Saturday: Hili dialogue

June 17, 2023 • 6:45 am

Good morning on cat shabbos: it’s Saturday, June 17, 2023, and a day of cultural appropriation: National Apple Strudel Day. This photo is from a site giving you the top five places in Vienna to eat the pastry. You must have whipped cream and coffee (preferably an Einspänner):

It’s also Dog Dad’s Day (does only one male own a d*g?), Global Garbage Man Day, World Croc Day (the reptile, not the shoe), National Eat Your Vegetables Day, World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, and Icelandic National Day, celebrating the independence of Iceland from Kingdom of Denmark in 1944.

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the June 17 Wikipedia page.

Da Nooz:

*Obituaries first: Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked what became known as the Pentagon papers, has died at 92. He was a hero to my generation:

Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the voluminous, top-secret history of the Vietnam War known as the Pentagon Papers, a disclosure that led to a landmark Supreme Court ruling on press freedoms and enraged the Nixon administration — serving as the catalyst for a series of White House-directed burglaries and “dirty tricks” that snowballed into the Watergate scandal — died June 16 at his home in Kensington, Calif. He was 92.

The family confirmed his death in a statement. Mr. Ellsberg announced in an email to friends and supporters on March 1 that he had pancreatic cancer and had declined chemotherapy. Whatever time he had left, he said, would be spent giving talks and interviews about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the perils of nuclear war and the importance of First Amendment protections.

. . . He went on to embrace a life of advocacy, which extended from his 1971 leak of the Pentagon Papers — a disclosure that led Henry Kissinger, Nixon’s national security adviser, to privately brand him “the most dangerous man in America” — to decades of work advocating for press freedoms and the anti-nuclear movement.

Mr. Ellsberg co-founded the Freedom of the Press Foundation and championed the work of a new generation of digital leakers and whistleblowers, including Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning. He also continued to release secret government documents, including files about nuclear war that he had copied while working on the military’s “mutually assured destruction” strategy during the Cold War, around the same time he leaked the study that made him perhaps the most famous whistleblower in American history.

“When I copied the Pentagon Papers in 1969,” he wrote in the email announcing his cancer diagnosis, “I had every reason to think I would be spending the rest of my life behind bars. It was a fate I would gladly have accepted if it meant hastening the end of the Vietnam War, unlikely as that seemed.”

That, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, is a brave man. Ceiling Cat made the wrong choice, letting Kissinger live while killing Ellsberg at the young age of 92.

*The Justice Department has issued a damning report on the Minneapolis Police Department, accusing it of systemic biases that culminated in the highly publicized murder of George Floyd.

The Minneapolis Police Department engaged in the systemic use of excessive force and discriminated against racial minorities in the years leading up to the police killing of George Floyd, a Black man, in 2020, federal authorities said Friday.

In a scathing 89-page report released after a more than two-year federal civil rights investigation, the Justice Department excoriated the Minneapolis police force as an agency that put officers and local residents at unnecessary risk and failed to act upon repeated warnings about biased behavior.

Specifically, the report criticizes the Minneapolis police for: using “dangerous tactics and weapons” — including neck restraints and Tasers — against people for petty offense or no crimes; punishing residents who criticized the police; patrolling neighborhoods differently based on their racial makeup; and discriminating against those with behavioral health disabilities.

The report called the department’s accountability structures “fundamentally flawed,” with internal misconduct investigations getting lost in an “opaque maze” as senior managers dismissed legitimate complaints without investigation. At times, investigators also routinely mischaracterize the allegations, the report said.

Here we have a barrel at least half full of rotten apples, and it’s good Garland undertook this investigation. Although Floyd’s friends and relatives were distraught, I hope it’s consolation that he spawned a huge movement to promote civil rights (and reform police). Also, it will help people start to trust the local cops.

*Nellie Bowles is back with her engaging weekly news summary at The Free Press. This week’s is called “TGIF: Fortune does not favor the brave,” and I’ll steal the usual three items:

→ Student loan payments to resume: The years-long pause on paying back student loans is lifting, sending the White House into spasms. You see: Biden staffers’ favorite constituency is educated cultural elites with student loans. Which is why this line in the Politico story stood out to me: “White House officials have described the agreement as a relatively narrow one, noting that it ends only the current payment pause. They’ve noted, for example, that it would not prevent the Education Department from pausing payments in response to future national emergencies or if it’s otherwise justified under existing law.” Thank god! I think the climate emergency is calling, and it says it needs debt-free modernist literature PhDs and all mortgages (in Fort Greene, Rockridge, and Silverlake) to be forgiven.

→ “The power, it’s just not comparable”: This week a trans athlete named Austin Killips, who was competing in a women’s cycling match, won by a full five minutes, winning $5,000. In May, Austin won the top prize in another women’s cycling race—taking home $35,000. Austin calls critics “ghouls.” Obviously anyone critical of this is a “bigot.”

I recommend watching the video of the woman, Paige Onweller, who came in second place describing the race right afterward: “Yeah, just kind of couldn’t match Austin. You know, the power, it’s just, not comparable.” As my lesbian tennis leader Martina Navratilova says: “What a joke.

If you’re interested in studying trans participation in women’s sports, get ready to get a big F on your paper, which is what happened to a young woman last week. Her mistake? Using the term biological women in a paper on women’s sports. Last bit on this: public opinion is changing here, per a new Gallup poll out this week.

Here’s victor Austin, and then Paige Onweller, who refers only obliquely to Austin’s “power”:

This is hilarious:

→ Anti-cop ice cream shop sues Seattle for not having enough cops: This week, Molly Moon’s Ice Cream filed a lawsuit against Seattle for allowing antifa to take over a neighborhood and claim it as their own—they called it CHOP—while the city cheered and agreed to give it to them. A lot of shops have sued Seattle for this, but Molly’s Moon is the best one because they were hardcore in favor of CHOP. The new autonomous zone was “beautiful” and “peaceful,” Molly Moon’s Instagram account wrote at the time. And Molly, the shop’s founder, still wants to make it really clear that she loves antifa and hates cops but also antifa made her life hell (city, give Molly money please) and there were no cops when there should have been cops (more money, thank you). From the lawsuit:

*Robert G. Bowers, 50. the man who killed 11 people and wounded 7 in a 2018 attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, has been found guilty on 63 counts, and the verdict makes him eligible for the death penalty.

A 12-member jury in federal court in Pittsburgh convicted Robert G. Bowers, 50, of Baldwin, Pa., on all 63 counts, including hate crimes and weapons violations, after two weeks of searing testimony from dozens of prosecution witnesses. Among those who testified were survivors, including police officers, who had been shot during the attack.

Prosecutors also played haunting 911 emergency calls, during which victims could be heard screaming and struggling to breathe before dying amid rapid gunfire from Bowers, who used an AR-15 assault rifle and three handguns.

Five police officers were wounded as they attempted to apprehend Bowers during the attack on Oct. 27, 2018, in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood, a longtime Jewish enclave. Bowers fatally shot six victims in the head and fired about 100 rounds of ammunition in all, prosecutors said.

“The defendant turned this sacred ground of worship into a hunting ground,” prosecutor Mary Hahn told the jurors in her closing arguments Thursday, according to local news accounts.

The jury deliberated for a total of about five hours over two days before reaching the verdict.

As always, I’m opposed to the death penalty, even in Bowers’s case. Lock him up for life without parole instead (unless for some bizarre reason he can be rehabilitated).

*In his Substack column this week,  “The fault is not in their stars but in themselves“, Andrew Sullivan ponders parallels between the bad behaviors of Donald Trump and Boris Johnson.

And now we have Donald Trump and Boris Johnson. And the ghost of Bill Bennett seems to have a point, doesn’t he? This past week saw two official reports into the abuse of their respective offices, and their lavish lying about it. The Smith indictment alleges that Trump knew full well that the documents he took from the White House and stored haphazardly at Mar-a-Lago and Bedminster were highly classified and not his own. But rather than hand everything back, Trump ignored the best legal advice, lied to his own lawyers, ordered an underling to move boxes to conceal them from the FBI, and threw out his usual barrage of excuses, distractions and falsehoods.

In an eerily similar fashion, the British parliamentary committee set up to investigate whether Boris Johnson lied to the House of Commons about his breaking of social distancing rules during Covid, published its final report this week. It’s as authoritative as the Trump indictment — first-hand witnesses, photos, sworn testimony, due process. And it too focuses on a very basic fact: just as Trump knew he was not authorized to keep top secret documents, so Johnson knew that crowded office-parties were quite clearly banned across the UK. But this awareness of the rules did not stop either man from flagrantly breaking them — and then complaining of a “witch-hunt” when called to account.

. . . And it’s deeply telling that the bulk of the charges against Johnson are about how he responded to the investigation, just as much of Smith’s case rests on what Trump did after he was told there was legal scrutiny of his official records. These two citizens start with a presumption that they are exempt from all rules, and then compound it with perjury and clumsy obstruction because they simply cannot admit guilt. (And neither was framed. A majority of the parliamentary committee were Tories; and the chief accusers of Trump are the national security apparatus and the FBI, which ten minutes ago were regarded as GOP-leaning institutions.)

Overwhelming self-entitlement is just at the core of who Trump and Johnson are. It is their character. . . . .

. . . And as with Trump and his bizarre behavior with “his boxes,” it’s very hard to see some profound, malign motive here in pursuit of something important. It’s just mindless egotism, married with an infinite capacity for deceit.

. . . And there is almost nothing in the narrative of these men’s late careers that isn’t exactly replicated in every previous episode of their lives. A mature democracy will throw up these characters every now and again, and use them. But a healthy one will also test them, and cast them out if they threaten the integrity of the system as a whole. The Brits and Tories have done that, in the end, with Boris — and it speaks well of the remaining integrity of their democracy.

The GOP needs to do the same with Trump. And soon.

Nope; won’t happen. If it does, it will be because Trump is convicted. And I still say that Trump is more horrible than Johnson, even if both were determined by the laws of physics (their environments and their genes) to be horrible.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is actually being HELPFUL!

Hili: There will be plenty of raspberries.
A: You are not eating them.
Hili: But I know that you like them.
In Polish:
Hili: Będzie dużo malin.
Ja: Ty ich nie jesz.
Hili: Ale wiem, że wy je lubicie.

And a photo of Baby Kulka:



A bed I’d like to have from Pet Jokes & Puns:

From the Absurd Sign Project 2.0:

From Jesus of the Day:

From Masih, the power of religious dogma that is Iranian law:

From Malcolm: a new world record solving a Rubik’s cube. This guy is amazing!

From Pyers, who gives an intro:

There has been a highly entertaining Twitter thread where a game developer for the NYT announced proudly that she had devised a game where words in a 4 x 4 grid have to linked together with some connection. Red herrings are present to confuse etc etc …There is one slight problem.  This game is identical to a round in the fiendishly difficult BBC quiz called “Only Connect”…For info: Victoria Coren Mitchell  (who replies) is the host of the BBC show…

I found this one, a wonderful man rescuing an eagle:

From the Auschwitz Memorial, a ten-year-old Jewish girl from Italy gassed upon arrival. Today would have been her 90th birthday. You can see the full photo by clicking the picture.

Tweets from Matthew, the first one shows a release of Scottish wildcats, though I’ve never been completely convinced that the “Scottish wildcat” is a genuinely wild subspecies of Felis silvestris rather than feral tabbies:

Another bird rescue, an emu as far as I can tell. Sound up.

Okay, you can read about the rector here:

24 thoughts on “Saturday: Hili dialogue

  1. On this day:
    1579 – Sir Francis Drake claims a land he calls Nova Albion (modern California) for England.

    1631 – Mumtaz Mahal dies during childbirth. Her husband, Mughal emperor Shah Jahan I, will spend the next 17 years building her mausoleum, the Taj Mahal.

    1843 – The Wairau Affray, the first serious clash of arms between Māori and British settlers in the New Zealand Wars, takes place. [The clash between New Zealanders and reality is now underway…]

    1876 – American Indian Wars: Battle of the Rosebud: One thousand five hundred Sioux and Cheyenne led by Crazy Horse beat back General George Crook’s forces at Rosebud Creek in Montana Territory.

    1877 – American Indian Wars: Battle of White Bird Canyon: The Nez Perce defeat the U.S. Cavalry at White Bird Canyon in the Idaho Territory.

    1885 – The Statue of Liberty arrives in New York Harbour.

    1901 – The College Board introduces its first standardized test, the forerunner to the SAT. [Bigots!]

    1922 – Portuguese naval aviators Gago Coutinho and Sacadura Cabral complete the first aerial crossing of the South Atlantic.

    1939 – Last public guillotining in France: Eugen Weidmann, a convicted murderer, is executed in Versailles outside the Saint-Pierre prison. [The actor Christopher Lee, then 17, witnessed the execution. Guillotining behind closed doors continued in France until 1977.]

    1940 – World War II: RMS Lancastria is attacked and sunk by the Luftwaffe near Saint-Nazaire, France. At least 3,000 are killed in Britain’s worst maritime disaster.

    1944 – Iceland declares independence from Denmark and becomes a republic.

    1960 – The Nez Perce tribe is awarded $4 million for 7 million acres (28,000 km2) of land undervalued at four cents/acre in the 1863 treaty.

    1963 – The United States Supreme Court rules 8–1 in Abington School District v. Schempp against requiring the reciting of Bible verses and the Lord’s Prayer in public schools.

    1967 – Nuclear weapons testing: China announces a successful test of its first thermonuclear weapon.

    1971 – U.S. President Richard Nixon in a televised press conference called drug abuse “America’s public enemy number one”, starting the War on drugs.

    1972 – Watergate scandal: Five White House operatives are arrested for burgling the offices of the Democratic National Committee during an attempt by members of the administration of President Richard M. Nixon to illegally wiretap the political opposition as part of a broader campaign to subvert the democratic process.

    1985 – Space Shuttle program: STS-51-G mission: Space Shuttle Discovery launches carrying Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the first Arab and first Muslim in space, as a payload specialist.

    1987 – With the death of the last individual of the species, the dusky seaside sparrow becomes extinct.

    1991 – Apartheid: The South African Parliament repeals the Population Registration Act which required racial classification of all South Africans at birth.

    1992 – A “joint understanding” agreement on arms reduction is signed by U.S. President George Bush and Russian President Boris Yeltsin (this would be later codified in START II).

    1994 – Following a televised low-speed highway chase, O. J. Simpson is arrested for the murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman.

    2021 – Juneteenth National Independence Day, was signed into law by President Joe Biden, to become the first federal holiday established since Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1983.

    1882 – Igor Stravinsky, Russian pianist, composer, and conductor (d. 1971).

    1898 – M. C. Escher, Dutch illustrator (d. 1972).

    1919 – Beryl Reid, English actress (d. 1996).

    1930 – Cliff Gallup, American guitarist (d. 1988). [Gallup played on 35 tracks with Gene Vincent, including his biggest hit, “Be-Bop-A-Lula”, and established a reputation as one of the most technically proficient guitarists in early rock and roll.]

    1936 – Ken Loach, English director, producer, and screenwriter.

    1943 – Barry Manilow, American singer-songwriter and producer.

    1944 – Chris Spedding, English singer-songwriter and guitarist.

    1945 – Ken Livingstone, English politician, 1st Mayor of London.

    1945 – Eddy Merckx, Belgian cyclist and sportscaster.

    1980 – Venus Williams, American tennis player.

    This was turning out to be the longest winter in living memory, so long, in fact, that living memory itself was being shortened as some of the older citizens succumbed:
    1982 – Roberto Calvi, Italian banker (b. 1920). [It seems unlikely that “God’s Banker” killed himself, although no-one has been brought to justice.]

    1996 – Thomas Kuhn, American historian and philosopher (b. 1922).

    2008 – Cyd Charisse, American actress and dancer (b. 1922).

    2012 – Rodney King, American victim of police brutality (b. 1965).

    2019 – Mohamed Morsi, Egyptian professor and politician, first elected president of Egypt after Egyptian revolution (b. 1951).

    2021 – Kenneth Kaunda, Zambian educator and politician, first president of Zambia (b. 1924).

    1. 1963 – The United States Supreme Court rules 8–1 in Abington School District v. Schempp against requiring the reciting of Bible verses and the Lord’s Prayer in public schools.

      I count four votes — quite possibly five and maybe even six — to send Schempp the way of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey should a test case raising the issue reach SCOTUS.

      1. Yes. I am afraid that it is now a different world than we enjoyed for most of our life. Thanks to Jerry and the many commenters here who continue to fight the good fight! When I taught high school in the early 70’s, Schemp and Tinker (which may also go away) were very important to me.

  2. You must have whipped cream and coffee [with your strudel]

    That’s the way the Nazi Col. Hans Landa took his strudel in Inglourious Basterds:

  3. This week a trans athlete named Austin Killips, who was competing in a women’s cycling match, won by a full five minutes, winning $5,000.
    Killips’ time would have placed him an hour behind the winner if he had competed in the men’s race. Mediocre men stealing women’s glory and prize money should be ashamed of themselves.

  4. Ellsberg is a hero and so too the Washington Post. Together they made know to the public, stupid as it is, the real truth of the Vietnam War and what a loser it was. The exact same condition is true of the Afghanistan war 20 year years of dumping money down a mineshaft. A book was done on that as well, appropriately the Afghanistan papers.

  5. When someone complains of a witch hunt, the pertinent question is: is that person indeed a witch?
    I keep coming back to this: everyone who voted for Trump or Johnson and has more than the barest minimum of brain cells could see that they are irredeemably terrible human beings. And yet, they came to power. Why does this keep happening? In countries with tens or hundreds of millions of people, surely it must be possible to find someone with a better combination of intelligence, ambition, kindness and integrity than these clowns?

  6. When should a person be lionized as a hero and another reviled as a traitor? I ask this because when one compares the lives of Daniel Ellsberg and Edward Snowden, there appears to be strong similarities in their actions that gained them worldwide notoriety. Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers about American misdeeds in Vietnam while Snowden leaked documents about the activities of the NSA. Ellsberg escaped prosecution and for half a century was an activist against the errors of government while Snowden escaped to Russia and became a citizen there. Both claimed to be whistleblowers.

    It is unclear to me why that upon his death, Ellsberg is remembered as a brave man, who performed a noble and dangerous act in the public interest while Snowden is hardly looked upon that why. Why the inconsistency? Is it because at time of Ellsberg’s leak to the current day, the Vietnam War was viewed by most as “bad” while Snowden’s actions supposedly jeopardized current national security even though his leaks portrayed the U.S. government in less than a favorable light? Thus, the argument would be that Ellsberg’s leaks were good and Snowden’s bad. I’m still trying to figure out if I buy this as I try to evaluate the actions of these two men.

    Interestingly, in an Ellsberg obituary in Politico, David Cohen writes:

    For decades, whenever a whistleblower leaked secrets, Ellsberg would invariably be asked to comment. “I think he’s done an enormous service, incalculable service,” Ellsberg said of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in June 2013. “It can’t be overestimated to this democracy. It gives us a chance.”

    Journalist Barton Gellman chronicled in “Dark Mirror: Edward Snowden and the American Surveillance State” an electronic meeting he arranged between Snowden and the 82-year-old Ellsberg, whom he described as still having “the bearing of a raptor on the hunt.”

    Ellsberg and Snowden were a mutual admiration society, praising each other. “I desperately want more Snowdens,” Ellsberg told Snowden, who was living in exile in Russia.

    “What distinguished whistleblowers from their peers was intolerance of belief without action,” Gellman wrote.

    So, due to a twist of fate, Ellsberg and Snowed are likely to be remembered very differently.

    1. I have to think allot of the differences are the subject of the “leaks”. Everyone can easily see the subject regarding Ellsberg. Snowden’s are more vague or less interesting. From the laws perspective they should probably be treated the same.

    2. The reason for this difference is that, after the Vietnam war, the military-industrial-espionage complex really cracked down on the news media. Witness what happened in the run-up to the Iraq invasion, when the media unquestioningly accepted everything fed to them by the Bush administration. In the present day, I submit that there is much about the Ukraine-Russia conflict that is being hidden from the public, truth being the first casualty of war and all that. Mind you, I despise Putin and all his works, but we won’t get a true picture of this conflict until years after it’s over.

  7. I think Paulina’s owl may be a long-eared one (Asio otus). According to my various bird identification books for Europe, the young (which this one certainly is) already have small ear tufts and red eyes, unlike most other owls that live in Poland. Adults are about 35 cm. tall. The picture of a juvenile in one of my German books looks exactly like Paulina’s photograph.

  8. Nellie Bowles linked to the twitter feed of a bike racer that maintains a growing master (can I use that word?) list of women’s races won by trans-women. The headline for the list quotes what many trans activists claim:

    “This is a tiny group of people. It’s not an issue. It hardly affects anyone.”

    Bike manufacturers in the 90’s began to promote certain bike models as built for women. However, there was often no real change to the design. Critics called this the “pink it and shrink it design strategy.” It looks like trans-woman bike racers are following the same strategy.

    1. If “[I]t hardly affects anyone”, then let it affect the “tiny group of” trans-women athletes rather than the much larger group of women athletes.

    2. An argument that states that “X should be permitted because it hardly affects anyone” needs to include a line “… but this many would be too much” and an admission that, under those circumstances, X should no longer be permitted.

      Anyone who’s familiar with the justifications for substituting “gender identity” for sex knows that the above argument is bullsh*t. It’s purely tactical, in that in practice there’s no magic number or percentage of trans people in opposite sex spaces or getting the more extreme versions of “gender-affirming health care” which will roll back a claimed Right. Once a single Transwoman wins a woman’s race — and is celebrated as a pioneer for Trans Rights — a Woman’s Olympic team consisting of only Transwomen may never occur, but it would be considered Just Fine if it does. The world needed changing.

      When I argued for Gay Marriage I never wheedled “c’mon, it’s only going to be a few” because that lead away from the point that it was a reasonable change to make. Bringing up percentages would have been disingenuous on my part — or clueless

      1. You can make a principled argument against gay marriage that the benefits a couple gains from being recognized as married impose costs on others. This occurs chiefly in the U.S. tax system where married couples can file joint returns which usually saves them tax, and in the spouse-survivor provisions of defined-benefit pension plans everywhere. Increasing the number of people defined as married has implications for the opposite-sex spouses already defined as married who must now share this benefit with people who weren’t previously recognized as qualifying spouses. I think we decided to sweep these costs under the rug because the dollar amounts were modest. If same-sex marriage had been seen to be very costly there might have been greater opposition even from people disposed to be sympathetic to homosexuals generally…right up to the point where it costs them money. Changing the definition of marriage to include same-sex unions might have been a right too far if it destabilized pension plans. Defined-benefit pension plans have disappeared from the private sector. Did same-sex survivor benefits accelerate their demise? The pensioners’s spouse is now the pensioner’s responsibility, not that of the other beneficiaries of the pension plan.

        With trans athletes, and trans interlopers in shelters, prisons, and change rooms, one is too many. Because even one can do a lot of damage as well as institutionalizing an untruth.

  9. “Icelandic National Day, celebrating the independence of Iceland from Kingdom of Denmark in 1944.”

    In Iceland, it’s called þjóðhátíðardagurinn.

    1. I happened to be in Iceland one year on the 17th of June and went downtown Reykjavik to view the celebrations. It was cold and windy. People were wearing wool hats and scarves. When I commented on the cold day to an Icelander, she said: “Welcome to spring in Iceland: wind and rain. Then comes summer: rain and wind.” Magical place though. Loved my time there.

  10. Max Park’s time is amazing, but he didn’t “solve” the cube in just over 3 seconds – he first had up to 15 seconds to study it and come up with a set of moves to unscramble. Why doesn’t the timer start when a contestant first sees the cube? Is this some new woke definition of “solve”?

  11. 1876 – American Indian Wars: Battle of the Rosebud: One thousand five hundred Sioux and Cheyenne led by Crazy Horse beat back General George Crook’s forces at Rosebud Creek in Montana Territory.

    I shall never be able to watch “Citizen Kane” through the same, innocent, eyes again.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *