Greetings on Wednesday, June 8, 2022, a Hump Day, or, as they say in Nepali, “हम्प दिन”. It’s National Jelly-Filled Donut Day, a decent pastry so long as the filling is good. The best version I’ve had is actually the Polish variant, pączki. You can get them in Chicago since we’re the second largest Polish town in the world after Warsaw. Here are some (occasionally they’re filled with rose-petal jam). German Berliners are also good.
Stuff that happened on June 8 include:
- 452 – Attila leads a Hun army in the invasion of Italy, devastating the northern provinces as he heads for Rome.
- 793 – Vikings raid the abbey at Lindisfarne in Northumbria, commonly accepted as the beginning of Norse activity in the British Isles.
The Vikings apparently overlooked the great treasure of the abbey: The Lindisfarne Gospels (now in the British Library). A page:
- 1789 – James Madison introduces twelve proposed amendments to the United States Constitution in Congress.
Although the Bill of Rights has ten amendments, one of the other two was approved as the 27th Amendment in 1992, and the other is still pending. Here’s an original copy of the amendments (caption from Wikipedia):
- 1794 – Maximilien Robespierre inaugurates the French Revolution’s new state religion, the Cult of the Supreme Being, with large organized festivals all across France.
- 1856 – A group of 194 Pitcairn Islanders, descendants of the mutineers of HMS Bounty, arrives at Norfolk Island, commencing the Third Settlement of the Island.
Only one of the four volcanic islands is inhabited, and the population is all of 47. Here’s the sole settlement, Adamstown:
- 1949 – Helen Keller, Dorothy Parker, Danny Kaye, Fredric March, John Garfield, Paul Muni and Edward G. Robinson are named in an FBI report as Communist Party members.
Helen Keller? Danny Kaye? Edward G. Robinson? Oy, those were dire times!
A first edition and first printing of this classic will cost you $10,000-$15,000, and you should read it again now.
- 1953 – The United States Supreme Court rules in District of Columbia v. John R. Thompson Co. that restaurants in Washington, D.C., cannot refuse to serve black patrons.
- 1968 – James Earl Ray, the man who assassinated Martin Luther King Jr. is arrested at London Heathrow Airport.
Ray fled to Europe via Canada, but was arrested in London two months after King’s death. He was sentenced to 99 years in prison in 1969 and died in prison of hepatitis C in 1998. Here’s the FBI’s wanted poster when Ray was on the lam:
- 1972 – Vietnam War: Nine-year-old Phan Thị Kim Phúc is burned by napalm, an event captured by Associated Press photographer Nick Ut moments later while the young girl is seen running down a road, in what would become an iconic, Pulitzer Prize-winning photo.
Here’s that Prize-winning photo.
Phúc just wrote a piece for the NYT called “It’s been 50 years. I am not ‘Napalm Girl’ anymore.” Here’s a new photo of her in Canada.
- 1987 – New Zealand’s Labour government establishes a national nuclear-free zone under the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament, and Arms Control Act 1987.
- 1992 – The first World Oceans Day is celebrated, coinciding with the Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
*American voters are pushing back on rising crime, and pushing back at the polls:
Voters in California delivered a stark warning to the Democratic Party on Tuesday about the potency of law and order as a political message in 2022, as a Republican-turned-Democrat campaigning as a crime-fighter vaulted into a runoff in the mayoral primary in Los Angeles and a progressive prosecutor in San Francisco was recalled in a landslide.
The two results made vivid the depths of voter frustration over rising crime and rampant homelessness in even the most progressive corners of the country — and are the latest signs of a restless Democratic electorate that was promised a return to normalcy under President Biden and yet remains unsatisfied with the nation’s state of affairs.
“People are not in a good mood and they have reason not to be in a good mood,” said Garry South, a Los Angeles-based Democratic strategist. “It’s not just the crime issue. It’s the homelessness. It’s the high price of gasoline.”
If you don’t think “progressive” Leftists are hurting the Democrats, you’re wrong. The SF prosecutor vowed to cut back on “tough-on-crime” policies, which voters took that to mean that incarceration and arrests would be severely curbed for everyone.
*If you’re expecting anything substantive to come out of the bipartisan confab about gun control, forget it. Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas is the GOP’s head negotiator in the discussions, and he’s already reduced expectations to zero:
His message: There won’t be sweeping changes to gun laws. “Law-abiding” citizens’ ability to purchase weapons will not be curtailed. The size of gun magazines will not be limited. The age of assault weapons won’t be raised. Cornyn stressed that any proposal on guns would focus on incremental changes.
- “What I’m interested in is keeping guns out of the hands of those who, by current law, are not supposed to have them: people with mental health problems, people who have criminal records,” Cornyn said on the Senate floor.
His discussions with Democrats are narrow. Cornyn and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) are leading talks on a modest package of proposals encompassing mental health resources, school safety mechanisms, enhanced background checks and state incentives for red flag laws.
The Republicans are putting all their eggs in the “mental health resource” basket, but I’m betting that the majority of people who buy guns would easily pass a test of sanity. And the government doesn’t have time for extensive vetting of prospective gun owners by psychologists.
*Jean Lee, a NYT reporter who has covered North Korea extensively, says “There’s a reason why Kim Jong-un wants us to know about North Korean’s covid outbreak.” Remember that the DPRK denied the existence of covid for a long time, but now it’s sounded the virus alarm. Why?
In a series of urgent dispatches, North Korea’s state media announced that an unspecified fever was spreading “explosively.” The nation went into lockdown. More than four million cases have been reported, with dozens of deaths.
It’s a frightening prospect for an unvaccinated, undernourished nation of 25 million people. But bad news does not escape North Korea without a reason. Finally acknowledging a viral outbreak may be part of a strategy by its leader, Kim Jong-un, to re-engage with the outside world. The world should be ready to engage, too.
Since the collapse of his nuclear negotiations with President Donald Trump in 2019, followed soon by Covid’s global spread, Mr. Kim has retreated into an isolation that is deep even by North Korea’s hermetic standards. This has been devastating to its people. It’s also a threat to peace and security beyond the Korean Peninsula: He has spent the intervening time shoring up his power — and expanding his nuclear arsenal.
So why admit a Covid outbreak now? Just as Mr. Kim is sending a message with his missile launches, he’s sending another by admitting the outbreak.
. . .But there is likely also an element of political timing involved in announcing the outbreak just before a recent trip by Mr. Biden to South Korea and Japan.
Mr. Kim may be pursuing a dual-track strategy. The missile launches maintain tension with the United States and South Korea — which helps him to justify building up his nuclear arsenal, putting him in a stronger position for any future standoffs or negotiations.
And the Covid confession serves as a face-saving way to secure humanitarian help and other goods from Beijing — which is always concerned about its neighbor devolving into crisis — after Mr. Kim rejected China’s previous offers of vaccines. Just days after announcing the outbreak, North Korea reportedly sent three cargo planes to Shenyang, China, to pick up emergency supplies. More arrived recently by rail. It may be receiving Chinese vaccines already.
But is this profound—or surprising? It’s just a way of getting more stuff from China!
*The Oxford English dictionary traces the word “chief”, used as either an adjective or noun, to Middle English via Old French:
Forms: Middle English chef, ( chiue), Middle English–1600s chefe, cheif, (Middle English cheyff, cheef(f, chif(e, chyfe), Middle English–1500s cheffe, chyef, 1500s–1600s cheefe, chiefe, Middle English– chief.Frequency (in current use):Etymology: Middle English chef, chief, < Old French chef, chief (= Provençal cap, Spanish cabo, Italian capo head) < Romance type *capu-m < Latin caput head.
There are no easy answers on this one. One might argue that the interaction between Indigenous people and white people in this country over the centuries justifies defining the word primarily in relation to its use in the hierarchies of different Native American nations.
Still, it is difficult not to notice that, often these days, what is touted as proper terminology is only thought of that way by a small minority of a group, usually those who have had a particular formal education or who are politically active. “Latinx” is probably the most notorious example today.
But we can’t dismiss genuine offense or insensitivity out of hand just because it isn’t felt by a majority of the members of a group. Neither can we dismiss the majority for not being offended. I worry about a looming implication that the less vocal members of a group are missing something that their presumed leaders possess the insight to perceive.
*The Washington Post reports that provocateur Milo Yiannopoulus has started work as an intern for Congressional loon Marjorie Taylor Greene. And—get this—he was hired for an unpaid internship!
He attached a photo of a congressional intern identification badge, on top of a Louis Vuitton bag, showing he is an intern in Greene’s office.
How can you be “hired” and not get paid? Well, he and Greene are made for each other, so we can grin a bit and move on.
*Jonathan Chait at the New York Magazine “Intelligencer” column calls out Georgetown University for using a double standard for free speech with respect to the Right versus Left, going harder on the former. It’s about the offensive tweets of professor Ilya Shapiro, which got him so demonized that his existence at Georgetown was no longer tenable.
Everybody supports freedom of speech for ideas they agree with. The concept only has meaning if it’s applied to ideas you don’t agree with.
I don’t agree with the idea conservative lawyer Ilya Shapiro expressed in January, when he objected to President Biden’s promise to appoint a Black woman to the first Supreme Court opening. (I wrote a column attacking his position.) But rather than simply refute his easily refutable arguments, Shapiro’s critics demanded he be fired by Georgetown, which had just hired him to teach at its law center. Georgetown agreed on principle with the demand that he could be fired for his opinions but kept him on staff on a technicality.
Shapiro is quitting his position on the grounds that Georgetown refuses to grant his opinions the same protection afforded to people with progressive points of view, and I have to admit he appears to be correct about that.
Shapiro was investigated for three tweets, and social media called for his head. The investigation didn’t find him culpable but, curiously, still called for “appropriate corrective measures.” Shapiro quit, and Chait sees a double standard here:
Georgetown has previously (and correctly) allowed left-leaning scholars to express ideas that could certainly be construed as offensive or threatening. Shapiro cites professor Carol Christine Fair of the School of Foreign Service tweeting during Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation process: “Look at this chorus of entitled white men justifying a serial rapist’s arrogated entitlement. All of them deserve miserable deaths while feminists laugh as they take their last gasps. Bonus: we castrate their corpses and feed them to swine? Yes.” In practice, Georgetown is revealing a double standard in which conservatives must avoid giving offense while progressives are free to express any unguarded thought.
. . . Conservatives don’t generally care about free speech. They use the cause cynically to defend their allies.
But we shouldn’t take the fact that conservatives don’t care about free speech to mean liberals shouldn’t either. Just the opposite, in fact.
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili ponders her morphology, insisting that she’s still wild:
Hili: White socks would indicate domestication but the totality of behavior allows cats to be classified as wild animals.A: There are such theories.
Hili: Białe skarpetki wskazywałyby na udomowienie, ale całość zachowań pozwala koty zaklasyfikować do zwierząt dzikich.Ja: Są takie teorie.
And Baby Kulka on the roof, photographed by Paulina:
From Stephen Law: An American family and its guns:
From Jez, a Scott Hilburn cartoon:
From Tom, a Wiley Miller cartoon:
Ricky Gervais whines about his privilege. This is from his new Netflix special, which I haven’t seen:
— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) June 6, 2022
A Roomba Dog from my magical Twitter feed (I may have posted this before):
I help.. 😅 pic.twitter.com/jLoofR0RcL
— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden) May 30, 2022
This kid REALLY wants to feed the d*g:
aww so cute!!!! 😍😍😍😍😂 pic.twitter.com/aYwWhjjOw1
— LovePower (@LovePower_page) May 29, 2022
From Barry. We’ll have a related owl video later this week:
Owls sleep perched. But baby owls – owlets – have topheavy heads, so they often end up sleeping like this (and showing their little owly feet).
Today, I feel like a baby owl. pic.twitter.com/1BKgm12zek
— Dr Kit Chapman (@ChemistryKit) June 3, 2022
From the Auschwitz Memorial: This isn’t Anne Frank, but it’s a Dutch Jewish girl who died in the camps, and there is a resemblance:
8 June 1929 | A Dutch Jewish girl, Anna Bannet, was born in Rotterdam. She was arrested while trying to get to Switzerland.
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) June 8, 2022
Tweets from Matthew. This first one involves a really bad case of misidentification by American Airlines, and they’re getting the pants sued off of them:
Oh man, this story is insane https://t.co/mjVRoLIXPW
— CJ Ciaramella (@cjciaramella) June 7, 2022
This person has a huge following on Twitter, and if she has stories like this one, it’s no wonder. Listen to the end:
OH MY GOD 😭😭😭😭
I know you know her face and yes this is pure CHAOS. pic.twitter.com/RTTXg8ytfc
— beige one, thee pillow princess (@beigewunder) June 6, 2022
This appears to be a real picture, but how did the cat get inside the sleeve? Plus it’s in danger!
— Jerome Taylor (@JeromeTaylor) June 7, 2022
This is very sweet:
Dozens of mariachi musicians had traveled to Uvalde with the hope that they could deliver a dose of comfort. With trumpets, strings and serenades, their music speaks to a community’s profound sorrow. https://t.co/aefNYCmhbm pic.twitter.com/N2Ay5XaKt7
— The New York Times (@nytimes) June 4, 2022