Welcome to the Cruelest Day of the Week: Tuesday, September 27, 2022. It’s National Chocolate Milk Day, the only kind of milk I’d have at lunch in junior high (it cost 2¢ per half-pint carton).
Although there’s nothing on Google about today being its birthday, Matthew has a tip about a google search. Do it!:
Go to Google and search for “NASA DART”
— Matthew Cobb (@matthewcobb) September 27, 2022
Stuff that happened on September 27 include:
- 1066 – William the Conqueror and his army set sail from the mouth of the Somme river, beginning the Norman conquest of England.
Here’s an embroidery of William and his siblings from the famous Bayeux Tapestry. The caption: “Image from the Bayeux Tapestry showing William with his half-brothers. William is in the centre, Odo is on the left with empty hands, and Robert is on the right with a sword in his hand.”
- 1590 – The death of Pope Urban VII, 13 days after being chosen as the Pope, ends the shortest papal reign in history.
The Pope died of malaria.
- 1791 – The National Assembly of France votes to award full citizenship to Jews.
- 1908 – Production of the Model T automobile begins at the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant in Detroit.
The model T (one shown below) was made at the plant for 15 months until its popularity forced production to a larger plant. Here’s one of the originals in great condition. The Wikipedia caption is this:
Ford Model T Touring serial number 220, built in December 1908 as part of the 1909 model year, on display in the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant in Detroit, Michigan, where it was originally built. This is the second-oldest Model T known to still exist (Serial number 90 is owned by a private collector in Surrey British Columbia Canada. Which is the earliest known Restored two pedal two lever.). It is one of a very small number of surviving Model Ts to have the original two-pedal, two-lever transmission, along with the early water-pump-equipped engine. Ford switched to the Model T’s standard three-pedal, one-lever transmission after the first 800 cars or so. This car also lacks the Touring model’s optional windshield.
It cost $825, which is the equivalent of $24,881 in 2021.
- 1949 – Zeng Liansong‘s design is chosen as the flag of the People’s Republic of China.
- 1962 – Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring is published, inspiring an environmental movement and the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The protests were because the execution (of two Basque separatists, shot by a firing squad) took place under the autocratic rule of Franco, who had overthrown a democratic government. Franco died two months after the executions, and, according to the latest reports, is still dead.
*Edward Snowden, a fugitive from America after being charged with violations of the Espionage Act, has been granted Russian citizenship (along with others) in a new decree from Putin. Snowden, 39, leaked dozens of National Security Agency documents to the press revealing a variety of surveillance programs throughout the world, some by foreign governments.
After giving hundreds of highly classified N.S.A. documents to The Guardian and The Washington Post in 2013, Mr. Snowden had planned to seek asylum in Ecuador, and set out from Hong Kong to reach South America. But as the U.S. authorities sought to reach him, he became stranded on a layover in the transit zone of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport.
After 40 days, he was allowed to leave the transit zone, and he has remained in Russia for the nine years since.
. . . Mr. Snowden has said he has not cooperated with Russian intelligence services while in Moscow, and that he hopes to someday return to the United States.
. . .In 2020, after he received permanent residency in Russia, Mr. Snowden wrote on Twitter that he and his wife would “remain Americans, raising our son with all the values of the America we love — including the freedom to speak his mind.”
He added, “And I look forward to the day I can return to the States, so the whole family can be reunited.”
That will happen only when pigs fly! Finally, there’s this:
According to RIA Novosti, a Russian state-owned news agency, Mr. Snowden’s lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, said that his client would not be eligible for the “partial mobilization” that Mr. Putin declared last week to bolster his country’s forces in the war in Ukraine. Mr. Kucherena said that Mr. Snowden was ineligible for the draft because he had no experience in the Russian Army.
But Snowden is within the age limits for the draft and although he’s not a reservist and thus ineligible for the recent mobilization, he would be in a general mobilization. If he fights for Russia against the Ukraine, whatever chance he’d have for returning to the U.S. would be gone completely.
*Both the NYT and the Washington Post had as their headlines yesterday afternoon the Congressional Budget Office conclusion that Biden’s promise to forgive student loan debt will cost a cool $400 billion. the CBO is a nonpartisan agency. From the WaPo:
The new estimate will add new fuel to the debate over President Biden’s student debt decision, which was cheered by advocates but immediately assailed by Republican lawmakers as a wasteful and inefficient use of government money. Biden announced in August that his administration would cancel up to $20,000 in student debt for lower- and middle-class borrowers.
Supporters of student debt cancellation have argued that similar estimates in the past have overstated the policy’s cost to the federal government, because despite formally owing the federal government money many borrowers never pay back the loans.
I’m not sure how this leads to overestimates, because the government is still out the money for a loan that isn’t repaid. But this estimate is an underestimate:
The Congressional Budget Office’s estimate excludes the White House’s simultaneous move to lower the monthly amount borrowers can be forced to repay as a percentage of their income from 10 percent to 5 percent. That policy is set to cost an additional $120 billion, according to estimates from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a D.C.-based think tank that has opposed Biden’s policy.
“The president announced possibly the most expensive executive action in history without a score, and we’re now seeing just how expensive this policy is going to be,” said Marc Goldwein, senior vice president for policy with the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, in an interview before the score’s release.
Well, there are conflicts about how to count the cost, but there’s no doubt that it will be HUGE. Advocates dispute the CBO figures:
Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who led the charge on the debt forgiveness policy, released a joint statement taking issue with the assumptions underlying the CBO analysis.
I’m on the fence about this one; I sympathize with the plight of the impecunious who have trouble paying the money back, but on the other hand it seems unfair to those who did pay what they owed, and when you take out a loan, you’re supposed to repay it. I reserve judgement until I read further
*More trouble in Russia: a Russian military recruiting officer in the Siberian city of in the Siberian city of Ust-Ilimsk was shot, but apparently not killed, by a protestor, as other recruiting offices in Russia have been torched and 2,000 protestors arrested:
In the attack in the Siberian city of Ust-Ilimsk, 25-year-old resident Ruslan Zinin walked into the enlistment office saying “no one will go to fight” and “we will all go home now,” according to local media.
Zinin was arrested and officials vowed tough punishment. Authorities said the military commandant was in intensive care. A witness quoted by a local news site said Zinin was in a roomful of people called up to fight and troops from his region were heading to military bases on Tuesday.
Protests also flared up in Dagestan, one of Russia’s poorer regions in the North Caucasus. Local media reported that “several hundred” demonstrators took to the streets Tuesday in its capital, Makhachkala. Videos circulated online showing dozens of protesters tussling with the police sent to disperse them.
. . . Demonstrations also continued in another of Russia’s North Caucasus republics, Kabardino-Balkaria, where videos on social media showed a local official attempting to address a crowd of women.
Meanwhile, the phony referendums Russia is holding in parts of Ukraine that they control will be over today, and people fear that once these faux elections are over (the vote will be for takeover of course), Russia will begin resorting to tactical nuclear weapons.
The voting, in which residents are asked whether they want their regions to become part of Russia, began last week and ends Tuesday, under conditions that are anything but free or fair. Tens of thousands of residents had already fled the regions amid months of fighting, and images shared by those who remained showed armed Russian troops going door-to-door to pressure Ukrainians into voting.
“Every night and day there is inevitable shelling in the Donbas, under the roar of which people are forced to vote for Russian ‘peace,’” Donetsk regional governor Pavlo Kirilenko said Monday.
Russia is widely expected to declare the results in its favor, a step that could see Moscow annex the four regions and then defend them as its own territory.
*Okay, this has me puzzled. The Wall Street Journal reports that the World Chess Champion has accused a young American grandmaster of cheating. At chess!:
World champion Magnus Carlsen on Monday broke his silence on the scandal that has shaken the chess world, explicitly accusing 19-year-old American grandmaster Hans Moke Niemann of cheating for the first time since their controversial meeting at the Sinquefield Cup this month.
In a statement posted to his social media accounts, Carlsen cited Niemann’s unusual progress through the chess ranks and his surprisingly relaxed behavior when they played in St. Louis.
“I believe that Niemann has cheated more—and more recently—than he has publicly admitted,” Carlsen wrote. “His over the board progress has been unusual, and throughout our game in the Sinquefield Cup I had the impression that he wasn’t tense or even fully concentrating on the game in critical positions, while outplaying as black in a way I think only a handful of players can do.”
But how can you cheat at in-person chess? Granted, Niemann admitted cheating in online chess, and I guess in that case you can rely on a chess program.
Niemann didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Carlsen’s statement. He had earlier denied any allegations of impropriety in over-the-board chess, though he confessed to cheating on two occasions in online games. Niemann chalked those up as youthful errors, but Chess.com saw fit to ban him from the platform.
This may be one way:
The controversy first exploded at the Sinquefield Cup, a tournament where Niemann beat Carlsen—to which the Norwegian responded by abruptly withdrawing from the event entirely. It was an unprecedented decision by Carlsen, and it quickly ignited breathless speculation that gripped the highest level of the game. Theories on how a player might attempt to cheat—and get away with it—soon raised talk of hidden transmitters and far-flung accomplices operating widely-accessible chess software.
But still. . . . Anyway, for chess mavens, there’s more scandal described in the article.
*Finally, Andres Valencia, a ten-year-old boy in San Diego, is becoming a highly collectable artist, with paintings going for up to $125,000.
In the last year, he has gone from a relative unknown to a bona fide art phenomenon. His surrealist-style paintings were acquired by deep-pocketed collectors like Tommy Mottola and Jessica Goldman Srebnick during Art Basel Miami Beach. In June, he had a solo exhibition at the Chase Contemporary gallery in SoHo, where all 35 works were sold, the gallery said, fetching $50,000 to $125,000.
One of his paintings went for $159,000 (with fees) at a Phillips de Pury auction in Hong Kong, and another hit $230,000 at a charity gala in Capri, Italy.
. . .They briefly enlisted the services of Nadine Johnson, a veteran publicist in New York, and now work with Sam Morris, a theater and arts publicist. Articles oohing and aahing over the baby-faced artist have appeared in The Miami Herald, The New York Post, Forbes and The Times of London. ABC’s “World News Tonight” did a segment on him.
Their son’s high earnings are an opportunity to teach him “how to give back,” his mother said. A portion of proceeds from their son’s sales, which the Valencias said “so far is over $300,000,” have been donated to the AIDS charity group amfAR and the children’s charity Box of Hope.
The kid is already a millionaire at 10! Well, more power to him. The thing is, the NYT article shows only a portion of one of his works, so I can’t get a good idea about his work. And of course, I’m a complete washout at judging whether contempoarary art is considered “good”: much of it I see as almost fraudulent, but maybe the critics know better.
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Kulka’s outside the kitchen window and sees Hili eating:
Kulka: What are you eating?Hili: Just what you see.
Kulka: Co jesz?Hili: To na co patrzysz.
And a statement from Mietek in Wroclawek:
Mietek: Fall is right around the corner.
From Stephen (I hate the stuff anyway):
From Jesus of the Day:
God is rather salacious today:
And I'm masturbating too! https://t.co/XwE24dIrBP
— God (Thee/Thy) (@TheTweetOfGod) September 25, 2022
From Masih, another women removed her hijab and confronts the police—with the expected consequences:
This brave woman took off her hijab and fearlessly walking toward security forces to protest against the brutal death of #MahsaAmini
I invite feminists & freedom fighters around the world, to join us supporting Iranian women and people’s uprising against regime.#مهسا_امینی pic.twitter.com/OiAcbWybas
— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) September 26, 2022
From Malcolm. Do you think the bear was really rescuing the crow? I hope the bir was okay!
This now iconic 2014 footage by Aleksander Medveš shows Vali, a bear at the Budapest Zoo, pulling a drowning crow out of the water and then turning his attention back to his lunch of fruits and vegetables
— Massimo (@Rainmaker1973) September 25, 2022
From the Auschwitz Memorial:
26 September 1916 | W Dutch Jew, David van Delft, was born in Groningen.
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) September 26, 2022
Tweets from Matthew. First, a lovely short video of an area I know well:
— Vashon Jordan Jr. (@vashon_photo) September 26, 2022
This is a superb thread. Matthew says the first one is what he looks like when he takes a selfie:
— Paul (@RFgeekPC) September 25, 2022
I’ve seen these chicks on East Falkland, but they didn’t follow me:
— Becky Clark (@beckyclark83) September 24, 2022
I just hope these sheep found their proper owner:
Sometimes you find a video that reminds you why social media is the best thing ever pic.twitter.com/kY4kvykrvx
— Jen Biddle (@subsurface_life) September 25, 2022