Saturday: Hili dialogue

It’s the Sabbath for all Jewish cats, who can’t mix meat and milk: Saturday, November 7, 2020. But it’s also National Chocolate Almonds Day, which are kosher if prepared under rabbinical supervision. Further, it’s National Wine Tasting Day, Learn to Homebrew Day, Book Lovers Day, International Inuit Day, and World Numbat Day.

Now you need to know that a numbat (Myrmecobius fasciatus) is a very cute insectivorous marsupial from Australia, and is highly endangered. Take care of the numbats! Below: an adult and two babies. Look at those tongues! The tongues are for lapping up termites, their favorite food; Wikipedia reports that an adult numbat eats about 20,000 termites per day. Finally, the species is reported to be the only fully diurnal (active by day) marsupial.

It’s also Hug a Bear Day. Here I am with my BFF, Toasty:

News of the Day:

The Electoral College vote is still in stasis: 253-14 favoring Biden, but I stand by my calling the election for Biden with 306 votes, as no state’s lead for Biden seems to be waning. Just remember that when it’s all over, I want my credit! (And, of course, I have bets to collect.)

Trump is all over Twitter crying fraud:

Meanwhile, Twitter has announced that if Trump loses the Presidency, his tweets no longer get special consideration (h/t Jez):

Donald Trump could lose more than just the presidency this January. Twitter has confirmed that, if Trump leaves office, he will no longer receive special treatment as a “newsworthy individual”.

Twitter’s policy around newsworthiness protects certain people – such as elected officials with more than 250,000 followers – from having their accounts suspended or banned for rule infractions that would otherwise lead to severe penalties.

That policy is what has led to the company muting, but not removing, at least 12 tweets from the US president over the past week that cast doubt on the democratic process.

But, Twitter has confirmed, the policy does not apply to former elected officials. They have to follow the same rules as everyone else, and if a tweet breaks those rules, it gets removed. Were Trump to continue breaking Twitter’s rules regularly post-presidency, his account could be suspended.

Feeling nervous about court cases that might affect the election results? Read Richard Pildes’s NYT editorial, “Trump can try, but the courts won’t decide the election.”

But be aware that Alito, on the U.S. Supreme Court, granted Republicans a slight victory by ordering that Pennsylvania ballots received after election day be segregated from the other ballots, though still counted (a defeat for the GOP). That won’t affect the ultimate result unless the election is decided in Pennsylvania and Biden’s victory using election-day ballots was razor-thin.

And, if you want to know what might happen to Trump after the election, whether he’ll be prosecuted, go to jail, flee the country, or be pardoned, this article from the new New Yorker is very informative (I’m not sure if it’s free, but it’s definitely worth reading; click on screenshot):

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 236,554, a big increase of about 1,200 from yesterday’s figure. The world death toll is 1,250,118, another big increase of about 9,000 over yesterday’s report.

Stuff that happened on November 7 includes:

Here it is in the town’s museum; as Wikipedia notes, “The meteorite is an LL6 ordinary chondrite, weighing 127 kilograms (280 lb); it was described as triangular in shape, and it created a 1-meter (3 ft 3 in) deep hole upon impact.

I found this screenshot with the right date, but it’s the “Oxford Gazette”:

And here’s that cartoon:

García is truly a hero, for he was blown to hell when the dynamite finally exploded. Kudos to an act of pure altruism by this man:

  • 1916 – Jeannette Rankin is the first woman elected to the United States Congress.
  • 1916 – Woodrow Wilson is reelected as President of the United States.
  • 1917 – The Gregorian calendar date of the October Revolution, which gets its name from the Julian calendar date of 25 October. On this date in 1917, the Bolsheviks storm the Winter Palace.
  • 1929 – In New York City, the Museum of Modern Art opens to the public.
  • 1940 – In Tacoma, Washington, the original Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapses in a windstorm, a mere four months after the bridge’s completion.

There’s a famous video of the bridge collapse; here it is:

Roosevelt died on April 12, three months into his fourth term, making Truman the President.

  • 1967 – Carl B. Stokes is elected as Mayor of Cleveland, Ohio, becoming the first African American mayor of a major American city.
  • 1972 – US President Richard Nixon is re-elected President.
  • 1989 – Douglas Wilder wins the governor’s seat in Virginia, becoming the first elected African American governor in the United States.
  • 1989 – David Dinkins becomes the first African American to be elected Mayor of New York City.
  • 1990 – Mary Robinson becomes the first woman to be elected President of the Republic of Ireland.
  • 2000 – Controversial US presidential election that is later resolved in the Bush v. Gore Supreme Court Case, electing George W. Bush the 43rd President of the United States.

Oy! Remember this?

Judge Robert Rosenberg of the Broward County Canvassing Board uses a magnifying glass to examine a dimpled chad on a punch card ballot on November 24, 2000 during a vote recount in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Getty images.

If you want to imagine a Constitutional crisis, imagine the U.S. Supreme Court deciding the election in favor of Trump with Amy Coney Barrett’s agreement. That is my worst nightmare, but it won’t happen.  Roberts is determined to avoid the increasing reputation of the Court for partisanship.

Notables born on this day include:

Zurbarán was one of the great Spanish masters of chiaroscuro. Here’s his St. Francis of Assisi (1638):

  • 1728 – James Cook, English captain, navigator, and cartographer (d. 1779)
  • 1867 – Marie Curie, Polish chemist and physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1934)
  • 1878 – Lise Meitner, Austrian-English physicist and academic (d. 1968)

Curie got two Nobel Prizes but Meitner, who co-discovered nuclear fission, never got one—one of the most egregious cases of a woman being overlooked at Nobel time (her co-discoverer got the Chemistry prize). Here she is:

  • 1903 – Konrad Lorenz, Austrian zoologist, ethologist, and ornithologist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1989)
  • 1918 – Billy Graham, American minister and author (d. 2018)
  • 1943 – Joni Mitchell, Canadian singer-songwriter and guitarist

Joni is 77 today. Like all young men with eyes and ears, I loved her.


Those who “fell asleep” on November 7 include:

  • 1627 – Jahangir, Mughal emperor (b. 1569)
  • 1907 – Jesús García, Mexican railroad brakeman (b. 1881) [See above.]
  • 1913 – Alfred Russel Wallace, Welsh-English biologist and geographer (b. 1823)

Wallace in Singapore, 1862:

  • 1962 – Eleanor Roosevelt, American humanitarian and politician, 39th First Lady of the United States (b. 1884)
  • 1981 – Will Durant, American historian and philosopher (b. 1885)
  • 2016 – Leonard Cohen, Canadian singer-songwriter and poet (b. 1934)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is musing:

A: What are you doing here?
Hili: I’m lying down and I’m thinking critically.
A: What about?
Hili: About anything.’
In Polish:
Ja: Co tu robisz?
Hili: Leżę i myślę krytycznie.
Ja: O czym?
Hili: O czymkolwiek.

From Debra:

Reader Divy sent me a photo of her cat Jango, titled “The Most Interesting Cat in the World”, and I captioned it:

From Bob Fritz, a cartoon from WuMo:

From Barry, two connected tweets. In the first one, the apostrophe in “it’s” is wrong, but the caterpillar is spectacular.

And. . . why did the salmon cross the road?

Tweets from Matthew. This isn’t really a lamp, but one of my favorite animals: ctenophores, in their own phylum.

Matthew and I both love murmurations, and starlings are good at it:

Okay, this is a mimic on the wrong background. What background will hide it, and what does it resemble?

And we can’t completely neglect the election. Philly is going nuts. Check out the cat in the backpack in the second tweet: I don’t think it should be jostled like that. (Sound up.)

You call that a puma? Now this is a puma!



  1. Posted November 7, 2020 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    I wouldn’t read anything into the Supreme Court order to segregate the late ballots in PA except sensible precaution. The election officials would be wise to do that anyway, and I think they were. It just ensures that there can be no complaint of a remedy being unavailable due to intermingling. It’s not any kind of victory. It won’t make a difference.

  2. kraeuterbutter
    Posted November 7, 2020 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    Otto Hahn got the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, not Physics.

    Lise Meitner did not feel that she was passed over when the Nobel Prize was awarded to Hahn: “Surely Hahn fully deserved the Nobel Prize for chemistry. There is really no doubt about it. But I believe that Frisch and I contributed something not insignificant to the clarification of the process of uranium fission—how it originates and that it produces so much energy and that was something very remote to Hahn.”

    Berta Karlik, the director of the Institute for Radium Research in Vienna, wrote to her colleague Erika Cremer: “Since I followed the Berlin work at the time closely, and was so well acquainted, even friends, with both Hahn and Meitner personally, I have always been of the opinion that the discovery of fission can be attributed solely to Hahn.

  3. Jim batterson
    Posted November 7, 2020 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    The tacoma narrows bridge is one of several engineering designs discussed by henry petroski in his excellent early 1980’s book, “To Engineer is Human: The Role of Failure in Successful Design”. While an interesting and informative read for anyone, it should be required reading for any engineering student or apprentice engineer. It was recommended to me by the chief nasa historian in the months after the space shuttle challenger accident in 1986. Henry is the Vesic professor of civil engineering and professor of history at duke university.

  4. W.T. Effingham
    Posted November 7, 2020 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    The numbats are interesting. (Wombats probably disagree.) If they ever showed up in my neck of the woods (Ozarks), they’d be referred to as “pointy-nosed coon-squirrel bug-lickers” .

  5. jezgrove
    Posted November 7, 2020 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    Jesús García was certainly a brave man – and only 25.

  6. Randall Schenck
    Posted November 7, 2020 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    Fancy Feast – Should have bought stock in that one long ago.

  7. jezgrove
    Posted November 7, 2020 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    Advice for Trump from Denmark:

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted November 7, 2020 at 9:03 am | Permalink

      There’s a tradition in the US that the last thing an outgoing president does before leaving the White House is to place a handwritten note in the top drawer of the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office. The note is invariably to the effect of wishing the new president, and the nation, success over the next four years, and an invitation to call on the outgoing president if he can be of service to the nation during the new administration.

      I can’t imagine Donald Trump leaving such a note for Joe Biden — unless it’s to say FU.

      • merilee
        Posted November 7, 2020 at 9:16 am | Permalink

        In Sharpie.

        • grasshopper
          Posted November 7, 2020 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

          Not crayon?

          • merilee
            Posted November 7, 2020 at 3:12 pm | Permalink


          • jezgrove
            Posted November 7, 2020 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

            I believe that Sharpie was a reference to a Trumpist conspiracy theory that Sharpie pens were deliberately distributed to polling stations with predominantly Republican voters because ballot papers marked with them can’t be read by counting machines. Apologies if you got that.

            • merilee
              Posted November 7, 2020 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

              I just meant that Trump seems to sign everything with Sharpiez.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted November 7, 2020 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

                Also to draw an alternative path for a hurricane on a tracking chart in an lame attempt to vindicate his erroneous claim that the storm was heading to Alabama.

                Although, when questioned about it afterward, Trump denied knowing anything about how the sharpie markings got on the chart.

                Always a sure tell that Trump is lying through his teeth.

              • merilee
                Posted November 7, 2020 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

                Oh, I had forgotten about the “Alabama hurricane”🤣

  8. Ken Kukec
    Posted November 7, 2020 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    [Chief Justice John] Roberts is determined to avoid the increasing reputation of the Court for partisanship.

    That’s true. But given SCOTUS’s current composition, CJ Roberts’s power to achieve that end is vastly diminished. With the appointment of Justice Amy Coney Barrett, Roberts is no longer the the Court’s swing vote; there is a solid five-justice majority to his Right.

    A chief justice’s vote on cases counts the same as any other justice’s — both as to deciding cases’ outcomes and as to deciding which cases to hear by voting to grant a writ of certiorari.

    A chief justice’s greatest power to shape SCOTUS’s jurisprudence is probably that, where the chief is in the majority, the Chief gets to assign which justice will write the Court’s majority opinion. This is a power chief justices can employ either to write opinions in controversial cases themselves, or to assign such opinions to the justice in the majority who is likely to write the most moderate majority opinion. For John Roberts, this means that, in cases in which he votes with the Court’s three remaining liberals, he will forfeit even this limited ability to temper the Court’s jurisprudence.

    • Posted November 7, 2020 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      Gorsuch is more of a wildcard than you think. Just look at the opinion he himself wrote for Bostock, which critics call a travesty of textualism. As for this election, the conservatives tend to give greater deference to state legislatures. That’s what we’ve seen. If a state legislature actually tried to nullify their electors, I don’t honestly know what would happen. I don’t think this will occur, and if it does it would probably still not change the result. Two or three of the four states in play in which Biden is leading would have to do that. I’m not sure how many are even Republican dominated legislatures. I won’t bother to look it up. Trump is still disputing Michigan, but I don’t see that coming to anything. The justices may disagree on the limits of executive power, but I expect no disagreement on the need to demonstrate that the election is not corrupt. If I’m wrong then I will renounce. And they should all condemn the early and continual declaration of victory and spouting of unfounded conspiracy claims calling the election integrity into question, though I’m less certain of that.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted November 7, 2020 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

        My comment was meant to address a more general point regarding Chief Justice Roberts’s ability to guide SCOTUS away from partisanship, rather than to address any potential decision pertaining to this particular presidential election.

        • Posted November 7, 2020 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

          I see that, but your comment was quoting the second part of JAC saying he doesn’t think the SCOTUS will hand the presidency to Trump. Nor do I. It’s not like 2000. There really is no ambiguity. Everybody has called it now for Biden and applying Bush v Gore, Biden’s legitimate claim to have won is harmed the longer Trump continues to dispute it.

  9. Saul Sorrell-Till
    Posted November 7, 2020 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Maybe it’s the emotional(and geographical) distance but I’m a lot more optimistic about the future for the Democratic Party than others.

    So there was no blowout, landslide. But in one very particular way, that actually helps the Dems: it means that Trump’s dead hand will rest on the GOP tiller for the foreseeable future, and every candidate to lead the party will have to contort themselves to suit his and his supporters’ insane whims.

    If he’d been wiped out electorally perhaps the GOP could’ve made a fresh start. But not now. Now he is essentially going to be the GOP’s ‘conscience’, tweeting from the sidelines, pulling them ever further rightwards.
    And the thought that horrifies some liberals, that he’ll run again in 2024, is not as horrifying as it seems. In fact, just the thought of it should be tantalising to clear-headed Democrats: Trump won’t win again. People are sick of him, he’ll be four years older, and he’s a fad to everyone but his base. And hopefully, by then the Dems will have tamped down the identity politics and finger-wagging that turned off so many voters and attracted them to Trump.
    The only conceivable chance the GOP have for 2024 is of rebranding themselves, and the one person who could represent that rebranding is the formidable Nikki Haley. She is the perfect 2024 candidate for the Republicans.

    But the prospect of Trump either challenging her in 2024, or running as an independent in a fit of pique, should send chills down the place where Republicans’ spines should be. He is going to be ruinously damaging to the GOP for years to come.

    So the country is divided. But the future for one party seems to me much, much rosier than the other. And Biden getting five million more votes than Trump is pretty bloody good. Cheer up American liberals!

    • Posted November 7, 2020 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      I agree but the Dems do have to be concerned about the battle within their own party. The failure of the Blue Wave to materialize has been laid by many, including candidates on the ballot this election, at the feet of AOC and the Bernie wing of the party. They met huge resistance due to the weaponization of “socialism” and “defund the police” which really mobilized many Republicans to vote against them. I’ve seen this first hand on comments. The average voter doesn’t keep up with, or doesn’t believe, the MSM on the damage Trump has done to the country or how he’s a threat to democracy but they do have a fear (unreasonable, IMHO) of socialism and crime. This battle could really hurt the Biden presidency. There’s already talk of AOC dropping support for Pelosi, for example.

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted November 7, 2020 at 10:33 am | Permalink

        All valid points. I’m hoping that the close call of this election really will force Dems to get the message about identity politics. It is one of the most electorally toxic ideas ever created. Everyone despises it in some way – even the people who espouse it the most hate it when it comes in the form of white identity politics.

        Yes, it’s not going to be anywhere near that simple to straighten out the fissures in the Dems. And it’ll always be easier to sell conservatism to people, for basic psychological reasons….but I’m a lot more optimistic about the future of the Democratic party than I am about the future of the GOP. I think the latter are in deep, deep trouble.

    • Peter N
      Posted November 7, 2020 at 10:26 am | Permalink

      Trump 2-3 years from now: divorced yet again, forced to declare bankruptcy yet again, under indictment for tax evasion and wire fraud, even older and more unhinged than he is now, and yet maintaining the unwavering support of his cultists, thus splitting the Republican Party right down the middle — I can’t think of a better scenario than him running again.

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted November 7, 2020 at 10:34 am | Permalink

        Exactly. The thought should be tantalising to Democrats.

      • jezgrove
        Posted November 7, 2020 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

        I think it’s more likely to be Don Jr. or Eric and the crazies will love them. US politics has been too dynastic lately and I don’t see that changing.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted November 7, 2020 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

        Let the Republicans nominate again someone who in two tries has failed to win the votes of a majority — or even of a plurality — of the American electorate, and who has no hope of ever succeeding in doing so, on the chance they can game out a victory in the electoral college again (a thing that’s happened just five times in 59 US presidential elections).

        Hard to believe a political party could be that dumb, though we’re talkin’ about today’s GOP here.

  10. merilee
    Posted November 7, 2020 at 9:00 am | Permalink


  11. Posted November 7, 2020 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    “García is truly a hero, for he was blown to hell when the dynamite finally exploded.”

    Yes, but surely he went to heaven, if we take heaven/hell as existing, which we don’t. Brave man!

  12. Posted November 7, 2020 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    Evidently Rupert Murdoch has passed the word down to all his media outlets (Fox News, WSJ, etc.) to try to convince Trump to concede. Even Laura Ingraham has said it!

    • rickflick
      Posted November 7, 2020 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      Murdock is probably about ready to meet his maker, as they say, and does not want the destruction of Western Civilization on his conscience when he goes in for the heaven/hell interview with Jesus.

      • Posted November 7, 2020 at 10:27 am | Permalink

        Murdoch does not like to been seen to back a loser, and as soon as he smells defeat he switches sides. He did that when the Sun newspaper called the British election for Blair in 1997. One thing he has in common with Trump is the disdain for losers. It is for that reason Trump will never admit defeat and always claim it was stolen.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted November 7, 2020 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

        Sir Mick’s ex, Jerry Hall, is likely counting the days.

        • merilee
          Posted November 7, 2020 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

          Such an unlikely couple.

  13. Posted November 7, 2020 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    If god is a cat, why the d*g?!

    • jezgrove
      Posted November 7, 2020 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      So the cat can smugly turn it away and saying it will have to die another eight times to gain admission?

      • jezgrove
        Posted November 7, 2020 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

        Oops, replied without looking back again at the cartoon – what dog?!

  14. uommibatto
    Posted November 7, 2020 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    Happy birthday to Joni!

    I hadn’t realized that Leonard Cohen died on her birthday. Joni’s classic “A Case of You,” one of the best songs of all time, was written about their relationship.

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