No Place Like Home
Cease-Fire Extended, Achieving a Flo State
The Israel-Hamas ceasefire could be extended by at least two days which will mean that more women and children will join those hostages released over the weekend. No freed hostage exemplifies the horror of October 7 more than Abigail Mor Edan, an Israeli-American girl who spent her fourth birthday in captivity, before being released to return to a place very different from where she grew up. She's free, but not home. "On Oct. 7, she watched her mother, Smadar, get shot and killed by Hamas militants who broke into their home. Her father was shielding her but was gunned down moments later. She crawled out from under his body and sought refuge at a neighbor’s house. But militants found her there and took her hostage along with the family of five living next door." WaPo (Gift Article): Abigail Edan, 4, is symbol of hope after ‘terrible trauma.' Here's the latest on the cease-fire from CNN, BBC, and Times of Israel.
+ "Biden called Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, the emir of Qatar. It was the first call between the two since the Israel-Hamas war had begun. A U.S. official said the call was difficult — and that Biden's message was: 'Enough is enough.'" President Biden has been remarkably hands-on when it comes to the hostage negotiations. Inside Biden's push for the Israel-Hamas hostage deal.
+ Israel has said its goal is to destroy Hamas. But after weeks of war, Hamas is still running the hostage negotiations. A lot of people have been killed in the war so far, but they're the wrong people. NYT: Gaza Civilians, Under Israeli Barrage, Are Being Killed at Historic Pace. "More than twice as many women and children have already been reported killed in Gaza than have been confirmed killed in Ukraine, according to United Nations figures, after almost two years of Russian attacks."
+ "Subsequently, five armed individuals debarked the ship and attempted to flee via their small boat ... The Mason pursued the attackers resulting in their eventual surrender." US Navy seizes attackers who held Israel-linked tanker. (Another US skirmish with another Iran-backed group.)
+ Suspect in shooting of 3 Palestinian college students in Vermontpleads not guilty. Burlington Police Chief Jon Murad says police are still working to establish a motive in the potential hate crime. "We still do not know as much as we want to know. But I would urge the public and you in the media to avoid making conclusions based on statements from people who know even less than we currently do." (That sounds like some pretty good general life advice.)
+ Elon Musk visited Israel. He wants to resuscitate his advertising business following his antisemitic leanings became too much for some brands. Israel wants him to limit the use of his Starlink internet service in Gaza. (Since he doesn't own an internet communications service, Kanye wasn't invited...)
The Birds Know Where to Be
Even a total birdbrain can tell that pollution is not distributed equally. Want to find cleaner air? Follow the Warblers. NYT (Gift Article): Why Warblers Flock to Wealthier Neighborhoods. (Maybe they just saved up a bigger nest egg...)
Achieving A Flo State
"Increasingly, insurance corporations attract business not by building trust between their customers and local agents, but by successfully ascribing positive characteristics to the fictional characters who anthropomorphize the companies and products in ads." And since consumers can't really tell the difference between insurance companies (and there might not be much difference, anyway), it all comes down to these commercial characters, some of whom get a lot more time in our living rooms than actors who star in sitcoms or dramas. NYT (Gift Article): Everybody Knows Flo From Progressive. Who Is Stephanie Courtney? "She meant to star on Broadway and then, following wish revision, to support herself as a comedic actress. Instead, she has starred in the same role for 15 years and counting, becoming in the process a character recognizable to nearly every American — a feat so rare her peers in this category are mostly cartoon animals."
Bee Gee Whiz
Yes, Barry Gibb wrote a number of megahits for his group The Bee Gees. But that was only one small part of his massive songwriting career. "It’s estimated that Gibb wrote or co-wrote more than 1,000 songs, though he’s never kept count. Why bother when you’ve delivered dozens of golden eggs? 'Grease?' Gibb. 'To Love Somebody?; Check. 'Guilty?' Guilty. 'Islands in the Stream,' 'How Can You Mend a Broken Heart,' 'Nights on Broadway,; 'I Just Want to Be Your Everything,' the last for younger brother and teen heartthrob Andy who died in 1988 at age 30. Yes, yes, yes, yes." As he's honored by the Kennedy Center, WaPo (Gift Article) takes a look at the hit machine. The Bee Gees’ Barry Gibb has written more hit songs than almost anyone.
Phone Home: "The calls offer a rare glimpse of the war as it looked through Russian eyes — a point of view that seldom makes its way into Western media, largely because Russia has made it a crime to speak honestly about the conflict in Ukraine. They also show clearly how the war has progressed, from the professional soldiers who initially powered Vladimir Putin’s full-scale invasion to men from all walks of life compelled to serve in grueling conditions." AP: Intercepted calls from the front lines in Ukraine show a growing number of Russian soldiers want out. (Let's hope Congress doesn't want out, too.)
+ Diploma Mill: "The place where Martin got her diploma, Springfield Preparatory School, bills itself as an umbrella school for Christian homeschoolers. Most students there do attend the school to work toward an education through actual classes or tutoring. However, principal Kitty Sibley Morrison is also willing to grant a diploma to anyone whose parents say they were homeschooled, even years earlier." Diplomas for sale, $465: Inside one of Louisiana's unapproved schools. (This is part of a much bigger trend of families pulling out of public schools and the rise of homeschooling.)
+ Running Off That Hill: These days, just watching C-Span is almost impossible to stomach. Imagine actually being part of Congress. Hence: Lawmakers are ditching Congress at a record pace. (And they won't be replaced my more reasonable folks itching to join this club...)
+ Rat Race: "Three of us will go inside the tunnel, one will do the drilling the other will collect muck and the third one will push the muck through the trolley. We have been doing it for more than 10 years and there's enough space for us. The 41 men are also labourers and we all want to bring them out." 'Rat miners' burrow to rescue 41 men stuck in Indian tunnel.
+ Chauvin Survives: "Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer convicted in the death of George Floyd, is expected to survivefollowing an attack in a prison in Arizona."
+ Inglorious Pistorius Victorious : "Oscar Pistorius will be released from prison Jan. 5, as he was granted parole in a hearing at Atteridgeville Correctional Facility in South Africa on Friday. The decision comes almost 11 years after the former South African sprinter was convicted of killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp."
+ The System is Cigged: "Measures included restricting the number of tobacco retailers, and reducing the level of nicotine in cigarettes. Modelling had suggested the Smokefree laws could save up to 5,000 lives each year." But New Zealand just scrapped its antismoking law to drive more tax revenue.
+ Whatever Floats Your Boat:The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade packed a punch for NBC in its 99th edition. The New York holiday tradition delivered a record audience of 28.5 million viewers across airings Thursday on the network and its streaming sibling Peacock. (Those numbers seem more inflated than the floats. It's so alienating that others spend their time watching television that's so inferior to the television I waste my time watching.)
Bottom of the News
"Even when the noodles didn’t turn limp, they were almost sticky against my teeth. And the pastas had faint aftertastes: of overcooked rice, of tortilla chips, of chalky chickpeas. When paired with a sauce, these defects were less noticeable—but that means the overall dish worked in spite of, not because of, the underlying noodle." Everyone is making alternative pasta. More Parmesan on Your Durian-Seed Rigatoni?
+ Merriam-Webster's word of the year: Authentic. (What a disingenuous pick.)