Wednesday: Hili dialogue

October 11, 2023 • 6:45 am

Welcome to a Hump day (“Hump ni” in Mizo), October 11, 2023, and National Sausage Pizza Day (vegetarians are allowed to use tofu sausage, shown below).

Tofu sausage crumbles

It’s also National Fossil Day, Kraken DayInternational Day of the Girl Child, National Bring Your Teddy Bear to Work and School Day, Southern Food Heritage Day, International Newspaper Carrier Day. and National Coming Out Day.

My bear is always at work; he resides in a cabinet behind my desk. Here we are in 2002. By now you should know my bear’s name (put it in the comments below):

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the October 11 Wikipedia page.

Da Nooz:

*This afternoon (I’m writing this on Tuesday), Biden gave a short (11-minute) speech on Israel. Here it is.

He pulls no punches about his opinion, calling Hamas “evil” and the attack a “slaughter”, giving some details about the murdered. He said “We stand with Israel twice in a row and said the U.S. would help Israel respond to this attack and take care of its people. He said the U.S. response would be “swift, decisive, and overwhelming.” (What will that response be?, I wonder.)  He notes, as we know, that a U.S. carrier strike force has been moved to the area, and warns any body trying to take advantage of the situation “don’t. . . DON’T.”

It’s a very good speech, and restores my faith in Biden’s commitment to liberty, his rejection of hate, and his ability to give a heartening speech. He finishes by saying, in a low voice, “The atrocities. . . are sickening. We’re with Israel; make no mistake.”

To quote the NYT on this speech:

President Biden bristled with indignation during his 10-minute address at the White House, appearing as angry as he ever has in public since becoming president. In remarks after speaking with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he denounced the attack as “evil” multiple times. Victims, he said, had been “butchered” and “slaughtered,” and he decried the “bloodthirstiness” of the assailants.

*Here’s some bits from the NYT’s update of the Israel/Gaza war.

The Israeli military continued to hammer Gaza with airstrikes on Tuesday, reducing some buildings to rubble, and said it had regained control over beseiged border towns. The airstrikes continued a day after Hamas, which is believed to have taken around 150 Israeli hostages since Saturday, threatened to kill a captive each time Gaza is struck without warning.

Jake Sullivan, Mr. Biden’s national security adviser, told reporters that there are “20 or more” Americans missing, though it remains unclear how many of them are in the hands of Hamas. He said the government is in regular contact with their families.

As night fell in Israel, rocket-warning sirens blared in the town of Ashkelon, a coastal city located just north of the Gaza border. Earlier, rockets fired from Gaza targeted Tel Aviv and nearby Ben-Gurion International Airport “in response to the targeting of civilians” by Israel, Hamas said on the Telegram social media platform. There were no immediate reports of damage.

It is not yet clear if or when Israel will order a ground invasion of Gaza, an impoverished coastal enclave ruled by Hamas. The Israeli military said it had recovered the bodies of around 1,500 Palestinian assailants since Saturday morning, offering one of the first clear indications of the size of the assault.

Health officials in Gaza said on Tuesday that 830 Palestinians have been killed and 4,250 others have been wounded in the last four days, though it was unclear how many were civilians. Hamas confirmed that two of its senior officials have been killed by Israeli strikes in Gaza.

My two biggest questons about this are these. First, will Israel mount a ground assault in Gaza (no matter what they do, the world will criticize them). The downside of that is twofold: Israeli soldiers will die en masse, and the hostages will be instantly killed.  The second is what will happen to the hostages? Remember that Israel released over 1,000 Palestinian hostages just to get back one soldier who had been held five years in Gaza. Now the terrorists are demanding that Israel release some 4,500 convicted Palestinians, most of them terrorists, for the return of 150 hostages. Will Israel do it? The downside of that is also twofold: it gives impetus to Hamas to kidnap more Israelis, and it looses 4,500 terrorists on the world, all ready and eager to kill Jews.

*The Washington Post gives us “Four things to watch in the Israel-Hamas war.” Here they are with a snippet of each. Emphasis is from the WaPo:

1. What are the precise contours of Israel’s military response?

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed such a forceful retaliation that “what we will do to our enemies in the coming days will reverberate with them for generations.

Israeli warplanes have pounded Gaza, while Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said the enclave would be cut off from vital services, vowing there would be “no electricity, no food, no fuel” for its estimated 2.3 million residents. (Some supplies may still get in through the Rafah crossing Gaza shares with Egypt.)

But the biggest questions are whether and when Israel sends ground forces into Gaza, what they do there and how long they stay. The country has mobilized 360,000 reservists.

2. Does Iran-backed Hezbollah open a second front?

A conflict between Israel and Hamas is deadly enough. The Iran-backed Hezbollah militia that operates in Lebanon could widen the conflict, adding another front in northern Israel.

Don’t think the United States hasn’t considered the possibility. On multiple occasions over the past 72 hours, U.S. officials warned Hezbollah not to get involved.

My guess: Hezbollah will not get involved.

3. What will the U.S. role be in helping Israel?

President Biden has spoken several times to Netanyahu in recent days, and promised American help in the form of replenishing Israel’s “Iron Dome” anti-rocket defenses and intelligence cooperation. Biden has also sent an aircraft carrier strike group to the eastern Mediterranean. Biden is scheduled make remarks on the crisis at 1 p.m. today.

But when it comes to aid that Congress must approve, things are less clear. The House of Representatives currently lacks an elected Speaker, raising questions about what the chamber can actually pass.

4. Will China take a role?

Even as the United States has taken steps to extricate itself from the Middle East, Beijing has taken a more assertive diplomatic role in a region from which it gets the bulk of its oil.

. . . There would seem to be two ways China could step in here:

I’d approve, of course, of Chinna stepping in either way, so long as the first way doesn’t involve releasing every Palestinian terrorist in Israeli jails.

*The Wall Street Journal apparently thinks that Israel is preparing for a ground war in Gaza, and discusses why they think that and some of the difficulties of such an offensive. The article is called “Israel readies for a ground war in Gaza,” which doesn’t express much doubt. (If pressed, I’d say they were right.)

The Israeli military massed forces on Tuesday for a ground invasion of Gaza, and Israeli officials warned of a lengthy and destructive war. Biden said that the U.S. was providing additional military assistance to the country, and the Pentagon was considering deploying a second aircraft carrier strike group near the region to deter Hezbollah and other militant groups from joining the fight.

. . . It wasn’t clear on Tuesday when a possible ground invasion of Gaza would begin. In addition to mobilizing reservists, tens of thousands of Israeli soldiers are still sweeping southern Israel for possible Hamas members still hiding in the area and working to seal the country’s border with Gaza, the military said on Tuesday.

Israeli officials have urged Palestinians fleeing the bombing to leave the Gaza Strip entirely—an option they don’t have since the strip’s borders are sealed by both Israel and Egypt.

Israel has cut off supplies of food, electricity and fuel to the enclave, raising the pressure on Gazan civilians to leave ahead of an invasion.

Asked where Gaza residents should go, Hecht urged Palestinians to use the Rafah border crossing into Egypt. “Anyone who can get out, I would advise them to get out,” he said.

The border to Egypt should surely be opened for humanitarian reasons.

. . .Israel faces a major military challenge in Gaza. An attempt to dislodge Hamas or fully reoccupy the strip would likely result in a long war of attrition, military analysts say. Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups have thousands of fighters, a network of underground tunnels, and would have the advantage of defending an urban area against an attack.

“I still find a full reoccupation of Gaza quite difficult. You’re talking about an area in which they haven’t been on the ground since 2005 and [Hamas] were able to prepare this whole operation without Israeli intelligence having a clue,” said Mouin Rabbani, a nonresident fellow at the Center for Conflict and Humanitarian Studies, an independent research center based in Qatar.

*Following U.S. politicians and their statements on the war between Israel and Palestine is a good way to take the temperature of their morality. If they excoriate Hamas, they’re being moral—although of course they could be insincere. If they blame Israel for what happened, write them off. If they don’t say anything, they’re either cowards or pragmatists, but don’t have a palpable morality.

Most American politicians fall in the first class, save Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who hasn’t uttered a word on the issue, at least on Twitter. I thought she had tweeted a statement (after all, even Ilhan Omar has a mealymouthed tweet that decries violence), but I can’t find one on AOC’s Twitter feed. This is likely because, as a Democratic Socialist, she won’t buck that group.

But she’s ambitious and wants to be a Senator (if not President), so she’s probably confllcted. I figured that after Biden made his ringing speech yesterday, she’s come out as supporting Israel—or at least calling out Hamas—because it would be politically expedient. But so far, crickets from the odious AOC, a Democrat I can’t countenance.

UPDATE: She finally tweeted 8 hours ago, AFTER Biden’s speech. Her tweet is lame, fails to condemn the violence, and brings up “Islamophobia” and “lives currently at stake” (could those be Palestinian lives. This woman, too, lacks a moral compass but the needle on her political compass points to “SENATOR”.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili detects the first signs of autumn, a harbinger of her hated winter:

Hili: This leaf is suspect.
A: Why?
Hili: It smells of autumn.
In Polish:
Hili: Ten liść jest podejrzany.
Ja: Dlaczego?
Hili: Pachnie jesienią.


From Irena:

From Jesus of the Day:

And yet another funny wedding announcement:

From Masih, another brave Iranian woman speaks up. (It would be easy for the police to find her.) Sound up.

From Jez, who says “something nice for a change.” This is VERY nice.

From Simon, courtesy of M*A*S*H:

From Sarah Haider:

From the Auschwitz Memorial, a prisoner who lived about two weeks in Auschwitz before perishing:

Tweets from Doctor Cobb. The first one he tags “More respite from the horror.”

Another respite from horror.  Flies copulating!

From Dodoland, where everything is wonderful. Here, Kevin has four kittens!

18 thoughts on “Wednesday: Hili dialogue

  1. On this day:
    1138 – A massive earthquake strikes Aleppo; it is one of the most destructive earthquakes ever.

    1852 – The University of Sydney, Australia’s oldest university, is inaugurated in Sydney.

    1865 – Hundreds of black men and women march in Jamaica, starting the Morant Bay rebellion.

    1890 – In Washington, D.C., the Daughters of the American Revolution is founded.

    1906 – San Francisco sparks a diplomatic crisis between the United States and Japan by ordering segregated schools for Japanese students.

    1910 – Piloted by Arch Hoxsey, Theodore Roosevelt becomes the first U.S. president to fly in an airplane.

    1937 – The Duke and Duchess of Windsor tour Nazi Germany for 12 days and meet Adolf Hitler on the 22nd. [Just as well he abdicated before WWII.]

    1950 – CBS’s field-sequential color system for television is the first to be licensed for broadcast by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.

    1954 – In accord with the 1954 Geneva Conference, French troops complete their withdrawal from North Vietnam.

    1958 – NASA launches Pioneer 1, its first space probe, although it fails to achieve a stable orbit.

    1961 – The 1st Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement is held in Belgrade, SFR Yugoslavia, resulting in the establishment of the Non-Aligned Movement.

    1968 – NASA launches Apollo 7, the first successful crewed Apollo mission.

    1984 – Aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger, astronaut Kathryn D. Sullivan becomes the first American woman to perform a space walk. [Coincidentally, the first person to perform a spacewalk died on this day – see below.]

    1986 – Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev meet in Iceland to continue discussions about scaling back IRBM arsenals in Europe.

    1987 – The AIDS Memorial Quilt is first displayed during the Second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.

    1991 – Prof. Anita Hill delivers her televised testimony concerning sexual harassment during the Clarence Thomas Supreme Court nomination.

    1793 – Maria James, Welsh-born American poet, domestic servant (d. 1868).

    1821 – George Williams, English philanthropist, founded the YMCA (d. 1905).

    1844 – Henry J. Heinz, American businessman, founded the H. J. Heinz Company (d. 1919).

    1872 – Emily Davison, English educator and activist (d. 1913).

    1884 – Eleanor Roosevelt, American humanitarian and politician, 32nd First Lady of the United States (d. 1962).

    1905 – Fred Trump, American real estate entrepreneur (d. 1999).

    1918 – Jerome Robbins, American director, producer, and choreographer (d. 1998).

    1919 – Art Blakey, American drummer and bandleader (d. 1990).

    1925 – Elmore Leonard, American novelist, short story writer, and screenwriter (d. 2013).

    1926 – Jean Alexander, English actress (d. 2016). [Played Hilda Ogden in Coronation Street from 1964 until 1987.]

    1936 – Billy Higgins, American drummer and educator (d. 2001).

    1937 – Bobby Charlton, English footballer and manager.

    1943 – John Nettles, English actor and writer.

    1946 – Daryl Hall, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer.

    1957 – Dawn French, Welsh-English actress, comedian and screenwriter.

    1959 – Allan Little, Scottish journalist and author.

    1992 – Cardi B, American rapper.

    Those who welcome death have only tried it from the ears up:
    1721 – Edward Colston, English merchant and politician (b. 1636). [A slave trader, he has now been cancelled – his statue was dumped into Bristol Harbour in June 2020 and his name has been removed from a concert hall and other locations.]

    1889 – James Prescott Joule, English physicist and brewer (b. 1818).

    1896 – Anton Bruckner, Austrian organist, composer, and educator (b. 1824).

    1904 – Mary Tenney Gray, American editorial writer, club-woman, philanthropist, and suffragette (b. 1833).

    1908 – Rita Cetina Gutiérrez, Mexican poet, educator, and activist (b. 1846).

    1961 – Chico Marx, American comedian (b. 1887).

    1963 – Jean Cocteau, French author, poet, and playwright (b. 1889).

    1965 – Dorothea Lange, American photographer and journalist (b. 1895).

    1967 – Stanley Morison, typographer, known for work on Times New Roman font (b. 1889).

    1996 – Renato Russo, Brazilian singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1960).

    2000 – Donald Dewar, Scottish politician, 1st First Minister of Scotland (b. 1937).

    2007 – Werner von Trapp, Austrian-American singer (b. 1915).

    2009 – Angelo DiGeorge, American physician and endocrinologist (b. 1922).

    2019 – Alexei Leonov, Soviet/Russian cosmonaut and first human to conduct a spacewalk (b. 1934).

    2022 – Angela Lansbury, English-American actress, singer, and producer (b. 1925).

    1. I always remember Toasty, but I can never remember Steven Pinker’s childhood Teddy’s name. Sometimes PCC(E) asks, and I can never remember. Grrr

  2. I am sick to death of the term Islamophobia.

    Every negative thought about Muslims is called Islamophobia.

    A phobia is an UNFOUNDED, IRRATIONAL fear. There is nothing unfounded about being afraid of people who behead babies. Ditto about people who treat women the way women are treated in Iran and Afghanistan.

    This past year, four men were murdered in Albuquerque, all members of the same mosque. All kinds of speculation in the press about Islamophobia, complete with quotes from local Muslims about how afraid they were to go out into society.

    It turned out that the murderer was another Muslim, from a different sect.

    There is nothing irrational about fearing people who behave this way.


  3. President Biden’s speech was excellent. I watched it in real time. Just as important as the unambiguous words he used are the important words that were not used. There was no mention of “proportionality” or “restraint,” which are words often used to temper the statement that Israel has the right to defend itself. In this case, Biden said that Israel both has the right to defend itself and the *duty* to defend itself. A strong message indeed.

    AOC? Meh.

    1. AOC condemned Hamas on the 8th but then called for a ceasefire and de-escalation so that somewhat negates her comment.

    2. Agreed, but I do wonder about the response being “swift, decisive, and overwhelming.” Decisively combatting asymmetric warfare is difficult and the US record in this is mixed, as are other countries’ records.

  4. AOC’s tweet was what one would expect from such a twit. Her use of “victim blaming” is her transparent attempt to have it both ways…as it is not clear from her tweet who she considers the real victims. If the political winds blow one way, it could be the Palestinians. If it blows the other way, possibly the Israelis.

    She is truly just a careerist.

  5. There is no way that Israel could possibly achieve its stated goal of stopping Hamas from pursuing their goal of continuing maniacal warfare against the people of Israel without a ground invasion. It is as sure as day follows night that there will be a ground invasion. There will be lots of physical destruction with lots of injured and dead people with lots of videos.

    I agree 100% that AOC is putting her fingers to the wind and adjusting her comments according to the way the wind is blowing at the moment. She was fully aware of the violently anti-Israel pro-terrorism attitudes and sentiments openly expressed at those rallies for many years and AFAIK never expressed any concern about the long term implications nor said a word against any of that until now.

    1. Agreed that it’s time for Israel to go in and root out the cancerous tumor. I wouldn’t have said that even last week, as it would have seemed to alienate Israel from the rest of the world and legitimize the argument that Israel are the true aggressors in this conflict.

      But now, it is more clear than ever that Hamas and its backers have an existential problem with Israel that will not just go away.

      The asymmetry of issue has really hit home for me. Jews and Israelis do not have a fundamental problem with the existence of Arab states. But many Arabs, particularly those under the influence of Islam, have a major issue with the existence of a Jewish state, and many want Jews exterminated, full stop.

      So the issue of a separate Palestine does not get to the heart of the real grievance these people have with Israel. They don’t care so much about the creation of a new Arab state….they deeply care about the destruction of the Jewish one.

      That is why a two-state solution has been rejected over and over again by those representing the Palestinians. Only the obliteration of Israel will satisfy them.

      So Israel must do what it must do. It cannot eradicate antisemitism, it cannot control what goes on in Iran, but it can eliminate the cancer that exists right next to it on its borders.

  6. AOC’s concern about the dread possibility of “Islamophobia” no doubt stems from the
    actual name of Hamas. Hamas is the acronym of Ḥarakah al-Muqāwamah al-ʾIslāmiyyah, meaning Islamic Resistance Movement. Accordingly, anyone who uses unkind words about Hamas might be charged with “Islamophobia”. We look forward to statements from various Harvard student groups, and from the NYC branch of the Democratic Socialists of America, charging exactly this offense against President Biden, Governor Hochul, and other such miscreants.

  7. Tofu sausage crumbles? Ee gad, why bother?

    It took me a second to figure out the Goth / Visigoth joke. I first thought, were the Visigoths famous sailors like the Vikings or something, and then aha Visi as in visible. good one!

    That was a powerful speech by Biden. He’s been delivering very good “Presidential” speeches lately. His speech at the commemoration of late Senator McCain’s library was also rousing. Trump’s response: more talk of Muslim bans…same ol’ demagogue. He’s so predictable- a one-trick pony, that one.

  8. “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed such a forceful retaliation that “what we will do to our enemies in the coming days will reverberate with them for generations.”

    This is a recruitment notice for the Hamas, Hezbollah cause. Sure as eggs, going by the history of this conflict he’s going to get what he asked for and possibly long after he is six foot under.

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