Good day to you on Sunday, August 28, 2022. It’s National Cherry Turnover Day (the best turnover except for strawberry):
Stuff that happened on August 27 includes:
- 632 – Fatimah, daughter of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, dies, with her cause of death being a controversial topic among the Sunni Muslims and Shia Muslims.
It’s controversial because she married Ali, who became the first Shia, and their sons the first two Shia Imams. This caused the schism between Sunnis and Shias.
- 1565 – Pedro Menéndez de Avilés sights land near St. Augustine, Florida and founds the oldest continuously occupied European-established city in the continental United States
- 1789 – William Herschel discovers a new moon of Saturn: Enceladus.
This moon was revealed not that long ago to spew jets of water vapor from “volcanoes” near its South Pole, which, as ice particles, forms one of Saturn’s rings (the E-ring). Here’s a short documentary on the Enceladus.
- 1859 – The Carrington event is the strongest geomagnetic storm on record to strike the Earth. Electrical telegraph service is widely disrupted.
- 1898 – Caleb Bradham‘s beverage “Brad’s Drink” is renamed “Pepsi-Cola
From Wikipedia: “Bradham named his drink after a combination of the terms “pepsin” and “cola,” as he believed that his drink aided digestion much like the pepsin enzyme does, even though it was not used as an ingredient.”
- 1936 – Nazi Germany begins its mass arrests of Jehovah’s Witnesses, who are interned in concentration camps.
- 1955 – Black teenager Emmett Till is brutally murdered in Mississippi, galvanizing the nascent civil rights movement.
His mother Mamie insisted on an open casket so the world could see what racists had done to her son. Here’s a photo of her overlooking the battered body:
- 1957 – U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond begins a filibuster to prevent the United States Senate from voting on the Civil Rights Act of 1957; he stopped speaking 24 hours and 18 minutes later, the longest filibuster ever conducted by a single Senator.
- 1963 – March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom: Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gives his I Have a Dream speech.
Here’s the 6-minute speech with its cadence of a preacher. It’s one of the finest pieces of rhetoric ever:
- 1988 – Ramstein air show disaster: Three aircraft of the Frecce Tricolori demonstration team collide and the wreckage falls into the crowd. Seventy-five are killed and 346 seriously injured.
Here’s a video of that horrific accident.
- 1990 – Gulf War: Iraq declares Kuwait to be its newest province.
- 2003 – In “one of the most complicated and bizarre crimes in the annals of the FBI“, Brian Wells dies after becoming involved in a complex plot involving a bank robbery, a scavenger hunt, and a homemade explosive device.
This is too weird for me to describe. Click here to read about it.
*Some of the documents retrieved at Mar-A-Lago included sensitive “human intelligence,” which means name of spies from other countries or information they divulged that could break their cover. Revealing that information could lead to the death of sources, much less compromising intelligence operations. And some of that information was apparently in the documents seized at Trump’s Florida home, documents that he claimed to have “de-classified” by some numinous gesture.
Clandestine human sources are the lifeblood of any espionage service. This helps explain the grave concern within American agencies that information from undercover sources was included in some of the classified documents recently removed from Mar-a-Lago, the Florida home of former President Donald J. Trump — raising the prospect that the sources could be identified if the documents got into the wrong hands.
Mr. Trump has a long history of treating classified information with a sloppiness few other presidents have exhibited. And the former president’s cavalier treatment of the nation’s secrets was on display in the affidavit underlying the warrant for the Mar-a-Lago search. The affidavit, released in redacted form on Friday, described classified documents being found in multiple locations around the Florida residence, a private club where both members and their guests mingle with the former president and his coterie of aides.
Nothing in the documents released on Friday described the precise content of the classified documents or what risk their disclosure might carry for national security, but the court papers did outline the kinds of intelligence found in the secret material, including foreign surveillance collected under court orders, electronic eavesdropping on communications and information from human sources — spies.
They apparently contained the names of CIA informants in other countries, and to declassify them requires permission of the CIA. Of course Trump didn’t ask for that permission. Needless to say, documents like that shouldn’t be left lying around a beach mansion in Florida. This would constitute violations of the Espionage Act, and if it happened, Trump is in deep doo-doo.
*By the way, the NYT has an annotated version of the redacted affidavit. It’s most informative, and you can go from one explanation to another by pressing the “next” button on each annotation. Here’s one example: the redacted document and then the meaning of the yellow section:
*This is the headline from yesterday afternoon’s Washington Post website (click to read):
This website, founded by Trump after he was banned from Twitter, is what he uses to broadcast his views. But I wonder why on earth its financial decline, which parallels Trump’s own decline, is of interest to anyone. Well, here are a few words of what the WaPo sees as super important:
The company warned this week that its business could be damaged if Trump “becomes less popular or there are further controversies that damage his credibility.” The company has seen its stock price plunge nearly 75 percent since its March peak and reported in a filing last week that it had lost $6.5 million in the first half of the year.
The FBI search of Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Florida estate, fueled a burst of Truth Social user activity, and Trump himself has increasingly used the site as one of his main online megaphones. “WE GAVE THEM MUCH,” he said, or “truthed,” on Friday in reaction to an FBI affidavit about classified documents kept at his Palm Beach home.
I give this one a big yawn. But perhaps there are implications that I don’t understand.
*I didn’t know that 48 of the 50 U.S. states have “pay for stay” programs for people in jail, so that in principle ex-inmates can be charged “residence fees” as a way of reimbursing the taxpayer for their forcible stay. And while this isn’t always enforced, it can be pricey. The AP reports that a Florida woman, sent to prison or 2 1/2 years for drug crimes, was billed a whopping $83,762 for her stay: $249 per day (I don’t think I’ve paid anywhere close to that for a hotel room). She may lose her house to pay off that debt.
All but two states have so-called “pay-to-stay” laws that make prisoners pay for their time behind bars, though not every state actually pursues people for the money. Supporters say the collections are a legitimate way for states to recoup millions of taxpayer dollars spent on prisons and jails.
Critics say it’s an unfair second penalty that hinders rehabilitation by putting former inmates in debt for life. Efforts have been underway in some places to scale back or eliminate such policies.
Two states — Illinois and New Hampshire — have repealed their laws since 2019.
Connecticut also overhauled its statute this year, keeping it in place only for the most serious crimes, such as murder, and exempting prisoners from having to pay the first $50,000 of their incarceration costs.
Under the revised law, about 98% of Connecticut inmates no longer have to pay any of the costs of their incarceration after they get out, said state Rep. Steve Stafstrom, a Bridgeport Democrat and a sponsor of the repeal legislation.
It is an unfair penalty (and the rates are high), and hinders the ability of ex-prisoners to get back on their feet again. (I presume it won’t promote more crime to get money to pay the debts, because the IRS would probably be auditing their tax returns.) The cost of incarceration should be borne by the society that incarcerates, and they do too often and for too long in the U.S. The penalty should be loss of freedom, not a bill on top of that.
* I no longer regard an upcoming flight with equanimity, much less pleasure; it seems to me that about half of my flights are delayed, often substantially, and they never tell you why. The Wall Street Journal gets at the question with one answer: “Why is air travel so miserable? Blame Florida.” Space launches, military exercises, staffing issues, restrictions on number of flights, and of course storms—all of these, and more, ramify through all American airline traffic, because a delay in one state leads to delays in others:
Every major airline serves Florida, and some say more than a third of their flights cross its airspace. And even though airlines flew fewer U.S. domestic flights overall during the first half of the year, compared with 2019, they boosted the number there.
“It’s been a cluster and a half,” said Andrew Levy, chief executive of Avelo Airlines, a startup that has been expanding in Florida. Delays have become a regular headache, he said, with planes waiting for a chance to take off during hourslong ground stops. The airline is frequently off schedule due to factors Mr. Levy said are beyond its control: “It’s created enormous problems for us.”
Spirit Airlines Inc. said it would like to fly more to Florida but hasn’t been able to because of air-traffic-control constraints there. Flights from Florida to the continental U.S. account for about 40% of Spirit’s network, and would likely be closer to 50% absent that issue, said Matt Klein, the airline’s chief commercial officer, during an earnings call.
*Over at the WaPo, reporter Rachel Lerman tells us how much it cost to drive across the country—from San Francisco to Washington, D.C.—a seven-day journey of 3,511 miles. Now this was when gas prices were at their peak, but it was still pricer than I thought. Lerman also interviewed fellow travelers, all of whom are cutting back on other things because of the price of gas.
What was the cost?
My gas charges tallied up to $655 for the trip — less than it would have been in June, but surely more than if I had embarked on the trip last year. Share your experience with gas prices and inflation here.
So I just checked the price of a one-way fare on Southwest Airlines from San Francisco to Washington (Dulles) on October 4, a date chosen arbitrarily. The fare ranged from $244 to $301—less than half of what Lerman spent. Granted, she was moving, but is it any wonder that airline traffic has boomed after the pandemic let up. Now it’s going to get even more crowded.
I wonder if Southwest still gives out free snacks (soft drinks are free).
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Editor-in-Chief Hili is curmudgeonly (after all, at ten she’s now a Senior Cat):
A: Come here, you are needed.Hili: Never a quiet moment.
Ja: Chodź, jesteś potrzebna.Hili: Ani chwili spokoju.
. . . and a formal portrait of Szaron taken by Paulina:
Finally, here’s Mietek with a monologue. Look how he’s grown!
Mietek: I’m resting–so what?
From Tom: a Herman cartoon by Jim Unger. Tom calls this “legal quackery.”
From Jesus of the Day. I hope the newspaper changes every few days so the cat doesn’t get bored. . . (I may have posted it before, but if so you can get another grin.)
The Tweet of God, who’s ticked off because his name is used in vain:
Fuck you. https://t.co/QqFaXqO6h1
— God (@TheTweetOfGod) August 27, 2022
Someone who has no sense of reality, or even an ability to Google: there’s a “Titania McGrath” entry on Wikipedia.
I thought this Titania McGrath was a parody account. I don't think so now. She/It is for real. She really hates whites and she/it has 723k followers.
— Try Harder (@TryHard85673134) August 23, 2022
From Barry; The carpet may be beautiful, but you don’t want to touch it, much less step on it. . .
Beautiful carpet..😅 pic.twitter.com/teMVJ1tM5Z
— 𝕐o̴g̴ (@Yoda4ever) August 27, 2022
From Simon, who can’t decide whether he likes the academic comment or the safe better. It takes 13 sequential acts to open that safe. I wonder where it’s from, and how old it is; do any readers know?
Real footage of a reviewer logging in the editorial webpage to submit her referee report. pic.twitter.com/VYl9QuSrTV
— Khoa Vu (@KhoaVuUmn) August 26, 2022
From Luana. I love the stopping-traffic-for-waterfowl videos:
Heartwarming moment traffic stops to let a family of geese cross busy ring road in Manchester pic.twitter.com/SDs9jnw6x5
— Gabriele Corno (@Gabriele_Corno) August 26, 2022
From the Auschwitz Memorial:
28 August 1901 | A Dutch Jew, Hartog Barendse, was born in Rotterdam.
Deported to #Auschwitz in Jan 1943. He did not survive. His parents, wife & 3 children were murdered in Auschwitz. He had 7 brothers & 5 sisters – 7 were murdered in #Auschwitz. 2 of the siblings survived. pic.twitter.com/BVguxNR7W4
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) August 28, 2022
Tweets from Matthew: This is the most beautiful cloud I’ve ever seen, and I didn’t know they existed. This photo was taken in China, and you can read more about it, and about these clouds, here.
A spectacular Iridescent pileus cloud pic.twitter.com/RrjO7T3H9m
— Science girl (@gunsnrosesgirl3) August 26, 2022
Oh well, the tweet has disappeared, but here’s the cloud shown in the picture, taken from the “here” link above:
Read this heartwarming story at the Dodo. If only life could be like that site!
“They’d wrap their arms around each other and just gaze with such love at me." https://t.co/b9OVSY2lSF
— The Dodo (@dodo) August 27, 2022
I would have freaked out too!
For a split second I thought something had gone terribly, biblically wrong with my cat pic.twitter.com/YQWONLs0hm
— Eli Keren (@EliArieh) August 26, 2022