Friday: Hili dialogue

October 20, 2023 • 6:45 am

Welcome to Friday, October 20, 2023, with cat shabbos beginning at sundown; all moggies must have their tails home then. It’s National Brandied Fruit Day, something I used to make during my Canning Period in Davis, California, when I had access to tons of fresh produce. Yes, I had a cupboard full of jams, canned fruit, brandied fruit, and so on.

It’s also National Mammorgraphy Day, Office Chocolate Day, The International Day of the Air Traffic Controller (which one?), International Chefs Day, National Chicken and Waffles Day (I’ve still never had this dish), National Day on Writing, World Osteoporosis Day, and World Statistics Day.

Today’s Google Doodle (click on screenshot) celebrates the 122nd birthday of Adelaide Hall (1901-1993) described by Wikipedia as:

an American-born UK-based jazz singer and entertainer. Her long career spanned more than 70 years from 1921 until her death and she was a major figure in the Harlem Renaissance. Hall entered the Guinness Book of World Records in 2003 as the world’s most enduring recording artist, having released material over eight consecutive decades.She performed with major artists such as Art TatumEthel WatersJosephine BakerLouis ArmstrongLena HorneCab CallowayFela SowandeRudy Vallee,and Jools Holland, and recorded as a jazz singer with Duke Ellington (with whom she made her most famous recording, “Creole Love Call” in 1927) and with Fats Waller.

Here’s the famous recording of “Creole Love Call” (1927), with an early Duke Ellington Band.  Bubber Miley, who died of tuberculosis at 29, is on the trumpet. It’s an amazingly advanced song for that era of jazz, with scat singing and no lyrics that I can discern:

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the October 20 Wikipedia page.

Da Nooz:

*Here’s Biden’s speech about the war, Israel, and Ukraine given last night from the Oval Office. He also asked for more aid for Ukraine.  From the NYT:

In the days ahead, Mr. Biden is sure to face questions about whether the United States can afford to be financing two foreign wars. Although the U.S. economy has proved remarkably resilient this year, new data is expected to show on Friday that the deficit approached $2 trillion this fiscal year, and inflation remains uncomfortably high.

On Thursday, Mr. Biden described his request for aid as “a smart investment that’s going to pay dividends for American security for generations.” But he faces skepticism among members of both parties: progressive Democrats who fiercely oppose sending arms to Israel and conservative Republicans who have questioned the need to add to the more than $100 billion already approved in military and economic aid already sent to Ukraine.

*At last it looks as if humanitarian aid will start flowing into Gaza, but Israeli troops will be flowing into Gaza as well. The WSJ says this:

The United Nations and world leaders were pushing Thursday to get immediate aid flowing into the Gaza Strip as the humanitarian crisis worsened for two million Palestinians who are trying to flee deadly Israeli airstrikes and struggling to find food, water and fuel during a near-total siege.

President Biden said early Thursday that the U.S. had secured a deal with Egypt and Israel to send 20 trucks of humanitarian aid into Gaza as soon as Friday.

The U.N. warned that the situation is growing increasingly desperate. A spokesman for the Hamas-run interior ministry said the thousands of wounded exceeds what Gazan hospitals can handle.

“I fear that we are at the brink of a deep and dangerous abyss that could change the trajectory of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” Tor Wennesland, the U.N.’s special coordinator for Middle East peace, told the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday.

The push to get aid into Gaza comes as Israel’s defense minister said a ground assault on the enclave could be imminent. The Israeli military has directed residents in the northern Gaza Strip to flee south as it prepares for what is expected to be a difficult ground assault designed to end the rule of Hamas, a U.S.-designated terror group.

“You now see Gaza from afar, soon you will see it from the inside. The order will come,” Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told troops on the Gaza border.

I’m beginning to wonder if the ground invasion by Israel will ever happen. Is it just a big ruse? I don’t think so, as bombing alone can’t destroy Hamas, but we’ll know soon. Still, I’m glad the humanitarian aid is about to flow to the Palestinians, even though Malgorzata thinks that Hamas will siphon off most of it. Biden will address the nation tonight (I’m writing this Thursday evening), and I’ll post his speech here if it’s embeddable.

*The search for a Speaker of the House goes on, but it’s not going to be Jim Jordan. The search goes on, but perhaps Patrick McHenry will nab the position until at least the next election.

The path forward for House Republicans on choosing a speaker was uncertain Thursday after members emerged from a lengthy, heated meeting. Earlier Thursday, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), the embattled GOP speaker nominee, told his conference that he would back a plan to temporarily expand the powers of Rep. Patrick T. McHenry (R-N.C.), the temporary speaker, and delay a third ballot for speaker. Jordan later suggested to reporters that the plan won’t move forward as of now. He said he would seek a third ballot for speaker, though the timing was unclear.

*Democrats are reacting in a predictable way to Biden’s speech supporting Israel: some far left-wing Democrats are criticizing him, while the centrist like what he’s done. I’m with the centrists, and abhor the anti-Semites who constitute some of the “progressive” Democrats:

Mr. Biden’s speech comes as his political coalition has begun to fray over the Israeli conflict. Progressives and young Democrats are demanding that he press Israel to stop its incursion on Gaza, while more centrist Democrats who make up the core of his political base were nearly unanimous in their praise of his Tel Aviv speech.

“I am grateful to have @POTUS thoughtful leadership in this moment,” Representative Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri wrote on social media. “As we continue working save the lives of hostages and hold Hamas accountable, I encourage him to continue using his platform to call for restraint and the protection of innocent Israelis and Palestinians alike.”

. . .Representative Steny Hoyer of Maryland said Mr. Biden “speaks for me and speaks for all of America” on Israel. And Richard Haass, the former chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations, called the Wednesday speech “nothing less than masterful.”

And while Biden campaign officials insist they aren’t planning to use the Israel trip as campaign fodder, Representative Jake Auchincloss of Massachusetts forecast what could become the sort of contrast the president’s aides and allies make with former President Donald J. Trump should he win the Republican presidential nomination.

“Joe Biden flew into a war zone to stand with Israel,” Mr. Auchincloss said late Wednesday. “Trump wouldn’t even visit a cemetery of American war dead.” (Mr. Trump, in 2018, canceled a planned trip to a French cemetery, and his aides cited the rainy weather.)

. . . and the others, who know that their calling for a cease fire could only affect Israel’s engaging in a cease fire (which it won’t); their bleatings won’t affect Hamas at all, and of course they don’t care:

“We cannot bomb our way to peace,” wrote Representative Cori Bush of Missouri. “We need a cease-fire,” said Representative André Carson of Indiana. And several left-wing members of Congress reposted a message from Pope Francis in which he called the situation in Gaza “desperate” and pleaded that “the weapons be silenced; let the cry for peace be heard from the poor, from the people, from the children!”

Some used especially heated language: Representative Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, speaking outside the Capitol, said, “We are literally watching people commit genocide and killing a vast majority, just like this, and we still stand by and say nothing.”

I fervently hope Tlaib will be defeated, but I think her constituents (and those of Ilhan Omar) share her hatred of Israel.  I stand with Hoyer!

*Another American journalist (well, she’s Russian-American, with dual citizenship) has been arrested in Russia.

Russian authorities have arrested an editor for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, an American news outlet based in Prague and financed by the U.S. government, accusing her of collecting information about the Russia military that could damage the nation’s security.

The editor, Alsu Kurmasheva, holds dual U.S. and Russian citizenship and had traveled to Russia for family reasons. Her detention Wednesday in Kazan, southwestern Russia, follows the arrest of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, a U.S. citizen, who was seized by agents of the Federal Security Service in March and charged with spying — an accusation that his newspaper and the State Department strongly deny.

Kurmasheva’s arrest highlights the continuing dangers for journalists traveling in wartime Russia and operating in an environment in which senior officials have described their work as part of an “information war” against Moscow.

Kurmasheva, who is based in Prague, also was charged with failing to register as a “foreign agent,” although she does not reside in Russia. She was initially detained in June, as she was waiting to fly out of Russia, after visiting the country for family reasons. Her employer, RFE/RL, has been designated a foreign agent by Russian authorities.

She’s going to get a long sentence in a labor camp, like Brittney Griner, and then will be traded for some real spy or Russian bad buy in an American prison. If I were an American journalist, I wouldn’t set foot in Russia. The danger of being arrested is too great.

*I greatly enjoyed this hour of Bari Weiss conversing about Israel with Konstantin Kisin and Francis Foster. She does most of the talking, which is fine because she gives a thoughtful and eloquent take. Of course you know where she stands: strongly pro-Israel. But listen for a few minutes and you might get hooked–as I was (h/t Rosemary):

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili appears to have temporarily found peace.

A: What are you doing here?
Hili: I’m looking at the world with a stoic calm.
In Polish:
Ja: Co tu robisz?
Hili: Patrzę na świat ze stoickim spokojem.

And a picture of the loving Szaron:


From Divy, a trenchant meme:

A Gary Larson Far Side cartoon from Merilee:

A demonstration of Shrinkflation from BuzzFeed:

From Masih, some Iranian booing:

What a paradise is Iran! They kill their protestors (or blind them), and start the legislative day like this!  See this post on the Elder of Ziyon for a huge collection of tweets (most of them anti-Semitic) relating to the war.  (Trigger warning: pervasive hatred.)

J. K. Rowling doesn’t pull any punches:

These nice people helped the octopus go back home:

I’m not sure the dog likes this:

From the Auschwitz Memorial, a two-year-old boy gassed upon arrival:

We’re down to two tweets a day from Matthew, taken from my stockpile, as the boy has left Twitter. First, a runner duck and then a gazillion other ducks:

A life-and-death chase:

16 thoughts on “Friday: Hili dialogue

  1. On this day:
    1572 – Eighty Years’ War: Three thousand Spanish soldiers wade through fifteen miles of water in one night to effect the relief of Goes.

    1827 – Greek War of Independence: In the Battle of Navarino, a combined Turkish and Egyptian fleet is defeated by British, French and Russian naval forces in the last significant battle fought with wooden sailing ships.

    1935 – The Long March, a mammoth retreat undertaken by the armed forces of the Chinese Communist Party a year prior, ends.

    1941 – World War II: Thousands of civilians in German-occupied Serbia are murdered in the Kragujevac massacre.

    1944 – Liquefied natural gas leaks from storage tanks in Cleveland and then explodes, leveling 30 blocks and killing 130 people.

    1944 – American general Douglas MacArthur fulfills his promise to return to the Philippines when he comes ashore during the Battle of Leyte.

    1947 – Cold War: The House Un-American Activities Committee begins its investigation into Communist infiltration of the Hollywood film industry, resulting in a blacklist that prevents some from working in the industry for years.

    1952 – The Governor of Kenya Evelyn Baring declares a state of emergency and begins arresting hundreds of suspected leaders of the Mau Mau Uprising.

    1961 – The Soviet Navy performs the first armed test of a submarine-launched ballistic missile, launching an R-13 from a Golf-class submarine.

    1973 – Watergate scandal: “Saturday Night Massacre”: United States President Richard Nixon fires U.S. Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus after they refuse to fire special prosecutor Archibald Cox, who is finally fired by Solicitor General Robert Bork.

    1973 – The Sydney Opera House is opened by Elizabeth II after 14 years of construction.

    1977 – A plane carrying the rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd crashes in woodland in Mississippi, United States. Six people, including three band members, are killed.

    1981 – Two police officers and a Brink’s armored car guard are killed during an armed robbery carried out by members of the Black Liberation Army and Weather Underground in Nanuet, New York.

    2003 – The Sloan Great Wall, once the largest cosmic structures known to humanity, is discovered by students at Princeton University.

    2011 – Libyan Crisis: Rebel forces capture Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi and his son Mutassim in his hometown of Sirte and kill him shortly thereafter, ending the first Libyan civil war.

    2022 – Liz Truss steps down as British Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative Party amid the country’s political crisis, serving for 49 days before resigning, serving for the least time of any British Prime Minister [49 days].

    1632 – Christopher Wren, English physicist, mathematician, and architect, designed St Paul’s Cathedral (d. 1723).

    1740 – Isabelle de Charrière, Dutch author and poet (d. 1805).

    1819 – Báb, Iranian religious leader, founded Bábism (d. 1850).

    1854 – Arthur Rimbaud, French soldier and poet (d. 1891).

    1859 – John Dewey, American psychologist and philosopher (d. 1952).

    1873 – Nellie McClung, Canadian author and suffragist (d. 1951).

    1882 – Bela Lugosi, Hungarian-American actor (d. 1956).

    1891 – James Chadwick, English physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1974).

    1904 – Anna Neagle, English actress, singer, and producer (d. 1986).

    1913 – Grandpa Jones, American singer-songwriter and banjo player (d. 1998).

    1917 – Ants Kaljurand, Estonian anti-communist, freedom fighter and forest brother (d. 1951).

    1925 – Tom Dowd, American record producer and engineer (d. 2002).

    1937 – Wanda Jackson, American singer-songwriter and guitarist. [Among the first women to have a career in rock and roll, recording a series of 1950s singles that helped give her the nickname “The Queen of Rockabilly”. She is also counted among the first female stars in the genre of country music.]

    1940 – Kathy Kirby, English singer (d. 2011).

    1950 – Tom Petty, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer (d. 2017).

    1956 – Danny Boyle, English director, producer, and screenwriter.

    1956 – Martin Taylor, English guitarist.

    1958 – Mark King, English singer-songwriter and bass player.

    1959 – Mark Little, Australian comedian, actor, and screenwriter.

    1961 – Kate Mosse, English author and playwright.

    1963 – Julie Payette, Canadian engineer and astronaut.

    1964 – Kamala Harris, American politician and lawyer, 49th Vice President of the United States.

    1968 – Susan Tully, English actress, director, and producer.

    1971 – Snoop Dogg, American rapper, producer, and actor.

    Pale Death beats equally at the poor man’s gate and at the palaces of kings:
    1880 – Lydia Maria Child, American journalist, author, and activist (b. 1802).

    1890 – Richard Francis Burton, English-Italian geographer and explorer (b. 1821).

    1936 – Anne Sullivan, American educator (b. 1866). [Best known for being the instructor and lifelong companion of Helen Keller.]

    1956 – Lawrence Dale Bell, American industrialist and founder of Bell Aircraft Corporation (b. 1894).

    1968 – Bud Flanagan, English actor and screenwriter (b. 1896).

    1983 – Merle Travis, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1917).

    1984 – Paul Dirac, English-American physicist and mathematician, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1902).

    1988 – Sheila Scott, English pilot and author (b. 1922).

    1989 – Anthony Quayle, English actor and director (b. 1913).

    1994 – Burt Lancaster, American actor (b. 1913).

    2006 – Jane Wyatt, American actress (b. 1910).

    2012 – John McConnell, American activist, created Earth Day (b. 1915).

    2020 – James Randi, Canadian-American stage magician and author (b. 1928).

    1. James Randi said so many worthy words, it’s difficult to pick one quotation. I’ll go with this one, particularly appropriate to our current political travails.
      “There used to be an intellectual class in America. . . These people kept the world of ideas alive. But today the distinction between intellectuals and nonintellectuals doesn’t make any difference; celebrity is the only standard. . . Everybody has become a talker of cheap philosophy that anybody can pick up.”

      1. Nice.
        Randi often used to say something along the lines of “there is no idea so preposterous, so ridiculous, so bone-headed stupid, that you can’t find a Phd to endorse it.”

        Can’t find the exact quote, though.

  2. That trenchant Jesus meme about crosses looks exactly like a joke the late comedian Bill Hicks used to do…like it’s verbatim the joke.

    A lot of people ripped off Hicks’ material when he was alive (Denis Leary being one of most notorious stealers), looks like it’s still happening to the guy in death!

  3. Thanks for the Bari Weiss interview…I had missed it this week. Very disturbing to have to face these truths. And thanks for the Sam Harris 14-minute preview earlier this week. Very uplifting (and disturbing) in pitting the context of modern thinking and results versus post-modernists.

  4. One notable Republican who won’t be backing Jordan: Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (Pa.), a moderate and the co-chair of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, one of House Republicans’ “five families.”

    As Clemenza explained to Michael, the families have to go to the mattresses every five or ten years. It helps to get rid of the bad blood:

  5. On NPR just now, they still don’t seem to have caught up with the fact that the hospital in Gaza is still standing. Or else they have but they’re talking around it.

  6. In regard to an Israeli ground operation in Gaza, everything is possible, of course, but politically, the Israeli government will face hell if this doesn’t happen.

  7. I greatly enjoyed this hour of Bari Weiss conversing about Israel with Konstantin Kisin and Francis Foster. She does most of the talking, which is fine because she gives a thoughtful and eloquent take.
    Yes, one of the great things about the Triggernometry episodes is that Konstantin and Francis always take a back seat and let their guests do the talking.

  8. In the Bari Weiss interview, at about 41-43 min, one interviewer contends that, had Trump been president, neither the invasion of Ukraine by Russia nor the attacks on Israel by Hamas would have happened, because Trump projected strength (and/or unpredictability). Trump’s prior history of praise of Putin (and rejection of the US advisors’ intelligence assessments at Helsinki, etc.) and his lack of support for Israel does not support this argument, to say the least.

  9. Is the ground invasion “a big ruse?” I would argue no. Israel has the luxury of going in any time it wants, so it will time the invasion for when everything is in place: its forces (obviously), its strategic “softening” of the enemy (perhaps killing some leaders and locating hostages) and, just as importantly, the availability of humanitarian corridors and aid. Barring a provocation from rockets fired from the north, or from Yemen, Israel can wait and keep the enemy in suspense.

    Israel can also change its tactics, and call off the full-scale invasion. (I doubt that it will.) As long as it hasn’t yet gone in, Israel still retains that extra degree of freedom for not going in, or for modifying the nature of the response. Once it goes in, the option of not going in is lost.

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