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Sep 1

Today in History: the Nazi invasion of Poland (1939)

Today in History: the Nazi invasion of Poland (1939)

Today is Labor Day, which doesn’t have any particular significance in terms of Middle East history but is obviously an important day to reflect on the history of labor and the labor movement in shaping our society. Erik Loomis has done a considerable amount of writing on labor history at Lawyers, Guns & Money, so if you’re interested I’d give some of his work a read.

Today is also September 1, on…

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Saturday Night Tunes: Study in Brown

Saturday Night Tunes: Study in Brown

Sorry this is late, and brief, but I’ve been on the road most of the day. Clifford Brown died in a car crash in 1956 at the age of only 26, having only been making jazz records for a scant 4 years. Despite his tragically short career and life, he’s rightly remembered as one of the all-time great bebop and hard bop trumpeters. His virtuosity with the instrument is almost unbelievable, and his…

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Imagine if this roll of aluminum foil were actually a delicious steak dinner!

Imagine if this roll of aluminum foil were actually a delicious steak dinner!

Reihan Salam is hoping that a hypothetical 2016 campaign would finally let “Mitt” be, um, “Mitt” (?):

Imagine if Romney, having been caricatured as a cat’s-paw of the Wall Street overclass, decided to rail against the outsize power of the megabanks and in favor of a more competitive and inclusive capitalism. If we let Romney be Romney, we might find the populist the party needs.

This seems too…

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Just in time for the long weekend

Just in time for the long weekend

The West African Ebola outbreak (the recent outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo appears to be unrelated) continues to expand, now into Senegal:

The first case of Ebola has been confirmed in Senegal, a major hub for West Africa’s business and aid community, Health Minister Awa Marie Coll Seck told a news conference on Friday.

The minister said the case was a Guinean national who had…

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Today in History: The Third Crusade’s Siege of Acre begins (1189)

Today in History: The Third Crusade’s Siege of Acre begins (1189)

On August 28, 1189, a Crusader army under the command of “King of Jerusalem” (in reality Saladin had captured Jerusalem almost 2 years earlier) Guy of Lusignon laid siege to the city of Acre, which Saladin had also conquered on his way to Jerusalem. The siege would last almost two years until the Crusaders, by then led by King Richard I of England, King Philip II of France, and Duke Leopold V of…

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Russia’s long-awaited invasion of Ukraine looks to have arrived

Russia’s long-awaited invasion of Ukraine looks to have arrived

Yesterday Ukraine declared, with video to back it up, that they’d captured 10 Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory — not Russian paramilitaries, not Ukrainian militias who had been trained and/or equipped by Russia, but genuine, regular Russian soldiers. Today, it seems clear that a full-on Russian invasion of eastern Ukraine has begun in earnest. The “rebels” are suddenly making serious…

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Gone baseballin’

Gone baseballin’

Butter. Butter? Butter.

Anthony Bourdain from Kitchen Confidential (via):

I don’t care what they tell you they’re putting or not putting in your food at your favorite restaurant, chances are, you’re eating a ton of butter. In a professional kitchen, it’s almost always the first and last thing in the pan. We sauté in a mixture of butter and oil for that nice brown, caramelized color, and we finish nearly every sauce with it (we call this monter au beurre); that’s why my sauce tastes richer and creamier and mellower than yours, why it’s got that nice, thick, opaque consistency. Believe me, there’s a big crock of softened butter on almost every cook’s station, and it’s getting a heavy workout. Margarine? That’s not food. I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter? I can. If you’re planning on using margarine in anything, you can stop reading now, because I won’t be able to help you. Even the Italians-you know, those crafty Tuscans-spout off about getting away from butter, and extol the glories of olive oil (and it is glorious), but pay a surprise visit to the kitchen of that three-star Northern Italian, and what’s that they’re sneaking into the pasta?

And the risotto? The veal chop? Could it be? Is it … why, I can’t believe it IS butter!!

Ah, butter.


Israel, Hamas agree to do this all again sometime

Israel, Hamas agree to do this all again sometime

Well, this was worth busting in on vacation to mention: Israeli and Palestinian negotiators have agreedto an Egypt-brokered, open-ended ceasefire agreement. The terms reportedly include the easing of the blockade on Gaza, reduction of the buffer zone that Israel imposed inside Gaza’s borders, an extension of Gaza’s permitted fishing zone in the Mediterranean from 3 miles to (eventually) 12 miles,…

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Failure to communicate

You may remember a 2009 earthquake in L’Aquila, Italy, that killed 308 people and wound up causing seven members of Italy’s National Commission for the Forecast and Prevention of Major Risks to be convicted of manslaughter for their failure to predict the quake. I had forgotten all about this case until I found a piece on Mediumcalled “The Aftershocks,” by David Wolman. It’s a great case study in…

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