It’s damn Monday again: January 11, 2021: National Hot Toddy Day. It’s also National Milk Day, National Gluten-Free Day, National Clean off your Desk Day (do it!), Girl Hug Boy Day (not this year), and National Human Trafficking Awareness Day.
News of the day:
Weather news first: There was a huge snowfall in Spain, with Madrid receiving 20 inches (51 cm) in two days! Everything ground to a halt, of course; there hasn’t been a snowfall like that in decades. But one enterprising guy mushed his dogs through the city!
Here’s a tweet courtesy of Dr. Cobb:
I interrupt your doomscroll to let you know it hasn’t been snow covered like this in 61 years in Madrid, Spain. People are into it so I’m going to share some videos. This guy has been waiting for this his entire life- pic.twitter.com/tMxgG6OrCw
— jaded new yorker (@nozztilbrooklyn) January 9, 2021
The impeachment/resignation/removal movement is proceeding on all three fronts. The House is voting this morning to ask Pence and the Cabinet to proceed with enacting the provisions of the 25th Amendment, getting Trump to resign. That’s a foolish waste of time, as Pence has already indicated he has no inclination to do that. Several Republicans have now called upon Trump to resign. That’s foolish too; if you know Trump, there’s no way he’ll leave office in his last ten days.
The big hope lies in impeachment, which looks increasingly likely as Republican Senators are moving toward voting for conviction. The problem with that, of course, is that it derails Biden’s legislative agenda with a long Senate trial. Biden may have a Democratic Senate for only two years, and he needs to start enacting his agenda now. Some, like the House majority whip (a Democrat, of course), have suggested that the House can draw up articles of impeachment now, but wait several months before sending them to the Senate for trial. That sounds like a reasonable compromise.
According to last night’s NBC News, every single FBI field office is working on identifying the suspects photographed in the Capitol takeover. The New York Times describes some of the notable arrests. I was particularly pleased to see the guy who put his feet on Pelosi’s desk (Richard Barnett) and the guy who stole her lectern (Adam Johnson) doing the perp walk. Jake Angeli, the fur-hatted, face-painted Viking warrior with a spear, has now been nicknamed “Q Shaman.” He’s been at many pro-Trump rallies in Arizona since the Orange man was elected, and now is charged with “one count of knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, and one count of violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.” I say throw the book at all of them; this kind of behavior needs longer-than-usual sentences as a means of deterrence.
There’s a big kerfuffle about when prisoners should be vaccinated; many people are objecting to some states’ rules that prisoners should be given the Covid-19 vaccination before the elderly. This is a tough problem given that prisoners are five times more likely to be infected than “civilians.” My own view is that their risk alone, along with any underlying conditions like age or comorbidities, should be the sole determinants on vaccination. Being a convicted prisoner should not bump you out of the queue, as you’re already serving your punishment. Being put at an extra risk beyond that due to your overall chance of dying doesn’t seem warranted—it’s punishment on top of punishment. Do you agree?
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 374,428, an increase of about 1,800 deaths from yesterday’s figure. The world death toll is 1,944,516, an increase of about 8.200 deaths over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on January 11 include:
- 630 – Conquest of Mecca: The prophet Muhammad and his followers conquer the city, Quraysh surrender.
- 1569 – First recorded lottery in England.
This was held by Queen Elizabeth I, and every ticket holder won a prize.
- 1879 – The Anglo-Zulu War begins.
- 1922 – Leonard Thompson becomes the first person to be injected with insulin.
The first dose was contaminated, but Thompson, 15 years old, took more and purer doses, and lived until he was 28. Here’s Thompson:
- 1935 – Amelia Earhart becomes the first person to fly solo from Hawaii to California.
- 1946 – Enver Hoxha, Secretary General of the Communist Party of Albania, declares the People’s Republic of Albania with himself as head of state.
Hoxha ruled until 1973 as one of the last old-time Marxists. Here he is on a poster with Mao:
- 1949 – The first “networked” television broadcasts took place as KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania goes on the air connecting the east coast and mid-west programming.
- 1964 – Surgeon General of the United States Dr. Luther Terry, M.D., publishes the landmark report Smoking and Health: Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General of the United States saying that smoking may be hazardous to health, sparking national and worldwide anti-smoking efforts.
- 2003 – Illinois Governor George Ryan commutes the death sentences of 167 prisoners on Illinois‘s death row based on the Jon Burge scandal.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1807 – Ezra Cornell, American businessman and philanthropist, founded Western Union and Cornell University (d. 1874)
- 1842 – William James, American psychologist and philosopher (d. 1910)
- 1889 – Calvin Bridges, American geneticist and academic (d. 1938)
Here’s the colorful Bridges looking at Drosophila. By now you should know who he is.
As I’ve said, I once heard Hofmann speak on his discovery of LSD in a lecture in Richard Schultes’s Economic Botany course at Harvard. He lectured wearing an immaculate white lab coat, as below, and was about the straightest guy I’d ever seen. I guess I was expecting a hippie.
- 1923 – Carroll Shelby, American race car driver, engineer, and businessman, founded Carroll Shelby International (d. 2012)
- 1946 – Naomi Judd, American singer-songwriter and actress
Those who conked out on January 11 include:
- 1843 – Francis Scott Key, American lawyer, author, and songwriter (b. 1779)
- 1882 – Theodor Schwann, German physiologist and biologist (b. 1810)
- 1928 – Thomas Hardy, English novelist and poet (b. 1840)
- 1941 – Emanuel Lasker, German mathematician, philosopher, and chess player (b. 1868)
- 1988 – Isidor Isaac Rabi, Polish-American physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1898)
Here’s Rabi (who discovered nuclear magnetic resonance, the basis of NMR imaging), with two other Laureates. Rabi is on right with E. O. Lawrence on the left and Enrico Fermi in the middle.
- 1999 – Naomi Mitchison, Scottish author and poet (b. 1897)
Mitchinson was the sister of J.B.S. Haldane and a noted poet and author. Wikipedia reports this:
When asked on her 90th birthday whether she had any regrets in life, she replied, “Yes, all the men I never slept with. Imagine!”
She had an open marriage, though, and did sleep with quite a few men. Here she is:
- 2008 – Edmund Hillary, New Zealand mountaineer and explorer (b. 1919)
- 2010 – Éric Rohmer, French director, screenwriter, and critic (b. 1920)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili manages to carry on a conversation while she’s asleep:
A: Are you asleep?Hili: I’m asleep.A: Are you dreaming?Hili: I am.A: What about?Hili: I’m not telling.
Ja: Śpisz?Hili: Śpię.Ja: Śnisz?Hili: Śnię.Ja: A o czym?Hili: Nie powiem.
Here is a portrait of little Kulka; she can be told apart from Hili because a. she’s much smaller and b. she has golden rather than green eyes. Photo by Paulina R.
And Szaron stalking in the snow:
From Jesus of the Day:
From Stash Krod:
From Titania. Besides her sarcasm, I find it hard to believe that the Chinese Embassy in Washington really tweeted that. It’s so slimy! But there’s a blue checkmark, so it must be real.
I’ve seen lots of Trump supporters asking why the Chinese Embassy’s account hasn’t been banned for this tweet.
This is how much conservatives hate people of colour, *especially* when they promote women’s rights. pic.twitter.com/2gPRLYICZG
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) January 9, 2021
Barry calls this “the power of confidence.” Indeed. And I have to give a shout-out to Steve Stewart-Williams for producing the many tweets we reproduce in the Hili dialogues:
The power of confidence pic.twitter.com/dplHzU9kGu
— Steve Stewart-Williams (@SteveStuWill) January 10, 2021
Tweets from Matthew. Although his cat Ollie may be nefarious, he doesn’t do this:
An innocent sock drawer endures a ransacking by a small, befurred marauder. pic.twitter.com/KPHxi830RI
— Dick King-Smith HQ (@DickKingSmith) January 10, 2021
Two tweets showing that the “retreating” Capitol police officer was doing a damn good job, and being courageous to boot:
All the footage we saw the other day of this officer seeming to retreat up the stairs from a mob helplessly was actually him tricking them into moving farther away from the unsecured Senate https://t.co/qfLYDQj9cb
— Erik Tanouye (@toyns) January 10, 2021
I did not fully grasp what was happening in this footage when I first saw it. Now it seems clear that this officer tricked the mob away from the unguarded door to the Senate, using himself—a Black man—as the bait. He is a national hero. And lucky to be alive. https://t.co/l8RAyXrlk7
— Pamela Colloff (@pamelacolloff) January 10, 2021
I retweeted this, which was sent by Matthew. If we have to have Republicans, why can’t they be more like Arnold? Do listen to his spiel:
The Terminator speaks. It would be a better country if all Congressional Republicans were like him (yes, he's a Republican). https://t.co/E4YluCLAO8
— Jerry Coyne (@Evolutionistrue) January 10, 2021
This “rock art” is freaking amazing:
— #WOMENSART (@womensart1) January 10, 2021
And, as NBC News says at the end of its show when it puts up a feel-good piece, “There’s good news tonight!” But where did Isaac go? We’ll never know:
Our cat Isaac disappeared in mid September and has just come home ! pic.twitter.com/wZyOCl0F3g
— Louise Ashworth 🕷🇪🇺#ForeverEuropean (@Ashworth101) January 8, 2021