Welcome to Monday, June 14, 2021: National Strawberry Shortcake Day (sure beats strawberry-rhubarb pie, the favorite dessert of Satan). It’s also National Bourbon Day (make mine Woodford Reserve), International Bath Day (I have not taken a bath in ages; I much prefer showers), and Army’s Birthday, celebrating the formation of the Continental Army on this day in 1775 (see below).
News of the Day:
The decision of federal Judge Lynn Hughes that workers at a Houston Hospital can be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine seems to me eminently sensible. 178 workers at the hospital were suspended after refusing to get the vaccination, and brought a suit against the hospital. Judge Hughes ruled
“This is not coercion. . . . Methodist is trying to do their business of saving lives without giving them the COVID-19 virus. It is a choice made to keep staff, patients, and their families safer.”
The objections raised by the plaintiffs seem even more off base given that many healtcare workers are already required to get various vaccinations, including MMR and an annual flu shot.
How readily even the New York Times gets duped! Read the article (click on the screenshot), ponder the NYT’s “solutions,” to the problem of Iran getting nuclear weapons and then guffaw at the credulous assumption that Iran doesn’t really want nuclear weapons. (No, the NYT’s solutions don’t involve getting Israel to give up its nukes anor involve the only possible thing that could work: ironclad sanctions.)
The fat lady has sung, and Benjamin Netanyahu is history. The Israeli parliament narrowly approved a coalition government (one of the eight “coalescing” parties is an Arab one, consigning Bibi to the pages of history books as Israel’s longest-ruling prime minister. He remains, however, a member of Parliament.
Astro Sam is going back to the ISS, this time as commander! Yes, Samantha Cristoforetti, the first Italian woman in space and one of the astronauts who stayed on the ISS the longest, will be returning to the ISS in 2022, this time as commander. I was smitten by her when I watched her “how to” videos from her first jaunt. (“Astro Sam” is how she posted on Twitter.)
In line with Andrew Sullivan’s theory that the George Floyd murder and its sequelae, which include widespread disdain for police and calls for defunding them, has led to widespread resignations of police officers. As the NYT reports, “Retirements nationwide were up by 45 percent and resignations by 18 percent in the 12-month period ending in April.” The paper attributes this, as did Sullivan, to a decline in police morale, and adds this:
There is widespread consensus that another reason retention has suffered is that police officers are asked to do too much. In addition to confronting crime, they also deal with mental health problems, addiction and homelessness, as well as the occasional lost dog. Body cameras and bystanders’ cellphones, which increase the likelihood that officers will be held responsible for misconduct, put them under high levels of scrutiny.
“We have asked too much from police, and it has caught up with us nationally,” Chief Zack in Asheville said.
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 599,781,, an increase of 363 deaths over yesterday’s figure. We will probably pass 600,000 deaths by tomorrow. The reported world death toll is now 3,820,195, an increase of about 8,700 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on June 14 includes:
- 1158 – The city of Munich is founded by Henry the Lion on the banks of the river Isar.
- 1775 – American Revolutionary War: the Continental Army is established by the Continental Congress, marking the birth of the United States Army.
- 1777 – The Second Continental Congress passes the Flag Act of 1777 adopting the Stars and Stripes as the Flag of the United States.
Here’s the first flag; the 13 stripes and 13 stars represent the 13 original states:
- 1789 – Mutiny on the Bounty: HMS Bounty mutiny survivors including Captain William Bligh and 18 others reach Timor after a nearly 7,400 km (4,600 mi) journey in an open boat.
- 1822 – Charles Babbage proposes a difference engine in a paper to the Royal Astronomical Society.
And here’s the first “difference engine” built to Babbage’s design. The caption from Wikipedia is “The London Science Museum‘s difference engine, the first one actually built from Babbage’s design. The design has the same precision on all columns, but in calculating polynomials, the precision on the higher-order columns could be lower.”
- 1919 – John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown depart from St. John’s, Newfoundland on the first nonstop transatlantic flight.
They landed in County Galway, Ireland. Remember that Lindbergh’s flight was more famous because he did it alone. Here’s Alcock and Brown’s plane, with an open cockpit. Their electrically heated suits failed, so they were very cold most of the way.
- 1937 – U.S. House of Representatives passes the Marihuana Tax Act. There were taxes on medical cannabis, and you had to buy a stamp to pay the tax. Here are two such stamps:
It was ruled unconstitutional since to buy the stamps for non-medical use, you’d incriminate yourself. The first convictions were not for possessing marijuana, but for failing to pay the tax.
- 1940 – World War II: The German occupation of Paris begins.
- 1940 – Seven hundred twenty-eight Polish political prisoners from Tarnów become the first inmates of the Auschwitz concentration camp.
- 1951 – UNIVAC I is dedicated by the U.S. Census Bureau.
- 1954 – U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs a bill into law that places the words “under God” into the United States Pledge of Allegiance.
I just read the other day that ours is a Christian nation because the Pledge of Allegiance included the words “under God.” But the writer didn’t realize that those words were added only in 1954, and as a wy to distinguish the U.S. from the godless Communist nations during the Cold War.
- 1959 – Disneyland Monorail System, the first daily operating monorail system in the Western Hemisphere, opens to the public in Anaheim, California.
- 1966 – The Vatican announces the abolition of the Index Librorum Prohibitorum (“index of prohibited books”), which was originally instituted in 1557.
Here’s the title page of the index, printed in Venice in 1564:
- 1982 – Falklands War: Argentine forces in the capital Stanley conditionally surrender to British forces.
Notables born on this day include:
Here’s the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, the best selling book of the 19th century—after the Bible.
- 1864 – Alois Alzheimer, German psychiatrist and neuropathologist (d. 1915)
- 1904 – Margaret Bourke-White, American photographer and journalist (d. 1971)
Here’s Bourke-White’s famous picture of Gandhi, taken in 1946:
- 1909 – Burl Ives, American actor and singer (d. 1995)
- 1946 – Donald Trump, American businessman, television personality and 45th President of the United States
- 1961 – Boy George, English singer-songwriter and producer
He’s Old Man George now!
- 1969 – Steffi Graf, German tennis player
Those who encountered the Grim Reaper on June 14 include:
- 1801 – Benedict Arnold, American general during the American Revolution later turned British spy (b. 1741)
- 1883 – Edward FitzGerald, English poet and author (b. 1809)
- 1926 – Mary Cassatt, American-French painter (b. 1843)
Here’s Cassatt’s “Children playing with a cat” (1908):
- 1936 – G. K. Chesterton, English essayist, poet, playwright, and novelist (b. 1874)
- 1986 – Jorge Luis Borges, Argentine short-story writer, essayist, poet and translator (b. 1899)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn: Hili asks Paulina for a formal glamor portrait: Did Paulina do a good job?
Hili: Please, Paulina, use your talent to reflect all my beauty.Paulina: I will try.
Hili: Proszę Paulino, użyj swojego talentu, żeby oddać całe moje piękno.Paulina: Spróbuję.
A cartoon from reader John:
From Jesus of the Day:
From reader Barry. Sound up and watch the bird on the left at the end:
— Nature Inc. (@Nature_Incorp) June 13, 2021
Two tweets from Ginger K. First, a chicken-eating lynx gets a stern lecture from the chickens’ owner. (I wonder how he caught the lynx!) Listen to that lynx growl!
Real Men Love Cats: instead of killing the lynx for attacking his chickens, this Canadian man just gave the big cat a good talking to. https://t.co/zEV1ejTiVI
— Lorenzo The Cat (@LorenzoTheCat) June 5, 2021
And a very unusual observation:
In 2012, beekeepers in northeastern France noticed their bees were producing blue/green colored honey. Local bees were in fact feeding on remnants of colored M&M candy shells, which were being processed by a biogas plant roughly 4 km away [read more: https://t.co/NOF57o4XIF] pic.twitter.com/4cIFcGFhRh
— Massimo (@Rainmaker1973) June 2, 2021
Tweets from Matthew. First an advocate and a detractor of the stupid “Covid shot magnet effect”. Sadly, I just noticed that the linked tweet had vanished, but I put the tweet below:
— shauna (@goldengateblond) June 14, 2021
Now this is a LOUD call. The tymbal is a very complicated adaptation; read more about it here.
This slo-mo video reveals that #BroodX cicadas are tiny pinball machines. 😂 The ribbed organ that is the hero of this video is called a tymbal. Males use this organ and their hollow abdomen to make their characteristic call. pic.twitter.com/mCHSWdgf8F
— Dr. Brian Lovett (@lovettbr) June 6, 2021
A herd of tumbleweed:
Gone with the wind.. pic.twitter.com/ES6fXumwA3
— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden_) June 13, 2021
Marjorie Taylor Greene: the gift that keeps on giving!
Someone hasn't read the Book of Exodus. https://t.co/sWN3yWnxy4
— Jeet Heer (@HeerJeet) June 12, 2021
Oh man, would I like to have seen this. I don’t know if this is one brood of stoats, but it’s a lot of them!
There are few things more joyful than watching young stoats at play. I managed to approach this family on the track at the bottom of our field and spent a happy hour with them 😊@BBCSpringwatch @YorksWildlife pic.twitter.com/bER7kr4RtX
— Yorkshire Eden (@SamanthaMay64) June 12, 2021