Welcome to a Hump Day (“હમ્પ ડે” in Gujurati), Wednesday, September 20, 2023, and National Rum Punch Day. What a perfect followup to “Talk Like a Pirate Day”!
It’s also National Pepperoni Pizza Day, National Fried Rice Day (cultural appropriation), National Gibberish Day, National String Cheese Day, Constitution Day in Nepal, and Universal Children’s Day in Germany.
Here’s how they make string cheese, which I like (it’s the texture, Jake):
Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the September 20 Wikipedia page.
*The U.S. is trying to make nice with Iran, a move Masih Alinejad (and I) consider hypocritical and unconscionable. But Iran apparently isn’t having it.
A day after the United States and Iran exchanged prisoners and Washington released $6 billion of Tehran’s frozen assets, Iran’s president, Ebrahim Raisi, gave no sign of seeking further reconciliation with the United States, threatening to retaliate for the killing of an Iranian general.
In his address to the U.N. General Assembly, Mr. Raisi called the U.S. assassination of Gen. Qassim Suleimani, a top commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, “a terrorist act.” He then repeated Iran’s threats to take revenge on those who had ordered and carried out the killing.
General Suleimani was killed in Iraq in 2020, when Donald J. Trump was president, in an American drone strike targeted against him. Iran retaliated by launching a ballistic missile attack on American military bases in Iraq, and more than 100 U.S. soldiers suffered concussions as a result, the military has said.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran, through all tools and capacities in order to bring to justice the perpetrators and all those who had a hand in this government sanctioned act of terror, will not sit until that is done,” Mr. Raisi said on Tuesday. “The blood of the oppressed will not be forgotten.”
Iranian officials have made similar threats in the past, but this one may take on added weight coming from the president of the country repeating it in one of the most prominent international forums, with world leaders in attendance.
. . . Law enforcement officials have said in the past that they have detected serious threats from Iran against former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former national security adviser John Bolton. As Mr. Raisi vowed revenge on Tuesday, a lone U.S. representative in the assembly hall took notes.
The sooner the protestors bring down the Iranian theocracy, the better, and I hope they will!
*The GOP fracas over funding the government continues, and we may be facing a government shutdown—again!
The prospect of a government shutdown escalated significantly Tuesday as House Republicans’ intraparty tensions again came to a head in a dramatic floor vote amid negotiations on a nascent plan to keep the government open.
House Republicans’ inability to find agreement on even a stopgap funding bill that is destined to fail in the Senate again puts into focus the challenge before House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) as he tries to unite his party and avoid a government shutdown. Though Republicans largely agree on the need to significantly curb federal spending, divisions mostly over process have given any five lawmakers enormous power in the razor-thin majority.
But there’s hope, for even Republicans realize that a government shutdown is a bad thing, especially when it can be blamed on them:
But as hard-liners dug in on their opposition, their more moderate counterparts began to firm up contingency plans for a bipartisan effort to keep the government open, publicly condemning their colleagues’ obstinance.
Some Republicans are seriously considering getting behind a shell bill that could, as soon as next week, serve as the vehicle that allows moderates to supersede McCarthy’s control of the House floor and force a vote to keep the government open, according to three people familiar with the plan who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to outline preliminary and private conversations. What exactly gets included in such a discharge petition remains unknown, but those familiar with the planning said it would include a short-term funding plan to avert a shutdown that could garner enough support from House Democrats and the Senate.
Part of the Republican bill includes provisions to restrict immigration. Unless the GOP comes up with a plan that can pass the Democratic-controlled Senate, we’re in for a shutdown. This is what happens when both houses of Congress are controlled by different parties.
*The WSJ reviews the new versions of the iPhone 15, made with a titanium case, and likes them all, despite their higher prices:
- iPhone 15 ($799 and up) and iPhone 15 Plus ($899 and up):
- iPhone 15 Pro ($999 and up) and iPhone 15 Pro Max ($1,199 and up)
Most of us don’t change our phones as often as our Brita filters. (You’re welcome for the reminder!) Will iPhone 14 owners notice a big difference if they upgrade? Heck no. But when I went back to the iPhone 12 and 13 models, the improvements were more noticeable. And even for a big-screen hater like me, the iPhone 15 Pro Max has become a contender.
Sadly, Apple axed the smallest “mini” phone after the 13; I liked the small versions you can slip into your pocket. The author likes the lighter, stronger, titanium case and the improved camera of the 15. It also has the new USB-C port that you can charge off almost everything.
As for me, I don’t understand the urge to buy each new iPhone as it comes to market, and I’ll keep using my 13 as long as it’s compatible.
*Michelle Goldberg at the NYT decries the waning of donations by the Left to liberal causes in a column called “Where has all the left-wing money gone?” (h/t David)
As we stumble toward another existential election, panic is setting in among some progressive groups because the donors who buoyed them throughout the Trump years are disengaging. “Donations to progressive organizations are way down in 2023 across the board,” said a recent memo from Billy Wimsatt, executive director of the Movement Voter Project, an organization founded in 2016 that channels funds to community organizers, mostly in swing states, who engage and galvanize voters. He added, “Groups need money to make sure we have a good outcome next November. But. People. Are. Not. Donating.” [JAC: I really dislike these sentences made up of single words separated by periods.]
As both big and small donors pull back, there have been layoffs across the progressive ecosystem, from behemoths like the Sierra Club to insurgent outfits like Justice Democrats, the group that first recruited Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to challenge the Democratic incumbent Joe Crowley in 2018. According to a July analysis by Middle Seat, a Democratic strategy and consulting firm, in the first half of this year, grass-roots donations to Democratic House and Senate campaigns were down almost 50 percent compared to the same point in 2021. Wimsatt, who had to lay off 15 people from a 55-person staff in June, told me, “I haven’t experienced a situation like this before when there’s been such a sense of scarcity.”
Both organizations mentioned above are woke. Could the public rejection of wokeness account for this phenomenon? I’d like to think so, but it seems unlikely. Goldberg mentions two reasons. The first doesn’t make sense to me:
One small, characteristic piece of this problem — and perhaps the easiest part to solve — involves the way Democrats use email. If you’re on any progressive mailing lists, you surely know what I’m talking about: the endless appeals, sometimes in bold all caps, warning of imminent Democratic implosion. (Recent subject lines in my inbox include, “We can kiss our Senate majority goodbye” and “This is not looking good.”)
In the short term, these emails are effective, which is why campaigns use them. Over time, they encourage a mix of cynicism and helplessness — precisely the feelings leading too many people to withdraw from political involvement.
But this one makes more sense:
But this is just a symptom of a bigger problem, which is that, right now, progressive politics are necessarily organized around preventing imminent catastrophe rather than offering up a vision of a transformed world. Joe Biden has an impressive legislative record, but because of the counter-majoritarian roadblocks in our system, the case for his re-election is largely about staving off disaster rather than the promise of new accomplishments. “It’s really hard to get people to give money when you do not have a coherent theory of change,” said Berger.
That one, at least, rings true. But revulsion at wokeness still may play a role. And fear of Trump may be a powerful motivator to donate.
*Finally, this story, in the “oddity” section of the AP’s site, is both heartening and sad. Click screenshot to read, and I’ve put in a photo:
A Florida reptile park has taken in an alligator that lost its nose and upper jaw to a fight or boat propeller.
Gatorland Orlando said over the weekend that the injured alligator came from a lake in nearby Sanford, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) northeast of Orlando.
“She had basically no chance of surviving in the wild with such a severe injury,” the park said in a social media post.
Over the next few days, the park’s veterinarian staff will be monitoring the gator in an effort to make sure it is eating in a stress-free environment, the park said.
To get the gator to eat, the staff is cutting up small pieces of food that they will toss in the back of its throat, believing it had survived in the wild doing the same thing on its own with snails, slugs and frogs, Kathy Hernandez, a spokeswoman for the park, said in an email.
Here’s a photo. I wish this little gator the best, and applaud the humans who are taking care of it:
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is cadging noms
Hili: Are you washing plates after every dinner or only those less tasty?A: After every dinner,Hili: That’s not smart.
Hili: Czy zmywasz talerze po każdym obiedzie, czy tylko po tych mniej smacznych?Ja: Po każdym. Hili: To nie jest mądre.
And a lovely picture of sweet Szaron:
From Seth Andrews:
And Philomena is back, and making trumpet noises! This is a melange from “Cunk on Earth”.
From Masih, calling out the hypocrisy of the administration’s worship of “human rights.” A few words from the long tweet:
When I criticize the US government for its dealings with Islamic Republic, I often get told by some analysts in the media, “the US government have sanctioned the Islamic Republic, what more do you want?”
I want the hypocrisy to end.
President Biden owes an explanation to all Iranians and Americans that how a sanctioned Meraj Air flight landed in New York, carrying sanctioned president of the Islamic Republic Ebrahim Raisi, and whose regime is actively attempting to assassinate Americans. Raisi will be protected by the U.S. Secret Service while in New York. Are the American taxpayers happy about it?
Biden Administration’s Decision to Host Iranian Dictators in New York Breaks the US Imposed Sanction Policy!
When I criticize the US government for its dealings with Islamic Republic, I often get told by some analysts in the media, “the US government have sanctioned the Islamic… pic.twitter.com/ewAV0DJyI9
— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) September 19, 2023
Titania’s still tweeting!
Any church that doesn’t ask its congregation to chant supportive mantras to a cluster of drag queens can’t possibly be taken seriously. pic.twitter.com/ZpZpT3St4O
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) September 19, 2023
I find it hard to believe that even Colin Kaepernick made this first video (h/t Luana) comparing the NFL draft to slavery. But yes, it’s true, and from his Netflix documentary (see here). There is one HUGE difference between the NFL and slavery, and it’s green.
So he’s asking to return to the same “plantation” where he toiled for years before being manumitted? I’ve never seen an abolitionist who hated his freedom this much. pic.twitter.com/XWAT9nbtRQ https://t.co/gUogtU76K5
— Delano Squires (@DelanoSquires) September 12, 2023
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 12, 2023
From Malcom: parrots doing tricks:
Skills.. 😅 pic.twitter.com/5Qk9mn0m86
— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden) August 26, 2023
From the Auschwitz Memorial; I retweeted this one after I looked up the patch:
He lived barely a month in the camp. He was Polish but not Jewish; his uniform patch indicates he was a Polish political prisoner. https://t.co/HYA8fDmBWZ
— Jerry Coyne (@Evolutionistrue) September 20, 2023
Tweets from Dr. Cobb. At first I thought that both snails would go after the green bean:
Hungry snails.. 🤯 pic.twitter.com/XOfav6TpkE
— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden) September 19, 2023
Matthew says that these are all correct:
Various ways a British person responds to being deeply insulted:
“There’s no need for that”
“That’s your opinion”
“Thanks a bunch”
“I beg your pardon”
“Have you quite finished?”
— VeryBritishProblems (@SoVeryBritish) June 6, 2023
Spotted these Limnephilidae during a @EdinburghNats outing @ Gifford community woodland.
Eggs masses are laid in jelly, usually on vegetation overhanging water, so that when the larvae hatch then drop into the water to continue development.
— Ashleigh Whiffin (@AshWhiffin) September 16, 2023