Note to readers: I’ll be in Boston/Cambridge/Cape Cod for about nine days starting tomorrow. Posting will be very light, so bear with me. Hili dialogues may contract to their original form: just the dialogue; and readers’ wildlife photos will be on hiatus until I return. As always, I do my best. Business as usual will resume when I return.
Welcome to Tuesday, the Cruelest Day of the week, and October 4, 2022. It’s National Taco Day (yesterday was National Soft Taco Day), a day of cultural appropriation .
Stuff that happened on October 4 include:
- 1535 – The Coverdale Bible is printed, with translations into English by William Tyndale and Myles Coverdale.
What is this? It’s “The Coverdale Bible, compiled by Myles Coverdale and published in 1535, [and] the first complete Modern English translation of the Bible (not just the Old Testament or New Testament), and the first complete printed translation into English (cf. Wycliffe’s Bible in manuscript).
Here’s the first page from the British Library:
This calendar, replacing the Julian Calendar, was to bring the years more into alignment with the Earth’s revolution around the sun. This is done by adjusting when leap years occur, and done in this way (from the U.S. Naval Observatory):
Every year that is exactly divisible by four is a leap year, except for years that are exactly divisible by 100, but these centurial years are leap years if they are exactly divisible by 400. For example, the years 1700, 1800, and 1900 are not leap years, but the year 2000 is.
- 1853 – The Crimean War begins when the Ottoman Empire declares war on the Russian Empire.
- 1883 – First run of the Orient Express.
Ah, such romance! Here’s a poster that’s a bit colonialist:
It wasn’t finished until 1941. Here it is before construction:
During construction, with the caption: “Construction underway, with Jefferson to the left of Washington before unstable rock necessitated a change in the design.” Sadly, I’ve never seen it.
And completed, with Jefferson to the left of Washington, as well as Teddy Roosevelt and Abe Lincoln. The sculpture was designed to show the four from head to waist, but the money ran out, so all we got were the heads.
- 1936 – The Metropolitan Police and various anti-fascist organizations violently clash in the Battle of Cable Street.
- 1941 – Norman Rockwell’s Willie Gillis character debuts on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post.
Willie Gillis was an American Army private meant to represent the “everyman soldier”. Here he is picking up a food package on that first cover:
It wasn’t big: 58 cm (23 in) in diameter. Its batteries ran out and friction pulled it back to crash on Earth in 1958. But I well remember its deployment when I was a boy, and fears that the Russians would overtake us in the “space race”. Here’s a full-size replica created by the USSR and donated to various countries, including the U.S.:
- 1983 – Richard Noble sets a new land speed record of 633.468 miles per hour (1,019.468 km/h) at the Black Rock Desert in Nevada.
Here’s a short video of Noble, showing the Thrust 2, the car in which he set that record.
It’s no longer the record, as the latest one was supersonic.
The current holder of the Outright World Land Speed Record is ThrustSSC driven by Andy Green, a twin turbofan jet-powered car which achieved 763.035 mph – 1227.985 km/h – over one mile in October 1997. This is the first supersonic record as it exceeded the sound barrier at Mach 1.016.
*Ukrainian forces are advancing like gangbusters, overwhelming the territory that Moron Putin thinks now belongs to Russia and making gains in both the east and the south. This will embarrass Putin, whose administration can’t even delineate where the borders of the “new bits of Russia” are:
The Kremlin reflected the disarray of its forces on the ground, where territory was rapidly changing hands, acknowledging that it did not yet know what new borders Russia would claim in parts of Ukraine it recently annexed in a move Kyiv and Western leaders decried as illegal.
“In terms of the borders, we’re going to continue to consult with the population of these regions,” Mr. Putin’s spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, told reporters on Monday.
Mr. Putin had meant for Monday to be a triumphant day in Moscow, where the lower house of Russia’s rubber-stamp Parliament, the State Duma, voted unanimously to ratify Mr. Putin’s proclaimed annexation of four Ukrainian regions after sham referendums there. Events on the battlefield threatened to make a mockery of such declarations. Adding to the sense of chaos was a Russian conscription effort, begun two weeks ago, that has drawn opposition in Russia and spurred at least 200,000 Russians to leave the country.
Putin is mentally ill with a narcissistic personality disorder, and his back is against the wall. What really worries me is that that is the time he’ll pull out the tactical nukes, and all hell will break loose.
*Five members of the extremist right-wing Oath Keepers group are on trial for their participation in the January 6 insurrection, and the charge is the most serious one yet:
[Group founder Stewart] Rhodes and the four others are the first Jan. 6 defendants to stand trial on the charge of seditious conspiracy, a rare Civil War-era charge that calls for up to 20 years behind bars. The stakes are high for the Justice Department, which last secured a seditious conspiracy conviction at trial nearly 30 years ago.
The facts behind the charges?
The founder of the Oath Keepers extremist group and four associates planned an “armed rebellion” to keep President Donald Trump in power, a federal prosecutor contended Monday as the most serious case yet went to trial in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Stewart Rhodes and his band of extremists were prepared to go to war to stop Joe Biden from becoming president, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Nestler told jurors. The group celebrated the Capitol attack as a battle they had won and continued their plot even after Biden’s electoral victory was certified, Nestler alleged.
“Their goal was to stop, by whatever means necessary, the lawful transfer of presidential power, including by taking up arms against the United States government,” the prosecutor said during his opening statement. “They concocted a plan for armed rebellion to shatter a bedrock of American democracy.”
. . .Prosecutors told jurors the insurrection was no spontaneous outpouring of election-fueled rage but part of a detailed, drawn-out plot to stop Biden from entering the White House.
Rhodes began plotting to overturn Biden’s victory right after the election, [U.S. Attorney Jeffrey] Nestler said. In November 2020, Rhodes sent his followers a step-by-step plan for stopping the transfer of power based on a popular uprising that brought down Yugoslavia’s president two decades earlier. As December approached, Rhodes’ rhetoric became increasingly violent and desperate, Nestler said.
In messages and comments read to the jury, the Oath Keepers repeatedly warned of the prospect of violence if Biden were to become president. During a December interview, Rhodes called senators “traitors” and warned that the Oath Keepers would have to “overthrow, abort or abolish Congress.”
Rhodes knew that if the Oath Keepers didn’t stop Congress from certifying the vote on Jan. 6, it would be much harder to stop Biden from taking office, Nestler said.
The Oath Keepers organized training, including one session that was recorded on video and set to rock music. Before coming to Washington, they set up “quick reaction force” teams with “weapons of war” stashed at a Virginia hotel so they could get them into the capital quickly if necessary, the prosecutor said.
Lock ’em up! (If they’re convicted, of course. . . )
*The new term of the Supreme Court is beginning, and yesterday I highlighted a WaPo column about the perfidies yet to come. The entire NYT editorial board also has its take: “The Supreme Court isn’t listening, and it’s no secret why.” I suppose the reason why is because, with its 6-3 supermajority, “the court has been transformed into a judicial arm of the Republican Party. ”
Of course that’s true, and public trust in the Court is at an all-time low. But the Justices don’t care, because they have their agenda and the power to enact it.
For most of the court’s history, it was difficult to predict how a case would turn out based on the party of the president who nominated the justices. Even into the 21st century, as the country grew more polarized, the court’s rulings remained largely in line with the views of the average American voter. That is no longer the case. The court’s rulings are now in line with the views of the average Republican voter.
In the process, the court has unmoored itself from both the Constitution it is sworn to protect and the American people it is privileged to serve. This could not be happening at a worse moment. Election deniers in the Republican Party are undermining the integrity of the American electoral system. Right-wing political violence is a present and growing threat.
It is precisely during times like these that the American people need the Supreme Court to play the role Chief Justice Roberts memorably articulated at his own confirmation hearing — that of an umpire calling balls and strikes, ensuring a fair playing field for all. Instead, the court’s right-wingers are calling balls for one team and strikes for the other.
. . . As the dissent in Dobbs noted: “The majority has overruled Roe and Casey for one and only one reason: because it has always despised them, and now it has the votes to discard them. The majority thereby substitutes a rule by judges for the rule of law.”
So what’s going to happen now? Well, one way is for Congress to act, making the right to abortion a federal law. Unless this happens now, it won’t happen at all, as it’s likely that one of the two chambers of Congress will go Republican. And the Congress can’t make laws that palpably violate the Constitution, so we’re limited in that way. The Times, however, is optimistic–an unwarranted optimism, I think:
With a few exceptions, the Supreme Court rarely has been at the forefront of making America a more equal place. But we are not consigned to living under the thumb of a reactionary juristocracy. To the contrary, the meaning of the Constitution is far more than what the court decrees; it is the result of an ongoing conversation between the court and the American people. Those who protested the loss of their rights after the Dobbs decision, and those who showed their determination to protect those rights, as voters did in Kansas in August, are speaking directly to the court. When the justices stop listening, as they have at other moments in history, the people’s voices will eventually become too loud for them to ignore.
Really? What will the people do? Wait for a Democratic President and Congress to stack the court? The conservative justices couldn’t care less about what we think, and they laugh at the idea of stare decisis.
*Good lord: women athletes can’t catch a break. First there was widespread abuse in women’s gymnastics (ignored by the government) and now, a U.S. Soccer Federation report by Sally Yates, the former acting attorney general, reveals widespread abuse, including sexual abuse, in women’s soccer—all the way to the top. (You can read the report at the WaPo link.):
Abuse and misconduct were both pervasive and systemic at the highest tiers of women’s professional soccer, and the sport’s governing bodies and team executives repeatedly failed to heed warnings or punish coaches who abused players, according to an investigative report released Monday by the U.S. Soccer Federation.
The year-long probe by Sally Q. Yates, the former acting attorney general, found that some of the game’s top coaches were the subjects of numerous allegations of sexual misconduct, including some that have not been previously made public. The coaches also leaned on vicious coaching tactics, Yates found, including “relentless, degrading tirades; manipulation that was about power, not improving performance; and retaliation against those who attempted to come forward.”
“Players described a pattern of sexually charged comments, unwanted sexual advances and sexual touching, and coercive sexual intercourse,” Yates wrote in the executive summary of her report.
Now here we have truly systemic abuse, built right into the governance.
“Our investigation has revealed a league in which abuse and misconduct — verbal and emotional abuse and sexual misconduct — had become systemic, spanning multiple teams, coaches, and victims,” the report states. “Abuse in the NWSL is rooted in a deeper culture in women’s soccer, beginning in youth leagues, that normalizes verbally abusive coaching and blurs boundaries between coaches and players. The verbal and emotional abuse players describe in the NWSL is not merely ‘tough’ coaching. And the players affected are not shrinking violets. They are among the best athletes in the world.”
. . . The report also highlighted cultural issues that remain prevalent in women’s soccer, beginning at the youth level. The report states that players, coaches and staff were “conditioned to accept and respond to abusive coaching behaviors as youth players. By the time they reach the professional level, many do not recognize the conduct as abusive.”
The process is produced a kind of Stockholm Syndrome, and some of the incidents recounted in the article and Yates’s report will curl the soles of your shotes. U.S. Soccer has promised to immediately begin implementing suggestions from the report, and if I’m not wrong there may be criminal charges.
*As I feared, Elizabeth Holmes’s Hail Mary tactics have led to a delay in her sentencing after she was found guilty of wire fraud in the Theranos debacle. Remember when that contrite former Theranos employee and witness for the prosecution showed up at her house saying that he didn’t really mean what he said (though he told the court he did)? Well, that has led to a delay of at least several months in her sentencing, originally scheduled for October 17. (She could have gotten up to 80 years in prison.)
A judge Monday agreed to delay sentencing former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes so he can consider whether federal prosecutors committed misconduct involving a star witness in her trial.
But over the summer, former Theranos lab director Adam Rosendorff allegedly appeared at Holmes’ home to express regret over his testimony, saying the government tried to make everyone “look bad.”
That led Holmes’ attorneys to request a new trial last month.
. . . Prosecutors subsequently filed a sworn statement from Rosendorff standing by his testimony.
Nonetheless, [Judge] Davila agreed Monday to hold a new hearing on Oct. 17 to question Rosendorff, calling the accusations against federal prosecutors “limited but serious.”
The allegation is the possibility that the government may have engaged in misconduct,” Davila said. “The court takes that seriously.”
Should Davila agree to uphold the verdict, Holmes new sentencing hearing could come as late as January, he said Monday.
In July, Sunny Balwani, the former president and chief operating officer of Theranos and Holmes’ former romantic partner, was found guilty of all 12 counts of fraud charges brought by the government. He is set to be sentenced on Nov. 15.
I swear, this grifter will never see the inside of the prison. Anybody want to bet me $20 that she’ll go to jail (I’m betting on no jail).
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is a big enigmatic. Malgorzata clarifies, “As you know, reason and rationality is not in fashion any longer. Just look at the universities, scientific magazines, etc. Hili is a great enthusiast of reason and rationality, so she suggests sanctuaries for those remnants of reason that still exist.”
Hili: There is a need for a sanctuary.A: What for?Hili: For the remnants of reason.
Hili: Potrzebne jest jakieś sanktuarium.Ja: Po co?Hili: Dla resztek rozsądku.
The Tweet of God, who is nothing if not honest:
Thoughts and prayers to anyone who thinks thoughts and prayers do a damn thing.
— God (Thee/Thy) (@TheTweetOfGod) September 28, 2022
From Masih, documenting the protests in Iran:
Students are chanting in the streets of Iran: we don’t want spectators, join us! We will die for our honor, we are all Mahsa, we will fight you till the end! Women, life, freedom!#Mahsa_Amini #IranRevolution #مهسا_امینی
— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) October 3, 2022
From Luana, who is a Hispanic or Latina but won’t be called a “Latinx” or a “Latine”. This is a real billboard but of course is satirical.
And now, a very important message for Los Angeles! 👇👇👇 pic.twitter.com/ciAm7uVkNi
— Citizens for Sanity (@citizens_sanity) October 2, 2022
From Nancie: my heartthrob Karen Carpenter demonstrating her proficiency on drums (she started as a drummer and only later became a solo singer):
In case you didn’t know KAREN CARPENTER wasn’t just a Drummer, she was a really freakin’ great one.
None other than Buddy Rich seriously rated her. pic.twitter.com/W9ugelrk39
— Michael Warburton (@MichaelWarbur17) September 29, 2022
From Malcolm: Fisherman in a competition caught cheating!
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) October 1, 2022
From the Auschwitz Memorial: Two twin sisters, age 16, killed at Auschwitz, perhaps in medical experiments. (Mengele was particularly fond of experimenting on twins, and took them from the arrivals.):
4 October 1927 | Two Polish twin sisters were born in Komarów in Poland – Maria and Czesława Krajewska.
They were registered in #Auschwitz on 5 February 1943. Maria (no. 34425) perished on 23 May. Her sister Czesława (no. 34426) died on 23 July.
They were 15 years old. pic.twitter.com/mn2llbpLC2
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) October 4, 2022
Tweets from Matthew: Everything ends well in DodoLand. Sound up!
— The Dodo (@dodo) October 2, 2022
Jordan Peterson claims that the Resurrection isn’t an empirical proposition, but rejecting it means that our life is meaningless and full of pointless suffering. Oy!
— julian walker (@JulianMWalker) September 22, 2022
A lovely video of time-lapsed mushroom growth:
Mushroom growth timelapse. Absolutely beautiful!
🎥: TikTok/theandymushroom pic.twitter.com/HaYsUOWFKW
— Paul Stamets (@PaulStamets) September 18, 2022