Good morning on Ceiling Cat’s Day: June 21, 2020: and the first day of summer ends at 4:44 p.m. Chicago time. Appropriate for summer, it’s National Peaches and Cream Day. It’s also World Giraffe Day, International Day of Yoga, World Humanist Day (I guess that was yesterday too, spanning the Summer Solstice), National Turkey Lovers’ Day (the bird, not the nation), and, of course, Father’s Day (do you think my ducks will fête me?). In honor of Father’s Day, the Google Doodle (click on the screenshot) offers you a craft-your-own Father’s Day card to send to your favorite dad. I’m expecting one from my waterfowl!
Finally, it’s Atheist Solidarity Day and there’s one person in Salt Lake City who needs to join in! (You know who you are.)
News of the Day: Some good news for once: the Trump rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma was pretty much of a bust as the huge crowds the Chief Baby boasted about didn’t materialize. As the New York Times reports:
President Trump’s attempt to revive his re-election campaign sputtered badly on Saturday night as he traveled to Tulsa for his first mass rally in months and found a far smaller crowd than his aides had promised him, then delivered a disjointed speech that did not address the multiple crises facing the nation or scandals battering him in Washington.
And that also means that any coronavirus surge due to the rally won’t be as bad as envisioned. (Yes, I know some of you wish the illness of Republicans, but remember that they also spread it to others.)
This doesn’t augur well for his re-election prospects. We will have a Democrat in the White House (I wish the Dems would start releasing ads for Biden), and as lagniappe I will win my bets. (Did I bet on Biden with any readers here?)
Trump fired Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. attorney in Manhattan who refused to resign (he was investigating possible crimes by Trump’s associates.
I’m voting by mail this year, which you should definitely do if your state allows it (all Illinois residents have that right), and, in my email notice from the State after I made my request, I learned that Illinois really really likes me!
My emphasis below.)
Chicago Board of Elections <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Fri 6/19/2020 7:49 PM
Dear Dear Jerry Allen Coyne
The Board of Election Commissioners has processed your online application to Vote By Mail for the Nov. 3, 2020 Election.
The Board will begin mailing ballots in late September / early October.
The Election Board will send you emails:
- When your ballot is mailed to you,
- When the Election Board receives your Ballot Return Envelope, and
- When your ballot is processed and counted.
Chicago Board of Election Commissioners
And I’m still distressed at the drop in traffic at this site, and trying to understand it.
Stuff that happened on June 21 includes:
- 1915 – The U.S. Supreme Court hands down its decision in Guinn v. United States 238 US 347 1915, striking down Oklahoma grandfather clause legislation which had the effect of denying the right to vote to blacks.
- 1919 – The Royal Canadian Mounted Police fire a volley into a crowd of unemployed war veterans, killing two, during the Winnipeg general strike.
- 1964 – Three civil rights workers, Andrew Goodman, James Chaney and Michael Schwerner, are murdered in Neshoba County, Mississippi, United States, by members of the Ku Klux Klan.
Here is a poster issued by the FBI when the three men went missing. They were shot and buried by members of the Ku Klux Klan and local law enforcement.
After they were shot and buried, Cecil Price, ringleader of the gang who was eventually convicted, made this speech to the group of murderers:
Well, boys, you’ve done a good job. You’ve struck a blow for the white man. Mississippi can be proud of you. You’ve let those agitating outsiders know where this state stands. Go home now and forget it. But before you go, I’m looking each one of you in the eye and telling you this: The first man who talks is dead! If anybody who knows anything about this ever opens his mouth to any outsider about it, then the rest of us are going to kill him just as dead as we killed those three sonofbitches [sic] tonight. Does everybody understand what I’m saying. The man who talks is dead, dead, dead!
- 1973 – In handing down the decision in Miller v. California 413 US 15, the Supreme Court of the United States establishes the Miller test for obscenity in U.S. law.
Here are the criteria for something to be deemed legally obscene:
- Whether “the average person, applying contemporary community standards”, would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest,
- Whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct or excretory functions specifically defined by applicable state law,
- Whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.
- 1978 – The original production of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical, Evita, based on the life of Eva Perón, opened at the Prince Edward Theatre, London.
- 1982 – John Hinckley is found not guilty by reason of insanity for the attempted assassination of U.S. President Ronald Reagan.
Hinkley was institutionalized and then released to the custody of his mother in 2016; he lives in Williamsburg, Virginia, where I went to college.
- 1989 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Texas v. Johnson that American flag-burning was a form of political protest protected by the First Amendment.
The decision was 5-4 and, curiously, Antonin Scalia voted with the majority.
- 2000 – Section 28 (of the Local Government Act 1988), outlawing the ‘promotion’ of homosexuality in the United Kingdom, is repealed in Scotland with a 99 to 17 vote.
- 2005 – Edgar Ray Killen, who had previously been unsuccessfully tried for the murders of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Mickey Schwerner, is convicted of manslaughter 41 years afterwards (the case had been reopened in 2004).
Killen, a Klan member whose photo is below, spent 13 years in prison before he died at 92.
- 2009 – Greenland assumes self-rule.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1892 – Reinhold Niebuhr, American theologian and academic (d. 1971)
- 1905 – Jean-Paul Sartre, French philosopher and author (d. 1980)
- 1912 – Mary McCarthy, American novelist and critic (d. 1989)
- 1921 – Jane Russell, American actress and singer (d. 2011)
- 1940 – Michael Ruse, Canadian philosopher and academic
- 1948 – Ian McEwan, British novelist and screenwriter
- 1953 – Benazir Bhutto, Pakistani financier and politician, 11th Prime Minister of Pakistan (d. 2007)
I have to confess that I had a thing for Bhutto when I was younger, even though she was pretty flawed as a leader. Here’s where she’s buried: the Bhutto family mausoleum in Pakistan:
- 1966 – Gretchen Carlson, American model and television journalist, Miss America 1989
- 1982 – Jussie Smollett, American actor and singer
Jussie! Although his original indictment was dropped, he was re-indicted this year and faces six criminal charges. Here’s Dave Chappelle, who mangles Jussie’s name to turn him into a French actor. This is hilarious.
Those who participated in ther Last Roundup on June 21 include:
- 1652 – Inigo Jones, English architect, designed the Queen’s House and Wilton House (b. 1573)
- 1908 – Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Russian composer and educator (b. 1844)
This is my favorite bit of Rimsky-Korsakov’s music: The Kalandar Prince movement from Scheherezade, performed by Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional.
- 1940 – Édouard Vuillard, French painter (b. 1868)
- 1964 – James Chaney, American civil rights activist (b. 1943)
- 1964 – Andrew Goodman, American civil rights activist (b. 1943)
- 1964 – Michael Schwerner, American civil rights activist (b. 1939)
- 2005 – Jaime Sin, Filipino cardinal (b. 1928)
- 2015 – Gunther Schuller, American horn player, composer, and conductor (b. 1925)
- 2018 – Charles Krauthammer, American columnist and conservative political commentator (b.1950)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is out on the tiles:
Hili: I’m going back home.A: Why?Hili: I have to rest before the next excursion.
Hili: Wracam do domu.
Hili: Muszę odpocząć przed kolejną wyprawą.
A meme from Divy:
And one from Nicole. I’d block or unfriend anyone higher than number 2! Rare or, at best (worst) medium-rare are the only acceptable degrees of doneness. If you order a steak in France cooked more than that, they will either refuse or warn you. They know their beef!
A Trump rally meme from Bruce Thiel. Apparently six of Trump’s campaign staffers working in Tulsa Oklahoma have tested positive for the coronavirus.
Three tweets were sent by reader Simon and reader “P. Puk”, who said this:”I think it was Hitchens who said, ‘nobody has the right not to be offended.’ But what are we to do when there is so much to be offended about?”
I’m pretty sure these warnings to potential viewers are real, but seriously, “Aliens”? What are the offensive cultural descriptions?
Fuck off 2020 pic.twitter.com/J3MMrBagEq
— Lisa 🙏🌧🌍 (@godblesstoto) June 18, 2020
— Lisa 🙏🌧🌍 (@godblesstoto) June 18, 2020
From Larry the Cat (the Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office) via reader Jeremy:
The makers of this drill, really should have included room for a tail… pic.twitter.com/D9FAJw6pOW
— Larry the Cat (@Number10cat) June 19, 2020
Tweets from Matthew. Do you think anybody actually built one of these things? It would be a bit of overkill, and not a little messy.
this is, and I am not joking, an 1882 US patent for a mousetrap and it's the most american thing I think I've ever seen pic.twitter.com/ffKcDoWC0U
— dave, builder of ridiculous things 🛠 (@syn) June 20, 2020
This has two wings, not four; the other things are wing covers (elytra). However, ancestral insects had four wings, like dragonflies, and the elytra evolved from the forewings of these insects’ ancestors. Lightning bugs are actually beetles, in the order Coleoptera.
Coleopterans are the only insects that have elytra.
Lightning bug flight captured at 3,200fps. pic.twitter.com/sFv6Z3SsGn
— Adrian Smith (@DrAdrianSmith) June 20, 2020
As Matthew said about this tweet from Trump, “Big Liar lies.” And indeed he did, for Trump’s suit was to block publication of Bolton’s book, and the judge rejected it. Crikey, we need to dump this moron ASAP.
BIG COURT WIN against Bolton. Obviously, with the book already given out and leaked to many people and the media, nothing the highly respected Judge could have done about stopping it…BUT, strong & powerful statements & rulings on MONEY & on BREAKING CLASSIFICATION were made….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 20, 2020
Mallards swimming in—what else?—duckweed.
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)🐦🦜🕊️🦆🎵🐤❤️🐤 pic.twitter.com/crNXR6TSF1
— World birds (@worldbirds32) June 20, 2020
Hachette UK sticks up for J. K. Rowling’s free speech despite social-media opprobrium about her views on sex and gender. However, Hachette US dumped Woody Allen’s memoirs after accepting them when employees objected and effected a work stoppage.
— Julie Bindel (@bindelj) June 17, 2020