It’s the weekend! Welcome to Cat Shabbos: July 2, 2022, and National Anisette Day (make mine an ouzo and a plate of mezedes by the sea).
The longest spit of a cherry stone in competition is 28.51 m (93 ft 6.5 in) by Brian “Young Gun” Krause (USA) at the International Cherry Pit-Spitting Championship at Eau Claire, Michigan, USA in 2004. On the same day in the freestyle competition he spat a stone 33.62 m (110 ft 4 in).
There is a Wikipedia article on this and several contests: here’s a photo of the World Championship in Düren, Germany:
And a video from a Michigan contest:
Stuff that happened on July 2 includes:
Here’s part of the patent application and a drawing of an early engine:
- 1776 – American Revolution: The Continental Congress adopts a resolution severing ties with the Kingdom of Great Britain although the wording of the formal Declaration of Independence is not published until July 4.
The July 4 holiday is on Monday, and gives us a three-day weekend.
- 1816 – The French frigate Méduse strikes the Bank of Arguin and 151 people on board have to be evacuated on an improvised raft, a case immortalised by Géricault‘s painting The Raft of the Medusa.
A 20 X 7 meter raft was cobbled together from the wood of the wreck; it was planned to ferry the passengers to shore (30 km away). The article says that 146 men and 1 woman were evacuated.A diagram (caption from Wikipedia):
But things did not go well for the 150 men and one woman aboard (the captain and other officials were in lifeboats that made it safely to shore).
On the raft, the situation deteriorated rapidly. Among the provisions were casks of wine instead of water. Fights broke out between the officers and passengers on one hand, and the sailors and soldiers on the other. On the first night adrift, 20 men were killed or committed suicide. Stormy weather threatened, and only the centre of the raft was secure. Dozens died either in fighting to get to the centre or because they were washed overboard by the waves. Rations dwindled rapidly; by the fourth day there were only 67 people left alive on the raft, and some resorted to cannibalism (part of the Custom of the Sea) to survive. On the eighth day, the fittest decided to throw the weak and wounded overboard, leaving just 15 men remaining, all of whom survived another four days until their rescue on 17 July by the brig Argus, which accidentally encountered them.
Géricaut’s painting was from 1818-1819 and hangs in the Louvre. A Wikipedia description of the 5 meter X 7 meter painting:
The Raft of the Medusa portrays the moment when, after 13 days adrift on the raft, the remaining 15 survivors view a ship approaching from a distance. According to an early British reviewer, the work is set at a moment when “the ruin of the raft may be said to be complete”. The painting is on a monumental scale of 491 cm × 716 cm (193 in × 282 in), so that most of the figures rendered are life-sized and those in the foreground almost twice life-size, pushed close to the picture plane and crowding onto the viewer, who is drawn into the physical action as a participant.
The makeshift raft is shown as barely seaworthy as it rides the deep waves, while the men are rendered as broken and in utter despair. One old man holds the corpse of his son at his knees; another tears his hair out in frustration and defeat. A number of bodies litter the foreground, waiting to be swept away by the surrounding waves. The men in the middle have just viewed a rescue ship; one points it out to another, and an African crew member, Jean Charles, stands on an empty barrel and frantically waves his handkerchief to draw the ship’s attention.
- 1839 – Twenty miles off the coast of Cuba, 53 kidnapped Africans led by Joseph Cinqué mutiny and take over the slave ship Amistad.
The enslaved Africans were captured and eventually freed by the Supreme Court (!).
- 1881 – Charles J. Guiteau shoots and fatally wounds U.S. President James A. Garfield (who will die of complications from his wounds on September 19).
We’ve talked about the assassination recently describing the bizarre hanging of Guiteau. Here’s the British Bulldog revolved he used to shoot Garfield:
Here’s a patent from 1897, but it says July 13:
- 1900 – The first Zeppelin flight takes place on Lake Constance near Friedrichshafen, Germany.
- 1937 – Amelia Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan are last heard from over the Pacific Ocean while attempting to make the first equatorial round-the-world flight.
We still don’t know what happened to the pair except that they got lost (there was a radio transmission) and were never heard from again. Various relics suggest they may have ditched and made it to an island, but the evidence is not dispositive. Here they are in front of their plane.
- 1964 – Civil rights movement: U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964 meant to prohibit segregation in public places.
I still consider this one of the greatest American achievements of my lifetime. Here’s a news report about the signing, but note the dearth of black people! (Dr. King was there, of course.)
- 1990 – In the 1990 Mecca tunnel tragedy, 1,400 Muslim pilgrims are suffocated to death and trampled upon in a pedestrian tunnel leading to the holy city of Mecca.
- 2002 – Steve Fossett becomes the first person to fly solo around the world nonstop in a balloon.
The balloon is below. It took him 13 days, 8 hours and 33 minutes in the air. Sadly, he died five years later when an aircraft he was piloting crashed in the Sierra Nevada.
*The Russians deliberately destroyed another civilian target: an apartment complex and recreation center near Odesa.
At least 21 people including two children have died after two Russian missiles struck a multistorey block of flats and a recreation centre in a small coastal town near Odesa, an attack Ukrainian authorities interpreted as payback for Russian troops being forced from Snake Island a day earlier.
Video showed the charred ruins of buildings in the town of Serhiyivka. The Ukrainian president’s office said three X-22 missiles fired by Russian warplanes struck a block of flats and a campsite shortly before 1am local time.
Ukraine’s security service said a further 38 people, including six children and a pregnant woman, were taken to hospital with injuries. Most of those killed and injured were asleep when the missiles struck.
This is another war crime, and there’s nothing we can do about it.
*OMG! OMG! After many Green pledges and a recent loss in the Supreme Court that will exacerbate global warming, now Joe Biden is trying to allow more offshore drilling for gas and oil in federal waters! That’s right, I said MORE DRILLING! From BIDEN! The Washington Post reported this yesterday evening:
The plan moves the country further from its pledge to slash the nation’s planet-warming pollution in half by 2030 compared with 2005 levels, and help avert even fiercer fires, storms and drought driven by rising temperatures. Biden’s climate agenda now hinges on whether Democrats can pass a reconciliation package in the Senate that includes robust climate policies.
. . . During his bid for the White House, Biden vowed to ban new oil and gas drilling across federal lands and waters. “No more drilling on federal lands, period,” he said at a campaign event in New Hampshire. “Period, period, period.”
In fact, the administration “is considering 10 potential auctions in the Gulf of Mexico and one in the Cook Inlet in Alaska.” Is this some kind of misguided effort to sway voters burdened by high gas bills? Look, Uncle Joe, a promise is a promise, especially one that could alleviate global warming. Stop this madness now!
It’s not a done deal yet, but that announcement irked me.
*I was going to write about our weird gubernatorial election in Illinois, during which Democratic governor J. B. Pritzker, a gazillionaire, spent millions on ads during the primary attacking the moderate Republican candidate instead of the ultraconservative Darren Bailey, who was backed by Trump. Why? Because Pritzker thought that a hyper-Right Republican would be easier to beat in the general election come November. This bizarre behavior is the subject of a new NYT column by David Brooks, “Why on Earth is Pelosi supporting the Trumpists?”, and I’ll let Brooks discuss it instead of me:
In Illinois alone, the Democratic Governors Association and Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker spent at least $30 million to attack a Trumpist’s moderate gubernatorial opponent. In Pennsylvania, a Democratic campaign spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on ads intended to help a Trumpist candidate win the G.O.P. gubernatorial primary. A political action committee affiliated with Nancy Pelosi worked to boost far-right Republican House candidates in California and Colorado.
They are doing it because they think far-right Trumpist candidates will be easier to beat in the general elections than more moderate candidates.
What the Democrats are doing is sleazy in the best of circumstances. If you love your country more than your party, you should want the best candidates to advance in either party. And in these circumstances, what they are doing is insane: The far-right candidates whom Democrats are supporting could easily wind up winning.
And that’s just what happened in Illinois, perhaps because of Pritzker’s strategy In fact, if Dems spend a lot of time and money supporting the far-right candidates endorsed by Trump over moderate Republicans, we could get buried in November. And that’s what Brooks thinks:
Many Democrats, living in their own information bubble and apparently having learned nothing from 2016, do not seem to understand the horrific electoral landscape they are facing. They do not seem to understand how much their business-as-usual approach could lead to a full Republican takeover in 2025 — which as this week’s Jan. 6 insurrection hearing reminded us yet again, would be a disaster for our democracy.
Many Democrats hope that the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision will mobilize their voters for the coming midterms, and that seems to have happened, at least in the short term. But I’m convinced this election will primarily be about the economy and the existential state of the country. Things look extremely grim for the ruling party.
*After the Taliban took over Afghanistan, they promised that they wouldn’t restrict women’s rights, especially schooling. I didn’t believe them for a second, and, sure enough, they aren’t letting girls over 12 go to school. But according to the Wall Street Journal, schisms are opening in the Taliban over such issues, all bearing on Islamic law:
Now that the Taliban are in government, cracks are appearing on multiple fronts less than a year after it toppled the Western-backed Afghan Republic.
Taliban leaders are at odds over ideology: how to interpret Islamic law and how strictly to enforce it, including in schools. Rival factions are also feuding over power and the limited spoils of their victory.
The opposition to girls’ education is rooted in cultural beliefs about women’s role in Afghan society. Particularly in the deeply conservative south, many girls rarely leave their homes after they reach puberty. When the Taliban ruled Afghanistan in the 1990s, girls were barred from all education, including primary school. Now, girls’ primary schools are open, but high school is off limits for girls in most parts of the country.
Those in the Taliban with more moderate views, including many in government, argue there is no religious justification for banning teenage girls from school, so long as they are segregated from males.
The hard-liners have outsize influence on the Taliban’s ultimate decision maker, Supreme Leader Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada, according to Taliban members and others familiar with the group’s inner workings.
The Taliban may lift this ban in an upcoming meeting, but they didn’t adhere to their initial promise and still may keep girls out of school. One thing is for sure: women are much worse off now than they were before Afghanistan wasn’t an Islamic state. Keeping half the population uneducation is shameful, odious, and the result of religion (of course).
*WNBA star Brittney Griner, accused of entering Russia with cannabis oil for vaping, went on trial yesterday. She has been in custody for 4.5 months, and faces up to ten years in prison. My feeling is that even if she’s convicted she’ll be freed in a prisoner swap, but we just don’t know. What did scare me was this sentence in the AP’s report:
Fewer than 1% of defendants in Russian criminal cases are acquitted, and unlike in U.S. courts, acquittals can be overturned.
Oy! Fewer than 1%! Griner didn’t enter a plea, but said she’d do so at a later time.
*A recommended read: Andrew Sullivan’s headline section of his weekly Dish report, an article called “The meaning of patriotism.” (Be sure to subscribe if you read regularly.) Here’s an opening that just sucks you in:
To see what is in front of our noses is a constant challenge, and perhaps never more so in a time of such awful post-truth polarization. But what happened in the January 6 hearings this past week will, in my view, be seen one day as a watershed moment either in the history of this country’s revival as a liberal democracy or in this republic’s rapid collapse.
Two women, Liz Cheney and Cassidy Hutchinson, went back and forth, asking and answering questions, slowly, calmly, and methodically laying out a story of an actual attempt by a president of the United States to rally and lead an armed mob to assault the Congress to overturn an election. Yes, I just wrote that sentence.
Hutchinson’s testimony added critical facts to the record: that Trump knew full well what the mob was intending to do in advance; and knew that they were armed: “You know, I don’t fucking care that they have weapons. They’re not there to hurt me.” He knew what he was attempting was criminal; tried physically to lead the mob in their rampage; and when he was foiled, egged on the attack, and refused to quiet or quell the mob for hours — even as it threatened to kill his own vice president. There is no way now to deny that Trump was behind all of it, uniquely responsible.
In the face of this, so many Republican men have kept quiet, caved, slunk away, equivocated, or changed the subject. So many, like Tucker Carlson, have responded with smears and foul lies. So many have refused to testify, or dodged subpoenas. These sickening cowards wouldn’t vote to impeach after the grossest attack on the Constitution in history; and wouldn’t cooperate with the committee.
But two Republican women faced our hideous reality this week — even if it meant the obliteration of their careers, and being subject to real threats of violence. And let us pause to note just how Republican these two women are. Cheney is the daughter of the former vice president, a man who once defined Republicanism; she represents Wyoming, the most Republican state out of 50; she’s pro-life, defended torture, never saw a war she didn’t want to start; opposed even her own sister’s same-sex marriage; and voted with Trump 93 percent of the time, more than the woman who ousted her from House leadership, Elise Stefanik.
Hutchinson, for her part, was at the heart of the Trump world. She ascended from mere intern — working in the offices of both Ted Cruz and the House minority whip — to become the primary assistant to Trump’s chief-of-staff, Mark Meadows. If she dyed her hair blonde, she could read the news on Fox.
. . . This is the Republican Party I used to respect. This is the conservatism I believe in. A conservatism whose first tasks are the defense of the Constitution, the rule of law, and a belief in objective truth.
Sullivan recommends listening to Cheney’s 40-minute speech, “A time for choosing,” given at the Reagan Library this week. (I haven’t yet listened.)
*A mention of a notable death on this day 25 years ago. RIP, Jimmy Stewart. Did you know he was a bomber pilot?
July 2, 1997, death of James Stewart. A wonderful actor and also a B-24 Liberator bomber pilot, Commander of the 453rd Bomber Squadron and the only American actor awarded the French Croix de Guerre.
2 juillet 1997, mort de James Stewart. Immense acteur et aussi pilote de bombardier B-24 Liberator, Commandant du 453rd Bomber Squadron et seul acteur américain décoré de la Croix de Guerre française. pic.twitter.com/E308vv9rZQ
— AcierEtTranchées (@AcierEt) July 2, 2022
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is playing biologist:
A: What are you observing so intently?Hili: Biodiversity.
Ja: Czemu się tak przyglądasz?Hili: Bioróżnorodności.
Two from Jesus of the Day:
We have roused the righteous anger of God:
The last seven years were the seven hottest years on record, you fucking morons.
— God (@TheTweetOfGod) June 30, 2022
I hope she’s teaching her babies escape behavior and not avoiding them!
— why you should have a duck 🦆 (@shouldhaveaduck) July 1, 2022
Two tweets from Simon. CAT POOL!
— Andrew Stronach (@aistronach) June 29, 2022
Maybe it was another Charles Darwin?
‘Most quotes on the web are misattributed’ – Charles Darwin
— Itai Yanai (@ItaiYanai) June 26, 2022
From the Auschwitz memorial: one who survived.
2 July 1928 | A Polish girl, Maria Orlicka, was born in Jaworzno.
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) July 2, 2022
Tweets from Matthew. First, an amazing sight:
Watch a vortex reach up from the sea and climb the side of a 470m cliff pic.twitter.com/zC0tg4jz93
— Science girl (@gunsnrosesgirl3) June 30, 2022
A great physics lesson (sound up!):
— Massimo (@Rainmaker1973) July 1, 2022
Matthew loves swifts and swallows, but he knows not to touch them when they’re flying.
It’s given me a whole new appreciation of their lives. pic.twitter.com/fXfuNTUj6U
— David @ The HALL of EINAR (@theHALLofEINAR) June 30, 2022