Republicans are abandoning him like rats on a sinking ship:
It’s the end of the first full week of 2021: Friday, January 8, and what a week it’s been! First, though, it’s National English Toffee Day (is it really English?). It’s also Bubble Bath Day, National Man Watcher’s Day (there’s only one Man Watcher?), World Typing Day, and Earth Rotation Day, in honor of Foucault, who did this:
On January 8, 1851, Foucault performed an experiment in the cellar of his home, in which he swung a five-kilogram weight attached to a two-meter-long pendulum. He put sand underneath it to mark the pendulum’s path, allowing him to see any changes in it. He observed a slight clockwise movement in the plane—the floor, and thus the earth, were slowly rotating; the pendulum kept its position. His experiment showed that the earth rotated on its axis. No longer was it just a hypothesis.
As if they didn’t know already!
News of the Day:
A U.S. Capitol police officer, Brian Sicknick, has died from injuries sustained in the mob assault on the Capitol two days ago. Details are still scarce, but this brings the death toll from the riots to five.
The New York Times reports that, in recent days, Trump has discussed pardoning himself.
Mr. Trump has shown signs that his level of interest in pardoning himself goes beyond idle musings. He has long maintained he has the power to pardon himself, and his polling of aides’ views is typically a sign that he is preparing to follow through on his aims. He has also become increasingly convinced that his perceived enemies will use the levers of law enforcement to target him after he leaves office.
No president has pardoned himself, so the legitimacy of prospective self-clemency has never been tested in the justice system, and legal scholars are divided about whether the courts would recognize it. But they agree a presidential self-pardon could create a dangerous new precedent for presidents to unilaterally declare they are above the law and to insulate themselves from being held accountable for any crimes they committed in office.
Trump has lost his social-media bully pulpit. Twitter has suspended his account until at least Inauguration Day, and now Facebook and Twitch have followed suit. I have no objections to this because he is in a position to—and did—make statements that create imminent danger of harm, and did so knowingly.
Although Trump’s only in office for two more weeks, he could still do a lot of mischief (especially if he still has access to Twitter). To forestall that, Nancy Pelosi has asked Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from Office. Section 4 of that Amendment says this:
Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.
However, if Trump declares he’s not disabled, he gets to be in charge again unless the VP (or other executives) makes a written declaration to Congress that the President is truly incapacitated, along with the support of more than half the Cabinet, whereupon Congress decides the issue. That will take at least two weeks, though I’m not opposed to it because a.) Trump is disabled, and b.) It would be another black mark on the man’s record were he to be the first President subject to the forced removal provision of this Amendment. But we’re not gonna get half the Cabinet to vote to remove Trump so the point is moot. Impeachment is moot too: charges can be brought, but there’s no time for a trial.
World’s unluckiest burglars (from the Guardian; h/t: Jez): One of two burglars in Staffordshire accidentally butt-dialed the police (999 in the UK) while the pair was committing a home burglary. The cops heard the whole thing, including the moment when their fellow cops showed up to make the arrest.
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 365,494, a big increase of 4,112 deaths from yesterday’s figure, this is the first day since the pandemic started that the daily death toll has passed 4,000; Anthony Fauci said, “We believe things will get worse as we get into January.” The world death toll is now 1,908,602, 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 8 includes:
- 871 – Alfred the Great leads a West Saxon army to repel an invasion by Danelaw Vikings.
- 1790 – George Washington delivers the first State of the Union address in New York City.
- 1815 – War of 1812: Battle of New Orleans: Andrew Jackson leads American forces in victory over the British.
- 1828 – The Democratic Party of the United States is organized.
2021 – The Democratic Party of the United States is disorganized.
- 1835 – US President Andrew Jackson announces a celebratory dinner after having reduced the United States national debt is zero for the only time.
- 1877 – Crazy Horse and his warriors fight their last battle against the United States Cavalry at Wolf Mountain, Montana Territory.
Crazy Horse survived, but became a captive and was bayonetted on September 5 of that year by an American soldier. He was 36 or 37.
Rationing continued in Britain after the war, with sugar rationing ending only in 1953, and meat rationing in 1954. Here’s a child’s ration book from World War II:
Here are the standard food rations per week. Do any Brits remember this?
- 1959 – Charles de Gaulle is proclaimed as the first President of the French Fifth Republic.
- 1964 – President Lyndon B. Johnson declares a “War on Poverty” in the United States.
- 1973 – Watergate scandal: The trial of seven men accused of illegal entry into Democratic Party headquarters at Watergate begins.
- 1975 – Ella T. Grasso becomes Governor of Connecticut, the first woman to serve as a Governor in the United States other than by succeeding her husband.
- 1981 – A local farmer reports a UFO sighting in Trans-en-Provence, France, claimed to be “perhaps the most completely and carefully documented sighting of all time”.
According to the witness, “The device had the shape of two saucers, one inverted on top of the other. It must have measured about 1.5 metres in height. It was the color of lead. This device had a ridge all the way around its circumference. Under the machine I saw two kinds of pieces as it was lifting off. They could be reactors or feet. There were also two other circles which looked like trapdoors. The two reactors, or feet, extended about 20 cm (8 in) below the body of the machine.”
Nicolaï claimed the object took off almost immediately, rising above the treeline and departing to the north east. It left burn marks on the ground where it had supposedly sat.
The local gendarmerie were notified of the event the following day by Nicolaï directly on the advice of his neighbor’s wife, Mrs. Morin. The gendarmerie proceeded to interview Nicolaï, take photos of the scene, and collect soil and plant samples from the field. The case was later sent to GEIPAN—or GEPAN (Groupe d’Étude des Phénomènes Aérospatiaux Non-identifiés) as it was known at that time—for review.
GEPAN analysis noted that the ground had been compressed by a mechanical pressure of about 4 or 5 tons, and heated to between 300 and 600 °C (572 and 1,112 °F). Trace amounts of phosphate and zinc were found in the sample material, and analysis of resident alfalfa near the landing site showed chlorophyll levels between 30% and 50% lower than expected.
There’s no explanation to date save for an experimental military device, which hasn’t been confirmed.
- 2004 – The RMS Queen Mary 2, then the largest ocean liner ever built, is christened by her namesake’s granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth II.
I traveled on this ship twice, lecturing as part of an Oxford University Program. Here I am on the top deck in October, 2006; it was COLD but I was heading for the hot tubs:
- 2011 – Sitting US Congresswoman Gabby Giffords is shot in the head along with 18 others in a mass shooting in Tucson, Arizona. Giffords survived the assassination attempt, but 6 others died, including John Roll, a federal judge.
- 2016 – Joaquín Guzmán, widely regarded as the world’s most powerful drug trafficker, is recaptured following his escape from a maximum security prison in Mexico.
Since 2016, El Chapo, who excaped from prison twice, has been locked up in at ADX Florence, the most secure “supermax” prision in the U.S. He’s serving life plus thirty years. Here’s a photo after he was extradited to the U.S.:
Notables born on this day include:
- 1823 – Alfred Russel Wallace, Welsh geographer, biologist, and explorer (d. 1913)
It’s Wallace’s birthday! Here he is in Singapore in 1862:
- 1902 – Carl Rogers, American psychologist and academic (d. 1987)
- 1926 – Soupy Sales, American comedian and actor (d. 2009)
- 1935 – Elvis Presley, American singer, guitarist, and actor (d. 1977)
- 1941 – Graham Chapman, English actor and screenwriter (d. 1989)
- 1946 – Robby Krieger, American guitarist and songwriter
- 1947 – David Bowie, English singer-songwriter, producer, and actor (d. 2016)
- 1984 – Kim Jong-un, North Korean soldier and politician, 3rd Supreme Leader of North Korea (probable)
Those who absconded from life on January 8 include:
- 1642 – Galileo Galilei, Italian physicist, mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher (b. 1564)
- 1825 – Eli Whitney, American engineer and theorist, invented the cotton gin (b. 1765)
- 1896 – Paul Verlaine, French poet and writer (b. 1844)
Here’s the symbolist poet in a cafe. Is he drinking absinthe?
- 1925 – George Bellows, American painter (b.1882)
Bellows was known for his paintings of everyday life in New York City, including boxing. Here’s what is likely his most famous painting, “Stag at Sharkey’s” (1909):
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn,
Hili: Let’s consider all the pros and cons.A: About what?Hili: Do I have to sit here and disturb your work or we go to the kitchen to fill my bowls?
Hili: Rozważmy wszystkie za i przeciw.Ja: W jakiej sprawie?Hili: Czy mam tu siedzieć i przeszkadzać ci w pracy, czy pójdziemy do kuchni napełnić moje miseczki.
And here’s a nice photo of Szaron by Paulina:
Can a Mandarin speaker vouch for this? (from Jesus of the Day):
A tweet from Barry. I’m pretty sure that this psychedelic display is engineered by the parasite to attract birds. Nature kinda sucks, but it’s kinda amazing, too.
This unfortunate snail is infested with a parasitic worm, which is mimicking a caterpillar so a bird will eat it. The worm will then reproduce in the bird's gut, and its eggs will be released in the bird's feces – which will then be eaten by other snails. Yep, nature kinda sucks. pic.twitter.com/eKQ5AWJFOE
— Steve Stewart-Williams (@SteveStuWill) January 5, 2021
The rest of the tweets are from Matthew (you can send tweets, you know!). Was this guy unfairly fired while exercising freedom of speech? I don’t think so–he broke the law:
— Tre Ward (@TreWardWBAL) January 7, 2021
After a political tweet we need a cat tweet. There’s a mistake in the caption, though; can you catch it?
We can rebuild him; we have the technology. pic.twitter.com/Mi7dM2N3Qq
— Dick King-Smith HQ (@DickKingSmith) November 15, 2018
Back to politics:
the person with the nuclear codes has been deemed too dangerous to have a twitter account
— joe (@JoePerticone) January 7, 2021
Is this Maru? I haven’t seen the pudgy tabby for a while.
"relax, Sonia, i have everything under control"
— Paul Bronks (@SlenderSherbet) January 5, 2021
More politics and a note that Republicans are quite often chuckleheads:
— Catherine Rampell (@crampell) January 7, 2021
Matthew directed me to a tweet about the Museum, and I found the tapeworm. It’s not clear what species it’s from; but there are reports of an 82-foot tapeworm extracted from an Indian:
And while we're on parasites, here's the world's longest tapeworm from the Tokyo Museum of parasites. It's 29 feet (8.8 meters) long. https://t.co/hnIW4lZzn3
credit: | © Laika ac / WikiCommons pic.twitter.com/Cz7YZ8UoWb
— Jerry Coyne (@Evolutionistrue) January 7, 2021
And from the Yorkshire Shepherdess. “And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow/ Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
— YorkshireShepherdess (@AmandaOwen8) January 7, 2021