It’s the end of the work week, but does anybody know that it’s a Friday (June 19, 2020)? Well, it’s National Martini Day, so help yourself to a Friday libation (shaken, not stirred). It is of course Juneteenth, and here’s a brief history of the holiday from Wikipedia:
Juneteenth (a portmanteau of June and nineteenth), also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, and Cel-Liberation Day, is an American holiday celebrated annually on June 19. It commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union general Gordon Granger read federal orders in Galveston, Texas, that all previously enslaved people in Texas were free. Although the Emancipation Proclamation had formally freed them almost two and a half years earlier, and the American Civil War had largely ended with the defeat of the Confederate States in April, Texas was the most remote of the slave states, with a low presence of Union troops, so enforcement of the proclamation had been slow and inconsistent.
Celebrations date to 1866, at first involving church-centered community gatherings in Texas. It spread across the South and became more commercialized in the 1920s and 1930s, often centering on a food festival. During the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, it was eclipsed by the struggle for postwar civil rights, but grew in popularity again in the 1970s with a focus on African American freedom and arts. By the 21st century, Juneteenth was celebrated in most major cities across the United States. Activists are campaigning for the United States Congress to recognize Juneteenth as a national holiday. Juneteenth is recognized as a state holiday or special day of observance in 47 of the 50 U.S. states.
There’s a special Google Doodle on Juneteeth (and if you click on it you’ll go to the video below the screenshot):
The YouTube notes for the video:
Today’s video Google Doodle, illustrated by Los Angeles-based guest artist Loveis Wise and narrated by actor and activist LeVar Burton, honors the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth. Short for “June Nineteenth,” Juneteenth marks the true end of chattel slavery across the United States — which didn’t actually occur until 1865, two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation. . . Go behind-the-scenes of the Doodle: https://youtu.be/ipodBEnW9Hk
Finally, it’s National Eat an Oreo Day, National Flip Flop Day, Ugliest Dog Day, Garfield the Cat Day (see below), and a superfluous holiday this year: Work at Home Father’s Day. Here’s Scamp, voted the World’s Ugliest Dog last year:
News of the Day:
The big news, of course, is the Supreme Court overturning Trump’s attempt to dismantle the DACA plan. This heartening decision is said by some to be a possible bump for Trump, who can now use the decision to fire up his base (only 30% of Republicans approve what the court did), but I don’t care: what’s right is right, and the Court should not make decisions about what will or will not help re-elect a President. Trump will one day be gone (hopefully in November), but the law is forever. (Well, almost . . . )
Meanwhile, coronavirus infections are spiking in several states, prompting states like California to enact mandatory mask-wearing laws. But conservatives are pushing back on these laws.
And, it finally happened: all the op-eds on the front page are either woke or along with the Party line. I suspect we’ll see very few contrarian or heterodox op-eds there in the future after the editorial-page editor was fired over the Tom Cotton kerfuffle. A screenshot of today’s page:
Stuff that happened on June 19 includes:
- 325 – The original Nicene Creed is adopted at the First Council of Nicaea.
- 1846 – The first officially recorded, organized baseball game is played under Alexander Cartwright’s rules on Hoboken, New Jersey’s Elysian Fields with the New York Base Ball Club defeating the Knickerbockers 23–1. Cartwright umpired.
- 1862 – The U.S. Congress prohibits slavery in United States territories, nullifying Dred Scott v. Sandford.
- 1865 – Over two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, slaves in Galveston, Texas, United States, are finally informed of their freedom. The anniversary is still officially celebrated in Texas and 41 other contiguous states as Juneteenth.
- 1953 – Cold War: Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are executed at Sing Sing, in New York.
- 1964 – The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is approved after surviving an 83-day filibuster in the United States Senate.
- 1978 – Garfield, holder of the Guinness World Record for the world’s most widely syndicated comic strip, makes its debut.
- 1991 – The Soviet occupation of Hungary ends.
- 2012 – WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange requested asylum in London’s Ecuadorian Embassy for fear of extradition to the US after publication of previously classified documents including footage of civilian killings by the US army.
Assange is now in prison in London, with his next hearing in September.
- 2018 – The 10,000,000th United States Patent is issued.
Here’s that patent (click on screenshot to see the whole schmear):
Notables born on this day include:
- 1623 – Blaise Pascal, French mathematician and physicist (d. 1662)
- 1897 – Moe Howard, American comedian (d. 1975)
Moe, like his brothers, changed their names because Jewish names (his was Moses Harry Horowitz) were verboten in American film. Here’s Moe and Larry in their last picture, made in 1974 (“Larry Fine”‘s real name was Larry Feinberg). Both died the next year.
- 1903 – Lou Gehrig, American baseball player (d. 1941)
Here’s part of the Iron Horse’s touching farewell speech in 1939 at Yankee Stadium, made after he was diagnosed with ALS (the full text is here). He was only 36, and died on June 2, 1941. His nickname came from his endurance; until Cal Ripken, Jr. broke the record, Gehrig’s record of 2,130 consecutive games was considered untouchable (Ripken’s number was 2,632). Gehrig’s uniform number, 4, was the first number to be retired in major league baseball (this means that no Yankee player can ever wear that number again).
- 1910 – Abe Fortas, American lawyer and jurist (d. 1982)
- 1919 – Pauline Kael, American film critic (d. 2001)
- 1945 – Aung San Suu Kyi, Burmese politician, Nobel Prize laureate
- 1947 – Salman Rushdie, Indian-English novelist and essayist
Those who began pushing up daisies on June 19 include:
- 1953 – Ethel Rosenberg, American spy (b. 1915)
- 1953 – Julius Rosenberg, American spy (b. 1918)
- 2013 – Slim Whitman, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1923)
- 2017 – Otto Warmbier, American college student detained in North Korea (b. 1994)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili was caught lying on freshly-washed laundry:
A: Hili: This is a clean towel.Hili: And I am a clean cat.
Ja: Hili, to jest czysty ręcznik.
Hili: A ja jestem czystym kotem.
Leon: The meadow is wet again.
From Jesus of the Day. How indeed?!
Two memes from Bruce Thiel:
From Dom we have a tweet reporting a paper on a fruit-eating frog. If true, this would be a one-off, since no frog is known to eat fruit. Greg Mayer cites the Journal of Zoology article and say it “looks legit.” As far as I know (I may be wrong), all frogs eat other animals, which can include small rodents and invertebrates.
— Daniel J Paluh (@danpaluh) June 17, 2020
From reader Barry, who says “aliens live below us”:
Have you ever seen a Long Nosed Chimaera?
These amazing cartilaginous creatures & shark cousins are rare & live in deep waters. Their snout has sensory receptors & is used like a metal detector to find food. Super unique & cool!!#ObscureSharkThursday
— Leo Chan Gaskins (he/him) (@leogaskins) June 18, 2020
Tweets from Matthew. Re the first one; I remember these ludicrous prognostications. Are we there yet? Nope!
Best tweet of 2015 🦕 https://t.co/53HQDovknb
— The Ice Age ❄️🌞 (@Jamie_Woodward_) June 17, 2020
Okay, somebody tell me how storm petrels manage to do this (sound up, please):
Storm Petrels flying in the absolute pitch dark (they cannot see the infrared light we see here). No echo location, just mad skills. pic.twitter.com/iYjUdkh9Lq
— Skokholm Island (@SkokholmIsland) June 18, 2020
Neither Matthew nor I had any idea that measles came from rinderpest in cattle. Rinderpest has been vanquished from the planet, but its relative measles is still with us:
Here is why. A new paper dating the origin of measles from rinderpest in cattle 2,500 years ago – about the time of the Great Plague of Athens. But it's a reminder that viruses don't somehow become mild or less infectious just because time passes.https://t.co/HAQxNwLWxW
— Roland Pease (@PeaseRoland) June 18, 2020
Look at this amazing beast! The caption has been translated from Spanish:
A magnificent specimen of a giant anteater, a species endangered by Argentina’s rampant deforestation, crosses the road in the northern province of Santiago del Estero.
From @llrrodriguez pic.twitter.com/NAyA4wxKSe
— Uki Goñi (@ukigoni) June 17, 2020
The people on Twitter are debating whether this video shows lunacy in Serbia or Russia, but it’s clearly lunacy as people fight for water that’s been poured over the relic of a saint’s foot. UGH!
— No Context Russia (@Russia_NC) June 18, 2020
Matthew says this comes from Saint James’s Park yesterday morning. The “thousands of geese” seems a bit exaggerated, but it is a sight nonetheless!
Geese! Coming over the hill! Thousands of them. pic.twitter.com/YBneuc9cSD
— David QC (@DavidMuttering) June 18, 2020