Sunday: Hili dialogue

June 25, 2023 • 6:45 am

It’s Sunday, June 25, 2023, and remember that “the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27). But the Sabbath that was made for cats was yesterday. It’s also National Strawberry Parfait Day. Have one, as strawberries are now in season.

Source and recipe

It’s also America’s Kids Day, National Catfish Day, Statehood Day in Virginia, Bourdain Day (everyone’s favorite foodie was born on this day in 1956, but killed himself in 2018), World Vitiligo Day, Global Beatles Day (yes!!), which “marks the day that the first live satellite production was broadcasted globally. It was a British program titled Our World, and it ended with the Beatles’ performance of ‘All You Need Is Love’. Artists from nineteen countries were included in the program, and it is estimated that at least 400 million people watched it, which was the largest television audience up until that time.”

Readers will surely know that I regard the Beatles as the best rock group ever and will brook no dissent.  And I’ve mentioned this song as my favorite Beatles song, though, given their many wonderful compositions, this was a hard choice. But to celebrate Global Beatles Day, here’s “A Day in the Life“, the last song on side two of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.  It’s a true Lennon/McCartney collaboration; each wrote parts of the song. I bet you can guess which ones (the lugubrious bits are always John, and he usually sings them.)

I still have my copy of the Sgt. Pepper album from 1967 (see below), and as I wrote ten years ago:

. . . the album, which came out in 1967, is dear to me because it was while listening to the song that I had an near-instant conversion to atheism (read the story in the Chicago Tribune here).

No popular song written today comes anywhere close to this one—or to most of the Beatles songs starting with the Rubber Soul album.

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the June 25 Wikipedia page.

Da Nooz:

*Now THIS was unexpected: Prigozhin’s mercenary Wagner forces, claiming they’d been attacked in Ukraine by Russians, were marching on Moscow! But just as I wrote this, Prigozhin said his troops were turning around after intercession by Belarus. It’s a godawful mess over there, and as I write this in the early evening of Saturday, it will probably all be different when I publish it. Have a gander:

The Russian mercenary leader Yevgeny V. Prigozhin announced that his troops marching toward Moscow would turn around, shortly after the leader of Belarus said he was in talks with Mr. Prigozhin on a deal to “de-escalate tensions.”

The negotiations between Mr. Prigozhin and President Aleksandr G. Lukashenko of Belarus opened the possibility that the rapidly evolving security crisis embroiling the Russian government could be resolved without armed fighting. But Mr. Prigozhin did not immediately say whether his forces were leaving the southern city of Rostov-on-Don, where he has seized critical military and civilian buildings.

In a brief address on Saturday morning, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia called the mutiny an act of treason by people who were delivering “a stab in the back of our country and our people.”

Mr. Prigozhin, after lashing out on Friday at the Russian military over its handling of the war in Ukraine, took control of Rostov in the early morning and began moving his armed military convoys toward the Russian capital. Mr. Putin, in turn, scrambled security forces in southwestern Russia and Moscow.

The situation shifted quickly late Saturday when Mr. Lukashenko’s office, in a statement, said that Mr. Prigozhin had agreed to the Belarusian leader’s proposal “to stop the movement of armed persons of the Wagner company.” In an audio statement posted to Telegram shortly afterward, Mr. Prigozhin said he was “turning around” to avoid Russian bloodshed and “leaving in the opposite direction to field camps in accordance with the plan.”

In fact, NPR says that Russia called for the arrest of Prigozhin and started a criminal investigation. I was sad when Wagner turned around, as this is one thing that really would have messed up Russia’s plans to engulf Ukraine. Now Wagner may be back fighting against Zelinsky. But surely the Russians and the Wagner group are now mutually suspicious, and this cannot help Putin’s campaign. The man and his authority are severely weakened.

*CNN recounts how Western leaders were caught with their pants down over this insurrection. They thought Wagner would go after Russia, but didn’t anticipate the change of plan would be so quick nor that it would reverse itself:

US intelligence officials believe that Yevgeny Prigozhin, chief of the private Wagner military group, had been planning a major challenge to Russia’s military leadership for quite some time, but it was unclear what the ultimate aim would be, three people familiar with the matter told CNN.

Intelligence officials briefed congressional leaders known as the Gang of Eight earlier this week concerning Wagner group movements and equipment buildups near Russia, two of the people said.

US and Western intelligence officials saw signs that Prigozhin was making preparations for such a move, including by massing weapons and ammunition, one Western intelligence official and another person familiar with the intelligence said.

A source familiar with the intelligence said “it all happened very quickly,” and it was difficult to discern how serious Prigozhin was about threatening the Russian military and where he would take his troops.

Prigozhin had vowed Friday to retaliate against Russian military leadership over an alleged strike on a Wagner military camp and claimed control of military facilities in two Russian cities. Yet by Saturday afternoon, he published an audio recording claiming he was turning his forces around from a march toward Moscow, just hours after launching an insurrection that posed the greatest threat to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s authority in decades.

Apparently there has been tension between Wagner and Russia for some time:

. . .As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine stalled earlier this year, US officials determined last year that there was an internal power struggle underway between the Wagner group and the Russian government, CNN previously reported. However, US and European intelligence officials did not predict that Prigozhin would move to storm the Russian region of Rostov with his forces, according to sources familiar with the intelligence.

“It’s so hard to tell how much was talk and how much was real,” one of the sources told CNN. “The tension had been building for so long without anything actually happening.”

NATO and other U.S. allies have reaffirmed their support for Ukraine, but of course what else are they going to do? Ukraine is marginally better off than it was two days ago.

*It’s been a year since the Dobbs decision overturned Roe v. Wade, and the states rushed to outlaw abortions—most successfully. Is there anything the Biden administration can do to halt or even reverse this trend? Katie Rogers and 

Passing federal legislation, [Biden] told the group, was “the only thing that will actually restore the rights that were just taken away,” recalled Jen Klein, the director of the White House Gender Policy Council.

But if the prospect of codifying Roe’s protections in Congress seemed like a long shot a year ago, it is all but impossible to imagine now, with an ascendant far-right bloc in the House and a slim Democratic majority in the Senate.

Instead, with the battle over abortion rights turning to individual states, officials in the Biden administration are working with a limited set of tools, including executive orders and the galvanizing power of the presidency, to argue that Republicans running in next year’s elections would impose even further restrictions on abortion.

. . .The White House has argued that Mr. Biden is reaching the legal limits of his powers through executive actions. On Friday, his latest executive action in response to the Dobbs decision ordered federal agencies to look for ways to ensure and expand access to birth control.

Mr. Biden previously has issued a memorandum to protect access to abortion medication at pharmacies and taken action to protect patients who cross state lines to seek care. The Justice Department has taken legal action against some states restricting abortion. And the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the abortion-pill drug mifepristone was quickly challenged in the courts. (In April, the Supreme Court issued an order to preserve access to the pill as litigation continues.)

*The AP is an old hand at using headlines to distort the news against Israel. Here’s an example I just found from yesterday (click to read):

And then the first two paragraphs. Note that every headline from the anti-Israel MSM is of the form “Israel did X to Palestinian Y”.

A Palestinian assailant opened fire at an Israeli military checkpoint in the West Bank on Saturday before being shot and killed, Israeli police said. Elsewhere in the occupied territory, settlers rampaged through a Palestinian village, hurling stones, spraying bullets and setting fire to homes.

The Palestinian gunman approached Israeli troops stationed at the Qalandiya checkpoint outside Jerusalem early in the morning, pulled out an M16 rifle and opened fire, the Israeli police said.

Israeli security forces said they shot back, killing the suspected assailant. According to the Israeli rescue service, two security guards in their 20s were hospitalized with minor wounds — at least one from bullet fragments. There was no immediate word on the attacker’s identity.

Later on Saturday, residents of the Palestinian village of Umm Safa said that some 50 Israeli settlers armed with rifles and flammable liquid stormed through the streets and tried to set fire to at least five homes with people inside. The Israeli military said it sent security forces to the scene and arrested an Israeli citizen.

At least they say that the Palestinian was a “gunman” in the headline, but of course they could have said “Palestinian terrorist killed while attacking Israeli checkpoint.” The “agent” in these headlines is always the Israelis, and only later do you find out that their attack was provoked.

What about the rampaging villagers? Well, yes, that occurred, and here’s the AP’s account:

Later on Saturday, residents of the Palestinian village of Umm Safa said that some 50 Israeli settlers armed with rifles and flammable liquid stormed through the streets and tried to set fire to at least five homes with people inside. The Israeli military said it sent security forces to the scene and arrested an Israeli citizen.

Palestinian rescue teams said they evacuated small children who were suffocating and trapped inside a burning house.

Some settlers also opened fire at civilians and medics. A local station, Palestine TV, said settlers fired at Mohammed Radi, its correspondent covering the attacks, shattering his camera. The Palestinian Red Crescent said that one of its medics was wounded by gunfire.

Another two medics were wounded when settlers threw a large rock at an ambulance, which crashed through the windshield.

Israeli settlers also shot and killed a horse in the village, said resident Ibrahim Ebiat. “This is pure terror,” he said. “People are scared and angry.”

Now, speaking of pure terror (which didn’t result in death, except to a horse), why the rampage. Of course: it was in response to pure terror by Palestinian terrorists, who had killed four civilians a few days before:

Two Palestinian gunmen killed four Israelis and wounded four more on Tuesday near the Eli settlement in the northern West Bank, Israeli medics reported.

The victims were identified as Elisha Anteman, 17, and Ofer Fayerman, 64, both of Eli; Harel Masoud, 21, of Yad Binyamin; and Nachman Shmuel Mordoff, 17, of Ahiya.

According to Israeli media, one of the gunmen, Muhannad Faleh, was shot dead by an Israeli civilian at the scene of the shooting. The other gunman, Khaled Mustafa Sabah, fled the scene and was killed by Israeli special forces in the town of Tubas, around 18 miles north of Eli.

These were unarmed civilians. Should the Israelis have rampaged in response? No, not in my view. But, on the other hand, Should terrorists be killing young and old Israeli civilians? Not on your life—or anybody’s? But only way down in the article do you find the one explanatory sentence:

Two Palestinian gunmen then killed four Israeli civilians at a gas station before being shot and killed.

If you read the MSM about the conflict, you’ll see that this kind of coverage is pervasive, and is always written to make the Israelis look worse, even though all their actions were in response to terrorism. There must be some kind of style sheet about how to write these article to hide the real situation. If Palestinian terrorism stopped (and no, there’s no excuse for killing civilians), then there would be no shooting of Palestinians by the IDF, nor reprisal rioting by settlers (and again, I don’t think they should have done it).

*Sam Howe Verhovek, a writer for National Geographic, puts in a word for Stockton Rush, the late designer of the ill-fated “Titan” submersible that imploded last week; his piece is “Before condemning the Titan’s pilot, consider his side of the story.” This in response to the whole world demonizing Rush for taking people down (including himself) in a craft that some people considered dangers and not properly tested. Verhovek notes that this is part of the history of exploration, though he doesn’t completely excuse it:

The British-built de Havilland Comet, the first jet airliner ever to fly, was a sleek, beautiful, fatally flawed machine. Within two years of entering service in 1952, three Comets blew apart in the sky, killing everyone aboard. But when a court of inquiry convened to determine the cause, the man who a decade before had committed his nation to winning the race to jet-powered passenger flight lectured his inquisitors before they could even get to the first technical question.

“You know, and I know, the cause of this accident,” thundered Lord Brabazon of Tara, a daring aviator who held the very first official pilot’s license in the United Kingdom. “It is due to the adventurous, pioneering spirit of our race. It has been like that in the past, it is like that in the present, and I hope it will be in the future.”

He does have a point; there will be accidents, and sometimes they’re unpredictable. With the wisdom of hindsight, we can always find somebody to point the finger at. Verhovek:

. . . Having spent a bit of time with Rush and his wife, Wendy, just last month during a reporting trip in Newfoundland and Labrador, and having gotten a good look at Titan when Rush showed me around the craft as it sat in dry-dock maintenance there before its first exploration of the season, the criticism struck me as cartoonishly one-dimensional.

Rush was tried and convicted in absentia by many in the media as we all waited to find out whether his craft was catastrophically pulled apart, incapacitated on the ocean floor or, most optimistically, lost somewhere on the surface of the sea. I think the least we could do, now that we know for sure he will never be able to respond to his critics, is to contemplate his “side of the story,” as we say in the news business.

But he does find some culpablity before he continues to his conclusion:

First, though, let me come ahead with some by now familiar observations. There is no escaping his responsibility. His clear faith in his machine — or his impatience — played a role in balancing risk and judgment, and thus led directly to his death and those of his clients.

. . .As for Rush, the families of the other four men who perished might indeed blame him for their deaths, though each passenger signed a release that, according to one previous passenger on Titan, explicitly mentioned the possibility of death no less than three times on the first page.

When I saw Rush in Newfoundland, he struck me as no less confident in his machine than Lord Brabazon was in the Comet, of which he declared: “Everything within the realm of human knowledge and wisdom was put into this machine.” Rush told me all about the titanium in Titan, the “NASA-grade carbon fiber” wrapped around it, the redundancies built in — in case of emergency.

. . .Was Rush reckless? Given the outcome, there’s a strong case for yes, though a full inquiry may yet exonerate him to some degree. But if an experimental approach to discovery is a crime, then we might as well put the Wright brothers, Charles Lindbergh and Apollo’s lunar-bound astronauts on trial. All of them took frightful risks that could have as easily ended in disaster as in triumph.

So, rather than simply condemning Rush for the Titan tragedy, let’s give the man his due here: He believed in his machine, so much so that he was willing to get into it time after time and travel more than two miles down to the ocean’s depths. That’s the kind of faith that can get you killed, but it can also change the world.

I’m not completely satisfied with this attempt at exculpation. Those passengers paid a quarter million dollars each to go down in that sub. Yes, they signed releases, and yes, we have the wisdom of hindsight, but paying passengers (who signed releases. to be sure) are owed a little bit more due diligence than the person “changing the world”. And did Rush really change the world? That is debatable. There were already submersibles, and you can explore the Titanic using unmanned vehicles. The best one can say is that Rush’s rush to exploration may lead to better designs that save lives in the future.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is paranoid:

A: What are you doing there?
Hili: I’m hiding from enemies.
In Polish:

Ja: Co tam robisz?
Hili: Ukrywam się przed wrogami.

And a photo of the lovely Szaron:


From Merilee:

From Thomas:

From Pet Jokes and Puns (or GTFO):

From Masihj, protests in Baluchistan (the western part of this region is in Iran):

From Simon, who loves Conway’s content:

From Merilee. Art Cat is NOT happy!

From Luana. Is it really necessary to teach this stuff to 16 year old kids? The CBC verifies the story, and you can see all the cards here. Have a look, though they’re NSFW.

From Barry. Crikey!  What if you found that in your tomato? (It looks like a cockroach.) It’s a gardener’s version of “Alien.”

From the Auschwitz Memorial, a girl put in the camps to die at age 14:

Tweets from Dr. Cobb. First, coincidences, that’s all:

The designers are either pig-ignorant or color blind:

Cat wins, as always. Sound up for the music:

57 thoughts on “Sunday: Hili dialogue

  1. On this day:
    1678 – Venetian Elena Cornaro Piscopia is the first woman awarded a doctorate of philosophy when she graduates from the University of Padua.

    1848 – A photograph of the June Days uprising becomes the first known instance of photojournalism.

    1876 – Battle of the Little Bighorn and the death of Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer.

    1900 – The Taoist monk Wang Yuanlu discovers the Dunhuang manuscripts, a cache of ancient texts that are of great historical and religious significance, in the Mogao Caves of Dunhuang, China.

    1910 – The United States Congress passes the Mann Act, which prohibits interstate transport of women or girls for “immoral purposes”; the ambiguous language would be used to selectively prosecute people for years to come.

    1910 – Igor Stravinsky’s ballet The Firebird is premiered in Paris, bringing him to prominence as a composer.

    1943 – The Holocaust: Jews in the Częstochowa Ghetto in Poland stage an uprising against the Nazis.

    1943 – The left-wing German Jewish exile Arthur Goldstein is murdered in Auschwitz.

    1944 – The final page of the comic Krazy Kat is published, exactly two months after its author George Herriman died.

    1947 – The Diary of a Young Girl (better known as The Diary of Anne Frank) is published.

    1950 – The Korean War begins with the invasion of South Korea by North Korea.

    1978 – The rainbow flag representing gay pride is flown for the first time during the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade.

    1991 – The breakup of Yugoslavia begins when Slovenia and Croatia declare their independence from Yugoslavia.

    1993 – Kim Campbell is sworn in as the first female Prime Minister of Canada.

    1799 – David Douglas, Scottish-English botanist and explorer (d. 1834).

    1852 – Antoni Gaudí, Spanish architect, designed the Park Güell (d. 1926).

    1866 – Eloísa Díaz, Chilean doctor and Chile’s first female physician (d. 1950).

    1874 – Rose O’Neill, American cartoonist, illustrator, artist, and writer (d. 1944). [Rose to fame for her creation of the popular comic strip characters, Kewpies, in 1909, and was also the first published female cartoonist in the United States.]

    1903 – George Orwell, British novelist, essayist, and critic (d. 1950).

    1924 – Sidney Lumet, American director, producer, and screenwriter (d. 2011).

    1928 – Peyo, Belgian author and illustrator, created The Smurfs (d. 1992).

    1929 – Eric Carle, American author and illustrator (d. 2021).

    1932 – Peter Blake, English painter and illustrator.

    1935 – Larry Kramer, American author, playwright, and activist, co-founded Gay Men’s Health Crisis (d. 2020).

    1937 – Eddie Floyd, American R&B/soul singer-songwriter.

    1943 – Carly Simon, American singer-songwriter.

    1946 – Allen Lanier, American guitarist and songwriter (d. 2013).

    1954 – Sonia Sotomayor, American lawyer and jurist, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

    1961 – Ricky Gervais, English comedian, actor, director, producer and singer.

    1963 – Yann Martel, Spanish-Canadian author.

    “There’s no justice.” Death sighed. NO, he said,… THERE’S JUST ME.
    1218 – Simon de Montfort, 5th Earl of Leicester, French politician, Lord High Steward (b. 1160). [“But Sire, how will we know the heretics from the true believers?” “Kill them all – God will know his own!”]

    1767 – Georg Philipp Telemann, German composer and theorist (b. 1681).

    1866 – Alexander von Nordmann, Finnish biologist and paleontologist (b. 1803). [Contributed to zoology, parasitology, botany and paleontology.]

    1968 – Tony Hancock, English comedian and actor (b. 1924).

    1976 – Johnny Mercer, American singer-songwriter, co-founded Capitol Records (b. 1909).

    1984 – Michel Foucault, French historian and philosopher (b. 1926). [Responsible for much of the post-modernist nonsense prevalent today.]

    1997 – Jacques Cousteau, French oceanographer and explorer (b. 1910).

    2009 – Farrah Fawcett, American actress and producer (b. 1947).

    2009 – Michael Jackson, American singer-songwriter, producer, dancer, and actor (b. 1958).

    2010 – Alan Plater, English playwright and screenwriter (b. 1935).

    2018 – David Goldblatt, South African photographer of apartheid-period (b. 1930).

  2. It is not clear to me why Prigozhin agreed to stop his military action barely a day after it started and agree to exile. Did he get concessions from Putin that met some of his goals?

  3. I’m guessing those who rejected my comments yesterday about Putin and Russia were even more surprised about the events of yesterday. Oh well, we all get our information from different places and views.

    The entire Titanic event reminds me of a word we all seem to hate today. That is regulation. The public and particularly the republican party does not want any stinking regulation. This form of tourism to the Titanic is first class in this field. If you think not, just learn a couple of things about flying machines. People build thousands of aircraft from scratch or plans. These are called homebuilt. They have been doing this for many years. But you will never see anyone with a homebuilt, which required the clear markings — experimental, charging people money to ride in his airplane. And that is my point here. Regulation is intended to protect the public from private schemes like the tourism to the Titanic. Too bad this industry has very little.

    1. Because these events somehow support what you said yesterday? How?

      If the Ukrainians break trough and the Russians suffer a really devastating defeat, that might destabilize Putin’s power to the point of not recovery, but it would have nothing to do with this mayfly coup. If anything it is remarkable that absolutely nobody tried to jump at the opportunity.

    2. I see the Titanic tourism as more akin to, say, guided trips to climb Everest (where paying customers die fairly frequently). Other than the 19-yr-old, the other paying customers were capable of assessing what they were signing up for. If people want to operate outside tight regulation, and accept the risks, then they should be allowed to do so.

      1. “If people want to operate outside tight regulation, and accept the risks, then they should be allowed to do so.”

        It is curious how people find violating regulations fine when they suit their desires or biases, but strongly support the regulations when they don’t. For example, such is the case with transgender youth receiving “gender affirming” medical care. Those who support it (with the approval of parents and qualified medical personnel) are willing to take the risk that as is the case with all medical procedures that things may not work out as intended. Those that argue that treatment of youth should be banned by law because the efficacy of treatments have yet to be proven to be safe or the youth may have second thoughts later on want the power of the state to deny the treatment. The same disagreement prevails in all cases regarding people willing to take the risk of consuming untested or unproven drugs or undergoing other high risk medical procedures. It is too often the case that people demand the legal right to engage in personal risks (of which they aware of, such as riding in the Titanic sub) for certain matters but support denying that right to others in matters that do not directly affect them.

        1. You’re forgetting one alternative. Some of us don’t favor banning “gender affirming” medical care but want it TESTED clinically to see what the results really are over the long term. Same with testing drugs that look promising; the FDA goes through a procedure before unleashing them on the public.

          One could say that the Titanic sub was tested in 12 rides before, but others would say that it needed to be tested by being used in an unmanned version. Regardless, I don’t think you’re presenting an either/or situation here: you forgot the “test gender affirming care clinically,” which is what Europe is doing. And that’s what I approve of.

          1. Agree fully. And in addition, medicine is allowed the privilege of self-regulation in the public interest. Doctors don’t allow one another to venture (too far) outside the prevailing standard of care even if a patient wants them to, signs all the releases*, the works. If gender-bending was like other self-harming fads that adolescents go in for (like starving themselves, cutting and piercing themselves, taking up smoking, driving really really fast) that don’t require a doctor’s prescription of a licensed pharmaceutical, then I would say Go ahead, affirm yourself. Better that than street racing. But doctors doing their fiduciary duty ought to be asking themselves, “Hey, are we sure this is the right thing to be doing? Prescribing life-changing hormones and surgeries for anyone who wants them without actually making a diagnosis first or even, God forbid, trying a little gentle conversion therapy? After all, there’s no good trial evidence that these treatments do more than change appearance irreversibly and can cause harm later. And people with buyer’s remorse are going to be really angry.”

            If the state convinces itself that doctors aren’t properly regulating themselves to protect the public, it will abandon its usual deference to medical practice and step in heavy-footedly. Remember it’s not banning residents of that state from receiving gender-affirming treatment out of paternalism. It’s banning doctors licensed in that state from providing it. There is a difference.
            * Doctors know that a patient never ever signs away her right to sue him for malpractice.

        2. They definitely don’t know the risks around puberty blockers since there is so much disinformation out there. I’ve stopped counting the number of times I’ve read or heard prominent and supposedly informed people claim that it’s safe and even trivial. Recently, in a conversation on NPR, one of the people on the air literally said it was about as serious as getting a haircut (!) Oy!

          1. I don’t disagree with you that there is a lot of disinformation and misinformation about puberty blockers. But, the same can be said with many drugs. This situation raises an important question: whose ultimate responsibility is it to acquire the “true” information about a drug or a medical procedure? I think it is the duty of the patient (in this care the parents as proxy for the child) to do the research along with consultation with medical personnel. Some people may not do this, which could lead to an unwelcome outcome. Nevertheless, the patient assesses the risk of undergoing a procedure and the state should respect this. Please note that I am talking about a medical decision that affects the individual patient only. Thus, for example, a person during the pandemic may have assessed the risk of taking the vaccine and decided not to do it, but that decision did not affect that person alone. In this case, the state had every right to mandate the vaccine to prevent its spread (although mandates were rare). Individual freedom should not trump the danger it could create for others.

          2. We don’t have the “true information” about puberty blockers yet. Given the consequences of using them (and the sequelae that they’re usually followed by radical administrations of hormones and/or surgery), we need to know, which is why clinical studies are going on. I agree with the Europeans: clinical use only of the drug, no off-label prescriptions.

            We don’t know enough yet for any patient not in a clinical trial to acquire the “true information about the drug.” That true information doesn’t exist.

          3. The problem with puberty blockers is that by definition they are used on patients under the age of medical consent. Almost all of them go onto cross-sex hormones that result in infertility and probably anorgasmia, too. These kids aren’t in any position to make such lifelong decisions. Then there are serious health risks – there was a 1-in-70 surgical death rate in the Dutch cohort that represented much of the early evidence base.

            Females transitioning to males are at high risk of medical conditions usually experienced by much older women, e.g. osteoporosis, go through menopause in their twenties, and frequently suffer vaginal atrophy and undergo hysterectomy. And then they get male conditions – male-pattern baldness, higher risk of cardiovascular disease…

            None of this should be happening without a solid evidence base showing that these risks are outweighed by the benefits – and we don’t have that, especially for biological females who make up the largest number of gender clinic patients now but who barely appeared in the clinical referrals twenty years ago.

          4. Don’t mean to dominate but I need to I call out a couple of errors, even if I agree with you somewhat ideologically.

            1) In law, the doctor and not the patient is solely responsible for the therapeutic decision to prescribe a treatment. The doctor never escapes liability by saying, “Well, the self-informed patient (or her parents) demanded this treatment and so I provided it.” In such cases a disappointed patient (or parent) will allege the information given by the doctor must have been inadequate to correct her/their own misinformation, else she/they would have declined this treatment that harmed her.

            2). Covid vaccination as a legitimate externality misses the mark on the facts as it happened. We did in Canada fire a lot of nurses, cops, fire-fighters, and even a few university professors who refused vaccination under mandates. At the time, pre-delta 2021, it looked like vaccination did prevent infection and this was going to be the ticket that opened up society again, so there was a case for mandates. But as it became clear that prevention of infection was modest and short-lived, the case for mandatory vaccination evaporated. I still have my laminated vaccination passport as a souvenir with all three doses dutifully recorded.

            Where I think compulsory treatment has a role is in the rare cases of contagious tuberculosis where the infected (and usually mentally disturbed) person refuses treatment. “We have ways of making you take pills…”

          5. The vaccines were intended to prevent serious disease, and they succeeded in that.

          6. @Hempenstein,

            No, the primary hypothesis of both Pfizer and Moderna vaccine trials was that they would reduce the risk of infection by at least 50%. This was the FDA’s guidance to manufacturers and investigators, that they would not grant interim approval to any vaccine that didn’t perform at least as well as that. The trials were not powered to detect a signal for reduction in serious disease (hospital admission or death) because these event rates were, and still are, so much lower than mere symptomatic infection, especially since nursing-home residents were under-represented. (The trials reported early because the surge in cases in autumn 2020 hit the stopping boundary sooner than expected, which ironically doomed President Trump’s re-election campaign.)

            As it turned out the vaccines reduced infection by >90%, far better than minimal effectiveness for FDA approval. At this level of effectiveness, almost a slam-bang effect, there were so few deaths in the vaccinated arms that they were able to report this highly encouraging result as statistically robust. This has stood the test of time even as effectiveness in preventing infection has ebbed, particularly as society opened up and everyone’s exposure to potentially infected individuals has returned to pre-pandemic status quo. In the trials, subjects were instructed to comply with local public health measures, which of course have pretty much disappeared.

          1. As I have tried to make plain as day, it is the parents, not the minor, that should make the medical decision in this matter as they do in any other medical decision regarding the child. In most important matters in a child’s life, medical or otherwise, the parents are the ultimate deciders. This is my last comment on this thread.

        3. There is lots of good evidence that many “trans” people who are considering puberty blockers or hormones or surgery also have significant mental illness(es) that a reasonable person would predict to affect judgement of risks and benefits of undergoing medical treatment. Regulating that kind of medical decision does not seem similar to regulating the decision to experience a thrill ride on a submarine.

      2. Spoken like a true republican. You should always have the right to kill yourself, expensive as it might be. Why do we regulate anything, I would ask? And why shouldn’t the builders of stupid stuff be able to make lots of money on it. It is the American way. Why regulate anything other than we presume to live in a civilized society and the regulations are suppose to make people safer. If you cannot understand this idea, good for you.

        1. I’m fine with regulation of everyday life and “consumer” items. But adults should have the right to step outside that regulation when taking on risks for themselves.

      3. People who climb Everest supposedly know the risks since they know about the death toll. But there was no such knowledge about the sub (until recently). I wonder if the paying passengers even knew about the former safety engineer who alleges he was fired for claiming that the sub was not designed to go to such depth. Yes they signed a waiver that mentions death more than once, but did they really understand there were serious allegations that the sub was about to go way beyond its depth rating? I bet they did not know that.

        1. In the case of Hamish Harding (one of the passengers), yes he knew the risks. There’s an article today (paywalled) from his friend Victor Vescovo (“one of the world’s most accomplished deep sea pilots”) saying “I had told Hamish my significant concerns about OceanGate’s design and the safety and their operations”.

          I do agree that it’s different regarding the 19-yr-old.

      4. As I understand it, the 19-year-old was afraid but felt pressured into the trip as a Father’s Day thing?

    3. The man put his own life on the line. He fully believed in his machine, and apparently he informed his clients of the risk.

      He was not conning others into doing something he knew was unsafe in order to get rich.

  4. The ordering centre for those NSFW sex information cards has a disclaimer:

    * Please note that some resources available through the Ordering Centre contain language, information and images related to sexuality and drug use, and may not be intended for people of all ages. CATIE ensures that these resources, developed to help prevent the transmission of HIV, hepatitis C and other infections, are written and reviewed by health experts for content accuracy. Organizations ordering these materials must review them to determine that the content is appropriate for their intended audience.

    So the provider of the school session, Planned Parenthood, and the school itself are to blame for not checking the suitability of the information pack. I understand that the case has been reported to the police.

  5. I think that the major Comet design fault was square corners on its windows which induced a weakness in the metal frame; so now we see smooth rounded window frames on pressurized airliners. The Space Shuttle Transportation System had the passenger/payload container (ie the winged Shuttle) cozied up to the external fuel tank and solid rocket boosters; the current generation of rocket design has returned to the payload/people at the pointy end ahead of the fuel load and positioned for a launch-escape rocket system. An excellent short book for the general reader is the 1992 book “To Engineer Is Human: TheRole of Failure In Successful Design” by civil engineer Henry Petroski, available from amazon in paperback.

    1. I think the main lesson to be learned from the Titan episode is that it is important to hire engineers who actually know what they are doing.

      1. It looks like he had them but discounted their advice. And Rush was a Princeton-educated engineer himself I believe. Engineering always ends up with making informed judgements in the end. As one of my chief engineers would say: “In god we trust; all others must bring data”.

        1. What I want to know from the FAI (“Fatal Accident Inquiry”, or whatever the Canadian equivalent is ; something from the Transportation Safety Board, I suspect; CeilingCat but they make tedious reading!) is, did they really take a window which the manufacturers rated to 1500 m water depth, to over 3000 m. Repeatedly. That’d probably deserve jail time, “engineering boldness” or no.
          Does going to Princeton give you a right to ignore a manufacturer’s own limits on their own products? That’s in their prospectus?

      2. To which the counter is “if we knew what we were doing, we couldn’t call it `research`”.
        Of course, they weren’t learning anything new by going down to the well-known submarine graveyard (700-odd bodies, approximately). If it were a military graveyard, they would probably be a lot more noise about it (there was a recent row about WW2 war graves being mined by the Chinese for low-radiation metal ; perhaps we should re-open the German Fleet mine in Orkney, now that the corpses have had a century to dissolve). If it were a cargo boat full of dead poor Filipinos, it probably wouldn’t attract many visitors (why do relatively new, standard design ships disappear at regular intervals in not-outstandingly bad weather? Are our models of “heavy weather” significantly wrong?) Then again, most of the people on the beaten track up Everest aren’t exactly adding to the sum of human experience either. If they wanted to do some exploration, they’d be going up some peak with no western-friendly name with base camp three days beyond the death of the last camel. Or even K2. Or if they want to do some “overhead” diving, there’s an 800-strong index of undived sumps for Northern England alone (every other significant caving country has their own list of targets).

  6. Interesting that it is statehood day here in Virginia (tenth state 1788) and yet I hear of no celebrations or recognition anywhere. Lots of beach and park summer activities, but no statehood day that I have heard of. I wonder if other states have celebrations on their statehood day?

    1. I’ve only lived in one state – Nevada – that celebrates its statehood (on 10/31, Halloween of all days) by creating a state holiday: no school, no government agencies open. As a kid, it was great having Halloween off! I don’t know if they still honor the day with school/government closures.

    2. California did at one time. Statehood Day was even a holiday for state and local government employees until Gov Deukmejian changed it to a personal floating day through legislation in 1984. Seems like that was also the year they got Thanksgiving Friday off as a paid holiday.

  7. I am a firm believer in pushing the envelope and evaluating new tools to expand our knowledge of the universe. Many an explorer has died attempting to navigate around and through the cutting edge. That is why we had and still have test pilots. The Titan was a different case. Experts in the field, including Ocean Gate employees, expressed concerns about the use of carbon fiber in this application and a viewing portal that was designed for far lower pressures than the Titan would experience. The bottom line is that everyone on board knew the risks, but chose to go anyway. From my perspective it was a question, not of “if”, but “when” the Titan would fail. Based on the science of materials, this was a suicide mission.

    1. The bottom line is that everyone on board knew the risks, but chose to go anyway.

      There’s a significant caveat over the level of knowledge of the 19-yo. All 19-yos think they’re immortal – well known fact – but did this one really grasp that his life was at real risk?
      Oh well, FAI time (or Canadian equivalent).

  8. … President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia called the mutiny an act of treason by people who were delivering “a stab in the back of our country and our people.”

    Well, the name of Prigozhin’s mercenary force is “the Wagner group.” So I suppose it was a matter of nominative determinism that they would eventually get into a Hagen-on-Siegfried-style Götterdämmerung stab-in-the-back scenario.

  9. Grade 9 students are 14, (could be as young as 13), not 16. It seems from the CBC story that Planned Parenthood brought along a generic batch of materials for distribution that weren’t part of the age-appropriate sexual health talk (pregnancy, STDs) that it was invited to give. You know, because we all stop in at the bath house on the way home from school for a quick soak or whatever, and anyone might want to introduce a bit of scat into his/her/their fumbling adolescent exploration. Granted any reasonably inquisitive 13-year-old has already got all this and worse off the Internet. But I do have to wonder. who consults Planned Parenthood for advice about auto-fellatio?

    As to the Telegraph, it does not use any black in its circular logo except for the “T” (identical to the T of the New York Times and many other legacy newspapers.). Black for letters is good design because it is the most easily readable colour on different backgrounds and of course renders properly in monochrome. The professor who created the critical tweet—she seems bitter at having lost her job teaching design history— has superimposed the circle and tilted square onto a menacing black flag-like field that doesn’t appear in the actual logo, which you can see in one of the responses in the thread. A couple of respondents specifically slagged the newspaper for using a circle on a black field which the real logo does not in fact do, nor did the flag of Nazi Germany, for that matter. Or am I missing something? The leftist people who don’t like (or read) The Telegraph certainly didn’t miss a trick. They were right onto them, once they were told what to see.

    I do agree that red and black combinations are best avoided. Red is communism and black is anarchy and piracy.

    1. Even with the menacingly doctored version of the logo, I don’t see where it is an arguable problem. To me, it is a bit like seeing Freemason messaging in the patterns on Oreo cookies.

    2. But I do have to wonder. who consults Planned Parenthood for advice about auto-fellatio?

      I can give you the phone number of a one-time medical student and caver whose party trick … well, we didn’t call him “Pete The Pervert” for nothing.

    3. I think the poster thought it looked too much like a Nazi flag (black swastika inside white circle on a red background).

      Personally, I think it’s a lot of nonsense.

  10. … Mr. Prigozhin said he was “turning around” to avoid Russian bloodshed and “leaving in the opposite direction to field camps in accordance with the plan.” (emphasis added)

    I suspect that Prigozhin’s choice of language here will fuel QAnon conspiracists.

    1. I think Prigozhin has come along way from hotdog vendor. He is an excellent example of a Warlord. That is something we don’t see much in the last few hundred years. He is not a politician or government lackey, as we have so many of in this country. He has no loyalty to the state or to Putin. He is a made up military man, dressed in all the gear but has no background of the field. His soldiers fight for him, show loyalty to him, nothing else. That is the definition of a warlord. He was very successful in Africa where higher level military thought is not necessary. Eventually the U.S. and Europe trained Ukrainians would have kicked his ass just as they will the corrupt Russian military. That is obvious to me. Prigozhin is simply moving on to easier targets.

  11. Some things here, on my favorite Ukrainian YT channel that do not seem to have appeared at places like WaPo, such as that Wagners held some Russian military hostage on their way north, and that Russians (not surprisingly) fired on Wagners who retaliated by shooting down at least seven Russian aircraft.

    In the face of that, P*tin must really need Wagners a lot to wind up dropping charges.

  12. I haven’t quite followed previous expeditions to see the Titanic and may be wrong about this but, as far as I can tell, OceanGate weren’t doing nothing of astounding relevance? Paul-Henri Nargeolet, one of those aboard Titan, made more than 35 trips down there and James Cameron has also made quite a few.

    On this view, OceanGate does not seem to be the SpaceX of the ocean. They were not an innovative enterprise, pushing the limits of technology. They were a money-making company that decided to cut some corners for increased revenue or fastest turnaround of revenue, and should be seen simply as that.

    1. Far as I know, Cameron never dived in that OceanGate vehicle and never would. He knew it was no good.

      1. Oh, I know. And even though Nargeolet has dived before with OceanGate, I think most of his other dives were not with this company. That was my point.

  13. Professor (or any ardent Beatles fans), you might enjoy the fist couple minutes of this video and Tom’s commentary:

  14. there will be accidents, and sometimes they’re unpredictable

    Here’s the problem. Deep sea exploration has been going since the 1960’s. This is the first implosion with loss of human life. Engineers of DSV’s know how to build them to survive already. There was nothing cutting edge about the idea of diving to 4,000 metres. The accident wasn’t unpredictable. Numerous experts raised concerns before it happens. One engineer was fired for raising concerns and there are email chains in which Stockton Rush showed unbelievable arrogance in the face of safety concerns. The accident was totally predictable.

    Rush is John Hammond, not Richard Owens.

  15. +1

    Agreed, although I wouldn’t even compare Rush to Hammond. Hammond was cutting corners as well, but at least was doing some cutting edge research n his labs (not that this would validade the whole enterprise). As far as I can see, OceanGate was just a travel company for their own vessels.

    edit: this was supposed to be a reply to #15

  16. I have been in Liverpool and living out my 10yr old boy dream to be here with the now memory of the Beatles… even took a Beatles and Mersey bus tour, something I would not normally do. Lennon’s home with his aunt, Paul’s home where over 100 of their hits were written, it was FUN and Tocky Tom was a great host, reciting a poem as a personal tribute to his mum. He played (through a crappy PA) A Day in the Life as it was relevant to his tour info, the bus stop that McCartney made in “seconds flat”.
    You can do a private tour for more up front and personal but I have been through reems of Beatle stuff and didn’t feel the need.
    I also did the Cavern Club, wild and full on but I figured back in the day it may have been just like this. Liverpool is quite a unique spot in the world, busy tourist spot. In me it also seem to raise the specter of WWII, the aftermath, a breaking of the ties to that stodgy world. Simply, I loved it, I’ve now been with the Beatles albeit decades to late.

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