Sunday, December 18, 2022

Last Call For Messi, Cleaning Up

Argentina is your 2024 World Cup champ, led by the legendary Lionel Messi.
It took 90 minutes of regulation, 30 minutes of extra time and a penalty kick shootout to decide it — but Argentina is the 2022 World Cup champion.

It was the two superstars who stepped up first for their sides in the shootout. France kicked first and Kylian Mbappé, who had a hat trick in the game, blasted it by Argentina's Emiliano Martínez.

Next up was the legend. Lionel Messi approached the spot and calmly rolled one in to tie it up.

That tit for tat exchange was fitting for a match where each side's talisman turned in an inspired performance.

But after that, France missed their next two attempts to give Argentina a big advantage. And after Gonzalo Montiel made it four in a row for Argentina, it was over.

Going into the shootout, the two sides were tied at 3-3 after some truly epic moments of open play.

Messi’s two goals helped La Albiceleste capture their third World Cup and first since Diego Maradona led the team to glory in 1986 in Mexico.

The defending champion France was seeking to become the first team to win back-to-back World Cup titles in 60 years (Brazil 1958, 1962).

Despite the loss, France’s Kylian Mbappé’s hat trick secured him the Golden Boot, awarded to the tournament’s leading goal scorer.
Messi gets what Ronaldo was denied: a WC finals win.
And as for's someone who scored a hat trick in the finals in nearly sixty years to singlehandedly keep France in the match and his team still lost on PKs.
That one's going to leave a scar. 
On to North America in four years...hopefully.

Our Little White Supremacist Domestic Terrorism Problem, Con't

While white nationalist violence continues daily against LGBTQ+, Muslim, Black, Hispanic and Asian folk here in the US, let's not forget that antisemitic violence is at the highest point in our lifetimes.

The New York Police Department is investigating an alleged attack in Central Park this week in which a man in his mid-40s assaulted a 63-year-old man and spewed antisemitic comments before yelling out “Kanye 2024,” a reference to rapper Ye’s recent antisemitic rhetoric.

The older man was walking in Central Park about 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday when the other man allegedly hit him from behind, according to police. When the older man fell to the ground, he broke his hand and chipped a tooth, authorities said.

The attacker then uttered “numerous” antisemitic comments toward the man, according to police. Before the attacker fled on a bicycle — with a trailer featuring a sign reading “Hungry Disabled” — police say he referenced the artist formerly known as Kanye West, who has issued several antisemitic tirades, saying “Kanye 2024.”

The 63-year-old man, who has not been publicly identified, was hospitalized in stable condition, police said.

Antisemitic attacks in the United States are at an all-time high. An audit released in April by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) showed that 2,717 antisemitic incidents were reported to the organization in 2021. That total represents the highest number of incidents since the ADL started tracking antisemitic attacks in 1979 — and a 34 percent increase from 2020.

The incidents, the ADL said, include “criminal and noncriminal acts of harassment and intimidation, including distribution of hate propaganda, threats and slurs, as well as vandalism and assault.”

Antisemitic attacks have spiked in New York, with an increase of 125 percent last month compared with November 2021, according to data released by the NYPD and reported by the New York ABC affiliate. This month, the NYPD arrested a man who was accused of firing a BB gun at a Jewish father and son outside a kosher supermarket in Staten Island, CBS reported. In another incident, an online threat to attack a New York synagogue, two men — one of whom is Jewish — were indicted by a grand jury, according to CNN.

And all the while we have a Supreme Court that is systematically disabling the protections of minority groups because they believe those protections violate the rights of the majority to discriminate, block, hate, and harm minority groups.

So here we are. Be careful out there, and always speak out about injustices like this. People are being hurt and even killed.

Don't remain silent.

Sunday Long Read: Membrane In The Ukraine

This week's Sunday Long Read is the NY Times investigation into how Vladimir Putin made the decision to invade Ukraine in February, and how it will be a fateful choice that will affect the history of Earth for a long time to come.

They never had a chance.

Fumbling blindly through cratered farms, the troops from Russia’s 155th Naval Infantry Brigade had no maps, medical kits or working walkie-talkies, they said. Just a few weeks earlier, they had been factory workers and truck drivers, watching an endless showcase of supposed Russian military victories at home on state television before being drafted in September. One medic was a former barista who had never had any medical training.

Now, they were piled onto the tops of overcrowded armored vehicles, lumbering through fallow autumn fields with Kalashnikov rifles from half a century ago and virtually nothing to eat, they said. Russia had been at war most of the year, yet its army seemed less prepared than ever. In interviews, members of the brigade said some of them had barely fired a gun before and described having almost no bullets anyway, let alone air cover or artillery. But it didn’t frighten them too much, they said. They would never see combat, their commanders had promised.

Only when the shells began crashing around them, ripping their comrades to pieces, did they realize how badly they had been duped.

Flung to the ground, a drafted Russian soldier named Mikhail recalled opening his eyes to a shock: the shredded bodies of his comrades littering the field. Shrapnel had sliced open his belly, too. Desperate to escape, he said, he crawled to a thicket of trees and tried to dig a ditch with his hands.

Of the 60 members of his platoon near the eastern Ukrainian town of Pavlivka that day in late October, about 40 were killed, said Mikhail, speaking by phone from a military hospital outside Moscow. Only eight, he said, escaped serious injury.

“This isn’t war,” Mikhail said, struggling to speak through heavy, liquid breaths. “It’s the destruction of the Russian people by their own commanders.

President Vladimir V. Putin’s war was never supposed to be like this. When the head of the C.I.A. traveled to Moscow last year to warn against invading Ukraine, he found a supremely confident Kremlin, with Mr. Putin’s national security adviser boasting that Russia’s cutting-edge armed forces were strong enough to stand up even to the Americans.

Russian invasion plans, obtained by The New York Times, show that the military expected to sprint hundreds of miles across Ukraine and triumph within days. Officers were told to pack their dress uniforms and medals in anticipation of military parades in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv.

But instead of that resounding victory, with tens of thousands of his troops killed and parts of his army in shambles after nearly 10 months of war, Mr. Putin faces something else entirely: his nation’s greatest human and strategic calamity since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Putin will go down in history as one of the great villains, but none more so than in Russia itself.  He has destroyed the country for a generation, and when his power collapses, it's going to be an absolute mess. I don't know what will rise from the ashes of Putin's Russia, and anyone who tells you that they know is a liar. The real question is how much damage he does to the planet before he's removed.


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