Saturday: Hili dialogue

September 30, 2023 • 6:45 am

This is post number 28,001: lots of writing in the last 14 years!

Welcome to CaturSaturday, September 30, 2023—the last day of the month. It’s National Mulled Cider Day, an appropriate harbinger of nippy weather to come.

It’s also Chewing Gum Day, the Time for Yoga, Extra Virgin Olive Oil Day, National Love People Day, International Blasphemy DayNational Day for Truth and Reconciliation or Orange Shirt Day (in Canada), and International Translation Day

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the September 30 Wikipedia page.

Da Nooz:

*Guess what? The odds are that we’re gonna have a government shutdown starting Sunday. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy threw a legislative Hail Mary today, in the form of a rescue bill, and conservative members of his own party, rejected it. Things look grim, as the shutdown begins when the bell tolls midnight on Saturday night.

Hard-line conservatives on Friday tanked Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s long-shot bid to pass legislation to avert a government shutdown, in an extraordinary display of defiance that made it clear that Congress would almost certainly miss a midnight deadline on Saturday to keep federal funding flowing.

It appeared evident even before the vote that the stopgap bill was bound to fail, as several hard-right Republicans had declared that they would not back a temporary spending bill, known as a continuing resolution, under any circumstances. And the measure — which would slash spending and impose severe immigration restrictions — never had a chance of preventing a shutdown, since it was regarded as a nonstarter in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

Not everyone would be damaged or salary deprived, for example, me:

A government shutdown would disrupt operations for many federal agencies and leave thousands of workers furloughed, but that does not mean all programs would stop providing benefits.

Funding for Social Security, for instance, is considered mandatory and financed through a payroll tax, meaning a shutdown would not interrupt payments. Recipients of other programs, such as those providing food assistance to women and young children, would see a more immediate reduction of benefits.

Several federal programs would still provide benefits:

  • Social Security checks would continue to be sent out. The Social Security Administration could also issue new and replacement Social Security cards.

  • Medicare and Medicaid benefits would mostly be unaffected, although the Social Security Administration would not be able to issue replacement Medicare cards. There is sufficient funding for Medicaid through the end of December, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

  • Veterans would still be provided medical care, pension benefits and housing services. The Department of Veterans Affairs has said, however, that some activities, such as benefit adjustments and insurance, have been delayed during previous shutdowns.

But a lot of programs that help people, like food stamps, would be curtailed. And, distressingly, Fat Bear Week could be curtailed! (See below.)

Given the divisions within the House GOP as well as the fact that the Senate is Democratic and the House is Republican, this might well take a long time to resolve. Remember, any resolution has to be bipartisan. And the Democratic Senate won’t vote for immigration reform.

*Nellie Bowles’s weekly news summary at The Free Press yesterday is called “TGIF: The Book of Revelations“, and I’ll steal three items from it.

→ Philly Gone Wild: The city of Philadelphia saw a rampage of shoplifting this week. Congresswoman Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez [JAC: it looks like we’re going to be stuck with this ambitious doofus forever] famously said that shoplifting is done by people who need to feed their families, but it’s really hard to reconcile that with the clips of folks having what looks like a really, really fun time tearing through department stores grabbing shoes and bags. Zaid has the best take on this:

That last line is hilarious, and oh so true!

→ Dept. of academic absurdia: At the big annual U.S.–Canada academic anthropology conference, there was a planned panel called “Let’s Talk About Sex Baby: Why biological sex remains a necessary analytic category in anthropology.” It was, of course, deemed too controversial. The American Anthropological Association and Canadian Anthropology Society cancelled the talk, writing: “The reason the session deserved further scrutiny was that the ideas were advanced in such a way as to cause harm to members represented by the Trans and LGBTQI of the anthropological community as well as the community at large.” It was about “safety,” the academic groups said. The deplatformed professors, all women, wrote an open letter you can read here. The message is clear over and over: you cannot talk about gender-based violence or explore specific issues women face in other countries. Which is totally fine because the world treats women beautifully everywhere and the only existing oppression happens to be in Berkeley and New Haven, specifically of PhD students, who live in constant danger. Honestly, those anthropologists don’t need to travel anymore. The greatest victims and also the most interesting people in the world are right there, sitting around that very conference room table.

In London, the big Comic Con festival cancelled a random Harry Potter panel, set to be hosted by the team behind a new Harry Potter play in town. Activists said they would protest anything that had any reference to J.K. Rowling’s IP, and event organizers cited the need to keep everyone “safe.” As much as I hate that safe has become a byword for just the thing you personally want to happen, I think it’s time I embrace it. Why do I need a glass of wine at noon? For safety reasons. In-home massage on Friday mornings? Safety, heard of it?

. . . and a new book by Abigail Shrier, surely worth reading (remember how she was demonized for her last one).

→ Shameless plugs corner: Preorder Abigail Shrier’s new book Bad Therapy: Why the Kids Aren’t Growing Up. It’s going to be amazing. I have mixed feelings about this one because, you see, we share a book editor. But Abigail is much faster and more productive, so in the small classroom that is the two of us, I’m the bad one. Also on my preorder list is a new futurism book by James Pethokoukis.

*Andrew Sullivan’s latest weekly column, a good one, is called “Could MLK give a TED talk today?” It is, of course, largely about the shameful way TED treated Coleman Hughes (see my piece here), an incident that’s become far bigger news than I imagined. (I’m on Hughes’s side, which is also Sully’s side, and you should also read Jesse Singal’s excoriation of TED if you can. But I have nothing to add to what I’ve said, or what Singal and Sullivan say. I want to highlight one bit of Sullivan’s column:

 Why has the left focused on shifting educational curricula away from liberal concepts toward critical, neo-Marxist ones in general? Paolo Freire: “The solution is not to ‘integrate’ [students] into the structure of oppression, but to transform that structure so that they can become ‘beings for themselves’.” Revolution starts with indoctrination of the young.

. . .And it couldn’t have achieved this mastery of American society without other contingent factors: the astonishing weakness of the leaders of liberal institutions and foundations, more terrified of being called a racist or a transphobe by a teenager than committed to liberal values. And Donald Trump empowered the fanatics more than anyone else in our polity, by further tribalizing and polarizing our culture. And the dominant therapeutic paradigm has supplemented all of it — enforcing ideological orthodoxy via personal emotional blackmail.

There is also an end-of-history boredom to it all. Now that full civil rights are well established, what is a progressive gonna do? They seem less interested in the economic policies that could win multi-racial majorities than in zero-sum narratives of racial and sexual oppression. They need to invent new vistas of discrimination — even unconscious ones — to sustain themselves. Look at the rump of the gay rights movement, now pushing so far into leftist insanity it has abolished the whole concept of homosexuality as same-sex attraction, and targeted mostly gay children for irreversible bodily mutilation. Anything to keep the pulse racing and the donations coming in.

Sullivan is pretty hard on Biden, but I have to say that his criticisms below ring pretty true:

The re-election of Trump — which is at least 50-50 proposition at this point — would further crazy up the left and reduce what tiny amount of oxygen is left for the liberal project to stay alive. But the re-election of Biden would, alas, do much the same. His administration is committed to this neo-Marxism all the way down. It practices race and sex discrimination in all its employment practices; it endorses critical race, gender and queer theory in every area of life; it has adopted wholesale the lingo of the new orthodoxy — “white supremacy”; “equity”;  “LGBTQI+ people”; “systemic racism”; “antiracism”; “LatinX”; and on and on. The vice president — openly picked by Biden, like his Supreme Court nominee, because she has the right sex and skin color — is in the vanguard of this revolution, and is Biden’s promise that the regime change will be permanent. There are no liberals left who resist it. They privately bemoan it and publicly mouth its pomo verbiage. In some ways, they are more contemptible than the extremists.

I resist it, Andrew!  And the ending:

For those who tell me to chill out, I have to repeat: ideas really do matter. You cannot graft deeply illiberal practices and neo-Marxist ideology onto a liberal polity for very long, before the contradictions force a resolution. A House divided so profoundly cannot stand. But the surrender of the Democratic liberals and the insane radicalization of the GOP almost certainly means that peaceful, liberal politics may well not be capable of resolving this contradiction. Which means that something much darker and more violent will.

I wonder what “resolution” he’s envisioning her. Surely he doesn’t mean civil war!?

*Matthew reports, via The Guardian, that an 82-year-old tortoise in Cornwall has had successful surgery, but OY! what a problem!:

Joey, an 82-year-old tortoise in Cornwall, is recovering from surgery after the removal of a bladder stone the size of a cricket ball.

Two veterinary surgeons had to cut through Joey’s shell to remove the growth, which at 150g was almost three times the weight of a tennis ball.

One of the vets, Viliam Hoferica, said the bladder stone was the largest he had ever seen. “Given the size of the stone, it was very unique. If Joey was a human, it would be like having a bladder stone the size of a basketball,” he said.

Hoferica said it may take up to a year for Joey’s shell to heal. Explaining the procedure, he said the vets had to create a fibreglass and resin glue to hold together her shell after the surgery.

Hoferica, a surgeon at the Rosevean veterinary practice in Penzance, said Joey’s condition was only discovered by accident. He speculated that the bladder stone may have been growing for months or even years.

He said: “Tortoises are a very tough species. They don’t let you know what is wrong until it’s really bad. Joey had only been acting unusually in the last few weeks before the surgery, and even then she was just eating less and moving less.

Here’s the photo of the poor beast and the stone they removed (caption from the Guardian).  What nice vets, even gluing the shell together! Matthew told me that when he was a kid he also had a tortoise named Joey, and loved to watch it eat lettuce.

*Now you want bad news about the impending government shutdown? Here’s some REALLY bad news (you can click on the headline, too)

Fat Bear Week is in jeopardy.

If Washington gridlock pushes the country into a government shutdown on Saturday night, the people who run the popular online contest celebrating the burly Alaskan brown bears at Katmai National Park and Preserve will be among the federal employees furloughed.

In a call with reporters Thursday night, the Department of Interior said the workers who monitor the contest are not exempt from a lapse in appropriations. The majority of national parks will close to the public in the event of a shutdown.

In a call with reporters Thursday night, the Department of Interior said the workers who monitor the contest are not exempt from a lapse in appropriations. The majority of national parks will close to the public in the event of a shutdown.

. . .According to a news release from the National Park Service, rangers are responsible for creating the bracket-style tournament.

Rangers begin work on Fat Bear Week long before the competition begins. As soon as employees arrive at Katmai National Park at the beginning of the season, they are tasked with capturing photos of the bears at their lowest weight. They keep track of the bears throughout the summer, then come September must capture the bears at their fattest.

“The pictures we use for Fat Bear Week are not the kind of pictures that as a photographer, you normally want to take,” said Naomi Boak, the park’s media ranger.

Unlike the visitors hoping to get photos of the bears in action, Boak says rangers look for “boring profile shots” that give the online voters an idea of the bear’s size.

The job is easier said than done. With bears constantly submerged in the water fishing and appearing in the Brooks Corridor at inconsistent times, “the picture taking gets intense,” Boak said.

For me, Fat Bear Week is a highlight of the year. I love to see those overstuffed grizzlies, nearly as wide as they are long, laden with fat from salmon. The fatter they are, the better their chance of doing well during hibernation. If we don’t have Fat Bear Week this year, I’m going to stuff marbles up my nose and scream.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili seems to be meditating:

A: Are you asleep?
Hili: No, I’m trying to regain my mental balance.
In Polish:
Ja: Śpisz?
Hili: Nie, próbuję odzyskać równowagę ducha.

And a picture of Szaron, the world’s most affectionate cat. He loves everyone!


From Mark (is this real?):

From Merilee:

From Stash Krod; the wonders of AI, which turns the Beatles into four Mr. Naturals:

Mr. Natural drawn by R. Crumb. If you remember him, you’re old:

From Masih, the Iranian regime wounds a child while shooting at protestors:

From Simon, who calls it “direct and to the point.” Sure ’nuff!

From Barry; I’m not sure whether the original claim is real:

From Jez: Trump interviews for a job:

From the Auschwitz Memorial: a 48-year-old woman gassed upon arrival:

Tweets from Dr. Cobb. First, a salmon saves itself (sound up):

. . . and it didn’t even have to pay!:

A lovely bird! Sound up:

29 thoughts on “Saturday: Hili dialogue

  1. “peaceful, liberal politics may well not be capable of resolving this contradiction.”

    Modern tyranny is “opt in”. It’s tiny now. Exactly how Marxism works. Look what it sets society up for.

  2. A lot of problems would be avoided if our officials themselves had to abide by the laws and policies they set for the rest of us.

    If Congress and the Supreme Court had to lose their wages during a shutdown, they would find a way to avoid a shutdown.

    If they had to live with guns in their official locations while they were in session, maybe they would deal with their decisions differently.


  3. So it’s 50/50 for Trump in the presidential election. Maybe if he is running for president of Texas or Florida. But not at the rate he is going now. Just the past few days he appeared to buy a gun in South Carolina. If so he should be in Jail as federally indicted people cannot buy guns. He also said that the former Joint Chief of the military should have been assassinated. The Dominoes in the Georgia case are starting to drop with one guy flipping yesterday. On Trump’s orders the Government is shutting down and hell, this is all just last week. No federal employees get paid and no one in the military gets paid. The republicans are also responsible for 3 or 4 hundred military flag officers not being approved for positions. Looks like a good week for Trump. How many votes for him in that?

    1. You make excellent points, Randall, and I subscribe to them, but you must know that none of them matter to the MAGA cultists, for whom the only point is cruelty. You must also know that the fact that the Trump supporters are in the minority of voters doesn’t matter as well. They’ve all but firmly established minority rule through gerrymandering, control of the majority of state legislatures, and stacking the federal courts. We hope against hope that rationality and morality can prevail over the powerful primal emotional appeal of the MAGA cult.

      1. In case you have not been paying attention, the gerrymandering in several states as of late are being rejected and redone. Also gerrymandered states has nothing to do with voting for president. If you want to think this vermin will be the next president, that is your privilege. There seems to be many of your kind around this site.

        1. I will respectfully dispute one of your assertions: in many of the gerrymandered states the legislatures are passing laws aimed at making it difficult for minorities to vote (see Ohio’s very strict voter ID law, to name just one). This has
          a definite effect on national elections.

          And have you seen the reports that the Ohio legislature has ignored the court order to re-draw its legislative districts map?

      2. You are living in a world that does not exist. The reality is that life in America is controlled by the left-wing (identity politics) elite. Trump tried to change this. Of course, he failed. Consider a few cases in point. The voters in California have repeatedly rejected using race in college admissions. The elite doesn’t agree. The result is ‘holistic admissions’, which uses very thinly disguised race to determine admissions. Another example is the universal prevalence of the terms AFAB/AMAB in medicine. Of course, these terms are not even remotely accurate. However, they do reflect elite preferences, which is all that actually counts. The reality is that left-wing (identity politics) elite run K-12 education, academia, Hollywood, the media, NGOs, SV, Tech, Wall Street, corporate America, the FBI/CIA/military, etc. Note the universal prevalence of DEI mandates. Do the American people agree? Who cares. The elite is wedded to DEI and that’s what counts. A majority of Americans think having biological males compete with actual women is wrong. When Riley Gaines objected to William Thomas joining the U of Penn swim team, she was told it was ‘non-negotiable’ (World Swimming banned trans athletes from women’s swimming in 2022). Note that U of Penn, nominated William Thomas as ‘Woman of the year for 2022’.

        A lady by the name of Sophia Lorey tried to speak about this issue at the Yolo county library in California. She was kicked out by the library manager (Scott Love).

        For a truly bad example, consider that sad fate of Bud Light. Bud Light drinkers were not likely to influenced in a positive way by Dylan Mulvaney. Of course, the elite loved him. Whose preferences ruled?

        The supposed MAGA judges have repeatedly blocked laws restricting puberty blockers and ‘gender affirming care’.

  4. On this day:
    1139 – A magnitude 7.7 earthquake strikes the Caucasus mountains in the Seljuk Empire, causing mass destruction and killing up to 300,000 people.

    1791 – The first performance of Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute takes place two months before his death.

    1882 – Thomas Edison’s first commercial hydroelectric power plant (later known as Appleton Edison Light Company) begins operation.

    1888 – Jack the Ripper kills his third and fourth victims, Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes.

    1909 – The Cunard Line’s RMS Mauretania makes a record-breaking westbound crossing of the Atlantic, that will not be bettered for 20 years.

    1915 – World War I: Radoje Ljutovac becomes the first soldier in history to shoot down an enemy aircraft with ground-to-air fire.

    1935 – The Hoover Dam, astride the border between the U.S. states of Arizona and Nevada, is dedicated.

    1938 – Britain, France, Germany and Italy sign the Munich Agreement, whereby Germany annexes the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia.

    1938 – The League of Nations unanimously outlaws “intentional bombings of civilian populations”.

    1939 – World War II: General Władysław Sikorski becomes prime minister of the Polish government-in-exile.

    1941 – World War II: The Babi Yar massacre comes to an end.

    1949 – The Berlin Airlift ends.

    1954 – The U.S. Navy submarine USS Nautilus is commissioned as the world’s first nuclear-powered vessel.

    1968 – The Boeing 747 is rolled out and shown to the public for the first time.

    1999 – The Tokaimura nuclear accident causes the deaths of two technicians in Japan’s second-worst nuclear accident.

    2005 – Controversial drawings of Muhammad are printed in a Danish newspaper.

    2016 – Two paintings with a combined value of $100 million are recovered after having been stolen from the Van Gogh Museum in 2002.

    1207 – Rumi, Persian mystic and poet (d. 1273).

    1800 – Decimus Burton, English architect, designed the Pharos Lighthouse (d. 1881).

    1814 – Lucinda Hinsdale Stone, American feminist, educator, and philanthropist (d. 1900).

    1832 – Ann Jarvis, American activist, co-founded Mother’s Day (d. 1905).

    1882 – Hans Geiger, German physicist and academic (d. 1945).

    1883 – Nora Stanton Blatch Barney, American civil engineer, architect, and suffragist (d. 1971).

    1897 – Charlotte Wolff, German-English physician and psychotherapist (d. 1986).

    1901 – Thelma Terry, American bassist and bandleader (d. 1966).

    1905 – Michael Powell, English director, producer, and screenwriter (d. 1990).

    1912 – Kenny Baker, American singer and actor (d. 1985).

    1917 – Buddy Rich, American drummer, bandleader, and actor (d. 1987).

    1921 – Deborah Kerr, Scottish-English actress (d. 2007).

    1923 – Donald Swann, Welsh-English pianist and composer (d. 1994).

    1924 – Truman Capote, American novelist, playwright, and screenwriter (d. 1984).

    1928 – Elie Wiesel, Romanian-American author, academic, and activist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2016).

    1931 – Angie Dickinson, American actress.

    1935 – Johnny Mathis, American singer and actor.

    1943 – Ian Ogilvy, English-American actor, playwright, and author.

    1947 – Marc Bolan, English singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 1977). [Bolan fatally crashed his mini into a sycamore tree. Keith Harwood, the sound engineer mentioned in the sleeve notes to Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti (“Guitar lost courtesy of Nevison. Saved by the grace of Harwood”) had died two weeks earlier by crashing into the same tree. The Rolling Stones album Love You Live was dedicated to the memory of Harwood.]

    1947 – Rula Lenska, English actress.

    1951 – John Lloyd, English screenwriter and producer.

    1961 – Gary Coyne, Australian rugby league player. [Included in line with our host’s practice when compiling these lists.]

    1964 – Monica Bellucci, Italian actress and fashion model.

    1980 – Martina Hingis, Swiss tennis player.

    In the long run we are all dead:
    1910 – Maurice Lévy, French mathematician and engineer (b. 1838).

    1955 – James Dean, American actor (b. 1931).

    1977 – Mary Ford, American singer and guitarist (b. 1924).

    1994 – André Michel Lwoff, French microbiologist and virologist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1902).

    1998 – Marius Goring, English actor (b. 1912).

    2003 – Robert Kardashian, American lawyer and businessman (b. 1944).

    2011 – Ralph M. Steinman, Canadian-American immunologist and biologist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1943).

    2018 – Sonia Orbuch, Polish resistance fighter during the Second World War and Holocaust educator. (b. 1925).

    2019 – Victoria Braithwaite, British research scientist who proved fish feel pain (b. 1967).

    1. Oops, Marc Bolan was a passenger in his fatal crash. The driver was his girlfriend and backing singer Gloria Jones (she recorded the original version of “Tainted Love”).

  5. Congratulations on your 28,000th! Post. I do not recall when or how I knew to start following WEIT but it was surely toward the beginning. Thank you for your herculean accomplishments to keep so many important ideas in front of us over the years. You provided readers a freely available substack, anticipating the practice, before substacks were invented.

    1. ^^^

      And promoting thought and writing.

      Lots of words thrown around on that, but writing and thought are closely related.

      … and personally, for forgiving sloppy writing, and importantly for CHALLENGING ANY writing and thought – all commenters here.

      Also for IGNORING writing and thought.

      Personally, all that helps me grow, even when it gets rough.

      I leave off with :

      “Out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever wrought.”

      -Immanuel Kant
      Translated from Idea for a General History with a Cosmopolitan Purpose, ca. 1784
      Proposition 6.

      1. This brings up a point – when’s the “edit” function due to return again?

        The “IGNORING” part I’d have axed – too much. I mean just that we are free to discern wheat from chaff as we see fit. But nonetheless, the writing and thought processes are important somehow.

    1. There is a “Keep On Truckin'” graphic (the one the Beatles are imitating) that isn’t depicted by Mr. Natural (and I think it’s the original), but the graphic that PCC(E) posted is indeed Mr. Natural doing the “Keep on Truckin'” pose.

  6. “Surely he doesn’t mean civil war!?” I think he does, Jerry. On the principle of “plan for the worst, hope for the best,” I’m laying in plans for Trump’s election next year. A rough draft of these plans include holding on to more cash, being as healthy as I can be, getting back into the martial arts (I refuse to own a gun), building a greenhouse (so I can grow vegetables year round), installing solar and wind power, and strengthening my friendships, among others. Gosh, this sounds like my old hippie survivalist days!

  7. We must abolish reality, because reality is ‘harmful’ to some people. Reality makes some people ‘unsafe’. Reality is a bit like gravity. Definitely part of the racist, sexist, ableist, patriarchal, cis-heteronormative world that oppresses everyone who is not white, male, and straight. We can not make any progress until reality and gravity are abolished. Smash reality! Smash gravity! Smash them now!

  8. Congratulations on your landmark post.

    The best news we have this week is of the tortoise that was saved by a crack (pun not intended) veterinary surgical team. That thing looks like a bocce ball! The rest of the news is dismal, sadly. But it’s not over until the Fat Bear eats.

  9. I think both the Ctrl left and the Alt right are the kind of useful idiots Putin’s hybrid warfare thrives on.
    From ‘sex is not a binary’ to ‘Jewish space lasers’ , whether or not part of Russia’s actual hybrid warfare, useful idiots they remain.
    Woke or Magat, they both appear to follow Putin’s plans of hybrid warfare.
    I have no patience with Magats, nor Wokies.

  10. Trump’s job interview is pretty good, although it doesn’t go into the damage he’s done to the USboth domestically as internationally.

  11. Already here in NZ but coming to most of you (geographicly and I suspect demographicly) tomorrow is the International Day for Older Persons.
    I attribute being in the that group to not knowing it is Donuts with ice cream day etc until it is already yesterday

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