Greetings on the last Hump Day of the year (“วันโคก” in Thai): Wednesday, December 28, 2022. It’s also the fourth day of Coynezaa, and National Chocolate Day.
Read how chocolate is made here. It starts with a tree and its seeds:
It’s also Call A Friend Day, National Card Playing Day, Pledge of Allegiance Day (the Pledge was given official Congressional Sanction on this day in 1945), and the fourth of the Twelve Days of Christmas.
Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the December 28 Wikipedia page.
*Congressman-elect George Santos of New York, a Republic elected to represent parts of New York City and Long Island, finally admitted that he made up important parts of his professional history, including that he went to college, who employed him, and even denying, falsely that he was under criminal indictment. And yet, despite this, he’s going to try to take his seat!:
Ending a weeklong silence, Representative-elect George Santos admitted on Monday to a sizable list of falsehoods about his professional background, educational history and property ownership. But he said he was determined to take the oath of office on Jan. 3 and join the House majority.
. . . “My sins here are embellishing my résumé,” Mr. Santos told The New York Post in one of several interviews he gave on Monday.
Mr. Santos admitted to lying about graduating from college and making misleading claims that he worked for Citigroup or Goldman Sachs. He once said he had a family-owned real estate portfolio of 13 properties; on Monday, he admitted he was not a landlord.
Mr. Santos, the first openly gay Republican to win a House seat as a non-incumbent, also acknowledged owing thousands in unpaid rent and a yearslong marriage he had never disclosed.
“I dated women in the past. I married a woman. It’s personal stuff,” he said to The Post, adding that he was “OK with my sexuality. People change.”
The admissions by Mr. Santos added a new wrinkle to one of the more astonishing examples of an incoming congressman falsifying key biographical elements of his background — with Mr. Santos maintaining the falsehoods through two consecutive bids for Congress, the first of which he lost.
Mr. Santos acknowledged that a string of financial difficulties had left him owing thousands to landlords and creditors. But he failed to fully explain in the interviews how his fortunes reversed so significantly that, by 2022, he was able to lend $700,000 to his congressional campaign.
Mr. Santos also firmly denied committing a crime anywhere in the world, even though The Times had uncovered Brazilian court records showing that Mr. Santos had been charged with fraud as a young man after he was caught writing checks with a stolen checkbook.
“I am not a criminal here — not here or in Brazil or any jurisdiction in the world,” he told The Post. “Absolutely not. That didn’t happen.”
In the court file, Mr. Santos is identified by his full name and date of birth, as well as by the names of his mother and father. The documents show that Mr. Santos confessed to the crime and was charged, but that the case remains unresolved because authorities were later unable to locate him.
Would a Democrat try to cling to office after that? I’ll take bets on whether he’ll be seated in Congress (my bet is “nope”).
Oh, he also claimed to be a Jew but he’s not. Perhaps that’s the worst lie of all.
*Here’s Trump’s Christmas message to us all on Truth Social. Ho ho ho! As reader Ken notes:
We’ve long known this guy was unhinged, but now he’s claiming to be “Clairvoyant”? (And can you explain the quotation marks he puts around “Trump”?)
*Over at UnHerd, Ayaan Hirsi Ali has an article called “The year the West erased women”. It is not, as you might think, a jeremiad against transsexual women, although she does question whether they should be accepted as identical in every way to biological women. Her point is that Western countries are squabbling about dictionary definitions of women at the same time that other countries are seriously damaging biological women (and of course Muslim countries like Iran force gay males to transition to transsexual women). But she is not a transphobe, though she’ll be called one (h/t: pyers):
A word of clarification. I am immensely sympathetic to the plight of transgender people and believe they ought to have the same moral and legal rights as everyone else. To be against militant trans activists’ gender ideology is not to be transphobic. Rather, it is simply to agree, as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie succinctly put it, that “trans women are trans women”. Adichie was savaged for this and other statements evincing wrongthink, but acknowledging that trans women are distinct from women, that there are potential conflicts between their rights, and that gender ideology opens the door to abusive men masquerading as women, should not be controversial. Standing up for the rights of transgender people should not mean pretending sex does not exist altogether.
. . . Elsewhere in the world, the erosion of our understanding of what it means to be a “woman” has more immediate consequences.
Consider what has taken place in Kenya, Iran and Afghanistan in just the past two months. In Kenya, while women in America debated what we should call a person born with a cervix, FGM has taken a new and insidious form. In Iran, the female-led protests that followed the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman who was arrested for breaking mandatory dress code laws, have been met with an equally inhumane response. Reports abound of Iran’s security services raping protestors and shooting at the faces and genitals of female protesters. And in Afghanistan, the Taliban government reintroduced Sharia Law, meaning women are now barred from walking outside without a male relative and must cover up with a burqa or hijab when outside the home. Earlier this month, a woman was publicly flogged for entering a shop without a male guardian. Last week, the Taliban banned women from studying at university
Is it really a coincidence that, in the same year the West forgot what it means to be a woman, we decided it was acceptable to turn our backs on women in those countries? The above is what happens when a society stops caring what it means to be a woman; when a centuries-old fight for emancipation becomes relegated to semantics.
It’s a good thing she still has security guards!
*In another deliberate attempt to defy the Iranian regime and its oppression of women, a female chess champion is competing in an international match—without a hijab! That’s against the law, for Iranian women representing their country in international sports competitions must wear the headscarf.
An Iranian chess player has taken part in an international tournament without a hijab, according to media reports, the latest of several Iranian sportswomen to appear at competitions without one since anti-government protests began.
Photos posted by both outlets appeared to show her with no headscarf during the tournament. Khabarvarzeshi also posted a photo of her wearing a headscarf but without saying if it was taken at the same event.
Khadem, born in 1997 and also known as Sarasadat Khademalsharieh, is ranked 804 in the world, according to the International Chess Federation website. The website for the Dec. 25-30 event listed her as a participant in both the Rapid and Blitz competitions.
The protests mark one of the boldest challenges to Iran’s leadership since its 1979 revolution and have drawn in Iranians from all walks of life.
Women have played a prominent role, removing and in some cases burning headscarves, while protesters have taken heart from what they have seen as shows of support from both female and male Iranian athletes.
In October, Iranian climber Elnaz Rekabi competed in South Korea without a headscarf, later saying she had done so unintentionally.
In November, an Iranian archer said she did not notice her hijab falling during an awards ceremony in Tehran, after a video appeared to show her allowing the headscarf to drop in what was also widely assumed to be a show of support for protesters.
*It’s time for some persiflage, and that means reading the WaPo article “The 10 most bizarre celebrity apologies of 2022.” Some of them certainly deserved to be issued, none more than these two:
In a March profile of the Kardashian sisters and their mother, Kris Jenner, Kim Kardashian told “Variety,” “I have the best advice for women in business: Get your f—ing a– up and work. It seems like nobody wants to work these days.”
Predictably, receiving such a directive from a reality TV star whose parentage was her original claim to fame rubbed many people the wrong way. So in an appearance on “Good Morning America,” Kardashian, 42, apologized and said her words were “taken out of context.” “It wasn’t a blanket statement towards women, or to feel like I don’t respect the work or think that they don’t work hard,” she said. “I know that they do. It was taken out of context, but I’m really sorry if it was received that way.”
In November, some 900 fans paid for signed copies of Bob Dylan’s new book, “The Philosophy of Modern Song,” costing $600 each. In each copy was a signed letter from Jonathan Karp (chief executive of the book’s publisher, Simon & Schuster) confirming its authenticity, but when fans started to examine closely, they realized that the signatures looked exactly the same.
Dylan, 81, came clean soon afterward in a Facebook post: He had used an autopen, a device that replicates a signature, to get all the books signed. “In 2019 I had a bad case of vertigo and it continued into the pandemic years. It takes a crew of five working in close quarters with me to help enable these signing sessions, and we could not find a safe and workable way to complete what I needed to do while the virus was raging. So, during the pandemic, it was impossible to sign anything and the vertigo didn’t help. With contractual deadlines looming, the idea of using an auto-pen was suggested to me, along with the assurance that this kind of thing is done ‘all the time’ in the art and literary worlds,” he wrote. “Using a machine was an error in judgment and I want to rectify it immediately. I’m working with Simon & Schuster and my gallery partners to do just that.”
Simon & Schuster offered full refunds to all who had purchased signed copies.
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili’s kvetching about winter again!
Hili: We have to discuss it.A: What?Hili: How to shorten this winter.
Hili: Musimy to przedyskutować.Ja: Co takiego?Hili: Jak skrócić tę zimę.
From Seth Andrews:
From Malcolm; a good cat video from FB. Sound up:
Over at Mastodon, it’s now official: God is not on Trump’s side:
I don’t think this tweet from Masih needs translation:
پنجشنبه یکم دی ماه
سوگواری مادر #آرتین_رحمانی نوجوان ۱۷ ساله، که در شامگاه چهارشنبه ۲۵ آبان ماه با شلیک مستقیم گلوله توسط سرکوبگران جمهوری اسلامی کشته شد.
— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) December 27, 2022
From Malcolm. What a great idea! Making steps fun to use!
Great idea! pic.twitter.com/udcL0nxbc3
— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden) December 26, 2022
A tweet from Pinkah with an amazing optical illusion:
I struggled to explain these to my psych students. The key: in each video frame, the row of pixels at the leading edge is a different color than the rest of the shape, but the same as the shape in the next frame. Apparent motion at the edge pulls the rest of the shape along. https://t.co/Rvlvjlgarp
— Steven Pinker (@sapinker) December 26, 2022
From the Auschwitz Memorial: sterilization experiments at Auschwitz began 80 years ago today. Read about them at the link given in the tweet, and about the odious Clauberg here (he wasn’t arrested until 1955, and died two years later in jail).
28 December 1942 | Prof. Carl Clauberg began his experiments on female prisoners at Auschwitz II-Birkenau to develop a non-surgical mass sterilization method. In April 1943 Clauberg moved to Block 10 in Auschwitz I.
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) December 28, 2022
Tweets from Professor Cobb, who points out that “grass” in Japanese is slang for “LOL”. The translation: “Old people in Ibaraki are grass.”
— 草ッターwwwww (@kusatta_www) December 27, 2022
I put up this tweet before, and thought it was a fake. It is: see here and here. It’s fricking PhotoShopped! What’s more, the fraudster, Kittiya Pawlowski, used other people’s photos of snow leopards and also made FOUR fake photos.
— Wonderful Destinations by heart ❤️ (@WonderfulDest) December 27, 2022
All I can say is that this guy is fast and that Tube stops in London must be close together in some places!
This is incredibly badass…dude ran from one London Underground stop to the next and got back on the same car pic.twitter.com/TGgSzS2CDJ
— Wu-Tang is for the Children (@WUTangKids) December 26, 2022
And the video in the second tweet explains how it was done:
Myself and @NoelsieC created this video 8yrs ago for our YouTube channel @EpicChallenges – great to see it still sparking interest! Answers to a lot ppl’s questions can be found here: https://t.co/xBvLElR8se
— James Heptonstall (@JHepto) December 27, 2022