Thursday: Hili dialogue

October 19, 2023 • 6:45 am

Welcome to Thursday, October 19, 2023, and National Seafood Bisque Day (I’d prefer lobster stew or clam chowder).

It’s also the days I said yesterday  (I screwed up and gave today’s days yesterday as well):

It’s also Dress Like A Dork DayInternational Gin and Tonic DayNational Seafood Bisque DayEvaluate Your Life Day (!), Rainforest DayWorld Menopause DayPersons Day in Canada (look it up), Oxfordshire Day, and, in Croatia, Necktie Day.

Croatia is the Home of the Necktie! (check the link above).

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the October 19 Wikipedia page.

Da Nooz:

*According to the Wall Street Journal, both the U.S. and independent security experts are coming around to the view that the hospital “explosion” in Gaza was caused not by Israeli bombing but by terrorists themselves.

Israel, the U.S. government and independent security experts cast doubt Wednesday on Palestinian claims that an Israeli airstrike was responsible for a deadly explosion at a Gaza hospital compound, saying the preliminary evidence pointed to a local militant group.

Independent analysts poring over publicly available images of Tuesday’s explosion at Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza and its aftermath say the blast site doesn’t bear the hallmarks of a strike with a bomb or missile of the types usually used by Israel.

The amount of damage also appears inconsistent with the Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry’s assertion that 471 people were killed, experts said.

“We have none of the indicators of an airstrike—none,” said Michael Knights of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, an expert on military and security issues.

The U.S. has collected “high confidence” signals intelligence indicating that the blast at the hospital in Gaza was caused by the militant group Palestinian Islamic Jihad, U.S. officials said, buttressing Israel’s contention that it wasn’t responsible for the blast.

A video verified by The Wall Street Journal recorded a shrieking sound and the explosion that followed.

The U.S. assessment that Israel wasn’t behind the blast at the hospital drew, in part, on communications intercepts and other intelligence gathered by the U.S., defense officials said.

“Our current assessment, based on analysis of overhead imagery, intercepts and open source information, is that Israel is not responsible for the explosion at the hospital in Gaza,” White House National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said, adding that the U.S. continues to collect information on the incident.

There you go. Here are two more videos showing a largely undamaged hospital but some cars burned in the arking lot (h/t cesar)

Reader Linda Calhoun also recommends this article from Talking Points Memo as being objective and relying on unbiased sources  (h/t Linda)

I’m so glad that the loss of life is much smaller than reported by Hamas, and also that I don’t have to condemn Israel for violating the rules of war. But despite the mounting evidence, the Jordan summit is still canceled and Palestinians are still rioting in the West Bank because of the hospital hoax. It’s as if some people, like diehard creationists and flat-earthers, are so brainwashed that they reject any evidence counter to their narrative (you can put the New York Times as having a bit of that character, too).

*Biden is, as you know, in Israel. Here’s some news about his visit. I’ve also embedded a video of his 16-minute speech, which is as good as his speech on the topic in Washington (there is some repetition).

Making a rare wartime visit to Israel on Wednesday, President Biden firmly backed the Israeli government’s assertion that it had nothing to do with the hospital’s destruction. “Based on what I’ve seen, it appears as though it was done by the other team, not you,” he said, appearing with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel in Tel Aviv.

And I’m delighted with this part, as I thought the siege was a bad thing, taking Israel away from the moral high ground. You musn’t punish civilians in this way if you’ve a mensch, even though a siege isn’t against the rules of war.

. . .Mr. Biden also said he had secured Israel’s agreement to allow some international humanitarian aid into the besieged strip, offering the first hint of relief to a humanitarian crisis that has left the strip’s two million residents facing acute shortages of basic necessities. Mr. Netanyahu’s office said Israel would not block the provision of food, water and medicine from Egypt to civilians in southern Gaza, but warned, “Any provisions that reach Hamas will be thwarted.”

There was no immediate comment from the government in Egypt, where emergency supplies are waiting to cross through a key land border with Gaza.

More—a bullet point:

  • President Biden also announced $100 million in U.S. aid to help civilians in Gaza and the West Bank and said he had secured a commitment from Israel’s government to allow food, water and medicine to be delivered to Palestinians in Gaza from Egypt in a humanitarian effort overseen by the United Nations and others.

And then there’s Lebanon and Hezbollah to worry about:

. . . Amid Hezbollah’s call for a “day of rage,” sirens sounded out in northern Israel on Wednesday as cross-border clashes appeared to intensify. The Israeli military reported several missile launches at army positions and border towns throughout the day, and said it had responded with tank and artillery fire, according to a statement. Hezbollah claimed to have inflicted casualties. “Your tanks are your graves,” the militant group said in a video released Wednesday that, with text in Hebrew and Arabic, appeared to be directed at Israeli soldiers.

This is an excellent speech, though delivered in Biden’s low-key manner. He’s handling this situation very well, but not pulling his punches about his feelings and what the U.S. is going to do. The last bit is particularly good.

*In a NYT column called “A chill has been cast over the book world,” columnist Pamela Paul reports on the cancellation  (via not giving a prize) to a writer whose book was much applauded, simply because it contained some episodes that could be seen as pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel.  First, the demonization of the author:

Last week the literary association Litprom canceled a celebration for the Palestinian author Adania Shibli’s book “Minor Detail” at the Frankfurt Book Fair, one of the publishing world’s biggest international book fairs. The novel, which was a finalist for the National Book Award and was longlisted for the International Booker Prize, was to be honored for having won the 2023 LiBeraturpreis, a German literary prize awarded annually to a woman from the developing world. A panel that Shibli, who splits her time between Jerusalem and Berlin, was to be on with her German translator, Günther Orth, was likewise canceled.

In a statement defending the decision, Juergen Boos, the director of the book fair, distanced the organization from the award, saying the prize came from another group, which was now looking for “a suitable format and setting” to honor Shibli elsewhere. He also said that “we strongly condemn Hamas’s barbaric terror war against Israel” and that the fair “has always been about humanity; its focus has always been on peaceful and democratic discourse.” Furthermore, Boos said, the Frankfurt Book Fair “stands with complete solidarity on the side of Israel.”

And the reason for the cancellation and attempt to find another venue? The author wrote about Palestine and Israel in a way unpalatable to some:

“Minor Detail” undoubtedly offers sympathies to the Palestinian cause — a perspective that surely won’t be embraced by all readers. It includes the story of a Bedouin girl who was gang raped and murdered by an Israeli Army unit in 1949, an atrocity that has been well documented. One German judge of the prize, Ulrich Noller, resigned from the jury that determined the award last summer, saying the novel serves “anti-Israel and antisemitic narratives” and claiming it not only allowed such readings but also opened up space for them.

If a book is thoughtful and acclaimed, as this one seems to be, there is NO justification for damning it.  And other authors recognize it:

More than 600 publishers, editors, translators, writers and others in the industry, including Ian McEwan, Colm Toibin, Anne Enright and the Nobel Prize winner Abdulrazak Gurnah, have signed an open letter on the ArabLit website.

“The Frankfurt Book Fair has a responsibility,” the letter explains, “to be creating spaces for Palestinian writers to share their thoughts, feelings, reflections on literature through these terrible, cruel times, not shutting them down.”

I stand with those 600+ signers.

*The House of Representatives is still lacking a speaker as we move towards another government default deadline (June 1).

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) failed to reach a majority on the House floor Wednesday, drawing one less vote for speaker than on the first ballot Tuesday. He told reporters late Wednesday afternoon that there would be no further votes Wednesday, but he expects another floor vote to be held Thursday. Jordan, a conservative firebrand allied with former president Donald Trump, is seeking to succeed Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who was ousted as speaker two weeks ago. Twenty-two Republicans voted against Jordan on the second ballot. He can afford to lose only four.

. . .Rep. Carlos A. Gimenez (R-Fla.), a staunch supporter of former House speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), said he thinks Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) would probably lose more support in another round of speakership votes.

“I suspect that if we go to a third round, I think we’ll probably end up with more people voting for somebody else,” Gimenez told CNN.

And polls show that this Speaker mess, which shows no sign of ending, is going to hurt the Republicans more than the Democrats, as Americans don’t like this squabbling and think it’s hurting the country:

there is an obvious way in which the lack of a speaker is negatively impacting governance: The House is spending a lot of time figuring out who should have this particularly thankless job instead of passing bills that aren’t considered in the Senate.

Presumably, thanks to a less cynical view of Congress, YouGov’s new polling for the Economist indicates most Americans — including most Democrats and Republicans — think the lack of a speaker is hurting the ability of the government to function. (Some fraction of each party thinks the lack of speaker is helping; that might be the most cynical view possible.)

Finally, reader Steve called my attention to this msn story, taken from Chicago’s NBC News, reporting on a Time Out article on the “40 Coolest Neighborhoods in the World”. Mine—Hyde Park—was one of them! Click screenshot below to read:

An excerpt:

Do you live in Chicago? If so, you might just be living in one of the coolest neighborhoods in the world.

Hyde Park, near the University of Chicago on the city’s south side, has been named to Time Out’s new list of “40 Coolest neighborhoods in the world” for 2023, editors said.

The list, Time Out said, is based on input from local experts and thousands of reader surveys from around the globe. It also incorporated factors like community and social ventures, access to green space and more.

“Hyde Park exemplifies the best of Chicago, with the spirit of a small town, yet the many amenities of a bustling metropolis,” Hyde Park’s entry on the list said. “You can dine at the neighborhood’s top restaurants and enjoy everything from award-winning Southern fare and po’ boys to mouthwatering burgers and amazing Italian cuisine.”

Hyde Park’s ranking on the list came in at No. 19. It’s one of only four U.S. cities to make the report’s top 20, with New Orleans, Los Angeles’ Arts District and Fort Greene in New York ranking above.

Well, I think they’re overrating the cuisine here, and I’m not sure we should be in the top 40 in the entire world, but this is a delightful place to live: a hybrid between urban and suburban environments, with dead-easy access to downtown Chicago but also lots of green space. I think we still need better restaurants, though, even if the food scene is much better than when I arrived in 1986.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Szaron is protected from toxic ladybugs by a window.

Hili: A ladybird.
Szaron: On your side.
In Polish:
Hili: Biedronka.
Szaron: Po twojej stronie.


A Gary Larson Far Side cartoon from Tom:

From Homer Blind WonderCat:

From Buzzfeed, postal duplicity:

From Masih, a longer video of a tweet she posted about the other day. Google translation:

The citizen who sent this new video from #دختر_تبریز says: The police officers took this girl with them, while she injured her leg and fell to the ground after being physically attacked by the hijab activists. The police announced that [s]he had a mental problem and became delusional. The lives of Iranian girls are in danger.

The girl apparently was attacked and taken away by the dreaded Morality Police for not wearing her hijab. I can’t translate what she’s saying, except the earlier tweet said part of it was  “Death to Khamenei.”

A Hamas apostate, from commenter Kurt:

From Jez, who says, “One to file under “‘You couldn’t make it up’.”  A trans-Hamas alliance seems a little, well, misguided:

I couldn’t resist this one from the Babylon Bee:

A kindly cyclist encounters a skunk family. See how lovely and kindly they are? They squirt only when disturbed.

From the Auschwitz Memorial: a girl gassed upon arrival at age nine.  This is what they want to copy when they cried “Gas the Jews!” in Sydney:

Tweets from Dr. Cobb. He’s off Twitter, he says, so readers should send me good Tweets (please!). Speaking of skunks, the first one is a skunk gallivanting on a trailcam:

Life imitates science!

A cartoon by Ellis Rosen:

34 thoughts on “Thursday: Hili dialogue

  1. Please forgive this random outburst:

    The Diary of Anne Frank came up a few weeks ago, so I started reading it (I’m up to July, 1943).

    Illuminating, I’d say – insightful, and important.

    OK, thanks.

  2. I disagree very strongly with Jerry about any kind of humanitarian help going into Gaza. In Gaza, terrorists rule supreme. Most of the UNRWA officials are members or sympathizers of Hamas or PIJ. And they are supposed to supervise the distribution of this humanitarian help?! The bandits who raped and butchered people in Israel on 10/7 were equipped with first-aid kits delivered earlier by UNICEF to Gaza’s civilians. Terrorist weapons were bought by money from humanitarian help which they appropriated. Their bunkers are built with cement that the world forced Israel to deliver to Gaza for “humanitarian reasons”.

    Of course, everything which will come into Gaza now will help Hamas: food, medicines, fuel etc. Get the civilian population out of Gaza, build refugee camps in Sinai, do not let one terrorist inside, and only then shower the refugees with all possible humanitarian help. Millions of refugees left Syria, million of refugees left Iraq, and there are millions of refugees in Africa who escaped the ongoing wars. Why must only Gaza’s civilians stay in place and hamper Israel’s effort to eradicate Hamas and PIJ?

    1. Perhaps risking the ire of many, I support Malgorzata’s analysis of the situation. Why would demonstrably lawless (ignoring Western civility and norms) organizations suddenly start playing by Western rules? It seems that there is no neutral authority in Gaza….where was the UN in forensic analysis and assessing likely responsibility for the explosion at the hospital yesterday?

    2. It doesn’t sound all that practical, unfortunately. You have to set up the equivalent of a fairly large city, and I imagine that Egypt will not be enthusiastic.

      Then you have to prevent Hamas terrorists from getting in. I cannot see how you would screen all two million refugees to prevent the ones who are terrorists from getting into the camps.

      It might be slightly less improbable than my idea of an immediate ceasefire followed by those Hamas members responsible for the murders of Israeli citizens being brought to justice, but I still don’t think it will happen.

      It would also be a terrible look for Israel.

      1. Many more millions of Syrian, Ukrainian and other refugees could be accommodated, so why not Palestinian refugees? Egypt is unwilling? If you don’t want bandits among refugees, take only women, children and old people into the camps. Young men without any weapons could be living in other camps guarded by Egyptian soldiers. If US, UN, and the EU presses Egypt like it pressed Israel for decades, they would have to agree.

        You can also give an ultimatum: not a drop of fuel or a morsel of food until the Israeli hostages are free. A desperate population should be able to press some tens of thousands of bandits hiding in their bunkers to do something about that. The absolute worst solution is to give help to Hamas and PIJ. Israel will not stop trying to eradicate Hamas, and the casualties among civilians may be staggering.

        1. “not a drop of fuel or a morsel of food until Israeli hostages are free.” Well, for one thing this is a war crime. For a second thing, collective punishments and sieges have a pretty poor record, i.e., they don’t work. Is the air too thin on the moral high ground?

          1. Israel delivered about 10 to 15% of the water used in Gaza. There is agriculture in Gaza, they would not die of thirst and hunger (the Israeli hostages might either die of thirst and hunger or be killed by their captors you want to help).

            I’m not sitting on any moral high or law ground. To me people who invade a country, butcher whole families in their sleep, rape women (and girls), kill mothers, booby trap their bodies an leave them in front of a crib containing a still living baby in order to cause death and destruction when the help comes, take as hostages babies, children, women, men, young and old—these people put themselves outside humanity. And a siege of the fighting enemy is not against international law. Did the RAF deliver humanitarian help immediately after bombing a German town? Why do you demand from Jews something you do not demand from anybody else? Where were convoys of international help to besieged Armenians in Nagorno-Karabah? Where were such convoys to Palestinians in the Yarmouk camp in Syria where many really died of hunger? What moral high ground are you inhabiting?

        2. Israel is not required under humanitarian law to allow fuel into Gaza. All that is required is free passage for food, water, and medicine. Without fuel to generate electricity for pumps and desalination of its well water, and for the trucks to deliver water to household cisterns, Gaza will run out of drinking water and sewage disposal even with the humanitarian triad permitted.

          It would be foolish for Israel to allow diesel into Gaza. Hamas is already known to be requisitioning the scarce supplies for its own military use.

          The humanitarian case is most strongly made for truly uninvolved civilians, as when two warlords are fighting for control of the only dirt road that runs through disputed territory. Both are supposed to allow NGOs to deliver humanitarian aid to civilians in distant villages not fighting on either side. A siege is different. Civilians are militarized merely by the decision of the armed combatants inside not to surrender. As Jerry says, a siege is not contrary to the law of war but it carries costs and risks for the besiegers, too.

          Of course, Israel will do what it feels it needs to do. I’m sure they’re aware that even humanitarian goods will be appropriated by Hamas to feed its fighters. And you can make rocket fuel out of sugar, cooking oil, and fertilizer.

          I received a request from the Red Cross last week to donate extra money to fund the international humanitarian relief effort for Gaza. For what it’s worth, I said No.

          1. The sort of siege you propose is illegal — barring all food and water. The military has an obligation to permit food and water in when the deprivation reaches the point of causing large scale deaths. (I think the Israeli government stated it would block all water, food, fuel, although there are indications that the terms of siege are being or have been modified.) Grant you disagree, why think a siege here will work, i.e., cause unarmed civilians to try to force Hamas out? I can’t recall such a tactic having much success in the past, but maybe you have some examples? The issue here is about civilians, not Hamas.

            I don’t recall ever talking with you about Syria, etc., so I don’t know why you think I have different standards for those cases.

    3. I can see why you advocate this. However (as you likely realise), terrorists would melt into the refugees. Once in Sinai, Iran would find ways of re-arming them. Further, the median age of males in Gaza is 18. Those youths are the most radicalised and Jew-hating on the planet, and would re-form Hamas. Hence this would pretty much just relocate the problem from Gaza to Sinai (and one can see why the Egyptians are strongly against it). I’m not saying I have any better ideas; I don’t.

      1. Probably the only solution is what is currently in place as of 7 Oct: Use Gaza as essentially an open-air prison now that the borders with Israel are closed. The NGOs can feel virtuous about feeding them. No reason why Israel should. When the security situation improves, Israel will have to decide whether it wants to occupy and garrison Gaza — as a belligerent it has that right — or just cordon it off. Egypt has an interest in keeping the Gazans out of Egypt as well.

        No one wants Palestinians in their country as immigrants or as refugees. Canada is obligated to allow those who have Canadian citizenship to come “home” to Canada — in almost all cases these are dual citizens who have not set foot in Canada or paid taxes to Canada for many decades. I can just imagine the trouble this is going to bring for us down the road: undeportable, unassimilable radicalized trouble-makers with a sympathetic ear among our Left.

        Sometimes the best solution, or the least bad, is the stable equilibrium that just develops organically. Social reformers who imagine they can engineer a better solution just from wanting to are usually deluded.

    4. I agree with Jerry. Some of that aid will go to civilians, and it is much needed. If it gets diverted by Hamas, civilians will eventually get pissed at Hamas.

      1. And how much of this help will go to the Israeli hostages? And what incentive would Hamas have to release the hostages when it can get international help both for itself and (possibly) some crumbs to its civilians? If civilians can get angry enough at Hamas for stealing this help, they should get even angrier for not getting anything only because Hamas is happy to torture over 200 foreign citizens it kidnapped from Israel.

    5. The “laws of war” and other humanitarian concerns apply only to those who care. The United States and its allies like to claim the supposed moral high ground on such matters after their victory in World War II, but they can do so conveniently because their survival and other critical national interests are not seriously threatened. (And Japan has other reasons not to remind us about our firebombing campaign.) Look at the panic over January 6th in the United States. If that mob of criminals, delinquents, misfits, and the misguided had instead been armed forces of an adversary nation, if Nancy Pelosi had had her body rather than the sanctity of her office space violated, then I suspect that the majority of those in the United States wouldn’t give a damn about any laws of war when we responded.

      Now, there might be pragmatic reasons why one should exercise restraint: securing a post-conflict peace, fearing escalation and retribution, maintaining other state relations, etc. That is a different discussion. There might also be moral concerns that weigh differently on each individual. But much of the talk of “laws of war” sounds as though they were etched in stone on some mountain somewhere, inviolable because ordained by a higher power, retaining the flavor and authority of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” We no longer live in that world, right? What moral structures one chooses to erect, one can as quickly choose to tear down. The strong can reorder their own affairs and ignore those of the weak; those who don’t share our worldview can spit on our “moral” concerns—no differently than if they did not share our gods.

      Bottom line: such “laws” are a luxury of those who are strong and those whose survival is not threatened. No nation will accept as its epitaph: “They died willingly so as not to violate the rules-based order of the powerful.”

  3. On this day:
    1386 – The Universität Heidelberg holds its first lecture, making it the oldest German university.

    1512 – Martin Luther becomes a doctor of theology.

    1789 – John Jay is sworn in as the first Chief Justice of the United States.

    1900 – Max Planck discovers Planck’s law of black-body radiation.

    1914 – World War I: The First Battle of Ypres begins.

    1921 – The Portuguese Prime Minister and several officials are murdered in the Bloody Night coup.

    1935 – The League of Nations places economic sanctions on Italy for its invasion of Ethiopia.

    1943 – The cargo vessel Sinfra is attacked by Allied aircraft at Crete and sunk. Two thousand and ninety-eight Italian prisoners of war drown with it.

    1943 – Streptomycin, the first antibiotic remedy for tuberculosis, is isolated by researchers at Rutgers University.

    1955 – The General Assembly of the European Broadcasting Union approves the staging of the first Eurovision Song Contest.

    1960 – The United States imposes a near-total trade embargo against Cuba.

    1973 – President Nixon rejects an Appeals Court decision that he turn over the Watergate tapes.

    1984 – A Roman Catholic priest, Jerzy Popiełuszko, associated with the Solidarity Union, is killed by three agents of the Polish Communist internal intelligence agency.

    1987 – Black Monday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average falls by 22%, 508 points.

    1988 – The British government imposes a broadcasting ban on television and radio interviews with members of Sinn Féin and eleven Irish republican and Ulster loyalist paramilitary groups.

    1989 – The convictions of the Guildford Four are quashed by the Court of Appeal of England and Wales, after they had spent 15 years in prison.

    2003 – Mother Teresa is beatified by Pope John Paul II.

    2005 – Saddam Hussein goes on trial in Baghdad for crimes against humanity.

    2005 – Hurricane Wilma becomes the most intense Atlantic hurricane on record with a minimum pressure of 882 mb.

    2019 – Members of Parliament met at the House of Lords to discuss the United Kingdom’s Brexit deal, this was the first Saturday sitting in Parliament since 3 April 1982 during the Falklands War.

    1784 – Leigh Hunt, English poet and critic (d. 1859).

    1850 – Annie Smith Peck, American mountaineer and academic (d. 1935).

    1862 – Auguste Lumière, French director and producer (d. 1954).

    1868 – Bertha Knight Landes, American academic and politician, Mayor of Seattle (d. 1943).

    1895 – Lewis Mumford, American historian, sociologist, and philosopher (d. 1990).

    1899 – Miguel Ángel Asturias, Guatemalan journalist, author, and poet, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1974).

    1910 – Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, Indian-American astrophysicist, astronomer, and mathematician, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1995).

    1916 – Jean Dausset, French-Spanish immunologist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2009).

    1931 – John le Carré, English intelligence officer and author (d. 2020).

    1938 – Bill Morris, Baron Morris of Handsworth, Jamaican-English union leader and politician.

    1940 – Michael Gambon, Irish-British actor (d. 2023).

    1941 – Simon Ward, English actor (d. 2012).

    1944 – Peter Tosh, Jamaican singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 1987).

    1945 – Divine, American drag queen performer, and actor (d. 1988).

    1945 – Gloria Jones, American singer-songwriter. [Jones sang the original version of “Tainted Love” and was driving the purple mini that crashed and fatally injured her boyfriend, Marc Bolan of T. Rex.]

    1945 – John Lithgow, American actor.

    1946 – Philip Pullman, English author and academic. [A real disappointment on the subject of “gender-affirming healthcare” for children, given the theme of the His Dark Materials trilogy.]

    1952 – Peter Bone, English accountant and politician. [On Monday he was suspended from the Conservative Party after a report found he had “committed many varied acts of bullying and one act of sexual misconduct” against a male member of his staff. If the recommended six-week suspension from sitting in the House of Commons is confirmed by MPs it would trigger a recall petition that could lead to a by-election. Coincidentally, a by-election is being held today to replace former Conservative MP Chris Pincher whose similar misconduct eventually led to Boris Johnson resigning as prime minister.]

    1962 – Tracy Chevalier, American-English author.

    1969 – Trey Parker, American actor, animator, producer, and screenwriter.

    It was a time when only the dead smiled, happy in their peace:
    1216 – John, King of England (b. 1166).

    1678 – Samuel Dirksz van Hoogstraten, Dutch painter (b. 1627).

    1682 – Thomas Browne, English physician and author (b. 1605). [Today is also the anniversary of his birth.]

    1745 – Jonathan Swift, Irish satirist and essayist (b. 1667).

    1897 – George Pullman, American engineer and businessman, founded the Pullman Company (b. 1831).

    1905 – Virgil Earp, American marshal (b. 1843). [Older brother of Wyatt and Morgan Earp. All three, together with Doc Holliday, took part in the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.]

    1937 – Ernest Rutherford, New Zealand-English physicist and chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1871).

    1952 – Edward S. Curtis, American ethnologist and photographer (b. 1868).

    1960 – George Wallace, Australian comedian, actor, and screenwriter (b. 1895).

    1978 – Gig Young, American actor (b. 1913).

    1987 – Jacqueline du Pré, English cellist and educator (b. 1945).

    1988 – Son House, American singer and guitarist (b. 1902).

    1992 – Magnus Pyke, English scientist and television host (b. 1908).

    1997 – Ken Wood, inventor of the Kenwood Chef food mixer (b. 1916).

    2003 – Margaret Murie, American environmentalist and author (b. 1902).

    2007 – Winifred Asprey, American mathematician and computer scientist (b. 1917).

    2014 – Raphael Ravenscroft, English saxophonist and composer (b. 1954). [Played the saxophone on “Baker Street”, for which he was paid a total of £27.50. Gerry Rafferty received an estimated £80,000 each year in royalties for the song.]

    2016 – Phil Chess, Czech-American record producer, co-founded Chess Records (b. 1921).

    2019 – Deborah Orr, Scottish journalist (b. 1962).

  4. I don’t think I’ve ever had a fish soup or stew that I didn’t like. I am partial to Lobster Bisque, though.

  5. As others have pointed out, the Gaza hospital incident shows the corporate media at its worst for just accepting the claims of Hamas without the least amount of verification. They are just scribes for their ideological masters.

    1. Not just the corporate media. Rashida Tlaib (in the US) and Jeremy Corbyn (in the UK) put out tweets parroting the early statements of Hamas about “Israel bombing the hospital” and “500 dead”, and simply left them there, without adding later clarifications or retractions.

      Also, former “skeptics” and “humanists” who took up the cult of social justice, such as Dan Arel, continue to insist Israel bombed the hospital.

    2. I’m not sure I can figure out what the “corporate media” interest in taking Hamas’ side in this war. In the same vein, I’m not sure how anybody benefits from blaming the “corporate media” in this particular struggle. And, they HAVE been talking about the various possibilities.

      1. It’s not a secret that corporate media has whittled down their news organizations, and this is especially apparent in the Middle East, where Arabic translation is required. The question is who is doing the translation/interpretation/writing and whether sources are reliable. Hamas and the PA have had disinformation infrastructure in place for years – these are their ‘spokespeople’. They literally stage disinformation ( eg, supposed Israeli atrocities with fake dead and injuries) and provide tweets on X, or film to the various bureaus like the BBC, AP, Reuters, Agence France-Presse etc, who then often air it with some voice-over. The disinformation industry is known as Pallywood. Literally hundreds of examples of Pallywood are available on the net.

        As for who is doing the “translation/interpretation/writing” inside the news bureaus who feed the major news networks? It would appear that it is not necessarily being done by unbiased staffers, see:

        where first-hand knowledge of Middle East International news bureau bias is given testimony.

        And so, there has been a false narrative that has developed over the years, a frame through which the corporate media interprets all things Palestinian and Israeli. And it is biased against Israel. The NYT narrative on this supposed Israeli airstrike with an unverified 500 dead being reported is a perfect example of how ME reporting is broken.

      2. “Corporate media” has little interest in aligning itself with Hamas. However, the folks who work for “corporate media” do. Woke ideologies are very dominant in much of the “corporate media” world.

  6. A kindly cyclist encounters a skunk family. See how lovely and kindly they are? They squirt only when disturbed.

    Corollary : Skunks don’t recognise a bike tyre, or a single human foot (probably splattered with whatever was in the puddles on that road) as signifying anything threatening. Nor, after a good sniff-around, anything edible.

  7. Thanks for posting the interview with Mosab Hassan Yousef. Very powerful stuff and definitely worth taking 12 minutes to watch

  8. Despite the news that Israel was not responsible for the hospital blast, the protests will continue, for the spark was lit and cannot be unlit. I’m glad that the “siege” is over. That’s one less thing that will be able to foment moral outrage. On the merits, Israel has the moral high ground, but the merits don’t matter.

  9. If you don’t actually need to be a US Rep to be Speaker, R’s oughtta tap Liz Cheney. That would be a great way of signalling a break with Orange Julius, and they’d probably get some D votes as well.

  10. In war, things go wrong. Did PIJ mean to attack the hospital in Gaza? Almost certainly, no. Did a rocket fired by PIJ blow up near the hospital? Almost certainly, yes. In WW2, the US bombed the docks in Rotterdam (to prevent the Germans from using the docks). One of our bombers dropped its bombs on a residential neighborhood. Did we mean to kill Dutch civilians? No. Did we? Yes.

    Of course, war is also the end of truth. Also in WW2, the Germans found the mass graves in the Katyn forest. They blamed Stalin and the USSR. Stalin and the USSR blamed the Germans. The mass killings were actually committed by Stalin and the USSR. More recently, the Russian apartment bombings may or may not have actually been committed by the FSB (this is still highly disputed). Note that Chechens (and other folks from the Caucus region) did commit all sorts of crimes (including the Beslan school takeover).

  11. It’s as if some people, like diehard creationists and flat-earthers, are so brainwashed that they reject any evidence counter to their narrative…

    Absolutely true. I was banned from a leftist subreddit yesterday for posting this:

    “I have yet to see an image of a flattened hospital. I’ve seen images of a bunch of burned and damaged cars in a parking lot surrounded by intact buildings with minor blast damage to windows and roofing tiles. Damage that is definitely within the capability of Hamas rockets.”

    in response to a post claiming (probably correctly) that no Palestinian groups have bombs capable of flattening a hospital. Even just asking them to show me a flattened hospital is so harmful to their narrative that they’ll just delete the comment and ban me.

  12. Welcome to Reddit. My favorite subreddit was the one about ‘Serena Williams is an extremely unlikable person in real life’. The irony is that her husband is Alexis Ohanian. He co-founded Reddit.

  13. The humanitarian assistance deal achieved by President Biden has some conditions intended to keep Hamas’s hands off it. The Israelis are skeptical.

    “Just before he left [for home, President Biden] said Israel had agreed to allow aid into Gaza from Egypt. It will come with inspections and safeguards against it falling into the hands of terrorists.

    “He added: ‘Let me be clear: If Hamas diverts or steals the assistance, they will have demonstrated once again that they have no concern for the welfare of the Palestinian people and it will end. [my emphasis]

    “‘As a practical matter, it will stop the international community from being able to provide this aid.'”

    Israel says it is impossible to keep Hamas from pilfering or taxing the aid and says the IDF will bomb the trucks if they are diverted into Hamas’s hands.

  14. Ceiling Cat, there is a new degree program at the University of Exeter in, I shit you not, Magic and Occult Science. It’s an MA program housed within the Arabic and Islamic Studies. I discovered this because Not the Bee published on it. I had to Google it myself to believe it.

    Sure as all get out:

    And check out Not the Bee’s reporting:

    Not the Bee wasn’t lying when they reported that it’s about “decolonialization”:

    “Decolonisation, the exploration of alternative epistemologies, feminism, and anti-racism are at the core of this programme.”

    For almost $15,000, students will be equipped “with the skills to and knowledge needed to influence and drive business strategies that make a positive contribution to the environment and society.”

    I think I will vomit now.

    1. That’s interesting because gnosticism and hermeticism – maybe New Age, or theosophy and modern occult – are regarded as heresies in Christianity, Judaism (I think), so the church (IIUC) works to understand them in order to counteract them (IIUC).

      I’m also in the process of getting excerpts of Jean-Paul Sartre’s preface to Frantz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth to show how decolonization – according to Sartre – is unequivocally and literally about using violence to achieve (in their fantasy religion) Liberation.

      I am hesitating to say which kind of violence (because according to Marxists, violence that does not touch human bodies (?) is good, or playful, I think is how William Ayers put it).

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