Welcome to cat shabbos: Saturday, September 3, 2022, and the first day of America’s Labor Day weekend holiday. It’s National Baby Back Ribs Day, a Chicago speciality, though I prefer rib tips. Below is an order of tips and hot links (complete with slice bread and 5 grams of “vegetable” (cole slaw). This Chicago classis is from Uncle J’s Bar B Que, not too far from where I live. Maybe I’ll get some this weekend. I have tips and links all over Chicago, and this is the best, at least for tips. I’ve since abjured the links and always get a “large tips, mild sauce.”
Note: these are not kosher.
In case you were wondering, the longest recorded beard is a full 17 feet and 6 inches long, sported by Hans Langseth (1846-1927), a Norwegian-American. His beard is now sitting somewhere in the Smithsonian. Two photos and a note:
The problem with growing the longest beard in the world, however, (besides needing incredible patience) is that beard hair can only grow about five feet before it dies. If you mat the dead hair together into coil-like dreadlocks, however, it adds a bit of length and strengthens the beard. This is what Langseth did, and it subsequently created a timeline of sorts for his life thereafter.
Stuff that happened on September 3 includes:
- 301 – San Marino, one of the smallest nations in the world and the world’s oldest republic still in existence, is founded by Saint Marinus.
This is a country with two leaders who are coequal and serve simultaneously. It’s only 61 km2 (24 sq mi), and has a population of 33,562. I’ve never been there. Have any readers? Here it is:
The entire nation:
- 1189 – Richard I of England (a.k.a. Richard “the Lionheart”) is crowned at Westminster.
- 1658 – The death of Oliver Cromwell; Richard Cromwell becomes Lord Protector of England.
- 1783 – American Revolutionary War: The war ends with the signing of the Treaty of Paris by the United States and the Kingdom of Great Britain.
Here’s the first of 15 pages that ended the war:
- 1838 – Future abolitionist Frederick Douglass escapes from slavery.
- 1933 – Yevgeniy Abalakov is the first man to reach the highest point in the Soviet Union, Communism Peak (now called Ismoil Somoni Peak and situated in Tajikistan) (7495 m).
Here’s the peak. Is there a Capitalism Peak?
- 1935 – Sir Malcolm Campbell reaches a speed of 304.331 miles per hour on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, becoming the first person to drive an automobile over 300 mph.
A short news report of the record:
- 1939 – World War II: France, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia declare war on Germany after the invasion of Poland, forming the Allied nations. The Viceroy of India also declares war, but without consulting the provincial legislatures.
- 1941 – The Holocaust: Karl Fritzsch, deputy camp commandant of the Auschwitz concentration camp, experiments with the use of Zyklon B in the gassing of Soviet POWs.
It was of course used to gas many Jews later on. Here are two labels of the gas, which comes in the form of hydrogen cyanide mixed with diatomaceous earth, which were used as evidence in the Nuremberg trials. “Giftgas” means “poison gas.” (See tweet below.)
- 1944 – Holocaust: Diarist Anne Frank and her family are placed on the last transport train from the Westerbork transit camp to the Auschwitz concentration camp, arriving three days later.
A tweet sent by Matthew:
3 September 1944 | The last transport of Jews left #Westerbork camp in the German-occupied #Netherlands to the #Auschwitz camp. 1,019 people were deported, among them Anne Frank, her sister Margot and their parents Otto and Edith. #AnneFrank @annefrankhouse pic.twitter.com/aiyPBK05nn
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) September 3, 2022
- 2016 – The U.S. and China, together responsible for 40% of the world’s carbon emissions, both formally ratify the Paris global climate agreement.
*As the Mar-a-Lago documents seized from Trump come into view, the man just gets deeper into trouble. Now I’m thinking the odds are greater than 50/50 that he’ll be indicted. The Washington Post reports that the government documents were all jumbled up with non-government stuff, and that some folders labeled “classified” were empty. Here’s a list:
Among the items seized from Mar-a-Lago, according to the inventory list:
- 103 government documents with classified markings
- 31 with “confidential” classification markings.
- 54 with “secret” classification markings.
- 18 with “top secret” classification markings.
- More than 11,100 documents government documents/photographs without classification markings
- 48 empty folders with “CLASSIFIED” banners
- 42 empty folders labeled “Return to Staff Secretary/Mili[t]ary Aide”
- Around 20 gift items or articles of clothing
The gifts found in the FBI search raise a separate set of issues than the classified documents, which contain information that could compromise national security or sensitive intelligence-gathering methods and sources. Under federal law, presidents and other government officials are prohibited from keeping gifts from a foreign government that are worth more than $415. Typically, a president or a government official would submit any gift to the Office of the Chief of Protocol for a valuation and assessment. Gifts under $415 are traditionally transferred to the National Archives or a Presidential Library when the president leaves office.
That’s not a jail-able offense, but it’s another violation of federal law. Right now U.S. District Judge Aileen M. Cannon is reviewing Trump’s request for a “special master” to adjudicate whether the ex-President had a right to those documents. (BTW, has anybody pointed out that the word “master” used in this way is construed as insensitive?). Within a week, I suspect, she’ll issue a written ruling about whether Trump had any executive privilege, as he claims, to remove the documents from the White House and hold onto them.
*John McWhorter’s latest column in the NYT has a jawbreaker of a title, but it gives his point right at the top, “I see no Black pride in finding that calling out prejudice is more interesting in countering it with achievement.” It’s aimed at those wokesters who think their job is done when they sniff out racism and decry it. McWhorter, in contrast, thinks that the job is done only when prejudice is dispelled with facts. He starts with an incident when he was marginalized from an all-white group of men in a trivia contest, and then answered a hard question on musical theater, proving that he wasn’t clueless because he was black.
Last week, I explored the idea that the supposedly progressive approach to a standardized test with a disparate pass rate is to eliminate it. Related are ideas such as that antiracism means not requiring classics majors to learn Latin or Greek, or that the very idea of remedial education or the term “remediation” might be racist.
I will never embrace that perspective. Underestimation must be countered with demonstration, not indignation. If anyone stereotypes me, what I want to do is show them just how wrong they are, not protest that they engaged in stereotyping. An analogy: No one would be swayed by someone who accused of, for example, infidelity, sobs “You’re mean!” and has no further answer.
But what if you’re not as smart as McWhorter? His response:
Now, there are times when history has made it challenging for us to show what we are made of, unlike when I happened to know the answer to that little quiz question. But the ordinary, vital, self-loving response to such a problem is to step up and learn how to show ourselves at our best. Yep, it’s a kind of Black Tax — having to demonstrate your worth before someone considers you their equal. But in response to a slight or a remark, just saying “You shouldn’t have said that” instead? It just leaves us looking weak.
And “show ourselves at our best” doesn’t just include intelligence, but all the qualities comprised by human dignity: empathy, civility, pride in one’s accomplishments, and so on. Here’s someone who does the work instead of constantly beefing about racism. And the work works (details in the article):
Freeman Hrabowski is a Black mathematician who helped found, at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, the Meyerhoff Scholars Program. The program has been fostering and guiding students of color through the challenges of STEM fields and preparing them for academic research since the late 1980s. Many Black and Latino students face obstacles to high achievement in STEM subjects — and the Meyerhoff program is geared toward solving that problem. ‘
McWhorter contrasts Hrabowski with someone whom a lot of us have encountered, and who makes her living by beefing about racism:
Hrabowski is, to adopt a fashionable expression, doing the work. Others, however, strike me as more interested in the obstacles than in getting past them. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein is an accomplished Black physicist at the University of New Hampshire who has argued that the exclusion of Black women in her field is linked to her notion of “white empiricism.” Namely, “white empiricism is the phenomenon through which only white people (particularly white men) are read has having a fundamental capacity for objectivity and Black people (particularly Black women) are produced as an ontological other.” Prescod-Weinstein wants us to consider that “white epistemic claims about science — which are not rooted in empirical evidence — receive more credence and attention than Black womens epistemic claims about their own lives.”
Her argument is rather involved, and sincere from what I can see. However, at the end of the day, I doubt we gain more from its approach than Hrabowski’s.
No we don’t. You can see my own thoughts on Prescod-Weinstein’s dubious arguments in a post here from 2019. McWhorter’s peroration:
. . . But the general theme should be that Black people can meet standards that other groups are meeting. The question shouldn’t be whether the standards themselves are appropriate. There will be skepticism, from some quarters, about our capabilities. But I see no Black pride in finding that skepticism — and the prejudice it entails — more interesting than countering it with actual achievement. What we are is what we have done, not what we have said.
*The NYT has an amusing “graphic editorial” by artist Wendy MacNaughton, “How to have fun again.” Many of us, including me, have lost the knack of having fun during the pandemic, and I’m told by a psychologist that this is a widespread phenomenon. Staying home alone for a couple of years without much social contact can do this. MacNaughton, afflicted with this malaise, begins her cure with a roll in the grass and then suggest several ways to have fun (this is all through her art). The goal (Price’s book is here)
One way to achieve it:
That’s a good one. (I also recommend communing with ducks.) Here’s one more:
*Nellie Bowles is on pregnancy (or childbirth) leave from Bari Weiss’s column, and I miss her snarky “TGIF” summary of the news each week. Today Meghan Daum takes over with the column, “TGIF: Queen of the court and the princess of Montecito.”. A few of Daum’s takes on the news:
→ Republicans are starting to sweat: And not just because it’s 5,000 degrees across a large swath of the country. The latest tracking shows support for Democrats surging, thanks to factors like the unpopularity of the Dobbs decision and the former president’s absolute refusal to exit stage right.
Even in Alaska, the GOP may be on melting ice. On Wednesday, Sarah Palin’s attempt at a political comeback fell apart. She took a surprise loss in a special election to fill a House seat for the remainder of the year. The winner is Democrat Mary Peltola, who flips the seat and becomes the first Democrat to hold it in nearly 50 years. She’s also the first Alaska Native elected to Congress. (The race was Alaska’s first state-wide ranked-choice voting—a system that eliminates the lowest-ranked candidate if no one gets more than 50 percent of the vote. It’s a policy that political independents like Andrew Yang have been pushing for a while.)
Things change quite quickly, don’t they. Here’s another:
→ GOP donors are bigly pissed at Trump. It looks increasingly likely that Trump will face a DOJ indictment. The Mar-a-Lago nothingburger—“closer to a bookkeeping issue than a national security threat,” according to Ohio Rep. Mike Turner, the lead Republican on the House Intelligence Committee—may turn into red meat for the Democrats. It seemed at first that the FBI search would redound to Trump’s benefit. Now, not so much. Even Trump ally Newt Gingrich has urged GOP candidates to focus on bashing Biden rather than defending Trump, and someone described as a “top Republican fundraiser” was quoted in multiple outlets conveying donors’ “enormous frustration” over Trump’s behavior.
→ Chaos in Portland, OR: This city cannot catch a break. Last weekend, there were nine shootings. Eight of them happened on Sunday during illegal street racing takeovers, in which crowds blocked intersections and people were seen carrying flamethrowers. Elsewhere in the city, six people were shot in the last week, including one man who was killed while dumpster diving. There were 788 shootings in Portland as of July 31 of this year. That’s 67 more than last year. And it’s 415 more than in 2020 during the same time frame. (Read more here.)
And they wanted to defund the police in Portlandia. It’s getting more like Chicago, where we’ve had a terribly violent two years; and now street-racing is burgeoning here, too.
*The conservative National Review has a piece on the increasing use of DEI statements for med-school applicants. Would you see this survey in the NYT or Washington Post? (h/t: Jon)
The best medical schools in the country are weeding out applicants who are insufficiently devoted to the leftist creed of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), according to a new report released by the non-profit Do No Harm.
Do No Harm, a nonprofit dedicated to “protect[ing] healthcare from a radical, divisive, and discriminatory ideology,” conducted an analysis of medical school application processes which found that these selective institutions are raising an additional barrier to entry on top of the strenuous testing and grade requirements.
“A review of the admissions process at 50 of the top-ranked medical schools found that 36 asked applicants their views on, or experience in, DEI efforts,” reads the Do No Harm report, which was obtained by National Review. “Many were overt in asking applicants if they agreed with certain statements about racial politics and the causes of disparate health outcomes.”
According to the report, medical schools are asking these questions in order to “turn ideological support for health equity and social justice initiatives into a credential that increases an applicant’s chance of acceptance,” “screen out dissenters,” and “signal to all applicants that they are expected to support this new cause.”
36 out of 50 is 72%, soon to be about 100%. DEI statement are a statement of fealty to an ideology, which should not be required for medical schools, especially because among all training institutions, this should be the ones most dedicated to acceptance based on merit.
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is inquisitive:
Hili: Are there questions nobody has asked?A: Yes, there are.Hili: Where?A: They are hovering in the air.
Hili: Czy są pytania, których nikt nie zadał?Ja: Są.Hili: Gdzie ?Ja: Wiszą w powietrzu.
From Divy: a Gary Larson Far Side cartoon:
And I’m going to add today’s cartoon. Shouldn’t one fly have a dummy swatter?
The Tweet of God. Actually, I wouldn’t miss all the people who make me mad. Apparently someone deleted God’s tweet, but the words are below?
Next time you’re pondering suicide, think of all the people you would miss laughing at.
— God (@TheTweetOfGod) September 2, 2022
I found this one:
Petting the hands of an otter..🦦🦦🥰 pic.twitter.com/yaJ4J2pdjS
— 𝕐o̴g̴ (@Yoda4ever) September 1, 2022
I wish I could be as chill as a capybara:
— why you should have a duck 🦆 (@shouldhaveaduck) September 1, 2022
From Simon, who says “This is not a ghost in the machine” (Sadly, this video has also been removed.)
Wait for it.. 😂 pic.twitter.com/LLNEtHQgUg
— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden) September 1, 2022
From the Auschwitz Memorial: an event as well as many executed on this day:
3 September 1941 | 1st mass attempt of killing people with pesticide Zyklon B took place in the basement of camp arrest of the German Nazi #Auschwitz camp (Block 13, later Block 11).
650 Soviet POWs and 260 Polish prisoners were murdered. pic.twitter.com/qCAtsv9wiR
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) September 3, 2022
Tweets from Mattew. Here are all his bosses at once. Ollie is the one who lay open my nose with his claws:
Three cats on a bed this morning (clockwise: Harry, Ollie, Pepper). pic.twitter.com/imFtRPIKdl
— Matthew Cobb (@matthewcobb) August 30, 2022
— Sam Freedman (@Samfr) September 2, 2022
This one isn’t too hard:
Time to play spot the odd-one-out on the snack menu in the local Greenland cafe pic.twitter.com/IZuaNBdnZg
— marnie chesterton (@amsterdammed) August 30, 2022
Watch this because the plane lands at the end. I think it’s flying right by Rockefeller University (where I started grad school), heading south on the East Side. You can see the UN buildings, too:
A friend approaches Manhattan by seaplane pic.twitter.com/WgVAsqVOB1
— Market Urbanism (@MarketUrbanism) August 29, 2022