Good morning on cat shabbos: it’s Saturday, June 17, 2023, and a day of cultural appropriation: National Apple Strudel Day. This photo is from a site giving you the top five places in Vienna to eat the pastry. You must have whipped cream and coffee (preferably an Einspänner):
It’s also Dog Dad’s Day (does only one male own a d*g?), Global Garbage Man Day, World Croc Day (the reptile, not the shoe), National Eat Your Vegetables Day, World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, and Icelandic National Day, celebrating the independence of Iceland from Kingdom of Denmark in 1944.
Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the June 17 Wikipedia page.
*Obituaries first: Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked what became known as the Pentagon papers, has died at 92. He was a hero to my generation:
The family confirmed his death in a statement. Mr. Ellsberg announced in an email to friends and supporters on March 1 that he had pancreatic cancer and had declined chemotherapy. Whatever time he had left, he said, would be spent giving talks and interviews about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the perils of nuclear war and the importance of First Amendment protections.
. . . He went on to embrace a life of advocacy, which extended from his 1971 leak of the Pentagon Papers — a disclosure that led Henry Kissinger, Nixon’s national security adviser, to privately brand him “the most dangerous man in America” — to decades of work advocating for press freedoms and the anti-nuclear movement.
Mr. Ellsberg co-founded the Freedom of the Press Foundation and championed the work of a new generation of digital leakers and whistleblowers, including Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning. He also continued to release secret government documents, including files about nuclear war that he had copied while working on the military’s “mutually assured destruction” strategy during the Cold War, around the same time he leaked the study that made him perhaps the most famous whistleblower in American history.
“When I copied the Pentagon Papers in 1969,” he wrote in the email announcing his cancer diagnosis, “I had every reason to think I would be spending the rest of my life behind bars. It was a fate I would gladly have accepted if it meant hastening the end of the Vietnam War, unlikely as that seemed.”
That, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, is a brave man. Ceiling Cat made the wrong choice, letting Kissinger live while killing Ellsberg at the young age of 92.
*The Justice Department has issued a damning report on the Minneapolis Police Department, accusing it of systemic biases that culminated in the highly publicized murder of George Floyd.
Specifically, the report criticizes the Minneapolis police for: using “dangerous tactics and weapons” — including neck restraints and Tasers — against people for petty offense or no crimes; punishing residents who criticized the police; patrolling neighborhoods differently based on their racial makeup; and discriminating against those with behavioral health disabilities.
The report called the department’s accountability structures “fundamentally flawed,” with internal misconduct investigations getting lost in an “opaque maze” as senior managers dismissed legitimate complaints without investigation. At times, investigators also routinely mischaracterize the allegations, the report said.
Here we have a barrel at least half full of rotten apples, and it’s good Garland undertook this investigation. Although Floyd’s friends and relatives were distraught, I hope it’s consolation that he spawned a huge movement to promote civil rights (and reform police). Also, it will help people start to trust the local cops.
*Nellie Bowles is back with her engaging weekly news summary at The Free Press. This week’s is called “TGIF: Fortune does not favor the brave,” and I’ll steal the usual three items:
→ Student loan payments to resume: The years-long pause on paying back student loans is lifting, sending the White House into spasms. You see: Biden staffers’ favorite constituency is educated cultural elites with student loans. Which is why this line in the Politico story stood out to me: “White House officials have described the agreement as a relatively narrow one, noting that it ends only the current payment pause. They’ve noted, for example, that it would not prevent the Education Department from pausing payments in response to future national emergencies or if it’s otherwise justified under existing law.” Thank god! I think the climate emergency is calling, and it says it needs debt-free modernist literature PhDs and all mortgages (in Fort Greene, Rockridge, and Silverlake) to be forgiven.
→ “The power, it’s just not comparable”: This week a trans athlete named Austin Killips, who was competing in a women’s cycling match, won by a full five minutes, winning $5,000. In May, Austin won the top prize in another women’s cycling race—taking home $35,000. Austin calls critics “ghouls.” Obviously anyone critical of this is a “bigot.”
I recommend watching the video of the woman, Paige Onweller, who came in second place describing the race right afterward: “Yeah, just kind of couldn’t match Austin. You know, the power, it’s just, not comparable.” As my lesbian tennis leader Martina Navratilova says: “What a joke.
If you’re interested in studying trans participation in women’s sports, get ready to get a big F on your paper, which is what happened to a young woman last week. Her mistake? Using the term biological women in a paper on women’s sports. Last bit on this: public opinion is changing here, per a new Gallup poll out this week.
Here’s victor Austin, and then Paige Onweller, who refers only obliquely to Austin’s “power”:
Here’s Paige Onweller, who came in 🥈to Killips, talking about her race. pic.twitter.com/QTxNZTjkJ3
— 🚲 (@i_heart__bikes) June 11, 2023
This is hilarious:
→ Anti-cop ice cream shop sues Seattle for not having enough cops: This week, Molly Moon’s Ice Cream filed a lawsuit against Seattle for allowing antifa to take over a neighborhood and claim it as their own—they called it CHOP—while the city cheered and agreed to give it to them. A lot of shops have sued Seattle for this, but Molly’s Moon is the best one because they were hardcore in favor of CHOP. The new autonomous zone was “beautiful” and “peaceful,” Molly Moon’s Instagram account wrote at the time. And Molly, the shop’s founder, still wants to make it really clear that she loves antifa and hates cops but also antifa made her life hell (city, give Molly money please) and there were no cops when there should have been cops (more money, thank you). From the lawsuit:
*Robert G. Bowers, 50. the man who killed 11 people and wounded 7 in a 2018 attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, has been found guilty on 63 counts, and the verdict makes him eligible for the death penalty.
Prosecutors also played haunting 911 emergency calls, during which victims could be heard screaming and struggling to breathe before dying amid rapid gunfire from Bowers, who used an AR-15 assault rifle and three handguns.
Five police officers were wounded as they attempted to apprehend Bowers during the attack on Oct. 27, 2018, in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood, a longtime Jewish enclave. Bowers fatally shot six victims in the head and fired about 100 rounds of ammunition in all, prosecutors said.
“The defendant turned this sacred ground of worship into a hunting ground,” prosecutor Mary Hahn told the jurors in her closing arguments Thursday, according to local news accounts.
The jury deliberated for a total of about five hours over two days before reaching the verdict.
As always, I’m opposed to the death penalty, even in Bowers’s case. Lock him up for life without parole instead (unless for some bizarre reason he can be rehabilitated).
*In his Substack column this week, “The fault is not in their stars but in themselves“, Andrew Sullivan ponders parallels between the bad behaviors of Donald Trump and Boris Johnson.
And now we have Donald Trump and Boris Johnson. And the ghost of Bill Bennett seems to have a point, doesn’t he? This past week saw two official reports into the abuse of their respective offices, and their lavish lying about it. The Smith indictment alleges that Trump knew full well that the documents he took from the White House and stored haphazardly at Mar-a-Lago and Bedminster were highly classified and not his own. But rather than hand everything back, Trump ignored the best legal advice, lied to his own lawyers, ordered an underling to move boxes to conceal them from the FBI, and threw out his usual barrage of excuses, distractions and falsehoods.
In an eerily similar fashion, the British parliamentary committee set up to investigate whether Boris Johnson lied to the House of Commons about his breaking of social distancing rules during Covid, published its final report this week. It’s as authoritative as the Trump indictment — first-hand witnesses, photos, sworn testimony, due process. And it too focuses on a very basic fact: just as Trump knew he was not authorized to keep top secret documents, so Johnson knew that crowded office-parties were quite clearly banned across the UK. But this awareness of the rules did not stop either man from flagrantly breaking them — and then complaining of a “witch-hunt” when called to account.
. . . And it’s deeply telling that the bulk of the charges against Johnson are about how he responded to the investigation, just as much of Smith’s case rests on what Trump did after he was told there was legal scrutiny of his official records. These two citizens start with a presumption that they are exempt from all rules, and then compound it with perjury and clumsy obstruction because they simply cannot admit guilt. (And neither was framed. A majority of the parliamentary committee were Tories; and the chief accusers of Trump are the national security apparatus and the FBI, which ten minutes ago were regarded as GOP-leaning institutions.)
Overwhelming self-entitlement is just at the core of who Trump and Johnson are. It is their character. . . . .
. . . And as with Trump and his bizarre behavior with “his boxes,” it’s very hard to see some profound, malign motive here in pursuit of something important. It’s just mindless egotism, married with an infinite capacity for deceit.
. . . And there is almost nothing in the narrative of these men’s late careers that isn’t exactly replicated in every previous episode of their lives. A mature democracy will throw up these characters every now and again, and use them. But a healthy one will also test them, and cast them out if they threaten the integrity of the system as a whole. The Brits and Tories have done that, in the end, with Boris — and it speaks well of the remaining integrity of their democracy.
The GOP needs to do the same with Trump. And soon.
Nope; won’t happen. If it does, it will be because Trump is convicted. And I still say that Trump is more horrible than Johnson, even if both were determined by the laws of physics (their environments and their genes) to be horrible.
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is actually being HELPFUL!
Hili: There will be plenty of raspberries.A: You are not eating them.Hili: But I know that you like them.
Hili: Będzie dużo malin.Ja: Ty ich nie jesz.Hili: Ale wiem, że wy je lubicie.
And a photo of Baby Kulka:
A bed I’d like to have from Pet Jokes & Puns:
From the Absurd Sign Project 2.0:
From Jesus of the Day:
From Masih, the power of religious dogma that is Iranian law:
"Break the neck of anyone who may seek to break the [hijab] norms, and I'll take responsibility for it," Hassan Mofakhami, the Police chief of Iran's Mazandaran province, told his subordinates during a visit to Babolsar beach. Iranian women who protest against the mandatory hijab… pic.twitter.com/CkgWRbj6oN
— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) June 16, 2023
From Malcolm: a new world record solving a Rubik’s cube. This guy is amazing!
21-year-old Max Park has set a new world record for solving a 3x3x3 Rubik's Cube in just 3.13 seconds.
— Massimo (@Rainmaker1973) June 15, 2023
From Pyers, who gives an intro:
There has been a highly entertaining Twitter thread where a game developer for the NYT announced proudly that she had devised a game where words in a 4 x 4 grid have to linked together with some connection. Red herrings are present to confuse etc etc …There is one slight problem. This game is identical to a round in the fiendishly difficult BBC quiz called “Only Connect”… For info: Victoria Coren Mitchell (who replies) is the host of the BBC show…
Do you know this has been a TV show in the UK since 2008 ?! It’s so similar I guess you must do?
— Victoria Coren Mitchell (@VictoriaCoren) June 13, 2023
I found this one, a wonderful man rescuing an eagle:
This hero put up with pain & risk to rescue an eagle from a mud bog. If a person only feels his own pain, this person is just a living. When he starts to feel others', he becomes a human being. pic.twitter.com/PXv3zCgR5l
— Hakan Kapucu (@1hakankapucu) June 15, 2023
From the Auschwitz Memorial, a ten-year-old Jewish girl from Italy gassed upon arrival. Today would have been her 90th birthday. You can see the full photo by clicking the picture.
17 June 1933 | An Italian Jewish girl, Emma Terracina, was born in Rome.
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) June 17, 2023
Tweets from Matthew, the first one shows a release of Scottish wildcats, though I’ve never been completely convinced that the “Scottish wildcat” is a genuinely wild subspecies of Felis silvestris rather than feral tabbies:
Scottish wildcats have been released into the Cairngorms National Park 🐈.
Known as Highland tigers, they are Scotland’s last remaining native cat species.
We're proud to support this project which draws on global conservation expertise.
— Scottish Government Nordic Office (@ScotGovNordic) June 15, 2023
Another bird rescue, an emu as far as I can tell. Sound up.
Dad rescuing a bird that fell in a new strainer hole on the farm.
Wait for it.. pic.twitter.com/mWv6lEp1m3
— Joel Pedro (@BBQPossum) June 14, 2023
Okay, you can read about the rector here:
Blackpool is, of course, chiefly famous as the place the disgraced Rector of Siffkey came to raise £££ against his dismissal by the Bishop of Norwich. He did this by charging people to see him sitting in a barrel, sandwiched between the Bearded Lady From Russia & a flea circus. pic.twitter.com/S7Yk26EVQE
— Tom Holland (@holland_tom) June 15, 2023