Welcome to The Cruelest Day: Tuesday, July 12, 2022: National Pecan Pie Day. This is one of the best indigenous American desserts, and near the top of the Pantheon of All Pies. But never buy a pecan pie in which the nuts form a thin layer over a filling of tooth-aching sweet goo. That’s a cheap pie in which they’ve stinted on the nuts. The nuts should be distributed throughout the filling, like this:
Stuff that happened on July 12 includes:
- 1191 – Third Crusade: Saladin’s garrison surrenders to Philip Augustus, ending the two-year siege of Acre.
- 1543 – King Henry VIII of England marries his sixth and last wife, Catherine Parr, at Hampton Court Palace.
Henry died and she remarried, but died soon thereafter in childbirth—at age 36. Here’s a portrait:
This is the voyage on which he was killed in a battle with the locals in Hawaii in 1779. The map below shows the voyage out until his death in red, and the voyage back in blue, with two captains replacing Cook. (The loot they collected was sent overland from the Kamchatka Peninsula.)
There’s one for each branch of the service (below), and 19 people have won it twice.
I met one MoH winner in my life: Lew Millett, an Army buddy of my dad. Millett (1920-2009) got his medal for leading the last major American bayonet charge; it was in the Korean war.
Here’s Wikipedia’s description of Millett’s actions and a photo, which is as I remember him (though he was a bit younger):
By February 7, 1951, Millett was serving in South Korea as a captain and commander of Company E of the 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment. On that day, near Soam-Ni, he led his company in an assault on an enemy position atop Hill 180 near Anyang. When one platoon became pinned down by heavy fire, Millett took another platoon forward, joined the two groups, and led them up the hill. Wielding his bayonet and throwing hand grenades, Millett yelled encouragement to his soldiers throughout the hand to hand fight. Upon reaching the top of the hill, his men stormed the enemy position and forced the opposing soldiers to withdraw. Although wounded in the shin by grenade fragments, Millett refused to be evacuated until the position was secured. Historian S.L.A. Marshall described the attack as “the most complete bayonet charge by American troops since [the Battle of Cold Harbor]”. Out of about 50 enemy dead, roughly 20 were found to have been killed by bayonets, and the location subsequently became known as Bayonet Hill.
- 1962 – The Rolling Stones perform for the first time at London’s Marquee Club.
- 1963 – Pauline Reade, 16, disappears in Gorton, England, the first victim in the Moors murders.
The perps, Ian Brady and Myra Hindley (below), killed five kids between 10 an 17 around Manchester, England. They were both given a “whole life order” (British words for “life without parole.” Bradey died in an asylum in 2017, Hindley died in prison in 2002.
- 1975 – São Tomé and Príncipe declare independence from Portugal. I doubt I’ll ever go back to São Tomé; my fly work there is done. But it’s a lovely island.
*Well, the NYT doesn’t pull any punches with this headline (click to read):
President Biden is facing an alarming level of doubt from inside his own party, with 64 percent of Democratic voters saying they would prefer a new standard-bearer in the 2024 presidential campaign, according to a New York Times/Siena College poll, as voters nationwide have soured on his leadership, giving him a meager 33 percent job-approval rating.
Widespread concerns about the economy and inflation have helped turn the national mood decidedly dark, both on Mr. Biden and the trajectory of the nation. More than three-quarters of registered voters see the United States moving in the wrong direction, a pervasive sense of pessimism that spans every corner of the country, every age range and racial group, cities, suburbs and rural areas, as well as both political parties.
Only 13 percent of American voters said the nation was on the right track — the lowest point in Times polling since the depths of the financial crisis more than a decade ago.
. . .For Mr. Biden, that bleak national outlook has pushed his job approval rating to a perilously low point. Republican opposition is predictably overwhelming, but more than two-thirds of independents also now disapprove of the president’s performance, and nearly half disapprove strongly. Among fellow Democrats his approval rating stands at 70 percent, a relatively low figure for a president, especially heading into the 2022 midterms when Mr. Biden needs to rally Democrats to the polls to maintain control of Congress.. . . In a sign of deep vulnerability and of unease among what is supposed to be his political base, only 26 percent of Democratic voters said the party should renominate him in 2024.
Mr. Biden has said repeatedly that he intends to run for re-election in 2024
We be in big trouble!
*Speaking of big trouble, Steve Bannon is in it. Last year, when he refused to testify before the January 6 committee, the House voted to hold him in criminal contempt of Congress. He was indicted on two counts by a federal grand jury and faces two years in prison. Bannon’s trial is set to begin next week.
In an effort to somehow exculpate himself, Bannon’s lawyers are now asking for the trial to be delayed. But according to the Washington Post, a judge has refused this request: it’s simply too late for the odious Bannon:
“I see no reason for extending this case any longer,” U.S. District Judge Carl J. Nichols said after a hearing in which he rejected a host of Bannon’s defenses — including claims that Bannon thought his appearance was covered by executive privilege. The judge narrowed Bannon’s defenses at trial mainly to whether he understood the deadlines for answering the House’s demands to appear and to produce documents.
“While I am certainly cognizant of Mr. Bannon’s concerns regarding publicity, in my view the correct mechanism at this time for addressing that concern is through the [jury selection] process,” Nichols said, adding that he found it “unlikely” the court would be unable to find unbiased jurors.
. . . It would set “a bad precedent” and reward another kind of “contempt and obstruction” to allow Bannon to defy the committee, trigger a Justice Department criminal prosecution and occupy a federal court’s docket only to say on the eve of trial, “Actually, I will comply now” in hopes of dismissing his criminal case, Gaston said.
Gaston and Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda R. Vaughn added in a written filing, “The Defendant’s purported desire to testify now does not erase his past contempt.”
I love that last sentence—short and sweet!
*Most Americans have heard ads, or read at the end of newspaper articles about someone who killed themselves, about the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. It’s a great resource, connecting the desperate to trained and sympathetic listeners. But the Wall Street Journal reports that one in six calls to that number (800-273-8255 for another week, operating 24 hours a day), ended without the caller reaching a counselor. That could potentially mean a lot of lives ended that could have been saved. (Some people, however, just hung up.) Note the new number 988 below:
Health officials preparing to broaden the reach of a national mental-health crisis line are working to strengthen an overstretched network of call centers that didn’t connect with about one in six callers in recent years, a Wall Street Journal data review showed.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline will transition on July 16 to a three-digit number for calls and texts, 988, from a 10-digit number that has operated since 2005 in coordination with local crisis centers. The line’s operators, including the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the nonprofit Vibrant Emotional Health, said they expect an increase in calls to the shorter and more memorable 988 number during the next year. Stress, suffering and disruption of routines during the pandemic has worsened many people’s mental health, clinicians have said.
The network of about 200 call centers that answers calls to the line is already under some strain. Some 1.5 million of 9.2 million calls between 2016 and 2021 were abandoned by callers or disconnected before a counselor could respond, according to data provided by Vibrant and analyzed by the Journal. In 11 states, a majority of calls were routed to one of 13 national backup centers from local centers too overtaxed to answer.
Calls are first routed to local crisis centers based on area code and forwarded to national backup centers if no one is available. Answering locally is preferable, officials said.
. . . Some call centers, however, are currently overtaxed. Between 2016 and 2021, a majority of calls in 11 states were routed to backup centers from local centers that were unable to answer, and more than 15% of calls overall were abandoned by the caller or else disconnected before reaching a counselor, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of Vibrant data.
The old number will continue to operate.
*Law nooz from Ken:
A former member of the religious-right group Faith and Action (now part of the Liberty Counsel) claims that the group used to wine and dine conservative Court members Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and the late Antonin Scalia, according to this piece in Politico.And according to this piece in Rolling Stone, another member of the Liberty Counsel — a group that regularly litigates before the Court and that filed an amicus brief cited in the majority opinion in the recent Dobbs decision — was caught on a hot mic (or hot “mike,” if you prefer) saying that members of the Liberty Counsel regularly pray together with members of the ascendant theocratic wing of SCOTUS.Nota bene: It is considered highly inappropriate for any person or group to attempt to lobby a justice or justices of the US Supreme Court.
*In the NYT op-ed section, conservative Bret Stephens and liberal Gail Collins have their weekly conversation, this time mostly about who will be the next President. I’ll let you read the whole thing, but here’s an excerpt.
Bret: . . . But tell me, Gail, if [Biden] does step aside, who would you most like to see as the Democratic nominee? Give me a top three.
Gail: I am comfortable being an average Democrat who wants to see who’s out there and how well they perform. So let the games begin! Soon, at least. Right now some plausible possibilities would include the secretary of transportation, Pete Buttigieg — the one way to look good in this cabinet is to be in charge of infrastructure. Some of the senators, like Amy Klobuchar. Also want to keep an eye on the governors — J.B. Pritzker of Illinois was very good at expressing the rage and horror we all felt after the Highland Park shooting.
Along with the rest of the world, I don’t think there’s much to be said for Kamala Harris. You?
Bret: She’s … a Democratic version of Dan Quayle. I’m also not too keen on California’s Gavin Newsom, governor of the state from whose tax rates, housing prices, crime rates and homeless problems residents nowadays flee.
Of the three you mentioned, Klobuchar would be a strong choice, if she can get over her stage fright and make amends for her crummy behavior toward her staff. Roy Cooper, the second-term governor of North Carolina, is a Democrat who has proved he can win in a red state. Sherrod Brown is too far to the left for my taste, but he’s an honorable liberal and conscientious public servant who would unite the party.
Pritzker is a decent governor (also a billionaire), but I do worry because he’s morbidly obese and I wonder if he’d survive even one term of the Presidency. I’d of course vote for him if he ran against a Republican, but every time i see the guy on the local news, which is pretty much every night, I think, “he’s going to blow an artery.”
*The penguins at a Japanese aquarium are mad as hell and they aren’t going to take it any more. They won’t eat the cheap fish that the aquarium is trying to fob on them. As msn news reports (h/t: Terrance):
Before, the aquarium offered penguins and otters “aji,” or Japanese horse mackerel, which the animals readily ate.
But the aquarium, home to 32,000 animals including sharks and seals, was not immune to the economic woes plaguing many global economies. The price of aji has increased by 20% to 30% since last year, the aquarium said.
So to cut costs, in May the aquarium switched to a cheaper alternative – “saba,” or mackerel.
It has not been well received, with aquarium workers having to get creative to encourage the animals to eat – for instance, the otters and penguins appear more willing to eat the mackerel when mixed with their favorite aji.
The site has a short video of what appear to be King Penguins refusing the cheap-ass mackerel. Good for them! If you have penguins in captivity, give them what they want to eat!
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is protecting her Nap:
A: May I sit down here?Hili: Yes, but do not wake me up.
Ja: Czy mogę obok ciebie usiąść?Hili: Możesz, tylko mnie nie budź.
From Stash Krod: an R. Crumb cartoon:
From Jean, a Dan Piraro cartoon:
And I can’t remember who sent me this Dave Blazek cartoon:
The tweet of God. I’m sure his estimate is a minimum, making him the biggest criminal in American history:
I commit 70 thousand abortions a day and no one tells ME it's a sin.
— God (@TheTweetOfGod) June 24, 2022
From Titania. Oh my Ceiling Cat, what craziness people get up to on Twitter. What kind of privilege did Anne Frank and 6 million other Jews have that wound up sending them to concentration camps for killing? The Nazis went after Jews specifically because they were “non-Aryan”. That means not white! If you don’t know of Idris Elba, go here. Saying that Jews had “white privilege” during the Holocaust is almost as bad as denying the Holocaust itself.
I have long argued that the movie of Anne Frank's life should be remade with Idris Elba in the title role. https://t.co/CdIiTCpKdj
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) July 10, 2022
From Gethyn. I might have posted it before, but if so, you get to see it again.
Our cats opened the bathroom cabinet drawer, thereby blocking the bathroom door from opening. I took this picture by sticking my phone under the door. Trying with a hanger to close the drawer so I can open the door. A dog would never do this. pic.twitter.com/BmQ2T6PVdO
— misplaced comma or Julee Balko when I’m an author (@misplacedcomma2) July 9, 2022
From Simon, who says that “parts of this could be transposed across the Atlantic.” A good takedown of Boris by Jonathan Pie:
Jonathan Pie ripping Boris Johnson is always a joy to watch. pic.twitter.com/yJEUP91bO1
— Mike Galsworthy (@mikegalsworthy) July 8, 2022
From the Auschwitz Memorial:
11 July 1908 | A Czech Jewish woman, Bettina Grossová, was born in Prague.
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) July 11, 2022
Tweets from Matthew. He says it’s very hot in the UK now, but when I asked him what his definition of ‘hot” was, it was 32°C (89.6° F). Brits are wussies!
— BBC Radio Wiltshire (@BBCWiltshire) July 11, 2022
Cat’s are so deft and agile. You will watch this again!
Impossible to watch just once. 🐱 pic.twitter.com/MR7hqJW1hX
— TG (@TG22110) July 10, 2022
This is just crazy enough to be real. Somebody call the number and find out! Actually, it seems to be genuine!
I have discovered a new business venture 🤣 pic.twitter.com/SpGqSbh5nn
— Shaindel Beers 🍻 (@shaindelr) July 9, 2022