayworth, American actress and dancer (b. 1918).

    1998 – Frank Sinatra, American singer and actor (b. 1915).

    2012 – Mario Trejo, Argentinian poet, playwright, and journalist (b. 1926).

    2015 – B.B. King, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer (b. 1925).

    2018 – Tom Wolfe, American author (b. 1931).

    2019 – Grumpy Cat, American cat and internet meme celebrity (b. 2012).

  2. Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili, the editor of Listy, is letting his lackeys do the work.
    Good grief, the gender identity ideology cult and its pronouns nonsense has spread to cats now!

  3. And last night was the wonderfully bad, bizarre, kitsch but strangely enthralling Eurovision Song Contest. The BBC compere, Graham Norton, continued in the tradition set by the late, great Terry Wogan by being gloriously catty about pretty well everyone. Held in Liverpool in place of Kyiv which for fairly obvious reasons couldn’t host the show, the Scousers did their city and Europe proud. It was all in the best possible taste … ( hat tip to the late great Kenny Everett for that …)

    PS Sweden won!

    1. I recently watched a compilation of previous performances. Yes, they were as you say. But also quite a refreshing change from the usual current popular music which is so often bad without intending to be.

  4. “Buttermilk Biscuit […] make some (they’re not hard)”

    They are not hard, that’s right. They’re like…


  5. There are plenty of Republicans and conservative who don’t like Trump (although they dislike Biden and Hillary more), and plenty who hate Trump regardless, especially in the traditional conservative media.

    As for Ukrainian piece, the AP story sucks for not giving all ten points in the plan. The West, especially the US, has not helped further the possibility of peace by vilifying Putin and Russia. They are treating the like their domestic opponents (no quarter), while not recognizing that, failing the complete surrender of Russia, they will have to actually make peace with Putin. So much for two minutes of hate.

    1. It doesn’t take a special effort to “vilify” Putin – invading a neighboring country to expand your empire, murdering civilians, targeting civilan infrastructure, abducting children etc IS vile, and mincing words because you want to make peace with a fascist dictator later on (while doing your best to make sure he’s defeated now) would be disingenuous and cowardly.

  6. The NYT article suggests that the growing number of illegal immigrants contributes to the difficulty of reaching a compromise solution. I agree, but the recent “explosion in the number of migrants asking for asylum” is not the only source of the problem.

    The estimated number of illegal immigrants most often bandied about is 11 million. That number is extrapolated from the Census Bureau’s annual American Community Survey, that has been used for three decades. Few if any researchers bothered to cross check that number until 2018.

    A more accurate number is 22 million. In 2018, three Yale researchers set aside the Census Bureau’s method for a much more common sense approach, “tally the inflows and outflows.” Of course, this gets very complicated very quickly; however, they showed it could be done within a range. Their results? “After running 1,000,000 simulations of the model, the researchers’ 95% probability range is 16 million to 29 million, with 22.1 million as the mean.”

    Their paper is available here

    “The number of undocumented immigrants in the United States: Estimates based on demographic modeling with data from 1990 to 2016” by Fazel-Zarandi, Feinstein and Kaplan.

    The NYT points to another issue, the ever expanding list of justifications for asylum. In 2021, Biden’s administration began to accept domestic violence as a sufficient claim for asylum.

  7. “1607…James Fort/Jamestown…earliest permanent English settlement in the Americas” – just a further bit on this. I would call James Fort, later Jamestown the earliest permanent presence rather than permanent settlement. The settlement had its glory days as capital of the Virginia Colony for almost a hundred years as the Virginia General Assembly met there until the colony capital was moved about ten miles inland to Williamsburg in 1699. While activities continued at Jamestown proper, in the twentieth century to the present, it became just an historic site with excellent museums, archaeological digs, and interpretative exhibits sponsored by the National Parks Service, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and The College of William and Mary. There is no real political entity such as a city council or mayor or the like. Most of the physical Jamestown area is included in the City of Williamsburg/James City County schools and board of supervisors. Jamestown Va does have a Zip Code, but lists the population in that Zip as zero! Permanent presence? Yes! But permanent settlement? I would say semi-permanent maybe. That said, I highly recomment visiting. The Commonweath of Virginia exhibition building is particularly educational, and walking around the outdoor National Park Service exhibits gives visitors an excellent feel for the environment settlers faced in the early 17th century.

    An interesting perspective can be gained by reading a history of the Ambler family and mansion on the park service website at

  8. He said he spoke with the pontiff “about the tens of thousands of deported (Ukrainian) children. We must make every effort to return them home.”

    Mr. Zelenskyy would advised to keep the Catholic Church as far away from Ukrainian children as possible.

  9. He was addressed as “Mr. President” throughout when, considering the circumstances and after Jan. 6, Mr. Trump would have been just fine.

    I thought that American etiquette was that the president retains the right to be addressed as “The President”, “Mr President” etc until death. Even after they’ve lost to the next incumbent.
    In the spirit of Admiral Byng, perhaps the first duty of an incoming president should be to relieve the country of the outgoing president. and in the process, encourage themselves to really try to win the next time.
    I blame Voltaire for putting the idea into my head. Encouraged by Mr President Tangerine Shitgibbon of course.

  10. Thank you very much, PCCE, for asking readers to support science, reality, common sense, and basic fairness to Women athletes.

    Biden still wants to eviscerate Title IX, the law that mandates equal opportunities for Women in education and athletics. He wants to add ‘gender identity’ to supersede sex so that trans-identified males can compete in Women’s sports. The proposal never even defines ‘gender identity.’

    Please submit your comments by Monday, May 15, on how awful Biden’s proposal is. Here is the link to submit comments:

    Thank you in advance!

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