Shalom on cat shabbos: Saturday, February 19, 2022: National Chocolate Mint Day. The apotheosis of the chocolate mint is, of course, Chicago’s Frango Mints, popularized by the now defunct Marshall Field department store, but still sold there after it was bought out by Macy’s. They are GOOD, but getting pricey (around $17 per pound). I recommend the dark chocolate.
It’s also Iwo Jima Day, when the U.S. invaded that island in 1945, World Pangolin Day, World Whale Day. and International Tug of War Day, a truly international game that was known in ancient Egypt. Here’s a video from the World Championships, and the participants were “pulling” for the sport to make it into the 2020 Olympics. I don’t think it will get in; people would make fun of it, and the “tug” is usually over too soon. But in fact it was an Olympic sport in five games: between 1900 and 1920.
News of the Day:
*Crikey! Biden is now publicly proclaiming that he pretty much knows that Putin has decided to invade Ukraine. I was going to comment that apparently Uncle Joe knows what it’s like to be a bat, but there’s apparently intelligence behind this:
President Biden said on Friday the United States has intelligence showing that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia has made a final decision to invade Ukraine, rejecting the final efforts of diplomacy.
“We have reason to believe the Russian forces are planning to, intend to, attack Ukraine in the coming week, in the coming days,” Mr. Biden said in the Roosevelt Room at the White House. “We believe that they will target Ukraine’s capital Kyiv, a city of 2.8 million innocent people.”
Asked whether he thinks that Mr. Putin is still wavering about whether to invade, Mr. Biden said: “I’m convinced he’s made the decision.” Later he added that his impression of Mr. Putin’s intentions is based on U.S. intelligence.
The president’s comments, the second in three days, are the clearest indications of just how close the world may be to a catastrophic conflict in Europe.
I’m wondering whether Ukrainians will put up a stiff resistance if the invasion does come. I’m almost hoping not, because tens of thousands of people will die. On the other hand, what can NATO do to stop an invasion? Threaten Russia to not open the natural gas pipeline. That would be like Europe shooting itself in the foot. Further, if Russia invades under a “false flag” operation it would be unbelievable, for it would envision Ukraine attacking Russia, and with 180,000 Russian troops on the border. It would be suicide. Of course, like Hitler, nobody believes these “false flag” invasion excuses
*I’m pretty sure how this one’s going to turn out, and it won’t be pretty. A Jewish couple in Tennessee, Elizabeth and Gabriel Rutan-Ram, applied for training to be foster parents from the Holston United Methodist Home for Children. They got an email telling them to forget it: the organization would not allow good Christian babies (?) to be put in Jewish homes. And it’s not because the kids are Christian, for babies have no faith, but because the organization, which is funded by taxpayers (i.e., us) does:
“As a Christian organization, our executive team made the decision several years ago to only provide adoption services to prospective adoptive families that share our belief system in order to avoid conflicts or delays with future service delivery,” the email said, according to court documents.
Ergo a lawsuit filed by these two and six other plaintiffs, arguing that the adoption organization violated the parents’ right to religious freedom.
“It’s infuriating to learn our tax dollars are funding discrimination against us,” Gabriel Rutan-Ram said in a news release from the Americans United for Separation of Church and State. “If an agency is getting tax money to provide a service, then everyone should be served — it shouldn’t matter whether you’re Jewish, Catholic or an atheist. We’re all citizens of Tennessee, regardless of our religion.”
. . . Brad Williams, the president and chief executive of Holston, which is not named as a defendant in the suit, said in a statement to The Post that his agency wants to make sure that “vulnerable children” do not “lose access to Christian families.”
“Holston Home places children with families that agree with our statement of faith, and forcing Holston Home to violate our beliefs and place children in homes that do not share our faith is wrong and contrary to a free society,” Williams added.
It’s the height of religious arrogance, which is a sign of this species of religion, that these people worry about not whether the kid will be raised properly, but will be raised as a proper Christian.
There are now eight states that allow adoption agencies to deny services to people of the “wrong” religion and sexual orientation, and we’re funding them. I suppose that these mis-Christians could say that the child will go to hell if brought up by Jewish or gay parents, but isn’t it time to leave those fairy tales behind? The welfare of children without parents is at stake. The outcome, of course, will be that the conservative and religious Supreme Court upholds these discriminatory laws, as they surely will. But why do taxpayers have to fund religious and sexual discrimination?
*Andrew Sullivan’s weekly essay, “The Backlash Against Trans Extremism“, calls out both Right and Left on education about sex and sexuality. The Left for initiating discussion about gender in kids as young as pre-schoolers, which angers parents who want to discuss the stuff first, and on their own time, or object to the ideology involved. Sully chastises the Right for using the angry parents to pass some boneheaded legislation:
The [National Association of Independent Schools] represents private schools, so this is not an example of public school excess. Nonetheless, trans ideology is spreading, it’s in the culture and in the education grad schools. And if you want to understand why there’s suddenly a slew of ugly, dumb and overly vague new laws being proposed in state legislatures around the teaching about homosexuality and transgender identity, this is a good place to start. What started in ed schools has swept private schools and is now in public schools.
In fact, it’s an essential place to start. It is perfectly possible for teachers to teach about sex and be attuned to gender-nonconforming kids, who may be gay or trans or straight — without transforming all of sex ed to comport with critical queer and gender theory, designed to dismantle the concepts of binary sex and biology altogether, and to begin this indoctrination in pre-K.
But this is what the educational elite now believes in. Teaching materials are full of the new and highly nebulous concept of “gender identity,” they are intent on blurring sex differences, and, in truly regressive fashion, they define sex by gender-stereotypical behaviors. If a little boy is playing with dolls, alarm bells go off. If a little girl wants to wear pants, or call herself by a boy’s name, trans ideology now explains it. One of the most basic building blocks in a kid’s education — the distinction between boys and girls — is being undermined. And parents are then told to get with the program or else. In some cases, teachers have deliberately kept parents in the dark about the development of their children.
As Vox noted, “the bottom line is that the federal judiciary is fast transforming into a forum to hear the grievances of religious conservatives. And the Supreme Court is rapidly changing the rules of the game to benefit those conservatives.” (h/t Stephen)
*John McWhorter continues his series on black music, musicals, and shows in this week’s column, “‘The Gilded Age’ is Depicting Black Success. More TV Should.” After recounting the NAACP’s proper criticism of “Amos ‘n Andy” as a pandering to every racist black stereotype around, but also the blacks who criticized Diahann Carroll’s show “Julia” for being too sanitized of the gritty realities faced by urban blacks. McWhorter sees a new HBO Max show, set in 1883, as being both honest about racism but not obsessed with racism:
Miracle of miracles, “The Gilded Age” is portraying in living color (at least through the show’s most recently released episode) Brooklyn’s Black bourgeoisie of the era, and some of its history. That is, many Black New Yorkers, terrorized by the 1863 Draft Riots — which included the torching of a Black orphanage on Fifth Avenue — and by the generally oppressive conditions for Black people in an openly bigoted Manhattan, moved across the East River to Brooklyn, where a community of prosperous Black families took hold. Who knew that we would ever see, in high-def, this affluent Black Brooklyn, with characters played by actors as august as Audra McDonald and John Douglas Thompson? (Of note, also, is one of the show’s executive producers, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, known for her acting roles in movies such as “Antwone Fisher,” who directs four “Gilded Age” episodes this season.)
. . . given that Black struggle is these days portrayed rather richly in film and theater, “The Gilded Age” lends a service in showing, beyond museum exhibits and magazine articles, that Black people in another age could triumph despite the obstacles. It brings onscreen life to one of many Black truths, and the one it has chosen to show is of a kind that a truly proud people must not be denied.
I haven’t seen it (I don’t have cable), but weigh in if you have. Also, note the video below, which McWhorter siingles out:
A few years later, an episode of the TV news show “See It Now,” hosted by Edward R. Murrow, spotlighted the Black operatic virtuoso Marian Anderson’s tour of Asia. The episode, which was broadcast in December 1957 and documented Anderson’s exceptional cultural diplomacy (the whole thing is worth watching), juxtaposed with events of the preceding September, when segregationists resisted the integration of Little Rock Central High School in Little Rock, Ark., by Black students who became known as “The Little Rock Nine.”
*AOC, who, with the other members of “The Squad” is, in my view, “anti-Zio” if not anti-Semitic, made a heinous and lying allegation against Israel at a rally for the Democratic Socialists of America. Listen below as she alleges that Israel keeps Palestinian children in cages:
She is either ignorant or a liar, but for sure she’s pandering to the far-Left penchant for dissing Israel.
The quote again, and a response from the Wiesenthal Center:
.@RepAOC demonizing Jews at a time of raging #Antisemitism in NYC. Throwing children into cages is inhuman and cruel. Prove it or apologize. You are legitimizing hatred against Jewish people everywhere. https://t.co/8k9yEbj2tN
— SimonWiesenthalCntr (@simonwiesenthal) February 15, 2022
Along with her squad members, including Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, it’s manifestly clear that the group not only peddles lies about Israel, but consistently votes against it and in favor of BDS, which wants the state of Israel abolished. Argue with me if you want, but I think the Squad, whose progressivism is unfortunately the future of the Democratic Party, would agree with BDS’s call for abolition of the State of Israel: “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” The fact is that to be Woke is to be, among other things, anti-Semitic.
I also don't believe that children should be in cages. Please reply with one example of a Palestinian child being held in a cage by the State of Israel. Ever.
Looking forward to hearing from you,
— United With Israel (@UniteWithIsrael) February 15, 2022
*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 932,764, an increase of 2,261 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 5,894,556, an increase of about 10,900 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on February 19 include:
- 1600 – The Peruvian stratovolcano Huaynaputina explodes in the most violent eruption in the recorded history of South America.
The eruption caused a volcanic winter, but it hasn’t erupted since 1600. Here’s the crater:
- 1807 – Former Vice President of the United States Aaron Burr is arrested for treason in Wakefield, Alabama and confined to Fort Stoddert.
- 1846 – In Austin, Texas the newly formed Texas state government is officially installed. The Republic of Texas government officially transfers power to the State of Texas government following the annexation of Texas by the United States.
- 1847 – The first group of rescuers reaches the Donner Party.
Of the 87 members of the party, trapped in the mountains by snow, only 48 survived. Much is made of the cannibalism that occurred: the living ate the bodies of the dead. If that was what it took to stay alive, I’d do it, too: it’s a senseless taboo. Here’s a photo of some of the trees cut by the Party; read the caption:
Well, he applied for a patent then, as the patent drawing below is dated May, 1880 (or perhaps this is a later model). Also shown is Edison (who electrocuted Topsy the Elephant and should thus be canceled) with his second model:
- 1913 – Pedro Lascuráin becomes President of Mexico for 45 minutes; this is the shortest term to date of any person as president of any country.
This is a complicated affair involving the resignation of the President followed by a complicated maneuver of succession. But nobody was head of any country for such a short period.
- 1942 – World War II: United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs executive order 9066, allowing the United States military to relocate Japanese Americans to internment camps.
Here’s the evacuation order, one of the most shameful episodes in modern American history. These people were citizens!
- 1945 – World War II: Battle of Iwo Jima: About 30,000 United States Marines land on the island of Iwo Jima.
The famous “Raising the flag on Iwo Jima”, after the battle was nearly over, won the Pulitzer Prize for photographer Joe Rosenthal. And there was a video, too:
- 1949 – Ezra Pound is awarded the first Bollingen Prize in poetry by the Bollingen Foundation and Yale University.
At this time Pound was incarcertated in St. Elizabeth’s mental hospital after conviction for treason. Here’s his 1945 mug shot. He was a great poet, but also a vicious anti-Semite:
Here he is reading part of the long poem “Hugh Selwyn Mauberley“, written in 1920:
- 1963 – The publication of Betty Friedan‘s The Feminine Mystique reawakens the feminist movement in the United States as women’s organizations and consciousness raising groups spread.
A signed first edition can run $3,000 or more:
- 1976 – Executive Order 9066, which led to the relocation of Japanese Americans to internment camps, is rescinded by President Gerald Ford‘s Proclamation 4417.
- 1985 – William J. Schroeder becomes the first recipient of an artificial heart to leave the hospital.
Schroeder was out of the hospital only 18 days before he had a series of strokes that left him in a vegetative state until he died on August 7, 1986. He he is leaving the hospital with his Jarvik-7 artificial heart.
And here is his gravestone, which Wikipedia captions “The headstone marking Schroeder’s grave is made of black granite in the shape of two overlapping hearts. One is laser engraved with an image of the Jarvik 7.”
- 2011 – The debut exhibition of the Belitung shipwreck, containing the largest collection of Tang dynasty artifacts found in one location, begins in Singapore.
Here’s one of the artifacts from that shipwreck, which occurred in about 830 AD (the ship was a dhow). Caption from Wikipedia:
Notables born on this day include:
- 1717 – David Garrick, English actor, playwright, and producer (d. 1779)
- 1916 – Eddie Arcaro, American jockey and sportscaster (d. 1997)
- 1924 – Lee Marvin, American actor (d. 1987)
- 1940 – Smokey Robinson, American singer-songwriter and producer
Smokey! Here is what I consider not only his best song, but in the top 10 souls songs of all time. It was written by Robinson and Pete Moore, and released by the Miracles in 1965
- 1942 – Will Provine, American biologist, historian, and academic (d. 2015)
- 1946 – Karen Silkwood, American technician and activist (d. 1974)
Silkwood died, of course, in a mysterious car crash perhaps connected with her investigation of Kerr-McGee for health and safety violations. The film, with Meryl Streep as Silkwood, is excellent:
- 1952 – Amy Tan, American novelist, essayist, and short story writer
Did you know that Tan is a member of a band, “The Rock Bottom Remainders”, with other famous authors, including Stephen King, Amy Tan, Dave Barry, Mary Karr, and Scott Turow. Here’s the group discussing their work. To see a performance, go here.
Shoot me, but I do love this 1994 song by Seal, his most famous (and he wrote it):
- 1967 – Benicio del Toro, Puerto Rican-American actor, director, and producer
Those who became corpses on February 19 include
- 1916 – Ernst Mach, Austrian-Czech physicist and philosopher (b. 1838)
- 1951 – André Gide, French novelist, essayist, and dramatist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1869)
Here’s Gide, photographed in 1924 by the ubiquitous Lady Ottoline Morrell (one of her long-time paramourse was Bertrand Russell:
- 1952 – Knut Hamsun, Norwegian novelist, poet, and playwright, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1859)
- 2016 – Umberto Eco, Italian novelist, literary critic, and philosopher (b. 1932)
- 2016 – Harper Lee, American author (b. 1926)
Lee wrote only one book (another posthumous one has since been published). But it won the Pulitzer Prize and is a modern classic, though people are trying to cancel it. Here she is getting the Presidential Medal of Freedom from W. in 2007.
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Kulka’s plumping up a bit:
Kulka: The bowl behind me is empty.Hili: Never mind, you are growing too fast anyhow.
Kulka: Ta miseczka za mną jest pusta.Hili: Nie szkodzi i tak za szybko rośniesz.
Kulka and Szaron gazing out:
From reader Tom:
And Facebooks says that MAD Magazine’s icon, Alfred E. Neuman, has turned 70. Well, looking him up in a long Wikipedia article, it’s not clear where Neuman came from, and when. Here, for example, is the poster for an 1894 play, “The New Boy,” which clearly is the first image of a Neuman-like figure. That would make Alfred 128 years old.
Be that as it may, some Internet wag did a drawing of a 70-year-old Newman, and here it is. He must have dyed his hair.
From Peter, a Snowgasauraus, which Matthew will love (he collects them):
Oy! The article that Titania links to below says this:
A couple saw her performing a sex act on herself in a back alleyway of Wellesley Road at about 3.45pm that day.
Liz McGowan, prosecuting, said “the defendant was moving forwards and backwards against a wheelie bin” before being seen using a sex toy on herself.
At the time she was wearing “an ill-fitting black wig, a ra-ra skirt and a midriff-length top”, the court heard.
“She was shouted at by the witnesses and ran away,” said Ms McGowan.
What’s a ra-ra skirt?
Yet another news story about a woman exposing her penis in public.
There must be some explanation for this bizarre rise in sex crimes among women.
For now, it remains a mystery. 🤷♀️ https://t.co/P6F00ofEIe
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) February 18, 2022
From Ken, who notes, “The noble “Freedom Convoy” truckers who’ve been ordered to stop blocking traffic in Canada are now using children as human shields”.:
Protestors have put children between police operations and the unlawful protest site.
The children will be brought to a place of safety.
— Ottawa Police (@OttawaPolice) February 18, 2022
I found a picture. (Perhaps Snopes will debunk this. . . )
Using children as human shields is a common tactic among terrorists. The mobs disrupting Ottawa and our land border crossings are no different. pic.twitter.com/YlVkzwbmgR
— DwightDuncan (@DwightDuncan) February 10, 2022
From Simon: a Republican’s platform. Simon adds:
What a thing to run on. I assume he picks a Remington when he wants to shoot babies! Ugh. Running for Gov of Georgia, it seems, presumably on the raving nutball (with no dress sense) ticket.
What a slanderous accusation to make against our Lord and savior. pic.twitter.com/L7bYXz0tQL
— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) February 17, 2022
From Ginger K., who theorizes that this cat is on the ‘nip. He sure looks like he has the munchies!
I have never seen such unhinged cat biscuit eating pic.twitter.com/Tv1j0i79sU
— Jeffrey Simpson (@FadAstra) February 14, 2022
Tweets from Matthew. Both of us want to go and live in Dodo Land, where everything is wonderful:
Karen the feral cat hated cuddles… now she demands that her foster mom gets back in bed with her every morning ❤️ pic.twitter.com/d8LBd7Rv6a
— The Dodo (@dodo) February 18, 2022
Now how many people have ever really kissed a whale?
Just a whale asking for kisses and stopping by to say hello.
— Danny Deraney (@DannyDeraney) February 12, 2022
Matthew and I both think the insect in the second tweet below isn’t a stick insect but a mantis. Look at the head!
Instead here’s another ridiculously evolved stick insect i saw that seriously was more branch than bug 😹 pic.twitter.com/exgWKIeRZN
— Evon (@knowmiun) February 18, 2022
And the insect that inspired the first tweet:
— John Horstman (@sinobug) February 17, 2022