Posting may be light today as there is a difficult duck rescue in the offing. I’m not sure how long it will take. Bear with me; I do my best.
Greetings on a fine
CaturSaturday, July 8, 2023, cat shabbos and National Chocolate With Almonds Day (I think they mean National Chocolate-Covered Almonds Day).
Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the July 8 Wikipedia page.
*The U.S. is sending “cluster munition” to Ukraine as a stopgap measure, but it’s incurred the wrath of some Democrats since the weapons could hurt civilians. Here’s what they are (from Wikipedia):
A cluster munition is a form of air-dropped or ground-launched explosive weapon that releases or ejects smaller submunitions. Commonly, this is a cluster bomb that ejects explosive bomblets that are designed to kill personnel and destroy vehicles. Other cluster munitions are designed to destroy runways or electric power transmission lines, disperse chemical or biological weapons, or to scatter land mines. Some submunition-based weapons can disperse non-munitions, such as leaflets.
Because cluster bombs release many small bomblets over a wide area, they pose risks to civilians both during attacks and afterwards. Unexploded bomblets can kill or maim civilians and/or unintended targets long after a conflict has ended, and are costly to locate and remove. The so called failure rate ranges from 2 percent to 40 percent or more.
From the NYT:
The Biden administration, breaking with several of its closest allies, said on Friday that it would provide cluster munitions to Ukraine, despite concerns that the weapons could endanger civilians.
Jake Sullivan, the president’s national security adviser, told reporters at the White House that the administration would continue arming Ukraine as stockpiles of conventional artillery dwindle. He defended the use of the weapons by saying that Russia had been using them since the beginning of the war and Ukraine was running out of artillery rounds.
. . .President Biden and his advisers had reservations about supplying the weapons, which disperse tiny, deadly bomblets, to Ukrainian forces, particularly because they are especially dangerous to children, who pick up duds that initially failed to detonate, only to have them explode.
But Ukraine is burning through stockpiles of conventional artillery, and administration officials ultimately decided they had little choice amid fears that Russia would gain the upper hand if Ukrainian soldiers ran out.
Several allies of the United States that have moved to provide Kyiv with tanks, planes and artillery have drawn a line at providing cluster munitions. Germany and France are among over 100 nations that have signed a treaty prohibiting the weapons; the United States, Russia and Ukraine have not.
President Biden’s decision to send cluster munitions to Ukraine has angered a wide swath of Democrats, who are accusing his administration of making a hypocritical decision that risked the moral standing of the United States.
The move answered a monthslong clamor from congressional Republicans to supply Kyiv with the weapons, but Mr. Biden’s political allies denounced it.
“A victory for Ukraine is an essential victory for democracies across the globe, but that victory cannot come at the expense of our American values and thus democracy itself,” Representative Chrissy Houlahan, Democrat of Pennsylvania and an Air Force veteran who co-chairs a bipartisan congressional caucus on unexploded ordinance and demining, said in a statement on Friday. “I challenge the notion that we should employ the same tactics Russia is using, blurring the lines of moral high ground.”
She and other Democrats argued that cluster munitions of the kind the administration plans to send to Ukraine pose indiscriminate harm to civilians long after they are used in combat.
The weapons “disperse hundreds of bomblets, which can travel far beyond military targets and injure, maim and kill civilians — often long after a conflict is over,” said Representative Jim McGovern, Democrat of Massachusetts. In a statement, he pointed out that several NATO members — though not the United States — are parties to an international treaty banning their use.
Republicans willing to speak about this all praised the decision. I’m not wild about it. It is, though a rare example of Presidential bipartisanship: a Democratic President, against the wishes of his own party, is making the GOP happy.
*Nellie Bowles has published her usual Friday news summary, always with a twist. This week’s is called “TGIF: Hocus SCOTUS“, and I’ll steal my usual three items (indented):
→ “Adversity score” is the new affirmative action: At University of California Davis School of Medicine, future doctors are chosen in part on how much “adversity” they faced.
By the end of all this, with all tests thrown out as problematic, all coursework thrown out as based on the written word (racist), and adversity as the only metric, we’ll just hand the most deserving a scalpel and let ’em at it. Your surgeon will be a truly good person who had a truly hard life, that I can say for sure.
→ Virginia Woolf and Ernest Hemingway get trigger warnings: New printings of The Sun Also Rises and To the Lighthouse come with trigger warnings. The Woolf one reads as such (and Hemingway’s is apparently almost identical):
This book was published in 1927 and reflects the attitudes of its time. The publisher’s decision to present it as it was originally published is not intended as an endorsement of cultural representations or language contained herein.
It’s a small, sad plea from some defeated editors: Don’t cancel us, please. We’re not sure what in these books will be offensive, but no doubt something is. It was so long ago, you see. They didn’t know the light of truth would find us here, now; they were just modernists, yes, yes, just like your furniture. You love your furniture, right? It’s not too sexist, right?
→ Biological males really want to breastfeed: There is a movement for trans women (people born males) to pump themselves with a fresh set of hormones so that they can “chestfeed” an infant. The CDC supports it, and now it’s A Trend. Call me crazy, but I’d want to be sure it’s okay for the infant first, which we don’t really know. At a certain point, all these medical interventions to align a body closer and closer and closer to the other sex, to do exactly everything the other sex can do lest you face any of biology’s cruel limits, seems a little exhausting. You can have great tits and wear a dress and look amazing—but you really don’t want all the stuff of being a female. Like today I’m furious with everyone and on the verge of tears, which is a completely normal part of the month, but surely you don’t want this. I don’t even want this.
*There’s a new article in the Australian Spectator, “Will social justice activists destroy New Zealand universities?”
A perfect storm is hitting the New Zealand university sector. Social justice activism is aggravating the extreme financial difficulties that our universities are facing, only slightly eased by recently-announced Government funding relief.
. . .Gender and identity political activism is widespread internationally and in New Zealand. We could easily fill this article with examples.
Recently, for example, a senior New Zealand academic was warned that questioning a perceived fall in academic standards would lead to disciplinary action.
Academics who dare to express a rational view counter to the orthodoxy on gender diversity or the indigenisation of university culture are being silenced.
Failing to address matauranga Māori (Māori traditional knowledge) in grant applications, even in mathematics or physics, may jeopardise the chance of winning a grant.
. . .New Zealand universities appear to be competing to be led by the Treaty of Waitangi without a clear definition of what that means. The 1840 Treaty between Māori tribes and the Crown around the governance of the country is a short document that is silent on educational matters.
At the risk of being marginalised, academics are being pressured to support the adoption of Te Ao Māori (Māori language, and respect and acknowledgment of Māori customs and protocols) and embracing the Māori story and identity.
The Performance-Based Research Fund, which formerly rewarded research excellence and relevance, now focuses on diversity, equity, and inclusiveness and employs Māori co-chairs for 13 of the 14 research assessment panels.
Appointing co-chairs based on ethnicity will lead to a shift from a system of benchmarking research quality to a race-based system that is inherently biased in one direction.
Māori co-chairs can comment on non-Māori portfolios, but non-Māori panelists may not be prepared to challenge the expert assessment of Māori co-chairs on Māori portfolios, creating an accountability problem, disincentives, and side effects. For example, how can activity in matauranga Māori or community engagement be an international research activity?
But I’m not telling you anything I haven’t written about before. It’s just unusual for this to appear in a Kiwi magazine, and written by three Kiwis.
*Andrew Sullivan, once deeply smitten with Obama, fears that he’s no longer walking the walk:
Once in office, by and large, Obama walked that walk, with his usual unflappable equipoise. His refusal to become a more racially divisive figure disappointed the CRT-left, of course, prompting diatribes from Ta-Nehisi Coates and Cornel West, among others. He seemed someone who could see where both the right and the left were coming from on race, and sought to synthesize, for the sake of all of us, with hope.
This is a passage well worth re-reading today:
For the African-American community, the path [toward a more perfect union] means embracing the burdens of our past without becoming victims of our past. It means continuing to insist on a full measure of justice in every aspect of American life.
But it also means binding our particular grievances — for better health care, and better schools, and better jobs — to the larger aspirations of all Americans — the white woman struggling to break the glass ceiling, the white man whose been laid off, the immigrant trying to feed his family. And it means taking full responsibility for own lives — by demanding more from our fathers, and spending more time with our children, and reading to them, and teaching them that while they may face challenges and discrimination in their own lives, they must never succumb to despair or cynicism; they must always believe that they can write their own destiny.
Where is that Obama today?
As our liberal elites embraced a wholesale repudiation of his vision, as they redefined America as a white supremacist country through and through, diagnosed every disadvantage of African-Americans as solely and entirely caused by “white supremacy,” and demanded crude race discrimination — “equity” — as the only cure … Obama said nothing. Views he once decried as “profoundly distorted” became his party’s core philosophy on race, and the first black president stayed mum.
He gives several quotes from Obama’s past, contrasting with more modern statements where Barack appears to give in to identity politics:
And at the 50th anniversary of the Selma marches in 2015, Obama rebuked the idea of “equity” — forcibly creating equality of outcomes for racial groups:
With effort, we can roll back poverty and the roadblocks to opportunity. Americans don’t accept a free ride for anybody, nor do we believe in equality of outcomes. But we do expect equal opportunity.
I miss that guy.
It’s hard to believe that a Democratic President today could say such a thing, much less a black Democratic President. Sullivan ends this way:
As for Obama? There was always a question of whether his moderation on race was out of conviction or opportunism. He’s a politician, not a saint, and some level of bullshit is necessary in politics to get anything done. He’s also a fully paid-up member of our liberal elite, and it’s been hard to go in any way against the current woke wave, without severe social (and maybe marital) consequences.
But way back when, I chose to believe in his good faith on race and the American experiment. I still do. But it’s getting harder.
*Some good news from Israel. A Palestinian Arab boy just had his life saved by Israeli doctors.
12-year-old Palestinian Arab boy saved by doctors at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital after he was hit by a car while riding his bicycle.
The parents of 12-year-old Suleiman Hassan, a Palestinian Arab boy from the Jordan Valley, never imagined that the routine ride on his bicycle near his home would end so dramatically.
The boy, who, like every other day, went out on his bicycle to get some air, was involved in a traffic accident recently and was very seriously injured. Only the emergency surgery he underwent at Hadassah Ein Kerem saved his life, the medical center said in a press release.
After being struck by a car, Hassan was airlifted to the trauma unit at Hadassah Ein Kerem, when it was clear to rescue forces in the area that his life was in danger due to his critical injury and damage to the connection between his head and neck, the hospital explained.
Dr. Ohad Einav, a specialist from the orthopedic department at Hadassah Ein Kerem who operated on the child together with Dr. Ziv Asa, said, “The most significant and main injury suffered by the boy was a fracture in the connection between the head and neck, along with a tear of all the ligaments. Additionally, there was a superficial injury to the abdomen. Due to the serious injury, the head almost completely detached from the base of the neck.
“After a thorough examination of his condition, we decided to perform surgery during which we attached the head to the neck,” Dr. Einav said.
“We fought for the boy’s life, a large operating room team, including operating room nurses and anesthesiologists, followed by the intensive care and surgical department team.”
He further explained: “This is a rare and unusual case with a 50% chance of mortality. The procedure itself is very complicated and took several hours, while in the operating room we used new plates and fixations in the damaged area. It was precisely because of such cases that I chose to specialize in trauma.
. . . “Fortunately, the operation was a great success and we saved the boy’s life. He was discharged home with a cervical splint and, of course, under the dedicated medical care and monitoring of the hospital staff and myself.”
I think this is great, but do realize that things like this happen all the time in the so called “apartheid state.” Here’s a heartwarming photo, and I wish it meant that peace is in the offing:
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is enigmatic, but Malgorzata explains: “I suspect that you never studied The Poverty of Philosophy by Karl Marx. So the explanation for Hili’s words is that she noticed this title and liked it so much she decided to apply it to ants.”
A: What are you studying?Hili: The poverty of ants’ philosophy.
Ja: Co tak studiujesz?Hili: Nędzę filozofii mrówek.
From Jesus of the Day:
From Meanwhile in Canada, “One Canadian’s brilliant response to a photo posted by a US Republican.:
From the Absurd Sign Project 2.0:
A tweet from Masih:
In an irony beyond irony the despotic Iranian regime while murdering and raping hundreds of protesting Iranian women is also staging to a fashion show of ‘government approved’ women’s clothing, a travesty beyond travesty. Moreover, this farce exhibition is being supported by… pic.twitter.com/9ld8sXhedm
— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) July 7, 2023
I found this one:
The family portrait left behind by Apollo 16 astronaut Charles Duke on the moon has become a significant artifact in space exploration history. The photograph, which Duke placed on the lunar surface during the mission, has remained untouched and undisturbed for over five decades.… pic.twitter.com/Pzupd5atjw
— Historic Vids (@historyinmemes) July 7, 2023
From Luana: the ideology of ChatGPT:
I asked ChatGPT to generate a headline for our next show and, um… pic.twitter.com/UpJW0jBJok
— Katie Herzog (@kittypurrzog) July 6, 2023
From Jez. Curious cows!
Absolutely love this 🤣🧡🤣 pic.twitter.com/lTbmgxfYwp
— Keswick boot co (@keswickbootco) June 30, 2023
From the Auschwitz Memorial, another child stopped from living out her life:
8 July 1931 | A Czech Jewish girl, Renée Lustigová, was born in Prague.
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) July 8, 2023
Tweets from Matthew. Did you ever think about this one? I don’t know of any blue mammals!
A book like this is also great to put in perspective how mammals are largely EXTREMELY conservative in coloration and general morphology… especially when compared to amphibians and reptiles (including birds) pic.twitter.com/KC9M7wJvAB
— Gabriel N. U. (@SerpenIllus) July 7, 2023
This is from Princeton, British Columbia, not Princeton, New Jersey, but aren’t those cool fossils?
One hour in Princeton and my son has already turned up 3 fossilized insects pic.twitter.com/PeqHmf8Ow8
— Scott Gilmore (@gilmore_scott) July 6, 2023
Matthew says, “Rob is a pal and a colleague.”
For the next 40 minutes waiting for the train I will be watching this cat in the Edinburgh sun flirting OUTRAGEOUSLY with all the passers by for scritchies pic.twitter.com/QBr1Qo0hcm
— Rob Sansom🐟 (@Sansom_Rob) July 7, 2023