Welcome to cat shabbos, when all good moggies are studying the LOLCat Talmud and eating food kept warm in an oven turned off last night. But there’s chicken for dinner! It’s Saturday, July 16, 2022, and National Corn Fritters Day. I love these, with or without syrup, but I haven’t had one in decades. I don’t want to make them, as that involves deep frying, and where can you buy them?
It’s time to show a little appreciation for one of the most popular pocket-sized pets: the guinea pig! Guinea Pig Appreciation Day was founded by Piggles Guinea Pig Rescue, a “foster-home based rescue, rehoming and advice service in the Greater Toronto Area, Canada.” July 16 was chosen as the holiday’s date because “G” is the 7th letter of the alphabet and “P’ is the 16th.
Stuff that happened on July 16 includes:
- 622 – The beginning of the Islamic calendar.
Why the beginning then? Wikipedia explains:
This calendar enumerates the Hijri era, whose epoch was established as the Islamic New Year in 622 CE. During that year, Muhammad and his followers migrated from Mecca to Medina and established the first Muslim community (ummah), an event commemorated as the Hijrah. In the West, dates in this era are usually denoted AH (Latin: Anno Hegirae, “in the year of the Hijrah”). In Muslim countries, it is also sometimes denoted as H from its Arabic form (سَنَة هِجْرِيَّة, abbreviated ھ). In English, years prior to the Hijra are denoted as BH (“Before the Hijra”).
As for the significance of the day, don’t ask me.
- 1054 – Three Roman legates break relations between Western and Eastern Christian Churches through the act of placing an Papal bull (of doubtful validity) of Excommunication on the altar of Hagia Sophia during Saturday afternoon divine liturgy. Historians frequently describe the event as the start of the East–West Schism.
- 1228 – The canonization of Saint Francis of Assisi
Here’s the famous painting “St. Francis in Ecstasy” (or “St. Francis in the Desert”) painted by Giovanni Bellini about 1480. It’s now in the Frick Collection in NYC. The painting is full of symbols; I like the donkey best:
Here’s an illustration, but Wikipedia labels it “The first paper money in Europe, issued by the Stockholms Banco in 1666.” Does this mean this is a later striking of a design first issued in 1661, or is one of those dates an error? Stay tuned for Greg’s article, “What’s the matter with Wikipedia?”, hopefully to appear before I die.
- 1769 – Father Junípero Serra founds California’s first mission, Mission San Diego de Alcalá. Over the following decades, it evolves into the city of San Diego, California.
Here’s the Mission, looking much as it did but this is a restoration from the 1880s:
- 1790 – The District of Columbia is established as the capital of the United States after signature of the Residence Act.
- 1858 – The last apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Bernadette Soubirous in Lourdes, France.
Soubirous was 14 then, but lived on, apparitionless, as a nun, dying of TB at age 35. Here’s a photo from 1866, when she was 22 and had taken on ‘nunship’, or whatever you call it:
- 1935 – The world’s first parking meter is installed in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
The photo below implies that these are the first parking meters, but a reader should find out if any of those cars are substantially younger than 1935:
- 1941 – Joe DiMaggio hits safely for the 56th consecutive game, a streak that still stands as an MLB [major league baseball] record.
This streak, seen in the short video below, has still never been beaten. The second place is held by Willie Keeler, Baltimore Orioles (NL), with 45 games in the early era of 1896-97; and the modern second place is held by the Cincinnati Reds’ Pete Rose, who hit safely in 44 consecutive games in 1978.
- 1945 – Manhattan Project: The Atomic Age begins when the United States successfully detonates a plutonium-based test nuclear weapon near Alamogordo, New Mexico.
Here’s a short video about the project that shows the detonation (this is the “Trinity” test):
This is a pricey one: a first edition and first printing of this influential book will run you about $65,000:
- 1969 – Apollo program: Apollo 11, the first mission to land astronauts on the Moon, is launched from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Kennedy, Florida.
Here’s a brief documentary of the landing day: July 20:
- 1999 – John F. Kennedy Jr., his wife, Carolyn, and her sister, Lauren Bessette, die when the Piper Saratoga PA-32R aircraft he is piloting crashes into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard.
*As I reported yesterday morning, Senator Joe Manchin the Third has been busy scuppering the Democats’ endeavors in the Senate, but, as he so often does, gives tantalizing hints (never fulfilled) that he might change his mind and join his fellow 49 Democrats. He’s doing it again:
Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, on Friday defended his decision to pull the plug on his party’s efforts to pass a major climate, energy and tax package this summer, hinting that he might still be open to supporting such action later in the year.
Mr. Manchin’s comments, in an interview with a West Virginia radio host, were the latest instance in which the conservative-leaning senator has dangled the possibility that he might eventually support key pieces of President Biden’s agenda even as he positions himself as the chief Democratic impediment to enacting them.
His remarks came the day after he indicated in a private conversation with Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader, that if Democrats moved forward as planned with a legislative package this summer, he would not accept any climate or energy measures or tax increases on wealthy Americans or corporations.
In the interview with the radio host, Hoppy Kercheval, Mr. Manchin said he had told Mr. Schumer that he wanted to wait to act on climate and tax proposals until inflation figures for the month of July were public.
“Let’s wait until that comes out, so we know that we’re going down the path it won’t be inflammatory, to add more to inflation,” Mr. Manchin said he had told Mr. Schumer.
This is known as “temporizing.” The NYT adds that Biden’s ambitious “Build Back Better” bill has been pruned back to only two provisions in an effort to placate both Manchin and Sinema:
President Biden and Democrats in Congress had hoped to pass a broad domestic policy package that would expand the social safety net, raise taxes on corporations and the wealthiest Americans, and tighten regulation of climate-changing pollutants. But the decision by Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia to withdraw his support from other aspects of an already-shrunken package this week leaves nothing but health care on the table.
But even if what was once a sidecar of sorts to the so-called Build Back Better Act is now the only vehicle left on the road, it would still have a substantial impact on the lives of many Americans. And unlike other provisions that faced a mixed political reception, the central health care proposal that remains is enormously popular with the public — including Republicans.
That piece is prescription drug price reform, which Democrats have been promising for years and many Americans tell pollsters they want. The bill would take several whacks at the price of drugs — directly regulating prices for a group of expensive medications purchased by Medicare and punishing drug companies that raise prices too fast on existing medicines for all Americans.
The legislation under discussion would also expand Medicare’s prescription drug benefit, increasing financial help for poorer seniors and eliminating the program’s current unlimited cost sharing,
Still, this is better than nothing. Exorbitant prices for prescription drugs (and drugs used in hospitals) is a huge contributor to America’s bloated healthcare budget. Plus Manchin also said he’ll support the extension of the Affordable Care Act’s subsidies to those who want to buy health insurance. With his support and Sinemas, that provision will remain.
Red states don’ wanna know nuthin’ ’bout ‘bortin’ no babies.
The GOP senator from Oklahoma—which banned nearly all abortions this year even before the Roe v. Wade reversal—objected to Democrats’ effort to pass by unanimous consent the Freedom to Travel for Health Care Act of 2022.
Introduced this week by Democratic Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto (Nev.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Patty Murray (Wash.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.), the bill would make clear that patients can cross state lines for abortion care and empower the U.S. attorney general and affected individuals to take legal action against those who attempt to restrict that right.
This must have been done by invoking the filibuster, because surely they could get all 50 Democratic Senators to support the bill, and Harris’s vote would ensure its passage under a simple majority. But this cannot be allowed to stand. First, it may be illegal, but it’s certainly immoral and inhumane. How can they forbid a state resident to go to another state for reproductive healthcare?
MAGA Republicans don’t only want to take away women’s right to safe and legal abortion, they want to go further and take away the right to travel freely as well. That’s outrage on top of injustice. We need this bill to protect the right to travel. https://t.co/aWg37lrpz3
— Senator Jeff Merkley (@SenJeffMerkley) July 14, 2022
*This is unbelievable. According to the Washington Post and other sources, the U.S. Secret Service, responsible for the security of government officials like Trump (for Presidents, even after they leave the Presidency), stands accused of erasing text messages on January 5 and 6. The Secret Service has an excuse, but it’s a stupid one:
“The Department notified us that many U.S. Secret Service (USSS) text messages, from January 5 and 6, 2021 were erased as part of a device-replacement program,” he wrote in a letter dated Wednesday and obtained by The Washington Post. The letter was earlier reported on by the Intercept and CNN.
Cuffari emphasized that the erasures came “after” the Office of Inspector General requested copies of the text messages for its own investigation, and signaled that they were part of a pattern of DHS resistance to his inquiries. Staff members are required by law to surrender records so that he can audit the sprawling national security agency, but he said they have “repeatedly” refused to provide them until an attorney reviews them.
The Secret Service’s text messages could provide insight into the agency’s actions on the day of the insurrection and possibly those of President Donald Trump. A former White House aide last month told the House select committee investigating the assault on the Capitol that Trump knew his supporters were armed, wanted to lead the mob to the Capitol and said she was told that he physically assailed the senior Secret Service agent who told him he could not.
The Secret Service denies deliberately deleting message; they say they were “replacing phones”. But since the replacement started after the messages wer requested, that doesn’t wash. And, for crying out loud, they knew those dates were important. I reserve judgment about the Secret Service’s motivations.
*The Washington Post has a lovely duckling-rescue story that will show you that all cops are not bastards, defying the current acronym “ACAB”. A brood of eight newborn ducklings were following their mom to water, and all fell through the bars of a storm drain, something that happens quite a lot. But the cops in Olney, Maryland were up to the challenge:
Officer H. Chen was at the station doing paperwork when he heard the report about the duck. Chen, who asked The Washington Post to withhold his first name because he was concerned about possible harassment, decided to see if he could help. His mind quickly went to one of his most fulfilling moments as an officer, when he reunited parents with their 3-year-old child who had run out of their house unsupervised.
A duck is obviously not a child, he thought, but he wanted to see if he could reunite this animal family.
When he arrived at the scene in the 3200 block of Spartan Road, less than a half-mile from the station, he heard the sound of ducks calling from inside the drain. The mother duck was still there standing vigil.
Chen peered inside the drain and saw a circle of eight yellow-and-brown feathered ducklings looking confused. The babies, he believed, had slipped through the drain cover’s cracks.
He called the local fire and rescue responders, who held onto his belt while Chen reached down into the drain and scooped up all the ducklings:
One by one, Chen raised the tiny birds to the surface. As each one resurfaced, its mother, who had stopped quacking, greeted it.
When they were all together again, the duck family trekked as a pack toward Spartan Road.
“Of course I’m glad that they can be together back on their journey,” said Chen, 39.
Now there is a lovely and caring man (see below). “All cops are bastards” indeed!
Part of the rescue scene:
Of course I have a soft spot for duckling rescue. “Whoever saves one life saves the world entire,” goes the old Jewish saying.
*According to Business Insider, Representative Lauren Boebert’s “Shooters Grill”, in which all the waitresses, clad in shorts, also packed heat, has shut down. The reason: its lease expired and was not renewed. Boebert is contemplating opening a “Shooters coffee shop with pastries”. (h/t Bill)
The staff (note the Trump cutout in the background:
*Finally, I recommend to you Nellie Bowles’s weekly and snarky “TGIF” news summary on Bari Weiss’s Substack site. This is the one thing on Weiss’s site I never miss. (It’s free, but consider subscribing, as I do.) This week’s version is called “Taco night with the First Lady,” referring to Jill Biden’s much-criticized mention of San Antonio’s breakfast tacos when praising Latinos. I give you three items:
Meanwhile, high profile pro-choice advocates remain unconvincing. If you haven’t seen it, here’s the viral video of UC Berkeley School of Law professor Khiara Bridges sparring with Senator Josh Hawley. She insisted on using the phrase “people with the capacity for pregnancy,” rather than the verboten word women. When Hawley said, well then, “this isn’t really a women’s rights issue,” the Berkeley professor balked. Yes, of course it is!
Here’s a smart argument: One clever Texas woman is arguing that she ought to be able to use the carpool lane even as a solo driver. Why? She’s pregnant. And if Texas is going to consider a fetus a living child, then she ought to be able to as well. I support this.
Leave Anne Frank out of your fights, please: For the blissfully unaware, I have something terrible to tell you: Among a certain set of internet-addled activists, it’s become important to argue that Anne Frank, in particular, had white privilege. Yes, that Anne Frank. The child killed in the Holocaust. This argument has been going for a few years now, kicked up again recently. “How is calling Anne Frank white antisemitic?” asked one prominent New York Times writer (she deleted the message and said, no, Anne Frank did not have white privilege). The whole conversation went on for a few strange days. How could anyone suggest that the Jews murdered by the Nazis were, in fact, privileged in any way? This is your brain on modern American race theory.
Bowles knows how to do The Nooz!
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili discusses bad times then and now. Malgorzata, who translates Andrzej’s Polish dialogues, explains the metaphor: “I thought it’s an English expression for the awfulness of the Middle Ages. We have a Polish expression which Andrzej used “Mroki Średniowiecza” and literally it means “darkness”, “blackness”, with a suggestion of “horror”.
Mists of the MIddle Ages is a metaphor.A: Indeed.Hili: And mists of the present as well?
Hili: Mroki Średniowiecza to metafora?Ja: Istotnie.Hili: A mroki współczesności też?
Speaking of black Labs, this is from a great site, “America’s Cultural Decline into Idiocy.” You should subscribe. (This supports a sex difference in humans in terms of eagerness to mate.)
A great snow globe from Merilee:
The Tweet of God; a good one today:
Everybody's telling Me "You took the wrong Trump".
Donald will be in hell soon enough. But first I want him in jail.
— God (@TheTweetOfGod) July 14, 2022
From Luana (the story is from The Babylon Bee)
Did you know that we write articles to go with our headlines? Check out the full article, and surely your reward will be great in Heaven. https://t.co/M3UPjjMHqz
— Joel Berry (@JoelWBerry) July 14, 2022
From Tom. The clever cats flee, leaving the d*g to take the blame:
Dog : I hope the camera recorded this pic.twitter.com/IOum9ig3l4
— nftbadger (@nftbadger) July 13, 2022
From Barry. Why is a chicken sleeping upside down in a tub of water??
Just sleeping.. 😅 pic.twitter.com/kV2wK88KiE
— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden) July 14, 2022
Best coach ever 💪 pic.twitter.com/mS7CpDtmeT
— why you should have a duck 🦆 (@shouldhaveaduck) July 16, 2022
From the Auschwitz Memorial, we have two today:
The Germans demanded that his father, as a former President of the Republic of Poland, sign a declaration on the constitutional illegality of the Polish Government-in-Exile, in return promising to release his son. Stanisław Wojciechowski refused. pic.twitter.com/kyBHyqp5sa
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) July 16, 2022
Tweets from Professor Cobb. Another great thousand-year-old English oak, but I think this is the Pedunculate Oak in Kent. And yes, I’d probably be in awe if I saw it, just as when I saw the Giant Sequoias in California. If you visit America, the latter are a must-see, and fortunately they appear to be saved from raging wildfires in that part of California.
The greatest oak that ever lived
A tree that regularly makes visitors emotional
Ladies & Gentlemen, I present to you Majesty, of our beloved Kent 😊🌳 pic.twitter.com/h0ZnCzx6UD
— The English Oak Project (@TheKentAcorn) June 30, 2022
awareness level: 0
drunkenness level: 98
fireproof superpowers: 100 pic.twitter.com/41ivJDYUBZ
— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) July 3, 2022