Category Archives: History

“The Trump administration implemented this policy by choice and could end it by choice.”

The Washington Post: The facts about Trump’s policy of separating families at the border.

“The doublespeak coming from Trump and top administration officials on this issue is breathtaking, not only because of the sheer audacity of these claims but also because they keep being repeated without evidence. Immigrant families are being separated at the border not because of Democrats and not because some law forces this result, as Trump insists. They’re being separated because the Trump administration, under its zero-tolerance policy, is choosing to prosecute border-crossing adults for any offenses.

This includes illegal-entry misdemeanors, which are being prosecuted at a rate not seen in previous administrations. Because the act of crossing itself is now being treated as an offense worthy of prosecution, any family that enters the United States illegally is likely to end up separated. Nielsen may choose not to call this a “family separation policy,” but that’s precisely the effect it has.

Sessions, who otherwise owns up to what’s happening, has suggested that the Flores settlement and a court ruling are forcing his hand. They’re not. At heart, this is an issue of prosecutorial discretion: his discretion.”

NYmag Daily Intelligencer: Trump Ends Family Separations by Ordering Family Detentions.

“In effect, Trump has switched from holding children hostage to congressional action to holding entire families hostage instead.

So in the very narrowest sense Trump is complying with demands that he end family separations at the border, but only by way of creating the equally large problem of large-scale family detentions at the border, and ignoring the more obvious option of abandoning the whole “zero tolerance” posture until such time as the system can be overhauled. The president’s allies will try to sell us on his compassion for kids and his extreme flexibility in modifying his administration’s procedures without, of course, giving up its devotion to The Law. The real question is whether the sights and sounds from the border that turned the cruel Trump-Sessions policy into a political disaster will get that much better now that children are no longer suffering on their own.”

Links via MetaFilter.

“[I]t is not even clear that the president himself knows what that strategy is.”

The Washington Post Opinions: Trump’s actions on North Korea have consequences. Here’s a list of them. By Anne Applebaum, columnist. Published May 25, 2018.

“Remember, Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal didn’t automatically return the Middle East to where it was before the pact was signed in 2015: It returned us to a worse place. We’re now unable to reimpose sanctions on Iran because the coalition that enforced them is broken. Trump’s withdrawal from the Kim summit doesn’t return the Korean Peninsula to status quo ante either. Even if he returns to the negotiating table next month, we do not live in the same world that we lived in on March 7, the day before a plan for the now-canceled summit was announced. Actions have consequences. Here’s a list of them.

We don’t have the credibility that we had before. This is the most important consequence of Trump’s impulsive decisions, first to agree to a summit with no warning, and then to cancel the summit with no warning. The one “card” the United States has always held on the Korean Peninsula was its military presence, coupled with the presumption that, if provoked or attacked, U.S. forces would respond. Now that it’s clear how eager Trump was for a summit, how much he wanted the Nobel Peace Prize that Fox News promised him, and how rapidly he pivoted from calling Kim “Rocket Man” and “maniac” to “very open” and “very honorable,” any further bluster from the president will just sound ludicrous.

A U.S. president’s ignorance has been on naked display. I was with apolitical Polish friends in Warsaw just after the summit cancellation was announced. Normally they don’t pay much attention to North Korea, but this time they were filled with questions: Doesn’t Trump have any advisers?”

Still unsolved after 47 years

Die Zeit 22/2018: “Die habe ich gesehen”. “Seit fünf Jahrzehnten ist die Identität einer geheimnisvollen Toten unbekannt. Doch jetzt gibt es eine neue Spur: Die Aussage eines norwegischen Fischers.” Von Tanja Stelzer.

Die Zeit 03/2018: Die Tote aus dem Isdal. “1970 wurde in Norwegen eine Frauenleiche gefunden: Verbrannt, entstellt, mit rätselhaftem Gepäck. Bis heute ist unklar, wer sie war. Eine Verrückte? Eine Agentin? Die Polizei ermittelt jetzt wieder. Neue Spuren weisen nach Deutschland.” Von Tanja Stelzer.

Der erwähnte Podcast findet sich hier – in englischer Sprache:

BBC: Death in Ice Valley. “An unidentified body. Who was she? Why hasn’t she been missed? A BBC World Service and NRK original podcast, investigating a mystery unsolved for almost half a century.”

It’s also available via iTunes, and you can listen to the first episode (with illustrations) here (31:50min).

See also The Independent: Death in Ice Valley: The new true crime podcast that’s the BBC’s answer to Serial. “It is hoped listeners will help solve the mysterious death of a Norwegian woman in 1970 outside Bergen, in this innovative podcast take on Nordic noir.”

More links in this MetaFilter thread: “Ich komme bald”. I especially recommend this article from the BBC:

BBC News: Isdal Woman: The mystery death haunting Norway for 46 years. By Helier Cheungm BBC News, Bergen. Published on 13 May 2017.

“I think of myself not as an astronaut who paints, but as an artist who was once an astronaut.”

The New York Times: Alan Bean, 4th Person to Walk on the Moon, Dies at 86.

“Alan Bean, who became the fourth man to walk on the moon and turned to painting years later to tell the story of NASA’s Apollo missions as they began receding into history, died on Saturday at Houston Methodist Hospital. He was 86.

His death was announced by his family in a statement released by NASA.

Mr. Bean stepped onto the lunar surface preceded by Pete Conrad, the mission commander of their Apollo 12 flight, in November 1969, four months after Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first lunar explorers.

The flight of Apollo 12, while thrilling in its own right, was not nearly as dramatic as the pioneering mission of Apollo 11, but it resulted in a more extensive exploration of the moon.

Mr. Bean returned to space in July 1973, when he commanded a three-man flight to the orbiting space research station Skylab, the forerunner of the International Space Station. The astronauts on that mission spent 59 days in space, a record at the time.”

ars technica: Alan Bean, the fourth human to walk on the Moon, has died. “Bean loved being an astronaut. He may have loved being an artist more.”

I’m just now watching an interview with Alan Bean in two parts from 2011. (YouTube, ca. 40min altogether)

See also MeFi obit thread.

“Weet U waarom de Duitse Weermachtsmeisjes in Nederland zijn?”

Deutsche Welle: Unbekannte Passagen in Anne Franks Tagebuch entdeckt. “Vor Jahrzehnten hat das jüdische Mädchen zwei Seiten ihres Tagebuchs dicht verklebt: Darauf hatte Anne Frank anzügliche Witze und ihre Gedanken über Sexualität notiert. Jetzt konnten Experten die Zeilen entziffern.”

“Am 28. September 1942 schrieb Anne Frank in ihr rotkariertes Tagebuch: “Auf Seite 78 habe ich geschmiert.” Daher nutze sie den Platz jetzt für “derbe Witze”. Ein Beispiel: “Wissen Sie, wozu die deutschen Wehrmachtsmädchen in den Niederlanden sind? Als Matratzen für die Soldaten.”

Waren diese Passagen dem jungen Mädchen peinlich? Immerhin hat sie Seite 78 und 79 des Tagesbuchs mit braunem Packpapier verklebt, um sie vor neugierigen Augen zu verbergen. Mit digitaler Fototechnik hat das Niederländische Institut für Kriegsdokumentation (NIOD) sie jetzt 70 Jahre nach Veröffentlichung des Tagebuchs lesbar gemacht. “Wer die entdeckten Passagen liest, kann ein Lächeln nicht unterdrücken”, sagte NIOD-Direktor Frank van Vree. “Die ‘schmutzigen’ Witze sind Klassiker unter den heranwachsenden Kindern.””

Business Insider: Researchers uncovered 2 pages of ‘dirty jokes’ in Anne Frank’s diary.

“Anne Frank wrote a number of dirty jokes about prostitution and told of her thoughts on sex in hidden pages of her diary, researchers have revealed.

The young Jewish teenager’s diary, written when she was in hiding from the Nazis, became world-famous when it was published after her death and at the end of the war.

Two hidden pages, reportedly covered with gummed brown paper to hide her risqué writing from her family, have now been read by researchers.

The entries, uncovered using new imaging techniques, were written on 28 September 1942, not long after the 13-year-old Anne went into hiding in Amsterdam.”

RTL Nieuws: De moppen van Anne Frank: complete tekst ‘nieuwe’ pagina’s dagboek.

“Twee afgeplakte bladzijden uit het dagboek van Anne Frank zijn ontcijferd door de Anne Frank Stichting. De pagina’s waren al langer bekend, maar tot nu toe was het niet mogelijk om de tekst op de afgeplakte bladzijden 78 en 79 te lezen.

Dankzij nieuwe digitale technieken is daar verandering in gekomen. De pagina’s bevatten drie schuine moppen – zulke anekdotes komen ook elders in het dagboek wel voor – én Annes kijk op seksuele voorlichting. Dit is de letterlijke tekst:”

Last two links via MetaFilter.