Good morning on Tuesday, June 14, 2022. It’s National Strawberry Shortcake Day, which is mde with various pound cakes or fluffy cakes throughout the U.S., but with regular, unsweetened biscuits in New England. Truth be told, I like the cake version better than this one:
Stuff that happened on June 14 includes:
- 1287 – Kublai Khan defeats the force of Nayan and other traditionalist Borjigin princes in East Mongolia and Manchuria.
Here’s a portrait of Khan, labeled by Wikipedia “Portrait of young Kublai by Araniko, a Nepali artist in Kublai’s court.” This is what Khan must have looked like, though his pleasure dome is covered by a hat.
- 1775 – American Revolutionary War: the Continental Army is established by the Continental Congress, marking the birth of the United States Armed Forces.
- 1777 – The Second Continental Congress passes the Flag Act of 1777 adopting the Stars and Stripes as the Flag of the United States.
Here’s that flag, with 13 stripes for 13 colonies:
- 1789 – Mutiny on the Bounty: HMS Bounty mutiny survivors including Captain William Bligh and 18 others reach Timor after a nearly 7,400 km (4,600 mi) journey in an open boat.
- 1822 – Charles Babbage proposes a difference engine in a paper to the Royal Astronomical Society.
The “difference engine” is the first mechanical computer. Sadly, Babbage had the idea, and built part of a difference engine, but never made a whole, working one. Here, from Wikipedia, is what is labeled “Part of Charles Babbage’s Difference Engine (#1), assembled after his death by his son, Henry Prevost Babbage (1824–1918), using parts found in Charles’ laboratory. Whipple Museum of the History of Science, Cambridge, England.”
- 1846 – Bear Flag Revolt begins: Anglo settlers in f start a rebellion against Mexico and proclaim the California Republic.
Here’s the very first Bear Flag, photographed in 1970, followed by the modern California State flag:
- 1919 – John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown depart from St. John’s, Newfoundland on the first nonstop transatlantic flight.
This was the first nonstop trans-Atlantic flight, preceding Lindbergh by 8 years, but Lindy got all the credit credit for going solo. Alcock and Brown also took on mail, making it the world’s first airmail flight (see below). Their flight lasted 16 hours, while Lindberg’s at 33 hours, was more than twice as long.
- 1937 – U.S. House of Representatives passes the Marihuana Tax Act.
There were people who had to pay the tax on legal sales, like doctors who could prescribe cannabis, but if you sold it illegally, you were also violating the requirement to pay a tax as well as selling an illegal drug. Here are some tax stamps:
The dangers of “marihuana” were vividly pointed out in the movie “Reefer Madness” (1936). Here’s the trailer; it’s hilarious:
- 1940 – World War II: The German occupation of Paris begins.
And a book about the end, by our own Matthew Cobb (click to buy; it’s a very good book!):
- 1940 – Seven hundred and twenty-eight Polish political prisoners from Tarnów become the first inmates of the Auschwitz concentration camp (see below).
- 1949 – Albert II, a rhesus monkey, rides a V-2 rocket to an altitude of 134 km (83 mi), thereby becoming the first mammal and first monkey in space.
Albert died upon reentry because the parachute of his capsule failed to open.
- 1954 – U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs a bill into law that places the words “under God” into the United States Pledge of Allegiance.
It was one year later that Ike decreed that the phrase would also have to appear on all U.S. currency. At the annual meeting of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, they always raffle off pre-1955 currency without the motto, which they call “clean money”.
“Clean money” from 1935: no motto.
New money, violating the First Amendment:
- 1966 – The Vatican announces the abolition of the Index Librorum Prohibitorum (“index of prohibited books”), which was originally instituted in 1557.
Took them long enough, didn’t it?!
- 1982 – Falklands War: Argentine forces in the capital Stanley conditionally surrender to British forces.
The Brits rejected a peace deal before the war, producing a typical Sun headline:
*Well, you heard (or heard about) the January 6 hearings in Congress today. The knife seems pointed at Trump’s heart, and I have no problem with that. I just wonder whether they’ll charge him, and with what?
Today’s highlights featured a wealth of testimony from Trump acolytes and appointees who said they told him he lost the election, or at least couldn’t claim that he won. One was former attorney general William Barr, who said that Trump became “detached from reality.” (That’s one explanation; the other is that Trump knew he lost but lied about it.) Another revelation was that Trump, rejecting the opinions of his advisors on election night, relied instead on a drunken Rudy Giuliani to buttress the “Big Lie” of his landslide victory.
We might never know whether Trump lied about the election or was deeply deluded, but one thing stands out as a possible crime if the former is true:
Rep. Zoe Lofgren, Democrat of California, wrapped up Monday’s session by laying out how Mr. Trump’s campaign, a related political action committee and his allies raised $250 million by claiming they were fighting widespread election fraud at a time when they knew there was none.
I think this is wire fraud, but I’m not a lawyer. Please weigh in if you are. Finally, Attorney General Merrick Garland said on NBC News last night that he had six prosecutors watching the case full time and closely.
*All kinds of worries—not just the war in Ukraine—are beginning to cause an economic meltdown in the U.S. Yesterday the Dow fell 875 points, or 2.8%, while the S&P 500 fell 3.9% and the Nasdaq composite 4.7%. This puts us officially in a “bear market,” down more than 20% from a January high, a fall that hasn’t been seen since 2020. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies (always a wonky idea, I thought) are also plummeting, inflation is skyrocketing, and the Fed will undoubtedly hike interest rates to cool off the inflation. That could trigger a recession. As for me, I have free books from the library and a decent collection of wine, so I’ll be okay. But I have a cushion and others don’t, so there may be rough times ahead. That’s is NOT good news for the Biden administration or the prospect of Democrats in the election this fall.
*While much of the left valorizes Palestine and demonizes Israel, it’s worth noting that the only Arab country still funding Palestine is, yes, Algeria. The Palestinian Authority, which controls only half the territory, is complaining:
In an interview with Palestine TV, PA prime minister Mohamed Shtayyeh discussed how the world has drastically reduced aid to the regime which is widely viewed as corrupt.
He said that the entire Arab world has stopped funding the PA, with the sole exception of Algeria.
When virtually the entire Arab world has decided that the Palestinian Authority is not worth investing in, the rest of the world should listen.
One major reason the Arab world has lost interest in the Palestinian cause is because of the ongoing split between the West Bank and Gaza. Today is the 15th anniversary of Hamas’ Gaza coup, and the PA half-heartedly demanded that they should be in control of the sector. They claimed that Hamas’ takeover was part of a Zionist plot against them. Saying absurd things like that doesn’t help endear the PA to the Arab world, either.
Shtayyeh also complained that the US has not resumed its aid to the PA that ended under Donald Trump. The Biden administration has resumed funding UNRWA and USAID programs in the territories, but not the PA itself. Part of the reason is because of the Palestinian Authority’s insistence that it continue to pay terrorists and their families as a core part of its budget.
Sadly, UNRWA also funnels money into teaching hatred to Palestinian children, and both organizations have funneled money to terrorists. T
One reason why a two-state solution seems increasingly far away is this schism between the Palestinian Authority, which controls the West Bank, and Hamas, the terrorist organization that controls Gaza. If there is to be a Palestinian state, who would run it?
*Immigrants and refugees have received bad news from both the UK and US in independent legal decisions. In the U.S., the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that immigrants detailed while awaiting a hearing before an immigration judge do not have the right to be released. From the NYT:
The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that a federal law does not require that immigrants detained for long periods while they are fighting deportation be granted hearings to decide whether they may be released on bond as their cases move forward.
The ruling will affect thousands of immigrants detained for many months while their cases are decided by immigration courts facing long backlogs.
Seven justices joined Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s majority opinion, which was tightly focused on the words of the relevant statute. Justice Stephen G. Breyer issued a partial dissent.
*And in the UK, Boris Johnson’s government is getting ready to deport scads of refugees and asylum-seekers to Rwanda:
A British government’s plan to deport asylum-seekers of various nationalities to Rwanda is set to go ahead after an appeals court on Monday refused to block the policy that the U.N.’s top refugee official said sets a dangerous precedent for migrants fleeing war and oppression.
Immediately after the decision by a three-justice panel of the Court of Appeal in London, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s office said the first deportation flight would go ahead as scheduled on Tuesday.
Migrant advocacy groups have attacked the policy as inhumane and illegal ever since April, when Johnson announced the plan as way to deter people from risking their lives by paying smugglers to take them to Britain in leaky inflatable boats.
Filippo Grandi, the U.N. high commissioner for refugees, lashed out against the policy, describing it as “all wrong.”
*Finally, things continue to go south in Ukraine as the Russians slowly but surely advance in Donbas.
If Russia prevails in the battle of Donbas, it will mean that Ukraine loses not only land but perhaps the bulk of its most capable military forces, opening the way for Moscow to grab more territory and dictate its terms to Kyiv. A Russian failure could lay the grounds for a Ukrainian counteroffensive — and possibly lead to political upheaval for the Kremlin.
I can’t see Russia losing this one, but I really hope I’m wrong.
Everything is screwed up now. It wasn’t always like this, was it?
Even Hili is depressed in Dobrzyn:
Hili: It all borders on a bad joke.A: What borders on a bad joke?Hili: But I told you – all of it.
Hili: To wszystko zakrawa na kiepski żart.Ja: Co zakrawa na kiepski żart?Hili: Przecież powiedziałam, że wszystko.
A Tim Whyatt cartoon from Stash Krod. I wouldn’t last through more than five minutes:
From Su, a very clever Mark Parisi cartoon:
From Bored Panda, another reason you should have a duck:
People are slow to send tweets these days. If you find one or a few really good ones, do send them along. (I don’t follow Twitter.)
The Tweet of God:
I am always here for you.
Unfortunately, you're there.
— God (@TheTweetOfGod) June 12, 2022
A tweet from Barry. Maybe the ducklings don’t want to go to water!
Border Collie herding ducklings to the water.. pic.twitter.com/cgNNAnOor8
— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden) June 11, 2022
Sarah Silverman on the perfidy of Big Prune. The New Yorker also has a (free) and generally positive review of a new play based on Silverman’s 2010 memoir, “The Bedwetter.”
— Sarah Silverman (@SarahKSilverman) June 13, 2022
From the Auschwitz Memorial: The camp opens 82 years ago:
14 June 1940 | German authorities deported the first transport of Poles to #Auschwitz – 728 men, including a small group of Polish Jews. This day is recognized as the day the camp started functioning. pic.twitter.com/JRHiTdmgqA
— Auschwitz Exhibition (@auschwitzxhibit) June 14, 2022
Tweets from Matthew. Here’s a thread of medieval drawings of animals, and you have to guess what the animal is. It isn’t easy since medieval artists couldn’t draw animals if their life depended on it. There are twelve drawings. I’ll put up two of them, and after you guess, go below the fold to see the answers.
time for a game!! can you correctly guess what animal is depicted is these medieval drawings?
— weird medieval guys (@WeirdMedieval) June 13, 2022
mystery animal #2 ! pic.twitter.com/myPqw0bfsc
— weird medieval guys (@WeirdMedieval) June 13, 2022
Can you guess what they’re saying. I call this behavior “machine-gunning.”
Just wondering what they’re talking about.. 😂 pic.twitter.com/HtF1gBD7mp
— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden) June 12, 2022
Oy! This guy tries to follow Jordan Peterson’s advice, and look what happens?
Not today human.. 😂 pic.twitter.com/Vd79ZBme4J
— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden) June 12, 2022
Click “read more” to see the two animals:
Animal #1: Giraffe
Anmal #2: Turtle