Greetings on a soon-to-be-sunny Thursday, July 22, 2021: National Penuche Day (“penuche” is a fudgelike sweet made only from butter, brown sugar, and milk). It’s also Mango Day, Lion’s Share Day (take the extra donut!), and Spoonerism Day, named after the reverend and Oxford lecturer William Archibald Spooner, born on this day in 1844. He was famous for garbling language in a humorous way, and is supposed to have said these things:
- “It is kisstomary to cuss the bride” (…customary to kiss the bride) [JAC: supposedly said while Spooner was officiating at a wedding].
- “I am tired of addressing beery wenches” (weary benches)
- “Mardon me padam, this pie is occupewed. Can I sew you to another sheet?” (Pardon me, madam, this pew is occupied. Can I show you to another seat?)
- “You have hissed all my mystery lectures, and were caught fighting a liar in the quad. Having tasted two worms, you will leave by the next town drain” (You have missed all my history lectures, and were caught lighting a fire in the quad. Having wasted two terms, you will leave by the next down train)
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News of the Day:
You’ll be pleased to know that my teeth and gums are in excellent condition; the hygienist particularly complimented me on my excellent gums. But that is my due given the amount of time I spent flossing, brushing, and stimulating. I am now recommended to get a WaterPik.
Some good news from the ACLU—for a change. Remember when Biden was accusing Facebook of helping kill people by spreading lies about COVID-19? That sounds well meaning, but is in fact a violation of the First Amendment. As a newsletter from FAIR notes:
As private entities, social media companies have the ability to censor content on their own. However, as journalist Glenn Greenwald noted, “the Supreme Court has ruled that the First Amendment’s free speech guarantee is violated when government officials pressure or coerce private actors to censor for them. That is exactly what [the White House] is doing with Facebook.”
After the White House announced plans to “review” Section 230, which protects social media companies from culpability regarding content on their platforms, The ACLU issued a statement in opposition to the White House’s actions.
No matter which party is in power, the government cannot be trusted to label 'truth' or 'fiction' any more than Facebook or Twitter can.
Remember when then-President Trump claimed COVID would just 'go away' without a vaccine? https://t.co/2IUs2YFgQV
— ACLU (@ACLU) July 20, 2021
As the CNN story referenced by the ACLU notes:
The White House is reviewing whether social media platforms should be held legally accountable for publishing misinformation via Section 230, a law that protects companies’ ability to moderate content, White House communications director Kate Bedingfield said Tuesday.
The Section 230 debate is taking on new urgency in recent days as the administration has called on social media platforms to take a more aggressive stance on combating misinformation. The federal law, which is part of the Communications Decency Act, provides legal immunity to websites that moderate user-generated content.
Biden has long railed against the law for its protection of social media companies from misinformation, whereas Trump has claimed that it leads to the censorship and suppression of conservative voices. Supporters of the provision, meanwhile, argue that the law protects free speech. Trump’s attempts to use the executive branch to change how Section 230 is applied to tech companies was called unconstitutional by legal experts, lawmakers and officials at the Federal Communications Commission.
And now Biden’s in the same boat.
Life expectancy in the U.S. dropped more steeply last year than any time since World War II. Naturally, the cause is the coronavirus pandemic. And the drop is substantial; as the NYT reports:
From 2019 to 2020, Hispanic people experienced the greatest drop in life expectancy — three years — and Black Americans saw a decrease of 2.9 years. White Americans experienced the smallest decline, of 1.2 years.
. . .Racial and ethnic disparities have persisted throughout the coronavirus pandemic, a reflection of many factors, including the differences in overall health and available health care between white, Hispanic and Black people in the United States. Black and Hispanic Americans were more likely to be employed in risky, public-facing jobs during the pandemic — bus drivers, restaurant cooks, sanitation workers — rather than working from home in relative safety on their laptops in white-collar jobs.
They also more commonly depend on public transportation, risking coronavirus exposure, or live in multigenerational homes and in tighter conditions that were more conducive to spreading the virus.
The Kennedy Center Honors this year (the second of 2021 because of the pandemic) will go to these five people in December: Berry Gordy (the founder of Motown Records), Lorne Michaels (creator of Saturday Night Live), singer Bette Middler, opera singer Justino Díaz, and, my favorite, Joni Mitchell! Joni doesn’t appear in public very often, so I hope she shows up; it’s likely that Joe Biden will confer the awards.
Well, this was a surprise. The U.S. women’s soccer team, the world Gold Standard, lost its first game to Sweden 3-0—the first game the team has lost since January 2019. I didn’t watch it, but HuffPost has a bunch of tweets about the lackluster U.S. play. Let’s just see a summary of the highlights.
The U.S. isn’t out, but they have to beat New Zealand in the next game to advance.
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 609,508, an increase of 249 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 4,143,645, an increase of about 8,800 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on July 22 includes:
- 1298 – Wars of Scottish Independence: Battle of Falkirk: King Edward I of England and his longbowmen defeat William Wallace and his Scottish schiltrons outside the town of Falkirk.
What on earth is a schiltron? See here. This was the end for Wallace as a leader for Scottish independence, but he hung around for seven more years before he was captured and, then, well, the end is gruesome (they leave out the worst bits in Braveheart. FREEEEEEDOMMM!
- 1598 – William Shakespeare’s play, The Merchant of Venice, is entered on the Stationers’ Register. By decree of Queen Elizabeth, the Stationers’ Register licensed printed works, giving the Crown tight control over all published material.
I found the entry at the Folger Shakespeare Library site and have put a rectangle over what I think is the entry, at least as indicated by Folger:
The Merchant of Venice was entered into Liber C of the Stationers’ Company on July 22, 1598, under “the title the Marchaunt of Venyce or otherwise called the Jewe of Venyce.” James Roberts, the London printer and publisher who entered the title, was allowed to enter the play under the restriction that any printing had to be authorized by the Lord Chamberlain.
Lord was the handwriting weird in those days!
- 1893 – Katharine Lee Bates writes “America the Beautiful” after admiring the view from the top of Pikes Peak near Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Here’s one of my favorite versions, performed by Ray Charles in 1972.
This, and not The Star-Spangled Banner, should be America’s National Anthem.
- 1933 – Aviator Wiley Post returns to Floyd Bennett Field in New York City, completing the first solo flight around the world in seven days, 18 hours and 49 minutes.
Here’s a brief documentary of Post’s accomplishments. Sadly, both he and comic Will Rogers died in an accident in Alaska on August 15, 1935, crashing in bad weather.
- 1937 – New Deal: The United States Senate votes down President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s proposal to add more justices to the Supreme Court of the United States.
- 1942 – The United States government begins compulsory civilian gasoline rationing due to the wartime demands.
Here’s how it worked:
An “A” sticker on a car was the lowest priority of gasoline rationing and entitled the car owner to 3 to 4 US gallons (11 to 15 l; 2.5 to 3.3 imp gal) of gasoline per week. B stickers were issued to workers in the military industry, entitling their holder to up to 8 US gallons (30 l; 6.7 imp gal) of gasoline per week. C stickers were granted to persons deemed very essential to the war effort, such as doctors. T stickers were made available for truckers. Lastly, X stickers on cars entitled the holder to unlimited supplies and were the highest priority in the system. Clergy, police, firemen, and civil defense workers were in this category. A scandal erupted when 200 Congressmen received these X stickers. Referring to the lowest tier of this system, American motorists jokingly said that OPA stood for “Only a Puny A-Card.
Clergy got the highest priority, along with “first responders.” Why is that? So they could drive around and visit their parishioners?
- 1942 – Grossaktion Warsaw: The systematic deportation of Jews from the Warsaw ghetto begins.
Here are Warsaw Jews being loaded onto trains, and you know what’s waiting at the other end:
- 1990 – Greg LeMond, an American road racing cyclist, wins his third Tour de France after leading the majority of the race. It was LeMond’s second consecutive Tour de France victory.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1849 – Emma Lazarus, American poet and educator (d. 1887)
- 1882 – Edward Hopper, American painter and etcher (d. 1967)
Hopper drew cats! Here’s his “Cats Study”:
- 1888 – Selman Waksman, Jewish-American biochemist and microbiologist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1973)
- 1923 – Bob Dole, American soldier, lawyer, and politician
He’s 98 today!
- 1955 – Willem Dafoe, American actor
- 1992 – Selena Gomez, American singer and actress
Those who paid Charon on on July 22 were few, and include:
- 1916 – James Whitcomb Riley, American poet and author (b. 1849)
- 1932 – Flo Ziegfeld, American actor and producer (b. 1867)
- 1934 – John Dillinger, American gangster (b. 1903)
The “Lady in Red” who helped the government track down Dillinger, with the FBI shooting him dead in front of Chicago’s Biograph Theater, was Ana Cumpănaș, a Romanian prostitute and brothel owner who hoped to gain citizenship by helping the government. She got her $5000 reward for fingering Dillinger, but then was deported to Romania anyway. Here she is (she identified herself and Dillinger to the FBI by wearing red as she accompanied the gangster to the theater):
- 1967 – Carl Sandburg, American poet and historian (b. 1878)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is enforcing the Orchard Roolz:
Hili: A spider made a spiderweb on our tree.A: So what?Hili: It’s illegal.
Hili: Pająk zrobił sobie pajęczynę na naszym drzewie.Ja: I co z tego?Hili: To jest nielegalne.
From Anne-Marie, another cartoon. She says this is from “André-Philippe Côté, another well-known artist\cartoonist from the French Canadian press.”. The title is “The Veiled Sky in Afghanistan,” which of course is what’s coming. It’s an excellent cartoon.
From Barry, who comments, “We aren’t going to make it, are we?”
And yet another superfluous sign from reader David:
A pinned tweet put up by Masih in March (we featured her yesterday). Her conversation with Bari Weiss last evening was superb.
More women from inside Iran making videos against #ForcedHijab & risking jail by saying No to Islamic Republic.
This is a development not seen by Western media. While the west is trying to shake hand with the regime, Iranian people risk everything to reject whole regime. #No2IR pic.twitter.com/z42xRs7CK6
— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) March 13, 2021
From Ginger K., a refreshing heartwarmer:
— KoryYeshua (@KoryYeshua) July 17, 2021
From Ken, who says, “Fox News falsifies Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity by announcing a new, superluminal Russian jet” (i.e., it flies faster than the speed of light). Sound up. I think they mean Mach 2:
This is very unsettling. ‘Fox and Friends’ is saying that the Russians have developed a fighter jet that flies at twice the speed of light! pic.twitter.com/1FLphAXGWk
— Ron Filipkowski (@RonFilipkowski) July 21, 2021
World Values Survey asks people who they wouldn't want to live next to: pic.twitter.com/v3BUF0Vhx9
— Zaid Jilani (@ZaidJilani) July 20, 2021
Tweets from Matthew. He says to note the date this one was first tweeted:
Stanford study: Western N. America should expect unprecedented heat waves by the 2020s; blistering heat by 2030s. http://bit.ly/ac5llq
— Alex Steffen (@AlexSteffen) July 15, 2010
What is this thing?
Le train, c'est simple (parfois) pic.twitter.com/A3hOLMAM34
— Philippe Peray ® (@Philippe_Peray) July 20, 2021
Except for government vehicles:
Earth re-entry tax now.
— Anand Giridharadas @ The.Ink (@AnandWrites) July 20, 2021
Carolyn, like me, is a huge Beatles fan. Be sure to turn the sound up and listen for that high note:
Love, love, love hearing stories like this … from the man who made them possible. ❤️
How that 'impossibly high', out of range note in Penny Lane came to be. https://t.co/yIFRsE64gL
— Carolyn Porco (@carolynporco) July 17, 2021