Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the July 19 Wikipedia page.
*Yep, the Trumpster has received word that he’s likely to be indicted for his refusal to accept the election results that gave Biden the Presidency, and then Trump’s incitement of Americans that promoted the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol.
Former President Donald J. Trump has received a so-called target letter in connection with the criminal investigation into his efforts to hold onto power after he lost the 2020 election, Mr. Trump and people familiar with the case said on Tuesday, a sign that he is likely to be indicted in the case.
It was not clear what aspects of the sprawling investigation the letter may be related to. The investigation has examined an array of schemes that Mr. Trump and his allies had used to try to stave off defeat, including the events surrounding the Jan. 6, 2021, riot by his supporters at the Capitol.
The letter was the second Mr. Trump received from the special counsel, Jack Smith, notifying Mr. Trump that he is a target in a federal investigation. The first, in June, was in connection to the inquiry into Mr. Trump’s handling of national defense material after he left office and his alleged obstruction of efforts to retrieve it.
Days after that letter became public, Mr. Trump was charged with 37 criminal counts covering seven different violations of federal law.
Mr. Trump disclosed his receipt of the latest target letter in a post on his social media platform, Truth Social, that assailed Mr. Smith, calling him “deranged.” He wrote that he had received the letter on Sunday and been given four days to report to a grand jury — an invitation he is expected to decline.
. . .The former president spent weeks after the 2020 election publicly insisting that he had won and looking for ways to remain in power, at one point considering whether to use the apparatus of government to seize voting machines. Ultimately, he encouraged a crowd at a rally near the White House to march to the Capitol as Joseph R. Biden’s electoral victory was being certified. Members of the mob stormed the building, some chanting “Hang Mike Pence!” and others hunting for Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Federal grand juries in Washington have been hearing evidence in the criminal investigation into Mr. Trump’s efforts to reverse his election loss. That suggests that any charges would be tried in the nation’s capital, where the Justice Department has won guilty pleas or convictions in hundreds of cases related to the assault on the Capitol.
But what will the charges be? Inciting insurrection, illegal manipulation of election results? This is one of at least four Trump investigations that I know of, and several of those have indictments already or indictments pending. Yet a friend of mine told me this morning that she never thought Trump will go to jail–ever. At most, she said, he would be sentenced to house arrest and have to wear an ankle bracelet.
I say that if America stands for anything (regardless of whether the stand is fulfilled) it stands for equal justice under the law. Ergo, if he’s convicted he should do time. With a Secret Service agent sitting in a chair outside his cell.
Let’s have a poll, and please fill in your answer.
*On Sunday the heat index (a combination of temperature and humidity) reached 152ºF in Iran—a level incompatible with human survival. What that means is that if you were out in that weather, it felt as though the temperature was 152ºF. You would die! Here’s a tweet, and snippets from the WaPo article are below
Persian Gulf International Airport in Iran reported a heat index of 152°F (66.7°C) today at 12:30 pm.
Those are intolerable conditions for human/animal life. pic.twitter.com/R3RJ9pf4DC
— Colin McCarthy (@US_Stormwatch) July 16, 2023
In recent days, China set an all-time high of nearly 126 degrees Fahrenheit, while Death Valley hit 128 degrees, two shy of the highest reliably measured temperature on Earth. Phoenix was expected to observe a record-breaking 19th consecutive day at or above 110 degrees Tuesday. And in the Middle East, the heat index reached 152 degrees, nearing — or surpassing — levels thought to be the most intense the human body can withstand.
. . . Research has shown the human body loses its ability to cool itself via sweating at 95 degrees (35 degrees Celsius) on a scale known as the wet bulb global temperature, which factors in a combination of temperature, humidity, wind speed, sun angle and cloud cover. Unlike the heat index, which rises above the air temperature based on humidity, the wet bulb globe temperature is not designed to be interpreted as a measure of how hot it feels outside.
*In its efforts to liberalize, or at least show the world that it’s pretending to be liberalized, Saudi Arabia has removed substantial anti-Semitic material from its school textbooks. (h/t David)
A sign of things to come? It turns out that the revolution being carried out by Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman is also reflected in the reform of the country’s textbooks since he came to power.Among other things, references to Jews as monkeys and pigs who worship the devil, and descriptions of them as traitors by nature and sworn enemies of Islam have been removed. Anti-Israeli materials also have been removed, including reports about the Zionists’ use of women, drugs and the media in order to achieve their goals and conspiracies according to which Israel has plans to expand its borders from the Nile River in Egypt to the Euphrates in Iraq.
A new study, which examined changes made this year in the Saudi curriculum, in relation to the last five years, found a continuation of the trend of positive changes in textbooks with regard to anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic content. Progress also was made on gender issues, content was added against Hezbollah and the Iranian-backed Houthis and against the Muslim Brotherhood movement, as well as more tolerant content that promotes peace.
The research carried out by the international research and policy institute IMPACT-se in London, which investigates and analyzes the contents of textbooks in the world to encourage contents of peace and tolerance according to the standards of UNESCO, included an analysis of 301 textbooks published in the last five years by the Saudi Ministry of Education.
The most significant change that has been made is in the negative attitude toward Jews, with almost all the antisemitic examples in the books completely removed this year. For example, a song about the opposition to Jewish settlement in Palestine was deleted. A task that asked the students to refute Zionist claims about their connection to Palestine was also removed. A high school history book no longer includes a lesson on the positive results of the first intifada and referring to Israel as a “fraudulent democracy.” A blood libel accusing Israel of setting fire to Al-Aqsa Mosque in 1969 was also removed from one of the books, as well as an example that claimed that Israel’s reasons for starting the Six-Day War were its desire to take control of holy sites for Islam and Christianity in Jerusalem and oil wells in the Sinai Peninsula.
Well cut off my tail and call me a great ape! What’s happening here? Bin Salman is a nasty piece of work, head of one a country that’s one of the world’s biggest violators of human rights and, of course, the man who ordered the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. Yet now he makes nice with the Jews?
But I don’t see a real conflict: Saudi Arabia has figured out, as have other Arab states, that they’re better off aligned with Israel than with the Palestinians (whose state textbooks, by the way, are a famous exemplar of anti-Semitic hatred). This will tick off the Palestinians big time, who regularly teach their kids that Jews are apes and pigs, but I’ll take what I can get.
*You’ve heard of the “nuclear football,” a satchel always carried by a military aide to the President when he travels, and which contains everything needed for the Prez to push the button. But do you know what’s in that satchel? The AP explains, but first an AP photo by Andrew Harnik showing an aide to, yes, Donald Trump schlepping the Presidential Emergency Satchel aka “The football”.
Officially called the “ Presidential Emergency Satchel, ” the “nuclear football” is a bulky briefcase that contains atomic war plans and enables the president to transmit nuclear orders to the Pentagon. The heavy case is carried by a military officer who is never far behind the president, whether the commander-in-chief is boarding a helicopter or exiting meetings with world leaders.
Beyond those basic facts, however, not much is known about the satchel, which has come to symbolize the massive power of the presidency.
. . . William Burr, a senior analyst at the nonprofit National Security Archive at George Washington University, published a report Tuesday detailing his recent research into the presidential pigskin. Among the tidbits Burr unearthed: The football once contained presidential decrees that some in the U.S. government came to believe were likely illegal and unnecessary (there would be nobody left alive to implement them in the event of a nuclear holocaust).
Part of an interview with Burr:
The idea of a military aide following the president, carrying a locked bag with secret nuclear information, is a routine for the modern U.S presidency that has intrigued journalists and historians and the public. The idea that the president needs to be able to make speedy decisions in a perilous moment conveyed the ultimate danger of nuclear weapons. That the football system has lasted since the late 1950s adds to the mystery.
. . .But its contents remain as inscrutable as they were 50 years ago. The Archives’ new posting includes photos of the military aide carrying the football, sometimes with the president in different situations. From some of the photos, you can see what looks like a little antenna projecting from the bag, suggesting that it includes communication devices. As far as the contents go, some details have been leaked and some general information has been declassified — but very little in the way of specifics.
And, by gum, you won’t get an idea of what’s in there from the article. The link to the National Security Archives gives us a bit more, but still not enough:
Among the revelations in Gulley’s book was that the “White House Emergency Procedures” manual “sets out exactly what’s supposed to happen in the event of a sudden attack,” including the steps that the Pentagon will “take to notify the White House and how the White House will respond.” In a crisis, it was the task of the White House Military Office to ensure that the President gets the Football “because it’s only the President who can issue the orders.” Nevertheless, Gulley found that the “entire retaliatory strike capability is vulnerable” because the President is “scandalously underprotected against a full military attack.”
*As a foodie, I couldn’t resist the NYT article, “Meet the chefs who serve Beyoncé and Lizzo on tour.” What do these megastars and their entourage eat on the road?
Yes, Beyoncé is one of the world’s biggest stars, but traveling with a cadre of chefs isn’t just a flex. Many touring artists now take several professional cooks, not to mention entire mobile kitchens, on the road with them for efficiency, health and morale.
While idiosyncrasies like Van Halen’s ban on brown M&Ms have become familiar lore, the suspension of concerts during the Covid years has prompted an industrywide reset, with a focus on wellness. Many tours now include a vegan chef, for instance, and place a priority on physical and mental well-being as well as lessening environmental impact.
“Before, back in the early ’80s and ’90s, it was more of a party — cocaine and whatever they wanted. And now it’s just a business,” said Gray Rollin, Linkin Park’s longtime chef, who has also cooked on tours for Prince, Madonna and Tori Amos. “We have one job to do, and that job is to put that talent onstage. Make sure that the show goes flawlessly. And then do it again the next day.”
. . .Regardless of the cuisine, the production demands are significant. The industry standard for a sizable tour requires four meals on setup and show days: breakfast, lunch, dinner and an after-concert meal, often eaten on a bus.
“An army marches on its stomach, so you’ve got to feed the troops,” Mr. Digby said. By troops, he meant the band, the backup singers and dancers, stage builders, the pyrotechnics crew, security guards, managers, bus drivers and all the other people involved in the high-stakes business of live entertainment.At a recent Lizzo show at Acrisure Arena in Palm Desert, Calif., lunch featured a juicing station with a blender-ready basket of vegetables. There were corn dogs, fried chicken sandwiches and plant-based Impossible sliders, as well as couscous, squash, carrots and cookies.
. . . . One thing that may not have changed much over time is the pickiness of the artists, who certainly have their idiosyncratic likes and dislikes.
“Gene Simmons used to like a turkey sandwich with lettuce, tomato and pickles on the side,” said Mr. Rollin, who cooked for the Kiss bassist in 2008 and 2009. “But then he would never touch the lettuce, pickles and tomatoes, ever.” Jared Leto would want organic purple popcorn with every meal.
. . . As for Beyoncé, Mr. Bird sent fruit platters and cookies to her dressing room. And while he couldn’t say for sure what the pop star’s favorites are, he did note: “As far as I’m aware, the ones that are particularly eaten are the Reese’s cups cookies” — a specialty of Mr. Bird’s that have a vanilla base with Belgian milk chocolate and bits of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups folded throughout.
Good for Beyoncé. I’m not a fan of her music, but fruit platters and especially those cookies denote good taste. (I’d prefer sliders too, though.)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, in a colorful scene, Hili comments on the summer activities in the yard, but Andrzej quashes her enthusiasm:
Hili: Roses are shedding blossoms, bees are working busily among hollyhocks.A: A normal course of events.
Hili: Róże przekwitają, pszczoły uwijają się wokół malw.Ja: Normalny bieg rzeczy.
From Merilee (yes, it’s real, but it’s ten bucks for a 12-ounce package). Look at all those shapes!
From Masih, an Iranian woman, sans hijab, vehemently argues that “I will wear what I want.” These men are intolerable!
This is how Iranian regime hired undercover agent to attack and force women to obey the hijab laws. The younger generation will no longer accept the rule of seventh century sharia laws. Please stand with us. #WomanLifeFreedom pic.twitter.com/GuxRAjwmL6
— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) July 18, 2023
From Elon, but that’s a great hat!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 18, 2023
From Malcolm, a careful d*g plays jenga. Could you bet this good boy?
Twitter needs this today 🤩
— Jessi 💫 (@its_jessi_grace) July 2, 2023
This seems to be for real. I don’t care about Snow White being Hispanic, but the dwarves, except for one, don’t appear to be dwarves. So is it “Snow White and the Six People of Size”?
Welcome to some of the first images from Disney’s live action remake of Snow White and her DEI Dwarfs. Snow White is played by a Hispanic actress and there’s only one dwarf and 6 full gown adults. Disney says it’s taking the casting of the film in a “new direction” to “avoid… pic.twitter.com/sqiRHkyf97
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) July 14, 2023
From the Auschwitz Memorial, an eighteen year old who made it about three weeks before dying:
19 July 1924 | A Pole, Czesław Palusiński, was born in Warsaw.
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) July 19, 2023
Tweets from the indefatigable Dr. Cobb. First, one of his, and he’s too smart for his ripoff insurance company:
You’d think they would want to keep you as a client, reduce or maintain the cost to reward you for staying with them (plus the car is worth less every year, so risk is less!) But no, they would rather up the premium (by over 300%!) in the hope you won’t notice and it rolls over…
— Matthew Cobb (@matthewcobb) July 18, 2023
— Earthling / 🦣: journa.host/@ziya (@ziyatong) July 15, 2023
Amira goes up brother by brother, and winds up with. . . INFINITE brothers! Read the thread; it’s hilarious.
I decided today that I’m going to see if I can find the restaurant with the highest number of brothers. I am on strike and have nothing better to do with my time. Please join me. pic.twitter.com/BGY3r04PyX
— Dan Amira (@DanAmira) July 17, 2023
Gotta be getting close to the end now… pic.twitter.com/6CXPnGCVqf
— Dan Amira (@DanAmira) July 17, 2023
Nope. . . . .
All right, enough! pic.twitter.com/N94HCBcph2
— Sylvester Tweetycat (@STweetycat) July 17, 2023