Friday: Hili dialogue

May 19, 2023 • 6:45 am

Welcome to Friday, the “TGIF” Day. It’s May 19, 2023, and National Devil’s Food Cake Day. Why is it called “Devil’s Food cake?” There’s an article to be written about it based on this Wikipedia entry:

Devil’s food cake is a moist, rich chocolate layer cake. It is considered a counterpart to the white or yellow angel food cake. Because of differing recipes and changing ingredient availability over the 20th century, it is difficult to precisely qualify what distinguishes devil’s food from the more standard chocolate cake. However, it traditionally has more chocolate than a regular chocolate cake, making it darker in colour and with a heavier texture. The cake is usually paired with a rich chocolate frosting.

Devil’s food cake was invented in the United States in the early twentieth century, with the recipe in print as early as 1905

It’s also Endangered Species Day, Jerusalem Day, NASCAR Day, National Bike to Work Day (I walk), National Pizza Party Day, World Family Doctor Day, Malcolm X Day (he was born on this day in 1925, and was assassinated 39 years later), National Asian & Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day and Hepatitis Testing Day.

When I was in college, The Autobiography of Malcom X was must reading. Here’s the scene from the eponymous Spike Lee movie showing the moments leading up to his assassination. This is a fantastic scene, not only for the rolling take, but because they use the best soul song ever recorded (A Change is Gonna Come by Sam Cooke). The movie should have won an Oscar. Denzel Washington plays Malcolm X, and for that he did win Best Actor.


Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the May 19 Wikipedia page.

Da Nooz:

*It’s been disclosed that Dianne Feinstein, 89, was sicker than we thought—but still refuses to leave the Senate.

When she arrived at the Capitol last week after a more than two-month absence recovering from shingles, Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, 89, appeared shockingly diminished.

Using a wheelchair, with the left side of her face frozen and one eye nearly shut, she seemed disoriented as an aide steered her through the marble corridors of the Senate, complaining audibly that something was stuck in her eye.

Ms. Feinstein’s frail appearance was a result of several complications after she was hospitalized for shingles in February, some of which she has not publicly disclosed. The shingles spread to her face and neck, causing vision and balance impairments and facial paralysis known as Ramsay Hunt syndrome. The virus also brought on a previously unreported case of encephalitis, a rare but potentially debilitating complication of shingles, according to two people familiar with the senator’s diagnosis who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe it.

Characterized by swelling of the brain, post-shingles encephalitis can leave patients with lasting memory or language problems, sleep disorders, bouts of confusion, mood disorders, headaches and difficulties walking. Older patients tend to have the most trouble recovering. And even before this latest illness, Ms. Feinstein had already suffered substantial memory issues that had raised questions about her mental capacity.

The grim tableau of her re-emergence on Capitol Hill laid bare a bleak reality known to virtually everyone who has come into contact with her in recent days: She was far from ready to return to work when she did, and she is now struggling to function in a job that demands long days, near-constant engagement on an array of crucial policy issues and high-stakes decision-making.

This is ineffably sad, even worse than RBG hanging on when she had cancer. For at least she could function, and Feinstein, bless her Democratic soul, cannot. She had a great career, and this is a terrible way to end it. There’s hard work to be done in the Senate, the close divisions mean that all hands need to be on deck, and it’s time for Feinstein to hang it up. (She already said she’d retire at the end of her term next year.) Should she do so, a replacement would be appointed by California’s Democratic governor, Gavin Newsom.

*The Washington Post reports that at least seven states have enacted laws that can imprison librarians who provide certain books to kids. They don’t even have to be pornographic books!

Librarians could face years of imprisonment and tens of thousands in fines for providing sexually explicit, obscene or “harmful” books to children under new state laws that permit criminal prosecution of school and library personnel.

At least seven states have passed such laws in the last two years, according to a Washington Post analysis, six of them in the past two months — although governors of Idaho and North Dakota vetoed the legislation. Another dozen states considered more than 20 similar bills this year, half of which are likely to come up again in 2024, The Post found.

Some of the laws impose severe penalties on librarians, who until now were exempted in almost every state from prosecution over obscene material — a carve-out meant to permit accurate lessons in topics such as sex education. All but one of the new laws target schools, while some also target the staff of public libraries and one affects book vendors.

One example is an Arkansas measure that says school and public librarians, as well as teachers, can be imprisoned for up to six years or fined $10,000 if they distribute obscene or harmful texts. It takes effect Aug. 1.

But what is a harmful text? None of the states (the censorious ones are shown below) specify either that or the definition of an “obscene” text. Is The Catcher in the Rye (an oft-banned book) in either category? Who knows? I agree that there should be policy, for surely you shouldn’t give Frank Harris to a 6 year old. But prison?  That’s way too strong a punishment. And, of course, there’s the omnipresent question, “Who decides?” In this case, it’s apparently the courts, whose judgements will differ from state to state.

I’m betting this map of book banning jibes nicely with the map of states that severely restrict abortion.

*The ivory-billed woodpecker has long been thought defunct, but it refuses to lie down. I’ve reported on sightings of it in recent years, but none of these have been confirmed. Now there’s a new paper in Ecology and Evolution that again purports to give evidence for the bird. The Wall Street Journal reports on the fracas, but scanning the paper, I’m not convinced that the species is still extant. The photos and sightings might well be the smaller but similar Pileated Woodpecker. Others think so, too, and it’s important because the government is set to declare the ivory-bill extinct, which would save a lot of money. (People will keep looking on their own, of course.)

Ornithologists and researchers cite recent, grainy images of what they say suggests the ivory-billed woodpecker is indeed still alive.

Others are pushing back, saying it is time to move on.

“A suggestive video is not good enough,” says John Dillon, a past president of the Louisiana Ornithological Society and a member of the state’s rare-birds record committee.

Mr. Dillon argues that all the time and money the government is spending on this woodpecker could be put to better use restoring wetlands and protecting wildlife that is irrefutably still alive.

He isn’t trying to ruffle any feathers here, but says, “There’s not a lot of difference between finding the bird or proving that Noah’s ark was real.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has collected more than 200 comments on its proposal to end the woodpecker’s endangered-species status, and along with it, the funding to protect the bird’s habitat and population recovery.

. . .In moving to declare the bird extinct, the agency cited the decline of its forested habitat and the woodpecker’s estimated 10-year lifespan, which would make the likelihood of its survival low, given the last clear, undisputed sighting was decades ago.

The wildlife service noted that supposed sightings of the bird have been reported in recent decades. But it added there was no objective evidence, such as a clear photograph, to demonstrate it lives on.

A final decision is expected this spring.

Birders have repeatedly combed the small area where the habitat is suitable for this bird, but no clear evidence has emerged. My view is the one expressed in this song:

*The Free Press has a good essay (“Miracles and madness: Israel at 75“) on the founding of Israel, and on the profound problems it now faces, written by rabbi and author Daniel Gordis. There’s a good take on the serious issues of internal division, but it’s too long to summarize, so I’ll just post a bit of history and a video clip.

Seventy-five years ago this week, the art museum in the young city of Tel Aviv—which then had less than 200,000 inhabitants—was packed for an unusual ceremony. The Jewish community of Palestine (known as the yishuv) was about to perform a resurrection: 36 men and one woman were about to sign Israel’s Declaration of Independence, ending almost 2,000 years of Jewish homelessness, and reestablishing political sovereignty in the Holy Land for the first time since the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE at the hands of the Romans.

There is a brief film clip of David Ben-Gurion—the man who had led the yishuv for more than a decade and would soon become the new state’s first prime minister—proclaiming with a tremulous voice, “We hereby declare the establishment of a Jewish state in the Land of Israel, to be known as the State of Israel.”

Those who have heard that clip dozens of times may well have never asked themselves what might seem an obvious question: Why is it that we only hear the “We hereby declare” portion of Ben-Gurion’s reading the Declaration aloud? Why not the rest? And nothing else from the proceedings?

The only moving picture camera around belonged to a cinematographer who owned a company that produced weekly newsreels. At the last minute, the government-in-waiting commissioned him to film the momentous occasion, but he had only four minutes of film in stock to cover a ceremony that was expected to last a half-hour—there was not enough film to record a moment that would alter the history of the Jewish people, and in some ways, much of the world.

Ben-Gurion therefore arranged to signal him at the most important points in the proceedings to indicate when the camera should roll. After the ceremony, though, the new state’s press handlers cut up the film into four parts and sent them out to various news agencies for use in newsreels. As a result, less than a minute of the original movie survived in Israel.

The clip showing the declaration of Israel’s independence:

Scarcity was hardly the nascent country’s only problem: even in the immediate aftermath of the Holocaust, international support for the creation of a Jewish state was tepid at best.

Just six months earlier, in November 1947, the United Nations General Assembly had voted—by the slimmest of margins—to create two states in Palestine, one Jewish and one Arab. A majority of two-thirds was required, and in the days leading up to the vote, it was far from certain that the Zionist delegation had the votes.

Today, it is virtually impossible to recapture the tension in the room. The vote took only three minutes, but what was at stake was nothing less than the future of the Jewish people. Resolution 181, commonly known as the “Partition Plan,” passed—but barely. The vote was 33 in favor, 13 opposed, and 10 abstentions. Matters would soon get more ominous: on April 3, Sir Alan Cunningham, then serving as the British high commissioner to Palestine, wrote in his weekly intelligence briefing, “It is becoming generally realized. . . that the United States [sic] aim is to secure reconsideration of the Palestine problem by the General Assembly de novo.” Merely four months after the vote, before Israel even existed, the United States was spearheading a move to undo the resolution. But Harry Truman, sensitive to the potential electoral costs of reversing the U.S. position, at first wavered but then stood by America’s original stance in favor of partition.

Both the Jews and the Arabs in Palestine were disappointed by the borders the UN allocated to them, but while the Jews agreed to the plan, the Arabs rejected it. They made clear that if a Jewish state was created, they would attack it. When, six months after the UN vote, in May 1948, the British were about to depart Palestine, the leadership of the yishuv had to decide whether to act on the UN’s endorsement of the idea of a national home for the Jewish people and declare statehood. There was nothing easy about the decision. If they did not declare independence, the opportunity might never return. If they did, five neighboring Arab states had vowed to annihilate them.

Israelis thought the chance that the Arab armies would destroy the new state was about 50/50, but nevertheless, the Jews persisted. The article goes on to relate what the victors accomplished.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili’s words are enigmatic:

Hili: We have a problem.
A: What problem?
Hili: Reality has caught up with us.
In Polish:
Hili: Mamy problem.
Ja: Jaki?
Hili: Dogoniła nas rzeczywistość.
And a photo of Szaron by Paulina:


From the Now That’s Wild FB page:

From America’s Cultural Decline into Idiocy on FB:

From Ant.  I’ve learned that the majority of animal photos on the Internet are manipulated, often when it comes to color but sometimes they’re completely bogus, like this one that was going the rounds:

From Masih, three sentenced to death for protesting a woman beaten to death for not wearing her hijab properly. Oy!

From Luana, a new woke term! Petro-masculinity!

A penguin parade from Malcolm. How can you not find these birds adorable?

From Barry, who says, “I would love to know what the bird thinks it’s doing here”:

From the Auschwitz Memorial, a five-year-old girl, gassed upon arrival:

And this is a real movie made of a victim before she died—the first such movie we’ve had on this site:

Tweets from Dr. Cobb, still in La Jolla. First, a lovely spider:

Fortunately, these kittens were rescued:

I’ve never heard of such cinemas! Eating popcorn would be off limits, I bet.

49 thoughts on “Friday: Hili dialogue

  1. Denzel Washington plays Malcolm X, and for that he did win Best Actor.

    Denzel won a best actor Oscar for Training Day in 2002 (and a best supporting actor Oscar for Glory in 1990). He was nominated for best actor for Malcolm X in 1993, but lost the Oscar to Al Pacino for Scent of a Woman.

  2. Help me out: is it remotely plausible that a six-months-pregnant woman would walk up to a group of 5 teenage males, all as big or bigger than her, and try to take a bike off them?

    If that sounds implausible, why is half of Twitter and some supposedly-level-headed news sources leaping to the conclusion that a viral video shows that happening? What happened to Bayesian priors here?

      1. There is a viral video of a woman arguing with a group of youths about a hire bike. She claims she had just paid for it and hired it (her lawyer has produced a receipt which matches the ID code of the bike in the video). The youths claimed that the bike was theirs.

        Here is the sort of things that’s on Twitter, from Ben Crump, not a nobody (Tweet viewed 13 million times).

          1. It is still an unspooling situation, of course. more info may well be forthcoming.
            I think what happened is that after she unlocked the bike that she reserved and paid for with her card, the kids try to talk her into handing it over. Of course, when it disappears, she is liable for the deposit and $1200 replacement fee, and the kids get a free bike.
            As the video begins, she is already on the bike, which we are expected to believe she has taken by force from a group of young men. That seems unlikely to me, but so many people these days turn out to be psychos. Hopefully more video will emerge.

            1. Her lawyer has announced that they’ll be suing the media for defamation, quite right too.

              The idea that a visibly pregnant woman would walk up to 5 bigger teenage males and try to steal a bike off them is so ludicrous that the media leaping to that conclusion can only come from an ideological “in any interaction between white and black people, the white person is always and automatically in the wrong”.

              And yet we’re also supposed to believe that the US suffers from rampant “systemic racism”.

              1. Thank you for sticking with this, Coel. I had no idea. I mean, Karens, yes, but really….

  3. The Republican attack on librarians is reflective of their 2024 electoral strategy: stoke moral panic among the electorate. By going full out on the culture wars (as opposed to the economy), they are attempting to portray themselves as defenders of traditional values against the Democrats whom they will try to characterize as synonymous with the Woke. Such an approach will certainly appeal to the hard right, religious base of the Republican Party. It will allow hard righters to be nominated and probably win in gerrymandered districts. But, on a statewide basis the story may be very different. Even in deep red Kansas, the voters, when actually having the chance to cast ballots, rejected an extreme anti-abortion legislation. On the presidential level, it seems to me to be folly for the Republican candidate (whether Trump or DeSantis) to run as culture warriors. But, this is what they seem to be doing. No matter how decrepit Biden may appear, the Republican Party may turn out to be his best friend.

    1. Yes, the Republican Party is often its own worst enemy. (Of course, the FBI is giving it a run for its money.) The failure of modern conservatism as represented by the GOP is that it has accepted the liberal position that the purpose of government is to remake society according to the prejudices of the elected.

      1. I think most of the library issue, as it is presented, is spin. We had one of those public hearings in our area, and of course the local news broadcast only an excerpt from a potion of one parent’s remarks that made him sound like an ignorant prude.
        The story misrepresented the intent and goals of the parents who spoke primarily about books that I would be hesitant to quote here, much less assign a fourth grader to read in class.
        Previously, an informal system was in place where parents could trust a teacher or librarian to exercise common sense and good judgement as far as the appropriateness of materials accessed by kids. I think it worked pretty well. I was one of those kids who loved spending time in libraries. It was a treat to me for mom to drop me off there when we went into town, and pick me back up in the evening, when she had concluded her errands.
        But the system has broken down spectacularly. A significant number of teachers and librarians have decided that their moral priority is that children must be exposed to explicit sexual material early and often. Unfortunately, the only sensible response is to replace the informal system with a formal one. Any time this has been done, it is a clumsy solution.

        The spin here is that the argument is being reframed in media as prudish and intolerant parents who want to ban all sorts of literature, instead of concerned parents that want the school to stop making 10 year olds read books that describe a child giving an adult man a blowjob.
        The objective truth of the situation is that there are actually intolerant and prudish parents who would like to hijack the issue. But the fact that sometimes such people show up and spout nonsense at meetings does not invalidate the legitimate concerns of reasonable parents who have been compelled to act on this.

        I read the Arkansas legislation, as a lay person. The harsh penalty seems to be for distributing material to minors that is “known by the person to have been judicially found to be obscene”
        The law also does not require the removal of such material, but instead that it be located where children cannot easily access it.
        I was thinking of “Der Giftpilz” as an example of a book written for kids but which should never be shown to children, but such philosophy is coming back into vogue.

        I think the general attitude of parents who have had to confront this issue is the big question of why the school staff have decided it is so very important to teach little kids about anal sex. It sort of makes them look like classic evil villains, like the one in the “Golden Child”, who wanted to destroy the purity of the title character.

        I should state again for the record that I am as close to a book banning absolutist as anyone. In my whole life, I have only attended one public protest, and that was against a book burning. No book should ever be banned, but some material is not appropriate for some kids.

        1. But the system has broken down spectacularly. A significant number of teachers and librarians have decided that their moral priority is that children must be exposed to explicit sexual material early and often.

          …want the school to stop making 10 year olds read books that describe a child giving an adult man a blowjob.

          …the big question of why the school staff have decided it is so very important to teach little kids about anal sex.

          You’ve made three rather bold assertions here. Any evidence that this is actually happening? “Significant numbers” of teachers and librarians making it a “moral priority” to expose children to explicit material? Schools making 10 year-olds read books that contain descriptions of oral sex by minors? School staff deciding it is important to teach little kids about anal sex?

          Colour me skeptical.

        2. I, like Dean Reimer, am skeptical of some of your claims – but I’m willing to lose that skepticism if you can provide specific examples of teachers or librarians having elementary school children read books that portray anal sex or a minor performing oral sex on an adult.

          Part of my skepticism is due to the one book you do name: Der Giftpilz, an anti-semitic book written by a Nazi in 1938. I have to wonder how many copies one could find of that book in all the public and school libraries in the U.S. I’d bet the number is close to zero.

          I agree with you 100% that there are books that are not appropriate for children to read. I’d like to see published of reports of educators having children read such books, if you can provide any.

          1. Obviously “Der Giftpilz” is pretty rare, especially in the US. It came to mind because we have a copy, and it is one of very few books that I made sure that my kids could not read until they were old enough to understand it in context.

            I will have to root around a bit to locate specific references for the examples I mentioned.
            One book that comes up repeatedly is “This Book is Gay”, which is probably a great book for a gay adult, or perhaps a high school senior with questions. However, it is being presented to fourth graders. Here are some excerpts-

            Here is a set of censored images from several such books-

            The image of a little girl giving a man a blowjob was something I saw in one of the books from my kid’s school. I will try to remember the title. One faces a quandary upon such discoveries, as my first impulse was to record the image, in case I wished to complain about it. But of course I wondered if having such an image on my hard drive could get me in trouble. It is sort of Kafkaesque.

            I will look for those references. I do not want to make such claims without evidence to back them up existing somewhere. I am not an activist, so I do not keep a little dossier of things to complain about. Some things, like the image I mentioned, stick in the memory once seen.

        3. The attorney general of Louisiana published a report, linked below, about books containing sexually graphic content that were available to children in Louisiana public libraries. (Some of these books have also been found in school libraries below the high school level throughout the country.) The appendix starting on page 30 contains some of the more egregious images and passages that have incensed some parents.

          It’s Louisiana. Culture warriors. Who cares? So, let’s move to the Waldorf School on Long Island, where 5th grade will cost you over $30,000. What do 5th graders get to see for that price? Well, you can look at the link below. (Trigger warning: it is a recent story from the New York Post.) Perhaps you think the sexual content is appropriate; perhaps you are appalled. I think the pertinent question that I would ask myself is what right do I have to insist that other people’s children must see it?

          I agree that it is quite difficult to get a feel for how widespread this type of thing is. This is complicated by the fact that the national media downplay or ignore culture war content that makes the Left look bad; the social media Right, on the other hand, sends this stuff viral, creating a possible illusion of widespread availability and indoctrination. Additionally, what sources do report on it are usually conservative—and thus dismissed—or never even seen—by many on the Left (even if not Woke).

          I share some skepticism about how widespread the problem of age-inappropriate sexual content for children really is. That said, I have seen enough local news stories from across the country and enough video of parents protesting at school board meetings to not readily dismiss concerns. More importantly, for everything Woke you have a pattern: when they are first called out for their excesses, they first respond by saying “It isn’t happening”. They move to “Maybe it’s happening, but it’s rare”, and eventually we get to “It’s happening, and it’s a good thing that it is. Bigot.” This has been going on for over a decade for many of the issues that Jerry discusses on this site. And many of the non-Woke people of the educated classes, when not entirely ignorant of the issues, mostly denied that any of it was happening, or waved it off as unimportant, or dismissed it as “just kids”, or sneered that it was just right-wing culture warriors stirring panic. How did that work out?

          1. I think the pertinent question that I would ask myself is what right do I have to insist that other people’s children must see it?

            Are these books you allude to required reading or merely available on the library bookshelves? I think that makes a huge difference.

            If the books are merely available in the library, rather than required reading for class, perhaps the books could be kept in a restricted library area that blue-nosed parents could opt out of allowing their children to have access to.

            1. Yes, we have the new red scare. There is a nationwide conspiracy of librarians to indoctrinate young children with pornography and/or material to encourage them to become trans or gay (to what end is unclear). Poor Joe McCarthy. If he had only the modern means of communication, just think how many more Commies he could have rooted out.

            2. I note in this regard that the writers’ organization PEN, Penguin/Random House Publishing, and the parents of some students in the Escambia County, Florida, school system have just filed a lawsuit against the Escambia County School District and School Board. You can read their complaint here.

              Among the books banned from Escambia County school libraries are such classics of the western literary canon as Slaughterhouse-Five, The Kite Runner, and The Bluest Eye.

              Would you want your kids going to school where such books were verboten?

            3. Only blue-nose parents could possibly object to depictions of 10-year-olds fellating adult men and enjoying it, yes, so that should cover it nicely. I submit that before we sneer at anxious parents not wanting this material in the schools at all, we should verify that reports that school officials want to make it available are indeed false, and not settle for believing they have to be false just because we want them to be.

              Slaughterhouse Five is another story of course. But the fact Escambia County wants to ban it is a deflection. Let’s see if PEN takes up the banner of free speech in these other cases.

              By the way, Nova Scotians (like me) were often referred to as Bluenosers. A working fishing schooner so named built in Lunenberg won the Fisherman’s Races in the 1920s and her image is on the Canadian 10-cent piece. So far as I know the name has nothing to do with prudery and never did. Supposedly it’s a type of potato grown in the province in colonial times. It might have been mildly pejorative at one time, the way Yankee is in some contexts, but isn’t anymore. All our hoity-toity types with hi-falutin’ social ambitions decamped to Boston, long before Toronto was a thing.

              1. … depictions of 10-year-olds fellating adult men and enjoying it …

                Can you identify the book containing this depiction and a school district in which it is available to students? I believe this is an urban legend.

                The only claim I’ve heard in this regard by a commenter here regards a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age novel titled Lawn Boy. That commenter linked to a “review” of the book by an amateur religious-right scold that was so poorly written as to be incoherent. I looked into it, and the only scene in the novel that comes anywhere close to what’s claimed involves the young adult narrator (who operates a landscaping service, hence his sobriquet “Lawn Boy”) in which the narrator espies the picture of a wheeler-dealer real estate agent on a billboard and has a brief reverie regarding how the two were sexually involved as fellow grade-school students. (I’ve no personal knowledge in this regard, but I’m led to understand by Brit acquaintances that such relationships are not unheard of among the children of toffs attending “public” — viz. private — schools in Blighty.)

                I’ve always had a strong appetite for transgressive literature. The walls of the family room of the home where I raised my sons had such lit in the stacks. But I never once saw them pulling down a volume of Rimbaud or Céline, of de Sade or Genet, of Henry Miller or William Burroughs or Hubert Selby, Jr., to have a gander (and would have been untroubled if they had).

                I’ve never know anyone — adult or child — debauched by words on a page. Have you?

                So long as parents who chose to do so can have their little darlings protected from books they find objectionable, what right do they have to insist that such books be made unavailable to the children of parents who take a more open-minded view of literature?

    1. Maurice died in 2003. Speaking of early BeeGees, I love his ephemeral voice on “I Started a Joke.” But the last BeeGee standing is the first born, Barry. I do enjoy their disco hits, but I also prefer their earlier folk/pop songs.

      1. Thanks for the correction, Mark. I had my Gibb brothers confused. I should’ve looked them up to refresh my recollection before posting my comment.

    2. “Stayin’ Alive” plays at a tempo of about 100 beats per minute. Revised guidelines for CPR call for 100 chest compressions a minute (up from 60). Rescuers fatigue rapidly at this rate. It is helpful to have someone calling the tempo audibly so that it’s easy to tell when a flagging rescuer needs to be relieved.

      Maybe Dr. Gee is a CPR instructor.

  4. One of my pet peeves is that you can no longer get plain, chocolate cake in most restaurants. It’s always “death by chocolate” or some sort of chocolate apocalypse that is generally too heavy and rich to really enjoy.

  5. NYT columnist Michelle Goldberg has posted an article relating the story of how a mother, Lindsay Durtschi, in Escambia County, Florida is suing the school board for banning books. Goldberg states that “the suit seeks to have Escambia’s book restrictions declared unconstitutional for targeting specific viewpoints and for infringing on the rights of students to receive information.” What I found most interesting is the tale of how it took just one, persistent English teacher to get the school board to ban the books. Now, Ms. Durtschi is fighting back. She demonstrates the necessity of those that oppose the culture warriors to become activists as well – not by Woke posturing, but by legal action and organizing. I wish her success.

  6. On this day:
    1536 – Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII of England, is beheaded for adultery, treason, and incest.

    1649 – An Act of Parliament declaring England a Commonwealth is passed by the Long Parliament. England would be a republic for the next eleven years.

    1848 – Mexican–American War: Mexico ratifies the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo thus ending the war and ceding California, Nevada, Utah and parts of four other modern-day U.S. states to the United States for US$15 million.

    1911 – Parks Canada, the world’s first national park service, is established as the Dominion Parks Branch under the Department of the Interior.

    1919 – Mustafa Kemal Atatürk lands at Samsun on the Anatolian Black Sea coast, initiating what is later termed the Turkish War of Independence.

    1921 – The United States Congress passes the Emergency Quota Act establishing national quotas on immigration.

    1950 – Egypt announces that the Suez Canal is closed to Israeli ships and commerce.

    1961 – Venera program: Venera 1 becomes the first man-made object to fly by another planet by passing Venus (the probe had lost contact with Earth a month earlier and did not send back any data).

    1962 – A birthday salute to U.S. President John F. Kennedy takes place at Madison Square Garden, New York City. The highlight is Marilyn Monroe’s rendition of “Happy Birthday”.

    1963 – The New York Post Sunday Magazine publishes Martin Luther King Jr.’s Letter from Birmingham Jail.

    1744 – Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, German-born Queen to George III of the United Kingdom (d. 1818). [There have been attempts to claim that she was black, but they’re not very convincing so far as I can see.]

    1795 – Johns Hopkins, American businessman and philanthropist (d. 1873).

    1861 – Nellie Melba, Australian soprano and actress (d. 1931).

    1879 – Nancy Astor, Viscountess Astor, American-English politician (d. 1964).

    1925 – Malcolm X, American minister and activist (d. 1965).

    1941 – Nora Ephron, American director, producer, and screenwriter (d. 2012).

    1945 – Pete Townshend, English singer-songwriter and guitarist.

    1948 – Grace Jones, Jamaican-American singer-songwriter, producer, and actress.

    1949 – Dusty Hill, American singer-songwriter and bass player (d. 2021).

    1951 – Joey Ramone, American singer-songwriter (d. 2001).

    1953 – Victoria Wood, English actress, singer, director, and screenwriter (d. 2016).

    1954 – Phil Rudd, Australian-New Zealand drummer.

    And the angels, all pallid and wan, / Uprising, unveiling, affirm/
    That the play is the tragedy, “Man,” / And its hero the Conqueror Worm:

    1795 – James Boswell, Scottish biographer (b. 1740).

    1831 – Johann Friedrich von Eschscholtz, Estonian-German physician, botanist, and entomologist (b. 1793). [One of the earliest scientific explorers of the Pacific region, making significant collections of flora and fauna in Alaska, California, and Hawaii.]

    1864 – Nathaniel Hawthorne, American novelist and short story writer (b. 1804).

    1898 – William Ewart Gladstone, English lawyer and politician, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (b. 1809).

    1935 – T. E. Lawrence, British colonel and archaeologist (b. 1888).

    1971 – Ogden Nash, American poet (b. 1902).

    1984 – John Betjeman, English poet and academic (b. 1906).

    1994 – Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, American journalist, 37th First Lady of the United States (b. 1929).

    1. 1941 – Nora Ephron, American director, producer, and screenwriter (d. 2012).

      Nora Ephron was an okay filmmaker, but her real talent lay as a prose stylist. Anybody doesn’t think so should start with the 1972 piece that put her on the literati map, back when she was the only woman columnist at Esquire, “A Few Words About Breasts.”

        1. She also wrote the screenplay for Loving Miss Hatto, set, but not filmed, here in Royston about one of our more notorious residents:

          It’s unclear to what extent Miss Hatto was aware of the hoax. Mum still regularly attends meetings a couple of doors down from where the pianist lived (and died).

        2. Love this. Thanks for this. The term is still widely used in Oz so much for that decree’s effectiveness

  7. Re the flamingo: Does it perhaps think the mat is water? If so, it is likely making the same movements with its feet that it would in the water to stir up food from the silt. Also, its head is in that “food-gathering” position.

  8. Two items from the Dialogue that allow optimism that the tides are turning:

    1).In several states that had attempted to legislate book bans, the laws have been vetoed or are now “dead”, whatever that means in the American legislative context. Perhaps a similar fate will befall the laws listed as “pending” in other salvageable states with the capacity (or a governor) to come to their senses.

    2) When papers like the “toxic petro-masculinity” article appear, it is a sign of peak foolishness in the anti-growth industry. If your barber is sharing hot stock tips with you, it’s time to cash out. Today’s TGIF (Free Press, Nellie Bowles) references an article claiming that the anti-growth forces in the UK seem already to have won but it’s not making things greener or happier like it was supposed to.

  9. I listened to a podcast (I think it was The Daily from NYT) that was talking about Feinstein, and one of the potential difficulties with replacing her is that it’s likely McConnell will stonewall in seating her replacement on the Judicial Committee. Since confirming judges is just about the only thing the Democrats can do in Congress right now, it may be necessary to keep her on even in a massively diminished capacity, as long as she’s capable of casting a vote.

    1. Interesting, I haven’t heard that angle, but how does the minority leader block the majority leader’s pick for a committee? That doesn’t sound right. But if that is a true scenario, then yeah, it was good that Feinstein didn’t step down. Now they better roll up their sleeves and seat competent judges ASAP to balance out all of Trump’s incompetent hacks.


        Will Feinstein serve out her full term — or will Newsom get to appoint? If so, will he appoint a Black woman as promised? If he does, will it be Lee (Barbara Lee, D-Oaklandd) , giving her the enormous advantage of incumbency? Or will it be a “caretaker,” who presumably would promise not to run for the office and to give up the seat after the election.

        Lee has a strong incentive to hope for an early resignation by Feinstein, and to hope that Newsom will appoint her to the job. That, I suspect, is why Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Fremont), a co-chair of Lee’s election campaign, was so quick to call for Feinstein to resign several weeks ago, saying, “It is obvious she can no longer fulfill her duties.”

        Schiff and Porter, for their part, have good reason to want Feinstein to soldier on and serve out her term. That’s probably why Schiff has publicly pointed to problems with naming a replacement. If Feinstein stays, he noted, she can break the logjam on judicial appointments in the Senate Judiciary Committee, but if she steps aside and Newsom fills the vacancy, Republicans would probably block anyone from replacing her on the committee.

  10. I live in Alberta, Canada’s own petrostate, and that abstract on petro-masculinity doesn’t seem so silly to me, despite what a lot of the commenters had to say about it. We’re in the middle of an election here right now and the syndrome is characteristic of the party of the right.

  11. Here is a feel good for you Prof(E) and everyone else for that matter, very cool for the patrons and cutters by their reactions.
    its a guy in a barber/ hairdressers shop singing “A change is gonna Come” close to Sam Cook’s version but very well done. It may have an element of being set up but looks genuine and certainly live.

Leave a Reply