We’re almost through the “work” week: it’s already Friday, January 22, 2021, and National Southern Food Day, celebrating America’s finest regional cuisine. Here, for example is the archetypal dish: the “meat and three” (served always with sweet tea and usually cornbread). Here we have BBQ, black-eyed peas, collards, and mac-and-cheese (the last is always seen as a “vegetable” in the South), along with a corn muffin and sweet tea (also called the “table wine of the South”).
It’s also National Blonde Brownie Day, Roe vs. Wade Day, celebrating the anniversary of the 1973 decision (see below), and Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day (cats have only one question, and you know what it is).
News of the Day:
Although it’s still tough times, there’s something to smile about: Bernie Sanders’s informal Vermont attire at the Inauguration, which spawned a thousand memes and tweets. You’ll see some of them in the tweets at the bottom.
Many people quickly highlighted the 79-year-old independent Vermont senator’s look, and created endless memes, from Wednesday’s inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, which he said was more about keeping warm than fashion.
“You know in Vermont, we dress warm, we know something about the cold, and we’re not so concerned about good fashion, we want to keep warm. And that’s what I did today,” Sanders told CBS on Wednesday.
People were particularly enthralled with Sanders’ mittens, which were made by a Vermont elementary school teacher who has a side business making mittens out of recycled wool.
“I love it that he loves them, and that he wears them,” Jen Ellis, an elementary school teacher, told NECN-TV. “And I’m totally honored that he wore them today.”
Joe Biden has been busy signing 17 executive orders (most of which I like) and overturning unwise decisions of the Trump administration. I won’t reprise his efforts to combat the pandemic, including a federal mask mandate on public transportation (see here), and invoking the Defense Production Act to up the supply of vaccines (something Trump should have done) and other measures. You can see a summary of his executive orders here.
Over at the New York Times, Ezra Klein has a long piece on what Biden needs to do to avoid a disastrous Democratic defeat (loss of the Senate and perhaps even the House) in two years. He’s worried in particular about the Senate filibuster, which takes 60 people to stop:
President Biden’s agenda will live or die in the Senate. Odds are it will die, killed by the filibuster.
And referring to Biden’s “rescue plan” and bills for D.C. statehood and improved campaign financing regulation, Klein says this:
. . . none of these bills will pass a Senate in which the filibuster forces 60-vote supermajorities on routine legislation. And that clarifies the real question Democrats face.
At the City Journal, the much maligned Heather MacDonald has some words that, just because she’s a critic of the Left, shouldn’t be ignored. She criticizes Biden’s speech for actually being divisive, and foresees the return of Wokeness:
The diversity obsessives in the federal science bureaucracies waited out Donald Trump’s presidency. They will now redouble their efforts to treat a researcher’s race and sex as scientific qualifications in the awarding of federal research grants. Expect to see any mention of merit or excellence denounced as a form of bigotry, a response that the University of California and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, as well as an army of corporate diversity trainers, have already perfected.
The next four years will likely be one long anti-white-privilege struggle session. Any real effort to close racial achievement gaps, such as fighting the “acting white” ethic that prevents many inner-city children from trying hard in school, will be deferred and discredited. Biden is betting that white liberals, at least, will continue hanging their heads in penance for their hereditary crimes and trot off to their latest show trial. Given past behavior, he’s probably right.
What is going on with the impeachment? The House vote is done and dusted, but Nancy Pelosi is holding off on sending it to the Senate, where a trial could begin within a day after its receipt. Mitch “666” McConnell has suggested delaying the Senate trial until February so that Trump’s legal team can have time to prepare. Trump just hired a lawyer from South Carolina to represent him.
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 410,336, large increase of about 4,200 deaths over yesterday’s figure. We may past half a million deaths in less than a month. The world death toll stands at 2,102,386, a big increase of about 14,900 deaths over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on January 22 includes:
- 1901 – Edward VII is proclaimed King after the death of his mother, Queen Victoria.
- 1905 – Bloody Sunday in Saint Petersburg, beginning of the 1905 revolution.
- 1924 – Ramsay MacDonald becomes the first Labour Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
- 1927 – Teddy Wakelam gives the first live radio commentary of a football match, between Arsenal F.C. and Sheffield United at Highbury.
- 1968 – Apollo 5 lifts off carrying the first Lunar module into space.
Here’s a photo from Wikipedia showing “S67-50927 (November 1967): Lunar Module-1 being moved into position for mating with Spacecraft Lunar Module Adapter (SLA)-7 in the Kennedy Space Center’s Manned Spacecraft Operations Building.”
- 1970 – The Boeing 747, the world’s first “jumbo jet”, enters commercial service for launch customer Pan American Airways with its maiden voyage from John F. Kennedy International Airport to London Heathrow Airport.
- 1973 – In a bout for the world heavyweight boxing championship in Kingston, Jamaica, challenger George Foreman knocks down champion Joe Frazier six times in the first two rounds before the fight is stopped by referee Arthur Mercante.
Here’s a short video showing the full fight. Frazier took a real beating. I’m glad that boxing is no longer popular:
- 1984 – The Apple Macintosh, the first consumer computer to popularize the computer mouse and the graphical user interface, is introduced during a Super Bowl XVIII television commercial.
Here’s that commercial; remember it? It was a great one, playing off the year of introduction:
- 2006 – Evo Morales is inaugurated as President of Bolivia, becoming the country’s first indigenous president.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1552 – Walter Raleigh, English poet, soldier, courtier, and explorer (d. 1618)
- 1561 – Francis Bacon, English philosopher and politician, Attorney General for England and Wales (d. 1626)
- 1788 – Lord Byron, English poet and playwright (d. 1824)
- 1849 – August Strindberg, Swedish novelist, poet, and playwright (d. 1912)
- 1898 – Sergei Eisenstein, Russian director and screenwriter (d. 1948)
- 1931 – Sam Cooke, American singer-songwriter (d. 1964)
Cooke was shot to death under mysterious circumstances in a Los Angeles motel. He was only 33.
- 1938 – Peter Beard, Australian photographer and author (d. 2020)
Beard, the scion of wealth, spent many years in Africa taking photographs that put into books with handwritten annotations. He owned land in Kenya adjacent to where Karen Blixen once lived, and made it his African home. Here’s one of his pictures:
- 1959 – Linda Blair, American actress
Those who crossed the Rainbow Bridge on January 22 include:
- 1901 – Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom (b. 1819)
- 1966 – Herbert Marshall, English actor (b. 1890)
- 1968 – Duke Kahanamoku, American swimmer and water polo player (b. 1890)
With the huge surfboards that were standard at the time, Duke (a five-time Olympic swimming medalist) helped popularize the sport of surfing. Here he is in 1921 with his huge redwood board:
- 1994 – Telly Savalas, American actor (b. 1924)
- 2000 – Craig Claiborne, American journalist, author, and critic (b. 1920)
- 2008 – Heath Ledger, Australian actor and director (b. 1979)
- 2012 – Joe Paterno, American football player and coach (b. 1926)
- 2018 – Ursula K. Le Guin, American sci-fi and fantasy novelist (b. 1929)
Le Guin below. I haven’t read any of her works, as I’m not much into science fiction, but I know she has many fans:
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is indoors, avoiding the other cats:
Hili: Kulka is upstairs, it’s cold outside, Szaron is at home. I will be sitting in the hallway.A: As you wish.
Hili: Na górze Kulka, na dworze zimno, w domu Szaron. Posiedzę sobie w korytarzu.Ja: Jak wolisz.
Little Kulka has just played in the snow, and now wants to come inside (she learned the trick of jumping onto the windowsill from Hili):
Caption: “And Kulka outside the window.”
From Natalie via Harmonia Early Music (see caption), a cat that smiles. It’s the Weird Medieval Cat of the Week:
Two tweets from Simon: Titania takes on Biden’s new executive order:
Now that Biden has ensured that trans athletes can compete in women’s sports, no doubt the bigots will be complaining about how they tend to win all the medals.
Maybe they’re just better women?
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) January 21, 2021
And the Bern talks to the Dude:
"You want Medicare for all? I can get you Medicare for all. Believe me, there are ways, Dude. You don't want to know about it. Hell, I can get you Medicare for all by 3:00 this afternoon, WITH single payer." pic.twitter.com/8BiTWnCIgp
— Marty Cohn's Lab (@CohnLab) January 21, 2021
Tweets from Matthew. I’ll write about this cool paper tomorrow. There’s more to be learned about house cats!
Want to know why cats love catnip? This amazing paper shows they use it as mosquito repellent, giving them an endorphin high!
(pic is Cats Tempted by a Delicious Smell by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi) https://t.co/jWJfnRK33P pic.twitter.com/xpPF23E1Bv
— Tom Price (@TomARPrice) January 21, 2021
Now this is a news intro!. From the BBC:
— Jonny Geller (@JonnyGeller) January 20, 2021
THIS is what the Internet is best at. Bernie in mittens! Somebody should do Bernie on Mount Rushmore. . .
— Jenn Forster🇿🇦 🇿🇲 🏳️🌈#BLM (@JennMForster) January 21, 2021
Another (Matthew loves these):
fleetwood bernie pic.twitter.com/k9SA53n98b
— ً (@womenIuvr) January 21, 2021
Bernée avec chat:
My favorite so far. pic.twitter.com/UjAy17NNUj
— Dr. Wendy Bohon (@DrWendyRocks) January 21, 2021
Remember this place?
Four Seasons Total Landscaping 😄 pic.twitter.com/fd1cuXR5li
— Keith Wilson 🌍 🌱 (@keith_wilson) January 21, 2021
This is an excellent one:
My fave Bernie today. Sorry I don't know who to credit pic.twitter.com/7CIR8vXrlI
— Melissa Clark-Reynolds (@HoneyBeeGeek) January 21, 2021
Do your own! It really works.
— nick (@nick_sawhney) January 21, 2021
See? I put Bernie atop El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. He climbed it freestyle and in mittens—a first!