Greetings at the beginning of the work week: Monday, January 23, 2023, and National Pie Day! It’s a good reason to read about the apocryphal story in which a royal personage, at dinner, was told by the waitress, “Keep your fork; there’s pie.”
It’s also National Rhubarb Pie Day, celebrating the Worst of All Possible Pies, Measure Your Feet Day (mine are 8.5 regular), National Handwriting Day (we’ve all forgotten how to write by hand), and, in the States of Orissa, Tripura, and West Bengal of India, it’s Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s Jayanti, celebrating his day of birth in 1897. Bose was a hero for many for favoring Indian independence, but not for forming alliances with Nazi Germany and Japan. He died in a suspicious airplane crash in 1948. A photo:
A memorial to David Crosby from his bandmate (and one of his last friends), Steve Stills:
Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the January 23 Wikipedia page.
*The shooter who killed ten and injured another ten in the L.A. suburb of Monterey Park has probably been found—and killed.. As usual, the paper has a patronizing “Here’s what’s to know” section:
There’s no motive yet, but we do know that the male suspect used a semiautomatic weapon.
I’ve just heard a report on the Sunday NBC News that police barricaded a white van at a Torrance, CA parking lot, and in a shootout after a long standoff the occupant was killed. It seems probable that he was the perp (a white van was identified as a vehicle of suspicion). The suspect was Asian-American, and so were his victims.
The NYT has identified the man:
The manhunt ended on Sunday afternoon when a SWAT team closed in on a white van in a parking lot in Torrance. Officers heard one shot as they approached the van, and discovered that the suspect, identified as Huu Can Tran, 72, had shot himself, Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said.
The WaPo also says this:
The state also has an assault weapons ban. It is one of eight states, plus the District of Columbia, with such a law. (Police on Sunday said the weapon the Monterey Park gunman had used was not an assault-style gun.)
I was under the mistaken impression that semiautomatic weapons were assault weapons, but no, they’re not. Assault weapons has an option that allows it to keep firing so long as the trigger is depressed. Semiautomatic weapons are those in which one pull on the trigger allows one bullet to be fired. I shouldn’t even have to know stuff like this!
*The NYT has a provocative article that will surely create a lot of buzz: “When students change gender identity, and parents don’t know.” In fact, even though the story went up yesterday, there were already 1480 comments by 3 p.m. yesterday. The gist of the story, buttressed with examples, is that many schools will allow a student to change their gender identity (changing names and pronouns, using different bathrooms) without telling the parents.
The student, now 16, told The New York Times that his school had provided him with a space to be himself that he otherwise lacked. He had tried to come out to his parents before, he said, but they didn’t take it seriously, which is why he asked his school for support.
“I wish schools didn’t have to hide it from parents or do it without parental permission, but it can be important,” he said. “Schools are just trying to do what’s best to keep students safe and comfortable. When you’re trans, you feel like you are in danger all the time. Even though my parents were accepting, I was still scared, and that’s why the school didn’t tell them.”
Although the number of young people who identify as transgender in the United States remains small, it has nearly doubled in recent years, and schools have come under pressure to address the needs of those young people amid a polarized political environment where both sides warn that one wrong step could result in irreparable harm.
. . . The public school that Mrs. Bradshaw’s son attends is one of many throughout the country that allow students to socially transition — change their name, pronouns, or gender expression — without parental consent. Districts have said they want parents to be involved but must follow federal and, in some cases, state guidance meant to protect students from discrimination and violations of their privacy.
. . . But dozens of parents whose children have socially transitioned at school told The Times they felt villainized by educators who seemed to think that they — not the parents — knew what was best for their children. They insisted that educators should not intervene without notifying parents unless there is evidence of physical abuse at home. Although some didn’t want their children to transition at all, others said they were open to it, but felt schools forced the process to move too quickly, and that they couldn’t raise concerns without being cut out completely or having their home labeled “unsafe.”
I can see both points of view here, but thank Ceiling Cat I have no kids and thus no standing to pronounce. But I will say that if there are state regulations, they should be obeyed (or challenged in court), but I hope that NO school district will facilitate surgery or medical treatment without the parents’ knowledge.
*Several cruise ships headed to New Zealand have been forced to turn around or stop and undergo extensive cleaning because of “biofoul”. New Zealand is rightly and proudly scrupulous about letting foreign organisms or biomaterial into the country, as they’ve lost many species from introduces flora and fauna. This fauna comes in on ships:
The ship, along with Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth, the Viking Orion and the Coral Princess, is one of at least six cruise liners traveling in and around New Zealand since December to come into conflict with these regulations, condemning those aboard to days of idleness at sea until a painstaking cleaning process, performed by local companies in international waters, can be completed.
For passengers, some of whom had spent tens of thousands of dollars and awaited the cruise for years, it was a crushing and unanticipated blow. For those in the industry in Australia and New Zealand, though, the incidents were all too foreseeable, even if the cause of a spate of them occurring in such a short time frame remained mysterious.
. . . Few countries take as many biosecurity precautions as New Zealand, which goes to great lengths to protect its natural ecosystems. Passengers who arrive by air, for example, are met at the airport by a phalanx of signs that urge them to dispense with any meat or vegetable products or face the consequences. Even a single undeclared apple, tucked into hand luggage and forgotten about, may carry an instant fine of 400 New Zealand dollars, or about $250. (A recent bill introduced in the country’s parliament seeks to increase that fine almost threefold.)
. . . Marine organisms — including mussels, oysters, algae, crabs and starfish, among a wider maritime cast — might hitch a ride either in the ballast water of ships, which helps the vessel’s stability, or by clinging to their exteriors, where they are known as biofoul. A global agreement, set by the regulatory authority known as the International Maritime Organization, dictates how ships handle organisms found in ballast water. But no such agreement exists for biofoul, allowing countries to set their own policy.
New Zealand’s standards, introduced in 2018, were the first of their kind in the world and are the most stringent. They stipulate that vessels must have a “clean hull,” with at most a coating of slime, stray gooseneck barnacles and a smattering of other organisms on their exterior. Once an initial clean is completed, usually in South East Asia, and the accompanying paperwork has been filed, the ship has 30 days to make its way to New Zealand.
The passengers were offered compensatory vouchers for the non-trip, but it didn’t work for one of them: “Another passenger. . . .publicly declined the offer of a compensatory voucher for a future cruise, saying that he had chosen to take the trip after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, and that he did not expect to live long enough to take any other cruises.” Oy!
*ANOTHER six classified documents have been found in Joe Biden’s Delaware home! This is not looking good:
The search of Mr. Biden’s home, which came after his team offered Federal Bureau of Investigation agents full access to the property, lasted more than 12 hours and “covered all working, living and storage spaces in the home,” Mr. Bauer said. The six items taken included some papers from Mr. Biden’s tenure in the U.S. Senate, where he served for 36 years. Others came from his time as vice president.
During the search, which lasted from around 9:45 a.m. to around 10:30 p.m. Friday, members of Mr. Biden’s personal legal team were present along with officials from the White House Counsel’s Office, according to Mr. Bauer’s statement. Federal investigators also took materials including handwritten notes, “for further review,” Mr. Bauer said.
According to Mr. Bauer, the Justice Department had full access to the president’s home, including personally handwritten notes, files, papers, binders, memorabilia, to-do lists, schedules and reminders going back decades.
Friday’s search is at least the fifth that has turned up classified material in places used by Mr. Biden.
Now I think Biden is handling this pretty well, though he might have announced the earlier findings in November, when the first discoveries were made. And they keep replaying Biden’s statement about how unbelievable it was that Trump had classified documents in his home. Here’s a CNN video in which Joe and Jill Republican, Democrat, or Independent weigh in. The opinions are pretty predictable.
*Dear President Biden, Chancellor Scholz (of Germany), and all other heads of state in Western Europe:
The Ukraine has asked for battle tanks to fight off the invading Russians. You won’t hand any over, or sell any. Please do so immediately. They will help Ukraine a lot, and since they can and will be used defensively, there’s no reason not to be generous here. Or are you afraid that Putin will drop a nuke or two on Zelensky if he sees you handing over tanks.
Professor Ceiling Cat (Emeritus)
As you know, Ukraine has begged both the U.S. and Germany t send them battle tanks, as they have only shabby equivalents to fight off the Russians. First the U.S. refused, and then, as I recall, Germany said it would give tanks to Ukraine so long as the U.S. did, too. Now Germany seems to have withdrawn from that promise, but said it would allow Poland to send tanks to Ukraine,
Ukrainian officials have been calling on Western allies to supply them with the modern German-made tanks for months – but Berlin has so far held back from sending them, or allowing other NATO countries to do so.
Asked what would happen if Poland went ahead and sent its Leopard 2 tanks without German approval, Annalena Baerbock said on France’s LCI TV: “For the moment the question has not been asked, but if we were asked we would not stand in the way.”
Her remarks appeared to go further than German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s comments at a summit in Paris earlier on Sunday that all decisions on weapons deliveries would be made in coordination with allies including the United States.
Germany has been under heavy pressure to let Leopards go to Ukraine. But Scholz’s Social Democrat party is traditionally sceptical of military involvements and wary of sudden moves that could cause Moscow to further escalate.
German defense minister Boris Pistorius said on Sunday that he expected a decision soon on the tanks, though he kept up a note of caution.
. . .German sources have told Reuters they would allow German-made tanks to be sent to Ukraine to help its defence against Russia if the United States agrees to send its own tanks. But U.S. officials have said President Joe Biden’s administration is not poised to send its own tanks, including the M1 Abrams.
The Kremlin’s spokesman said on Friday that Western countries supplying additional tanks to Ukraine would not change the course of the conflict and that they would add to the problems of the Ukrainian people.
Where are the tanks? There ought to be tanks. Well, maybe next year. . . .
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili can’t stop thinking about snacking on a bird:
Hili: The birds of the air; they do not sow or reap.A: But they are cute.Hili: And tasty.
Hili: Ptaki niebieskie nie sieją, nie orzą…Ja: Ale są ładne.Hili: I smaczne.
From Merilee, a Mark Parisi cartoon:
From Stash Krod, we have ducks in a Leunig cartoon:
A great Bizaro comic:
From Masih: translation from Farsi:
We received a video in which one of the armed oppressors in Tehran beats a woman for no reason on November 24.
Video Sender says: “This gentleman attacked the pedestrians without any reason, and when this lady did not run away, he kicked and punched her and asked her to run away.”
It does seem to be a completely unprovoked attack:
ویدئویی به دست ما رسیده که در آن یکی از سرکوبگران مسلح در تهران، تاریخ ۲۴ آبان، بدون هیچ دلیلی، زنی را مورد ضرب و شتم قرار میدهد.
— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) January 22, 2023
Speaking of Matt Yglesias, a tweet found by Luana:
This does not strike me as a promising path forward for math education pic.twitter.com/4kIjJV1oso
— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) January 21, 2023
From Barry, who adds,”I love how the other toads turn to the interloper with a ‘we’re gonna kill you’ look”:
This is a very very bad frog pic.twitter.com/0IxHXI3yIg
— Pastor Alex (@PastorAlexLove) January 19, 2023
From Malcolm, A Tower Of Books:
An infinite tower of books, an art installation called Idiom, by artist Matej Krenpic.twitter.com/QrXiilfSfa
— Science girl (@gunsnrosesgirl3) January 18, 2023
From the Auschwitz Memorial, four siblings gassed upon arrival:
22 January 1944 | A transport of 1,115 Jews deported from Drancy arrived at #Auschwitz. After selection, 236 men and 55 women were registered in the camp. The remaining 864 people were murdered in gas chambers.
Among them Rosa, Paulette, Samek (Jamec) & Daniel Lisoprawski. pic.twitter.com/52U8U69LGT
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) January 22, 2023
Tweets from Professor Cobb. This could be thought of as sexual selection via male-male competition (or does the female empty the sperm because a better male has come along?)
There's just not enough Dunnock 'cloaction' on Winterwatch right now…
As the male pecks the female's swollen cloaca, watch as she ejects the sperm from previous males' mating attempts! 🤯 A-mazing!
Regards, Lee x pic.twitter.com/DlhKoAUbw4
— Lee Brace (@bracealmighty) January 19, 2023
Geneticists: what is wrong with this announcement?
— Matthew Cobb (@matthewcobb) January 22, 2023
What a bizarre comparison!
TWO ASTEROIDS THE SIZE OF 22 PENGUINS pic.twitter.com/xhQIiMrmjk
— Dr Robin George Andrews 🌋☄️ (@SquigglyVolcano) January 20, 2023