Tuesday: Hili dialogue

July 4, 2023 • 6:45 am

It’s Tuesday, the Cruelest Day, but also July 4, 2023: America’s “Independence Day“. There’s a special Google Doodle today that links to information about the holiday (click icon below to see):

It’s also National Barbecue Day, as it should be. Here’s a photo from 2004 taken at the City Market in Luling, Texas, one of state’s very best BBQ joints. I’m holding brisket, but there’s also a pack of Saltines (you can get white bread) and a pickle. The sauce on the side (not shown) is the best in Texas. Notice the red “smoke ring” around the edge of the meat. (And remember that Rik Gern’s plant photos I showed yesterday were taken around Luling.)

Posting may be light today as, although I’m working a bit, I have some stuff to catch up on, including preparing for our videocast on Thursday. As always, I do my best.

And remember the animals tonight:

From the Absurd Sign Project 2.0

It’s also National Caesar Salad Day, Jackfruit Day (I love the stuff), National Country Music Day, National Barbecued Spareribs Day, and the  Birthday of Queen Sonja in Norway.  Sonja is 86 today, and has been queen since 1991:

Photo from The Royal House of Norway

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the July 4 Wikipedia page.

Da Nooz:

*Here’s a headline from yesterday’s NYT implying that those genocidal, apartheid-promoting Zionists are up to no good again (click to read). Note that there is not the slightest hint that this is a response to Jenin becoming a hotbed of terrorism and a launching pad for many recent attacks on Israel.  (It’s only 20 km from the nearest Israeli town.) Note that there’s no mention of the reason for the attack of who the “eight Palestinians” were. 
Umm. . . about those eight Palestinians:

. . and a similar headline from the Washington Post. At least they mention terrorists, though at least they say it Jenin as a place “which they [Israelis] describe as a center of militant activity.” Couldn’t the Washington Post do some reporting and SEE if Jenin actually was a center of militant activity?  Answer: You bet it was.

From the Jewish News Service:

The camp is home to 18,000 Palestinians densely packed in an area about half a square kilometer (0.2 square miles) in size. Established in 1953, the U.N.-administered camp is often referred to by Palestinians as the “Martyr’s Capital.” Between 2000 and 2003, during the Second Intifada, at least 28 Palestinian suicide bombers came from the Jenin camp.

The refugee camp became a stronghold of terror, particularly for those aligned with Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and a number of smaller local factions. PIJ receives direct support from Iran while other factions often receive indirect assistance. Tehran’s relations with Palestinian terror groups, like its other regional proxy militias, are overseen by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.

The results speak for themselves. In 2023, 50 attacks against Israelis came from the Jenin Camp. Since September, 19 terrorists have fled to the camp after carrying out attacks. Ten homes inside the camp have been demolished by Israeli authorities so far in 2023.

One PIJ terrorist killed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza in May had worked to establish rocket capabilities for the terror group in Jenin. Israeli intelligence has also detected an increase in the quality of explosive charges being used in the camp. Soldiers operating in the camp on Monday discovered a weapons laboratory and an improvised rocket launcher.

For more details, including the IDF seizure of explosive and discovery of rocket launchers and weapons labs, see this story in The Jerusalem Post.

The reason you won’t find this stuff in the Western MSM, as it doesn’t fit the right progressive “narrative”.

If you want to see how biased the media reporting has been about this, see the HonestReporting article:

Predictably and depressingly, HonestReporting was forced to call out many international media outlets where their coverage of the Jenin raid fell short.

The New York Times, BBC, Washington Post and CNN all failed to highlight the nature and scope of the Israeli operation in Jenin in their headlines, variously referring to it as a series of “strikes,” an “assault” and a “deadly raid,” while the fact that Jenin is a hotbed of terrorist activity was noted in just one headline by the Associated Press (describing Jenin as a “militant stronghold”).

Such headlines give readers the false impression that Israel has indiscriminately targeted Palestinians in Jenin, as opposed to launching a counterterrorism operation designed at destroying infrastructure and apprehending armed suspects.

The BBC fell short of its duty to report the full, unbiased facts when it aired footage of the Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh claiming Israel was trying to “erase [Jenin] refugee camp completely”

Several outlets, including the Associated Press and the Daily Mail, sought to cast doubt on whether the operation was indeed for the purpose of destroying terrorist infrastructure, with the former suggesting the IDF may have struck a “crowded area” and the latter adding an air of ambiguity by using inverted commas around the word “counterterrorism” in its headline.

The Washington Post oxymoronically labeled Jenin the “center for armed Palestinian resistance,” perhaps forgetting that gun-toting terrorists entering Israel proper — as a number of terrorists from Jenin have — to murder Israeli civilians is a far cry from “resistance.”

In addition, the WaPo also claimed Israel had “invade[d]” Jenin, despite Israel’s security incursions being a legal obligation.

. . . Finally, woefully few media outlets actually reported that seven of the eight casualties of the Jenin raid were affiliated with terrorist organizations.

Despite pictures of the men clutching guns circulating online, most mainstream news organizations simply referred to the dead men as “Palestinians” without identifying their terrorist connections.

See the photo of the terrorists above.

This next tweet is by an Israeli Arab.  People like to ignore the fact that Palestinian terrorists like to embed themselves with civilians while going after the IDF or firing rockets at Israel, providing cover as they know the IDF is reluctant to kill civilians, even while going after terrorists.

Finally, a comment from Malgozata:

 I had a thought: Israel went out to stop terrorists planning to kill Jews, or who had already killed Jews. The US killed Bin Laden, Soleimani, Bilal al-Sudan etc. Actually, according to US Centcom, just in May 2023 there were 38 such “antiterrorist actions” by American forces. All were thousands of kilometers from US soil. The NYT was silent. Now Israel is going to do the same thing against terrorists who are just a few kilometers from Israeli soil—and the NYT is outraged!

*Over at the NYT, By Richard Arum and Mitchell L. Stevens argue that the Supreme Court’s deep-sixing of affirmative action will make very little difference to most students.

In the wake of the Supreme Court decision that struck down race-conscious admissions, we should recognize that, in practice, affirmative action mattered a great deal for very few and very little for most.

Yes, the decision will likely dramatically reduce the racial diversity of incoming classes at highly selective institutions like Harvard, Stanford and the University of North Carolina.

But because affirmative action only opened a tiny window of access to America’s most elite institutions, the ruling will make little difference for most college students.

Even with affirmative action in place, most students of color did not go to elite colleges, and last week’s ruling does nothing to change that. The current opportunity to bring racial equity to American higher education lies in a collective re-commitment to the quality and success of more accessible institutions.

. . .In fact, the majority of Black and Hispanic students attend universities that accept more than three-quarters of their applicants. The exception here is Asian students, who on average are much more likely to attend elite universities. The proportion of all Asian students who attend a school with an acceptance rate under 25 percent is more than three times that of Black, Hispanic and white students.

What drives this dynamic is that most students apply to and enroll at schools near their families, regardless of whether the school is a good academic fit. We live in a country full of colleges that don’t have the resources and academic quality to match their students’ talents. Social scientists describe this problem in the college selection process as “undermatching.” Efforts to nudge students to broaden their horizons and consider attending selective colleges further from home have had only modest success.

While the Supreme Court’s decision is a blow to Black and Hispanic students who dream of attending the most competitive universities, improving and better supporting the institutions that serve the lion’s share of students of color will do far more to advance the cause of racial equality in this country than anything that admissions officers can do in Cambridge, Palo Alto and Chapel Hill.

.  . . The key to greater racial equity in American higher education is elevating the quality of the broad range of schools most students attend. . . Less selective schools and the millions of students they serve each year deserve the same resources and attention to program quality found in selective institutions.

I believe that John McWhorter has made this point before. It will of course take resolve and money, but , but it will help more people than allowing a few more minority students into the tiny fraction of “elite” colleges in America.

*Another complaint has been filed against Harvard’s admissions practices, this time objecting to its “legacy admissions”, whereby children of alumni or from families with a long history of going to Harvard (especially if they donate money to the school) get preferential admission. There is no excuse for this: it’s a sleazy and grasping way to get money while unfairly pushing aside students who are more qualified than the “legacy” students.

Advocacy groups filed a civil-rights complaint against Harvard University over legacy admissions Monday, alleging the practice discriminates against applicants of color.

The complaint calls on the federal government to investigate Harvard’s legacy and donor-related preferences, which the civil-rights groups say mostly favor white applicants, after the Supreme Court last week found it unconstitutional for universities to consider race in their admissions decisions.

Lawyers for Civil Rights filed the complaint with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights on behalf of three Massachusetts-based Black and Latino community organizations.

A Harvard spokesperson declined to comment on the complaint Monday.

The community organizations are asking the federal government to put an end to the Ivy League university’s admissions practices that it says give a leg up to children of alumni and donors at Harvard. The complaint alleges the practices violate Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.

. . .A National Bureau of Economic Research analysis found legacy and donor-related applicants were more likely to be admitted to Harvard than those without that same standing. The paper, cited in the complaint, found close to 70% of legacy applicants were white, compared with about 40% of regular applicants. Legacy applicants were more than five times as likely to be admitted than non-legacy applicants, according to the analysis. The paper examined Harvard admissions data disclosed in the affirmative action court case that eventually landed at the Supreme Court.

“Harvard admits predominantly white students using Donor and Legacy Preferences, and, as a direct result, excludes non-white applicants,” lawyers for the groups wrote in the complaint.

Want more minority students in elite schools like Harvard? You can start by getting rid of legacy admissions. Given the data above—which reminds me of the Asian-American data that ultimately brought down affirmative action—I wonder how Harvard will respond. It appears to have been once again caught with its pants down.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili and Szaron have a discussion about their photo:

Hili: If you think that your tail will look like a rainbow in the picture you may be mistaken.
Szaron: Anyhow, it will be an important element of the composition.
In Polish:
Hili: Jeśli sądzisz, że twój ogon będzie na zdjęciu wyglądał jak tęcza, to możesz być w błędzie.
Szaron: Tak czy inaczej, będzie ważnym elementem kompozycji.


From David:

From Divy: a master piece!

From the Absurd Sign Project 2.0.  I’m confused: are the genitalia on the buttons or on the forbidden pusher?

From Masih, the conduit of the cry for freedom from Iran:

An earlier tweet from Titania.  Is everything  “genocide” now?

I tweeted this, but the illusions, which we are now beginning to understand, were sent by Ginger K. And NO, it’s NOT sensitive!

From Malcolm. Cat won’t budge (they could fire up the burner. . . )

From Merilee: a very patient mom:

From the Auschwitz Memorial, a priest drowned in a barrel of excrement for refusing to stomp on his rosary:

Tweets from the estimable Professor Cobb:

Remember the Four Seasons Landscaping in the first tweet? (See here if you forgot or didn’t know.) And remember Pinky, the “very loving cat” in the second tweet?

The elytra are the wing covers, the “shell” of a beetle. This beetle is the first known to have lost both wings and wing covers. See the paper here.

38 thoughts on “Tuesday: Hili dialogue

  1. I agree that ‘legacy admissions’ should go, but banning it because it is discriminatory on race grounds is the wrong reason—the right reason is that it is unfair to everyone that does not have a wealthy alumnus for a parent. If you claim it is wrong on racial grounds the counter-argument can be made: buy your way in, why don’t you? (And yes, we know the answer to that.)
    There used to be considerable advantage given to med school applicants back in the UK in my day, not so much for financial reasons, as far as I knew, but more because among the many adequately qualified applicants for each place one might be favoured over another because ‘they knew what they were getting into,’ having a parent in the trade. The intention was to minimise dropouts (there were two in my class of 100), and to prevent that tragedy of qualifying but never practicing. That was largely a female phenomenon historically, but there were a few guys who were simply too good at other things, like Jonathan Miller and Graham Chapman. I doubt whether that kind of ‘legacy admission’ still occurs.

    1. Actually, I’ve been wondering about the bigger picture on admissions criteria, since favoring any group over another seems discriminatory in some way. Legacy admissions discriminates against non-legacy admissions. A racial preference for under-represented minorities discriminates against racial majorities. Merit based admissions discriminates against those with less merit — and merit is influenced by economic differences since richer districts have better schools and so better qualified applicants.
      Anyway, I do think that academic merit should be the main qualification for admission, and well qualified students should be the largest cohort. Those students are more likely to get through and so its money well spent. But I do like a system where the disadvantaged also get some help, even if a bit less qualified, bc some do get through and that is a path to the middle class for them.

      1. Agreed Mark. And don’t forget admissions based on different non academic talents e.g. athletic, musical, artistic, as well as non academic characteristics e.g. denominational affirmation for church related schools, demographics. Admission committees also consider class “balance” e.g. the female:male ratio, anticipated majors. Otherwise selective schools would end up with 75% females majoring in non science areas.

      2. There is nothing wrong with discrimination per se. The law says that in employment or in offering service to the public (such as a university place) you may not discriminate on the basis of certain listed criteria which pretty well everywhere include race, sex, disability, religion/creed, and national origin, and extend to such criteria as sexual orientation, gender identification, record of offences, et al depending on the whim of the legislature. Discriminating on the basis of any criterion not on the list is perfectly legal. Discrimination on the basis of legacy, academic merit, ability to dunk a basketball are all legitimate bases for discrimination and are up to the mission of the university.

        I personally don’t much like legacy admissions but I live in a country where I don’t think they figure much. Our elite send their kids to Upper Canada College for high school—where they go subsequently for university I don’t think matters so much. They hobnob at cottages in Muskoka, Georgian Bay, and the Laurentians. But I wouldn’t really know. No one in my family had been to university. My father didn’t finish high school—the Second World War happened—and my son didn’t choose to attend my alma mater—it had been away from home for me but wouldn’t have been for him. I doubt that there is any basis to tell universities they can’t do legacy admissions, though. It’d be like telling someone he couldn’t bequeath assets to his children but had to give them to the government instead. Not gonna happen. “A word, please, Congressman?”

    2. HBCUs also have legacy admissions. Sometimes nearly one-quarter of a class will be legacies. Should this practice also be banned because (like mostly white legacies at Harvard) it favours kids from wealthy families? Or should it not matter because (I guess) it doesn’t affect opportunities for black kids? IDK.

      1. Swarthmore has somewhat more than a third of the next entering class from families with no previous member having had post-high school education. The work of trying to recruit such students is partly done by alumni. For free. The children of alumni may be favored in admissions, though the boost they get is not substantial, and lots of alumni kids have no chance of admission to Swarthmore, even if they would be good candidates for admission to very slightly less selective colleges like Haverford. Legacy admits often come from families that have a history of donating what they can, which helps the college maintain a percentage greater than 50% of students on financial aid.

      2. I agree with that argument in favour of legacy admissions (they tend to fund the scholarships for kids who can’t afford tuition). I guess I’m just observing that this argument seems to be ignored in the knee-jerk reaction by very online folks (I don’t mean commenters here) who seem to have decided that if affirmative action to directly favour black kids is unconstitutional then legacy admissions that indirectly favour white kids should also be banned. It doesn’t seem like a good-faith or open conversation either about fairness at elite colleges or about addressing historical wrongs among ADOS (again I don’t mean your comment is not in good faith, just the general online conversation).

    1. Our dogs love fireworks. But they are gun trained, and associate the sound with getting to find or chase down some critter.
      Gun training mostly involves being with your dog, and acting nonchalant as you are both exposed to nearby fireworks or gun shots. Starting small and slowly working up to large calibers.
      The dog looks to you for a reaction. If you seem unbothered, they take the same attitude.
      I made a ball throwing flint lock, which was pictured on this forum, which worked really well to entertain us both, and get the dog used to the noise and smoke.

      We will, as usual, take the dog with us to the big firework show in town tonight, and he is expected to have a great time.

  2. Establishing a lasting peace in the Middle East is on my list of things to do and I will get right on it as soon as I eliminate all of the hand guns and assault weapons from the U.S. Oh yes, and right after the failing U.S. political system is fixed. The global warming problem will be next on the list right after all of that. Is it getting hotter in here.

  3. Today, in the United States, we “celebrate” Independence Day. I put the word “celebrate” in quotes because we actually celebrate nothing. To celebrate something implies that there is an understanding of the reason for the occasion. How many Americans have the barest conception of why the Declaration of Independence was promulgated other than it announced the colonies’ independence from Britain? I submit that the answer is very few. And the little they know about the American Revolution may very well be wrong or at least debatable. This is reflective of their general ignorance of history. So, what in actuality does this holiday mean to most Americans? It means picnics, sports, fireworks, patriotic songs, waving American flags, a day off from work for most people, and, most importantly, yet another opportunity to tell each other how America was, is, and will always be the greatest country ever known on this planet. All of this doesn’t engender a sense of patriotism based on historical understanding. Rather, it fosters a sense of rabid nationalism, no different than the dissemination of mythic propaganda that takes place in virtually every other country.

    1. I see that YOU, at least, are celebrating something: your superior knowledge, as opposed to the rest of ignorant America. You, after all, are “HISTORIAN”.

      And of course you denigrate Americans for their jingoism. I haven’t heard anybody say today that America is the greatest country on the planet.

      This comment is extremely patronizing and you keep on saying stuff like this. Knock it off; and please reread what you wrote and TRY to understand how arrogant and condescending it is.

    2. I’d actually agree with the thrust of this, unsarcastically.


      The 4th in the U.S. (as suggested) is what you/we make of it. If that means being entirely delusional – or entirely lost, confused, or otherwise, or just enjoying silliness for a moment – for years and years, potentially one’s entire life, that’s unlike any other country, AFAIK.

      Everybody can say what the 4th has to mean, but that does not mean it is true, nor does it mean it has to be attacked.

      Caesar wrote that experience is the teacher of all things, and if that means realizing your whole life was deluded – that would be a powerful lesson. The comment above promotes that, IMHO.

      By all means, let’s Think – before it’s illegal. But we can enjoy a damn hot dog with relish too.


      1. I would not be saying this for Historian because he already knows this but for some of us who read about these things today the Fourth is something that reminds me of this. That 50 years after the document and after the celebrated day both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died on this very day. Both were pretty old but Jefferson was also very sick. The Post covered some of this today. Jefferson was not only sick, he was also flat broke. His home at Monticello and all his property would soon be sold to the highest bidder and his daughter would receive nothing. He had just finished a transaction to obtain a shipment of wine from France that he had no money to buy. A lottery had been planned in attempt to raise money for him.

        Being President of the United States did not get you anything in those early days, no pension nothing. Yet here we are today where the recent and corrupt X president gets all of that and more. Money, secret service protection and all the money he can raise to pay the lawyers. These are the things I think about.

    3. I think overall something is happening/continues to happen/happened in all of the west or maybe it’s just the new nations, I’m not sure. But there is a sense of the loss of cultural knowledge and a shift to a “me, me, me” set of values. I think the way people celebrate holidays may reflect this. I’m probably just as guilty as I just like the time off work to ride my bike. But what I do notice here in Canada and in the US is that in general, people don’t care about anyone else. It’s constant fireworks at all times of day for a week and I guarantee those people are celebrating nothing but the thrill of making a big noise, no matter who it disturbs. I think this also revealed itself during the pandemic where the mantra was “why should I suffer because others are immune compromised” or “so what if old people can’t go out”.

      1. “me”

        I want to draw a distinction, but not sure how :

        Me – or, perhaps also “be” – as contrasted with “do”, as in, what I want to be vs. what I want to do.

        That is IMHO a strong difference – me/be vs. do, identity vs. what I want to do with my time.

        1. I’m talking about a culture that values the fulfillment of any desire for oneself over everyone else. The lack of consideration of the person other than “me & mine”. The person that goes to work sick not because they have to but because they don’t care if they make everyone size, they are already sick. The person that makes noise all night because they want to and who cares about the neighbours. You don’t like to, move or out on headphones.

    4. That is unfair. There are still schools that teach the founding documents in some depth, and the circumstances under which they were written.
      We are small town people, and our 4th celebration is sincere. A larger proportion of our citizens are military veterans, and most of the families have been here since it was a wilderness.
      Whether our national mythology is perfectly accurate and unbiased is not really the issue. We come together as people whose ancestors came from diverse sources (and left for good reason), to a country that gave us the opportunity to make whatever we wanted of ourselves, if we were willing to work hard enough and endure floods, drought, and attacks by hostile invaders.
      We have something which we can be proud of, and is worth defending. The people who cleared the brush, dug the canals, and quarried the stones had the same last names as those remembered on the war memorials, and the people watching the fireworks tonight.

      I agree that it is particularly trendy these days for all the cool kids to hate the USA, and Israel as well. But they tend to do so by comparing us to an imagined utopia, or by judging our history by absurdly strict standards, which they do not use to measure other places.

      Judging a country as “Greatest” necessitates particular standards and qualifications. No country inhabited or governed by humans is ever going to be perfect, and people have different enough needs and expectations that some characteristics that part of the population hold in great regard are seem as deficiencies by others.

      It is irrelevant to our celebration that we no longer have an issue with foreign rulers quartering large quantities of troops among us, or fear that those same tyrants will capture our sailors and force them to make war on us. We celebrate the opportunities given our ancestors and ourselves by the process started by the founders. I will sit there tonight with prosperous people whose ancestors came here with nothing, and were fleeing real oppression. We have in common an appreciation for the work and sacrifice of those who came before us and gave us the opportunities to live as we do. We also share a belief that this is worth celebrating.

      1. I’m not sure exactly what you are attempting to say here but if it is simply unfair, that is in the opinion of you. Maybe you are correct or maybe it is just your community. I come from a small town and I was in the military. I know that does not fit a lot of people here. But I personally find a lot of what was said as true. How can this be going so great if we have a guy in one party with all the popularity who has been impeached twice, indicted twice with at least two more to come and yet the party of millions loves this guy. Something has gone terribly wrong in this country and if you do not see it…to bad for you. Excuse me if I am not celebrating.

        1. I guess perspective and context are part of evaluating one’s nation as a whole. Some people think that 89 years of slavery are all that matters when judging the US.
          I do think it is unfair to judge the whole of the US experience as failed because some aspect which people chose to focus upon has not met their expectations. I suspect it is an attitude that, once adopted, would lead to dissatisfaction any place they found themselves. Probably also shock if they experienced how rough and tenuous the default human situation actually is.

          1. “Dissatisfaction is the beginning of utopianism[…]”

            -Lyman Tower Sargent
            Utopianism – A Very Short Introduction

        2. “Something has gone terribly wrong in this country […]”

          Are there any things you think could account for it?

          I mean, trust me, I could let loose, but I’d maybe wait to hear from you first.

          1. I’ll get in trouble for too many comments but yes, I believe there are many things to account for it. Since the 1980s this party has been been on a conservative march backward starting with their trickle down system of government that enriches the wealthy and does not give a damn for the people or representing the people who elect them. There was also no accountability for a very poor President (Nixon) that left office prior to this. This party has been able to completely disconnect representative government and responsibility from getting elected. When people vote for people that no long have their interest in mind we could call that insanity. They want to throw out your minimal healthcare, your social security, your women’s rights and many more yet the gas bags go on. If you just looked at the news today on this fourth of July it was crammed full of mass shootings all over the country. Please give us more guns so we can have more. If the Democrats and Independents do not get their shit together real soon, this country is lost. Our founders said that for this form of govt. to survive the people must be educated. We have basically failed to educate them properly.

          2. Sure – I was going to suggest public education has failed United States citizens for decades – while other countries meanwhile have produced a populace that, in principle and practice, can outcompete them.

            So it is hardly a surprise many would be dissatisfied – especially when it’s noticed mostly too late. Hence my comment on utopianism.


          3. While we agree on the poor education we may not understand what is lacking. The cause of our disfunction of government and society is related to extremely poor knowledge of ethics, American Government and History. They don’t even test for these things in school and they provide very little training/education. I have well educated neighbors, one is an engineer and the other dental assistant. Neither one knows anything about history or government. They do not read much of anything and will say they have no time. Much younger than I, in their 50s but their lack of knowledge or interest is pretty common and overwhelming. Something like a Trump comes along and just scoops these people in. People who know nothing or have no foundation will believe anything. That is what the founders were talking about.

      2. “We also share a belief that this is worth celebrating.”

        I don’t know, Max. Let’s consider a different holiday. I was just thinking that of all the women who exist today, billions of them, what are the odds that my mother is the “Best Mom Ever”? Really slim. And she did make some mistakes, ones I saw as a child and ones I saw as an adult. Don’t even get me started on the crass commercialization of the holiday; people thinking it’s all about buying useless gifts or going out to bad restaurants. (Olive Garden. OMG! Can you believe those rubes?!) And how many of the celebratory fools have any idea how the holiday started? That’s it. I’m resolved. No more Mother’s Day celebrations for me. Mom can get her own card next year. Better yet, she can save a tree and recycle those from previous years.

    1. Come on – it’s a simple typo.

      They means they are concerned about the diversity of species in the zone between high tide and the permanently submerged zone near low tide.

  4. On this day
    1054 – A supernova, called SN 1054, is seen by Chinese Song dynasty, Arab, and possibly Amerindian observers near the star Zeta Tauri. For several months it remains bright enough to be seen during the day. Its remnants form the Crab Nebula.

    1818 – US Flag Act of 1818 goes into effect creating a 13 stripe flag with a star for each state. New stars would be added on 4th of July after a new state had been admitted.

    1827 – Slavery is abolished in the State of New York.

    1832 – John Neal delivers the first public lecture in the US to advocate the rights of women.

    1832 – Durham University established by Act of Parliament; the first recognized university to be founded in England since Cambridge over 600 years earlier.

    1845 – Henry David Thoreau moves into a small cabin on Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts. Thoreau’s account of his two years there, Walden, will become a touchstone of the environmental movement.

    1855 – The first edition of Walt Whitman’s book of poems, Leaves of Grass, is published in Brooklyn.

    1862 – Lewis Carroll tells Alice Liddell a story that would grow into Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and its sequels.

    1892 – Western Samoa changes the International Date Line, causing Monday (July 4) to occur twice, resulting in a year with 367 days.

    1894 – The short-lived Republic of Hawaii is proclaimed by Sanford B. Dole.

    1911 – A massive heat wave strikes the northeastern United States, killing 380 people in eleven days and breaking temperature records in several cities. [It’s probable that you ain’t seen nothing yet. Ignore the double negatives, though.]

    1939 – Lou Gehrig, recently diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, informs a crowd at Yankee Stadium that he considers himself “The luckiest man on the face of the earth”, then announces his retirement from major league baseball.

    1941 – Nazi crimes against the Polish nation: Nazi troops massacre Polish scientists and writers in the captured Ukrainian city of Lviv.

    1941 – World War II: The Burning of the Riga synagogues: The Great Choral Synagogue in German-occupied Riga is burnt with 300 Jews locked in the basement.

    1946 – The Kielce pogrom against Jewish Holocaust survivors in Poland.

    1947 – The “Indian Independence Bill” is presented before the British House of Commons, proposing the independence of the Provinces of British India into two sovereign countries: India and Pakistan.

    1951 – William Shockley announces the invention of the junction transistor.

    1954 – Rationing ends in the United Kingdom.

    1961 – On its maiden voyage, the Soviet nuclear-powered submarine K-19 suffers a complete loss of coolant to its reactor. The crew are able to effect repairs, but 22 of them die of radiation poisoning over the following two years.

    1966 – U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Freedom of Information Act into United States law. The act went into effect the next year.

    1976 – Israeli commandos raid Entebbe airport in Uganda, rescuing all but four of the passengers and crew of an Air France jetliner seized by Palestinian terrorists.

    1976 – The U.S. celebrates its Bicentennial.

    1987 – In France, former Gestapo chief Klaus Barbie (a.k.a. the “Butcher of Lyon”) is convicted of crimes against humanity and sentenced to life imprisonment.

    1994 – Rwandan genocide: Kigali, the Rwandan capital, is captured by the Rwandan Patriotic Front, ending the genocide in the city.

    1997 – NASA’s Pathfinder space probe lands on the surface of Mars.

    2004 – The cornerstone of the Freedom Tower is laid on the World Trade Center site in New York City.

    2005 – The Deep Impact collider hits the comet Tempel 1.

    2009 – The Statue of Liberty’s crown reopens to the public after eight years of closure due to security concerns following the September 11 attacks.

    2012 – The discovery of particles consistent with the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider is announced at CERN.

    1753 – Jean-Pierre Blanchard, French inventor, best known as a pioneer in balloon flight (d. 1809).

    1790 – George Everest, Welsh geographer and surveyor (d. 1866).

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

    1807 – Giuseppe Garibaldi, Italian general and politician (d. 1882).

    1816 – Hiram Walker, American businessman, founded Canadian Club whisky (d. 1899).

    1826 – Stephen Foster, American songwriter and composer (d. 1864).

    1847 – James Anthony Bailey, American circus ringmaster, co-founded Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus (d. 1906).

    1872 – Calvin Coolidge, American lawyer and politician, 30th President of the United States (d. 1933).

    1898 – Gertrude Lawrence, British actress, singer, and dancer (d. 1952).

    1927 – Neil Simon, American playwright and screenwriter (d. 2018).

    1938 – Steven Rose, English biologist and academic.

    1938 – Bill Withers, American singer-songwriter and producer (d. 2020).

    1943 – Adam Hart-Davis, English historian, author, and photographer.

    1948 – Jeremy Spencer, English singer-songwriter and guitarist.

    1962 – Pam Shriver, American tennis player and sportscaster.

    The sure extinction that we travel to/ And shall be lost in always. /Not to be here, /’Not to be anywhere,/And soon; nothing more terrible, nothing more true.
    [The 2nd, 3rd, and 5th US presidents died on the same date (two on the same day!) – surely there must be a prime numberconspiracy theory?]
    1623 – William Byrd, English composer (b. c. 1540).

    1761 – Samuel Richardson, English author and painter (b. 1689).

    1826 – John Adams, American lawyer and politician, 2nd President of the United States (b. 1735).

    1826 – Thomas Jefferson, American architect, lawyer, and politician, 3rd President of the United States (b. 1743).

    1831 – James Monroe, American soldier, lawyer, and politician, 5th President of the United States (b. 1758).

    1934 – Marie Curie, French-Polish physicist and chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1867).

    1974 – Georgette Heyer, English author (b. 1902).

    1995 – Eva Gabor, Hungarian-American actress and singer (b. 1919). [She voiced Duchess and Miss Bianca in the animated Disney Classics, The Aristocats (1970), The Rescuers (1977), and The Rescuers Down Under (1990).]

    1995 – Bob Ross, American painter and television host (b. 1942). [He’s been rediscovered by a new online generation, apparently.]

    2003 – Barry White, American singer-songwriter, pianist, and producer (b. 1944).

    2012 – Eric Sykes, English actor, director, and screenwriter (b. 1923).

  5. Indeed. Reporting on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is terrible. One has to read very carefully to even get a hint that the Israeli actions are usually provoked by violence on the other side. Headlines seem to be crafted to be purposely misleading. Since many readers stop after reading the headlines, the misleading headlines are almost certainly effective.

  6. Ooo la lah, Google! Nudge nudge ring ring wink wink – say no more say no more, as one of the conscientized, I can tell Google is PROUD to celebrate the 4th!

  7. Besides legacy admissions, another affirmative action program for whites is the recruitment of intercollegiate athletes. A great deal is revealed on this topic in this article in The Atlantic:

    The Cult of Rich-Kid Sports

    “…Nearly 90 percent of recruited athletes gain admission to Harvard, versus about 6 percent of applicants overall. These athletes make up less than 1 percent of Harvard’s applicant pool but more than 10 percent of its admitted class.

    … Black and Hispanic students account for less than 10 percent of Ivy athletes in baseball, cross country, fencing, field hockey, golf, ice hockey, lacrosse, rowing, sailing, skiing, softball, squash, tennis, volleyball, water polo, and wrestling. In the 2017-18 year, about 700 Ivy League athletes participated in rowing and lacrosse; fewer than 30 were black, according to NCAA data.

    … families of recruited athletes are twice as likely as non-recruits to come from families earning more than $500,000 than from families earning less than $80,000.”

    And then of course, there are the “walk-ons” that we learned about from the Varsity Blues scandal:

    Admissions Scandal Stokes Hard Questions on Recruited Athletes

    “The two daughters of the actress Lori Loughlin, who was charged in connection with the fraud case last week, were passed off as crew recruits despite never having competed in the sport, according to federal prosecutors.

    That choice of sport may not have been an accident. In a sport like women’s crew, where rosters can balloon to 125 athletes, many teams have scores of recruited walk-ons. (Such large rosters can help a college comply with federal equality laws, balancing out the number of male athletes in football.)”

  8. I think this is not generally true. Most NCAA Division I football teams have 100-125 players, and the vast majority are black kids. Clemson has 134 players on the 2023 football roster; 67 are black (out of 630 total varsity athletes); the roster at Oregon has 105 players; 72 black (out of 516 total varsity athletes). I picked a southern and a west coast university with high-profile football programs and I guess they are not too far from the mean but who knows? So black people are slightly underrepresented relative to population (13%) at Clemson, and slightly overrepresented at Oregon. And that’s just the football teams at land-grant universities. If Harvard or other Ivies have fewer black athletes among their many boutique varsity athletics programs, then that’s on Harvard but it’s not generally true of student athletes. Indeed it would be pretty ironic if Harvard was more racist than Clemson in its recruitment of varsity athletes.

    [edit: meant as a reply to Jackie@9]

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