Monday: Hili dialogue

September 11, 2023 • 6:45 am

Good morning on Monday, Sept. 11, 2023: 22 years from the demise of the Twin Towers.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, I suspect the “previous excuses” came from me.

Hili: Do you really not have a cat?
Sarah: I can’t. I’m travelling a lot.
Hili: I’ve heard such excuses before.
(Photo: Sarah Lawson)
In Polish:
Hili: Naprawdę nie masz kota?Sarah: Nie mogę, dużo podróżuję. Hili: Słyszałam takie wykręty.
(Zdjęcie S.L.)

Da Nooz (truncated):

Here’s the upper-left corner of today’s NYT, where the reader’s attention is naturally drawn. More and more this section is becoming a tabloid, or at least having nothing to do with real news but rather with clickbait:

My reaction (from reader Kamil):

*In a NYT op-ed, Democrat Michael Bloomberg suggests “How Biden and Congress should fix the immigration crisis in our cities.” It’s not a call for restricted immigration at all—that “fix” isn’t even mentioned, though his views on it should have been included—but for a rationale and humane way of treating immigrants:

For starters, current federal law prevents asylum seekers who have already been admitted into the United States from immediately working. The process of receiving a work authorization can take a year or longer. In the meantime, how are asylum seekers expected to pay rent and feed themselves and their families? This amounts to state-enforced poverty and vagrancy — against people who have shown extraordinary fortitude and grit in journeying here, often at great risk, for the opportunity to work and build a better life.

In New York City, denying people the ability to work is especially taxing because of a 1981 legal settlement, in which the city agreed to provide shelter to all homeless residents seeking it. That agreement was never intended to be a blanket guarantee of housing for an unprecedented flow of refugees, but that is what it has become.

The city has done an admirable job of finding, in short order, shelter for the more than 100,000 asylum seekers who have arrived since last spring. Currently, the city is housing about 60,000 in some 200 sites, which has forced it to take over more than 140 hotels. According to the Mayor’s Office, the cost to taxpayers, at $383 a night, is running into billions of dollars a year. The New York City mayor, Eric Adams, has been pleading for months, to little avail, for federal support to deal with a flood of asylum seekers.

New York is hardly alone. Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington, Denver and other cities are also experiencing an influx of asylum seekers who have no housing and no means of legally earning money. Meanwhile, the federal government is failing to provide the resources necessary to hear asylum cases in anything approaching an expeditious fashion. It can take six or seven years for an applicant’s case to be resolved.

Think about it: We have a system that essentially allows an unlimited number of people to cross our borders, forbids them from working, offers them free housing, and grants them seven years of residency before ruling on whether they can legally stay. It would be hard to devise a more backward and self-defeating system.

Indeed. Kamala Harris was supposed to be in charge of the fix, but what has she done? You know the answer to that. (She could even have urged Biden to do the fix, but she has too few neurons.)

*In a Quillette piece that will surely inspire a lot of discussion (and rancor), “Academia’s missing men,” Lawrence Krauss argues that parity has now been reached in the treatment of women and men in academics, though women haven’t yet made up the gap produced by the disproportionate number of senior academic men who were hired decades ago. Have a look at his statistics and see if we need to continue academic affirmative action for women, or, as Krauss urges, to “take our thumb off the scales.”

*WSJ op-eds are almost 100% conservative but are still worth scanning. Here’s one which rings true, about an issue we read about two days ago, “Democrats start to panic about Biden.” And it’s true: they are and they should. Why? From the WSJ:

• His age and decline. The press has tried to cover for Mr. Biden, but voters trust their own eyes. Some 73% of registered voters in the latest Wall Street Journal poll say Mr. Biden is too old to run for President. Mr. Biden turns 81 in two months, and aging can accelerate at any moment. The White House will attempt to repeat a Rose Garden version of the 2020 Wilmington basement strategy, but it may not work.

• Vice President Kamala Harris. Mr. Biden chose her as his running mate in 2020 to meet his party’s identity politics demands. But it has backfired as she has shown little capacity to be Commander in Chief and is often embarrassing in interviews. Everyone knows a vote for Mr. Biden in 2024 is probably a vote for President Harris, and Republicans will make the point through Election Day if she stays on the ticket.

• Hunter Biden and the family business. House Republicans have already exposed enough details to confirm the President’s son’s use of the Biden name—“the brand,” as business partner Devon Archer put it—to enrich the family. The press can say there’s no evidence that Joe Biden received a check, but Democrats don’t know what remains to be uncovered.

Mr. Trump will be relentless in prosecuting all of this politically, and the danger for Democrats is that the Biden family influence-peddling will end up neutralizing Mr. Trump’s indictments as a liability. That’s what he did to Hillary Clinton in 2016.

• The economy. The economy has rebounded this year, and third-quarter growth has been strong, but a slowdown is expected in the months ahead. Despite falling inflation, real incomes are still a long way from recovering from the price increases of the last 30 months. If unemployment rises to 5% or 6%, there will be political damage to Democrats and not much ability to counter it.

• The spreading migrant mess. Has there ever been a bigger self-inflicted policy wound than the Biden Administration’s refusal to deter and stop the migrant flood at the U.S.-Mexico border? Mr. Biden refuses to challenge his progressive base on asylum law, and the damage has spread far and wide. Elected Democratic officials are crying for help. Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, a Biden supporter, is warning Democrats that this will damage the party in 2024 if they don’t act. [See above for what Bloomberg really suggests.]

*The U.S. (Tennis) open has become bedeviled by the odor of weed. The AP report has a cool simile that I’ll highlight.

 It’s become a stink at the U.S. Open: a pungent marijuana smell that wafted over an outer court, clouded the concentration of one of the world’s top players and left the impression there’s no place left to escape the unofficial scent of the city.

While the exact source of the smell remained a mystery Tuesday, one thing was clear: Court 17, where eighth-seeded Maria Sakkari complained about an overwhelming whiff of pot during her first-round loss, has become notorious among players in recent years for its distinctive, unmistakable odor.

Court 17 definitely smells like Snoop Dogg’s living room,” said Alexander Zverev, the tournament’s 12th-seeded man who won his opening match on the court Tuesday. “Oh my God, it’s everywhere. The whole court smells like weed.”

Stung by stories in the wake of Sakkari’s match Monday that made it appear the U.S. Open’s stands are the sporting equivalent of a Phish concert, the United States Tennis Association conducted its own investigation, of sorts, to weed out the source of the smell.

Spokesman Chris Widmaier said the USTA questioned officials and reviewed video of the midday match and found “no evidence” anyone was smoking pot in the stands of Court 17, leading to speculation it may have come from Corona Park just outside the gates of the intimate stadium court.

From the Absurd Sign Project:

From Jesus of the Day, titled, “Smol SQUEE found a warms.”

From Stash Krod, a Doug Savage cartoon:

A woman films her hijab-less and skirt-wearing daughter for Masih:

More gender mishigass from Luana:


Titania is back tweeting again (about time!), and she has three. Here’s one, with a link to her latest article:

From Malcolm; I guess this cat’s job is trying to stay on the laptop.

From the Auschwitz Memorial, one that I retweeted:

Tweets from Dr. Cobb. Yes, this could inspire children’s books—so long that the authors are cats:

Yes, it’s ok to laugh—afterwards:

Was the cat named STELLLLAAAAAAA!?

19 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue

  1. On this day:
    1297 – Battle of Stirling Bridge: Scots jointly led by William Wallace and Andrew Moray defeat the English.

    1541 – Santiago, Chile, is attacked by indigenous warriors, led by Michimalonco, to free eight indigenous chiefs held captive by the Spaniards.

    1609 – Henry Hudson arrives on Manhattan Island and meets the indigenous people living there.

    1649 – Siege of Drogheda ends: Oliver Cromwell’s Parliamentarian troops take the town and execute its garrison.

    1792 – The Hope Diamond is stolen along with other French crown jewels when six men break into the house where they are stored.

    1826 – Captain William Morgan, an ex-freemason is arrested in Batavia, New York for debt after declaring that he would publish The Mysteries of Free Masonry, a book against Freemasonry. This sets into motion the events that led to his mysterious disappearance.

    1830 – Anti-Masonic Party convention; one of the first American political party conventions.

    1851 – Christiana Resistance: Escaped slaves led by William Parker fight off and kill a slave owner who, with a federal marshal and an armed party, sought to seize three of his former slaves in Christiana, Pennsylvania, thereby creating a cause célèbre between slavery proponents and abolitionists.

    1857 – The Mountain Meadows massacre: Mormon settlers and Paiutes massacre 120 pioneers at Mountain Meadows, Utah.

    1914 – The Second Period of Russification: The teaching of the Russian language and Russian history in Finnish schools is ordered to be considerably increased as part of the forced Russification program in Finland run by Tsar Nicholas II.

    1921 – Nahalal, the first moshav in Palestine, is settled as part of a Zionist plan of creating a Jewish state, later to be Israel.

    1941 – Construction begins on The Pentagon.

    1941 – Charles Lindbergh’s Des Moines Speech accusing the British, Jews and FDR’s administration of pressing for war with Germany.

    1944 – World War II: RAF bombing raid on Darmstadt and the following firestorm kill 11,500.

    1970 – The Dawson’s Field hijackers release 88 of their hostages. The remaining hostages, mostly Jews and Israeli citizens, are held until September 25.

    1973 – A coup in Chile, headed by General Augusto Pinochet, topples the democratically elected president Salvador Allende. Pinochet exercises dictatorial power until ousted in a referendum in 1988, staying in power until 1990.

    1982 – The international forces that were guaranteeing the safety of Palestinian refugees following Israel’s 1982 Invasion of Lebanon leave Beirut. Five days later, several thousand refugees are massacred in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps by Phalange forces.

    1997 – NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor reaches Mars.

    1997 – Kurkse tragedy: Fourteen Estonian soldiers of the Baltic Battalion are drowned or die of hypothermia during a training exercise in the Kurkse Strait.

    1997 – After a nationwide referendum, Scotland votes to establish a devolved parliament within the United Kingdom.

    2001 – The September 11 attacks, a series of coordinated terrorist attacks killing 2,996 people using four aircraft hijacked by 19 members of al-Qaeda. Two aircraft crash into the World Trade Center in New York City, a third crashes into The Pentagon in Arlington County, Virginia, and a fourth into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

    2007 – Russia tests the largest conventional weapon ever, the Father of All Bombs.
    tests the largest conventional weapon ever, the Father of All Bombs.

    2008 – A major Channel Tunnel fire breaks out on a freight train, resulting in the closure of part of the tunnel for six months.

    2012 – The U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya is attacked, resulting in four deaths.

    2015 – A crane collapses onto the Masjid al-Haram mosque in Saudi Arabia, killing 111 people and injuring 394 others.

    1522 – Ulisse Aldrovandi, Italian ornithologist and botanist (d. 1605).

    1816 – Carl Zeiss, German lens maker, created the Optical instrument (d. 1888).

    1847 – Mary Watson Whitney, American astronomer and academic (d. 1921).

    1862 – O. Henry, American short story writer (d. 1910).

    1885 – D. H. Lawrence, English novelist, poet, playwright, and critic (d. 1930).

    1917 – Herbert Lom, Czech-born English actor (d. 2012).

    1917 – Ferdinand Marcos, Filipino soldier, lawyer, and politician, 10th President of the Philippines (d. 1989).

    1917 – Jessica Mitford, English-American journalist and author (d. 1996).

    1935 – Arvo Pärt, Estonian composer.

    1939 – Charles Geschke, American businessman, co-founded Adobe Systems (d. 2021).

    1940 – Brian De Palma, American director, producer, and screenwriter.

    1941 – Minnijean Brown-Trickey, Civil Rights activist and Little Rock Nine member.

    1948 – John Martyn, English-Scottish singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 2009).

    1967 – Harry Connick Jr., American singer-songwriter, pianist, actor, and talk show host.

    1971 – Richard Ashcroft, English singer-songwriter and musician.

    Don’t strew me with roses after I’m dead.
    When Death claims the light of my brow,
    No flowers of life will cheer me: instead
    You may give me my roses now!

    1721 – Rudolf Jakob Camerarius, German botanist and physician (b. 1665).

    1760 – Louis Godin, French astronomer and academic (b. 1704).

    1823 – David Ricardo, English economist and politician (b. 1772).

    1948 – Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Pakistani lawyer and politician, 1st Governor-General of Pakistan (b. 1876).

    1957 – Mary Proctor, American astronomer (b. 1862).

    1971 – Nikita Khrushchev, Russian general and politician (b. 1894).

    1973 – Salvador Allende, Chilean physician and politician, 29th President of Chile (b. 1908).

    1978 – Georgi Markov, Bulgarian author and playwright (b. 1929). [Assassinated on a London street via a micro-engineered pellet that might have contained ricin.]

    1985 – Henrietta Barnett, British Women’s Royal Air Force officer (b. 1905).

    1985 – Eleanor Dark, Australian author (b. 1901).

    1986 – Noel Streatfeild, English author (b. 1895).

    1987 – Peter Tosh, Jamaican singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1944).

    1988 – Roger Hargreaves, English author and illustrator (b. 1935).

    2001 – Casualties of the September 11 attacks.

    2002 – Kim Hunter, American actress (b. 1922).

    2014 – Donald Sinden, English actor (b. 1923).

    2020 – Toots Hibbert, Jamaican singer and songwriter (b. 1942).

  2. All good stuff, especially the Bloomberg piece on immigration (completely sane and reasonable) and the WSJ material on Biden (completely sane and worrisome). But I couldn’t stop laughing when I saw the “This Panel Identifies as Blue.” Completely insane and brilliant!

  3. (She [Kamala Harris] could even have urged Biden to do the [immigration] fix, but she has too few neurons.)

    Even before Kamala threw her hat into the ring for the 2020 Democratic nomination, I thought she lacked the gravitas one would ideally want in a president. But I don’t think there’s a legitimate basis to question her intellectual wherewithal. She had a decent record as a US senator before becoming veep. Christ, compared to some of the cretins in the current US senate, such as Alabama’s Tommy Tuberville, she could be a brain surgeon who does rocket science on the side.

    Plus, Harris’s major disability is that vice presidents have no power base of their own. The only power granted them by the US constitutional is to cast tie-breaking votes in the senate. It is an office that, as FDR’s first VP, John Nance Garner, said in his inimical earthy style, “isn’t worth a bucket of warm piss.”

    I mean, name me one vice president who’s had a significant accomplishment while serving in that office. Ike told reporters that he might be able to come up with one for Dick Nixon in his eight years in that office if they gave him a couple weeks to think about it. The Kennedys kept Johnson on ice for three years. LBJ bragged that he had Hubert Humphries’s testicles in his watch pocket. Spiro Agnew’s major accomplishment was to come under investigation for corruption dating back to his days as Maryland governor, culminating in his copping a no lo plea to a tax evasion beef. Even “Mr. Resumé,” Poppy Bush, had as his major accomplishment sitting in for Reagan for a few hours while the Gipper was under anesthesia to have polyps removed from his colon, and spent most of the second Reagan term running away from the taint of the Iran-Contra scandal. J. Danforth Quayle? J. Danforth don’t-get-me-started.

    Plus, I think The Wall Street Journal gives Harris a bum rap in claiming that “Biden chose her as his running mate in 2020 to meet his party’s identity politics demands.” Selection of a presidential running mate has often been about ticket balancing — ideological, geographical, or ethnic. Ike picked Nixon because of the latter’s Red-baiting cred picked up as a member of congress sitting on HUAC. Bostonian JFK picked Texan LBJ to shore up his support in the South. Conversely, Jimmy Carter picked Walter Mondale to shore up his support with the Democratic Party’s traditional northern liberal base. Trump picked Pence to shore up support with evangelicals. (Ironically, the evangelicals have now turned Pence in favor of their golden calf Trump.) Call it “identity politics” if you will, but I don’t see anything egregious about Biden picking Harris to appeal to minority voters who’ve so long been loyal to the Democrats.

    There’s a bipartisan fix to be had on the immigration issue. What’s lacking is sufficient will in congress to achieve it — especially on the part of Republicans so long as there’s a Democrat in the White House, since it gives them a cudgel to use to beat up on the Dems in every election cycle.

    1. Most of what you say is perfectly true concerning VPs. Said more simply democrats and republicans don’t really give a care for immigrants. They simply do not care unless there are thousands of them coming over the boarder. Then they care. Congress cannot fix it and do not want to fix it. No surprise there because congress cannot fix anything. Biden makes mistakes, he always has. His actions on immigration have been pathetic and appointing his VP to do something about it was really lame. Tell us immigration specialist out there….How would you handle it? Put them in cages and build more worthless walls? At least we can blame it on the VP.

    2. One cannot predict how consequential a vice president will be upon assuming the presidency upon the death of the incumbent. Most, in fact, did become consequential, for good or bad. This includes John Tyler, Theodore Roosevelt, and Harry S. Truman, all of whom were chosen for vice president by the person at the head of the ticket for reasons other than how well they would serve a president. Truman is especially interesting. He was accepted as a compromise choice for V.P. by FDR in 1944 because the incumbent V.P., Henry Wallace, was considered too radical by many in the Democratic Party. Truman wasn’t even aware of the Manhattan Project until he assumed the presidency after FDR’s death in April 1945. Apparently, no one thought he was important enough to advise him of it. The lesson out of all this is that due to the extremely limited powers of the vice president, it is impossible to judge how that person will serve upon attaining the higher office of the presidency.

      1. Sorry, but Harris has shown NO fitness to be President; she is the female equivalent of Spiro Agnew or Dan Quayle. Fortunately, neither of these guys got to be President, but if you think that Harris has shown ANY fitness to lead, you’re dead wrong. This is why people are afraid of Biden dying in office. And, of course, we had clues to some VPs, notably LBJ. Harris can’t even give a coherent speech, so her powers may be limited, but so is her intellect.

    3. “I mean, name me one vice president who’s had a significant accomplishment while serving in that office.”

      Exactly. I’m not sure why the Biden adminstration thought it was a good idea to give her immigration as a target issue, since it can only be solved by a substantial congressional majority that’s on the same page. It’s unrealistic to blame Harris for being unable to strongarm congress into doing her bidding.

      “…on the part of Republicans so long as there’s a Democrat in the White House, since it gives them a cudgel to use to beat up on the Dems in every election cycle.”

      Even George W. Bush’s attempts at immigration reform were scuttled by congressional Republicans. It’s one of the most insoluble issues in politics.

      As for Harris, before becoming VP she was a successful DA, state Attorney General, and US Senator. She’s not an inspiring candidate but she’s well-qualified. If she has faded into the background a VP, so has almost everyone who took the job, even LBJ.

      Regarding that WSJ editorial, it will reflect very poorly on the American public if it comes to view Hunter Biden’s hijinks as worse than all of Trump’s. But in 2016 people were all up in arms about Hillary Clinton’s supposed crimes and overlooked Trump’s corruption, so who knows?

      1. If I recall they put her on a plane with the plan to meet with the corrupt leaders in Central American and do what. Tell them to stop treating your people like shit and we will give you some money? It was a lost cause before it started.

  4. Say what you will about Kamala Harris, but even if she were running for POTUS, I’d vote for her in a heartbeat over Trump or any of the GOP front-runners. Hell, I’d vote for a rock before voting for Trump. The 2024 election isn’t about Biden or Harris, it’s about whether or not you want America to continue as a Democracy; it’s about whether or not you want more cruelty, hate, bigotry, lies and fear in American politics; it’s about whether or not perpetrators of the Jan. 6 insurrection stay in prison; it’s about whether or not you regard climate change as an existential threat (or indeed, if it’s even real); it’s about whether or not you want Ukraine (and NATO) to succeed, and the list goes on. Too bad the MSM tries to frame the election as a horse race between two legitimate political parties with “normal” democratic agendas.

    1. Ok. I’ll bite. Mark ain’t wrong. We can have all the theoretical midnight dorm room discussions we want, but Biden is running s pretty damn competent bureaucracy, one that is making progress in the world with highly qualified experts in major government leadership positions. The other option, as we saw for four years, is an autocrat who each month managed to undrstand more and more how he could achieve total control of the gears of the national government for personal gain. Enough.

  5. Lawrence Krauss’s thesis may well be true, but it’s disappointing how poor the evidence he provides in favour of it is. The bit about APS fellows was particularly bizarre—155 fellows were elected in 2021, and the 6 that happened to be from MIT are just an anecdote (it’s like he just writes articles on the basis of the promotional emails he gets from his alma maters press office!) And in this tiny subsample…he is so incensed that 3 out of 6 are female? This is almost certainly within error bars of sampling noise even for a population as skewed as physics…

    The faculty example is similarly anecdotal (with 150 R1 institutions in the US, why should I care about one year in one university, presumably an outlier?). Some of the other things (a photo on the march meeting website? Really?) are things I would have never even thought to care about.

    Again I think there may be some truth to the argument, but a collection of random anecdotes doesn’t really help me form a serious opinion on the subject.

  6. I have never to my recollection said an unkind word on this site. And I will never do so to our host or a commenter. But please stop with the “Harris could be Truman” claims. Joe Biden picked Kamala Harris for three reasons: 1) a left-wing obsession with identity politics, 2) as impeachment insurance, and 3) so that with Harris joining him in any White House room Biden wouldn’t be the dumbest person there.

    We would not even be talking about either Biden or Harris if it weren’t for the orange-haired creature devouring the other party. There are talented people on both sides of the aisle, and our choices have devolved to mediocrities, narcissists, and possible felons. Of course, I have been known to set standards too high: like my insisting that a president should be able to walk steadily and talk knowledgeably–both at the same time.

    But . . . FDR. Yeah, I know, Biden is probably the new FDR, right?

    1. No one is saying Harris could be Truman. They’re just pointing out that Truman was no more distinguished than Harris when he was selected as VP. Arguably Harris was more qualified than him, judging from her resume. You left that out when listing Biden’s reasons for picking Harris, by the way. Before the Senate flipped to the Republicans Biden managed to get through several important pieces of legislation, so his aim to be a new FDR, though impossible under the circumstances, at least inspired a productive start to his presidency. Pretty good for a supposedly stupid and senile man, and better than the dotard who preceded him.

    1. Just hope that her sister Blanche doesn’t show up unexpectedly. That moggie has always depended on the kindness of strangers. 🙂

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