Welcome to the End O’ the Week: Friday, June 17, 2022: National Apple Strudel Day. This is again a wanton act of cultural appropriation, but the stuff is good. Here’s a piece of Apfelstrudel mit Schlag (whipped cream) and an Einspänner (coffee with whipped cream) I had in 2012 in a well known Viennese cafe:
Today’s Google Doodle (click on screenshot) commemorates the life and work of Amanda Aldridge (1866-1956). She was neither born nor died on this day, so why June 17? Newsweek explains:
Black British composer, teacher and opera singer Amanda Aldridge is being remembered today as the latest Google Doodle celebrates her life and career.
Google Doodles often change the classic Google logo to incorporate a historical figure or special occasion relating to a specific date. The Google image for Friday, June 17 features a pairing of Aldridge with a doodle of musical treble clefs on either side.
The woman displayed is Aldridge, who is known for her work as a composer who released dozens of instrumental tracks, parlour music, and more than 30 songs under the pseudonym Montague Ring.
On this day in 1911, Aldridge gave a piano recital at London’s pre-war principal concert venue, Queens Small Hall, the original home of the BBC Symphony and London Philharmonic Orchestras.
Stuff that happened on June 17 includes:
Scholars have identified where Drake landed, though I thought there was some dispute over this. Wikipedia gives some of the local evidence, including shards of pottery from Drake’s cargo, what have convinced scholars of the landing site:
Drake’s landing site has been identified as Drake’s Cove, which is part of Point Reyes National Seashore.
And a photo of Drake’s Cove:
- 1631 – Mumtaz Mahal dies during childbirth. Her husband, Mughal emperor Shah Jahan I, will spend the next 17 years building her mausoleum, the Taj Mahal.
One of my four most beautiful places on Earth is standing in front of the Taj Mahal during a full moon. It turns pearly blue and appears to float off the ground. Here’s a picture from Destinos Ahora:
- 1673 – French explorers Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet reach the Mississippi River and become the first Europeans to make a detailed account of its course.
- 1767 – Samuel Wallis, a British sea captain, sights Tahiti and is considered the first European to reach the island.
Tahitians wearing gowns donated by missionaries, naturally covering up as much skin as possible:
Here it is under construction in New York, with photos of the head and hand taken in Paris where the statue was forged:
That’s the last we’ll see of these standardized tests—at least for a while.
- 1932 – Bonus Army: Around a thousand World War I veterans amass at the United States Capitol as the U.S. Senate considers a bill that would give them certain benefits.
Around 43,000 vets camped out around Washington, D.C., demanding early payment of their service bonuses (it was the beginning of the Depression). Police and the Army cleared them out. Here are some sleeping on the Capitol grounds:
- 1939 – Last public guillotining in France: Eugen Weidmann, a convicted murderer, is executed in Versailles outside the Saint-Pierre prison.
You can see a video of the execution here (warning: it’s a bit gory). The crowds were so raucous that henceforth all beheadings in France were done in private—and continued until 1977. Here’s Weidmann, who was executed at 31:
- 1944 – Iceland declares independence from Denmark and becomes a republic.
- 1963 – The United States Supreme Court rules 8–1 in Abington School District v. Schempp against requiring the reciting of Bible verses and the Lord’s Prayer in public schools.
Do you think this would still be the verdict if the ruling were today? I doubt it. I don’t even know if they’d uphold the religion bit of the First Amendment.
The genesis of the case from Wikipedia:
The Abington case began when Edward Schempp, a Unitarian Universalist and a resident of Abington Township, Pennsylvania, filed suit against the Abington School District in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to prohibit the enforcement of a Pennsylvania state law that required his children, specifically Ellery Schempp, to hear and sometimes read portions of the Bible as part of their public school education. That law (24 Pa. Stat. 15-1516, as amended, Pub. Law 1928) required that “[a]t least ten verses from the Holy Bible [be] read, without comment, at the opening of each public school on each school day.” Schempp specifically contended that the statute violated his and his family’s rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments.
- 1972 – Watergate scandal: Five White House operatives are arrested for burgling the offices of the Democratic National Committee during an attempt by members of the administration of President Richard M. Nixon to illegally wiretap the political opposition as part of a broader campaign to subvert the democratic process.
This of course ultimately led to Nixon’s resignation, effected in this letter:
- 1987 – With the death of the last individual of the species, the dusky seaside sparrow becomes extinct.
This was not the extinction of a species, but of a subspecies of the seaside sparrow, Ammospiza maritima nigrescens. It went extinct because its nesting habitat (it was nonmigratory) was decimated. Here’s a photo of a population that no longer exists:
- 1991 – Apartheid: The South African Parliament repeals the Population Registration Act which required racial classification of all South Africans at birth.
- 1994 – Following a televised low-speed highway chase, O. J. Simpson is arrested for the murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman.
Here’s a video of the low-speed pursuit. Hard to believe this was 28 years ago.
- 2021 – Juneteenth National Independence Day, was signed into law by President Joe Biden, to become the first federal holiday established since Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1983.
This federal holiday celebrates the date of the “announcement of General Order No. 3 by Union Army general Gordon Granger, proclaiming freedom for enslaved people in Texas, which was the last state of the Confederacy with institutional slavery.
*In the third day of the January 6 hearings, we get confirmation of what we already knew—deep rot among Trump and his people:
The House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol laid out evidence on Thursday that former President Donald J. Trump was told that his plan to overturn the 2020 election was illegal, but pressured Vice President Mike Pence to go along with it anyway, ultimately whipping up a violent mob against him when he refused to comply.
In its third hearing this month laying out the findings of its investigation so far, the panel detailed the intense pressure campaign Mr. Trump and the conservative lawyer John Eastman waged against Mr. Pence to try to get him to overturn the election, which the panel says directly contributed to the violent siege of Congress.
But wait: there’s more! The ass-covering is ubiquitous:
John Eastman, the conservative lawyer who insisted that the vice president had the power to unilaterally reject the Electoral College results before they were certified, suggested a few days after the Capitol riot that he should be on the list for a presidential pardon.
The information was among the biggest revelations of the third public hearing held by the House select committee investigating the lead-up to Jan. 6 and the Capitol attack.
This of course means that Eastman knew that he was suggesting an illegal act.
Reader Ken’s take from yesterday:
Trump got buried at the 1/6 hearings this afternoon. After today’s testimony, even the Fox News commentators — George Washington U law professor Jonathan Turley and National Review writer (and former SDNY AUSA) Andy McCarthy — have given up on trying to justify his actions, arguing only that the evidence of his criminal intent might be “too gray” to support a criminal prosecution.
*The stock market continued its plunge yesterday after the Fed raised interest rates three-quarters of a percent. The Dow was down 741 points, taking it below 30,000:
Major indexes have notched big declines in 2022 as high inflation, rising interest rates and growing concerns about corporate profits and economic growth dent investors’ appetite for risk. The blue-chips are down 18% this year, while the S&P 500 is down 23% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite has fallen 32%.
Stocks rallied Wednesday after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell suggested the central bank’s 0.75-percentage-point interest rate increase this week wouldn’t become common. On Thursday that optimism fizzled, and stocks declined across the market.
The S&P 500 fell 3.2%, while the Dow industrials dropped 2.4%, or about 741 points, to 29927 — the first time it has ended below 30000 since January 2021. The Nasdaq Composite slumped 4.1% as shares of big tech companies retreated.
I’m standing pat, as I never try to time the market, and I own mutual funds in stocks and bonds, not individual stocks.
*Meanwhile, Uncle Joe says “She’ll be right, mate,” and blamed everything on covid:
President Joe Biden told The Associated Press on Thursday that the American people are “really, really down” after a tumultuous two years with the coronavirus pandemic, volatility in the economy and now surging gasoline prices that are slamming family budgets.
He said a recession is not inevitable and bristled at claims by Republican lawmakers that last year’s COVID-19 aid plan was fully to blame for inflation reaching a 40-year high, calling that argument “bizarre.”
As for the overall American mindset, Biden said, “People are really, really down.”
“They’re really down,” he said. “The need for mental health in America, it has skyrocketed, because people have seen everything upset. Everything they’ve counted on upset. But most of it’s the consequence of what’s happened, what happened as a consequence of the COVID crisis.”
I feel better now. . . .
*The NYT has an instructive 13-question quiz on “How useful are [dietary] supplements?”, and I took it (it’s not easy).There are all kinds of questions about which supplements are good, which are useless or even harmful, and who can approve them for sale. I was pleased to get this score. Put yours below! Can you bet Professor Ceiling Cat (Emeritus)?
*If you’re a Democrat or liberal centrist, you’re going to be depressed by Hugh Hewitt’s column in the Washington Post, “It’s all over but the shouting.” The title refers to Biden’s “yelling” to labor activists, which Hewitt says wasn’t necessary (watch the clip; it doesn’t sound like yelling to me):
“I don’t want to hear any more of these lies about reckless spending,” President Biden yelled into the microphone at the AFL-CIO gathering on Tuesday. “We’re changing people’s lives!”
. . . Presidents rarely, even in front of friendly audiences, raise their voice as to seem to be yelling at voters. This clip will rank along with Howard Dean’s scream, John F. Kerry’s “I voted for the $87 billion before I voted against it,” and Barack Obama’s promise about keeping your doctor and your health-care plan if you liked them.
But what, according to Hewitt, is over? Apparently whatever hegemony the Dems hold in the Executive and Legislative branches:
Biden’s target was as wrong as his tone. The kind of spending voters are talking about this year isn’t the public kind. It’s the private kind. With less than five months before Election Day, Biden and other Democrats face two central nightmares: At least once a week, nearly every American household fills up a gas tank or a grocery cart and gets hit with a sickening sticker shock. Their wallets are shrinking — fast — and they have only one party to blame for the horrible feeling.
The damage is already being felt. In a special election on Tuesday, Democrats lost a congressional seat in a Texas district that Biden carried by 4 percentage points in 2020. And it was significantly weighted toward Hispanic voters. All year long, participation in Republican primaries has far outrun participation in Democratic contests. Democrats had a bad 2021, with the election of Republican Glenn Youngkin as governor in Virginia — a state many thought had already turned blue — and the trend has not abated. Hispanics don’t seem to be lining up as the reliable Democrats that many in that party had long assumed. A deluge is coming for Biden’s party, and the White House — if the boss’s shouting is any measure — knows it.
Help is not on the way. .. .
Well, I’m a natural pessimist anyway, so all this does is make me a tad more anxious. I wish I knew who was going to be President in 2.5 years, but I’m pretty sure the Democrats will lose both houses of Congress this fall. (And I hope I’m wrong.)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is overwhelmed:
A: Why did you hide under the blanket?Hili: I’m isolating myself from the pressure of the environment.
Ja: Czemu schowałaś się pod kocem?Hili: Izoluję się od presji środowiska.
From the Unitarian Universalist Hysterical Society:
A Roz Chast cartoon from Stash Krod:
From David. But aren’t they ALL pedestrians? Is this an attempt at “inclusivity”? And nobody should be walking looking at their cellphone! That’s how my cousin was killed: crossing a crosswalk while looking at her cellphone.
God assures us in His tweet that we have no free will; our “reasons” are confabulations. Hey, it’s from God!
Everything happens for a reason you make up afterwards.
— God (@TheTweetOfGod) June 16, 2022
From Luana: a list of pronouns proffered by the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Group of Michigan State University. They could have used just the first three lines and then “other”. Why, do you suppose, they list a gazillion pronouns, many used by virtually nobody?
— Libs of TikTok (@libsoftiktok) June 16, 2022
From Ken. I don’t know why he insists on calling Boebert “my gal”; she’s odious. (And she has a gun!) His comment:
Yer gal Lauren Boebert seems confused about the New Testament plotline regarding Jesus dying so Christians could be saved. Also, are you telling me a guy who could walk on water, heal the blind, raise the dead, and make a fig tree wither needed AR-15s to stave off Roman centurions?
Her question is pretty funny, though, even though she’s too dumb to realize it.
Lauren Boebert claims Jesus “didn’t have enough [AR-15s] to keep his government from killing him.” pic.twitter.com/dTC9O7ZFDz
— PatriotTakes 🇺🇸 (@patriottakes) June 14, 2022
From Simon. The lesson is don’t mess with hippos. They are fast and mean!
Incredible footage out of Northern Botswana.
A coalition of lions were trying to cross a watercourse when they were intercepted by a hippo.
One of the lions barely made it out alive.
Two members of the coalition are stuck on the other side.
via Great Plains pic.twitter.com/1BCsmDwAp8
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) June 12, 2022
From the Auschwitz Memorial. a woman who survived:
17 June 1915 | A Polish woman, Halina Pietrzak, was born in Częstochowa.
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) June 16, 2022
Tweets from Matthew. Did you know this? Poor kitties!
After the Blitz London was filled with feral cats. They were photographed by Thurston Hopkins and used in an article called ‘Cats of London’ which was published by Picture Post c.1951. pic.twitter.com/SljcOWqIGQ
— Davenant 📸 (@MarcDavenant) June 16, 2022
And get a load of this poor schlemiel cat:
It has been scientifically proven that cats are among the smartest creatures in the animal kingdom. Then there's Gary. pic.twitter.com/4BA0GKn8uF
— Paul Bronks (@SlenderSherbet) June 16, 2022
No matter how things are going, the Ukrainians keep their sense of humor:
— Melinda Simmons (@MelSimmonsFCDO) June 13, 2022
When Matthew was a dean at Manchester, he had this idea, designed the decoration (there are two decorations, with one on the other side) and arranged for it to be placed on the biology building. His double helix is bigger than yours!
I claim this is the biggest double helix in the world. Any bigger? https://t.co/cWL0ekLvWu
— Matthew Cobb (@matthewcobb) June 16, 2022