Welcome to the start of the “work” week; It’s Monday, October 23, 2023, and only two weeks until I go to Paris for another weeklong eating binge. Today is National Boston Cream Pie Day, really a cake and not a pie, but it’s good. Here’s a photo and there’s a recipe at the link:
It’s also National Horror Movie Day, Swallows Depart From San Juan Capistrano Day. National Canning Day, National Croc Day (the world’s ugliest shoes!), and International Mole Day, whose explanation is below:
Mole Day is an unofficial holiday celebrated among chemists, chemistry students and chemistry enthusiasts on October 23, between 6:02 a.m. and 6:02 p.m., making the date 6:02 10/23 in the American style of writing dates. The time and date are derived from the Avogadro constant, which is approximately 6.02×1023, defining the number of particles (atoms or molecules) in one mole (mol) of substance, one of the seven base SI units.
Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the October 23 Wikipedia page.
Posting may be light today as I’m having some slight malaise because I got my sixth covid shot yesterday. Although my doctor said that it was unnecessary if I stayed home, he said it was okay to get the booster given that I’m going to France in two weeks (it takes that long to develop immunity). Oy, my sore arm!
*More news of the war from the NYT: more Israelis ordered south, away from Lebanon, and fears of a widening conflict:
As Israeli forces massed along the border with Gaza on Sunday ahead of an expected ground invasion of the enclave, escalating clashes on Israel’s northern border with Lebanon along with strikes in Syria and in the Israeli-occupied West Bank intensified fears of a widening regional conflict.
The Israeli authorities said they were expanding a state-funded evacuation plan to move residents from an additional 14 Israeli villages near the border with Lebanon to safer areas. The move came as Israel’s military said Sunday it was contending with increasing attacks from Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed militia that controls southern Lebanon, that have resulted in civilian and military casualties.
Amid concerns the conflict could spill over, the Pentagon said late Saturday that it was sending an antimissile battery and battalions of the Patriot ground-based air defense system to the Middle East following “recent escalations by Iran and its proxy forces.”
Violence also has been surging across the Israeli-occupied West Bank. The Israeli military carried out a rare airstrike there overnight against what it described as an underground “terror compound” beneath a mosque in the city of Jenin. Two people were killed, according to Palestinian health officials.
. . . While the timing of an Israeli ground invasion of Gaza remained unclear, senior Israeli commanders have increasingly been making public references to such preparations amid questions about when an operation might launch. The commanding officer of Israel’s ground forces, Maj. Gen. Tamir Yedai, has been meeting in recent days with soldiers training for “ground maneuvering,” according to a statement issued by Israel’s military on Sunday.
I still wonder whether Israel’s repeated assurance that there will be a ground invasion is just a gigantic ruse, but I don’t think so, for you can’t wipe out Hamas with airstrikes alone (or even with a ground invasion). We’re in for a lot of carnage, and that means a lot of sympathy for Palestinian lives, but not for Israelis, even though they’re trying to ensure the continuation of their country.
*As expected, Hamas has failed to produce any evidence that the Gazan hospital was struck by an Israeli bomb or missile.
Five days after Hamas accused Israel of bombing a hospital in Gaza City and killing hundreds of people, the armed Palestinian group has yet to produce or describe any evidence linking Israel to the strike, says it cannot find the munition that hit the site and has declined to provide detail to support its count of the casualties.
. . .as new evidence contradicting the Hamas claim has emerged, the Gazan authorities have changed their story about the blast. Spokespeople have released death tolls varying from 500 to 833, before settling on 471.
The Hamas-run health ministry has also declined to release further details about those 471 victims, and all traces of the munition have seemingly vanished from the site of the blast, making it impossible to assess its provenance. Raising further questions about Hamas’s claims, the impact site turned out to be the hospital parking lot, and not the hospital itself.
On Sunday, Hamas turned down requests by The Times to view any available evidence of the munition it said had struck the hospital, claiming that it had disintegrated beyond recognition.
“The missile has dissolved like salt in the water,” said Ghazi Hamad, a senior Hamas official, in a phone interview. “It’s vaporized. Nothing is left.”
There’s more, but this is what was expected after the investigations of other groups. Perhaps the NYT is disappointed at this result. After all they based their initial reporting on Hamas sources.
*A Wall Street Journal/IPSOS poll of American’s attitudes towards the war and its combatants shows a surprising amount of sympathy for Israel (I’ve been living among leftist acdemics for too long!)
U.S. public opinion is rallying behind Israel as it responds to the deadly attacks on its citizens by Hamas, the Islamist militant group, but the American appetite for a role in the war is limited, a new Wall Street Journal/Ipsos poll finds.
The poll found Americans drawing a sharp distinction between Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip and is committed to the destruction of Israel, and the Palestinian people who live in Gaza and the West Bank. But it also found increased support for Israel, compared with prior surveys, in its decadeslong conflicts with Palestinians.
Some 42% in the survey said the U.S. should side with Israel, a record high dating to 2002, while 3% said the U.S. should take the Palestinians’ side. The share with favorable views of both the Israeli people and their government is higher in the new survey than in similar polls in recent years, though young people are much less supportive of the longtime U.S. ally than are older Americans.
At the same time, the survey found Americans reluctant to become engaged in the region. Some 52% said the U.S. shouldn’t back either Israel or the Palestinians in their long-running conflict. Just over half of Americans said the U.S. has a responsibility to support Israel in its war with Hamas.
Here are some figures. Even the Israeli government gets a 55% positive rating from Americans: the same as “the Palestinian people.” There are substantial proportions of Americans who want to protect both Israeli and Palestinian civilians, but the difference is relatively small: only 13%
Support for Israel goes up the the age of the respondent, with Republicans a bit more pro-Israel than are Democrats. Older people also are more in favor of pushing the parties to negotiate, while Republicans are less negotiation friendly than are Democrats. Not all that many want to work towards Palestinian statehood (only 28% of Americans), but older people are more in favor of a two-state solution, and Democrats more than twice in favor as are Republicans, but neither reach a majority. Perhaps most people recognize that the two-state solution is dead.
*CNN, the Associated Press, and the Wall Street Journal have independently analyzed the data about the blast that occurred near Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza City, and all have concluded that it was due to a misfired Palestinian rocket. The WSJ have a good video analysis using four separate cameras in different locations; they all concur that, at the same time, a rocket went off course, exploded, and caused damage when bits of the rocket and its unexpended fuel fell into the hospital’s parking lot. Of course that’s not going to change the minds of the Palestinians who are rioting about the explosion, blaming it on Israel. (h/t Rosemary).
The WSJ analysis is all video, but it’s pretty convincing. And even CNN, with its pro-Palestinian penchant, can’t deny the facts:
CNN has reviewed dozens of videos posted on social media, aired on live broadcasts and filmed by a freelance journalist working for CNN in Gaza, as well as satellite imagery, to piece together what happened in as much detail as possible.
Without the ability to access the site and gather evidence from the ground, no conclusion can be definitive. But CNN’s analysis suggests that a rocket launched from within Gaza broke up midair, and that the blast at the hospital was the result of part of the rocket landing at the hospital complex.
Weapons and explosive experts with decades of experience assessing bomb damage, who reviewed the visual evidence, told CNN they believe this to be the most likely scenario – although they caution the absence of munition remnants or shrapnel from the scene made it difficult to be sure. All agreed that the available evidence of the damage at the site was not consistent with an Israeli airstrike.
. . . An Al Jazeera camera, located in western Gaza and facing east, was broadcasting live on the channel at 6:59 p.m. local time on Tuesday night, according to the timestamp. The footage appears to show a rocket fired from Gaza traveling in an upwards trajectory before reversing direction and exploding, leaving a brief, bright streak of light in the night sky above Gaza City. Just moments later, two blasts are visible on the ground, including one at Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital.
. . .Several weapons experts told CNN that the Al Jazeera video appeared to show a rocket burning out in the sky before crashing into the hospital grounds, but that they could not say with certainty that the two incidents were linked – due to the challenges of calculating the trajectory of a rocket that had failed or changed course mid-flight.
“I believe this happened – a rocket malfunctioned, and it didn’t come down in one piece. It’s likely it fell apart mid-air for some reason and the body of the rocket crashed into the car park. There, the fuel remnants caught fire and ignited cars and other fuel at the hospital, causing the big explosion we saw,” Markus Schiller, a Europe-based missile expert who has worked on analysis for NATO and the European Union, told CNN.
None of the experts can pronounce with absolute certainty that this is what happened, but there is no evidence in favor of an Israeli airstrike. I’d say the Bayesian analysis based on new data gives an 87.33% probability that the hospital parking lot was hit by a misfired terrorist missile. As for the toll of dead and wounded, who knows? And we’ll never know.
*Over at the Washington Post, Peter Singer, my favorite philosopher, has an op-ed called “What is the line between life and death? Here’s my answer.”
*Here’s a new movie that you’ll want to see: “Killers of the Flower Moon”, directed by Martin Scorsese (sadly, the Taylor Swift movie is doing better). “Killers” deals with the Osage Indian murders that took place between 1910 and 1930 in Osage County, Oklahoma, with 60 members of the group murdered, almost certainly to get the money that members of the tribe had accumulated by owning oil-rich land.
. . . The film, which cost at least $200 million to make, is the largest production yet from Apple Studios. The streamer partnered with Paramount Pictures to release Scorsese’s adaptation of David Grann’s bestseller in 3,628 theaters, with plans to later stream it on a not-yet-announced date on Apple TV+.
. . . Though Scorsese’s latest opus, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Lily Gladstone and Robert De Niro, will have a hard road to reaching profitability, it’s a successful launch for a 206-minute-long adult-skewing drama – a type of movie that, outside “Oppenheimer,” has struggled mightily at the box office in recent years.
And “Killers of the Flower Moon,” with rave reviews, an “A-” CinemaScore from audiences and the backing of a robust Oscar campaign, should continue to play well over the long haul. It added $21 million overseas.
It’s an ineffable shame that a movie this good has to “struggle mightily at the box office”. A compelling story and great cast won’t do it. It’s too serious, not a “happy” movie, and is about 3½ hours long. Way too long for a public accustomed to sound bites and short videos. But you can bet I’ll be watching it. Scorsese has produced gem after cinematic gem.
Here are the Rotten Tomatoes ratings, which are excellent:
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili, on the outside windowsill, is just being a regular cat:
Hili: Let me in.A: You went out a moment ago.Hili: I changed my mind.
Hili: Wpuść mnie do domu.Ja: Przed chwilą wyszłaś.Hili: Zmieniłam zdanie.
From The Absurd Sign Project 2.0, an accurate sign:
Another Iranian woman killed by the morality police for not wearing the hijab. The regime is odious, and we should not be coddling it.
Armita Garavand, a young Iranian girl assaulted by the morality police for refusing to wear the mandatory hijab, has been declared brain dead.
It seems the Islamic regime, having observed the public’s reaction to the tragic murder of Jina Mahsa Amini, has learned to manage… pic.twitter.com/rm2liApIDG
— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) October 22, 2023
From Jez, a fantastic drone display in Bordeaux. Amazing programming!
Wine Festival with 400 drones.
— Figen (@TheFigen_) October 21, 2023
From No Context Cats:
This seat is taken pic.twitter.com/RIgtK2nRnn
— No Context Cats (@nocontextscats) October 10, 2023
From Malcom, a great catch! The kid is a hero!:
This 17 year old teen in Turkey catches a 2 year old girl after she fell out of a window 👏🏻👏🏻 pic.twitter.com/3bzxM93NwJ
— Moments from Life (@MoFrLi) October 20, 2023
From gravelinspector, an eagle bites off more than it can chew:
"You fucking want some you feathery cunt??!!!" pic.twitter.com/GV7LAo6sjj
— YouFuckingIdiot 𝕏 (@YouFuckingIdio9) October 20, 2023
From the Auschwitz Memorial, a story of a prisoner revolt whose details aren’t fully known, but is at least partly true. Read more about Franceska Mann here.
23 October 1943 | A transport of 1,800 Polish Jews arrived from Bergen-Belsen to Auschwitz. The SS sent them to the gas chambers immediately after selection. Men were directed to crematorium III and women to crematorium II.
After a speech about the need for disinfection, and… pic.twitter.com/LURFrcLEVn
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) October 23, 2023
Two tweets from Dr. Cobb (we’ll soon be down to zero).
A cleaning lady polishes the banisters at the ABC Cinema in Manchester, during a performance by the Beatles, November 20, 1963 (Image: Getty Images) pic.twitter.com/ZsgkNF2yBs
— Matthew Cobb (@matthewcobb) July 17, 2023
These caracals are adorable:
— place where cat shouldn't be (@catshouldnt) July 17, 2023