I am feeling a little grotty today (tummy ache and listless, but it is not Covid!), so posting may be a bit light.
News of the Day:
Covid continues to surge, with the U.S. now entering its “fourth wave” of infections, as Reuters’ daily total of infections and deaths show. We’re approaching 100,000 infections per day again, and the NBC News reported last night that that figure could double by the fall.
Here’s the worldwide map of weekly changes in infection rates from Our World in Data, with the U.S. up 53.6% over last week. Not many countries exceed us.
The good news: Biden finally achieved his goal (a month late, but hey), with 70% of adult Americans fully vaccinated as of yesterday. I’m not sure what figure would represent herd immunity now that the new delta variant is spreading: each person infected with the delta strain could infect five others, twice that of the “normal” variant.
Our pandemic of gun violence continues in Chicago: this last weekend the damage was 51 people shot, 8 of them fatally, including a father of five. The July total: 614 people shot, with 105 dying, or 3.5 people killed per day in our city. This is about the same as last year, but significantly higher than 2019, when there were “only” 44 murders and 232 shootings in July.
According to the Washington Post, congressional liberals are “furious” at Joe Biden for letting the pandemic eviction moratorium lapse (it was really the CDC’s decision, but they say Biden should have extended it by executive order). An excerpt:
“It’s too little too late,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. “The White House did not handle this well. I think they did not think about this eviction moratorium in a serious way.”
As for the broader tensions, Jayapal warned Biden not to take the party’s liberals for granted. “I think that, you know, every relationship needs tending,” she said, adding, “The president has also told me a couple months ago that he was looking forward to meeting with the Progressive Caucus, and we’re still waiting for that to happen.”
In a hastily called, expletive-laden videoconference call of the caucus’s executive board Sunday that included nearly two dozen lawmakers, members railed against the White House and House Democratic leaders over the eviction strategy, according to several Democrats with knowledge of the discussion.
Many liberals believe that this could be their only chance for years to enact major change, because Democrats could lose control of Congress next year, a fear that helps explain some of the current passion.
But is this “major change”? This moratorium will last only as long as the pandemic, but real “major change” is in the offing with measures like the pending infrastructure bill.
Speaking of that, the Senate has finally started the debate over Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill, which is badly needed. Professor Ceiling Cat’s (Emeritus) prediction: it will pass, for no Senator wants to be seen as against our crumbling infrastructure. Where will the money go? The Associated Press lays it out:
Among the major new investments, the bipartisan package is expected to provide $110 billion for roads and bridges, $39 billion for public transit and $66 billion for rail. There’s also to be $55 billion for water and wastewater infrastructure as well as billions for airports, ports, broadband internet and electric vehicle charging stations.
Simone Biles seems to have overcome her “twisties,” at least insofar as planning to participate in an individual gymnastics event: the balance beam event on Tuesday. Look for a more conservative routine from her. UPDATE: The routine finished a few minutes ago (I’m writing at about 5 a.m.) and Biles nabbed a bronze medal—her second medal of these games and seventh over all the Olympics.
This I didn’t expect: the U.S. is out of the gold medal round in women’s soccer, losing 1-0 to Canada via a penalty kick in minute 74 (below).
For 1st time in 20 years, Canada has beaten the USA in soccer.
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) August 2, 2021
And Jussie Smollett is back on trial in Chicago for his 2019 report of being the victim of a racist and homophobic attack, an attack judged as a fabricated fantasy by Dave Chap[elle and all other people with more than one neuron. Although original charges against Smollett were dropped by State’s Attorney Kim Foxx (who almost lost election because of her decision) , Smollett is again, this time on trial for disorderly conduct in filing a fake police report.
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 613,436, an increase of 341 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 4,250,289, an increase of about 9,000 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on August 3 includes:
- 1492 – Christopher Columbus sets sail from Palos de la Frontera, Spain.
- 1527 – The first known letter from North America is sent by John Rut while at St. John’s, Newfoundland.
Here’s an excerpt from the letter given in Wikipedia:
It was at St. John’s, Newfoundland on 3 August 1527 that the first known letter in English was sent from North America. While in St. John’s, Rut had written a letter to King Henry on his findings and his planned voyage southward to seek his fellow explorer. The letter in part reads as follows:
Pleasing your Honourable Grace to heare of your servant John Rut with all his company here in good health thanks be to God.
The conclusion of the letter reads:
…the third day of August we entered into a good harbour called St. John and there we found Eleuen Saile of Normans and one Brittaine and two Portugal barks all a fishing and so we are ready to depart towards Cap de Bras that is 25 leagues as shortly as we have fished and so along the Coast until we may meete with our fellowe and so with all diligence that lyes in me toward parts to that Ilands that we are command at our departing and thus Jesu save and keepe you Honourable Grace and all your Honourable Reuer. In the Haven of St. John the third day of August written in hast 1527, by your servant John Rut to his uttermost of his power.
- 1778 – The theatre La Scala in Milan is inaugurated with the première of Antonio Salieri’s Europa riconosciuta.
La Scala has been restored several times, and reconstructed after WWII, when it was largely destroyed by bombing. Here’s what it looks like today, after another two-year reconstruction that began in 2002:
The original in the 18th century:
- 1852 – Harvard University wins the first Boat Race between Yale University and Harvard. The race is also the first American intercollegiate athletic event.
- 1914 – World War I: Germany declares war against France, while Romania declares its neutrality.
- 1921 – Major League Baseball Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis confirms the ban of the eight Chicago Black Sox, the day after they were acquitted by a Chicago court.
Yes, they were acquitted even though there was strong evidence that eight Chicago White Sox players conspired (with payment from a crime syndicate) to lose the 1919 World Series to Cincinnati. Here are the eight acquitted malefactors, includihng Shoeless Joe Jackson.
- 1936 – Jesse Owens wins the 100 metre dash, defeating Ralph Metcalfe, at the Berlin Olympics.
- 1958 – The world’s first nuclear submarine, the USS Nautilus, becomes the first vessel to complete a submerged transit of the geographical North Pole.
Here’s the navigator’s report indicating their position at the North Pole. The sub is now a museum at Groton Connecticut; you can go aboard but some areas are off limits.
- 1997 – The tallest free-standing structure in the Southern Hemisphere, Sky Tower in downtown Auckland, New Zealand, opens after two-and-a-half years of construction.
I’ve seen it! Standing 328 metres (1,076 ft), the Sky Tower remains the tallest free-standing structure in the Southern Hemisphere:
- 2014 – The genocide of Yazidis by ISIL begins
Notables born on this day include:
- 1887 – Rupert Brooke, English poet (d. 1915)
Brooke, described by Yeats as the “handsomest young man in England”, died on a military ship of an infected mosquito bite at 27. Since he was part of a group on the way to invade Gallipoli, he was doomed anyway. His photo is below:
- 1900 – Ernie Pyle, American soldier and journalist (d. 1945)
- 1900 – John T. Scopes, American educator (d. 1970)
- 1926 – Tony Bennett, American singer and actor
Tony’s 95 today and still going strong.
Those who conked on August 3 include:
- 1924 – Joseph Conrad, Polish-born British novelist (b. 1857)
- 1929 – Thorstein Veblen, American economist and sociologist (b. 1857)
- 1954 – Colette, French novelist and journalist (b. 1873)
- 1964 – Flannery O’Connor, American short story writer and novelist (b. 1925)
- 2004 – Henri Cartier-Bresson, French photographer and painter (b. 1908)
Cartier-Bresson is without a doubt my favorite street photographer. Using a small Leica, he had a great eye for composition. It’s hard to choose a favorite, so here are three that I like a lot:
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili waffles, but we know not what about. Is she thinking about going outside? Her next meal? A nap?
Hili: After taking everything into account, I’m still unsure.A: This may be a sign of maturity.
Hili: Biorąc pod uwagę wszystkie względy, nadal jestem niepewna.Ja; To może świadczyć o twojej dojrzałości.
An ironic photo contributed by Stephen:
A dog-shaming photo from Laurie:
From Jesus of the Day:
From Barry: A rare view of a lightning strike:
— Diseaster (@_DlSEASTER) July 31, 2021
From Simon. The ‘roo appears to be fine, but I’m not sure about the biker:
SHARE THE ROAD! 😆 pic.twitter.com/Gn7AI2DMoL
— 🐮 Holy Cow! 🐮 (@HolyCow_Inc) July 30, 2021
From Ginger K. These aren’t fruit, but a stone formation. And it’s real: see more about the mineral here.
— Geology Tweets (@GeologyTime) July 26, 2021
Tweets from Matthew. Yes, the red color here is illusory; I posted a screenshot I took of the “red” part of the bus below the next tweet:
illusory red pic.twitter.com/OmfbD4v4iC
— Akiyoshi Kitaoka (@AkiyoshiKitaoka) August 2, 2021
Here’s a screenshot of the area of the bus indicated by the right circle:
John Cleese and his moggies, one of which resembles him:
If any cat looks like John Cleese, it’s this one😂 pic.twitter.com/JCFn2NPmPr
— Café René -NEW VENUE TBA💋 (@BakehouseBar) August 2, 2021
The official sign that Facilities put at Botany Pond is very similar to this:
— Ken MacLeod (@amendlocke) August 2, 2021
And, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, and comrades, the Tweet of the Year. Be sure to turn the video on, though you may want the sound off. . .
this is the best thing ever pic.twitter.com/kv8vKO4H0I
— Church ♡ (@manyawfulthings) August 1, 2021