Welcome to the end of the week and, at sundown, shabbos for Jewish cats. It’s Friday, October 27, 2023, and National Potato Day. The father of one of my friends was overweight, and his doctor gave him the choice of giving up either beer or potatoes (he loved both). He deep-sixed the spuds. Here, from reddit, is a sweet potato (a different species) shaped like a duck.
It’s also American Beer Day, National Black Cat Day, World Lemur Day, National Breadstick Day,Navy Day, Sylvia Plath Day (she was born on this day in 1932, and killed herself at the age of just 30), and the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage
Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the October 27 Wikipedia page.
*The death toll in the mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine has reached 18. The gunman, using a legally purchased assault rifle (see here for the reactions of Maine politicians on gun control).
On Thursday, a day after a gunman opened fire on civilians in the city of Lewiston, helicopters swept miles of countryside as the Coast Guard patrolled the Kennebec River. Thousands of people were forced into an extended lockdown as police officers from local, state and federal agencies combed the area.
On Thursday night, law enforcement agents executed search warrants at several properties in Bowdoin, about 30 minutes from the crime scenes, that belong to the family of Robert R. Card, 40, who the police suspect is the gunman. A spokeswoman for the state police said they now believed that Mr. Card was not on the property.
*The latest war news says that Israel briefly sent tanks into northern Gaza, suggesting a ground invasion is imminent.
The Israeli military said on Thursday that it had briefly sent tanks into the northern Gaza Strip overnight as part of preparations for the next stage of fighting, after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indicated that a ground invasion of the enclave was likely.
It was at least the second time in the conflict that Israel had conducted a limited ground raid in Gaza, after it said some troops had briefly entered the territory two weeks ago. The military said in a Telegram post that it had hit multiple targets and “operated to prepare the battlefield,” without offering details.
Although details of the incursion remained scarce, a video released by Israel’s military showed Israeli tanks firing inside Gazan territory. The area is immediately next to Gaza’s northern border near the Mediterranean Sea, according to an examination of the footage by The New York Times.
I found the video, which is in this IDF tweet:
In preparation for the next stages of combat, the IDF operated in northern Gaza.
IDF tanks & infantry struck numerous terrorist cells, infrastructure and anti-tank missile launch posts.
The soldiers have since exited the area and returned to Israeli territory. pic.twitter.com/oMdSDR84rU
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) October 26, 2023
Nearly three weeks after the war began, it remains unclear if or when Israel will launch a ground invasion of Gaza. In a televised speech on Wednesday evening, Mr. Netanyahu did not offer details on the scope of a possible invasion, but vowed that Israel would exact a price for the Oct. 7 incursion led by the Hamas armed group that killed more than 1,400 people.
. . . As of Thursday morning, 74 trucks carrying humanitarian supplies had entered Gaza since Saturday, far short of the 100 a day or more that the United Nations said the territory needs. As the U.S.-backed deal between Israel and Egypt falls short of producing a sustained flow of aid, U.N. officials and diplomats attribute the delay partly to Israel’s demands to inspect the trucks at a border checkpoint about 25 miles from the crossing where the vehicles move into Gaza from Egypt.
Yep, the UN blames Israel, as if it has no right to inspect trucks going into the country for weapons or other material that could be used by Hamas!
*Also at the NYT, Charles Blow bloviates about the missteps of Biden in supporting Israel, which involve simply supporting Israel:
The other thing that I initially underestimated is the level of criticism of the Biden administration for its response to this conflict and what effect that might have in 2024.
Shaun King, a former writer for The Daily News who has millions of followers on Facebook, Instagram and X, the site formerly known as Twitter, posted recently about how he would not vote for President Biden next year because of his embrace of Israel.
King, who has never been a strong Biden supporter and is far from a mainline Democrat, told me, “I feel like a voter without a candidate.”
While most activists I spoke to didn’t sound a note as strident as King’s about their voting intentions, several of them sounded an alarm about a possible wave of voter disappointment on the left over Biden’s stance in this conflict.
As Maurice Mitchell, the national director of the Working Families Party, told me, he couldn’t think of a more “demobilizing experience” for young, democracy-minded, multiracial coalition voters than an escalating war and escalating human suffering “with the understanding that our country and our government could have done more to prevent it.”
Tiffany Loftin, who describes herself as a civil rights activist and labor union organizer, and is a former national director of the N.A.A.C.P. youth and college division, said she would have a difficult time casting her ballot for “somebody who supported genocide” of Palestinians, which is how she characterized Biden’s position in the Israel-Gaza war. “I don’t know if I can do that, Charles,” she said.
The questions for the Democratic Party and the Biden administration are: How much of their support base does this discontent represent, and how much voter abstention can they absorb?
Sorry, but the U.S. is still strongly supportive of Israel, and my own view—and I hope the view of many Americans as well—is that Biden’s done a good job with Israel, as he has with Ukraine. We don’t have a wider war, the U.S. military presence is keeping that in check, and Biden’s supporting the side of democracy (“free Palestine” strikes me as an odd mantra since the country won’t be free so long as it’s not a democracy). My guess is that the Israeli issue, if all hell doesn’t break loose and Iran gets involved, will only help Biden in next year’s election.
*From the Free Press, Candace Mittel Kahn has a sad story: “When an old friend is ripping down photos of kidnapped children.”
There have been widespread, grassroots efforts to bring attention to the kidnapped civilians, especially the children. One information campaign that has been gaining traction is called Let the World Know, which was started by Anna Tambini, an Israeli woman who lives in San Francisco. Volunteers across America, and around the world, have been hanging posters of the hostages on streetlights and posts, subway walls and coffee shops. Each poster has an individual picture and name with a simple call to action: “Take a photo of this poster and share it. Please help bring them home alive.”
There is no Israeli flag on these posters. There is no mention of politics. They are as anodyne as the missing children that used to appear on the side of American milk cartons.
And still. People all over the world—especially young, cool-looking people, with nose rings and neon backpacks—are ripping them down.
Across the internet, videos have emerged of people angrily tearing down these posters wherever they find them. In NYC. In L.A. In San Diego. In Santa Cruz. In Richmond. In Miami. In Philadelphia. In Ontario. In Paris. In London. They are ripping the faces of real people who are missing—babies, children, teenagers, women, elderly—to shreds.
I’m not sure non-Jews and ordinary passersby understand how painful this is. The Jewish world is tiny and connected. Nearly everyone knows someone who knows one of those faces. A friend’s friend. The in-laws of the sister of a boy who went to your school. And that’s just me.
I was scrolling Instagram this week when I came across another one of these videos. This one was of a woman and a man together ripping down the posters in Williamsburg. I almost skipped past it when I noticed something. I turned up the volume.
After the woman finishes scraping the remainders of the poster from the street post, while muttering the word calba, the Arabic word for dog, she then turns to the camera—presumably to the person filming her vandalism—and says, “Fuck you. Fuck you. And burn in hell.”
And that’s when my heart dropped: I know her.
You’ll want to read the rest, and can do so here.
There are quite a few similar videos on the web; here’s one:
*I have heard this report from three places: an Internet site a can’t remember, from Andrzej, whom I asked for a link but he couldn’t remember, and then from reader Debbie, who gave a link to a report that Gaza has plenty of fuel, but of course it’s all in the hands of Hamas. The report is from the Jewish News Syndicate, so you may choose to disbelieve it, but remember—they’re not Hamas. (Readers are welcome to add support or rebuttal found online.)
Israeli authorities released on Tuesday aerial images of Hamas storage tanks in the Gaza Strip containing at least half a million liters of fuel, stressing that questions regarding fuel shortages should be addressed to the Islamist group and not Jerusalem.
“Near the Rafah border crossing [to Egypt], Hamas owns fuel tanks, containing hundreds of thousands of liters of fuel. Please refer the ones complaining about no fuel in Gaza to Hamas,” the Israeli Defense Ministry’s Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) unit tweeted.
Here’s that tweet:
Take a look.
Near the Rafah border crossing, Hamas owns fuel tanks, containing hundreds of thousands of liters of fuel.
— COGAT (@cogatonline) October 24, 2023
“Hamas has fuel. Hamas has quite a lot of fuel,” IDF spokesman Lt. Col. (res.) Jonathan Conricus told CNN‘s Wolf Blitzer. “And they can decide where to use that fuel.
“And I find it strikingly absent from the discussion … what is Hamas doing with the resources that it has? It’s only about Israel and Egypt and international organizations. What about Hamas? Why aren’t questions posed to Hamas: ‘Why don’t you use some of the fuel you have stockpiled and hoarded in advance of this situation and use it for the civilians?’”
There are other tweets and a discussion about the Hamas-coopted UN organization UNRWA., which has promoted a lot of the discussion that “hospitals need fuel”. And indeed they do, but if Hamas has half a million liters, let the UN make sure that that fuel goes to hospitals, not to Hamas’s activities. This could be easily checked and assured!
Let it not be said that the IDF doesn’t have a mordant sense of humor (the IDF post is in response to a UNRWA post below it; UNRWA, part of the UN, is strongly pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel:
These fuel tanks are inside Gaza.
They contain more than 500,000 liters of fuel.
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) October 24, 2023
People go to Noodles & Company to save a buck, not to have one interrupt their meal. But that’s what happened in Beloit, Wisconsin, on Tuesday when a deer came crashing through the restaurant’s window.
Surveillance footage shows a deer charging into the crowded restaurant around lunchtime, prompting diners to scatter. The animal then explored the dining area and kitchen before exiting out a back door opened by an employee, Noodles & Company spokesperson Stephanie Jerome told The Associated Press.
No one was harmed in the incident, and the location has since reopened after a deep clean, Jerome said. The restaurant offered a “2 Buck Mac & Cheese” special on Wednesday to commemorate the incident.
Here it is; people are freaked out1
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili’s adopting au courant ways of working:
This is going around the internet. There are many responses to Tyson’s dissing of cats beyond this one (one response is “Evidence that cats are smarter than Neil deGrasse Tyson: we can tell the difference between a female cat and a male.:):
Here’s a rare live verstion of Steely Dan doing “Reeling in the years” (from FB). Great guitar solo by Jeff “Skunk Baxter.” Donald Fagen is on keyboard.
From Science Humor: Convergent evolution!
From Masih, who testified today at the House Homeland Security Committee “regarding the threat posed by the Islamic regime on US soil, as well as its affiliated terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah. The Islamic regime can be likened to a virus: if left unchecked, it could spread worldwide.
⭕️گوشه ای از سخنان #مسیح_علینژاد در نشست کمیته امنیت ملی کنگره آمریکا در خصوص راب مالی و آرین طباطبایی و خواست مردم ایران در خصوص تغییر رژیم.#زن_زندگى_آزادى #اعتصابات_سراسری pic.twitter.com/wba48JpHL7
— Simorgh News | سیمرغ نیوز (@Simorgh_News) October 26, 2023
From Al in the UK, some entitled Stanford students issue a list of DEMANDS! Read them!
Stanford’s anti-Israel students released a list of demands to the school admin:
– Condemn Israel
– Pay to get them lawyers
– Boycott all Israeli products
– Pay for 24/7 trauma counselors
– Pay for round trip visits after war ends for them to go visit friends or their family… pic.twitter.com/nPeWPfitC3
— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) October 25, 2023
I found this in the (pinned!) Sci Am thread about women being coequal in hunting, a piece I criticized here. Among the mostly negative comments was one explaining why a thoughtful woman canceled her subscription (expand the explanation). The comment you want is here.
— Enguerrand VII de Coucy (@ingelramdecoucy) October 18, 2023
From Jez: A cat tries to help its kitten:
Cat takes down the stuck toy so the kitten can play with it again..🐈🐾🧸🥺 pic.twitter.com/FB7ZfyHEw9
— 𝕐o̴g̴ (@Yoda4ever) October 24, 2023
This could be freedom of speech, but it looks as if the Students for Justice in Palestine violated University rules by shouting down and deplatforming Jewish speakers. There’s video, and someone’s investigating. (h/t Orli)
🧵 I have now heard from multiple @UChicago students about something that happened on campus last week. Pro-Israel students followed the rules and reserved the quad for a rally. “Pro-Palestine” students showed up and did everything they could to drown out the event, an apparent… pic.twitter.com/u5BaETKb8v
— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) October 24, 2023
From gravelinspector, who says that no comment is necessary. Indeed, but it’s very sweet:
Writing about historical relationships between cats and humans, then I see this. A tonic through these turbulent times. pic.twitter.com/b90HYhs8hz
— Dr Janina Ramirez (@DrJaninaRamirez) October 20, 2023
From the Auschwitz Memorial, a woman gassed upon arrival, age 55.
27 October 1887 | A Dutch Jewish woman, Eva Musaph-Kanteman, was born in Hengelo.
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) October 27, 2023
And one lonely tweet from Dr. Cobb, who has gone off Twitter (I’m using old tweets I saved):
Engine check.. ✔️
Brakes check.. ✔️
Prepare for takeoff.. 😂 pic.twitter.com/sKMmXsRmWU
— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden) September 21, 2023