Good morning on August 23, 2022, and National Cuban Sandwich Day. It turns out that this is only a mild form of cultural appropriation since the sandwich was devised by Cuban immigrants working on sugar plantations in Florida. They are good, though. From Wikipedia:
Although there is some debate as to the contents of a “true” Cuban sandwich, most are generally agreed upon. The traditional Cuban sandwich starts with Cuban bread. The loaf is sliced into lengths of 8–12 inches (20–30 cm), lightly buttered or brushed with olive oil on the crust, and cut in half horizontally. A coat of yellow mustard is spread on the bread and the meats are added in layers: roast pork (Pernil or sometimes marinated in mojo), glazed ham, and salami. Swiss cheese and thinly sliced dill pickles complete the traditional ingredients.
Once assembled, a Cuban sandwich can be toasted in a sandwich press called a plancha, which is similar to a panini press but without grooved surfaces. The plancha both heats and compresses the sandwich, which remains in the press until the bread surface is slightly crispy and the cheese has begun to melt. It is usually cut into diagonal halves before serving.
It’s also National Spongecake Day, Buttered Corn Day, Hug your Sweetheart Day, International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition, and European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism.
Today’s Google Doodle (click on screenshot) celebrates the birthday and life of Anna Mani (August 23, 1918-2001). Her Wikipedia bio notes this:
Anna Mani (23 August 1918 – 16 August 2001) was an Indian physicist and meteorologist. She retired as the Deputy Director General of the Indian Meteorological Department and served as a visiting professor at the Raman Research Institute. Mani made contributions to the field of meteorological instrumentation, conducted research, and published numerous papers on solar radiation, ozone, and wind energy measurements.
- 30 BC – After the successful invasion of Egypt, Octavian executes Marcus Antonius Antyllus, eldest son of Mark Antony, and Caesarion, the last king of the Ptolemaic dynasty of Egypt and only child of Julius Caesar and Cleopatra.
- 79 – Mount Vesuvius begins stirring, on the feast day of Vulcan, the Roman god of fire.
- 1305 – Sir William Wallace is executed for high treason at Smithfield, London.
Here’s the scene of Wallace, drawn and quartered, from the movie Braveheart. You don’t want to know what’s going on below his chest.
- 1831 – Nat Turner’s rebellion of enslaved Virginians is suppressed .
- 1898 – The Southern Cross Expedition, the first British venture of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration, departs from London.
This expedition set a record for going the farthest south, and is notable in other ways:
The brainchild of the Anglo-Norwegian explorer Carsten Borchgrevink, it was the first expedition to over-winter on the Antarctic mainland, the first to visit the Great Ice Barrier—later known as the Ross Ice Shelf—since Sir James Clark Ross’s groundbreaking expedition of 1839 to 1843, and the first to effect a landing on the Barrier’s surface. It also pioneered the use of dogs and sledges in Antarctic travel.
Here’s Borchgrevink using a theodolite in front of the expedition’s ship, the S.S. Southern Cross:
- 1923 – Captain Lowell Smith and Lieutenant John P. Richter performed the first mid-air refueling on De Havilland DH-4B, setting an endurance flight record of 37 hours.
Here are Bartolomeo Vanzetti (left) and Nicola Sacco (right); both were executed though it’s likely that although Sacco was guilty of felony murder, Vanzetti was innocent:
- 1966 – Lunar Orbiter 1 takes the first photograph of Earth from orbit around the Moon.
- 1973 – A bank robbery gone wrong in Stockholm, Sweden, turns into a hostage crisis; over the next five days the hostages begin to sympathise with their captors, leading to the term “Stockholm syndrome“.
Here’s a photo of the perp, Clark Olofsson, with some hostages in the bank vault. Although he held them six days, they bonded with him, and ultimately Olofsson was sentenced to only ten years of prison.
- 1990 – West and East Germany announce that they will reunite on October 3.
- 1991 – The World Wide Web is opened to the public.
- 2007 – The skeletal remains of Russia’s last royal family members Alexei Nikolaevich, Tsarevich of Russia, and his sister Grand Duchess Anastasia are discovered near Yekaterinburg, Russia.
More were found later, and here’s the whole family interred at the St. Petersburg Cathedral, photographed on August 1, 2011:
*As you recall, a federal judge has ordered the Department of Justice to “unseal” part of the affidavit that led to the raid on Mar-a-Lago, and that means revealing what sort of criminal investigation they were conducting and why they were looking for the evidence they sought. But the judge left it up to the DOJ, which didn’t want any of the affidavit unsealed, to decide which parts could be released. That’s led to a story in the Washington Post reporting the expected outcome. It turns out that the judge will look at the proposed redactions and decide if the censored document can be released:
After hearing arguments in court on Thursday, Federal Magistrate Judge Bruce E. Reinhart ordered Justice Department officials to submit proposed redactions by Thursday at noon Eastern time.
The Justice Department has opposed releasing the document, saying that its investigation is in the “early stages” and that making the affidavit public could chill potential witnesses, risk the safety of those already interviewed and reveal future investigative steps. News organizations are pushing for its disclosure, citing public interest in a case stemming from Trump’s possession of classified documents.
“I cannot say at this point that partial redactions will be so extensive that they will result in a meaningless disclosure, but I may ultimately reach that conclusion after hearing further from the Government,” Reinhart said in the written order Monday.
Perhaps because I’m a Democrat, I’m on the side of the DOJ. Although I favored release of the Pentagon Papers and other “classified” information, if the release of information here really does endanger people and is legal, I’d say the legal system takes precedence over the press’s right to know.
*But on the other hand, conservative columnist Henry Olsen in the Washington Post writes “Let voters read virtually all of the Mar-a-Lago search affidavit.” His rationale?
The FBI’s search of Mar-a-Lago was a legal proceeding, but it was also a political act. Attorney General Merrick Garland’s decision to authorize the raid infuriated tens of millions of people — and excited an equal number who have long wanted their bête noire thrown in jail. Regardless of whether the FBI search uncovered potentially valuable evidence for a criminal investigation, these equal and opposite reactions are its primary social impact.
This fact means that it’s not appropriate for the judge to follow normal procedures in assessing how much of the affidavit to reveal. The more that is kept secret, the less public justification — and in politics, public knowledge is crucial for legitimacy — there is for the search. That lack of information helps fuel the attacks on the FBI, both verbal and physical, that further undermine our entire federal law enforcement system. Those consequences cannot be in the public interest.
Reinhart should also consider the impact on the nation if an investigation conducted largely in secret results in an indictment of Trump or someone close to him. Many Trump supporters already believe, with much justification, that there’s a “deep state” conspiracy to bring their hero down. Secrecy would feed political unrest that has societal effects that are more important to the nation’s well-being than the investigation itself.
“Deep state conspiracy to bring their hero down?” Justifiable? I don’t think it’s a conspiracy, but a WIDESPREAD HOPE!
. . . Disclosure of the affidavit would provide concrete and specific information, beyond what “people familiar with the investigation” say to the news media, that the public could assess to determine for themselves if the search was justified.
These considerations mean that Reinhart should resist any temptation to release a heavily redacted affidavit. That result would be worse than if he released nothing at all. Conspiracy theorists would be quick to contend that the release was a sham intended to conceal the truth.
Forgive me, but I beg to disagree. Either Trump isn’t indicted, in which case nothing happens except that Republicans get pissed off, or he is, and the information will come out in the courts.
*The Russians are now claiming that the death of Daria Dugina in a deliberate car bombing was planned and executed by Ukrainians. Daria’s father is a prominent supporter of Putin and a big backer of the invasion of Ukraine, and, I hear, so is Daria. As I mentioned yesterday, I think that this operation that would be a stupid thing for Ukrainians to do, as this is really a war crime: the execution of civilians. I don’t think that a savvy regime would do this, so for the time being I’ll reserve judgment about the Russian accusation.
Ukraine has denied having anything to do with the car bombing on Saturday that killed Ms. Dugina, 29, on a highway in an affluent district outside of Moscow.
Russia’s domestic intelligence agency, the F.S.B., issued a statement on Monday saying that the attack “was prepared and committed by the Ukrainian intelligence agencies.” The claim could not be independently verified.
Some Russian media reports had said that Ms. Dugina’s father, Aleksandr Dugin, an ultranationalist writer who helped build the ideological foundation for President Vladimir V. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, was the likely target of the blast.
But the F.S.B.’s statement described Ms. Dugina — herself a hawkish commentator who had earned a following with frequent appearances on state media — as the intended target.
*This column by the estimable Maggie Haberman is five days old, but well worth reading, “Another Trump mystery: why did he resist returning the government’s documents?”
The question, as with so much else around Mr. Trump, is why? Why did he insist on refusing to turn over government papers that by law did not belong to him, igniting another legal conflagration? As with so much else related to Mr. Trump, there is not one easy answer.
Here are the main possibilities.
I’ll give her list and a precis, but you’ll have to read for yourself:
Exciting documents. Mr. Trump, a pack rat who for decades showed off knickknacks in his overstuffed Trump Tower office — including a giant shoe that once belonged to the basketball player Shaquille O’Neal — treated the nation’s secrets as similar trinkets to brandish.
“L’état, c’est moi”: “From my own experiences with him, which is bolstered by those around him who are speaking in his defense, his actions seem to fit the pattern that as ‘king,’ he and the state are one and the same,” said Mark S. Zaid, a lawyer who frequently handles cases related to national security and security clearances, including during the Trump presidency. “He seems to honestly believe that everything he touches belongs to him, and that includes government documents that might be classified.”
Ripping up paper: He also had a habit of ripping up paper, from routine documents to classified material, and leaving the pieces strewn around the floor or in a trash can. Officials would have to rummage through the shreds and tape them back together to recreate the documents in order to store them as required under the Presidential Records Act.
Personal information: Mr. Trump, Mr. Bolton said, never told him he planned to take a document and use it for something beyond its value as a memento.
It was “sort of whatever he wants to grab for whatever reason,” Mr. Bolton said. “He may not even fully appreciate” precisely why he did certain things.
But officials worried, particularly about the documents falling into the wrong hands.
Other advisers wondered if Mr. Trump kept some documents because they contained details about people he knew.
Haberman comes to no conclusion, and mine is “all of the above”, for the man is mentally ill and it’s impossible to suss out his motives.
*The Associated Press reports a severe and disturbing shrinkage of glaciers in Switzerland, but they’re shrinking nearly everywhere in the world. I wonder why?
Switzerland’s 1,400 glaciers have lost more than half their total volume since the early 1930s, a new study has found, and researchers say the ice retreat is accelerating at a time of growing concerns about climate change.
ETH Zurich, a respected federal polytechnic university, and the Swiss Federal Institute on Forest, Snow and Landscape Research on Monday announced the findings from a first-ever reconstruction of ice loss in Switzerland in the 20th century, based in part on an analysis of changes to the topography of glaciers since 1931.
The researchers estimated that ice volumes on the glaciers had shrunk by half over the subsequent 85 years — until 2016. Since then, the glaciers have lost an additional 12%, over just six years.
“Glacier retreat is accelerating. Closely observing this phenomenon and quantifying its historical dimensions is important because it allows us to infer the glaciers’ responses to a changing climate,” said Daniel Farinotti, a co-author of the study, which was published in scientific journal The Cryosphere.
By area, Switzerland’s glaciers amount to about half of all the total glaciers in the European Alps.
The article goes on to explain how they managed to come up with this figure. Since it’s the Swiss, I assume they’re pretty close, giving us just one more cause to worry about what we know is going to happen.
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is leveling false accusations at Kulka:
Hili: Kulka has drunk up all the water from the bucket.A: I think that you are exaggerating.
Hili: Kulka wypiła całą wodę z wiadra.Ja: Chyba przesadzasz.
Marie sent a Far Side cartoon by Gary Larson:
From Divy, a Scott Metzger cartoon:
The Tweet of God:
"There's massive flooding somewhere and you're powerless to stop it" is the new "there's a school shooting somewhere and you're powerless to stop it".
— God (@TheTweetOfGod) August 22, 2022
Speaking of God, here’s a response to one of his tweets
Sorry, did you say something? pic.twitter.com/2eGO2nDSF8
— The Real Steve McGuin (@McguinThe) August 6, 2022
From Malcolm. I may have posted this a while back, but, hey, it’s still worth seeing:
How dare you disturb us! pic.twitter.com/MaaFQx0DBb
— Meriel (@MerielMyers) August 14, 2022
No, I’m mad at Scientific American because they make up stuff and distort science for ideological ends.
I think a lot of people who get mad at Scientific American whenever we point out problems in science or elevate DEIJ issues — people who use "woke" as an insult — are really upset that science doesn't belong just to them anymore
— Laura Helmuth (@laurahelmuth) August 12, 2022
I’ll take a dozen!
— why you should have a duck 🦆 (@shouldhaveaduck) August 21, 2022
From the Auschwitz Memorial: gassed at three:
23 August 1941 | A Yugoslavian Jewish girl, Verica Beck, was born.
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) August 23, 2022
Tweets from Matthew: A clever answer to first the tweet’s question:
Safe quacking. https://t.co/j3WX6ZCU4i
— Adam Roberts (@arrroberts) August 22, 2022
70% answered “human abstractions”. They’re wrong, but read chapter 1 of my book with Allen Orr, Speciation, to see why.
Query to my academic bubble: are species real evolutive/ontological entities OR human abstractions created to organize and understand the biological diversity?
— Felipe Pinheiro (@FeliPinheir) August 21, 2022
This is adorable: a goat who thinks it’s a cat:
Baby goat grows up thinking she's a cat 💕 pic.twitter.com/KvzBtIJi08
— The Dodo (@dodo) August 22, 2022