Good morning on Friday, July 15, 2022: the end of the week but one day closer to our demise. Take your choice: it’s both National Gummy Worms Day (yuk!) or National Tapioca Pudding Day. I’ll take the pudding.
If you like gummy candies, which taste to me like a mixture of Kool-Aid and petrochemicals, you can buy a three-pound one for $32 on Amazon (click on screenshot if you really want to order this confectioner’s nightmare:
Here were the top searches that brought people to my website yesterday:
Cutest priest in Italy? I’ve never written about that! “Great seal flashcard”? I’ve written about the Great Seal of the United States, but not a flashcard. And of course there’s the inevitable “penis” search.
Stuff that happened on July 15 includes:
- 1099 – First Crusade: Christian soldiers take the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem after the final assault of a difficult siege.
Here’s approximately what the church looked like when the Crusaders took it over. Why did the Christians want it? Easy (from Wikipedia):
According to traditions dating back to the fourth century, it contains the two holiest sites in Christianity: the site where Jesus was crucified, at a place known as Calvary or Golgotha, and Jesus’s empty tomb, where he is believed by Christians to have been buried and resurrected. Each time the church was rebuilt, some of the antiquities from the preceding structure were used in the newer renovation. The tomb itself is enclosed by a 19th-century shrine called the Aedicula. The Status Quo, an understanding between religious communities dating to 1757, applies to the site.
Within the church proper are the last four stations of the Cross of the Via Dolorosa, representing the final episodes of the Passion of Jesus. The church has been a major Christian pilgrimage destination since its creation in the fourth century, as the traditional site of the resurrection of Christ, thus its original Greek name, Church of the Anastasis (‘Resurrection’).
- 1799 – The Rosetta Stone is found in the Egyptian village of Rosetta by French Captain Pierre-François Bouchard during Napoleon‘s Egyptian Campaign.
I love this stone, which was a truly fortuitous find. Dating from 196 BC, it has a priestly decree in three languages—Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, Egyptian Demotic script, and the third in Ancient Greek. Because we could read ancient Greek, it was essential in helping decipher the other two languages. I always visit this when I go to the British Museum, though now it’s enclosed in a glass case because too many people were trying to touch it:
This was the end for Napoleon. He was exiled to the remote island of St. Helena, and died six years later, probably of stomach cancer. Below the map is Longwood House, where he lived and died on that godforsaken island:
Longwood House, now a museum owned by the French government.
- 1838 – Ralph Waldo Emerson delivers the Divinity School Address at Harvard Divinity School, discounting Biblical miracles and declaring Jesus a great man, but not God.
You can read the whole address here. It caused a firestorm of criticism, which surprised Emerson but shouldn’t have. He was variously demonized as an atheist and a destroyer of the Unitarian faith.
- 1870 – Reconstruction Era of the United States: Georgia becomes the last of the former Confederate states to be readmitted to the Union.
- 1910 – In his book Clinical Psychiatry, Emil Kraepelin gives a name to Alzheimer’s disease, naming it after his colleague Alois Alzheimer.
Alzheimer and his grave in Frankfurt. The disease was named after him by Kraepelin because Alzheimer was the first to see the brain anomalies associated with this form of dementia:
- 1941 – The Holocaust: Nazi Germany begins the deportation of 100,000 Jews from the occupied Netherlands to extermination camps.
Of all the countries in Europe, including Germany, I believe the Netherlands lost the highest proportion of its Jews to the Holocaust (72.7%).
- 2002 – “American Taliban” John Walker Lindh pleads guilty to supplying aid to the enemy and possession of explosives during the commission of a felony.
The “enemy” was the Taliban, for whom Lindh fought. Here’s Lindh after he was captured and sent to Camp Rhino in Afghanistan. Back in the U.S., he served 16 years of a 20-year sentence, and was released on parole in 2019.
Is it a net good? I suppose so, but it’s not an unmixed good for sure!
I really do dislike this song, though I like the “horse dance”:
The “horse dance”:
*BREAKING NEWS!: The NYT reports that renegade Democratic Senator Joe Manchin has rebuffed all Democratic attempts to get him to sign onto most of Biden’s “build back better” agenda, and so that agenda is scuppered:
Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, pulled the plug on Thursday on negotiations to salvage key pieces of President Biden’s agenda, informing his party’s leaders that he would not support funding for climate or energy programs or raising taxes on wealthy Americans and corporations.
The decision by Mr. Manchin, a conservative-leaning Democrat whose opposition has effectively stalled Mr. Biden’s economic package in the evenly divided Senate, dealt a devastating blow to his party’s efforts to enact a broad social safety net, climate and tax package.
In recent months, Democrats had slashed their ambitions for such a plan to win over Mr. Manchin, hoping that he would agree to support even a fraction of the sweeping initiative they once envisioned. His abrupt shift appeared to dash those aspirations.
In a meeting on Thursday with Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader, Mr. Manchin said he would support a package that would include a negotiated plan aimed at lowering the cost of prescription drugs and an extension of expanded Affordable Care Act subsidies set to lapse at the end of the year.The shift capped off weeks of painstaking negotiations to cobble together a package that could win Mr. Manchin’s support. It came seven months after the West Virginian abruptly walked away from talks and rejected a far larger plan.
*Uncle Joe is visiting the Middle East on an important tour, and the NYT has a live feed of what’s going on. I’ll highlight just two things mentioned about his current visit to Israel:
First, Biden’s called for a “lasting, negotiated peace” between Israel and Palestine, one that will involve a two-state solution. That’s what I always favored, and I think one that all sane Americans want (I’m excepting the Far Left, like the Squad, who want one state that’s Palestinian). The reason I am pessimistic about this is that Biden doesn’t have the chops or the people to help negotiate such a peace, and because the Palestinians don’t want two states. They want the “right of return” so that Israel will become a state full of Palestinians itching to get rid of the Jews one way or another. It’s sad for me to think this, but I believe the two-state solution is dead.
Second, although Biden said yesterday that the U.S. would use force to stop Iran from building a nuclear bomb, I don’t believe him for a second. The titular Israeli PM, Yair Lapid, disagreed, saying that all nations should use force to stop Iran’s entire nuclear program. That’s asking too much.
Israel’s caretaker prime minister, Yair Lapid, pushed President Biden on Thursday to go beyond his public commitment to stopping Iran from ever obtaining a nuclear weapon, declaring that all democratic nations must vow to act if the Iranians continue “to develop their nuclear program.”
The distinction between Mr. Biden’s commitment and Mr. Lapid’s declaration was more than semantic: It goes to the heart of their countries’ differing approaches in dealing with Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Israel has conducted a series of covert sabotage and assassination operations to slow Iran’s ability to enrich nuclear fuel, while Mr. Biden has insisted that diplomacy, and a restoration of the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, are the best way to find a permanent solution.
“If they continue to develop their nuclear program, the free world will use force,” Mr. Lapid said at the opening of a news conference in Jerusalem after the two leaders met as part of Mr. Biden’s four-day visit to the Middle East. During those remarks, Mr. Biden listened attentively but never repeated that commitment. Instead, he stuck to talking about blocking Iran from obtaining a weapon — not a program that might be intended to develop one.
If Biden thinks that diplomacy will offer a permanent solution to Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons, I have some land in Florida I’d like to sell him.
*Sometimes I think that Texas should secede from the Union (leaving Austin with the rest of us, of course) because its policies are just so wrongheaded. Get a load of this one. The government’s Department of Health and Human Services, under the direction of Biden, issued a memorandum stipulating that in case of medical emergencies in which a pregnant woman’s life is in danger because of her fetus, states must be allowed to perform abortions. That makes sense, right?
Not to the state of Texas, which is suing the Administration over the ruling. They apparently don’t care if a woman dies if she can’t get an abortion:
The suit follows new guidance from the Department of Health and Human Services that asserted federal law requiring emergency medical treatment supersedes any state restrictions on abortion in cases where the pregnant patient’s life or health is at risk.
Earlier this week, the Biden administration sent a memo to state officials reminding them of an existing law called the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, which “requires that all patients receive an appropriate medical screening examination, stabilizing treatment, and transfer, if necessary,” according to the HHS guidance. That requirement exists “irrespective of any state laws or mandates that apply to specific procedures,” the memo said.
Although the HHS guidance focuses on abortions performed in emergency situations, Texas officials have interpreted the memo as an order that all hospital emergency rooms must act as a “walk-in abortion clinic.”
“President Biden is flagrantly disregarding the legislative and democratic process—and flouting the Supreme Court’s ruling before the ink is dry—by having his appointed bureaucrats mandate that hospitals and emergency medicine physicians must perform abortions,” the lawsuit said.
Now does this make any sense? If the mother dies, the fetus almost always dies too. What is gained by letting a mother die under such circumstances? Make no mistake about it, Texans really don’t care about lives, even fetal ones in this case. They care about forcing a religiously-inspired view of life down the throats of everyone else.
*Ivana Trump, former wife (victim?) of Donald Trump, has died in New York of undisclosed causes. She was only 73, Trump’s first wife (Marla Maples was the second), and mother of Ivanka, Donald Junior, and Eric.
After the divorce, Ivana Trump married and divorced twice more while maintaining a jet-setting, globetrotting lifestyle.
In 2017, she told “CBS Sunday Morning” she turned down an offer from Donald Trump to be the ambassador to her native Czech Republic, citing her “freedom” and “perfect life.”
“I was just offered to be the American ambassador to Czech Republic — and Donald told me. He said, ‘Ivana, if you want it, I give it to you,'” Trump said in the interview. “But I like my freedom. I like to do what I want to do, go wherever I want to go with whomever I want to go. And I can afford my lifestyle.”
“OK, why would I go and say bye-bye to Miami in the winter, bye-bye to Saint-Tropez in the summer and bye-bye to spring and fall in New York?” she continued. “I have a perfect life.”
*Here’s a Jesse Singal piece to read if you’re following the culture wars, and he’s taken it out from behind his Substack paywall: “Privileged, highly educated people are rapidly colonizing the racial justice conversation.” With his trademark Singalian persistence and snark, he gives several rather cringe-making stories of rich privileged people who try to paint themselves as victims of racism, bigotry, or “erasure.” Singal isn’t having it, and adds:
But my point is that this is clearly part of a trend in which some extremely privileged people are increasingly colonizing the discussion over racial justice, dragging it away from a set of important, consequential questions — Who dies because of a lack of access to diabetes treatment? Who lacks health insurance altogether? Who gets thrown in prison for years on bogus charges because they were assigned a narcoleptic public defender? — and toward a culture of endemic microcomplaint. Someone thought my music was Indian-influenced! My organization’s statement condemning racism didn’t have exactly the right tone! I’m sorry: These are not major problems, and do not belong in any genuine, good-faith conversation about American racism. At least not, to borrow from deBoer, until we’ve solved many other, much more pressing problems.
The problem is, among Times readers and their ilk there is an insatiable appetite for these sorts of race stories at the moment. And anyone can produce any story suggesting any field has a race problem — or any problem, really.
. . . All of this is an increasingly superficial ‘reckoning’ that has nothing to do with the problems most Americans face at one point or another. Don’t be surprised if the backlash is a bit more pointed than usual.
I’m reading a lot of Singal and DeBoer these days, and a year ago I hadn’t heard of them. Now I read almost everything they write.
*Yesterday the euro finally slipped below the dollar: one euro was worth 0.998 of a dollar, the lowest exchange rate since 2002. I was in Europe then, and things seemed pretty cheap. But the best time was when a dollar equaled a British pounds, and because I reckon British prices as the price of a pint of real ale in a decent pub, I was in heaven. From the Wall Street Journal:
The euro has been on a steady decline this year, and the selloff intensified in recent days as investors girded for Russia to enact a full-blown gas cutoff that many fear will drive the region into a deep recession. Driving the euro even further lower on Thursday was a brewing political crisis in Italy.
Reaching parity—when two currencies are equal in value—is largely symbolic for investors, and is expected to have a limited impact on financial markets. But a weak euro does affect the region’s economy. It drives up the cost of imports and fans Europe’s already high inflation rate while making what Europe exports cheaper in international markets.
“What it is indicative of is that this is a horrific situation for the eurozone,” said James Athey, investment director at Abrdn, who thinks the euro could fall to 90 U.S. cents or below in the short term.
Europe’s loss is our gain; get your tuchas over there!
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, the cats are having a deep conversation about consciousness:
Szaron: Do you see what I see?Hili: No, I see what I see.
Szaron: Czy ty widzisz to, co ja widzę?Hili: Nie, ja widzę to, co ja widzę.
Re Egnor and Luskin’s attack on me from yesterday, a cartoon from reader Pliny the In Between’s Far Corner Cafe (click to enlarge):
From reddit: Cat can haz cheezburger! (h/t Peter):
From Peter, a Gary Larson The Far Side cartoon:
From Merilee, a Bill Whitehead cartoon:
From Titania. The row over calling it the Webb telescope has been settled by NASA, though Prescod-Weinstein is still beefing: the name will stay. But oy, they even call it a “homophobic telescope” in the msn News headling. Telescopes can’t be homophobic!
Until we have addressed the problem of homophobic telescopes, I for one will be boycotting deep space. https://t.co/FVvqM7nOJy
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) July 14, 2022
From Dom, who calls this “Your favorite kind of d*g”. LOL!
Excited to welcome a new puppy to the lab. pic.twitter.com/dicjw0U7rP
— Dr. Sarah McClure (@sb_mcclure) July 13, 2022
From Luana. I inserted “bowling” and got pages of references!
— Rothmus 🏴 (@Rothmus) July 13, 2022
Let’s have an Instagram video sent by Elsie:
From Paul, Jordan Peterson loses the plot re Ukraine. It’s all the fault of the West’s degeneracy, and maybe Ketanji Brown Jackson. . .
2/ To explain why Russia is attacking Ukraine, he goes on a long diatribe about Ketanji Brown Jackson. He complains about Biden looking for a black woman and that she wouldn't answer the question "what is a woman." pic.twitter.com/iELASsYJKC
— bad_stats (@thebadstats) July 11, 2022
From the Auschwitz Memorial. Remember that Russian soldiers were often put in concentration camps:
14 July 1921 | Vasilij Pashov was born. A Soviet army soldier.
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) July 15, 2022
Tweets from Matthew. This one came from Ziya Tong, and shows what is described as part of the courtship ritual of bald eagles. Whatever it is, it’s stunning:
— Earthling (@ziyatong) July 13, 2022
More fodder for “the better angels” camp:
22% of all children born in 1950 died in the first 5 years of their lives.
This chart shows how child mortality has changed since then. Globally the mortality rate has fallen to 3.7%.
— Max Roser (@MaxCRoser) July 12, 2022