Good morning on Cat Shabbos: Saturday, June 18, 2022: International Picnic Day. But no picnics on the Sabbath unless somebody else does all the work!
It’s Paul McCartney’s 80th birthday today! (See below.).
Stuff that happened on June 18 includes:
- 1178 – Five Canterbury monks see an event believed to have been the formation of the Giordano Bruno crater on the moon. It is believed that the current oscillations of the Moon‘s distance from the Earth (on the order of meters) are a result of this collision.
The original report (from Wikipedia), which comports with what one expects when an asteroid or comet strikes the Moon.
From the midpoint of the division a flaming torch sprang up, spewing out, over a considerable distance, fire, hot coals and sparks. Meanwhile the body of the Moon which was below writhed, as it were in anxiety, and to put it in the words of those who reported it to me and saw it with their own eyes, the Moon throbbed like a wounded snake. Afterwards it resumed its proper state. This phenomenon was repeated a dozen times or more, the flame assuming various twisting shapes at random and then returning to normal. Then, after these transformations, the Moon from horn to horn, that is along its whole length, took on a blackish appearance.
In 1976, the geologist Jack B. Hartung proposed that this described the formation of the crater Giordano Bruno.
This is in now in doubt, however, since the crater appears from dating methods to be several million years old. The answer is “we just don’t know what the monks saw.”
Here’s the crater, 22 km across:
- 1812 – The United States declaration of war upon the United Kingdom is signed by President James Madison, beginning the War of 1812.
- 1858 – Charles Darwin receives a paper from Alfred Russel Wallace that includes nearly identical conclusions about evolution as Darwin’s own, prompting Darwin to publish his theory.
The paper came with a letter, which is the one letter missing from Darwin’s correspondence. While some have hinted darkly that Darwin destroyed the letter because someone else came up with the theory of natural selection (Wallace’s paper didn’t deal with “identical conclusions about evolution”), Darwin arranged for Wallace’s paper to be published back to back with Darwin’s own hastily-written precis of natural selection. Both men thus got equal temporal priority (you can see the papers here), but Darwin gets most of the credit because he went on to write up his Big Book in 1859 that described natural selection as well as evolution in much detail, and giving tons of evidence. [Addendum by GCM: The joint publication by Wallace and Darwin was a “win-win” for them, with both men jointly introducing natural selection, while establishing the independence of their discoveries, Wallace in this ‘Ternate Essay’, and Darwin through extracts from his essay of 1844 and a letter to Asa Gray from 1857. I wrote a short paper about the circumstances in 2002, which I revised and posted here at WEIT as part of the Wallace Year (2013) celebrations: Darwin and Wallace at Burlington House. For full historical accounts, see the references in that post, especially the paper by John van Wyhe and Kees Rookmaker (and have a look at John’s more recent publications).]
The mountain is 4,194 m high (13,760 ft). Here it is:
Here’s one of our earliest U.S. feminists, photographed around 1870:
Churchill didn’t have a particularly mellifluous voice, but oy, was he a great orator! Here’s a snippet of the speech with the “Finest Hour” bit (go to 4:53):
- Paul McCartney born (see below)
- 1945 – William Joyce (“Lord Haw-Haw“) is charged with treason for his pro-German propaganda broadcasting during World War II.
Joyce was hanged on January 3, 1946. Here is his anti-Semitic final statement, and a photo of him below (he was wounded in the buttocks during capture)
In death as in life, I defy the Jews who caused this last war, and I defy the power of darkness which they represent. I warn the British people against the crushing imperialism of the Soviet Union. May Britain be great once again and in the hour of the greatest danger in the West may the standard be raised from the dust, crowned with the words – “You have conquered nevertheless”. I am proud to die for my ideals and I am sorry for the sons of Britain who have died without knowing why.
Joyce on his way to captivity:
- 1948 – Columbia Records introduces the long-playing record album in a public demonstration at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City.
- 1983 – Space Shuttle program: STS-7, Astronaut Sally Ride becomes the first American woman in space.
Here she is; tragically, she died at only 61 of pancreatic cancer.
*It’s pretty clear that the Congressional hearings on the January 6 insurrection are largely designed to get Donald Trump indicted. I don’t know if that will happen, but I do think that these hearings have damaged the man—perhaps to the extent that he’ll never again be a viable candidate for President. (This despite the fact that other Republicans who voice support for The Big Steal scenario have won primaries in the last week.)
The latest news is that the committee may start sharing transcripts of its findings with the Department of Justice as early as next month. As I said the other day, the DOJ has six prosecutors watching the proceedings full time, and there is only one man who has the power to get Trump indicted for federal crimes: Attorney General Merrick Garland.
Justice Department officials and top investigators, including Matthew M. Graves, the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, are growing increasingly impatient to obtain the transcripts, which they see as an essential source of information needed to guide their own interviews with former President Donald J. Trump’s allies, according to people familiar with the negotiations.
The Justice Department sent the committee a two-page letter on Wednesday accusing the panel of hampering the federal criminal investigation into the attack by refusing to share interview transcripts with prosecutors.
The committee isn’t being deliberately truculent: its chairman just wants to get more accomplished before it turned over material to the DOJ.
*Trump is STILL criticizing Pence. According to the NBC Evening News as well as Reuters, Trump announced yesterday that “Pence had a chance to be great” (he coulda been a contender) but he “lacked courage.” To show the Trumpster’s continuing insanity, read the long letter he wrote criticizing the January 6 committee. (Actually, someone probably wrote it for him, as it’s in English.) One snippet:
The January 6th Unselect Committee is disgracing everything we hold sacred about our Constitution. If they had any real evidence, they’d hold real hearings with equal representation. They don’t, so they use the illegally-constituted committee to put on a smoke and mirrors show for the American people, in a pitiful last-ditch effort to deceive the American public…again.
They TRIED equal representation, but only two Republicans wanted to be on that committee. I hope Liz Cheney doesn’t suffer cancellation for her sterling performance on the committee.
*For some enjoyment, read Andrew Sullivan’s epic rant about Trump and his role in Jan. 6: “A man and his mob“.
But this complexity misses something important — the contingent importance of individuals in human history. And the truth is: we would not be where we are now without Donald Trump, and Donald Trump alone. He is unique in American history, a president who told us in advance he would never accept any election result that showed him losing, and then proved it. He tried to overturn the transfer of power to his successor by threats and violence. No president in history has ever done such a thing — betrayed and violated the core of our republic — from Washington’s extraordinary example onwards. The stain of Trump is as unique as it is indelible.
Without Trump, January 6 would never have happened. It was his idea, and his alone. No one in his closest inner circle believed he had won the election on November 3. They all knew that the Trump presidency was “the rotten carcass of a boat, not rigg’d, / Nor tackle, sail, nor mast.” None of them would have attempted to keep it afloat.
*POLL! Just give your answer, as PCC(E) wants to know readers’ opinions:
*Meanwhile, Uncle Joe is, as the Washington Post reports, sending “every signal that he’s running again” in 2024.
The goal of his advisers is to send every possible message that Biden, 79, is ready, able and determined to carry the party banner into another presidential election, especially if the opponent is his nemesis, Donald Trump, 76.
. . . In public and private, Biden himself has emphasized that he is running, effectively shutting down any discussion of the topic between the president and his close advisers, according to interviews with more than a dozen Democrats close to the White House, most of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.
I wonder whether he would run again should the Democrats get slaughtered in this fall’s election. Don’t get me wrong: I’d vote for Biden over Trump (or any Republican) any day. But I think that somewhere out there, languishing unrecognized among the Democratic Party, is someone who could be a better President.
*This is tragic: Nepal has had to move Everest Base Camp to a lower altitude because the famous Khumbu Icefall is melting due to global warming. That has created dangerous crevasses in the previously safe camp. It will also make climbing the mountain harder. But of course basecamp, and now much of the mountain, is full of litter from climbers. (h/t Andrew)
*Today Paul McCartney turns 80—16 years past the age he once saw as being old. To celebrate his dotage, Sir Paul was joined in his June 16 New Jersey concert by The Boss. To wit:
Here are McCartney’s favorite Beatles songs, though only two of them would make my own top five list (“Blackbird” and “Eleanor Rigby”).
- ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’
- ‘Hey Jude’
- ‘Eleanor Rigby’
- ‘You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)’
That last song is dreadful and doesn’t belong on the list at all!
To give Sir Paul more encomiums, here he is singing “Blackbird” live. (Don’t miss the live version of “Eleanor Rigby” here.) Both songs are masterpieces; nothing in modern rock or pop comes close.) Long may he run—a driving force behind the greatest rock band of all time.
*Speaking of Stanford’s authoritarianism, as we did the other day, here we have a Stanford student who almost wasn’t allowed to graduate from Stanford because he didn’t get a covid booster after the first two shots. The weird thing is that the guy wasn’t even in California then: he was moving to Texas! (h/t Mike)
Stanford announced its booster mandate in December, at which time I was recovering from a covid infection and moving to Texas.
But as I learned in April when Stanford almost gave me the boot, the booster mandate is “not predicated on history of infection or physical location.” I could have been living on a Pacific island the day before my graduation, and America’s finest university would still not be able to tolerate the fact that I was only “fully vaccinated” and not “boosted.” Two shots aren’t enough, science denier – no degree for you!
Spoiler: Stanford did eventually give in when I pointed out the absurdity of their plan to enforce the mandate against me from 2,000 miles away, but only after multiple rounds of protest and a stroke of luck with a single administrator.
Now that is gratuitous authoritarianism.
*And, for fun, after reading an article in Tablet (h/t Malgorzata), I tracked down the only existing recording by Thomas LaRue Jones, “Yidele, Farlir Nit Dayn Hoffnung” (“Don’t Give Up Hope, Mr. Jew”). Jones was a a rare breed: an African-American cantor from the early 20th century. And in case you don’t know what a cantor is, it’s normally a Jew who leads the congregation of a synagogue in song and prayer. Jones, known as “Tevye, der shvartzer khazn” (Tevye, the Black Cantor), wasn’t really Jewish, but he was good at singing traditional Yiddish songs, and made a living performing in public. Very little is known of his life (it’s said that his family was steeped in Judaism, though not Jewish), and there’s only one commercial record (below).
From the Tablet:
Endowed with a pleasant voice, the teenage Jones began a fledgling performance career singing Yiddish songs in local Jewish festive events. As early as 1915, a local Newark newspaper mentions his name, along with several other very Jewish-sounding names, as providing the entertainment for a Jewish wedding. A year later, the paper mentions his name as the person providing musical entertainment at another Jewish event.
. . . The 1920s were an opportune time for Tevye LaRue Jones to make his entrance. Cantorial performance was flourishing in America. Cantors were no longer confined to the sacred space of the synagogue. They recorded their music, at times accompanied by musical instruments which would not be allowed in the synagogue. Even women who would not be allowed to sing in the synagogue were performing hazzones on stage. Hundreds of records of cantorial music were produced, avidly consumed by a public that was also packing concert halls and vaudeville venues where cantors performed. Outside the synagogue the cantor was no longer serving merely as a “shliakh tsibbur,” the voice of his community, but also as a seasoned entertainer whose repertoire often broadened to include folk and Yiddish theater songs. In this thriving popular Jewish culture, a Black cantor would likely prove an attraction.
A poster (translation in caption):
And “the only known early 20th century recording of an African-American singing cantorial music.” The guy isn’t bad!
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili still won’t give Kulka a break:
Kulka: May I come up there?Hili: Don’t even think about it.
Kulka: Czy mogę tam wejść?Hili: Nawet o tym nie myśl.
From Ant: Good thing they didn’t try to slice it!
From Stash Krod:
Please me some good tweets, as I’m running low except for those from Matthew.
Ah, God is such a wag! This tweet has been deleted, but all the important stuff is below:
People thank Me for creating Friday a lot more than they thank Me for creating cancer.
— God (@TheTweetOfGod) June 17, 2022
What is more fun than this?
Can’t stop watching.. 😅 https://t.co/ZZCvGYV3zN
— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden) June 18, 2022
A tweet I found on Nellie Bowles’s weekly news summary on Bari Weiss’s site. Bowles said this:
University of Michigan emeritus economics professor, Mark J. Perry, broke down the latest numbers on how many professional diversity officers are on the U of M payroll, and how much these officers make: “126 diversicrats at an average salary of $93,600 with 38 making >$100K and a shocking record-high of $430,795.” The total payroll cost for “diversity equity and inclusion” programming is over $15 million a year, or in-state tuition for almost 1,000 students. One wild DEI idea: Fire every single one of them, and use that money to free 1,000 poor students from debt each year.
Just out: @UMich 2021 salaries (https://t.co/YLMrsSVKd4) reveal 126 diversicrats at an average salary of $93,600 with 38 making >$100K and a shocking record-high of $430,795. Total payroll cost >$15M = in-state tuition for almost 1000 students.@AnnCoulter @GadSaad @CollegeFix pic.twitter.com/iG1MGVZqjb
— Mark J. Perry (@Mark_J_Perry) December 18, 2021
From the Auschwitz Memorial:
18 June 1934 | A Hungarian Jewish girl, Sarika Kertesz, was born.
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) June 17, 2022
Tweets from Matthew. It was about 38°C two days ago, but my ducks were fine; they stay in the water a lot and seek out shade when on land.
— A Cambridge Diary (@acambridgediary) June 17, 2022
Sound up. This is like a horror movie!
Instead of telling you when it's safe to cross the street, the walk signs in Crystal City, VA are just repeating "CHANGE PASSWORD".
Something's gone terribly wrong here. pic.twitter.com/W5h8OjBXUu
— Joey Politano 🏳️🌈 (@JosephPolitano) March 13, 2022
Ah, that classic first line. You better know the book!
We were somewhere around Barstow, on the edge of the desert, when the drugs began to take hold. pic.twitter.com/35mVIWc2i8
— Paul Bronks (@SlenderSherbet) June 16, 2022
I’ve saved the best for last. This is stunning!
— 🧠Slava Bobrov (@slava__bobrov) June 15, 2022