I have Welsh ancestors, and so a Welsh translation to add to my collection of translations of Tintin adventure called ‘King Ottokar’s Sceptre’ was definitely required.
Quick Quiz (answers below): In which country is Welsh is spoken?Which city is the country’s capital?
Welsh is the only language that is de jure* official in any part of the United Kingdom, with English being de facto official.
*de jure- by law; de facto- in fact/ the reality
Welsh has been spoken continuously in Wales throughout recorded history, but by 1911 it had already become a minority language. Today Welsh is spoken by some 850,000 people in Wales. The Welsh government plan to have one million Welsh language speakers by 2050. [Information from Wikipedia]
(Answers to the Quiz: Wales, in the southwest of Great Britain, capital Cardiff).
Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg (87) passed away today (pancreatic cancer).
She was a trailblazer and a champion of gender equality. Now that she is gone, there may be profound consequences for the Court, and for the country.
Only 3 of the remaining 8 justices are now considered progressive or liberal, with 5 conservative.
I dined at Luby’s a few times while I lived in Houston in 1999.
The restaurant chain is now headed for liquidation.
Writes Jill Smits in Texas Highways Magazine: ‘If you grew up in Texas, you’ve probably eaten at Luby’s. And if you’ve eaten at Luby’s, your feelings about the restaurant may run surprisingly deep. While it’s been decades since I stepped inside one, my nostalgia for square fish, church clothes, and green Jell-O has been in overdrive since hearing the 73-year-old Houston-based cafeteria chain is closing multiple locations and heading toward liquidation’.
2,974 victims were confirmed to have died in the initial attacks. It has been reported that over 1,400 9/11 rescue workers who responded to the scene in the days and months after the attacks have since died. (Figures from Wikipedia).
Here is a list of dates and events that followed the 9/11 attacks ..
The 9/11 attacks
Taliban driven from power/
War in Afghanistan starts
War in Iraq starts
One World Tower construction starts
Osama bin Laden killed in Abbottabad, Pakistan
War in Iraq ends
One World Tower observation deck opens
Conditional peace deal signed with Taliban in Doha, Qatar
‘This is like Hiroshima‘
– Mayor of Beirut, Marwan Abboud, while appearing to be in tears while addressing reporters a few hours after the massive explosion that rocked the city on Monday evening
As someone said on Twitter: in a city that still bears the scars of a civil war of 15 years (1975-1990), the people of Beirut deserve better than this.
Early indications are that the explosion was the accidental ignition of 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate used in fertilisers and bombs had been stored for six years at the port without safety measures.
Though I may not be here with you, I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe. In my life I have done all I can to demonstrate that the way of peace, the way of love and nonviolence is the more excellent way. Now it is your turn to let freedom ring.
– John Lewis (80), in an essay he wrote shortly before his death on July 17.
Civil rights icon and former congressman John Lewis was laid to rest today after three former presidents (Clinton, Bush, Obama) had delivered eulogies for him at a service in Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.
Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation – which had become official January 1, 1863.
The Trump campaign did good work (unintentionally) by initially scheduling his stupid rally in Tulsa, OK for today. Oh! It’s Juneteenth, had no idea (I’m parapharasing), said he, we will move it. (Moved it by one day, to Saturday). So now many millions more Americans — at long last — know what Juneteenth is, and there will be a push from Congress to make it a federal holiday.
As for Saturday’s rally, there is the reality of Oklahoma being in the middle of a spike in Covid-19 cases. No matter. Deaf to Oklahoma public health officials, the Trump 2020 campaign will pack 20,000 adulating Trump barbarians into the Bank of Oklahoma Center. They will not be required to wear masks. Tulsa Mayor, and Oklahoma Governor — the consequences will be on you.
Sat. Jun 20: Trump delivered his usual disjointed speech; told the thin crowd he ‘wanted to slow testing down’, and called the corona virus Kung Flu.
His appearance at the outside overflow area was cancelled. The overflow area was empty.
June 16, 1976, is a day that saw fierce police brutality in South Africa. Several thousand high school students in Johannesburg’s poor township of Soweto demonstrated against the minority South African government. (In 1974, a decree had been issued that had forced all township schools to use Afrikaans and English in a 50–50 mix as languages of instruction).
The march had been peaceful, but then a police convoy arrived. Not long after that, the protestors were fired upon with live ammunition, causing the deaths of several young students. There was more bloodshed the next day. The number of young people who died is usually given as 176, but other estimates put it at hundreds more.
Many white South Africans were outraged at the government’s actions in Soweto. It would be another 14 years before Nelson Mandela would be let out of jail, but at no point after 1976, was the government able to restore the relative peace and social stability of the early 1970s.
So here it is, four months in: the United States reached the 100,000 mark for Covid-19 fatalities. We have a long way to go – but at this point the US has a far, far worse outcome compared to most other countries in the world.
Moreover, the actual number for the pandemic may already be as high as 125,000, if one adds in what is called ‘excess death*’ statistics.
*The observed number of deaths, minus the expected number of deaths under normal conditions, for a certain population.
There was not a word out of Trump about all this, who was at the SpaceX launch event in Kennedy Space Center in Merritt Island, Fla. (scrubbed at the last minute due to bad weather).
The last Monday in May is Memorial Day.
The Korean War (1950-1953) is called ‘The Forgotten War’, but let’s also remember those soldiers that had paid with their lives in the very recent wars in Afghanistan (2001-present) and in Iraq (2003-2011).
‘Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.’—Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, Roman emperor from 161 to 180 and a Stoic philosopher
To help keep my sense of time and seasons intact, I drew up a little timeline of the 9 months that still stretch ahead of Seattle and the world in 2020.
Major sport events in the world have now been cancelled through July (including Wimbledon tennis at the famous ‘All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club’, and the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics).
From the Royal Mint website: ‘Commonly known as ‘Brexit,’ the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union officially took place on 31 January 2020.
The withdrawal serves as culmination of a period in British history kicked off by a referendum on 23 June 2016 which was followed by the country triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty on 29 March 2017′.
The horrors of the Auschwitz concentration camp came to an end 75 years ago. I confess that I did not know that it was the Russians that liberated the people trapped in the camp.
Here is a little bit of what Don Greenbaum (94), says of the U.S. Army Liberation of the Dachau Concentration Camp (this was on April 29, 1945). From German news weekly Die Spiegel :
We couldn’t communicate at first. The prisoners spoke all sorts of languages, German, Czech, just no English. Then we found out that one of our boys could speak Yiddish. He said: “We are American soldiers. We are here to free you. You can go wherever you want.” But where should the poor devils go? We couldn’t even feed the prisoners. People were so starved that they were unable to eat normal food. We said to the comrades behind us: “Bring something to the people here that they can keep with them! Soft food, something like jelly. Anything they can swallow. And bring blankets! “
I stopped at an ‘Australia Post’ post office today.
I had the poor clerk behind the counter flip through the big album, full of sheets of stamps, so that I could pick out colorful and interesting stamps to buy. She was very patient with me!
Saturday marked the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Construction of the Wall was started by the then-German Democratic Republic (GDR, East Germany) on 13 Aug. 1961. It came to symbolize — metaphorically and physically — the ‘Iron Curtain’ that separated Western Europe and the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War.
The House overwhelmingly (354-60) approved a resolution, that formally rebukes Trump, over his sudden and disastrous pull-out of American troops from northern Syria. (The damage has been done, of course — to America’s reputation, to the Kurds that had fought shoulder-to-shoulder with Americans against ISIS, and to the stability in the region).
P.S. A recent blog post from Terri Kanefield explains a lot to me. Here is just the end of her explanation regarding the Mueller findings, and why impeachment then, would not have been viable.
Back when Trump appeared to be trying to goad the House into impeachment, it was when impeachment would have been basically about the Mueller findings.
With the Mueller stuff, Trump knew how to control the narrative because he knew the parameters. This was what the “impeach right now” people didn’t understand.
Legally, the House can keep impeaching. Politically, it would be insane. Imagine this: a prosecutor brings charges (obstruction of justice, for example) in June. The jury acquits. Then in September, the prosecutor says, “I have more evidence on that guy! Let’s have another trial!”
See how that looks?
The public was bored with the Russia investigation, and didn’t want to hear about things Trump had done before he was elected president. Scholars on impeachment say that traditional crimes are not what impeachment is about. Impeachment is for a president so abusing his power that removing him in the election may not be an option, or even possible.
If Trump had been impeached last spring, the Senate would have acquitted, and Trump would have declared himself Completely Exonerated.
The House would have looked silly impeaching again.
Trump knew once he was impeached and acquitted, he would would have been insulated from any additional impeachments.
In other words, he would have been untouchable.
Pelosi has decades of Intel experience. A lot of the Ukraine stuff happened in the open. What’s happening now is much more serious and compelling.
Pelosi waited for this or something like it to come out.
Either Pelosi got lucky or she knew what she was doing. Given that she’s the one of the most experienced and savvy people in politics, I’ll take Door #2.
Being a woman complicates this. People are less likely to assume she knows what she’s doing.