Thursday: Hili dialogue

November 16, 2023 • 6:45 am

Welcome to Thursday, November 16, 2023, and National Fast Food Day, which for some people is every day.  I do get a hankering for a McDonald’s cheeseburger and fries every once in a while, and I noticed in Paris that the McDonald’s places were doing a brisk business with the French.

I will soon start putting up readers’ wildlife photos again, so send ’em if you got ’em!

It’s also Beaujolais Nouveau Day (the vintage of this quaffable grape juice was released yesterday), World Philosophy Day, National Button Day, the UN commemoration of International Day for Tolerance , and, in Iceland, Icelandic Language Day or Dagur íslenskrar tungu.  Here’s a man speaking Icelandic for about 3 minutes. Read more about the language here.

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the November 16 Wikipedia page.

Da Nooz:

*Several big pieces of news on the war:  Israel is inside Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza, interviewing patients and staff, there is an ongoing process to trade the kidnapped hostages for jailed terrorists in Israel, and Biden, bless his ignorant heart, is pushing for a two-state solution. (I favor that, too, but at this point I think it’s futile, and will not stop terrorist attacks on Israel. From the NYT:

The hospital:

The Israeli military was solidifying its hold on the Gaza Strip’s largest hospital on Wednesday, after storming the complex overnight. Soldiers were conducting searches and interrogations inside, and Israeli officers said they had found rifles, ammunition, body armor and other military equipment in a radiology building.

In a video filmed at Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, a military spokesman, Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, showed about 10 guns, ammunition, protective vests and Hamas military uniforms, some of which he said were hidden behind M.R.I. machines, others in nearby storage units and some behind what he described as a “blast-proof door.” The assertions made in the video could not be independently verified.

Hamas, which has repeatedly denied using the hospital for military operations, issued a statement calling the Israeli claims “a fabricated story that no one would believe.” A Hamas official, Bassem Naim, speaking to Al Jazeera, dismissed the video as falsified “theatrics.”

. . . .In a news conference, the director of hospitals in Gaza, Muhammad Zaqout, said that Israeli forces entered the Al-Shifa medical complex around 2 a.m. on the northern side, specifically targeting the ground floor of the surgery building.

At around the same time last night, the Israeli military announced that it was carrying out a “precise and targeted operation against Hamas in a specified area” of the hospital.

No word on whether there are tunnels underneath Al-Shifa.

Here’s that one-shot video:

The two-state solution:

President Biden said on Wednesday that the endpoint of the Israel-Hamas conflict has to be a Palestinian state that is “real,” existing alongside an Israeli one.

He added that he and his aides have been negotiating with Arab nations on next steps, but did not give any details.

“I can tell you, I don’t think it ultimately ends until there’s a two-state solution,” Mr. Biden said at a news conference on an estate south of San Francisco after his summit with Xi Jinping, China’s leader.

Mr. Biden and Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken have been publicly emphasizing the need for a two-state solution in recent days. The establishment of a Palestinian state has long been a U.S. policy goal, but no recent administration has succeeded in making any substantial headway on the issue. The last major push along those lines came from John Kerry when he was secretary of state in the Obama administration.

Mr. Biden said he did not have a specific idea of when to tell Israel it should halt its war in Gaza. He said the fighting would end once Hamas could no longer do “horrific things” to Israelis. Hamas still has weapons and technology beneath hospitals in Gaza, he said.

Does Biden not know that unless every bit of Jew hatred and desire to eliminate Israel is effaces from the new Palestinian state, it will continue to terrorize Israel. I don’t know what the solution is, but I don’t think Biden does, either.

The hostages.  This is very good news, especially because the hostage-and-prisoner trade, if it occurs, would be one to one, rather than demanding that Israel release all 4500 jailed Palestinians accused of terrorism; and the released prisoners would be women and children, not young male terrorists.

Israel believes that Wednesday’s raid on Al-Shifa Hospital will put pressure on Hamas to finish a deal to trade dozens of Israeli captives for Palestinian prisoners, according to two senior Israeli officials.

Negotiations for a deal are underway, with the various players working on a framework of an agreement, according to the two Israeli officials, who are involved in the Israeli effort to release the hostages through a deal, as well as a third with knowledge of the matter. Under the proposal, Hamas would release 50 women and children abducted during the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks for roughly the same number of Palestinian women and children held in Israeli prisons.

The three officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive negotiations as did two other Israeli officials who discussed the hostage negotiations.

The deal, being negotiated by Qatari, Egyptian and American officials, would also include the cessation of hostilities for several days, a so-called humanitarian pause, four of the officials said.

*This comes from yesterday afternoon. The Jewish News Syndicate also reports that the IDF finally entered the dangerous parts of Al-Shifa hospital, said by nearly everyone except the Gazans to harbor Hamas headquarters and built atop a network of terrorist tunnels. The evidence above shows that Hamas was there, but the tunnels, if they exist, haven’t yet been found.

The IDF forces include medical teams and Arabic-speaking soldiers “who have undergone specified training to prepare for this complex and sensitive environment, with the intent that no harm is caused to the civilians being used by Hamas as human shields.”

A tweet below showing some of the assault as well as the delivery of humanitarian aid.  Translation (by Google):

scans for explosive devices and other terrorist infrastructures at the same time as humanitarian aid; The forces continue their targeted activity at Shifa Hospital: IDF forces continue to operate in a targeted manner in a part of the Shifa Hospital area where they are scanning for Hamas infrastructure and terrorist means. Also, the forces delivered humanitarian equipment and placed it at the entrance to the hospital

More from the paper:

The army announced on Wednesday morning that incubators, baby food and medical supplies brought into Gaza by IDF tanks had reached Shifa, and that the medical teams and Arabic speakers were ensuring that the supplies reached those in need.

The IDF has publicized a safe evacuation route for civilians to leave Shifa and facilitated wide-scale evacuations ahead of its operation against Hamas. It has also maintained a regular dialogue with hospital authorities.

“In recent weeks, the IDF has publicly warned time and again that Hamas’ continued military use of the Shifa Hospital jeopardizes its protected status under international law, and enabled ample time to stop this unlawful abuse of the hospital,” the IDF said on Wednesday. “Yesterday, the IDF conveyed to the relevant authorities in Gaza once again that all military activities within the hospital must cease within 12 hours. Unfortunately, it did not,” the statement continued.

Israel believes that some of the more than 240 hostages captured during Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre may be held underneath Shifa. An initial search of the hospital on Wednesday showed no signs of hostages, but the IDF believes that the operation could yield intelligence leading to their whereabouts.

*The BBC, which along with the Guardian publishes the most slanted anti-Israel take on the Hamas/Israel war, has really stepped in it this time. The original Reuters report was on the IDF forces targeting Al Shifa hospital, and said this:

The Israeli military said its forces were carrying out an operation on Wednesday against Hamas within Gaza’s biggest hospital, Al Shifa.

In a statement, the military said: “Based on intelligence information and an operational necessity, IDF forces are carrying out a precise and targeted operation against Hamas in a specified area in the Shifa Hospital.”

The military said: “The IDF forces include medical teams and Arabic speakers, who have undergone specified training to prepare for this complex and sensitive environment, with the intent that no harm is caused to the civilians.”

Here’s how a BBC reporter mangled the Reuters article simply by changing a word:

Malgorzata’s take:

But I don’t think it’s incompetence. The journalist must have been so sure that Jews = bad that she didn’t understand what she was reading in Reuters’ message. I don’t suppose she lied. She just couldn’t fathom that Israelis were capable of humane action so she assumed that they were shooting doctors and Arabic speakers, not supplying them.

Below is the BBC’s inevitable apology, which I retweeted:

Malgorzata’s take on the above: “A very unconvincing apology. This woman [the reporter] should be fired immediately and a special course of history and journalistic ethics should be given to all working for the BBC. “

*There’s the usual bilge at the NYT about renaming birds: an op-ed called “North American birds will no longer be named for racists—or anybody else.” (I swear, the paper is getting worse every day.)

On Nov. 1, the American Ornithological Society announced that it would be renaming all the birds under its purview that are currently named for human beings. The birds’ new names will reflect the species’ appearance or habitat — some trait associated with the actual bird, in other words, and not with the colonial explorer who first identified it.

“There is power in a name, and some English bird names have associations with the past that continue to be exclusionary and harmful today, said Colleen Handel, the president of the society, in a statement. “We need a much more inclusive and engaging scientific process that focuses attention on the unique features and beauty of the birds themselves.” The process of choosing new names will begin next year.

This change, which will affect some 150 North American birds, has been a long time coming. Ornithologists and amateur birders alike have long wrestled with the historical nature of bird names bestowed by early collectors. The norms of that era were themselves problematic, as explorers tromped across an already occupied landscape, killing, collecting and naming after themselves thousands of animals and plants that had already been given human names by people who lived more ecologically responsible lives.

Some of the birds — not all, it’s important to note, but some — were named for people who held views considered repugnant today. John James Audubon, the naturalist for whom the Audubon’s shearwater is named, was an unrepentant slaveholder who opposed emancipation. Gen. Winfield Scott, for whom the Scott’s oriole is named, led the forced eviction of the Cherokee along what is now known as the Trail of Tears.

The idea that some of the most beautiful birds in North America still carry those ugly names is objectionable to a lot of us, a scar from the past still enshrined in the present like a Confederate statue installed in a town square or a robber baron’s name gracing a university building. Such monuments represent history, it’s true, and history should not be forgotten. But neither should it be celebrated wholesale, especially when the bigotries and injustices of the past are too often on clear display in our own age.

I discussed this issue in detail just two weeks ago,  Listing the pros and cons of renaming versus naming, I concluded that the downside slightly outweighs the upside, one reason being that the act will do nothing to increase the diversity of birders. As I said:

  • The act is performative and accomplishes nothing towards alleviating social injustice. Presumably the idea is that, for example, having birds named after slaveholders is said to be harmful to African-Americans, and eliminating such names would bring into ornithology minorities who were offended by birds named after bigots.
  • The acceptance of this mass action will justify future performative acts in science (my definition of “wokeness” is, at times, “the creation of purely performative actions or statements in the cause of social justice”).

But I have never heard of a single person who has been harmed by a bird named after a racist, and I doubt that renaming ALL birds with eponyms would increase the diversity of birders. Changing such names makes you feel virtuous and look virtuous to others, but is purely for show.

Greg Mayer added this in the comments. By “worldwide uniformity”, he means uniformity of names among English speakers only, and even that has its problems:

The groups that care about official common names are very much set upon worldwide uniformity (which of course is the point of scientific names– they’re the same everywhere, subject only to taxonomic freedom of thought). The AOS is going to have to convince the BOU, BirdLife Australia, Lynx Edicions, etc. to adopt their principle of no patronyms.

And of course the non-Anglophone countries, which are far more populous than the anglophone ones, will keep their old names, many of which will be offensive under “progressive” criteria.

*The Graduate Students Union (GSU) at the University of Chicago, new this year, is already taking stands on political issues, and not very wise ones. This doesn’t violate our Kalven Principle of institutional neutrality, I think, because the GSU is actually part of a non-University organization, the United Electrical Workers.

The Harvard Crimson reports that a similar union at Harvard, this time part of the United Auto Workers, made similar endorsements:

Harvard’s graduate student union voted on Friday to endorse national union statements supporting the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement against Israel and calling for a ceasefire in the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.

In the largest non-contract vote in the union’s history, more than 60 percent of roughly 600 votes from members of the Harvard Graduate Student Union-United Auto Workers were in favor of signing two statements.

Approximately 64 percent of the union voted to support a statement signed by UAW rank-and-file members endorsing BDS, a movement advocating for the economic and cultural boycott of companies, organizations, and institutions with ties to Israel. The statement, which calls for the end of “occupation and colonization of all Arab lands,” has not been adopted by the UAW.

“As members of the labor movement, we call on U.S. labor unions to cut all ties with Israeli unions,” the UAW rank-and-file statement reads.

Around 69 percent voted to support a second statement primarily signed by the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America calling for a ceasefire in the ongoing war in Gaza.

“We commit ourselves to work in solidarity with the Palestinian and Israeli peoples to achieve peace and justice,” it reads.

Now I’m not sure what grad-student unions are even doing taking political positions that apparently represent the views of the union when only 60-70% of its members agree with those positions (and probably not many Jewish students!). It seems to me that unions, like universities, should be institutionally neutral, because not only can a union position chill speech, but it may misrepresent the feelings of a substantial proportion of its members. These stands probably accomplish little except signal the virtue of more than 50% of the members. (I don’t know what the vote was for the University of Chicago statement, but the BDS movement is historically and implicitly antisemitic, and certainly wants to eliminate Israel.)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili speaks the truth (so long as there’s an observer!):

Hili: Qualia.
A: Where?
Hili: Everywhere
In Polish:
Hili: Qualia.
Ja: Gdzie?
Hili: Wszędzie.



From Stash Krod:

From Donna:

From somewhere on Facebook. As far as I know, all but one of these is true. No, the mountain goat isn’t a goat (not in the genus Capra) and the King Cobra is not a true cobra (not in the genus Naja).  But which one is wrong?

Masih’s workout routine that, she says, keeps her sane. There’s also a paean to America if you read the whole text:

Sarah Haider had a child, but it seems to have affected her political judgement in a negative way. George Washington didn’t have any kids, and here’s an excerpt from a 2017 Washington Post article:

The leaders of the top industrialized nations are meeting in Sicily, Italy, for the annual Group of Seven summit, and this year, most of them are united by their lack of offspring. Five of the seven national leaders attending the G-7 summit have no biological children.

British Prime Minister Theresa May, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni have no children. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has two stepsons, and French President Emmanuel Macron has three stepchildren.

Akie Abe, Japan’s first lady, and Britain’s prime minister have spoken about how they struggled with infertility. “It’s been very sad. It just turned out not to be possible for us,” said May to “Leading Britain’s Conversation,” a British radio program.

What if someone is infertile, as above? Would you be disinclined to vote for them? Of course I’m childless, but it wouldn’t affect my judgement one way or the other. I suppose Sarah is thinking that someone without kids couldn’t be that concerned about the future of the planet.

This is hilarious. An elderly man is interviewed in a Gaza Hospital and tells it like it is.  The reporter quickly ends the interview, and the old man kicks the reporter  (second video). (h/t Jez).  Now of course we can’t be sure this is real, but it came from MEMRI, which has a good record of accuracy.  This was on an Al-Jazeera live program, so they couldn’t cut it out!

Speaking of funny interviews, here’s a satire of an interview of a Hamas leader by a BBC correspondent, both played by Israelis, who know well how biased against them the BBC is. Be sure to wait for the “moment in history” at the end.

Look at all the subtle aerial adjustments. The second one is astounding.

The March, of course, was in favor of Israel (h/t Rosemary):

From the Auschwitz Memorial, a woman who died in Auschwitz at 43:

From Larry the Cat, the Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office, who lives at 10 Downing Street:

And a predatory worm from Dr. Cobb:

36 thoughts on “Thursday: Hili dialogue

  1. On this day:
    1532 – Francisco Pizarro and his men capture Inca Emperor Atahualpa at the Battle of Cajamarca.

    1793 – French Revolution: Ninety dissident Roman Catholic priests are executed by drowning at Nantes.

    1849 – A Russian court sentences writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky to death for anti-government activities linked to a radical intellectual group; his sentence is later commuted to hard labour.

    1855 – David Livingstone becomes the first European to see the Victoria Falls in what is now Zambia-Zimbabwe.

    1857 – Second relief of Lucknow: Twenty-four Victoria Crosses are awarded, the most in a single day.

    1871 – The National Rifle Association of America receives its charter from New York State.

    1885 – Canadian rebel leader of the Métis and “Father of Manitoba” Louis Riel is executed for treason.

    1914 – The Federal Reserve Bank of the United States officially opens.

    1920 – Qantas, Australia’s national airline, is founded as Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Limited.

    1933 – The United States and the Soviet Union establish formal diplomatic relations.

    1938 – LSD is first synthesized by Albert Hofmann from ergotamine at the Sandoz Laboratories in Basel.

    1940 – World War II: In response to the leveling of Coventry by the German Luftwaffe two days before, the Royal Air Force bombs Hamburg.

    1940 – The Holocaust: In occupied Poland, the Nazis close off the Warsaw Ghetto from the outside world.

    1940 – New York City’s “Mad Bomber” George Metesky places his first bomb at a Manhattan office building used by Consolidated Edison.

    1945 – UNESCO is founded.

    1965 – Venera program: The Soviet Union launches the Venera 3 space probe toward Venus, which will be the first spacecraft to reach the surface of another planet.

    1973 – Skylab program: NASA launches Skylab 4 with a crew of three astronauts from Cape Canaveral, Florida for an 84-day mission.

    1990 – Pop group Milli Vanilli are stripped of their Grammy Award because the duo did not sing at all on the Girl You Know It’s True album. Session musicians had provided all the vocals.

    1992 – The Hoxne Hoard is discovered by metal detectorist Eric Lawes in Hoxne, Suffolk.

    1997 – After nearly 18 years of incarceration, China releases Wei Jingsheng, a pro-democracy dissident, from jail for medical reasons.

    2002 – The first cases of the 2002–2004 SARS outbreak are traced to Foshan, Guangdong Province, China.

    2022 – Artemis Program: NASA launches Artemis 1 on the first flight of the Space Launch System, the start of the program’s future missions to the moon.

    42 BC – Tiberius, Roman emperor (d. 37 AD).

    1873 – W. C. Handy, American trumpet player and composer (d. 1958). [The self-styled Father of the Blues, Handy did not create the blues genre but was the first to publish music in the blues form, thereby taking the blues from a regional music style (Delta blues) with a limited audience to a new level of popularity.]

    1889 – George S. Kaufman, American director, producer, and playwright (d. 1961). [Won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for the musical Of Thee I Sing (with Morrie Ryskind and Ira Gershwin) in 1932, and won again in 1937 for the play You Can’t Take It with You (with Moss Hart). He also won the Tony Award for Best Director in 1951 for the musical Guys and Dolls.]

    1896 – Oswald Mosley, English fascist leader and politician (d. 1980).

    1907 – Burgess Meredith, American actor, singer, director, producer, and screenwriter (d. 1997).

    1914 – Eddie Chapman, English spy (d. 1997). [Codenamed Agent ZigZag by his British handlers. Ben Macintyre’s book about him, Agent Zigzag: The True Wartime Story of Eddie Chapman: Lover, Betrayer, Hero, Spy, is fascinating.]

    1930 – Chinua Achebe, Nigerian novelist, poet, and critic (d. 2013).

    1931 – Hubert Sumlin, American singer and guitarist (d. 2011). [Best known for his work with Howlin’ Wolf’s band. He was ranked number 43 in Rolling Stone‘s “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”.]

    1935 – Elizabeth Drew, American journalist and author.

    1939 – Michael Billington, English author and critic.

    1948 – Bonnie Greer, American-English playwright and critic.

    1953 – Griff Rhys Jones, Welsh comedian, actor, and author.

    1961 – Frank Bruno, English boxer.

    1977 – Maggie Gyllenhaal, American actress and singer.

    Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It’s the transition that’s troublesome:
    1131 – Dobrodeia of Kiev, Rus princess and author of medical books. [In the imperial court of Constantinople, she became a part of a circle of women intellectuals. She was encouraged to find her own scholarly interest, studied extensively. A contemporary author wrote, “She was not born in Athens, but she learned all the wisdom of the Greeks”.]

    1724 – Jack Sheppard, English criminal (b. 1702).

    1779 – Pehr Kalm, Finnish botanist and explorer (b. 1716).

    1836 – Christiaan Hendrik Persoon, South African-French mycologist and academic (b. 1761).

    1950 – Bob Smith, American physician and surgeon, co-founded Alcoholics Anonymous (b. 1879).

    1960 – Clark Gable, American actor (b. 1901).

    1994 – Chet Powers, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1943).

    2005 – Henry Taube, Canadian-American chemist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1915).

    2005 – Donald Watson, English activist, founded the Vegan Society (b. 1910).

    2006 – Milton Friedman, American economist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1912).

    2008 – Reg Varney, English actor and screenwriter (b. 1916). [On Tuesday 27 June 1967 he became the first person in the world to get cash from an ATM.]

    2009 – Sergei Magnitsky, Ukrainian-Russian accountant and lawyer (b. 1972). [Responsible for exposing corruption and misconduct by Russian government officials while representing client Hermitage Capital Management. His arrest in 2008 and subsequent death after eleven months in police custody generated international attention and triggered both official and unofficial inquiries into allegations of fraud, theft and human rights violations in Russia. His posthumous trial was the first in the Russian Federation.]

    2009 – Edward Woodward, English actor (b. 1930).

    2018 – William Goldman, American novelist, playwright, and screenwriter (b. 1931).

    2019 – Terry O’Neill, British photographer (b. 1938).

  2. I think the essentials of a McD’s burger – for that signature – are :

    • steamed bun – i.e. just microwave one for 10 seconds
    • pickles
    • egg-based sauce – of which there are numerous – Trader Joe’s is our friend here : they have “Magnifisauce”. Wicked good.

      1. Magnifisauce is really good, check it out if possible.

        Personally, I recently cracked the salsa / guac / queso formula. Personal motivation : migraines … and expensive Chipotle sessions with friends.

        You know the salad dressing section can offer some interesting sauces also.


  3. …No Longer Be Named for Racists — or Anybody Else

    Is there are anyone else apart from racists? I thought critical race theory had settled the fact that we all such, and can never change, no matter what we do.

    1. At some level, I approve of the general plan…

      … and that is precisely the utility – get complete “unity”. Then, use the acquired power to get everyone to approve of who knows what at a future date – because we wouldn’t go back on such an irreversible “approval”, would we?

      There must be a term for that strategy besides Marxism / dialectical political warfare, which it is.

      Birds and biology is a shell game to focus attention on for usurping power. It can easily move to rodents, bacteria, humans, and beyond – resolving contradictions until the End of History (which is a thing).

  4. Neighboring Egyptians and Jordanians don’t want the Palestinians nor does any other Muslim country. An option is to *pay* them to leave, that is if you can find countries willing to take them.

    Speaking of payments, the aid from global Hamas sympathizers will soon pour in and be siphoned off by new Palestinian ‘leaders.’

    G-d forbid they get a state, an unbelievably massive cash infusion, and more of the same corrupt leadership.

    1. Thanks for the reminder, Coel. I had lost track of this event. SpaceX did carry out a bit of a pr campaign over the past few weeks regarding their claimed slowness of the numerous regulatory agencies in approving the launch…i guess complaining works sometimes. In any case, I usually watch on the SpaceX website which usually starts its live video coverage around a half-hour before launch. With launch window scheduled to open at 0800 EST tomorrow, live coverage should begin around 0730EST at the SpaceX url.

  5. Apropos Sarah Haider’s comments on the fitness of childless heads of state/government, my counter-argument is two words: Boris Johnson. Here is a man who is father to between six and nine children by various wives and mistresses (the exact number is uncertain, as he admits to only six). By Haider’s measure, then, good head of state material. Yet he is almost universally acknowledged to have been one of the most disastrous prime ministers ever to occupy 10 Downing Street.

    1. In fairness she didn’t say it was the only measure or the primary measure of fitness, just that it was a consideration. Like having been in the military, having been a parent provides a perspective that is valuable.

      1. I sympathise with this view i.e. it is a consideration (one of many). I have learned so much from my children because they see the world differently, and I have learned so much in my role as their father. When you are 100% responsible for someone who is completely defenceless it takes you right out of yourself. Every parent is different, but many of my friends who have children have made similar comments; that parenthood transformed them. I haven’t seen it quantified but I would guess university academics are more often childless than the general population. I have often asked myself if childless academics are different on average to those without children e.g. somewhat less tolerant of opposing viewpoints. [not a comment on anyone here]

  6. I don’t think Israel should be trading for the hostages. One suggestion I’ve read is that Hamas attacked on October 7 for the sole purpose of harvesting more hostages to trade for its comrades held by Israel. Release of the hostages should be a requirement without conditions.

  7. I’m not sure that “hunting” is the best term for that worm in relation to the springtail. Walking all over a predator is not exactly the best display of fitness. “Applying selection pressure” is a bit long for a hashtag, though.

  8. A couple of comments:
    –IRT the NY Times, I agree with Jerry’s “I swear, the paper is getting worse every day,” but, despite her faults, the Grey Lady is still the newspaper of record for the USA, and until another paper dethrones it, must still be accorded that pride of place. This raises the question of what other papers can possibly dethrone the NYT. The Wall Street Journal? Its reportage is excellent, but its opinion pages are suspect. The Washington Post? Under Bezos, it’s had aspirations to be the national newspaper, but we’ve seen how that’s turned out. I can’t think of another news media company that could rival the NYT at present.
    –I agree with and would like to enlarge upon Jerry’s statement, “It seems to me that unions, like universities, should be institutionally neutral…” I would add that professional associations and publicly traded companies should also be institutionally neutral. After all, corporations are not people, my friend. 😉

    1. I would add that professional associations and publicly traded companies should also be institutionally neutral. After all, corporations are not people, my friend.

      You’ve just overruled Citizens United v. FEC there, Mitt. 🙂

        1. There aren’t many ways to over-rule CU. The quickest would be to expand SCOTUS with sane justices. So that would require a (D)POTUS who was on board (Biden isn’t a proponent) and a filibuster-proof (D) Senate majority, or 50 Dems who would deep-six the filibuster rule. Also something that the current Senate won’t do. The other way is to wait for 3 of the 6 right wing enablers to retire or die and hope there is a (D)POTUS and a (D)Senate when it happens.

          Maybe there is another way, but I’m afraid we’re stuck with this disastrous law for many, many years to come.

          I wonder if Alito still thinks it was a good ruling; he is blinded by his ideology, so I’m sure he thinks it’s been working great- for those he cares about (hint: billionaires). But I remember how he shook his head in anger when Obama publicly criticized CU that it would corrupt American politics. Not really a prescient observation, but I’m sure a SCOTUS justice could have foreseen the ramifications of allowing unlimited money in our politics, and it reveals he’s always been a right-wing hack. So, in other words, he fits right in with today’s SCOTUS majority.

    2. Unions are not corporations. They are trade unions. They have a long history of taking political positions that, in theory, advocate for their compulsory dues-paying members but may in fact advocate merely for activists who have captured the leadership. (The membership will forgive them as long as they keep winning raises for them, though.) A union could adopt a rule that it would be otherwise politically neutral, and shut up about Israel, but there is no reason why it should, just because we non-members of unions might wish it would. And good luck imposing the Chicago principles on the teachers and public sector unions who see political statements as their raison d’être.

  9. I think Masih is doing those lifts wrong, and it could cause an injury. She should keep her back more vertical and do them as squats. Use the legs, not the spine.

    1. Well, I am just an amateur lifter, so take my comment with a grain of salt. I think her form actually looks pretty good though. She is doing a trap deadlift and she is keeping her chest up and back flat which is what you want to do. She could do more of a squat but that would shift the focus more to her quadriceps, which is fine if that is what you want to do. Both exercises are useful for training.

    2. The exercise she is doing is a variation of deadlift. Conventional deadlift is done with a barbell, but she is using a specialized bar that is supposed to make doing deadlift a bit easier. IMO it changes the lift significantly and I’d never recommend it to anyone.

      Anyway, deadlift is what is called a “hip hinge” movement, it is not primarily a leg movement. The hip hinge movement is the most powerful movement the human body can perform and ideal for lifting heavy weight off the ground. The idea is to use all of the muscles of what’s called the “posterior chain,” which is everything on the back side of the body from the hamstrings up to the trapezius. When done properly it is quite safe, considerably safer than squatting though of course there are still risks.

      Her form is good for deadlift.

      Squats are also an excellent exercise, but are quite different. The hip hinge movement is kept to a minimum when doing squats properly, and because of that a given person can deadlift much more than they can squat. The hip hinge movement is the strongest movement the human body can do.

  10. I think the ultimate harm in renaming birds to break their association with “racists” is that it encourages a closed minded form of black-and-white thinking towards other human beings.

    Flaws of all kinds are increasingly being seen as deal breakers: cut out the toxicity and have nothing to do with them. Uncharitable, revengeful, victimized thinking isn’t just being applied to figures in history, but seems to be the mindset of choice applied to everyone, everywhere, who can somehow be classified as both privileged and imperfect. It’s as if the therapeutic remedy used by the severely abused is supposed to be adopted by an entire culture of Fragile Yet Self-Righteous Warriors of Justice, who refuse to understand nuances, circumstances, and underlying explanations lest they break down their resolve and exercise a little reasonable mercy and forgiveness.

  11. Not only did the wapo bury the dc antisemitism march to the middle of the Metro section front page, but they spoke of “thousands” and i think “ten thousands”, but never a hundred thousand or hundreds of thousands attendees. And of course all of the wapo copy refers to the war as “Israel-Gaza”, not “Israel-Hamas”. What a rag….but as I commented here the other day, I get it for the local and regional news….which now I guess includes a national march supporting international politics!

  12. ” I noticed in Paris that the McDonald’s places were doing a brisk business with the French.” The popularity of McDonald’s in Paris prompted a possibly unreliable report in an internet magazine:

    “In 1980, word reached the elderly Jean-Paul Sartre that a McDonald’s outlet had opened in Paris, right on the Boulevard Saint-Michel, next to the Thermes de Cluny in the heart of the 5ieme arrondissement. The philosopher did not take news of this calamity well. In fact, he suffered an attack of mal de tête and had to be rushed immediately from the Café de Flore to the hospital. In the intensive care ward of the Hôpital Hôtel-Dieu.
    Sartre was treated with an infusion of apricot cocktail from the celebrated Bec de Gaz bar on Rue Montparnasse. The author of No Exit seemed to rally for a time, but then he somehow came into direct contact with a menu from the McDonald’s restaurant, and his condition worsened. Sartre went into tonic-clonic seizure at the words “le menu Happy Meal.” And when he reached “En ce moment, le double Cheese est lá”, hypocapnia, aphasia, and apraxia set in..”

    1. Serves Sartre right, but I must admit to finding the ubiquity of McDonalds in France, Spain, and Italy rather depressing. I traveled up and down France last year and was surprised by how many burger joints there were in each city. I was hoping to see lots of crêperies but hardly saw any. The French also have lots of “taco” shops, though what they call a taco has little to do with anything from Mexico (for more see But it’s decent fast food nonetheless.

      Anyway, I made a vow to never to eat at an American fast food chain when in Europe, so when I need a fast/cheap/late night meal I go to a kebab shop instead.

      1. During a conference in Uppsala, I got decent breakfasts at the local McDonald’s—but, never, of course, pannkakor med lingon. True enough, kebab joints are all over Sweden, and presumably the rest of Europe.

  13. Currently the main headline on the BBC’s news website is: “Witness reports shooting at Gaza hospital …” and “A witness tells the BBC that “soldiers are everywhere, shooting in all directions” at the Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City”.

    Now this is based on the unverified say-so of one person. Should the BBC really be giving such a claim, including the “shooting in all directions” in a hospital, such prominence?

  14. I look forward to the renaming of Montezuma’s Quail (Cyrtonyx montezumae), named for the autocratic ruler of a savagely warlike, expansionist polity whose state religion involved mass human sacrifice of the most bloody and painful sort.
    Surely someone like this shouldn’t have a nice little bird named after him.

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