It’s also National Dumpling Day, National Better Breakfast Day, the beginning of Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year), Johnny Appleseed Day (he was born on this day in 1774), Lumberjack Day (a day to “eat pancakes and waffles with friends”), and National Good Neighbor Day.
Stuff that happened on September 26 includes:
Here’s a roughly contemporary map of Drake’s voyage, which took a bit less than three years. Below that is the modern map. They didn’t get things badly wrong back then, except for Australia and South America.
- 1687 – Morean War: The Parthenon in Athens, used as a gunpowder depot by the Ottoman garrison, is partially destroyed after being bombarded during the Siege of the Acropolis by Venetian forces.
Here’s a 6-minute 3D video tour when it was whole; note the painted frieze. When I was a kid, I used to wave a wooden sword and play soldier inside the Parthenon (somewhere there’s a photo), but now one is no longer allowed to go inside the ruined structure.
- 1789 – George Washington appoints Thomas Jefferson the first United States Secretary of State
- 1905 – Albert Einstein publishes the third of his Annus Mirabilis papers, introducing the special theory of relativity.
Do you know the first two? He didn’t win the prize for his third one, but for the first. Here’s the first page of the relativity paper in the original Deutsch:
- 1918 – World War I: The Meuse-Argonne Offensive began which would last until the total surrender of German forces.
According to Wikipedia, this was:
“. . . the deadliest battle in the history of the United States Army, resulting in over 350,000 casualties, including 28,000 German lives, 26,277 American lives and an unknown number of French lives. American losses were worsened by the inexperience of many of the troops, the tactics used during the early phases of the operation and the widespread onset of the global influenza outbreak called the ‘Spanish flu’“.
- 1933 – As gangster Machine Gun Kelly surrenders to the FBI, he shouts out, “Don’t shoot, G-Men!”, which becomes a nickname for FBI agents.
Here’s Kelly surrounded by security on his way to Oklahoma city for his trial. He was sentenced to life in prison, spent most of it at Alcatraz, and died of a heart attack in Leavenworth in 1954 at age 59.
- 1942 – Holocaust: Senior SS official August Frank issues a memorandum detailing how Jews should be “evacuated”.
- 1953 – Rationing of sugar in the United Kingdom ends.
Note that this was eight years after the war ended! It took Europe a long time to recover from the deprivations of war: even when I was a child in Greece two years later, a banana was regarded as a huge treat.
- 1960 – In Chicago, the first televised debate takes place between presidential candidates Richard M. Nixon and John F. Kennedy.
- 1969 – Abbey Road, the last recorded album by the Beatles, is released.
This of course has the iconic photo on the cover, which has been copied in a sculpture in, of all places, Tomsk State University in Siberia. The first side of the album isn’t great (except for “Something”, but the second side’s 8 tracks, known as the “Medley”, well, they form one long song that’s one of the Beatles’ best.
The sculpture (note: Paul’s feet are bare in the statue, too):
The Medley. Sixteen minutes of bliss, the like of which won’t be equaled in rock. Have a listen! Note that the order of songs is not the one on the released album (“Her Majesty” is in the middle), but that’s the order the Beatles originally intended.
Here’s the last out of Ryan’s fifth no-hitter: an easy grounder to third. Ryan went on to throw more, making a total of seven. It’s a single-pitcher record that’s unlikely to be equaled, not with the ubiquity of “closers.”. YouTube shows the last three outs, called by Vin Scully, but for some reason I can’t embed it.
- 1984 – The United Kingdom and China agree to a transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong, to take place in 1997.
- 2008 – Swiss pilot and inventor Yves Rossy becomes first person to fly a jet engine-powered wing across the English Channel.
Here’s a short video of his epochal feat:
*After the Far Right won a surprisingly large share of votes in Sweden’s latest election, displacing the Left-Centrists and gaining a role in the government, the same thing is about to happen in Italy, but more Rightish. According to the BBC, as of yesterday afternoon, Italy had elected a Far Rightist to be Prime Minister. (Their bolding):
Far-right leader Giorgia Meloni has won Italy’s election, according to exit polls, and is on course to become the country’s first female prime minister.
If they are confirmed, Ms Meloni will aim to form Italy’s most right-wing government since World War Two.
A Meloni-led Italy will alarm much of Europe with Russia at war in Ukraine.
She is predicted to win between 22-26% of the vote, says a Rai exit poll, ahead of her closest rival Enrico Letta from the centre left.
Several exit polls just published given her right-wing alliance a commanding lead, with 41-45% of the vote.
The centre left was well behind with 25.5%-29.5%. They failed to form a viable challenge with other parties, after Italy’s 18-month national unity government collapsed in July.
What’s going on? You probably know already. Italy, like Sweden, is alarmed by the amount of and effects of immigration, but also by the disruption of the status quo by “progressive” ideas from the Left. As Vox notes,
Pietro Castelli Gattinara, associate professor of political communication at Université Libre de Bruxelles and Marie Curie Fellow at Sciences Po, said that the far right is a global movement and a global ideology, even though one of the core tenets of these parties is a kind of nativism. That translates into a rejection of migration, but also of the social and cultural changes taking place within societies. The “woke” culture wars may look different in the US or Italy, but they are a feature of the modern far-right.
Of course many of us see performative wokeness as something that could help sink the Democrats, and their inaction on immigration, supposedly a priority for Biden, won’t help either. I’m hoping that the execrable Dobbs decision.
(Note: there’s a NYT op-ed today: “No, Italy is not about to become an autocracy.” But that’s not the concern: the concern is how the new government might promulgate right-wing policy.)
*Now here’s a clickbait title of an editorial-board editorial in the NY Times: “This threat to democracy is hiding in plain sight.” What could that threat be? It’s nothing less than the attempt of Republicans to take over the machinery of how elections are conducted in the U.S.
This is where Mr. Trump’s allies have focused much of their scheming since his re-election defeat. Their mission is to take over America’s election infrastructure, or at least key parts of it, from the ground up by filling key positions of influence with Trump sympathizers. Rather than threatening election officials, they will be the election officials — the poll workers and county commissioners and secretaries of state responsible for overseeing the casting, counting and certifying of votes. “But”, you might ask, how could that help Republicans if elections aren’t rigged. Well, the answer is that this strategy could accomplish that, and in two ways:
A key element of this strategy is dismantling the bulwarks that stopped the assault on democracy in 2020. In Georgia, the top state election official, Brad Raffensperger, its secretary of state, refused Mr. Trump’s request to help steal the election by agreeing to “find” 11,780 additional votes. In Michigan, the Board of State Canvassers certified Joe Biden’s victory despite Mr. Trump’s aggressive meddling. A host of other state and local officials, many of them Republicans, pushed back on similarly antidemocratic machinations. Mr. Trump and his allies have set about removing and replacing these public servants, through elections and appointments, with more like-minded officials.
This strategy has had its failures, but some successes, too. And part of it involves restricting voting times as well as eliminating mail-in voting and early voting. The second way:
Installing election deniers as top election officials is just one element of this plan. Much less visible, but just as important, is the so-called precinct strategy, in which Trump allies are recruiting supporters to flood the system by signing up to work in low-level election positions such as poll workers. A prominent promoter of the precinct strategy was Steve Bannon, the former Trump adviser. Last year, Mr. Bannon rallied the listeners of his “War Room” podcast to sign up as precinct committee members. “We’re going to take this back village by village … precinct by precinct,” he proclaimed in May 2021.
But how would this work? Because these workers would be trained in how to challenge voters. And that leads to this:
But carried out as designed, the precinct strategy means that even if, ultimately, there are no instances of fraud and most of the challenges to individual voters fall apart, they could still bog down the voting by causing delays and introducing unnecessary friction and confusion, giving cover to a state election official or state legislature to say that an election is tainted and therefore invalid.
This is a hell of a way to try to win elections, and I predict it won’t work, but it could sure rip up the country more than it it already!
*After a lot of reassurance by the Federal Reserve Bank and Biden that we’re not going into a recession, the Chairman of the Fed is walking back that optimism. Wall Street keeps slipping, prices keep rising, To his credit, Fed chief Jerome Powell says that he doesn’t know squat about what will happen. The Washington Post reports:
“It’s very hard to say with precise certainty the way this is going to unfold,” Powell told reporters this week. “No one knows whether this process will lead to a recession or, if so, how significant that recession would be.”
Public confessions of doubt are rare in official Washington. But they have become commonplace for Powell, 69, whose candor reflects the uncertainties shrouding the global economy as well as a revolution in Fed communications since the days when then-Chairman Alan Greenspan cultivated an image of singular economic mastery.But Powell’s latest remarks come as the Fed’s anti-inflation fight is making only slow progress, leaving the institution and its boss vulnerable to criticism over the cost to workers and businesses of continued rate hikes.
On Friday, the Dow Jones industrial average fell for the fourth straight day, sinking below 30,000 for the first time since June and wiping out everything investors had gained since November 2020.
“People look to the Fed as the best source on where we’re going. The Fed has information. They have a highly-trained staff. They have no political reason to hide the ball,” said Claudia Sahm, who spent 12 years as a Fed economist. “Everyone wants to know where we’ll be next year. … But really the Fed is just as blind as the rest of us.”
I’m still predicting a recession. What a crappy decade this is so far! And a darker thought: if the economy is in the dumper, the Democrats get blamed, and you know what that means.
*Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, ends tomorrow evening. And there’s a NYT article connecting the holiday with baseball: “Remembering a deadline single by the Sundown Kid“. It’s by the sportswriter Gerald Eskanazi, and tells how, when he had to be home by sundown for religious reasons,
It was the bottom of the ninth inning, and I was at the height of agitation.
“Why did I do this?” I berated myself.
Even though this was back in 1971, I think of the drama every year at this time.
The High Holy eve of Rosh Hashana was fast approaching at Yankee Stadium. Every good Jew would be in the synagogue before sunset to greet the Jewish New Year. But here I was, in the press box, fists tightened over my Olivetti portable typewriter, staring down at the baseball diamond. Sure, it was the best seat in the house. But it wasn’t where I wanted to be. In just a few hours, I was supposed to be at the Shelter Rock Jewish Center on Long Island, far from the Bronx.
Could I make it home in time? The score was tied, 2-2. The Yankees had managed only two hits all day. If the game went into extra innings, I’d be out of luck.
Then, Blomberg, one of the rare Jewish players, hit a deep single to left in the bottom of the ninth, giving his Yankee team a victory over the Cleveland. .
“If the count had been 3-2 and the sun went down, I would have left for temple,” he shouted.
Wow. What a quote. So he would have left the game to go to services? All the writers were scribbling on their notepads, and Blomberg looked as if he had just capped a World Series game. He was ecstatic. He was at that moment a Jewish ballplayer who had just won the right to go home and celebrate one of the most important holidays of his religion. I shared his excitement. I knew that while about 2 percent of Americans were Jewish, only about 1 percent of major leaguers had been Jewish.
“Well, Blomberg got an early celebration, huh?” said [Felipe] Alou.
Yes, Jewish baseball players are rare. The greatest, of course, was pitcher Sandy Koufax of the Dodgers, whose refusal to pitch the first game of the 1965 World Series because it fell on Yom Kippur became baseball lore. The Dogers won that Series, and Koufax was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame at age 36, still the youngest player ever honored that way. He’s still with us at 86.
*There’s good news tonight from the Associated Press. It’s about a seal who broke the Roolz and then turned himself into the police.
A gray seal that wandered into a Massachusetts pond and evaded authorities’ attempts to capture him turned himself in Friday after waddling up to the local police station.
The gray seal first appeared earlier this month in Shoe Pond in the city of Beverly, northeast of Boston. The animal is believed to have traveled to the pond from the sea via a river and drainage pipes.
The seal quickly became a local attraction and was even named “Shoebert” after his chosen pond.
Firefighters and wildlife experts used boats and giant nets in an effort to capture the wily animal Thursday, but gave up after several fruitless hours. Early Friday morning, however, Shoebert left the pond, crossed a parking lot and appeared outside the side door of the local police station looking, according to a police statement, “for some help.”
The seal was quickly corralled by a team of wildlife experts, firefighters and the police department’s “entire midnight shift,” according to a Facebook post from the Beverly Police Department.
Shoebert will get an exam at the Mystic Aquarium and then, assuming all is well, will be released in the wild in a quiet place that has other seals of his kind. Here’s a news report on Shoebert, who turns out to be a repeat offender. From now on he’ll have to wear the seal equivalent of an ankle bracelet: a GPS monitor
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is forgetful (she’s a Senior Cat):
Hili: I found the answer.A: To what question?Hili: I’ve already forgotten.
Hili: Znalazłam odpowiedź.Ja: Na co?Hili: Już zapomniałam.
From Facebook: An immobile muscovy duck:
God is still watching Iran very closely. And you should watch both of the following videos.
— About Zee (@about_zee) September 25, 2022
From Masih. These two women, without hijabs, literally run right up to the cops. Talk about guts!
See how Iranian women deal with the oppressors.
They know that they may face guns and bullets but they didn’t give up their fight.
This is just one example of Iranian women’s bravery.#مهسا_امینی #MahsaAmini pic.twitter.com/74VRsjJOVQ
— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) September 25, 2022
“Time is running out for Vladimir Putin”
— Peter Stefanovic (@PeterStefanovi2) September 24, 2022
From Barry, who says this about the second video:, “I love how the eagle backs up a bit: ‘Okay, I’m ready now. Toss it to me!'”
— محمد (@mhmd19377447) September 24, 2022
From the Auschwitz Memorial:
26 September 1918 | A Jewish woman, Claire Eskenazi, was born in Mexico City. She lived in Saint Etienne in France.
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) September 26, 2022
Tweets from Matthew. He’s up at Newcastle looking at the Lindisfarne Gospels, and posted this tweet:
Gravestone, Ripon Cathedral pic.twitter.com/N3hyYXdANM
— Matthew Cobb (@matthewcobb) September 25, 2022
As always, things are peaches and cream in DodoLand. Have a look at the linked article.
"He sees her every day" ❤️ https://t.co/hj7e60inl1
— The Dodo (@dodo) September 25, 2022
Looks like someone rescued a bat. Does anybody know the species?
Thanks for calling about this bat, Ashley!
.#northernyellowbat #dasypterusintermedius #austinbats #urbanbats #dontprunepalmtrees #batslivehere #batsaregoodneighbors #neverbarehandabat pic.twitter.com/ofnSv6OSQ6
— Austin Bat Refuge (@AustinBatRefuge) September 23, 2022