Good morning on Wednesday, June 29, 2022, a Hump Day (or “Kupra diana”, as they’d say in Latvia), and National Almond Buttercrunch Day. (Eat a Heath Bar instead.)
Stuff that happened on June 29 includes:
- 1534 – Jacques Cartier is the first European to reach Prince Edward Island.
- 1613 – The Globe Theatre in London, built by William Shakespeare‘s playing company, the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, burns to the ground. Here’s that first theater, and Julius Caesar was probably the first play. The second one, even spiffier, was shut down by the Puritans in 1642.
- 1786 – Alexander Macdonell and over five hundred Roman Catholic highlanders leave Scotland to settle in Glengarry County, Ontario.
Macdonell’s house still stands in Toronto (below), but it’s come down in the world. The store within should have been called Mystic MacMuffin:
- 1880 – France annexes Tahiti, renaming the independent Kingdom of Tahiti as “Etablissements de français de l’Océanie”.
- 1889 – Hyde Park and several other Illinois townships vote to be annexed by Chicago, forming the largest United States city in area and second largest in population at the time.
People often think that Hyde Park, where I live, is its own named town. It once was, but now it’s a section of Chicago (and a nice one). An aerial view looking north from Hyde Park is below. The oldish building with the green roof in the foreground is the Museum of Science and Industry, the last remnant of the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. I live very close to it. Lake Michigan is to the right.
- 1927 – The Bird of Paradise, a U.S. Army Air Corps Fokker tri-motor, completes the first transpacific flight, from the mainland United States to Hawaii.
Here’s the plane and also its landing at Wheeler Field Hawaii. Flight time: 25 hours and 50 minutes. Lindberg flew solo across the Atlantic five weeks earlier (the Bird had a crew of two) and perhaps for that reason got all the attention.
- 1952 – The First Miss Universe pageant is held. Armi Kuusela from Finland wins the title of Miss Universe 1952.
Here she is in 1952 and just this year. She is still lovely:
- 1972 – The United States Supreme Court rules in the case Furman v. Georgia that arbitrary and inconsistent imposition of the death penalty violates the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments and constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.
This led to a national moratorium on the death penalty, but for only four years, as Georgia put someone to death in 1976.
- 1974 – Mikhail Baryshnikov defects from the Soviet Union to Canada while on tour with the Kirov Ballet.
I don’t know from ballet, but I’ve always been more impressed by the dancing of Baryshnikov than of Nureyev. Here’s an example:
- 1987 – Vincent van Gogh‘s painting, the Le Pont de Trinquetaille, is bought for $20.4 million at an auction in London, England.
Here’s the painting, which I don’t consider a particularly good van Gogh. But it is a van Gogh, and that’s enough to give it a stratospheric value:
- 2006 – Hamdan v. Rumsfeld: The U.S. Supreme Court rules that President George W. Bush‘s plan to try Guantanamo Bay detainees in military tribunals violates U.S. and international law.
The court did approve of trials by military courts, but not by the military commissions set up by the Bush administration. Hamdan, however, who worked as a bodyguard and chauffeur for Osama bin Laden, was released in 2008—four years after he was captured.
Here’s ” The first iPhone on display under glass at the January 2007 Macworld show”:
*I hope they make a movie about the January 6 hearings, as I’m missing a lot of the juicy stuff. Take this NYT headline; how can you not click on it? Do it!
This is what the young folk call “hot tea”:
In extraordinary blow-by-blow testimony based on episodes she witnessed in the West Wing of the White House, Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide to Mark Meadows, the former chief of staff, revealed that the president had demanded to march to the Capitol with his supporters even as the riot was underway, at one point trying to grab the steering wheel of the presidential limo from a Secret Service agent when he was told he could not go.
Among the other revelations the committee presented on Tuesday:
Ms. Hutchinson testified that Mr. Trump demanded that his supporters be able to move around freely even though he knew they were armed, objecting to the presence of magnetometers to detect weapons. She testified that she was “in the vicinity of a conversation where I overheard the president say something to the effect of, ‘You know, I don’t f-ing care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me. Take the f-ing mags away. Let my people in. They can march to the Capitol from here. Let the people in. Take the f-ing mags away.’”
As rioters stormed the Capitol, chanting “Hang Mike Pence,” Mr. Trump endorsed the violence. Ms. Hutchinson testified that Mr. Meadows said of Mr. Trump, “He doesn’t want to do anything,” and “He thinks Mike deserves it. He doesn’t think they’re doing anything wrong.”
Ms. Hutchinson testified that Mr. Meadows was worried as early as Jan. 2 that Mr. Trump’s rally could get out of control, telling her “Things might get, real, real bad on Jan. 6.” Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal attorney, had told her it would be a great day, when the president would go to the Capitol and be with members of Congress.
Ms. Hutchinson had a lot more to say, but read about it at the NYT or elsewhere. The Washington Post has a list of four “bombshells” that Cassady dropped yesterday. One is that Trump sometimes threw dinner plates (with food) against the wall when he was mad. See? We knew he had childlike tantrums!
*HOWEVER, reader David says we should be a bit wary of what Cassidy Hutchinson said. I missed the news last night as I was back in the Pond doing a second duck rescue, and I haven’t watched the tv report or have seen the link below. Check for yourself. From David:
I suspect that you will spend some time on tomorrow’s Hili on the testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson. There was a quick item on ABC news tonight that may have just broken for the western edition of the nightly newscast that you should know about.
While she came across as very credible, an ABC News reporter, Pierre Thomas, said tonight that the Secret Service has asked for time to testify under oath and that a source has informed him that they will “push back” on Cassady’s testimony in that Trump did not grab the steering wheel or assault an agent in the car. If they also testify that they did not make those statements to her, I hate to think of what her life will be like. And of the damage this could cause the Committee. What was the rush to get this testimony out? Did they not verify her story with the agents involved before she testified?Here is the link to the broadcast. The relevant reporting starts at about the 13:45 mark.
*Here’s a weird op-ed in the Washington Post by three public defenders in the Bronx: “The Supreme Court’s gun ruling was a victory over racist policing.” Remember, that’s the decision that overturned bans on New Yorkers carrying guns in public. Why was it a victory? Read on:
As public defenders in New York City who represent people charged with illegal gun possession — people who, according to the New York City Police Department’s own data, are almost invariably, Black and Brown — we see the majority’s decision in NYSRPA v. Bruen as an important step to ending mass incarceration. That’s why we joined other public defenders in filing an amicus brief in the case asking the court to abandon its ivory tower and consider the law’s impact on those people who bear the brunt of New York’s gun laws — our clients. Leading Second Amendment scholars agreed that New York’s law needed to be struck down because of the law’s racist impact.
In our brief, we shared stories of clients who made the personal choice to carry a firearm for self-defense. Of police ransacking cars to look for guns and frisking people on the streets. Of people who were arrested, couldn’t afford bail, and languished at Rikers Island, one of the most dangerous jails in the country.
Because possession of an unlicensed, loaded firearm is a “violent felony” under New York law, people with no criminal record who are convicted face a mandatory minimum sentence of 3½ years in prison; the maximum is 15 years. They can lose their jobs, their housing, their children and, if they are not citizens, their right to live in the United States. All for carrying a gun without ever threatening anyone or pulling the trigger — conduct that in many states is not a crime at all.
They aren’t describing racist policing, but what they see as racist laws, presumably because data show that blacks carry unlicensed and loaded guns more often than whites. But I disagree with the editorial, for I think the last thing we need is America’s biggest city full of people carrying loaded weapons.
*Reader Ken reports on the fate of Jeffrey Epstein’s procurer: a very stiff sentence:
You saw that Ghislaine Maxwell got a 20-year bid today — less than the 30 years the prosecution asked for, but much stiffer than the 5 years she was seeking?Seems the judge wanted to give her a sentence she has a chance to outlive.
Maxwell has been detained pending trial as a flight risk. She has two years in, for which she will receive credit toward her 20 year sentence.
When I asked Ken if he thought Maxwell was, like Epstein, a suicide risk, he added this:
While in pretrial detention, she’s been held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn in a segregated housing unit. I’m sure they’ve kept a close eye on her to avoid the embarrassment of an Epstein replay. Her “paperwork” (including the Judgment & Commitment Order and her Presentencing Investigation Report) will now be sent to the regional designator’s office of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and in the next 60 days or so, she’ll receive a permanent designation to a federal penal facility consistent with her security classification.
From that NYT article:
If the conviction is upheld, Ms. Maxwell, with time potentially deducted for good behavior and credit for the two years she has spent in jail, could leave prison in her late 70s.
Ms. Maxwell, 60, the daughter of the British media magnate Robert Maxwell, was convicted on Dec. 29 of sex trafficking and other counts after a monthlong trial in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.
*The NYT has an article by Carl Zimmer on what CRISPR gene-editing technology has accomplished. The occasion is the tenth anniversary of the paper in Science by Doudna, Charpentier et al. (those two won the Nobel for CRISPR) that laid out a way to do gene editing using CRISPR and the Cas9 protein. It’s an excellent summary of how the editing works, how it’s been used scientifically and medically, and what’s in the offing. Will we see babies whose DNA is edited to “improve” them?
*A gazillion readers (thanks to all of you) sent me a link to this Guardian article that begs for refutation (click to read). It’s basically a rehash of the old controversy about the gaps in the “modern synthesis” of evolution. It also describes bogus “mysteries” that have supposedly eluded evolutionists (one is that old canard, the evolution of the eye). I volunteer to take it on, but give me a few days.
Reader Jez sent an archived article from The Daily Fail that it begs for a click (do so if you want to read it):
The transgender skateboarder, 29, who claimed first prize in a New York City women’s competition this weekend, defeating her 13-year-old and 10-year-old competitors, is a divorced, ex-Navy father-of-three who was rejected from the women’s Olympic qualifiers last year because her testosterone levels were too high.
Ricci And Tres, 29, beat 13-year-old Shiloh Catori to claim first prize at The Boardr street skating contest at the Lower East Side Coleman skatepark in New York City on Saturday, taking home $500.
The competition was open to all ages and abilities, but its heats and finals were segregated by gender.
Tween Shiloh, who won the event last year, insists she is ‘not at all upset’ by the result and says Ricci should be able to compete.
However others, including fellow skater Taylor Silverman, say it’s unfair that they have to compete against someone who developed as a man, making them taller and stronger than their competitors.
Now, DailyMail.com can reveal that Tres tried to enter the Women’s Street USA Skateboarding National Championships in a bid to qualify for the Olympics, but that she was rejected.
Apparently Tres’s testosterone titer was too high for the Olympics but okay for this competition. She makes an unusual admission, though:
‘I know I will never be a woman, because women are miraculous, they have babies and create life and do all that awesome stuff. I’ll never have that ability but I feel like I am a woman.
‘I would have wished to be born one so I’ll try to fill that image as much as I can for myself and that pretty much involves being as cute as can be,’ she said.
Here’s a tweet about it, and I’ve found the same details at other sources, including ABC15 News, so the story seems legit.
One reader who read the story wrote me this:
This scene from Seinfeld comes to mind. It was funny because at that time, a scenario like this could only be fiction.
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili can’t believe she was once bouncy like Kulka:
Hili: Was I equally wild at her age?A: Yes.Hili: Strange.
Hili: Czy ja też byłam w jej wieku taka rozbrykana?Ja: Też.Hili: Dziwne.
And here’s bouncy little Kulka:
Here’s a science meme I found:
When you don’t have any new data to present at the lab meeting.
— Rita Idugboe (@RitaIdugboe) June 27, 2022
From Ken, who says, “A fool continues to pursue her folly.” Yes, it’s La Boebert in full bull-goose looney mode, espousing a theocracy. She claims that the separation of church and state “is not in the Constitution; it’s in a stinking letter.” Has she read the First Amendment?
“I’m tired of this separation of church and state junk.”
Lauren Boebert went full theocracy, and proclaimed, “The church is supposed to direct the government” per the founding fathers. pic.twitter.com/XW5nXZZ6r8
— PatriotTakes 🇺🇸 (@patriottakes) June 27, 2022
From Simon, who says, “If they paid, do they get a refund?” I’m not sure what’s going on here. Do readers know?
— TG (@TG22110) June 27, 2022
From Barry, we have two snakes mating (I don’t know the species, but surely a reader knows. It’s America, so if it’s venomous they’re probably rattlesnakes.
And the sequel is the second tweet below.
— King Dosty 🇬🇭 (@kingdostymusic) June 27, 2022
From the Auschwitz Memorial:
29 June 1944 | A 4-year old Hungarian Jewish boy Gabor Neumann and his mother Margit (who was 9-months pregnant at the time), were murdered in a gas chamber at #Auschwitz II-Birkenau camp. pic.twitter.com/8gNj5Twc0v
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) June 29, 2022
Tweets from Matthew. First, one tweet about that godawful Guardian article:
— Angus Davison #UCUstrike (@angus_davison) June 28, 2022
Matthew’s favorite dinosaur gets drawn:
Walking with STEGOSAURUS pic.twitter.com/bpMIVqO5uR
— Grace Varnham (@GraceVarnham) June 26, 2022
And I think this gets Tweet of the Month Award:
— Dhruva Jaishankar (@d_jaishankar) June 26, 2022