CaturSaturday, July 22, 2023, shabb0s for all cats of the Jewish persuasion and National Penuche Day, celebrating a fudge made without chocolate (it has brown sugar, butter, milk, and vanilla flavoring). It’s better than no fudge, but substitute maple syrup for the brown sugar:
It’s also Hammock Day, National Mango Day, National Day of the American Cowboy, Pi Approximation Day,(see also March 14), noting that today is 22/7, which approximates π, and, once again, Ratcatcher’s Day. also celebrated on June 26.
Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the July 22 Wikipedia page.
Tony Bennett, a singer whose melodic clarity, jazz-influenced phrasing, audience-embracing persona and warm, deceptively simple interpretations of musical standards helped spread the American songbook around the world and won him generations of fans, died on Friday at his home of many decades in Manhattan. He was 96.
His publicist, Sylvia Weiner, announced his death.
Mr. Bennett learned he had Alzheimer’s disease in 2016, his wife, Susan Benedetto, told AARP The Magazine in February 2021. But he continued to perform and record despite his illness; his last public performance was in August 2021, when he appeared with Lady Gaga at Radio City Music Hall in a show titled “One Last Time.”
Mr. Bennett’s career of more than 70 years was remarkable not only for its longevity, but also for its consistency. In hundreds of concerts and club dates and more than 150 recordings, he devoted himself to preserving the classic American popular song, as written by Cole Porter, the Gershwins, Duke Ellington, Rodgers and Hammerstein and others.
From his initial success as a jazzy crooner who wowed audiences at the Paramount in Times Square in the early 1950s, through his late-in-life duets with younger singers gleaned from a range of genres and generations — most notably Lady Gaga, with whom he recorded albums in 2014 and 2021 and toured in 2015 — he was an active promoter of both songwriting and entertaining as timeless, noble pursuits.
RIP Tony. Here’s my second favorite Bennett song, “The Good Life” (1963). It was originally a French song:
You can hear Distel’s French original here.
*Judge Aileen Cannon (a Trump appointee) didn’t do her mentor any favors when she set the date for his trial in the Mar-a-Lago documents case.
The federal judge overseeing former President Donald J. Trump’s prosecution on charges of illegally retaining dozens of classified documents set a trial date on Friday for May 2024, taking a middle position between the government’s request to go to trial in December and Mr. Trump’s desire to push the proceeding until after the 2024 election.
In her order, Judge Aileen M. Cannon said the trial was to be held in her home courthouse in Fort Pierce, Fla., a coastal city two-and-a-half hours north of Miami that will draw its jury pool from several counties that Mr. Trump won handily in his two previous presidential campaigns.
. . .The timing of the proceeding is more important in this case than in most criminal matters because Mr. Trump is now the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination and his legal obligations to be in court will intersect with his campaign schedule.
The date Judge Cannon chose to start the trial — May 20, 2024 — falls after the bulk of the primary contests. But it is less than two months before the start of the Republican National Convention in July and the formal start of the general election season.
. . . By scheduling the trial for the middle of the presidential campaign, Judge Cannon implicitly rejected another argument that Mr. Trump’s legal team had raised in court on Tuesday: that the former president could never get a fair jury during an election cycle because of what one of his lawyers, Christopher Kise, called “the extraordinary and unrelenting press coverage.”
Moving the trial after the election is what Trump really wanted, as if he happens to win (Ceiling Cat help us), it would almost render the trials moot. That’s the other argument: he couldn’t get a fair trial AFTER the election cycle!
A federal judge in West Virginia has ruled that the state corrections agency can’t force an incarcerated atheist and secular humanist to participate in religiously-affiliated programming to be eligible for parole.
In a sweeping 60-page decision issued Tuesday, Charleston-based US District Court Judge Joseph Goodwin said Saint Marys Correctional Center inmate Andrew Miller “easily meets his threshold burden of showing an impingement on his rights.’’
The state’s “unmitigated actions force Mr. Miller to choose between two distinct but equally irreparable injuries,’’ the judge wrote. “He can either submit to government coercion and engage in religious exercise at odds with his own beliefs, or remain incarcerated until at least April 2025.’’
Goodwin issued a preliminary injunction requiring West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation officials to remove completion of a state-run and federally funded residential substance abuse program from Miller’s parole eligibility requirements. The agency did not return a request for comment Thursday.
Miller filed suit in a federal district court in April, alleging the state is forcing Christianity on incarcerated people and has failed to accommodate repeated requests to honor his lack of belief in God.
This would seem to be a no-brainer: an arrant violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Since this is a federal case, it could be appealed up to the Supreme Court, but it won’t. And seriously, how could they force religion on an atheist, regardless of how Catholic or conservative they are?
*Andrew Sullivan’s Weekly Dish discusses Marty Peretz’s new memoir, The Controversialist: Arguments with Everyone, Left Right and Center. You may recall that Peretz was editor and publisher of The New Republic from 1974-2008, the period when most of my writing in the magazine appeared. Sullivan’s connection with him is because Sully was the head editor from 1991-1996, a period when he published many of the articles that helped advance gay rights.
It’s an interesting read and a particularly good piece of writing (and a favorable review of the book) by Sullivan, who calls it “a candid snapshot of American political and cultural history: lively, literate and easy to read.:But two bits related to Judaism stuck out to me (Peretz was a big booster of Israel). Here, for example, is good writing:
I didn’t know what to expect with “Marty” either, and was still a bit baffled by him not being known at least as Mr Peretz. And when he showed up, he looked like someone I’d only ever seen in a Woody Allen movie: a huge rabbinical beard, a blousy shirt unbuttoned to near his navel, a Star of David necklace buried in chest hair, a gravelly voice and a mischievous grin. When he told me he was defending Israel at Oxford, I told him he was fucked, but not to worry. He’d lose the vote, but he should go down blazing anyway. Go for it, I advised. Fuck ‘em. (And in the end, in fact, his side won.)
. . . and this, which saddened me:
Although the far left regards [Peretz] now as some kind of reactionary, his liberal credentials, as you’re reminded here, are hard to impeach: working with Bayard Rustin preparing for the 1963 March of Washington, and then, with his second wife’s large fortune, financing and organizing the anti-Vietnam movement, pioneering the Eugene McCarthy campaign that caused LBJ to drop out of the race after New Hampshire, and trying to forge a synthesis of the civil rights and the anti-war movements by organizing the ill-fated National Conference for New Politics in 1968.
That year, of course, was the critical moment when the old Jewish-black Democratic coalition fell apart, and Marty’s world shifted. Planning for the conference was held at Marty’s rented place in Wellfleet:
One night, after most people had gone back to their motels, I came downstairs to find blacks and whites together on my porch singing anti-Semitic songs about Jewish landlords overcharging and evicting black tenants in Harlem. Most of the whites singing were Jews, and I could see they were enjoying a kind of vicarious thrill, a subversive titillation, that went through them as they sang. I threw them off the porch.
The whole incident is a kind of metaphor: what happens when a left-liberal alliance degenerates into left-illiberalism. It’s where we are again today, with the totalisms of critical race, gender and queer theory displacing the much more limited and humane principles of gradualism, reform and liberalism.
*Nellis Bowles is back doing the weekly news summary at The Free Press; this week’s column is “TGIF: Swifties save the economy.” As always, I steal three items.
→ Now that’s what I call racism: The word is now used to describe any white girl who wears a sombrero, so we forget what racism actually is sometimes. Well, it’s definitely this: the administrators in the town of Newbern, Alabama, are doing just about all they can to block the first black mayor from succeeding. Read this enraging story by Alabama-based writer Lee Hedgepeth, who exposed it, and this additional reporting from Capital B, a nonprofit newsroom focused on black issues.
→ Excuse me, what? In Florida, the state Board of Education passed a new standards package. Lest we think only the left can go mad, this is an example of what educators are expected to add to history courses now: “Slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.” So teachers have to talk about, yes, slavery’s good bits.
→ Only one state needs to go: The Middle East is a picture of harmony. Religious minorities live in peace with each other. The only bad place happens to be the tiny Jewish state. The latest episode in this classic new left antisemitism is from Democratic congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, who this week said: “As somebody who’s been in the streets and participated in a lot of demonstrations, I want you to know that we have been fighting to make it clear that Israel is a racist state,” she said.
Jayapal is an odious anti-Semite, though some of my friends in Boston like her “progressivism” LOL.
Oh hell, Nellie put up a song I like so I’ll add this:
→ And for your listening: May I recommend Luke Combs’ beautiful new cover of “Fast Car,” which is topping the country charts? The song, of course, is originally by the iconic Tracy Chapman. There’s a culture war around this cover (five guesses why people are mad!). Anyway, TChap loves it. Bar told me I make too many lesbian jokes, so I won’t make one here, which is easy because there’s nothing funny about My National Anthem.
I haven’t heard that song in years, and forgot how good it was.
*Philomena (Diane Morgan) got an honorary degree! From the Manchester Evening News (h/t Phil):
Actor and comedian Diane Morgan has been awarded an honorary doctorate by the university in her home town of Bolton. And the Cunk and Motherland star had the audience in stitches as she delivered a heart-warming and hilarious graduation speech.
Morgan, who was raised in Farnworth, also took the opportunity to have a little dig at Rishi Sunak’s plans to make everyone study maths until they’re 18, revealing she got a G in the subject, before adding: “Everyone told me I wouldn’t be able to make it as an actress.
“That it was an impossible dream. That you need maths! You don’t need maths. You don’t need maths for anything – take that Rishi Sunak.”
The Bafta-nominated actor, 47, also discussed some of the jobs she’d had, including working in a chippy and ‘packing worming tablets’, as she tried to break into acting. And she revealed she’d been sacked from the tea rooms at the Last Drop Village hotel in Bolton ‘for not knowing what a cream tea is’.
She said: “I should not be here today – I shouldn’t. There’s been a dreadful mistake.
No mistake: she’s DR. Cunk now! Here’s video proof.
“Take that, Rishi Sunak!” Diane even manages to make accepting an honorary doctorate funny. Congrats, its well deserved xx. #dianemorgan #dianemorganedit #dianemorganisunderated #cunkonearth #philomenacunk #bbcmandy #bbcmotherland #thecockfields #afterlife #universityofbolton #capcut #foryou #fyp
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, spoiled Hili’s being fussy:
A: I bought cream.Hili: Put it into the refrigerator so it will be cold.
Ja: Kupiłem śmietankę.Hili: Wstaw do lodowki, żeby się schłodziła.
A picture of Szaron:
. . . and a picture of Jango, the cat staffed by reader Divy:
From The Absurd Sign Project 2.0:
From Masih: apparently the disbanding of the Iranian Morality Police was “fake news.” The report is in English but the Farsih can be translated this way:
The removal of the Irshad patrol was a fake news that the Islamic Republic sent to the western media, the Irshad patrol never went anywhere but suppressed the different tactics of women without the hijab, “No to the hijab” has become the symbol of “No to the Islamic Republic”, so the answer is prison, flogging and murder. Interview with ABC
حذف گشت ارشاد یک خبر فیک بود که جمهوری اسلامی به رسانههای غربی فرستاد، گشت ارشاد هرگز جایی نرفت بلکه تاکتیکهای متفاوت زنان بدون حجاب را سرکوب کرد، «نه به حجاب» شده است نماد «نه به جمهوری اسلامی»، برای همین پاسخ رژیم زندان و شلاق و قتل است
مصاحبه با ABC
— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) July 21, 2023
From Luana. I would have thought that the d*g could detect the right cup by the stronger smell of tweets:
He changed his mind.. 😂 pic.twitter.com/x3V3JC6BFM
— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden) July 19, 2023
From Barry, a summary of theology:
hmmm tempting but I think I'll pass pic.twitter.com/mBwhV7TEH5
— Harry Margulies (@Askwhyisit) July 19, 2023
From Malcolm; this can be nothing other than cat love!
Best friends.. 😊 pic.twitter.com/bQZZUaAjuf
— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden) June 14, 2023
From the Auschwitz Memorial, mother and child gassed upon arrival:
After the arrival selection made by SS doctors 479 men & 297 women were registered in the camp as prisoners.
The remaining 155 people were… pic.twitter.com/vDqda1k9Zm
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) July 22, 2023
Tweets from Matthew. First from his colleague Emma Hilton. Here’s the poll as of noon yesterday. As was made clear in the movie “Cheaper by the Dozen,” the best way to button any shirt is from the bottom up, for that way you never mis-button. If you start from the top, as do Emma and Matthew, you have a serious chance of getting the buttons misaligned with the holes.
Remember Jonathan, the world’s oldest living animal, born in 1832? Here’s some contemporaries:
Also born in 1832 were Jonathan’s contemporaries Lewis Carroll, Louisa May Alcott and Édouard Manet and boy, does he have some stories about them! https://t.co/aR8YpmEDgh
— James Urbaniak (@JamesUrbaniak) July 18, 2023
For speed readers:
— Gabriel Finkelstein (@gabridli) July 21, 2023
Lagniappe. This is the Furnace Creek Visitors Center in Death Valley, where I spent many hours sorting flies in the “changing room” behind the auditorium.
This is like dinosaurs having their picture taken with an asteroid. pic.twitter.com/xdB9KqLss2
— Comrade Sisko 🖖🏾✊🏿☭ (@Pinko69420) July 20, 2023