Thursday: Hili dialogue

August 31, 2023 • 6:45 am

Welcome to the last day of August: Thursday, August 31, 2023, and National Trail Mix Day (mine is peanuts, raisins, and chocolate M&Ms).


It’s also Eat Outside Day, National Diatomaceous Earth Day, National Matchmaker Day, and, in Poland, the Day of Solidarity and Freedom (Dzień Solidarności i Wolności) set on the anniversary of August Agreement from 1980, established in 2005 (this marks the day the Polish government agreed to the demands of the striking workers at the Lenin Shipyard in Gdansk led by Lech Wałęsa,

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the August 31 Wikipedia page.

Da Nooz:

*Hurricane Idalia, predicted to cause huge damage in Florida, has largely missed that state and is now busy lashing Georgia to the north.

  • Hurricane Idalia is now a Category 1 storm as it travels into Georgia from northern Florida, lashing the Southeast with heavy rain and sustained winds of 75 mph. Track the storm’s path.

Remember, Category 1 is the lowest intensity.

  • Idalia made landfall early Wednesday on Florida’s Gulf Coast as a powerful Category 3 storm, and has been linked to at least two deaths. It’s the strongest hurricane to make landfall in the Big Bend region in more than 125 years, and it briefly intensified into a Category 4 hurricane before landfall.
  • The storm is causing flooding in some areas and has left over 300,000 customers in Florida and Georgia without power.
  • Storm surge from Idalia is setting records for highest water levels in multiple locations from Tampa Bay through Big Bend on Florida’s Gulf Coast.
  • Idalia is now a tropical storm as it moves through South Carolina, lashing the Southeast with heavy rain and sustained winds of 60 mph. Track the storm’s path.
  • The storm is causing flooding in some areas and has left over 400,000 customers in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina without power.
  • Storm surge from Idalia is setting records for highest water levels in multiple locations from Tampa Bay through Big Bend on the Gulf Coast.

Meanwhile, the governors of both North and South Carolina have warned residents of possible danger:

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said he doesn’t think the storm will be as bad as previous hurricanes that have hit the state.

“This is not as bad as some that we’ve seen. We don’t think it’s gonna be as destructive as some, but it is gonna be destructive,” South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said at a news conference Wednesday at the state emergency operations center.

The governor said that it does not appear that the storm will “require evacuations” or that South Carolina will need to close state agencies.

. . .North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper urged residents to stock up on supplies and stay off flooded roads when Hurricane Idalia hits the area with heavy rainfall and localized flooding.

“We’re hoping for the best but preparing for worst,” Cooper said during a news conference Wednesday afternoon.

A state of emergency was declared Monday for the state and a tropical storm warning is in effect for the entire coast of the state, Cooper said.

Two people died in Florida, both in flood-related car accidents. Even so, the damage from Idalia appears to be far less severe than many expected.

*The WSJ has an exclusive story about how Yevgeny Prigozhin evaded assassination for years, though many people wanted him dead.

Long before his private jet plunged from the sky, Yevgeny Prigozhin suspected it could be the stage for his assassination.

The Embraer Legacy 600 was one of several private jets the chief of the Wagner mercenary firm outfitted with equipment to detect surveillance, electronically tinted smart windows and white leather seats.

Aboard, Prigozhin sought to evade a growing dragnet of sanctions and wanted lists, according to former Russian air force officers, Wagner defectors, African and Middle Eastern officials and other people familiar with his travel routine.

His jets, often setting off from Moscow’s Chkalovsky Air Force Base or nearby civilian airports to visit clients in Syria, Libya or across the Sahara, would regularly turn off their transponders, vanishing from plane tracking screens. Crews, known to carry fake passports, would revise passenger lists just before takeoff, then radio air-traffic control midflight to announce a sudden change of destination.

. . . In the years before the crash, Prigozhin and his crew put in place elaborate measures to mask his flight plans, testing the limits of how easily an international fugitive could jet through dozens of foreign airports undetected.

. . . The U.S., which along with some 30 other countries sanctioned the warlord and his companies in recent years, had offered a $10 million reward for his capture and leaned on African partners including Niger to block his plane from landing or being serviced crossing the Sahara.

. . .The mainstay of his fleet, the roughly $10 million Embraer Legacy 600, had changed its registration and jurisdiction several times since a Seychelles-based company linked to Prigozhin acquired it in 2018 from a firm registered in the British tax haven of Isle of Man, according to documents reviewed by the Journal.

Prigozhin would sometimes shuffle between two or three different jets for a single one-way journey to the African countries where Wagner has contracts to protect leaders and national military juntas. Before landing he would question his crew on how closely ground staff would interact with the aircraft.

He frequently conducted meetings in disguise or on runways in his jet in case he was threatened with capture and had to make a swift exit.

The WSJ has a lot more information on Prigozhin’s movements and subterfuge, but you can read it for yourself.  In the end, it wasn’t enough to save him.

*Mitch McConnell had another episode of “freezing” yesterday while taking reporters’ questions, going silent and staring into space for about seven seconds. As you may recall, he had a similar episode in late July, one that lasted 20 seconds and resulted in his being led away by Republicans. He later blamed it on a transitory episode of “lightheadedness.” Here’s the latest:

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) appeared to freeze for several seconds Wednesday while taking questions from journalists in an incident that mirrored another occasion when he abruptly stopped speaking in late July.

McConnell took questions from reporters in Covington, Ky., after talking with a local group. A reporter asked him about running for reelection in 2026, then repeated the query twice when McConnell said he couldn’t hear, according to video of the incident.

McConnell, 81, chuckled and said, “Oh, that’s, uhh —” and stopped speaking. After about seven seconds, an aide approached and asked the senator if he had heard the question.

McConnell stared straight ahead, and the aide asked reporters to give them a minute.

Another aide then walked over and spoke to McConnell, who signaled that he was fine. McConnell then cleared his throat, said “Okay,” and continued to take questions. His answers were stilted.

In total, the minority leader was silent for more than 20 seconds.

“Leader McConnell felt momentarily lightheaded and paused during his press conference today,” a spokesman for McConnell said in a statement afterward.

. . . and the freeze.

The guy doesn’t look well at all. He’s old and may have serious health problems, but he shouldn’t be in the Senate, much less the minority leader. Perhaps he, like Dianne Feinstein, simply isn’t able to let go of power.

*The latest court doings: Rudy Giuliani has been found liable for defaming two election workers in Georgia, claiming that they mishandled ballots. What does this mean?

A federal judge ruled on Wednesday that Rudolph W. Giuliani was liable for defaming two Georgia election workers by repeatedly declaring that they had mishandled ballots while counting votes in Atlanta during the 2020 election.

The ruling by the judge, Beryl A. Howell in Federal District Court in Washington, means that the defamation case against Mr. Giuliani, a central figure in former President Donald J. Trump’s efforts to remain in power after his election loss, can proceed to trial on the narrow question of how much, if any, damages he will have to pay the plaintiffs in the case.

. . .Judge Howell’s decision came a little more than a month after Mr. Giuliani conceded in two stipulations in the case that he had made false statements when he accused the election workers, Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, of manipulating ballots while working at the State Farm Arena for the Fulton County Board of Elections.

Mr. Giuliani’s legal team has sought to clarify that he was not admitting to wrongdoing, and that his stipulations were solely meant to short circuit the costly process of producing documents and other records to Ms. Freeman and Ms. Moss so that he could move toward dismissing the allegations outright.

Although the stipulations essentially conceded that his statements about Ms. Freeman and Ms. Moss were false, Mr. Giuliani has continued to argue that his attacks on them were protected by the First Amendment.

But Judge Howell, complaining that Mr. Giuliani’s stipulations “hold more holes than Swiss cheese,” took the proactive step of declaring him liable for “defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, civil conspiracy and punitive damage claims.”

Now I’m not quite sure what’s going on here, and lawyers reading this should weigh in.  Giuliana has sort of admitted guilt, so they’re skipping the defamation trial and going straight to the damages. That sounds like a civil case, but Giuliani still faces criminal charges for trying to rig the Georgia ballot.

*I don’t like this story at all, but I’ve seen it in several places. A group of alligator hunters have captured (i.e., killed) the largest alligator measured in Mississippi’s history.

Four state residents — Donald Woods, Will Thomas, Joey Clark and Tanner White — harvested a male alligator Saturday in west Mississippi’s Sunflower River.

It weighed 802.5 pounds (364 kilograms) and measured 14 feet, 3 inches (4.3 meters) long, breaking the previous record by over 2 inches, the department said.

After capturing the animal, the hunters hoisted it with a forklift and posed for a picture at Red Antler Processing in the Mississippi Delta town of Yazoo City.

The area is located in a designated alligator hunting zone. Mississippi’s alligator hunting season opens on the last Friday in August each year. In 2023, the season ends Sept. 4.

I don’t like hunting at all, but can at least excuse it when the hunters intend to use the animals they’re shooting (mercifully, I’d hope) for food. I don’t think that’s what’s happening here: these guys just want to kill gators. And when I saw the photo below, with that magnificent animal in the hands of those guys, and realized that it must be dead for them to be holding it, I got very sad. It took a long time for the gator to get that big.

I know: someone will tell me they NEED to kill gators wantonly in the state. I doubt it, but even so, leave these huge ones alone!

*The NYT has an interview called “The evolution of A.O.C.” I’ve never been keen on her, seeing her as a publicity hound, and my ire ust grew when, after first wanting to vote “no” on the U.S.’s funding of part of Israel’s purely defensive Iron Dome, protecting the citizens from Palestinian rockets, she decided it was in her political interest to not vote that way. Instead she voted “present” and began weeping. What an opportunist!  Well, I’ll give one Q&A from her interview:

You built your brand as this political outsider, but now you’re the vice ranking member on the powerful House Oversight Committee, the No. 2 spot for Democrats on that committee. So clearly you have proved at some point that you do mean business. Do you see yourself as more of an insider now?

I don’t think so. I mean, on a certain level, once you are engaged as a legislator, you are on the inside. That is a function of the role. And that grants myself or anyone else in a similar position the tools to be able to translate this outside energy into internal change.

She has deliberately ratched down her “progressivism,” but I think, out of ambition, not out of genuine desire to change the system. Let’s face it: she’d never rise in the system as one of the “progressive” Democrats, and this is a woman of unlimited ambition. I suspect she wants to be President (or at least a Senator from New York), and she can’t do that by voting against the Jews.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili pricks up her ears and keeps a weather eye:

Hili: A storm.
A: Where?
Hili: Beyond the river.
In Polish:
Hili: Burza.
Ja: Gdzie?
Hili: Za rzeką.

. . . and a photo taken by Paulina of baby Kulka:


From Facebook, more braggadocio from the Trumpster:

From David, a Daniel Beyer cartoon showing a grilled chicken:

From Jesus of the Day:

From Masih, another attempt to intimidate a journalist. Mahsa Amini, of course, was the woman beaten to death by the morality police in Iran after she was arrested for not wearing a hijab. It was her death that ignited the current wave of protests in Iran, and the woman who interviewed Mahsa’s father is being tormented and h0unded for simply doing that. The theocratic regime is clearly scared.

From Jez: a wonderful starling murmuration that looks like smoke from a chimney. I wish there had been a video.

From Simon. We finally know why there had been a shooting during a recent White Sox baseball game. At least it wasn’t deliberate. A gun hidden in belly fat! Can’t metal detectors catch that? And why was she “belly carrying”?

From Malcolm. This look like a duck decoy! Are there mallards on Mars?

From the Auschwitz Memorial, a girl gassed upon arrival, age five:

Tweets from Matthew. Joyce Carol Oates gets a handsome stipend for appearing as a cartoon on “The Simpsons”:

This cat is in a fight to the death with a banana:

. . . and a schnorrer Ginger cat with a plaintive meow:

30 thoughts on “Thursday: Hili dialogue

    1. Nice! Accidentally shooting someone with a gun you smuggled into a baseball game under your fat roll could be the most American thing I’ve heard of all year.

    2. That’s the best description I’ve heard. Someone else said it’s a tummy gun. I just have to wonder “why did she think this was a good idea?”

  1. On this day:
    1422 – King Henry V of England dies of dysentery while in France. His son, Henry VI becomes King of England at the age of nine months.

    1535 – Pope Paul III excommunicates English King Henry VIII from the church. He drew up a papal bull of excommunication which began Eius qui immobilis.

    1888 – Mary Ann Nichols is murdered. She is the first of Jack the Ripper’s confirmed victims.

    1895 – German Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin patents his navigable balloon.

    1935 – In an attempt to stay out of the growing tensions concerning Germany and Japan, the United States passes the first of its Neutrality Acts.

    1939 – Nazi Germany mounts a false flag attack on the Gleiwitz radio station, creating an excuse to attack Poland the following day, thus starting World War II in Europe.

    1943 – USS Harmon, the first U.S. Navy ship to be named after a black person, is commissioned.

    1997 – Diana, Princess of Wales, her partner Dodi Fayed and driver Henri Paul die in a car crash in Paris.

    2006 – Edvard Munch’s famous painting, The Scream, stolen on August 22, 2004, is recovered in a raid by Norwegian police.

    2016 – Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff is impeached and removed from office.

    12 – Caligula, Roman emperor (d. 41).

    1569 – Jahangir, Mughal emperor (d. 1627).

    1775 – Agnes Bulmer, English poet and author (d. 1836).

    1870 – Maria Montessori, Italian physician and educator (d. 1952).

    1875 – Rosa Lemberg, Namibian-born Finnish American teacher, singer and choral conductor (d. 1959).

    1879 – Alma Mahler, Austrian-American composer and author (d. 1964).

    1900 – Gino Lucetti, Italian anarchist, attempted assassin of Benito Mussolini (d. 1943).

    1907 – Altiero Spinelli, Italian theorist and politician (d. 1986).

    1913 – Helen Levitt, American photographer and cinematographer (d. 2009).

    1913 – Bernard Lovell, English physicist and astronomer (d. 2012).

    1914 – Richard Basehart, American actor (d. 1984).

    1928 – James Coburn, American actor (d. 2002).

    1930 – Big Tiny Little, American pianist (d. 2010).

    1932 – Roy Castle, English dancer, singer, comedian, actor, television presenter and musician (d. 1994).

    1935 – Eldridge Cleaver, American activist and author (d. 1998).

    1938 – Martin Bell, English journalist and politician. [The “man in the white suit” who won a stunning victory in the UK’s 1997 general election.]

    1944 – Roger Dean, English illustrator and publisher.

    1945 – Van Morrison, Northern Irish singer-songwriter.

    1948 – Rudolf Schenker, German guitarist and songwriter.

    1949 – Richard Gere, American actor and producer.

    1957 – Glenn Tilbrook, English singer-songwriter and guitarist.

    I will have nothing to do with your immortality; we are miserable enough in this life, without the absurdity of speculating upon another.
    1688 – John Bunyan, English preacher, theologian, and author (b. 1628).

    1858 – Chief Oshkosh, Menominee chief (b. 1795).

    1867 – Charles Baudelaire, French poet and critic (b. 1821).

    1869 – Mary Ward, Irish astronomer and entomologist (b. 1827).

    1965 – E. E. Smith, American engineer and author (b. 1890).

    1973 – John Ford, American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter (b. 1894).

    1985 – Frank Macfarlane Burnet, Australian virologist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1899).

    1986 – Henry Moore, English sculptor and illustrator (b. 1898).

    2012 – Max Bygraves, English actor (b. 1922).

    2013 – David Frost, English journalist and game show host (b. 1939).

    2014 – Stan Goldberg, American illustrator (b. 1932).

    2021 – Geronimo, British alpaca (b. 2013).

  2. Joyce Carol Oates gets a handsome stipend for appearing as a cartoon on “The Simpsons”
    In the ’80s Dad got a royalty cheques for 5 pence, which was his share when a TV episode he had appeared in two decades earlier was sold to a broadcaster in Africa. He had the cheque framed and put an “In case of emergency break glass” sticker on it.

    Of course, the postage stamp on the envelope the cheque arrived in exceeded the value of the cheque (and in fact it had been posted twice, first by the BBC to dad’s agent, and then by the agent to our home).

  3. Remember, Category 1 is the lowest intensity.

    For those in need of a refresher course on hurricane categorisation, there is a reference chart – like those for the Beaufort Wind Speed Scale – in the last Caturday Trifecta.
    Having been at sea in Cat-4 and Cat-5 conditions, I wouldn’t relish being in the target zone. At least, when onshore, you don’t need to worry about the lifeboats being smashed off by the waves.

    1. In 2004 we had two hurricanes about 3 weeks apart stall right over our town. The first was a Cat 2, during which our house endured 11 hours in the eye wall. The second, which hit before we even had power restored, was a Cat 3 when it came to a near stop over top of us. We endured about 6 hours in the eye wall of that one.

  4. By shooting a 67 at age 77, Trump should be on the PGA Tour. Professional golfers 50 years younger than him would love that score. By the way, did I mention that just last week I hit a baseball out of Yankee Stadium?

    1. He said that that there was no hanky/lanky involved. Didn’t you read? Why won’t you just believe him for once? Why on earth would a former president of the United States lie about something like that? If he was so childish as to lie about something silly like golf, people would never have elected him. People are not that stupid. Obama couldn’t walk five yards on a golf course without falling into a hole, but not a word about him.

    2. I’d be very surprised if Trump shot a 67 to win the Bedminster Senior Club Championship without an “hanky/lanky” [sic]. Trump is a notorious golf cheat, as detailed in sportswriter Rick Riley’s book Commander in Cheat: How Golf Explains Trump.

      I’ve long maintained that one can tell a lot about a person’s character by the respect with which they play their self-proclaimed favorite participant sport.

    3. He’s also 6’3″ and 218 lbs. A real athlete! (That’s actually my height/weight and I don’t look like fat-ass Trump.) Also, while under oath yesterday, he said while POTUS he averted nuclear holocaust by the “deal” he made with North Korea. My hero!

  5. It is well documented that Trump lies about the golf championships he has won and that he routinely cheats on the course. Rick Reilly even wrote a book about it, “Commander in Cheat.” That Trump lies and cheats is not exactly breaking news, I realize.

    1. Freddie deBoer seems like a great bunch of guys. There’s just no telling which one will show up to write an article under his byline.

      1. Freddie deBoer’s views are a bit, shall we say, “idiosyncratic.” I’m not saying there isn’t a consistent through line to his opinions; I’m saying one has to look pretty hard to find it.

        He contains multitudes.

  6. It’s sad about that alligator. Why did they feel the need to kill it? It wasn’t “free will,” of course, so they had no choice. Must have been genetics, brain development, “lived experience,” and environmental factors that led them to seek a monstrous alligator and—once they found their quarry—to lash out and kill it. All for a photo op.

  7. Ilhan Omar’s job in congress involved a violation of the Constitution. Congress had to vote to allow her to attend while wearing a religious symbol: a head covering. This may be the only special privilege ever granted to religion in congress. She is appallingly uninformed and minimally articulate; she reads from printed statements. She is barely more compos mentis than Mitch McConnell. I imagine her handlers have to brief her extensively every morning so she knows what is on the agenda.

    1. There was no violation of the Constitution, and it was not a “special privilege.” The House of Representatives had a rule banning head coverings that they voted to partially repeal in order to allow religious headwear. If anything, the rule violated the Constitution, not “Ilhan Omar’s job in congress…”

      I can’t speak to the rest of your characterization of Omar’s ability as a Rep, but if it’s as accurate as the first part then she’s probably doing a fine job.

  8. Who wants to go in with me on providing electronic data services for lawyers?
    “Not including standard legal fees, Giuliani faces nearly $90,000 in sanctions from a judge in a defamation case, a $20,000 monthly fee to a company to host his electronic records, $15,000 or more for a search of his records,, and even a $57,000 judgment against his company for unpaid phone bills.”

  9. Regarding Giuliani being found liable in his defamation case: The judge, Beryl A. Howell, in her decision finding for the plaintiffs, strongly criticized Giuliani, writing “he had deliberately shirked his obligation to turn over crucial discovery materials in the case.”

    She also wrote that Giuliani Giuliani had “perhaps … made the calculation that his overall litigation risks are minimized by not complying with his discovery obligations in this case.”

    In other words, Giuliani decided it was better to accept guilt in the defamation case than have to reveal information that would cook his butt in the election fraud cases.

  10. Judge Howell’s actual order is short, just three pages as I recall, but she spent 57 pages on the opinion justifying the order, building a clear record in case Rudy is foolish enough to appeal.
    Of course, Rudy’s publicist promptly condemned the opinion for its length, saying that opinions on discovery matters were usually only a few pages long; but the facts laid out in the opinion make it very clear that Rudy and his legal team have been doing very little to comply with his discovery obligations – despite Rudy’s claim of being well aware of what they are because of his 50 years as a lawyer (now down the tubes!). And Rudy and his lawyers were even saying different things about where all the electronic records were stored: not a smart move.
    When the opinion points to electronic records made available by other people (for example, a text message exchange between Rudy and Christina Bobb – one of Trump’s attorneys – provided by Bobb) that he did not produce, it’s clear that Rudy is not trying very hard to comply/trying very hard not to comply with Judge Howell’s orders.
    Rudy may well be worried about what some of his records may say in terms of his criminal liability in the Georgia election interference case, but noncompliance with court orders is low on the list of good ways to deal with that issue.

  11. It’s not only in Iran that threats are made against those protesting against the regime’s treatment of women. Here in New Zealand a planned protest has been cancelled (apparently on police advice) due to “intimidating behaviour” directed at the organisers.

    Recently New Zealand’s Security Intelligence Service (SIS) accused Iran of interfering in New Zealand’s democracy by conducting foreign interference in a security threat environment report. Iran was identified as “monitoring and providing reporting on Iranian communities and dissident groups” and that “Globally, Iran has sought to silence dissenting Iranian voices in response to perceived threats to the Islamic Republic,” The Report commented that “Such activity has historically been unlikely in New Zealand, although the NZSIS continues to assess the threat in light of Iran’s increasingly aggressive behaviour internationally.”

  12. “. . . The U.S., which along with some 30 other countries sanctioned the warlord and his companies in recent years, had offered a $10 million reward for his capture and leaned on African partners including Niger to block his plane from landing or being serviced crossing the Sahara.”

    Perhaps the U.S. did not offer enough money.

    Did the U.S. similarly sanction Niger and other “African partners” for allowing his plane to land or be serviced?

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