Friday: Hili dialogue

June 2, 2023 • 6:45 am

It’s Friday, June 2, 2023, and National Rocky Road Day. If you’re not an American, that’s usually a genre of chocolate ice cream that contains nuts, chocolate chips, and marshmallows, and it can be good:


It’s also It’s also American Indian Citizenship Day, Hug an Atheist Day, I Love My Dentist Day, National Doughnut Day, National Gun Violence Awareness Day, National Rotisserie Chicken Day, and International Sex Workers Day. Here’s a statue to sex workers in Amsterdam:

(from Wikipedia) Bronze statue Belle in front of the Oude Kerk in the De Wallen red-light district in Amsterdam. It was unveiled in March 2007 with the inscription “Respect sex workers all over the world.”

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the June 2 Wikipedia page.

Wine of the Day: Are you in the mood for a white Burgundy that doesn’t break the bank. This is your baby: a recent (2021) vintage of Mâcon-Villages from the southern region of Burgundy, well priced at $17.00. Although it lacks the “dung” aroma of great Burgundy (“great Burgundy smells of shit,” one critic said), it’s redolent of pears, apples, and orange blossoms. The color is pale straw, and it’s ready to drink.

I had it with Indian sag paneer (spinach and cheese) and rice, a somewhat spicy dish that was a good complement to this wine.  This is a good all-purpose white, relatively cheap for what is, in effect, a Pouilly-Fuissé, grown right next door to that region but cheaper without the name.

Da Nooz:

*Halleluljah! Yesterday the bipartisan bill dealing with the debt limit passed to the Senate. It was late last night, and they had to stave off a number of amendments that would have delayed the bill by forcing it back to the House.

The approval by the Senate on a 63-to-36 vote brought to a close a political showdown that began brewing as soon as Republicans narrowly won the House in November, promising to use their new majority and the threat of a default to try to extract spending and policy concessions from Mr. Biden.

. . . .On Thursday night, Mr. Biden cheered its passage, promising to sign it as soon as possible and address the nation from the Oval Office on Friday evening.

“Tonight, senators from both parties voted to protect the hard-earned economic progress we have made and prevent a first-ever default by the United States,” he said. “No one gets everything they want in a negotiation, but make no mistake: This bipartisan agreement is a big win for our economy and the American people.”

The agreement suspends the $31.4 trillion debt limit until January 2025, allowing the government to borrow unlimited sums to pay its debts and ensuring that another fight will not occur before the next presidential election. It sets new spending levels that will be tested as Congress begins to write its annual spending bills. Other policy changes on energy project permitting and work requirements on social benefits were also included.

“We saved the country from the scourge of default,” Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the majority leader, exulted after the bill cleared Congress.The Senate vote came after an afternoon of closed-door talks to resolve a last-minute flare-up over Pentagon funding, ignited by Republicans who said the debt-limit package severely underfunded the military. Senate leaders resolved the dispute with a formal statement that the debt-limit deal “does nothing to limit the Senate’s ability to appropriate emergency supplemental funds to ensure our military capabilities.”

The vote was 63-36, and you can see how the Senators voted at this site.

*Foreign ministers of NATO countries are meeting in Norway this week to decide whether Ukraine should join. The thing is, NATO unwisely promised a while back that Ukraine would eventually be in the club, and that was premature.

A day earlier, French President Emmanuel Macron appeared to add weight to calls for Ukraine’s membership, telling a conference in Slovakia that Kyiv deserved “something concrete” in terms of a path forward.

“Our focus today was how can we bring Ukraine closer to NATO, where it belongs,” said Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg after foreign ministers from the alliance’s 31 members and applicant Sweden concluded.

NATO must “have in place frameworks to provide guarantees for Ukrainian security after the end of the war,” Stoltenberg said before opening the meeting, which was arranged as an opportunity to talk more casually than at regularly scheduled ministerial gatherings, and at which no formal decisions will be taken.

The U.S. has until now largely sidestepped discussions of how or when Ukraine might join NATO, instead focusing on Kyiv’s security and military strength. Asked about whether a pathway to NATO would be approved at a coming summit of alliance leaders in Lithuania, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters, “I fully anticipate that will be part of the conversation in Vilnius.”

“Ultimately these are decisions that the leaders have to make and finalize,” Blinken said.

I believe every NATO country has to sign on before an applicant nation can be approved.

The heads of the parliamentary foreign-affairs committees of 19 NATO members released a joint statement on Thursday calling for Ukraine to be given a clear road map to joining at the NATO summit in July. Signatories included the heads of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee and its counterpart committees in the U.K., Germany and France.

Finally, here’s the mistake that NATO made before. Premature guarantees lead to invasions by Russia!

NATO said in 2008 that Ukraine and Georgia would eventually join, but gave no details or timeline. Germany and France led opposition to a concrete path to Ukrainian membership. The 2008 statement has been widely criticized for angering Russia without giving greater security to Ukraine or Georgia. Russia invaded Georgia soon after the summit, and continued to seek political sway in Ukraine.

*The Sensuous Curmudgeon and the National Center for Science Education report on a Texas bill requiring secondary schools that teach evolution present it not as a “fact”, but as a theory with strengths and weaknesses. Well, that bill is an ex-bill; it sings with the choir invisible.   (h/t Steve) From the NCSE:

When the Texas state legislature adjourned sine die on May 29, 2023, a pair of identical bills that would have harmed science education, House Bill 1804 and Senate Bill 2089, died in committee. If enacted, the bills would have amended the state education code to require that instructional material adopted by the state board of education “present a scientific theory in an objective educational manner that: (i) clearly distinguishes the theory from fact; and (ii) includes evidence for both the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of the theory.”

Clause (i) appears to reflect a common misconception about facts and theories. “In scientific terms, ‘theory’ does not mean ‘guess’ or ‘hunch’ as it does in everyday usage,” as the National Academy of Science explained in its publication Science and Creationism, second edition (1999). “Scientific theories are explanations of natural phenomena built up logically from testable observations and hypotheses. Biological evolution is the best scientific explanation we have for the enormous range of observations about the living world. … [S]cientists can also use [“fact”] to mean something that has been tested or observed so many times that there is no longer a compelling reason to keep testing or looking for examples. The occurrence of evolution in this sense is a fact.”

Clause (ii) betrays the intention of the bills. As The New York Times editorialized of the phrase “scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses” in 2008, “This is code for teaching creationism.” Employed by proponents of “creation science” and “intelligent design” alike, the phrase appears in antievolution laws enacted in Louisiana in 2008 and Tennessee in 2012. In 2017, Texas’s House Bill 1485 would ostensibly have provided Texas science teachers with the academic freedom to teach “the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses” of scientific theories discussed in the state science standards; after receiving a public hearing, during which a member of the state board of education testified that the bill would allow the teaching of creationism, the bill died in committee, as NCSE previously reported.

Both bills were, of course, sponsored by Republicans.

*Writing on Substack, Clyde Rathbone explains why “Modern intellectuals are writing their best ideas on Substack.” And, by and large, yes, you get better ideas (though not necessarily news) on Substack than on the MSM. One problem is that there are too may people to follow, and of course those subscriptions mount up. But there are two new authors that you might want to follow. One is Jon Haidt:

Much of my work is focused on helping academics establish a sustainable publishing strategy on Substack, and I had suggested Jon might consider using Substack as a platform to explore the themes of his book, inviting criticism that could help him refine his manuscript. I am thrilled to say he found merit in the proposal. On his new Substack’s About page, he explains part of his rationale for launching  on Substack:

“I could make this Substack an adjunct to my writing, where I could share findings, theories, and questions while inviting the kind of criticism that I’d rather get before I submit the manuscripts than after each book is published.”

Through his Substack, Jon is modeling a new and exciting way for academics to communicate directly with readers. He’s creating an avenue for collaborative feedback, akin to crowdsourced peer review but with the added advantage of early engagement. He’s also expanding the audience for his upcoming books and raising significant funds for his nonprofit organizations. Jon is not alone.

. . . and:

This week, Richard Dawkins  is launching on Substack.

An esteemed evolutionary biologist, prolific writer, and passionate advocate for science and reason, Richard has captivated audiences with his thought-provoking ideas and unwavering dedication to the pursuit of knowledge.

One thing that will differ from the Twitter account is that, as far as I know, there are no comments on Twitter, so there won’t be the rancor you often see when Richard speaks his mind. On the other hand, ten to one people will still spew stuff on his Twitter feed. I, for one, am looking forward to see what he says.

*In Connecticut, a bear with a sweet tooth gorged itself on 60 cupcakes when nobody was looking. From the AP:

A hungry black bear barged into the garage of a Connecticut bakery, scared several employees and helped itself to 60 cupcakes before ambling away.

Workers at Taste by Spellbound in the town of Avon were loading cakes into a van for delivery on Wednesday when the bear showed up. There are between 1,000 and 1,200 black bears living in Connecticut, the state environmental agency says, with sightings last year in 158 of the state’s 169 towns and cities.

Bakery owner Miriam Stephens wrote in an Instagram post that she heard employee Maureen Williams “screaming bloody murder” and yelling that there was a bear in the garage.

Williams told TV station WTNH that she shouted to scare the bear off but it retreated and came back three times.

Williams said the bear charged at her so she backed out of the garage and ran.

Surveillance video obtained by WTNH shows bakery workers walking around the side of the business to try to scare the bear, but then running away after it scares them.

And here’s that video, which I found on YouTube. The bear has a whole bloody BOX OF CUPCAKES! Let him eat in peace—this bear will never have it so good again!

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili, a carnivore, bemoans carnivory:

Hili: We had a guest.
A: Who?
Hili: A caterpillar, but a starling ate it.
In Polish:
Hili: Mieliśmy gościa.
Ja: Kogo?
Hili: Gąsienicę, ale szpak ją zjadł.


From Merilee:

From America’s Cultural Decline Into Idiocy:

From Jesus of the Day:

From Masih: On trial for reporting in Iran; you can read about them here and here.

A Twitter conversation found by Barry:

I found this one, with a cockatoo hitting the jackpot:

From Malcom, a Bruce Lee cat!

From the Auschwitz Memorial, “she did not survive”:

Tweets from Professor Cobb. First, a snake on a plane!

This guy just added a bunch of cats to his collection:

A Woodstock romance:


14 thoughts on “Friday: Hili dialogue

  1. On this day:
    455 – Sack of Rome: Vandals enter Rome, and plunder the city for two weeks. [I can’t help wondering about what the Vandals would make of the usage of “vandalism” today…]

    1692 – Bridget Bishop is the first person to be tried for witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts; she was found guilty and later hanged.

    1763 – Pontiac’s Rebellion: At what is now Mackinaw City, Michigan, Chippewas capture Fort Michilimackinac by diverting the garrison’s attention with a game of lacrosse, then chasing a ball into the fort. [Really? Dudes, come on…!]

    1780 – The anti-Catholic Gordon Riots in London leave an estimated 300 to 700 people dead.

    1793 – French Revolution: François Hanriot, leader of the Parisian National Guard, arrests 22 Girondists selected by Jean-Paul Marat, setting the stage for the Reign of Terror.

    1835 – P. T. Barnum and his circus start their first tour of the United States.

    1896 – Guglielmo Marconi applies for a patent for his wireless telegraph.

    1919 – Anarchists simultaneously set off bombs in eight separate U.S. cities.

    1924 – U.S. President Calvin Coolidge signs the Indian Citizenship Act into law, granting citizenship to all Native Americans born within the territorial limits of the United States.

    1953 – The coronation of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey becomes the first British coronation and one of the first major international events to be televised.

    1962 – During the FIFA World Cup, police had to intervene multiple times in fights between Chilean and Italian players in one of the most violent games in football history.

    1966 – Surveyor program: Surveyor 1 lands in Oceanus Procellarum on the Moon, becoming the first U.S. spacecraft to soft-land on another world.

    1983 – After an emergency landing because of an in-flight fire, twenty-three passengers aboard Air Canada Flight 797 are killed when a flashover occurs as the plane’s doors open. Because of this incident, numerous new safety regulations are put in place.

    1997 – In Denver, Timothy McVeigh is convicted on 15 counts of murder and conspiracy for his role in the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, in which 168 people died. He was executed four years later.

    2003 – Europe launches its first voyage to another planet, Mars. The European Space Agency’s Mars Express probe launches from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan.

    2012 – Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is sentenced to life imprisonment for his role in the killing of demonstrators during the 2011 Egyptian revolution.

    2022 – Following a request from Ankara, the United Nations officially changed the name of the Republic of Turkey in the organization from what was previously known as “Turkey” to “Türkiye”.

    1740 – Marquis de Sade, French philosopher and politician (d. 1814).

    1840 – Thomas Hardy, English novelist and poet (d. 1928).

    1857 – Edward Elgar, English composer and educator (d. 1934).

    1899 – Lotte Reiniger, German animator and director (d. 1981).

    1904 – Johnny Weissmuller, Hungarian-American swimmer and actor (d. 1984).

    1920 – Johnny Speight, English screenwriter and producer (d. 1998). [Created the character Alf Garnett and, by extension, Archie Bunker.)

    1930 – Pete Conrad, American captain, pilot, and astronaut (d. 1999).

    1934 – Johnny Carter, American singer (d. 2009).

    1941 – Charlie Watts, English drummer, songwriter, and producer (d. 2021).

    1946 – Lasse Hallström, Swedish director, producer, and screenwriter.

    1946 – Peter Sutcliffe, English serial killer (d. 2020).

    1960 – Tony Hadley, English singer-songwriter and actor.

    Death was used to travelling fast. In theory he was already everywhere, waiting for almost anything else. The fastest way to travel is to be there already.
    1882 – Giuseppe Garibaldi, Italian general and politician (b. 1807).

    1941 – Lou Gehrig, American baseball player (b. 1903).

    1962 – Vita Sackville-West, English author and poet (b. 1892). [Parodied as Vera Sackcloth-Vest and played by Miriam Margolyes in BBC Radio 4’s Gloomsbury. Mum knows Miriam through a shared love of the works of Charles Dickens.]

    1990 – Rex Harrison, English actor (b. 1908).

    2005 – Melita Norwood, English civil servant and spy (b. 1912). [She rejected the Soviets’ offer of a pension, and argued that her disclosures of classified work helped to avoid the possibility of a third world war involving the United States, Britain, and the Soviet Union.]

    2008 – Bo Diddley, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1928).

    2017 – Peter Sallis, English actor (b. 1921). [ “No cheese, Gromit. Not a bit in the house.”]

    1. Filed in my “Six Degrees of Separation” file: Johnny Weissmuller was born in Hungary but moved to Chicago at a young age. I’m from the Chicago Hungarian culture. One of my uncles claimed to have swum with Weissmuller. Though I never sought independent verification of his claim, I had no reason to doubt him, hence the entry in my file.🏊🏻‍♂️

    2. Stan Rogers — a wonderful folk artist — also died in a fire aboard Air Canada Flight 797. He evidently was attempting to help another passenger escape.

      1. Canada died a little that day. Stan had been performing at a folk festival in Houston and stayed over an extra day to help out at a workshop for young performers.

        I still miss him.

    3. If I recall correctly there was an amusing story regarding the soft-landing of NASA Surveyor 1: the signal of a successful soft landing was delayed in arrival to the JPL receivers in Pasadena and everyone sat in anticipatory but worried silence. For several years, Tommy Gold, a leading scientist from Cornell had proposed an unpopular theory that the lunar surface was made of very loose and light dust which would never support a landing craft. So after a few minutes one of the landing structure scientists yelled out “it sank Tommy!” Which made Professor Gold feel immediately vindicated…for just about two minutes when the successful landing signal was received and EVERYONE else cheered.

  2. Happy for the bear to enjoy the day, but now that it knows where to find such wonderful goodies, the poor thing will probably have to be relocated (or worse).

  3. Finally, here’s the mistake that NATO made before. Premature guarantees lead to invasions by Russia!

    Fortunately, things are different now. It turns out Russia is a paper tiger and there’s nothing for NATO to fear from them, at least not in conventional terms. That said, Ukraine won’t be able to join NATO until the war is over and I think, even if Ukraine expels Russia from all of its territory, there will be a low level conflict for many years to come.

    1. I’m not sure that, just because their plans went awry in Ukraine, we should count Russia out. They might not win a conventional war against NATO in the long run, but they could do a lot of damage in the Baltic states and to Poland, at least. (I would think a general conflict would pull Belarus in.) And while the media and Western governments would have us believe that Russia has bled herself white, NATO countries have been slighting their own militaries for years, a situation made worse by their sending of equipment and especially munitions to Ukraine. Russia might not be able to win a long war, but it’s not clear that NATO could win a short one.

    2. In my opinion the mistake was NOT helping the Ukraine when Russia invaded and annexed the Crimea. This told Russia that the “West” wasn’t willing to stand up to their illegal and immoral invasions and that they could do this whenever Putin needed a domestic political boost. Lesson learned, Russia tried it again. Zero to do with vague promises of Nato membership. Russia loudly complains and lies all the time.

  4. Yes, I think the Substack model isn’t great. Their needs to be some way to bundle subscribes and get a discount.

    1. It is not surprising that most substack authors have paywalled most of their articles. After all, they expect remuneration for the time it takes to compose their product. Yet, from the point of society this is a disturbing trend. Most people will spend only a limited amount to purchase substack subscriptions. Hence, they will subscribe to authors whose views are most congenial to their own. This further discourages people from being exposed to contrary views. Few liberals or conservatives would pay to read articles by those on the opposite end of the political spectrum. Conversely, they may very well read at least a little of the opposing view if there is no cost to do so. As a result, the substack model of pay-to-read is but another element in contributing to the polarization of society.

  5. Why is there a God? Who created him?

    I remember a kid asking these questions of a pastor. It was on Catholic radio. I don’t know what the standard answer is, but the priest did poorly 🙂 .

    The kid’s parents had approved her calling in, and the question somehow got through the screening.

  6. Speaking of theories, I recently came across this argument to use against flat-earthers: if the earth were flat, cats would have knocked everything off of it by now.

  7. Where can I buy those blueberries? Asking for a friend.

    Speaking of Substack, I highly recommend the “Slow Boring” ‘Stack by Matthew Yglesias and “Astral Codex Ten” by Scott Alexander.

    The picture of the Coliseum cat with the Latin caption is priceless.

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