Good morning on a sultry Thursday, August 26, 2021: National Cherry Popsicle Day. It’s also National Burger Day in the UK, National Toilet Paper Day, National D*g Day, and Women’s Equality Day, commemorating the adoption on August, 26, 1920 of the Nineteenth Amendment, granting women the right to vote.
News of the Day:
It’s now been 218 days since the Bidens moved into the White House brandishing promises that they would adopt a First Cat. Is there a First Cat? I haven’t seen one. Would some reporter please query Jen Psaki?
The New York Times reports that it’s not so much the Taliban that the U.S. fear when rushing to meet the August 31 evacuation deadline, but a branch of ISIS called ISIS-K that’s already carried out many terrorist attacks in Afghanistan this year and hates the Taliban as much as it hates America. A quote:
Jake Sullivan, Mr. Biden’s national security adviser, said on Sunday that the threat from ISIS-K was “acute” and “persistent,” and that American commanders and other officials were taking all possible steps to thwart any attacks.
That includes striking an unlikely accommodation with the Taliban, at least temporarily, not only to allow safe passage to American citizens and Afghan allies to the airport for flights out of the country, but also to actively defend against an ISIS-K attack.
Another August 31 deadline: the trial of Elizabeth Holmes of Theranos for wire fraud will begin after a long delay due to the pandemic. You may recall that Holmes (and her partner Sunny Balwani) ran a company, Theranos, that promised to do diagnostic tests on as little as a tiny drop of blood. Theranos was founded in 2003, when Holmes was just 19, and with the help of influential endorsers like Henry Kissinger and George Schultz, it skyrocketed in value, with Holmes briefly worth more than a billion dollars. (She’s broke now.) But allegations by people like reporter John Carryrou of the Wall Street Journal showed that data was faked, the testing machine didn’t work, and now Holmes faces 11 counts of wire fraud for defrauding investors. She could be sentenced to as much as 20 years in prison. Do read Carryrou’s great book about Holmes and this swindle, Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup. It’s a fascinating bit of investigative journalism and a page-turner.
Over at the Washington Post, columnist Henry Olsen argues that the Supreme Court decision upholding the “remain in Mexico” policy for immigrants applying for asylum was properly upheld by the Supreme Court. His reason: only Congress has the power to make laws, and although exceptions have been carved out allowing Presidents (Trump earlier and Biden in this case), to effectively make a law these exceptions must be extensively vetted in a public process, and haven’t been. But the court’s been evenhanded about at least this, for, using the same rationale, it refused Trump his executive order to rescind the DACA program. It seems to me that in the past two decades entirely too much legislation has come from the executive branch.
According to the New York Post, a recent survey by a Sports Apparel Company found that the University of Notre Dame mascot (a leprechaun, since the team is the Fighting Irish) has been rated the fourth most offensive mascot in the nation, after San Diego State’s Aztec Warrior, Florida State’s Osceola and Renegade and the University of Hawaii’s Vili the Warrior. The leprechaun seems to be offensive to Irish people, but I have yet to find one who has been offended by it. I suspect it started with one offended person. Anyway, the University is defending its mascot, shown below (h/t: Barry):
But a rep for the Indiana-based college was quick to defend the feisty, pot-of-gold-hiding trickster, along with the term “The Fighting Irish” — which began as a derogatory term for Irish Catholic students during the early 1900s.
“It is worth noting … that there is no comparison between Notre Dame’s nickname and mascot and the Indian and warrior names [and[ mascots used by other institutions such as the NFL team formerly known as the Redskins,” the school said in a statement to in the Indianapolis Star.
“None of these institutions were founded or named by Native Americans who sought to highlight their heritage by using names and symbols associated with their people,” it read.
Reader Pyers informed me yesterday of this:
One of the most distinguished British ( indeed Scottish) painters of recent years, Dame Elizabeth Blackadder, died on August 23. Amongst her many attributes she was a great painter of cats as this link shows.
Here’s a photo of her, a British postage stamp she designed (part of a series), and one of her paintings, “Black Cat, Abyssinian Cat, and Tulips”
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 632,522, an increase of 1,165 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 4,477,546, an increase of about 10,900 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on August 26 includes:
- 1542 – Francisco de Orellana crosses South America from Guayaquil on the Pacific coast to the mouth of the Amazon River on the Atlantic coast.
- 1768 – Captain James Cook sets sail from England on board HMS Endeavour.
Cook first sailed to Tahiti to make astronomical observations (he failed), then mapped the coast of New Zealand and visited Australia (being the first outsider to see the indigenous people) before heading to Indonesia, St. Helena, and home to England.
- 1789 – The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen is approved by the National Constituent Assembly of France.
But another man, James Rumsey, was also granted a patent for a steamboat the same day, leading to conflict and ultimately the demise of Fitch’s company. But it was Robert Fulton who developed the steamboat into a successful commercial enterprise. Here’s Fitch’s patent drawing of the piston for steamboat propulsion:
- 1863 – The Swedish-language liberal newspaper Helsingfors Dagblad proposed the current blue-and-white cross flag as the flag of Finland.
Wikipedia, however, says this: “The first known “Flag of Finland” was presented in 1848, along with the national anthem Maamme. Its motif was the coat of arms of Finland, surrounded by laurel leaves, on a white flag.
Well, whoever invented the design, here it is:
I can’t find any photos of the eruption (that’s not surprising!), but here’s a coral block hurled onto Java by the eruption; Java is 31 miles (50 km) from Krakatoa. The man standing beside it shows the scale:
- 1920 – The 19th amendment to United States Constitution takes effect, giving women the right to vote.
- 1942 – The Holocaust in Ukraine: At Chortkiv, the Ukrainian police and German Schutzpolizei deport two thousand Jews to Bełżec extermination camp. Five hundred of the sick and children are murdered on the spot. This continued until the next day.
The Nazis and their local minions were particularly brutal in Ukraine. Here’s a photo of shootings, labeled by Wikipedia:
Executions of Jews by German army mobile killing units (Einsatzgruppen) near Ivangorod Ukraine. The photo was mailed from the Eastern Front to Germany and intercepted at a Warsaw post office by a member of the Polish resistance collecting documentation on Nazi war crimes. The original print was owned by Tadeusz Mazur and Jerzy Tomaszewski and now resides in Historical Archives in Warsaw. The original German inscription on the back of the photograph reads, “Ukraine 1942, Jewish Action [operation], Ivangorod.”
Note that the woman is holding a child.
Here’s a newsreel of the liberation of Paris, showing de Gaulle’s entry:
- 1977 – The Charter of the French Language is adopted by the National Assembly of Quebec
- 2009 – Kidnapping victim Jaycee Dugard is discovered alive in California after being missing for over 18 years. Her captors, Phillip and Nancy Garrido are apprehended.
This is a horrific story, and you can see it summarized in this ABC news story:
Notables born on this day include:
- 1740 – Joseph-Michel Montgolfier, French inventor, invented the hot air balloon (d. 1810)
- 1743 – Antoine Lavoisier, French chemist and biologist (d. 1794)
- 1873 – Lee de Forest, American engineer and academic, invented the Audion tube (d. 1961)
- 1880 – Guillaume Apollinaire, Italian-French author, poet, playwright, and critic (d. 1918)
Here’s the famous poet ; he died in the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918:
- 1901 – Jimmy Rushing, American singer and bandleader (d. 1972)
- 1904 – Christopher Isherwood, English-American author and academic (d. 1986)
- 1910 – Mother Teresa, Albanian-Indian nun, missionary, Catholic saint, and Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1997)
- 1949 – Leon Redbone, Canadian-American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer (d. 2019)
Here’s Redbone singing an old classic:
Those who jumped the Cosmic Shark on August 26 include:
Here’s a nice Hals from 1623, “Jonker Ramp and His Sweetheart“. The Dutch sure had rosy cheeks back then (or perhaps this couple is drunk):
- 1723 – Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, Dutch microscopist and biologist (b. 1632)
- 1974 – Charles Lindbergh, American pilot and explorer (b. 1902)
Lindbergh was an unapologetic anti-Semite, America Firster, and Nazi lover. In 1940 hegave a famous sin Des Moines, Iowa, on September 11, 1941, urging America not to enter the war because our entry was being promoted by the British, the Roosevelt administration, and the Jews. Here’s a photo from Esquire of Lucky Lindy giving, yes, the Nazi salute.
Caption: Senator Burton K. Wheeler (1882-1975), Charles Lindbergh (1902-1974) the spokesperson for the America First Committee (AFC) and novelist Kathleen Norris (1880-1966) giving the Nazi arm salute during the rally on October 30, 1941 at Madison Square Garden in New York, New York. The AFC was the pressure group against the Americans joining World War II.
In 2020 HBO made a minseries about Lindbergh winning the Presidency, “The Plot Against America” (based on the eponymous novel by Philip Roth), limning the dire consequences of such a victory, including forcible relocation and murder of Jews. I should see that; it sounds intriguing. You can watch the first episode for free here.
- 1989 – Irving Stone, American author (b. 1903)
- 2018 – Neil Simon, American playwright and author (b. 1927)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili channels Newton:
A: What are you looking at?Hili: At the effects of gravity.
Ja: Na co patrzysz?Hili: Na efekty grawitacji.
From Facebook. I haven’t ascertained whether this is real, but perhaps a reader can find out.
From Science Humor: Ms. Berry gets revenge on her employers for pulling a nasty trick:
From Masih: more video leaked by opponents of Iran’s regime, who hacked into the closed video system of Tehran’s notorious Evin prison. Remember, homosexual acts are a capital crime in Iran, with reports that thousands have been hanged. The government even subsidizes gender reassignment surgeries (almost all from male to female) so gays can continue to have sex with men, but legally (those who have the surgery are legally recognized as female).
This leaked video of Iranian prison shows gay & trans kept in the basement of Evin Prison.
LGBT prisoners are detained for alleged crimes from “nudity” or “feminine behavior”.
This is unjust & barbaric.
Many are fed up with long periods of solitary confinement without any support pic.twitter.com/pyMv4AUlFW
— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) August 25, 2021
From the Auschwitz Memorial site:
26 August 1938 | A French Jewish girl, Paulette Kerner, was born in Paris.
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) August 26, 2021
Titania finds some allies:
As a radical activist who hates the status quo, I’ll continue to fight bravely against the establishment.
But it’s so hard when the only ones on my side are big tech, academia, the mainstream media, the entertainment industry, the US government and the Duke & Duchess of Sussex.
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) August 23, 2021
From Ginger K. My response would be to stop traffic to let this lovely animal cross.
Python crossing the street in front of you what would you do? 😏🐍
— 🌹𝓒𝓪𝓻𝓪𝓶𝓮𝓵 𝓢𝔀𝓮𝓮𝓽𝓷𝓮𝓼𝓼💎 (@Caramel_Angel7) August 20, 2021
Tweets from Matthew. First, the earliest SCUBA tank.Rea
A 3000 year old picture of an Assyrian soldier diving under the river using an inflatable goatskin bag.
— Archaeo – Histories (@archeohistories) August 24, 2021
Read the linked article, which involves Einstein, black holes, and the bending of light by mass. You’ll see that this photo is pretty amazing.
Hubble does it again and captured this extraordinary Einstein Ring! https://t.co/iAGcgRZUdm
— lucy west (@LucyWestStudios) August 25, 2021
A lovely scorpionfly—not a “real” fly in the order Diptera, but in the order Mecoptera.
— franz (@franzanth) August 25, 2021
Rainbow lorikeets, from Australia, are gorgeous parrots, but this mutant is messed up (but still pretty!). I put a “normal” lorikeet below it so you can see the difference:
Woah, check out 'Sprinkles' over here.
We've never seen a colour mutation like this before. This rainbow lorikeet really has the Aussie colours down pat. 💚💛
Find out more: https://t.co/DMdJ1yE7N7
📷 Jayde Parrey pic.twitter.com/cLGbx2zQ0u
— Australian Geographic (@ausgeo) February 9, 2021
A non-mutant rainbow lorikeeet: