Greetings on the Cruelest day: Tuesday, and it’s September 20, 2022: National Rum Punch Day. This is appropriate, coming as it does on the heels of Talk Like a Pirate Day!
I bet you were wondering, “How DO they make string cheese?” (I love it.) Here’s the answer:
Today’s Google Doodle reminds Americans to register to vote (click on screenshot). I am permanently registered to vote by mail, which is quite convenient as you can take your time.
Stuff that happened on September 20 includes:
- 1519 – Ferdinand Magellan sets sail from Sanlúcar de Barrameda with about 270 men on his expedition which ultimately culminated in the first circumnavigation the globe.
- 1881 – U.S. President Chester A. Arthur is sworn in upon the death of James A. Garfield the previous day.
- 1893 – Charles Duryea and his brother road-test the first American-made gasoline-powered automobile.
Here are the brothers in 1894 in one of their early cars:
- 1942 – The Holocaust in Ukraine: In the course of two days a German Einsatzgruppe murders at least 3,000 Jews in Letychiv.
Here’s one of the famous (or notorious photos from that area at the time (photos of mass executions are rare, as the Nazis didn’t want to leave a record. The Wikipedia caption:
Executions of Jews by German army mobile killing units (Einsatzgruppen) near Ivangorod Ukraine. The photo was mailed from the Eastern Front to Germany and intercepted at a Warsaw post office by a member of the Polish resistance collecting documentation on Nazi war crimes. The original print was owned by Tadeusz Mazur and Jerzy Tomaszewski and now resides in Historical Archives in Warsaw. The original German inscription on the back of the photograph reads, “Ukraine 1942, Jewish Action [operation], Ivangorod.”
Note that a mother with her child is also about to be shot:
- 1962 – James Meredith, an African American, is temporarily barred from entering the University of Mississippi.
He enrolled formally on October 2. And this is what it took to enforce it: “U.S. Army trucks loaded with steel-helmeted federal agents roll across the University of Mississippi campus on October 3, 1962.” Despite what some say, it’s palpably true that racism has lessened since those days:
- 1973 – Billie Jean King beats Bobby Riggs in the Battle of the Sexes tennis match at the Houston Astrodome.
Here’s match point. Although it was the “battle of the sexes,” I was rooting for King. Riggs was a loudmouthed, porcine boor.
- 1973 – Singer Jim Croce, songwriter and musician Maury Muehleisen and four others die when their light aircraft crashes on takeoff at Natchitoches Regional Airport in Louisiana.
We lost Croce way too soon; he had a lot of good songs left in him. This is my favorite, “Operator,” and he’s playing it with Muelheisen.
- 2001 – In an address to a joint session of Congress and the American people, U.S. President George W. Bush declares a “War on Terror“.
- 2011 – The United States military ends its “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, allowing gay men and women to serve openly for the first time.
- 2019 – Roughly four million people, mostly students, demonstrate across the world to address climate change. Sixteen-year-old Greta Thunberg from Sweden leads the demonstration in New York City.
Whatever happened to Greta? I haven’t heard much about her lately. Did you know that four animal species were named after her?
*Although I didn’t watch the entire funeral service for Queen Elizabeth, the parts I saw were more moving than I expected. As a reader emailed me, “Nobody does ceremony as well as the British.” The two moments I found most touching were when tears coursed down the King’s cheek when they sang the National Anthem (this time the “God Save the King” variant) and when the Queen’s Piper played a solo and haunting threnody as the last item on the agenda. You can hear it on this CNN tweet:
The Queen’s Piper plays the traditional piece “Sleep, dearie, sleep” inside Westminster Abbey.
— CNN (@CNN) September 19, 2022
The seriousness of Elizabeth’s funeral this morning is leavened by an article in the Guardian on the quirks and humor that social-media users found in the ceremony. Here are a few tweets presented by the site (h/t Matthew):
This parade of former PMs in chronological order from Major to Johnson looks like a tableau called The Descent Of Man. #queensfuneral
— Andrew Harrison (@Nndroid) September 19, 2022
The give a photo (the Queen received 15 Prime Ministers during her reign):
I like how Louis is considered too much of a loose cannon to have at the funeral. Not even 5 and already the Princess Margaret of his generation pic.twitter.com/jJEbtbchkE
— Madeline Grant (@Madz_Grant) September 19, 2022
And of course there was THE SPIDER:
— Laura (@deplaurablenull) September 19, 2022
I'd love to know what the Rouge Dragon Pursuivant does on a normal day pic.twitter.com/pCnjI83EJL
— Seb Falk (@Seb_Falk) September 19, 2022
— David Smith (@David_Strathdee) September 19, 2022
*If you missed the funeral and don’t have time to watch the whole thing, the Washington Post has a 4 minute, 28 second summary video of the whole shebang: click here and then start the video.
*If you’re into funeral garb, the Washington Post has a long and analytical article about the meaning of the dresses and accessories worn by three women: Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle, and the Queen Consort, Camilla. One example—the Duchess of Windsor:
Catherine, Princess of Wales (a.k.a. Kate Middleton) and the wife of Prince William, wore a sharp-shouldered, double-breasted black blazer dress with pleats, a narrow waist and a moderately deep V-shaped neckline. The angular garment was a black version of the Alexander McQueen dress she wore earlier this year at a Platinum Jubilee event. She paired the ensemble with a wide-brimmed black hat, as well as two selections from the queen’s extensive jewelry collection: a pair of long drop pearl earrings (given to the queen by Sheikh Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa of Bahrain in 1947) and a dramatic pearl choker (made from pearls the Japanese government gifted to the royals and worn by Princess Diana in 1982) that stood out strikingly against the dark hues of the day.
As Catherine ascends in the royal lineup to queen consort-in-waiting, her profile is further rising in the public eye; her husband’s time on the throne, once a somewhat distant eventuality, now feels more concrete and imminent. Her eye-catching ensemble invoked the power suits and daring fashions of the 1980s — and indicated comfort with the blazing spotlight of national attention.
Voilà. If you’re not interested, you don’t need to tell me in the comments.
The Princess of Wales chose a black double-breasted Alexander McQueen coat dress, a darker version of the same style she wore to the Queen's Platinum Jubilee earlier this year.
— VANITY FAIR (@VanityFair) September 19, 2022
*Trumpy stuff from the NYT: “The story so far: where six investigations into Donald Trump stand.” I’ll list the and summarize the take in one or two words
- New York State: Violation of business practices. The Attorney General is still investigating.
- Manhattan: Same issues, charges of fraud and tax evasion leveled at Trump organization. Manhattan DA doubtful if enough evidence to convict but two prosecutors, disagreeing, resigned.
- Georgia: Conspiracy to commit election fraud (the phone call to “find 11,780 votes”). Ongoing, could lead to charges for Trump allies like Giuliani.
- Congress: Promoting the Jan. 6 insurrection. Investigating committing pondering whether to recommend criminal charges, though they can’t indict Trump (only the Dept. of Justice can do that).
- The Dept. of Justice: same as above. Attorney General Merrick Garnland has his own investigation going, but he’s holding his cards close to his chest.
- Also the DOJ: investigation of obstruction of justice and mishandling classified documents (the Mar-a-Lago raid). Ongoing, but assuming they get the documents to use, it’s promising.
Six investigations means Trouble with a capital “T” and that stands for Trump.
*The Russians have installed puppet authorities in parts of the eastern Ukraine they’ve taken over, and two regions have declared themselves separatist “republics”: the “Luhansk and Donetsk people’s republics.” Now both of them are begging Moscow for Russia to take over these republics. That’s a sure sign that, at least in these regions, Russia is at risk of losing more territory.
Access to the front line by journalists is restricted. But there were reports that Ukrainian troops had pushed into the city of Lysychansk in the Luhansk region, and also of fighting around the city of Slovyansk in the Donetsk region — indications that Russia was at imminent risk of losing territory it had previously controlled in the eastern Donbas region.In a statement published on the website of the Luhansk People’s Republic’s “public chamber,” the deputy head of the chamber, Lina Vokalova, called for a public referendum to approve annexation and said the vote would “fulfill our dream of returning home — to the Russian Federation.”
A similar message came from the pro-Kremlin puppet authorities in Donetsk.
“It is time to erase the nonexistent border between our countries, as it has long been erased in our hearts, and to conduct a referendum on the question of the DPR becoming part of Russia,” the Donetsk public chamber head Aleksander Kofman said.
I’m not sure whether this bogus referendum would have any validity, especially when the Russians would be supervising it. At any rate, do you think the Ukrainian military would stop there advance even if these countries voted themselves to be part of Russia?
*As Elizabeth Holmes’s sentencing for wire fraud approaches (October 17, and she could get a long sentence), she desperately seeking to get her conviction thrown out or to secure a new trial. According to Business Insider, last week she engaged in a flurry of activity:
The Theranos founder, convicted on four fraud-related charges in January, made three requests for a new trial in the span of two days last week.
Prior to filing the three motions, Holmes had asked the judge in her case to throw out her conviction on the grounds of “insufficient evidence.” He tentatively denied her request earlier this month. Holmes’ sentencing hearing is set for October 17.
For all her efforts, Holmes’ odds of getting a new trial don’t look good, two legal experts told Insider.
“These are all Hail Marys,” said Jason Ross, a partner at law firm Dykema whose areas of focus include white-collar criminal defense. “I don’t think any of these are going to ultimately get her a new trial.”
I mentioned the first request at the time, and here are the two others:
A day after filing that motion, Holmes made two more requests for a new trial. In one, her team took issue with the prosecution’s different portrayals of Holmes’ relationship with Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, her ex-boyfriend and former right-hand man at Theranos, in their two separate trials.
The motion says the government played up the differences in age and experience between them in Balwani’s trial, to make the case he had a big role in what went wrong at Theranos. But in Holmes’ trial — where the defense says highlighting these differences might have led to Holmes being acquitted on more charges — the government played their cards very differently, according to Holmes’ attorneys.
As for this second request, there’s not a lot of case law that would indicate the prosecution has to stick with one interpretation of evidence across separate trials, Ross says.
“If the government’s arguments are consistent with the evidence admitted in that trial, then the fact that there’s a different argument made based on different evidence is not a strong basis for relief or for getting a new trial,” added Kramer.
In the third motion, Holmes says she was denied emails that showed prosecutors failed to take appropriate steps to preserve a Theranos database of testing and quality control data that she claims would’ve helped her during her trial. The government produced these documents for Balwani’s trial though, Holmes pointed out.
“Without being able to prove that the database reasonably could be expected to result in an acquittal, the defense would have to show prosecutorial misconduct, and it would have to be of such degree that it doesn’t seem was present here,” said Kramer.
The judge will hear arguments on these requests on October 3.
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is being profound:
Hili: History repeats itself.A: How?Hili: Yesterday there were no mice here and today there are no mice either.
Hili: Historia się powtarza.Ja: Z czym?Hili: Wczoraj nie było tu żadnej myszy i dziś też nie ma.
God is clearly on the Left, but not the “progressive left”. He’s my kind of god, or would be if he existed!
"You must NEVER get an abortion," said the man.
"You must NEVER take off your hijab," said the man.
"You must NEVER fucking touch me," said the woman.
— God (@TheTweetOfGod) September 18, 2022
Speaking of hijabs, here’s a tweet from Masih. The beating death of Amini by the morality police has touched off a wave of protests in Iran. Note that men are participating in the hijab burning.
This video brought tears to my eyes.
Women & men burning compulsory hijab in the streets of Tehran where #MahsaAmini was beaten up to death by hijab police.
The woman who took the video says; our dream comes true Finally we are burning the symbol of our oppression in the street. pic.twitter.com/P9WYBixKw4
— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) September 19, 2022
From Simon. Well, it was their Queen, but it’s not their Prime Minister. Still, it’s an announcer. . .
Australian presenters Peter Overton and Tracy Grimshaw unable to identify UK PM Liz Truss. pic.twitter.com/uG0eQPqBqN
— Shahryar Sultan (@Shahryar_Sultan) September 19, 2022
From Ken, who notes, “One of the congresswomen we love to hate, Lauren Boebert (R – The Funny Farm), is all-in on evangelical eschatology.” How does she know the End Times are near? They ALWAYS are!
Lauren Boebert preached, “we are in the last of the last days” and the church “has a role in ushering in the second coming of Jesus.” pic.twitter.com/BW8MnMLbvN
— PatriotTakes 🇺🇸 (@patriottakes) September 13, 2022
From Malcolm. DO NOT apply that towel!
forbidden towel pic.twitter.com/oBnoErYpa2
— cats being weird little guys (@weirdlilguys) September 18, 2022
From the Auschwitz Memorial: Gassed at 3½. Westerbork was the holding camp in the Netherlands for Dutch designated to die; it’s where the Frank family was held before being taken to the camps.
Some 650 ppl were murdered in gas chambers, incl. 3.5 y/o Carla Betty van Baren. pic.twitter.com/SeNCarFtKp
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) September 20, 2022
Tweets from Matthew. First, the lovely Philomena returns! Be sure to watch if you’re in the UK!
The rescheduled CUNK ON EARTH premiere goes out Tuesday night, 10pm, BBC2 (entire series should appear on iPlayer around then too). Doing my promotional legwork here folks. https://t.co/LdmlaGevN8 pic.twitter.com/tY1xAoDsgb
— Charlie Brooker (@charltonbrooker) September 19, 2022
The echidna can, too!
Because the platypus both lays eggs and produces milk, it is one of the few animals that can make its own custard.
— Mike Dickison (@adzebill) October 19, 2011
I believe Richard referred to gannets when, discussing his book on flight, noted that these diving birds eventually damage their eyes from plunging into the sea. But it might be a different species. At any rate, this is a spectacular display:
Gannets diving for fish in Newfoundland, Canada.
Credit: Lana Buttonpic.twitter.com/ehslMT0CLa
— Wonder of Science (@wonderofscience) September 18, 2022
And there’s a new Twitter account today (third tweet below):
— RK_CR7 (@Petta_RKCR7) September 19, 2022
Honoured and humbled to take on the role
— That Spider at the Queen's Funeral (@FuneralSpider) September 19, 2022