Welcome to The Cruelest Day: Tuesday, October 25, 2022: National Greasy Food Day. For the best food in this genre, I would recommend, as did Anthony Bourdain, In-N-Out Burger:
Readers are invited to comment on notable events, births, and deaths on this day by consulting the October 25 Wikipedia page.
*Well, as predicted, Rishi Sunak, formerly Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, will become the country’s Prime Minister today.
“There is no doubt we face profound economic challenges,’’ Mr. Sunak said in a brief appearance Monday afternoon. “We now need stability and unity, and I will make it my utmost priority to bring my party and country together.”
The BBC reported that Mr. Sunak would become prime minister on Tuesday morning after meeting with King Charles III.
Here’s what to know about Mr. Sunak’s victory:
It puts him in the pathbreaking category of Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s first female prime minister, and Benjamin Disraeli, its only Jewish prime minister. But it also puts him in office at an acutely difficult moment.
Britain is suffering the global scourge of inflation, as well as the self-inflicted damage of Ms. Truss, whose free-market economic agenda, featuring sweeping tax cuts, upended markets and sent the pound into a tailspin.
Mr. Sunak still faces steep hurdles in trying to unify a demoralized and divided Conservative Party. Boris Johnson’s aborted bid and Penny Mordaunt’s unsuccessful challenge will leave many members angry. Some continue to view Mr. Sunak as his former boss’s political assassin.
The Conservatives lag behind the opposition Labour Party by more than 30 percentage points in polls. Calls for a general election have started and are likely to intensify as the new prime minister embarks on a belt-tightening economic program during a cost-of-living crisis.
Whatever he is Sunak is a damn sight better than Boris and Liz, at least looking forward. As reader Christopher noted, although Sunak is a “pathbreaker” in being the first PM of Indian ancestry, that’s not a big deal in the UK.
This is different from what it would be in the U.S., where the first President of color, Barak Obama, drove the media headlines wild. As Christopher emailed me:
I rather think it worth while to call out to the world at large that the UK has its first coloured/non-white/brown/BIPOC prime minister AND NO ONE CARES!I don’t live there any more, and maybe I am not the best person to comment, but it strikes me as interesting, at least, that this has happened. There seems to be no sense of violation by having a non-white in that exalted position, but rather relief, as Brits have become accustomed to seeing Indians as ultra-competent and not really foreigners as they shared in the experience of the Raj.
*And Sunak’s bloody rich, too! Twice as rich as Queen Elizabeth was. As the Washington Post reports:
His backers, however, say it is precisely his background as chancellor and the years spent making money that qualify him to lead a deeply damaged nation during these economically tumultuous times.
Sunak, a former banker, and his wife, Indian tech heiress Akshata Murty, have an estimated fortune of about 730 million pounds ($830 million), according to the Sunday Times Rich List. On this year’s list, published before her death, Queen Elizabeth II was estimated to have about 370 million pounds ($420 million) by comparison.
The couple’s money comes primarily from Murty’s stake in her father’s company, Infosys. She also owns start-up incubator Catamaran Ventures UK and has shares in a half dozen or so other companies. The couple have at least three homes in Britain, as well as a Santa Monica, Calif., property valued at around $6 million.
According to the Guardian, the Sunak family — they have two daughters, Krishna and Anoushka — spend the week in their five-bedroom house in west London and weekends in North Yorkshire at a Georgian manor house. The paper said it has been “transformed into something of a wellness retreat with an indoor swimming pool, gym, yoga studio, hot tub and tennis court.”
I didn’t read the link above, but I can’t imagine that he’d be too rich to be Prime Minister. Why would he? Do Brits need to elect a working-class git to ensure that the PM’s “lived experience” makes him especially competent to govern?
*Remember the 2000 Presidential election, when George W. Bush defeated Al Gore even though Gore won the popular vote? The electoral vote was decided by the Supreme Court, which stopped the vote recount in Florida, giving Bush the top job. Florida’s long been a swing state, but now it’s swinging towards Republicans, or so reports the Associated Press:
Democrats are increasingly concerned that Florida, once the nation’s premier swing state, may slip away this fall and beyond as emboldened Republicans capitalize on divisive cultural issues and population shifts in crucial contests for governor and the U.S. Senate.
The anxiety was apparent last week during a golf cart parade of Democrats featuring Senate candidate Val Demings at The Villages, a retirement community just north of the Interstate 4 corridor. It was once a politically mixed part of the state where elections were often decided but now some Democrats now say they feel increasingly isolated.
“I am terrified,” said 77-year-old Sue Sullivan, lamenting the state’s rightward shift. “There are very few Democrats around here.”
In an interview, Demings, a congresswoman and former Orlando police chief challenging Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, conceded that her party’s midterm message isn’t resonating as she had hoped.
“We have to do a better job of telling our stories and clearly demonstrating who’s truly on the side of people who have to go to work every day,” she said.
The frustration is the culmination of nearly a decade of Republican inroads in Florida, where candidates have honed deeply conservative social and economic messages to build something of a coalition that includes rural voters and Latinos, particularly Cuban Americans. Donald Trump’s win here in 2016 signaled the evolution after the state twice backed Barack Obama. And while he lost the White House in 2020, Trump carried Florida by more than 3 percentage points, a remarkable margin in a state where elections were regularly decided by less than a percentage point.
As my people in Florida would say, “Oy gewalt!”
*In 2005, when nominee Samuel Alito was trying to reassure Senators that he was qualified to sit on the Supreme Court, he reassured the late Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy that he (Alito) heartily supported the decision in Roe v. Wade. That, of course, was a lie. But it turns out that he admitted he had lied before, when he was looking for a promotion during the Reagan Administration.
Senator Edward M. Kennedy looked skeptically at the federal judge. It was Nov. 15, 2005, and Samuel A. Alito Jr., who was seeking Senate confirmation for his nomination to the Supreme Court, had just assured Mr. Kennedy in a meeting in his Senate office that he respected the legal precedent of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 court decision that legalized abortion.
“I am a believer in precedents,” Judge Alito said, in a recollection the senator recorded and had transcribed in his diary. “People would find I adhere to that.”
In the same conversation, the judge edged further in his assurances on Roe than he did in public. “I recognize there is a right to privacy,” he said, referring to the constitutional foundation of the decision. “I think it’s settled.”
But Mr. Kennedy, a Massachusetts Democrat and longtime supporter of abortion rights, remained dubious that November day that he could trust the conservative judge not to overturn the ruling. He brought up a memo that Judge Alito had written as a lawyer in the Reagan administration Justice Department in 1985, which boasted of his opposition to Roe.
Judge Alito assured Mr. Kennedy that he should not put much stock in the memo. He had been seeking a promotion and wrote what he thought his bosses wanted to hear. “I was a younger person,” Judge Alito said. “I’ve matured a lot.”
Well, they all lie when desperately seeking a seat on the nation’s highest court. Even candidates nominated by Democrats lie, and we all know this. But Alito’s lie was particularly egregious, because most candidates would say they “can’t know how they’d vote without hearing the arguments. Well, the NYT says this about Alito:
Justice Alito wrote the majority opinion this past June in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the momentous Supreme Court decision that put aside 50 years of precedent and overturned Roe. Respect for longstanding precedent “does not compel unending adherence to Roe’s abuse of judicial authority,” he wrote. “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start.”
That’s how he “matured”: learning to lie even better.
*At UnHerd, Andrew Doyle (the creator of Titania McGrath, gives us “The liberal case against pronouns“. Doyle declares that opposing mandatory or pressured use of pronouns is a liberal and not a conservative position. Why? (h/t Luana)
When you ask someone to declare pronouns, you are doing one of two things. You are either saying that you are having trouble identifying this person’s sex, or you are saying that you believe in the notion of gender identity and expect others to do the same. As a species we are very well attuned to recognising the sex of other people, so, for the most part, to ask for pronouns is an expression of fealty to a fashionable ideology — and to set a test for others to do likewise.
. . . Yet gender identity ideology is simply not a belief system that most people share. I do not identify as male; it’s a biological fact, as mundane as the fact that I’ve got blue eyes or that I’m right-handed. I am not here talking about gender dysphoria — those people who feel as odds with their sex and seek to adapt either through medical procedures or the way in which they present themselves — but rather the notion that we each have an inherent gender that has nothing to do with our bodies. This is akin to a religious conviction, and we would be rightly appalled if employers were to demand that their staff proclaim their faith in Christ the Saviour or Baal the Canaanite god of fertility before each meeting.
. . .It is often forgotten that many transgender people are opposed to pronoun declaration for a number of reasons. It draws needless attention to them when they just want to get on with their lives. It can have the effect of “outing” people against their will, particularly if they are in the early stages of their transition. It creates a false impression that gender identity ideology is the norm even though it is a belief system shared by relatively few. Most importantly, compelled speech is a fundamentally illiberal prospect, one that should always be resisted by all.
It is strange that the objections to pronoun declaration are so often construed as being “reactionary” when they are essentially progressive. Many who believe in liberal values will therefore feel uncomfortable in refusing to state pronouns at work. But until more people are prepared to make their feelings clear on this issue, it will continue to be misinterpreted as “a Right-wing talking-point”.
A refusal to participate in these rituals need not be antagonistic, and most employers will be happy to hear your reasons. There is always the possibility that you could be accused of transphobia or hate, but this is simply part of the coercive strategy. For all the awkward conversations that might arise, there is nothing Right-wing about standing up to ideologues who insist on imposing their values onto everyone else.
Well, I’m happy to call someone whatever pronoun they tell me they want me to use, but I will never state my own pronouns, as they’re bloody obvious, and if someone “mis-pronouns” me, well, I won’t be offended.
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is making fun of people who look up stuff on the Internet:
Hili: Tits are starting to peck the winter apples.A: And what does that mean?Hili: I don’t know, you have to check it on the Internet.
Hili: Sikorki zaczynają dziobać zimowe jabłka.Ja: A co to znaczy?Hili: Nie wiem, musisz sprawdzić w Internecie.
Posted by Seth Andrews:
I’m not quite sure what God means here. . . .
If Jesus were alive today, he'd be dead tomorrow.
— God (Thee/Thy) (@TheTweetOfGod) October 22, 2022
From Masih. The attacks on Iranian schoolgirls continue:
See how security forces attacked schoolgirls at Sadr High School and beaten them today. Some were transferred to hospital.
After one month of unrest, Iran’s brutal crackdown has done little to quell the outpouring of anger.
Students in Iran is in a are in danger.#MahsaAmini pic.twitter.com/WGB0Wa8wL9
— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) October 24, 2022
From Simon we get a groaner:
— JessicaUSAF (@JessicaUSAF) October 19, 2022
From Barry, who says, “Poor bird hasn’t figured things out yet.” Indeed!
Birds are fed by their parents in their infancy. When the time comes to feed themselves, there can be some confusion when the food does not go into their mouth by itself. pic.twitter.com/8kDa1hhRgb
— Fascinating (@fasc1nate) October 18, 2022
From Barry, who advises us, “Large snakes don’t make good pets.” The content isn’t very sensitive!
Her own snake attacked her. Snakes will snake… pic.twitter.com/VvfrRCd9tR
— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) October 23, 2022
From the Auschwitz memorial: a boy gassed at eight years old.
25 October 1934 | A Dutch Jewish boy, Elias Israël de la Penha, was born in Amsterdam.
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) October 25, 2022
Tweets from Matthew. I don’t know the answer to this one, but surely there’s a mallard in there. Answers are suggested in the thread, and birders are encouraged to try below (enlarge the photo first).
— SE Severs (@edge_nature) October 24, 2022
Another poorly-drawn medieval cat. Like many of these travesties, it has a humanlike face.
𝔎𝔞𝔱𝔷, germany, 16th century pic.twitter.com/LtNgAm8vbz
— weird medieval guys (@WeirdMedieval) October 24, 2022
I suppose this is performance art, but I like it:
Some real life stuff here.
"Success isn't linear" by Yoann Bourgeois pic.twitter.com/GQJj4ztXWM
— Marshall Long (@OGBTC) October 23, 2022