Welcome to Saturday, June 12, 2021: National Peanut Butter Cookie Day. It’s also World Gin Day, National Rosé Day (the wine), National Jerky Day, Loving Day (celebrating the 1967 Supreme Court decision of Loving v. Virginia, striking down laws against interracial marriage), World Day Against Child Labour, Superman Day (celebrating the release of the 2013 movie), and Red Rose Day (the flower).
News of the Day:
First, the results of yesterday’s poll about whether Wokeism will hurt the Democrats in the mid-term elections of in 2024. The overwhelming majority (84%) said “yes it will”, a result that surprised me:
The news is pretty boring, but perhaps, after the drama of the last year, that’s not a bad thing. Biden is in England meeting with Boris, but he also had dinner with the Queen and is having tea with her at Windsor Castle before heading on to the Big Summit with Putin. Merrick Garland is doubling the number of investigators in the Justice Department’s “voting rights” unit, trying to ensure that the spate of new state laws restricting voting doesn’t violate any federal law.
A piece in the NYT by environmental writer Emma Marris, “The case against zoos,” happens to be a piece I largely agree with. I think their educational function is minimal (people go to gawk, not to learn) as is their conservation function (almost no animals are bred for release, and what we learn about them from captivity is almost nil). It’s cruel to animals to isolate them in jails where they can’t exercise the behaviors and desires instilled by their genes. We’ve all seen animals behaving neurotically in zoos, pacing back and forth and doing repetitive movements—a sure sign of captivity-induced distress. Maybe we could have zoos for some animals, like insects, that probably don’t suffer much in a decent captivity, but people go to zoos to see tigers and bears, not insects. This also goes for aquaria, especially those that display mammals like beluga whales and dolphins. Marris makes a convincing case. Education and conservation can, I suspect, be done equally well through lectures and videos, and no animal gets neurotic or traumatized.
An article in City Journal by Abigail Shrier, When the State Comes for your Kids”, paints a scary picture of how youngish teenagers can leave their homes and go to shelters where they receive “gender affirmation” if they have feelings of being transsexual. And it’s damn hard to get your kid back, even if you’re legally entitled to. The laws that allow children to do this are pretty lax and take effect when the kids are pretty young, especially in California, Oregin, and Washington. (h/t: Luana)
Meanwhile, over at HuffPost the clicking is deafening:
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 599,510, an increase of 413 deaths over yesterday’s figure. We will pass 600,000 deaths this weekend. The reported world death toll is now 3,801,848, an increase of about 12,200 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on June 12 includes:
- 1240 – At the instigation of Louis IX of France, an inter-faith debate, known as the Disputation of Paris, starts between a Christian monk and four rabbis.
- 1776 – The Virginia Declaration of Rights is adopted.
- 1817 – The earliest form of bicycle, the dandy horse, is driven by Karl von Drais.
Here’s a “drasine” (the other name for a dandy horse), which was ridden by pushing yourself along with your feet. I guess it’s marginally more efficient than walking. As expected, however, the craze for these things didn’t last long. The chain-driven model wasn’t devised until 1885.
- 1939 – Shooting begins on Paramount Pictures‘ Dr. Cyclops, the first horror film photographed in three-strip Technicolor.
Here’s a trailer for that horror film:
- 1939 – The Baseball Hall of Fame opens in Cooperstown, New York.
- 1942 – Anne Frank receives a diary for her thirteenth birthday.
Here’s the outside of her diary, and two pages; it’s in the possession of the Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam:
- 1943 – The Holocaust: Germany liquidates the Jewish Ghetto in Brzeżany, Poland (now Berezhany, Ukraine). Around 1,180 Jews are led to the city’s old Jewish graveyard and shot.
- 1963 – NAACP field secretary Medgar Evers is murdered in front of his home in Jackson, Mississippi by Ku Klux Klan member Byron De La Beckwith during the civil rights movement.
Evers was murdered by a white supremacist who wasn’t convicted until nearly 30 years after the murder. Here’s his grave; he died at 37. Note the stones on top; a sign of remembrance. Because he was a veteran, he’s buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
- 1964 – Anti-apartheid activist and ANC leader Nelson Mandela is sentenced to life in prison for sabotage in South Africa.
Here’s Mandela’s cell at Robben Island Prison, where he spent nearly all his 27 years in captivity. Note that he slept on the floor.
- 1979 – Bryan Allen wins the second Kremer prize for a man powered flight across the English Channel in the Gossamer Albatross.
Here’s the rollout and takeoff of the Gossamer Albatross:
- 1987 – Cold War: At the Brandenburg Gate, U.S. President Ronald Reagan publicly challenges Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall.
Here’s Reagan’s famous demand:
- 1991 – Russians first democratically elected Boris Yeltsin as the President of Russia.
- 1994 – Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman are murdered outside Simpson’s home in Los Angeles. Her estranged husband, O.J. Simpson is later charged with the murders, but is acquitted by a jury.
- 2016 – Forty-nine civilians are killed and 58 others injured in an attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida; the gunman, Omar Mateen, is killed in a gunfight with police.
- 2017 – American student Otto Warmbier returns home in a coma after spending 17 months in a North Korean prison and dies a week later.
Notables born on this day include:
Part of a self-portrait of Schiele I took in Vienna in 2012:
- 1892 – Djuna Barnes, American novelist, journalist, and playwright (d. 1982)
- 1899 – Weegee, Ukrainian-American photographer and journalist (d. 1968)
Weegee specialized in photos of the seamier side of New York. But many of his most famous photos were staged, like this, perhaps his most famous photo. Caption from Wikipedia: “Photo: Weegee/Courtesy of International Center of Photography.”
- 1924 – George H. W. Bush, American lieutenant and politician, 41st President of the United States (d. 2018)
- 1929 – Anne Frank, German-Dutch diarist; victim of the Holocaust (d. 1945)
- 1933 – Eddie Adams, American photographer and journalist (d. 2004)
Here’s Eddie Adams’s most famous photo, of the execution of a Viet Cong prisoner, a photo that won the Pulitzer Prize:
- 1941 – Chick Corea, American pianist and composer (d. 2021)
- 1962 – Jordan Peterson, Canadian psychologist, professor and cultural critic
Those whose life drew to an end on June 12 include:
- 1957 – Jimmy Dorsey, American saxophonist, composer, and bandleader (The Dorsey Brothers and The California Ramblers) (b. 1904)
- 1963 – Medgar Evers, American soldier and activist (b. 1925)
- 1972 – Edmund Wilson, American critic, essayist, and editor (b. 1895)
Here’s Wilson, a fantastic critic and writer, and one of my literary heroes. Here’s a tidbit from Wikipedia:
Throughout his career, Wilson often answered fan mail and outside requests for his time with this form postcard:
“Edmund Wilson regrets that it is impossible for him to: Read manuscripts, write books and articles to order, write forewords or introductions, make statements for publicity purposes, do any kind of editorial work, judge literary contests, give interviews, conduct educational courses, deliver lectures, give talks or make speeches, broadcast or appear on television, take part in writers’ congresses, answer questionnaires, contribute to or take part in symposiums or ‘panels’ of any kind, contribute manuscripts for sales, donate copies of his books to libraries, autograph books for strangers, allow his name to be used on letterheads, supply personal information about himself, supply photographs of himself, supply opinions on literary or other subjects”.
- 2003 – Gregory Peck, American actor and political activist (b. 1916)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn: Hili and Szaron inform Andrzej and Malgorzata that they can’t use the chairs on the porch today.
Hili: You can sit on the steps.Szaron: It’s the only solution.
Hili: Możecie usiąść na schodach.Szaron: To jest jedyne rozwiązanie.
Posted by Seth Andrews. Should be called “Regrets nobody has.”
With apologies to my colleague Neil Shubin, one of the discoverers of Tiktaalik:
From Fat Cat Art, captioned, “You know what I need.”:
From Titania, directed at a person—Charlotte Clymer—who thinks that Iran is gay-friendly. LOL; it’s not: gender-changing surgeries are subsidized so that gay people (who are committing capital crimes in Iran) can officially change their sex and thus are no longer engaging in illegal sexual activity with someone of the same sex. This is “trans-affirming” medical care only to ignorant westerners. And it’s the only way that gay people can legally have sex.
I wish western countries were as progressive as Iran.
By subsidising transitional surgery they’re not only supporting the trans community, they’re also helping gay people to avoid that whole “death penalty” thing.
Take THAT, Islamophobes! 👊 pic.twitter.com/GBQcY0ubYo
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) June 11, 2021
A tweet from Ginger K. Like Ibram Kendi, Robin DiAngelo tries to avoid debating her views at all costs—even if that cost is to deprive poor kids of aid:
— Mike Nayna (@MikeNayna) June 10, 2021
From Simon. E. O. Wilson turned 92 two days ago. Here’s a great quote from him that I hadn’t heard. Clearly he’s referring to the wrong species being humans, but the “right ones” presumably the social insects, most probably ants.
Communism: "Great idea; wrong species."
–E. O. Wilson, ant expert (born OTD 1929) pic.twitter.com/rHTnpL9l7H
— Steve Stewart-Williams (@SteveStuWill) June 10, 2021
Tweets from Matthew. First, a potted cat:
Do not disturb me i am blooming pic.twitter.com/3NYXGPIDh3
— Cats That Heal Your Depression (@Catshealdeprsn) June 9, 2021
These aren’t real French trams; they’re video creations of Ia Padgham, and very good ones!
— Ian Padgham (@origiful) June 8, 2021
Crikey, I didn’t know that crocodiles could walk so. . . .upright!
1 Crocodile on the move
H4-1, crossing the road at Sunset dam
Near Lower Sabie
Tinged by Peter C C pic.twitter.com/honQdv9oux
— Kruger Sightings (@LatestKruger) June 11, 2021
I’ve seen this photo before, and always wondered what happened to the cat:
An old photo from World War 2 pic.twitter.com/PX3vCehRw6
— Cats That Heal Your Depression (@Catshealdeprsn) June 10, 2021