Congress went back into session last night and did this (click on screenshot):
And this as well: “President Trump issued a statement saying there would be an “orderly transition” on Jan. 20.”
From the NYT as well:
Republicans and Democrats locked arms to denounce the violence and express their determination to carry out what they called a constitutionally sacrosanct function.
“To those who wreaked havoc in our Capitol today, you did not win,” Mr. Pence said in a sharp break from Mr. Trump, who had praised the mob. “Violence never wins. Freedom wins. And this is still the people’s house.”
Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, said the “failed insurrection” had only clarified Congress’s purpose.
It’s the first Thursday of 2021: January 7, 2021: National Tempura Day. It’s also Christmas Day in the Eastern Orthodox Church (it uses the Julian Calendar) and (oy) National Pass Gas Day, celebrating flatulence. More Passing of Gas will occur on January 20.
News of the Day:
What can I say? Everyone in the world seems to know what happened in the U.S. today, but it’s till unbelievable: a President of the United States incited a crowd to swarm the Capitol and “stop the certification”.
And the crowd, many armed and waving Trump banners, did just that. The Capitol Police were neither prepared nor equipped to deal with such a crowd, and some hooligans made their way to the Senate Floor, sitting in the dais and waving banners. One woman was killed by a police officer, while three others died from medical emergencies. As I write this, on Wednesday evening, the circumstances of the killing are obscure.
This is one case where the First Amendment wouldn’t apply, though it doesn’t apply on Twitter anyway. Because the President incited foreseeable and imminent violence, Twitter has locked his account for 12 hours, removed three tweets, including one with a video, and warned Trump that if he continues “tweeting baseless conspiracies about the election and inciting violence”, his account will be permanently suspended.
Hilarious that the thing that has seemingly convinced Trump to concede isn't the fact that he incited a terror attack that resulted in deaths, but being locked out of Twitter https://t.co/8jKoepSBYp
— Chris Stokel-Walker (@stokel) January 7, 2021
Ilhan Omar says she is drawing up articles of impeachment. It’s too late for that, and it would distract the Congress from the business of the transition. I am also hoping that, as a silver lining of what happened yesterday, the Republicans will realize that they have to be more “bipartisan.” I have greater hopes (but still not much hope) that some cabinet officials will invoke the 25th amendment and Pence will, at the behest of cabinet members, remove Trump from office on the grounds of mental incapacitation. While Trump seems to be promising to be a good boy, we cannot trust him, though he’s been somewhat defanged since his Twitter account was locked. Getting removed for incompetence and craziness would be a fitting end to Trump as President.
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 361,382, a big increase of about 4,000 deaths from yesterday’s figure, or about 2.8 deaths per minute. The world death toll is 1,893,402, a huge increase of about 15,200 over yesterday’s total, a death rate of about 10.6 people per minute.
Stuff that happened on January 7 includes:
- 1610 – Galileo Galilei makes his first observation of the four Galilean moons: Ganymede, Callisto, Io and Europa, although he is not able to distinguish the last two until the following day.
- 1782 – The first American commercial bank, the Bank of North America, opens.
- 1835 – HMS Beagle, with Charles Darwin on board, drops anchor off the Chonos Archipelago.
Here’s the Chonos Archipelago, a series of islands off of Chile:
- 1894 – Thomas Edison makes a kinetoscopic film of someone sneezing. On the same day, his employee, William Kennedy Dickson, receives a patent for motion picture film.
Here’s that film: the first known motion picture with a copyright. It’s called “Fred Ott’s Sneeze“, and has its own Wikipedia page. Watch closely, as the sneeze lasts only 5 seconds. Some backstory:
In the five-second film, which was shot in January 1894, one of Thomas Edison’s assistants, Fred Ott, takes a pinch of snuff and sneezes. According to the Library of Congress, the film was “made for publicity purposes, as a series of still photographs to accompany an article in Harper’s Weekly.”
- 1927 – The first transatlantic telephone service is established from New York City to London.
- 1931 – Guy Menzies flies the first solo non-stop trans-Tasman flight (from Australia to New Zealand) in 11 hours and 45 minutes, crash-landing on New Zealand’s west coast.
Here’s Menzies’s upside-down crash landing. He survived, but was killed in WWII when his plane was shot down in combat:
- 1955 – Contralto Marian Anderson becomes the first person of color to perform at the Metropolitan Opera in Giuseppe Verdi‘s Un ballo in maschera.
In a famous incident, Anderson was barred from singing to the Daughters of the American Revolution in Constitution Hall because she was black. This led to Eleanor Roosevelt’s resignation from the DAR, to Secretary of the Interior Ickes inviting her to sing at the Lincoln Memorial, and there, on April 9, 1939, she sang a lovely concert accompanied only by a piano. Here’s a short report on that.
Impeachment is just the bringing of charges, so Clinton was indeed impeached. But he was also acquitted.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1800 – Millard Fillmore, American politician, 13th President of the United States (d. 1874)
- 1830 – Albert Bierstadt, American painter (d. 1902)
Everyone, including me, enjoys Bierstadt’s huge paintings of the American West. Here’s one of them, Among the Sierra Nevada, California (1868; click to enlarge):
- 1844 – Bernadette Soubirous, French nun and saint (d. 1879)
Saint Bernadette, who of course claimed to have visions of Mary (why Mary and never Jesus?) died at only 35, as a nun, from tuberculosis. Her body was supposedly “incorruptible”, and below is a photo of what is said to be her exhumed remains in 1925: 46 years after he death.
But here’s what Wikipedia says:
The church exhumed the corpse a second time on 3 April 1919. A doctor who examined the body noted, “The body is practically mummified, covered with patches of mildew and quite a notable layer of salts, which appear to be calcium salts. … The skin has disappeared in some places, but it is still present on most parts of the body.”
In 1925, the church exhumed the body for a third time. They took relics, which were sent to Rome. A precise imprint of the face was molded so that the firm of Pierre Imans in Paris could make a wax mask based on the imprints and on some genuine photos to be placed on her body. This was common practice for relics in France as it was feared that the blackish tinge to the face and the sunken eyes and nose would be viewed as corruption by the public. Imprints of the hands were also taken for the presentation of the body and the making of wax casts. The remains were then placed in a gold and crystal reliquary in the Chapel of Saint Bernadette at the motherhouse in Nevers.
- 1925 – Gerald Durrell, Indian-English zookeeper, conservationist and author, founded Durrell Wildlife Park (d. 1995)
- 1946 – Jann Wenner, American publisher, co-founded Rolling Stone
- 1957 – Katie Couric, American television journalist, anchor, and author
Those who departed this existence on January 7 include:
- 1943 – Nikola Tesla, Serbian-American physicist and engineer (b. 1856)
- 1972 – John Berryman, American poet and scholar (b. 1914)
- 1989 – Hirohito, Japanese emperor (b. 1901)
- 2006 – Heinrich Harrer, Austrian mountaineer, geographer, and author (b. 1912)
Harrer, a great mountaineer, was the first (along with three others) to climb the North Face of the Eiger in Switzerland. Here’s that formidable wall:
He later escaped from India to Tibet to avoid internment from the British, winding up as a tutor to the Dalai Lama, all recounted in his absorbing book Seven Years in Tibet.
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili had a moment of panic:
Who is this salad for?A: For us.Hili: Good, I was afraid it was for me.
Hili: Dla kogo ta sałata?Ja: Dla nas.Hili: To dobrze, bo już się bałam, że dla mnie.
From Paul, sent to him by his friend Jo, who lives in Georgia:
A good joke from Nicole:
From Luana: Parents have filed a lawsuit against (surprisingly) a Catholic school, alleging abuse and harassment of their daughter for not unhesitatingly accepting the Critical Race Theory taught in that school. Wright’s thread has 15 additional tweets as well as a link to the lawsuit. (Wright is an evolutionary biologist and managing editor of Quillette.)
1) 🚨BREAKING: Parents file lawsuit against Villa Duchesne High School for "intentional racial discrimination" against white students, and using "coercion, intimidation, and threats" to indoctrinate students into Critical Race Theory. pic.twitter.com/7qceSqeFKM
— Colin Wright (@SwipeWright) January 6, 2021
From Simon, another metaphor, and one especially appropriate today. The cat is Trump and the plate his minions.
Government testing the resilience of the citizens pic.twitter.com/aZVDxUoLSu
— Oded Rechavi 🦉 (@OdedRechavi) January 5, 2021
From Barry. Corvids are wicked smart:
This clever crow turns on a tap to have drink…. pic.twitter.com/YrpaEVERn9
— Science girl (@gunsnrosesgirl3) January 5, 2021
Matthew called my attention to this thread, which I reproduce in screenshot below. I retweeted the first tweet, adding that a lot of these people who deny Helen Keller’s existence probably believe in Jesus, for whom (even as a non-divine rabbi) there is far less evidence. Click on screenshot to go to the thread:
More tweets from Matthew. If you’re an evolutionary biologist, you’ll want to see J. B. S. Haldane’s diaries from when he was 9. His sister Naomi Haldane (later Mitchison) also had a diary, and went on to become a well known novelist and poet.
My mum has unearthed two diaries by my great great uncle, the naturalist JBS Haldane and his little sister, my great granny Naomi Haldane (later Mitchison) from 1902/04. I just can’t get over their handwriting, drawings, and Jack’s description of the ferrets: “so long and twisty” pic.twitter.com/2MJ8WJ59Ru
— Dr Agnes Arnold-Forster (@agnesjuliet) January 6, 2021
After Matthew sent me a number of horrific tweets about what was happening in Washington yesterday afternoon, I asked for some less distressing stuff to calm me down. He sent me the following photo of my favorite cows, Belted Galloways, adding that this shows that geneticist Adam Rutherford and I were “in synch”
This is what we need right now. https://t.co/rT9r9u5HjB
— Dr Adam Rutherford (@AdamRutherford) January 6, 2021
And a lovely, soothing insect:
I followed this damselfly for about twenty minutes along a forest trail in Borneo as it moved back and forth through the same sunlit patch, before I finally got close enough, long enough, for a photo. I think it was a good use of my time, even without the picture. pic.twitter.com/eoPiB5x9Ay
— Tom J. Astle (@tjalamont) January 5, 2021
And a final palliative: a murmuration. Even the word is soothing. Click on the link to see the video:
If you are looking for something soothing – here is a video of waves of starlings gently dancing as they came into roost a month ago on the Avalon marshes https://t.co/BkG0SOo8PT pic.twitter.com/9zpKPuvMbi
— Jackie Curtis (@jcurtisart) January 7, 2021