It’s the Cruelest Day: Tuesday, August 2, 2022: National Ice Cream Sandwich Day. My mom used to keep a box in the freezer, and I was entitled to one (only) when I got home from school. Of course the best of the genre is the It’s-It from California. I’m not even sure you can get them in the MIdwest or on the East Coast.
Invented in 1928 by George Whitney, an owner of the legendary Playland at the Beach (a San Francisco seaside amusement park), the IT’S-IT is a scoop of vanilla ice cream sandwiched between two oatmeal cookies then dipped into chocolate. The IT’S-IT—wholesome and creamy punctuated by a frozen-cookie bite—is an idea so good you wonder why no one had it sooner. I mean, someone probably already did. But it was the enterprising Whitney, nicknamed “The Barnum of the Golden Gate,” who gave the snack that confusing yet eye-catching moniker, and made it the confection San Franciscans craved most when they went to the beach.
Stuff that happened on August 2 include:
- 932 – After a two-years siege, the city of Toledo, in Spain, surrenders to the forces of the Caliph of Córdoba Abd al-Rahman III, assuming an important victory in his campaign to subjugate the Central March.
- 1610 – During Henry Hudson‘s search for the Northwest Passage, he sails into what is now known as Hudson Bay.
Here’s the route that Hudson took when finding the bay:
There was a mutiny among the crew in the Bay, as most sailors wanted to go home after overwintering ashore when the ship was trapped in ice. In June, 1611, the mutineers set Hudson, his son, and seven loyal crewmen adrift in the Bay with some supplies. All of them disappeared forever.
Here’s a painting with the caption, “John Collier‘s painting of Hudson, his son, and loyal crew set adrift”:
The Declaration became official on July 4 when it was adopted by Congress. John Hancock signed it on that day, but most delegates signed it on August 2. Here’s the original, though badly faded. But it’s still a thrill to see it, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. I’ve circled John Hancock’s huge signature (he got to sign first because he was the President of the Continental Congress). The term “John Hancock” is still used as a synonym for “signature,” e.g., “Put your John Hancock on the line here.”
- 1790 – The first United States Census is conducted.
At that time the population was 3,929,326 (including 694,280 slaves), with Virginia the most populous state.
- 1858 – The Government of India Act 1858 replaces Company rule in India with that of the British Raj.
- 1923 – Vice President Calvin Coolidge becomes U.S. President upon the death of President Warren G. Harding.
- 1934 – Gleichschaltung: Adolf Hitler becomes Führer of Germany following the death of President Paul von Hindenburg.
Hindenburg was President, but after he died Hitler took over his office as well as his own, declaring himself “Führer und Reichskanzler des deutschen Volkes (lit. ’Leader and Reich Chancellor of the German People’)”
- 1937 – The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 is passed in America, the effect of which is to render marijuana and all its by-products illegal.
It was still legal to grow hemp and sell marijuana for medical purposes, but you had to buy a stamp from the gubmint:
The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 classified marijuana as a controlled substance. It imposed an annual tax on medical practitioners, requiring them to display the tax stamps, in order to prescribe products containing marijuana. As a result of this law, most doctors and dentists stopped prescribing products that contained marijuana. The tax stamp portion of the law was never fully implemented, and very few of them were ever used.
Some stamps. These go for a lot of money now:
- 1939 – Albert Einstein and Leo Szilard write a letter to Franklin D. Roosevelt, urging him to begin the Manhattan Project to develop a nuclear weapon.
Here’s a facsimile of the letter, which was signed only by Einstein since his name was a household word. Click to enlarge:
- 1943 – The Holocaust: Jewish prisoners stage a revolt at Treblinka, one of the deadliest of Nazi death camps where approximately 900,000 persons were murdered in less than 18 months.
That’s 50,000 people killed per month, or more than 1600 per day. The revolt was a rare occurrence among prisoners. Two hundred escaped, and 70 of those survived until the end of the war. Here’s a surreptitious photo of the revolt, which began with armed prisoners storming the gates. The caption:
Burning Treblinka II perimeter during the prisoner uprising, 2 August 1943. Barracks were set ablaze, including a tank of petrol which exploded setting fire to the surrounding structures. This clandestine photograph was taken by Franciszek Ząbecki.
- 1943 – World War II: The Motor Torpedo Boat PT-109 is rammed by the Japanese destroyer Amagiri and sinks. Lt. John F. Kennedy, future U.S. president, saves all but two of his crew.
Here’s the crew, with Kennedy standing at right in the front:
Kennedy’s exploits were immortalized in this song by Jimmy Dean:
- 1990 – Iraq invades Kuwait, eventually leading to the Gulf War.
Here are 21 minutes of NBC news coverage of the invasion and the lead-up to the war:
*Heading all the news everywhere is the death of Ayman al-Zawarhiri, taken out by a U.S. drone in a safe house in the very center of Kabul. Zawahiri was the leader of al-Qaeda (he was second in commend to Osama bin Laden until bin Laden was killed) and was the mastermind of embassy bombings and the Big One on 9/11. That he was walking around the center of Kabul, apparently hosted by the Taliban, shows what the Taliban is like. Ergo, his death sends a message not only to al-Qaeda and terrorist manqué, but also to the Taliban.
American intelligence agencies tracked down al-Zawahri in Kabul earlier this year and then spent months determining that it really was him hiding out in a house in a crowded section of the Afghan capital. After receiving authorization from Mr. Biden a week ago, the C.I.A. fired two Hellfire missiles and killed al-Zawahri on a balcony of the house without killing anyone else, including members of his family or any nearby civilians, American officials said.
al-Zawahiri was on the FBI’s “most wanted” list for his terrorism, and barring the inability to bring him to trial, I won’t be shedding any tears for a man who made his living plotting the killing of innocent people. And it’s nifty work on the part of American intelligence. In general I don’t approve of “capital punishment by drone,” but there was no alternative here, and the man was clearly guilty. (I would have preferred his being captured and sent to ADX Florence.
*A very stiff sentence was handed out yesterday to one Guy Reffitt, who helped storm the Capitol while carrying a gun and a bunch of zip ties. Although he didn’t make it through the police line to actually enter the building, the judge still gave him the stiffest sentence year of any insurrectionist. SEVEN—count them, seven—YEARS in the pokey
A Donald Trump fan from Texas who attempted to storm the U.S. Capitol while armed with a gun was sentenced to more than 7 years [87 months] in prisonon Monday after a judge denied the Justice Department’s request for a “terrorism enhancement” that would have resulted in a lengthier prison sentence.
Guy Reffitt was the first Jan. 6 defendant to go to trial. Reffitt’s own son actually tipped off the FBI a couple of weeks before Jan. 6 but didn’t hear back until after the attack. The government had an enormous amount of evidence against Reffitt, including his friend’s testimony that Reffitt was carrying zip ties and that the duo had made a decision to carry guns because they’d rather be “tried by a jury of twelve than carried by six.”
Reffitt was convicted on five counts in March, including transport of a firearm in support of civil disorder and obstruction of an official proceeding, although he did not make it inside the Capitol or use physical violence because he was eventually incapacitated after charging the police line.
His sentence was enhanced because he was armed, but the prosecution had also asked for a “terrorism enhancement” added to the sentence because Reffitt was “planning to overtake the government”. The judge said that enhancing an already long sentence would create a disparity in punishment between Reffitt and the other convicted rioters. Reffitt was also stupid, wearing a videocam that recorded his statements during the assault. Stuff like this wouldn’t help his case:
“I’m taking the Capitol with everybody f**king else,” Guy Reffitt said in his own recording, as “Tiny Dancer” played at Trump’s Jan. 6 rally. “We’re all going to drag them motherf**kers out kicking and screaming, I don’t give a s**t. I just want to see Pelosi’s head hit every f**king stair on the way out, and Mitch McConnell too, f**k ‘em all… It’s time to take our country back… I think we have the numbers to make it happen.”
Sorry, Guy, not this time. The first January 6 protestor to go to trial (back in March) Reffitt was ratted out to the FBI by his own son. LOL.
*A reader called my attention to a NYT article called “How did a two-time killer get to be charged again at age 83?” I’ll let the reader summarize the article:
A man with with a long history of violence against women, including one completed and one attempted homicide, was freed on parole. As he had recently decided to identify as female, he was put into a female homeless shelter and killed a woman there.
The Times pretends that trans rights are not the problem here at all, and that nobody could know what would happen. But in this particular case, and in any case involving a transwoman with a history of violence against women, protecting women should take precedence over the rights of a transitioned killer. A femicidal maniac should not be forced upon a woman shelter.
Rigid rules that need to be followed even in outlier cases or emergency situations are rarely a good idea. Provision should be made to allow individualized decisions in special cases. That trans people are generally harmless means nothing with respect to a person who has already proven that s(h)e isn’t. Also, if trans people get harassed so much at male shelters, maybe they need their own shelter.
Incidentally, it is never a good idea to release criminals into homelessness.
Indeed, the Times, though quoting people who blame this on putting an attacker of women in a women’s shelter, does minimize the “transsexual” nature of this crime, saying this, which seems totally superfluous:
But transgender people are far more likely to become victims of violence, not perpetrators, and data from the National Center for Transgender Equality suggests more than half of transgender people who stay in shelters encounter harassment.
What’s their point? This, it seems, is a form of virtue signaling.
I have no idea how these simulations work, but I’ll give the results. The House looks dicey (I’ve used screenshots from his site):
Most of the simulations show the GOP taking the House (I guess each dot is the outcome for one simulation):
The Senate is tighter, but the simulations slightly favor a Democratic majority, which is more or less what we have now since VP Kamala Harris breaking ties. And for sure the Democrats, according to what we see below, have no chance of getting a filibuster-proof sixty votes.
If Silver turns out to be right, we’ll be pretty much in the same conundrum we were before. But it’s early days. Why the shift in the Senate? I would have said the overturning of Roe would favor a general trend towards Democrats, but that should also apply in the House.
*I suspect that most of us are hoping Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema will vote with Joe Biden in approving the latest Build Back At Least a Little Bit Better Bill, what with its climate-change proposals and plans to reduce the price of prescription drugs. Joe Manchin IIII finally said he’ll vote “yes,” and the price (exacted so he looks like a moderate in a centrist state) was a bundle of goodies for West Virginia.
That leaves one more Senator to get the bill passed: La Sinema, who hasn’t said one way or another about how she’ll vote. And her vote is crucial to the bill, and to any chance Biden has for reelection. A WaPo editor, “Kyrsten Sinema has all the power right now. She should use it“, suggests what she can get for Arizona in return for her vote:
Sinema is in a precarious political position. Arizona is a purple state, having backed Joe Biden by a slim 10,000-vote margin in 2020. That means she must be seen as someone who’s not just a lockstep partisan. That explains, from a cynical perspective, her unwillingness to amend the filibuster and her opposition to President Biden’s massive Build Back Better proposal.
. . . Yes, she needs to regain support among Arizona Democrats if she intends to seek her party’s nomination again. But that support cannot come at the cost of her well-earned reputation for independence. It makes no sense for her to become a Democratic darling if doing so drives away the moderate independents who elected her to begin with.
. . .Controlling Arizona’s border with Mexico is far and away the most important need for her state. It’s so important that Biden is already helping her fellow Democrat, Sen. Mark Kelly, in his reelection bid by completing gaps in President Donald Trump’s border wall in that state. Sinema should use her pivotal position to push for even more.
This was mentioned in a press conference the other day. Is Biden really building back the wall? But wait; there’s more:
[Sinema] can take two paths to crack down on illegal immigration. The first is to obtain more funding for things that can reduce that flow, such as more Border Patrol agents and equipment. She could also work to fund large detention centers that would permanently house migrants whose asylum requests have not been heard rather than release them into the community. Alternatively, she could push to fund monitoring devices for those people to eliminate the risk that they won’t show up when it’s time for judges to hear their case. Requests such as these would seriously address a major concern for Arizonans and insulate her against inevitable Republican attacks.
The other goodie they suggest she push for is, of all things, battery research. That’s because Arizona is largely desert and is ripe for harvesting solar energy.
Arizona could be the Saudi Arabia of solar power if batteries could capture that energy. Sinema should make this a top priority and even be willing to cut some of the other provisions in the bill to accomplish it.
My prediction, Sinema will do an ask and will ultimately sign the bill.
*According to the Wall Street Journal, an unnamed source in the know reports that Nancy Pelosi will visit Taiwan after all as part of her ongoing Asian tour. As I wrote yesterday, that will surely hurt relations between China and Taiwan, but I think we need to show Taiwan we support them. (I believe the last administration official to visit Taiwan was Newt Gingrich—ages ago).
People whom Mrs. Pelosi is planning to meet with in Taiwan have been informed of her imminent arrival, this person said, though some details remain in flux. Some of Mrs. Pelosi’s meetings have been scheduled for Tuesday evening, but most are set for Wednesday, the person said, adding that they include, but aren’t limited to, Taiwanese government officials.
“She’s definitely coming,” the person said. “The only variable is whether she spends the night in Taipei.”
The trip is almost certain to anger Beijing, which has warned against a Taiwan visit by Mrs. Pelosi and threatened unspecified countermeasures should the visit take place, while the White House has urged calm.
“There is no reason to use a potential visit to justify or to spark some sort of crisis or conflict,” John Kirby, the White House’s National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications, told reporters Monday.
Well, we’ll see, won’t we? As for whether she spends the night in Taipei, is that something that China should worry about.
*Our (unscientific) poll yesterday shows a turnaround in reader sentiment about whether Trump will be indicted. 52% say “yes” while only 35% say “no”:
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili notices that the veranda has been cleaned:
Hili: It’s cleaned.A: But it wasn’t you who did the cleaning.Hili: But I got tired as well.
Hili: Posprzątane.Ja: Nie ty sprzątałaś.Hili: Ale ja się też zmęczyłam.
A Dave Whamond cartoon from Bruce:
From Facebook. (I bet the walls look brown, too!):
From Jesus of the Day;does the cat see it as prey or play?
The Tweet of God:
The right does evil well.
The left does good poorly.
— God (@TheTweetOfGod) July 31, 2022
From Barry, with an appropriate caption. I wonder if the bengal got ingested. . . .
Attack of the rare Venus Fly Cat…😏😂🐈📦 pic.twitter.com/kIcWevvnnA
— Fred Schultz (@FredSchultz35) July 31, 2022
Two Hawley jokes from Simon (the Senator has a new nickname: “Hawlass”):
Breaking News: pic.twitter.com/3nRvGrbPDQ
— Duty To Warn 🔉 (@duty2warn) July 29, 2022
Yes, he’s writing a book called “Manhood“.
Sen. Hawley's "Manhood" goes on sale next May.
Which as a friend pointed out is somewhat confusing since didn't he already sell his manhood on Jan 6?https://t.co/UllK8q7Qp7
— Kristin Du Mez (@kkdumez) July 28, 2022
From the Auschwitz Memorial: people often forget that many groups other than Jews were killed in the camps, including homosexuals, criminals, and Soviet prisoners of war. Here are the Roma:
2/3 August 1944 | The Germans liquidated the so-called Gypsy camp (Zigeunerlager – sector BIIe) of Auschwitz II-Birkenau. Some 4,200-4,300 children, women and men – the last Roma prisoners of the sector – were murdered in gas chambers. https://t.co/4oNbsPuWdU pic.twitter.com/HayVwSdBcf
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) August 2, 2022
Tweets from Matthew. Sound up for this one!
— Shane(⧖) (@sharkeee) July 31, 2022
It distresses me that these are from taxidermists, and were once living ducks. Still, Ireland has a lot of them!
I love this display in @DublinDeadZoo, apparently it's an old haberdashers shop window that was repurposed as an exhibition case and now it contains all the ducks you're likely to find in Ireland. pic.twitter.com/bGcINLsXiT
— Paolo Viscardi (@PaoloViscardi) July 29, 2022
I may have posted this before, but you can listen to the birb again. And yes, sound on.
A majestic Dandenong Ranges moment – being able to observe a Superb lyrebird in full throat. Simply an awesome birb.
— GPMooreEsq (@GPMooreEsq) July 23, 2022
Finally, a medieval cat. The drawing isn’t bad—except for the position of its forelegs!
a medieval french proverb: “aussi aise que ung chat qui ce baingne”
literally: “as comfortable as a cat in a bath”
meaning: not very comfortable pic.twitter.com/lK7bLKo1Ic
— weird medieval guys (@WeirdMedieval) July 21, 2022