Good morning on Cat Sabbath: Saturday, August 13, 2022: National Filet Mignon Day, celebrating a cut of beef known for its tenderness but not its flavor.
It’s also National Prosecco Day, National Garage Sale Day, International Lefthanders Day, and World Organ Donation Day. I urge you to sign up for organ donation, which saves lives. It’s not as if you’re going to appear before God without your eyes or kidneys, you know.
Stuff that happened on August 13 includes:
- 1521 – After an extended siege, forces led by Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés capture Tlatoani Cuauhtémoc and conquer the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan.
- 1792 – King Louis XVI of France is formally arrested by the National Tribunal, and declared an enemy of the people.
- 1906 – The all black infantrymen of the U.S. Army’s 25th Infantry Regiment are accused of killing a white bartender and wounding a white police officer in Brownsville, Texas, despite exculpatory evidence; all are later dishonorably discharged. (Their records were later restored to reflect honorable discharges but there were no financial settlements.)
Of course, it took 66 years for the record to be corrected and the discharges changed. The regiment was called “The buffalo soldiers,” and here they are in 1890 in Montana:
- 1954 – Radio Pakistan broadcasts the “Qaumī Tarāna“, the national anthem of Pakistan for the first time.
National anthems, for some reason, tend to be boring and dire. But Pakistan’s isn’t too bad. Here it is, brought to you by Coke!
- 1961 – Cold War: East Germany closes the border between the eastern and western sectors of Berlin to thwart its inhabitants’ attempts to escape to the West, and construction of the Berlin Wall is started. The day is known as Barbed Wire Sunday.
This was really sneaky. As Wikipedia notes,
Under extreme secrecy, East German troops arrived at certain points to unload concrete, barbed wire, shovels, stone blocks and more. Stasi agents were stationed throughout major intersections between the Soviet and Western sectors of Germany.
Around 4 a.m., radio reports of commotion in the streets were being broadcast in West Berlin. By 4 p.m., half a million Berliners from both the West and East congregated around the sector. While police in West Berlin held back West Berliners who were calling for action, police in East Berlin were keeping its people away from the construction.
Here’s a short video of the closing of the border on August 13 and some Germans escaping at the last minute:
- 1964 – Peter Allen and Gwynne Evans are hanged for the murder of John Alan West becoming the last people executed in the United Kingdom.
- 1967 – Two young women became the first fatal victims of grizzly bear attacks in the 57-year history of Montana’s Glacier National Park in separate incidents.
*The NYT has a live feed giving updates on the condition of Salman Rushdie, who was stabbed several times yesterday while giving a talk in New York.I’ll update this on Saturday morning, but the news is cautiously hopeful. UPDATE: I’ll have a separate post on his condition, which is not good.
Mr. Rushdie was taken by helicopter to a local hospital, the state police said in a statement. His condition is not yet known. His agent, Andrew Wylie, said in an email Friday afternoon that Mr. Rushdie was undergoing surgery.
It was not clear what motivated the attacker.
Linda Abrams, from the Buffalo area, who was sitting on the front row, said the assailant kept trying to attack Mr. Rushdie even after he was restrained. “It took like five men to pull him away and he was still stabbing,” she said. “He was just furious, furious. Like intensely strong and just fast.”
Rita Landman, an endocrinologist who was in the audience, said that Mr. Rushdie had multiple stab wounds, including one to the right side of his neck, and that there was a pool of blood under his body. But she said he appeared to be alive. “People were saying, ‘He has a pulse, he has a pulse, he has a pulse,’” Ms. Landman said.
Given that Rushdie is an atheist, this is ironic:
The Chautauqua Institution said on Twitter that it was asking for “your prayers for Salman Rushdie and Henry Reese.” Mr. Reese, the moderator of the morning’s discussion, co-founded a program for exiled writers.
Apparently Rushdie’s personal protection lasted only a decade, and the NYT reports that security at the Chautaqua Institution is “light”.
[Rushde] was there for a discussion about the United States as a safe haven for exiled writers and other artists who are under the threat of persecution. The conversation was scheduled to be moderated by Mr. Reese, the co-founder of a Pittsburgh nonprofit, City of Asylum, which is a residency program for exiled writers.
Mr. Rushdie had just sat down and was being introduced when the assailant rushed the stage and assaulted him.
It’s horrible to think that someone who offends anyone else, whether it involves religion or not, would have to live in fear until they die. Rushdie lost his fear eventually, but perhaps his life as well.
*According to a Wall Street Journal report picked up by other papers, some of the documents found in the FBI raid on Trump’s Florida home were not only classified, but marked “top secret”. Trump claims he can wave his pudgy hand over a document and miraculously de-classify it, but I don’t think that’s true.
FBI agents who searched former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home Monday removed 11 sets of classified documents, including some marked as top secret and meant to be only available in special government facilities, according to documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation agents took around 20 boxes of items, binders of photos, a handwritten note and the executive grant of clemency for Mr. Trump’s ally Roger Stone, a list of items removed from the property shows. Also included in the list was information about the “President of France,” according to the three-page list. The list is contained in a seven-page document that also includes the warrant to search the premises which was granted by a federal magistrate judge in Florida.
The list includes references to one set of documents marked as “Various classified/TS/SCI documents,” an abbreviation that refers to top-secret/sensitive compartmented information. It also says agents collected four sets of top secret documents, three sets of secret documents, and three sets of confidential documents. The list didn’t provide any more details about the substance of the documents.
As for declassifying documents, it’s no surprise that Trump didn’t go through the procedure:
While a president has the power to declassify documents, federal regulations lay out a process for doing so. Those rules must be followed for a declassification to become legally effective, said Dan Meyer, a national-security lawyer at Tully Rinckey in Washington.
Once Mr. Trump left office on Jan. 20, 2021, he became bound by the same rules as other private citizens, Mr. Meyer said.
Finally, here’s what the warrant was about:
The warrant said investigators were seeking all records that could be evidence of violations of laws governing the gathering, transmitting or losing of classified information; the removal of official government records; and the destruction of records in a federal investigation.
*Have a look at Nellie Bowles’s weekly news summary on Bari Weiss’s site, this one called “TGIF: Dark Brandon Edition.” About the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago, Bowles says this:
In times like these, Matt Taibbi is unparalleled, and I highly recommend his essay on the raid.
The subheader of Taibbi’s essay is “The FBI really better have something “pulverizing” on Trump, because otherwise we’ve just witnessed one of the dumbest moves in the history of politics.” That’s probably a correct assessment.
Also from Bowles:
→ In Sunni v. Shiite violence, which one is the white supremacist? When four Muslim men were murdered in Albuquerque by an alleged serial killer who drove a dark grey sedan, everyone assumed the killer was some white supremacist. Biden came out to say: “My administration stands strongly with the Muslim community. … These hateful attacks have no place in America.” Turns out, the guy arrested and charged with so far two of the killings is a Sunni Muslim, and he may have been partly motivated by anger that his daughter married a Shiite Muslim. Yes, it’s true: Violence also exists outside of Western culture.
→ Speaking of censorship: Good progressives in England have removed Colson Whitehead’s “The Underground Railroad” from university reading lists. The book won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2017, which doesn’t say that much necessarily but I add my vote that it’s phenomenal. Why remove it? It has graphic depictions of slavery. Those depictions might upset people. It’s unclear how people are supposed to learn about something terrible like slavery without being upset, but perhaps Mr. Whitehead should consider a gentler sort of Goodnight Moon rendition for the delicate souls in ivory towers.
Finally, I couldn’t resist adding this one:
Meanwhile, in America, Boston Children’s Hospital was advertising a video called: “What happens during a gender affirming hysterectomy?” The video was made private (ie: no one can watch it) after critics noticed it, but you can still watch it here.
— Libs of TikTok (@libsoftiktok) August 11, 2022
I guess this relentlessly upbeat narrator is showing “affirmation.” Colin Wright was quoted on this in Andrew Sullivan’s latest Weekly Dish:
“Since exposing the Boston Children’s Hospital’s videos on ‘Gender-Affirming Hysterectomies’ and other procedures, 41 of their 90 videos have been set to private. What are they trying to hide? If the videos are simply giving valuable health info, why scramble to remove them?” – Colin Wright.
*If you haven’t been vaccinated for polio, I’d ask your doctor if now might be a good time. That’s because the polio virus has been found in New York City waste water for the first time in yonks. From the AP:
The virus that causes polio has been found in New York City’s wastewater in another sign that the disease, which hadn’t been seen in the U.S. in a decade, is quietly spreading among unvaccinated people, health officials said Friday.
The presence of the poliovirus in the city’s wastewater suggests likely local circulation of the virus, health authorities from the city, New York state and the federal government said.
The authorities urged parents to get their children vaccinated against the potentially deadly disease.
“The risk to New Yorkers is real but the defense is so simple — get vaccinated against polio,” New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan said. “With polio circulating in our communities there is simply nothing more essential than vaccinating our children to protect them from this virus, and if you’re an unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated adult, please choose now to get the vaccine. Polio is entirely preventable and its reappearance should be a call to action for all of us.”
Believe me, I’ve read a lot about polio (I went through a period of reading about the development of the Sabin and Salk vaccines), and you do NOT want to get it. As always, consult your doctor.
*Speaking of Taibbi’s essay mentioned above, there’s a similar one by David Brooks in yesterday’s NYT: “Did the FBI just re-elect Donald Trump?” And Brooks’s answer seems to be “Well, it sure looks like it.”
The investigation into Trump was seen purely as a heinous Regime plot. At least for now, the search has shaken the Republican political landscape. Several weeks ago, about half of Republican voters were ready to move on from Trump, according to a New York Times/Siena College poll. This week the entire party seemed to rally behind him. Republican strategists advising Trump’s potential primary opponents had reason to be despondent. “Completely handed him a lifeline,” one such strategist told Politico. “Unbelievable … It put everybody in the wagon for Trump again. It’s just taken the wind out of everybody’s sails.”
According to a Trafalgar Group/Convention of States Action survey, 83 percent of likely Republican voters said the F.B.I. search made them more motivated to vote in the 2022 elections. Over 75 percent of likely Republican voters believed Trump’s political enemies were behind the search rather than the impartial justice system, as did 48 percent of likely general election voters overall.
In a normal society, when politicians get investigated or charged, it hurts them politically. But that no longer applies to the G.O.P. The judicial system may be colliding with the political system in an unprecedented way.
But of course Brooks realizes that we can’t let Trump off the hook just because investigating him for crimes angers Republicans. To do that would send a message that some people are against the law. I think Merrick Garland did what he had to do to fulfill his job, and Republican petulance be damned. Even Brooks can’t reconcile justice with Republican fervor for a madman:
My impression is that the F.B.I. had legitimate reasons to do what it did. My guess is it will find some damning documents that will do nothing to weaken Trump’s support. I’m also convinced that, at least for now, it has unintentionally improved Trump’s re-election chances. It has unintentionally made life harder for Trump’s potential primary challengers and motivated his base.
It feels as though we’re walking toward some sort of storm and there’s no honorable way to alter our course.
In situations like this, I always think of the immortal words of Davy Crockett:
I leave this rule for others when I’m dead
Be always sure you’re right — THEN GO AHEAD!
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is nervous:
Hili: There is a snail outside the window.A: So what?Hili: Don’t let it in.
Hili: Za oknem jest ślimak.Ja: No to co?Hili: Nie wpuszczaj go do domu.
From Stash Krod. Where can I get one of these?
From Titania, a new version of Joan of Arc:
Joan of Arc was strong, courageous and independent, and so was clearly non-binary or trans.
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) August 12, 2022
They love it!
Backyard pool party 🥺💦 pic.twitter.com/6SVbsAguJ3
— why you should have a duck 🦆 (@shouldhaveaduck) August 11, 2022
This is hilarious—and true! (From Luana):
The thing I love about this 1972 George McGovern pin is that fifty years later no modern Democrat would dare replicate it. pic.twitter.com/RbxH0qmk94
— Hunter DeRensis (@HunterDeRensis) August 11, 2022
From Simon: one of the classic cases of mimicry. The mantid hides in an orchid (looking just like it) and waits for the pollinators to arrive. . . .
Orchid Mantis. 🌷🦗🌸pic.twitter.com/8lR91T4Cgh
— Cosmic Gaia (@CosmicGaiaX) August 11, 2022
From Malcolm. News stations and news sites really need better fact-checking:
How misinformation spreads through liberal networks:
1. Pediatrics publishes study claiming there are 3 studies showing trans kids interpret "sex" to mean biosex
2. None of them do
3. At NBC News @JoYurcaba links to all three w/o reading them, amplifying the false claim
— Jesse Singal (@jessesingal) August 10, 2022
From the Auschwitz Memorial, a French criminal (apparently not Jewish) who lasted a month:
13 August 1897 | A Frenchman, Claude Cellier, was born in Messimy.
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) August 13, 2022
Tweets from His Honor Dr. Cobb. Matthew calls this “an amazing thread of fear and craziness”, but I was caught up in it too–disinfecting my groceries when I brought them home. Remember that? Look what people are wearing for masks!
March 2020, people were losing their minds pic.twitter.com/DYBL8WWtMM
— Samantha (@itssamanthaaaa_) August 10, 2022
Duck pwns cat.But is that duck eating TUNA??
— Ink Blot (@inkblotio) August 10, 2022