As in every year, I present the heart of Dr. King’s 17-minute “I Have a Dream” speech, presented at the Washington Monument on August 28, 1963. A brilliant piece of rhetoric and a great boost to civil rights. Listen to it again. (This video dissects the rhetoric and source of his words.)
Today’s Google Doodle, showing the Washington, D.C. mall during the speech above, celebrates Martin Luther King Day (click to see where it goes):
It’s also National Fig Newton Day (a favorite cookie of mine), Appreciate a Dragon Day, Book Publishers Day, National Pothole Day, and National Religious Freedom Day, commemorating Jefferson’s Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, adopted by the Virginia Assembly on January 16, 1786. It was the forerunner of our First Amendment, and was one of three things he wished to be remembered for on his tombstone (his Presidency was not one of them):
Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the January 16 Wikipedia page.
Wine of the Day: This high-class Burgundy, well above my psychological price barrier, was able to enter my gullet through the generosity of a kind reader, who sent the bottle as a Coynezaa gift. In fact, the 2011 is no longer available, and i can find the ratings (and price) only back to 2012.
Since I rarely get to sample great Burgundy, much less not-so-great Burgundy, I have not much to compare this to, but one sip tells you that you’re in the presence of greatness. This is a gutsy Burgundy, redolent of red berries and, yes, licorice. (I definitely smelled licorice and was happy to see that a wine expert also detected the flavor.) It was hefty enough to go with my weekly t-bone, and although I can find no ratings or notes on the 2011, here are Robert Parker’s note from the 2019 vintage:
The 2019 Corton Le Rognet et Corton Grand Cru has also turned out very nicely, mingling aromas of cherries, berries and plums with hints of woodsmoke and coniferous forest floor. Medium to full-bodied, deep and sapid, with lively acids, superb depth of fruit and refined tannins, it’s long and penetrating. It was with sadness that I learned of Pierre Guillemot’s passing, at the age of 93, while this report was going to press. Having enjoyed Pierre’s inaugural vintage of Serpentières, the striking 1947, on a number of occasions, it is evident that he hit the ground running as a formidable winemaker, and he was always spoken of with the greatest warmth along the Côte d’Or. Guillemot grandpère must, however, have been satisfied that the domaine he founded is in good hands, ably directed by his grandsons. As I’ve written before, winemaking at this seven-hectare estate is rather classical, the reds fermenting in wooden tanks with temperature control, followed by élevage with modest percentages of new wood. The wines are remarkably consistent, surpassing expectations in challenging years and fully delivering in more propitious vintages. The 2018s, revisited here in bottle, have fulfilled the promise they showed from barrel, and the 2019s are even more vibrant and charming. So, it bears repeating that readers bemoaning the lack of fine, affordable Burgundy from the Côte d’Or should beat a path to the Guillemot family’s door. [JAC: this is “affordable” only if you’re Elon Musk![
There was no sediment to this wine, and no sign of aging. It could improve for another 5 years or more, though this is my last bottle. If you want to drink Burgundy at this level, take a second mortgage on your house or have a friend with a good cellar. It improved the second day, and I drank the last sip with the greatest regret.
*At last the MSM (mainstream media) are starting to realize that affirmative action, because of the conservative Supreme Court, will soon be an ex-parrot. Have a look at the NYT article, “If affirmative action ends, college may be changed forever.” The operant word, however, is not “may” but “will.”
If the court rules as expected, the class admitted for the fall of 2024 will look quite different, education officials said.
“We will see a decline in students of color attending college before we see an increase again,” said Angel B. Pérez, the chief executive of the National Association for College Admission Counseling. “We will be missing an entire generation.”
That sounds a bit hyperbolic, as there are a gazillion colleges in America besides Harvard. An entire generation of students is 20 years’ worth: five college turnovers. But I’m sure elite colleges will find workarounds, though they may be challenged. There’s more:
The institutions most likely to be dramatically affected are the 200 colleges and universities regarded as “selective” — meaning they admit 50 percent or fewer of their applicants. And for smaller, highly selective liberal arts colleges, like Wesleyan, the impact on college culture could be particularly noticeable, as professors on these tightly knit campuses say their small classes thrive on interactions by a diverse group of students.
There are about 5300 colleges and universities in America: 200 represent only 4% of the total. But the impact is far-reaching:
Some schools, including Wesleyan, said they hope increased outreach to underserved communities would offset some of the impact of a Supreme Court ruling. But they may be limited in what they can do.
The court could prevent colleges from purchasing lists of potential applicants that focus on race and ethnicity, a common practice used in recruitment, Dr. Pérez said.
“Fly-ins,” in which certain students are provided expense-paid visits to campuses, could also be on the chopping block. So could scholarship programs designated for students of color, which many rely on to afford tuition.
“Fly-in programs, scholarship programs, partnerships with churches and community-based organizations, where does it end?” Dr. Pérez asked.
My own solution, if you see diversity as an innate good, as the Bakke case did, would be more widespread recruiting. But if it’s targeted at minorities, that may be illegal. The solution would then be to lower the admissions bar for everyone, so that the elite schools would no longer be so elite. And that seems to be what they’re doing, but under the radar:
Colleges are planning behind the scenes for the court ruling, though they are reluctant to release plans, worried about potentially opening themselves up to legal action.
“We don’t want to get ahead of the court, and we don’t want to give the court any ideas,” Dr. Pérez said.
But some have made pre-emptive moves. Standardized tests, for instance, have long been criticized for handicapping poor students and students of color, partly because they may not have access to expensive test preparation classes.
But what do you use without standardized tests? To boost minority enrollment, you still have to use something that’s race-targeted. That’s what Harvard tried to do by lowering the “personality scores” of Asian-American applicants. And it won’t work, at least if the Court rules as we think they will. There’s no doubt how the Supreme Court will rule, and affirmative action will certainly go into the dumper, probably by a vote of 6-3.
*The Wall Street Journal is still predicting a recession this year. I do, too, though I hoped I was wrong. When eggs are $6 a dozen, as I saw in the store an hour ago, things aren’t going well.
Despite signs that inflation has started to recede, economists still expect higher interest rates to push the U.S. economy into a recession in the coming year, according to The Wall Street Journal’s latest quarterly survey.
On average, business and academic economists polled by the Journal put the probability of a recession in the next 12 months at 61%, little changed from 63% in October’s survey. Both figures are historically high outside actual recessions.
The Federal Reserve had initially hoped it could bring down inflation with only a slowing in economic growth rather than an outright contraction, an outcome dubbed a “soft landing.” But three-quarters of respondents said the Fed wouldn’t achieve a soft landing this year.
*Columnist David von Drehle of the Washington Post, who despises Trump, is nevertheless glad that Biden was caught with classified documents, even though his case is not all that similar to Trump’s. Nevertheless, it’s similar enough that, argues Drehle, it guarantees that Trump will not be indicted in the strongest criminal case against him, and Drehle thinks that’s good. His reasoning:
Illegal possession of classified documents and repeated attempts to avoid surrendering them to the proper authorities constituted a case that bordered on open-and-shut. Trump’s defense — that as president he could declassify material simply by entertaining the notion — was obviously unsustainable. By that logic, a future president could lawfully cart away all the secrets of the U.S. government in a convoy of tractor trailers.
But now that case will probably not be brought, no matter how many side-by-side charts are created to distinguish between the known allegations against Trump and the (so far unknown) culpability of Biden. According to the latest Gallup data, 45 percent of Americans identify as Republicans or leaning toward the Republicans; 44 percent are Democrats or lean in that direction. The Justice Department serves them all, and its credibility rests on being perceived to play fair.
. . . Before continuing, let me be clear: I believe Trump is a bad person of low character, selfish and dishonest, intellectually lazy, childish and shameless, and that his presidency has been a terrible thing for the country I love. For this reason, I’m relieved by the likely collapse of the classified documents case against him. Because it was the strongest case against Trump, in terms of trial strategy, it was the most likely to produce an indictment — and indicting Trump is a terrible idea for those who genuinely hope to be rid of him.
Politically, Trump is a dead man walking. He has lost the ability to drive the news cycle. His outlandish social media posts fall as silently as unheard forest trees. His declaration of his next campaign produced a yawn worthy of another run by Ralph Nader. As drum major of a wackadoodle parade, he marched through the Republican primaries last year, delivering candidates who bombed in the general election. Now no one marches to his tune. When he tried to influence the election of a House speaker, even the surviving zealots ignored his instructions.
To be indicted and hauled into court for history’s most heavily publicized trial would invigorate Trump, and the spectacle would galvanize his dwindling base of support. He’d go from grumbling irrelevance in the gilded prison of his Mar-a-Lago mausoleum to ring master of a circus trial that would dominate every news outlet.
*Two tragedies yesterday. First, a Russian missile destroyed a Ukrainian apartment building in the city of Dnipro, killing at least 30. Russia keeps targeting civilians, which is a war crime, but denying it:
Emergency crews worked through the frigid night and all day at the multi-story residential building, where officials said about 1,700 people lived before Saturday’s strike. The reported death toll made it the deadliest attack in one place since a Sept. 30 strike in Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region, according to The Associated Press-Frontline War Crimes Watch project.
Russia also targeted the capital, Kyiv, and the northeastern city of Kharkiv during a widespread barrage the same day, ending a two-week lull in the airstrikes it has launched against Ukraine’s power infrastructure and urban centers almost weekly since October.
Russia on Sunday acknowledged the missile strikes but did not mention the Dnipro apartment building. Russia has repeatedly denied targeting civilians in the war.
And in Nepal, a Yeti Airlines plane crashed while attempting to land at Pokhara (a famous tourist town because it’s the jumping-off point for treks to the Annapurna region). At least 68 of the 72 people aboard were killed.
Hours after dark, scores of onlookers crowded around the crash site near the airport in the resort town of Pokhara as rescue workers combed the wreckage on the edge of the cliff and in the ravine below. Officials suspended the search for the four missing people overnight and planned to resume looking Monday.
Local resident Bishnu Tiwari, who rushed to the crash site near the Seti River to help search for bodies, said the rescue efforts were hampered by thick smoke and a raging fire.
“The flames were so hot that we couldn’t go near the wreckage. I heard a man crying for help, but because of the flames and smoke we couldn’t help him,” Tiwari said.
It was not immediately clear what caused the accident, Nepal’s Civil Aviation Authority said.
A witness said he saw the aircraft spinning violently in the air after it began descending to land, watching from the terrace of his house. Finally, Gaurav Gurung said, the plane fell nose-first towards its left and crashed into the gorge.
I’ve made that short (27-minute) flight the other way, from Pokhara to Katmandu, and it’s not nearly as difficult as landing at Lukla, in the Everest region. I suspect it’s an aircraft malfunction, and my sympathies go out to the Nepalese who died in that crash, and to their families.
*Over at The Free Press, Bari Weiss’s expanding attempt to create a centrist New York Times, Martin Clarke, former editor-in-chief of the Mail Online, dissects the new “royals bio,”, Spare, in a piece called “Prince Harry proves one thing: the tabloids were right“. But how were they right? By being factually correct in their claims:
Ironically, the great revelation at the heart of Spare is that so much of the reporting Harry has objected to over the years turns out to be substantially true.
The press was right about the drug use that started in Harry’s teens. He cheerfully admits to smoking large amounts of cannabis in the years up to and following his escape to California. He even cops to sampling chocolate-covered magic mushrooms from Courteney Cox’s fridge in Montecito.
The press was right about allegations that Meghan bullied Palace staff (though Harry maintains it never happened).
We were especially—and tragically—right about the friction among “The Fab Four.”
In fact, by the time we got around to reporting about the tensions between the Cambridges (William and Kate) and the Sussexes (Harry and Meghan), they had been simmering for some time.
As an editor for 27 years, I can assure Harry that nobody sits around in editorial conferences plotting how they can screw over the Sussexes today. In my experience, senior journalists are much more likely to be plotting how they can screw over each other.
But, above all else, the main gripe Harry has with the press is the way the media—the tabloid media in particular—allegedly hounded, smeared and demeaned his wife. So much so, he says, they ultimately had to flee for North America.
According to Clarke, that just ain’t so:
But I went back and reviewed what the UK papers wrote about the then-Ms. Markle in the days following that report. And while there was plenty of comment about her biracial background, it was almost entirely in the context of how it showed Britain had become a color-blind society (yup, that was still a good thing back then)—even if some of it was clumsily worded.
Most pieces lauded her for her beauty, style and acting career. In fact, several female columnists wondered why on earth she’d want to marry Harry.
But what struck me most was how little coverage there was. Meghan was barely on the front pages and some days didn’t appear in most outlets at all.
. . .But all this goes to the heart of Harry’s delusion. Uncomfortable facts can never be allowed to intrude. He ignores the yards of hysterical, gushing coverage that surrounded his wedding. He fails to mention the UK press’s treatment of him as a hero for fighting the Taliban. He doesn’t mention all the ludicrously dumb articles we wrote lauding the so-called “Fab Four” when they were actually at each other’s throats.
It’s why he won’t subject himself to anything tougher than fawning interviews, which allow him to pile nonsense upon nonsense.
It goes on, but I’m glad to see the press, for once, not fawning all over Harry’s new memoir, as they seem to be doing. Nobody I’ve read has had the guts to call it what it is: a self-serving attempt to settle scores, burnish his reputation, and make a ton of money. Although he wants to reconcile with his family, this book guarantees that it won’t happen. But ten million bucks trumps that. I’m not sure why the public is so interested in this pair of married narcissists, but here I am writing about it, too! I’m done now.
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is going a’ hunting:
Hili: I’m going for a night hunt, I have to sharpen my claws.A: Maybe it would be better to return home because you can freeze.
Hili: Idę na nocne łowy, muszę naostrzyć pazurki.Ja: Może lepiej wróć do domu, bo zmarzniesz.
From the FB page America’s Cultural Decline into Idiocy. How many errors can you find? There are at least three.
And from the same site, which is a gold mine of LOLZ. It looks as if midgets (is that an improper word now?) were picketing the store.
From Jesus of the Day. This must be from either Denmark, Sweden, or Norway:
A Muslim version of Titania McGrath!
— WoogsRenegat (@WoogsRenegat) January 7, 2023
Ricky Gervais on God:
“I see nothing ‘wrong’ in believing in a God. I don’t think there is a God, but belief in him does no harm. If it helps you in any way, then that’s fine with me. It’s when belief starts infringing on other people’s rights when it worries me.” – @rickygervais pic.twitter.com/KedJ1g1EZ4
— Daniel (@Clark1995Clark) January 15, 2023
From Luana. This is a newly unveiled sculpture of Martin Luther King and Coretta Scott King in Boston. But it looks a bit salacious to me!
Sometimes I think it's unfair that white folx don't have "representatives" building amazing sculptures for them like this. https://t.co/KeGLQ6Uvv5
— Climate Warrior🐬 #ClimateJustice🇵🇸#BDS⚧️ 🌈🇺🇦 (@ClimateWarrior7) January 14, 2023
This guy got what he deserved (I assume this wasn’t a setup):
From the Auschwitz Memorial, we have two photos today. First, a mother and four-year-old child murdered on arrival:
16 January 1938 | Dutch Jewish boy Salomon Harschel was born in The Hague.
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) January 16, 2023
A woman who survived saved SS photos of the killing process, beginning with head shaving:
16 January 1926 | A Hungarian Jewish woman, Lili Jacob, was born in Bilke.
Deported to #Auschwitz in May 1944 & transferred to Mittelbau-Dora. After liberation she found an album of SS photos of extermination process in Birkenau.
She emigrated to the USA & passed away in 1999. pic.twitter.com/Yzr2IYrXKm
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) January 16, 2023
Tweets from Dr. Cobb. First, why aren’t these sharks moving?
“He’s like a shark – he has to keep moving or he will die.” https://t.co/Dho5FUu0aw
— Matthew Cobb (@matthewcobb) January 14, 2023
What is this frog doing?
Just mama pig, baby pig, and their flying frog friend pic.twitter.com/QAF3hl58tW
— @Frog (@FrogOnIG) January 13, 2023
It's a very scary fight! 😂🤣 pic.twitter.com/lw5U8H37vA
— Figen (@TheFigen_) January 13, 2023