Good morning on Thursday, September 2, 2021: National “Grits for Breakfast” Day. The scare quotes are baffling, but don’t let them scare you: grits are very good, though I’ve met many misguided people who reject them. Here’s the optimal breakfast: grits, fried eggs, country ham with red-eye gravy, and the world’s best biscuits with homemade fruit preserves, all consumed during a seminar trip to Nashville with breakfast at the Loveless Cafe. The grits are in the bowl at upper right, first picture.
I bet you’re hungry now.
It’s also World Coconut Day, Pierce Your Ears Day, and Victory over Japan Day, celebrating the day in 1945 when the Japanese ended WWII by surrendering aboard the U.S.S. Missouri. Here’s I photo I took when touring the ship, which now rests in Pearl Harbor; there’s a plaque on the deck where the surrender took place:
Today’s Google Doodle (click on screensht) celebrates the life and achievements of Rudolf Weigl, born on this day in 1883 (d. 1957). He’s described by Wikipedia as:
. . . a Polish biologist, physician and inventor, known for creating the first effective vaccine against epidemic typhus. He was nominated twice for the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1942 and 1948.
Weigl worked during the Holocaust to save the lives of countless Jews by developing the vaccine for typhus and providing shelter to protect those suffering under the Nazis in occupied Poland. For his contributions, he was named a Righteous Among the Nations in 2003.
The remnants of Hurricane Ida have devastated New York City, flooding it and killing at least 8 people. Central Park got 3.1 inches of rain in just an hour, and nearly all the subways are closed.
The new and highly restrictive Texas anti-abortion law went into effect yesterday, prohibiting all abortions after about six weeks of fertilization (the key feature is a fetal heartbeat). Further, there are no exceptions for rape or incest, making it extra inhumane. To make the law even more nefarious, it was designed to make it difficult to sue the state of Texas over it. (The law violates Roe v. Wade, which allows abortions up to the point of fetal viability outside the womb—ca. 6 months.) Look at this!:
Usually, a lawsuit seeking to block a law because it is unconstitutional would name state officials as defendants. However, the Texas law bars state officials from enforcing it and instead deputizes private individuals to sue anyone who performs the procedure or “aids and abets” it.
The patient may not be sued, but doctors, staff members at clinics, counselors, people who help pay for the procedure, even an Uber driver taking a patient to an abortion clinic are all potential defendants. Plaintiffs, who need not have any connection to the matter or show any injury from it, are entitled to $10,000 and their legal fees recovered if they win. Prevailing defendants are not entitled to legal fees.
In other words, the law intimidates anybody abetting an abortion, including doctors, from helping, while deputizing all Texans to sue to enforce the law, paying them off to the tune of ten thousand bucks (plus legal fees). And if the defendant wins, they don’t get the legal fees.
You might think that the law was designed to go up to the Supreme Court as an attempt to challenge Roe v. Wade. But the way it was written makes it unclear if it can even go to federal courts as opposed to Texas state courts. A consortium of abortion providers appealed to the Supreme Court to stop the law from coming into effect, but the court was silent. I’m not sure whether, given the law, they can even stop it, in which case it will be a model for other states that want to control women’s reproduction. Roe v. Wade will, however, be adjudicated by the Supreme Court in its fall term, which will rule on a Mississippi law banning abortion after 15 weeks. Like many, I’m worried about both of these laws.
The Associated Press did a fact check on Biden’s promises surrounding the evacuation of Americans from Afghanistan. And they found that promises weren’t kept. These include his vow to keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan until the last Americans were out. Further, his claim that the remaining 100-200 Americans there were mostly “dual nationals” who decided to stay because they had family in the country isn’t true either: most were desperate to get out, but had no way to get to the Kabul airport. Biden added that if, in two weeks, those dual citizens want to leave, “we will get you out.” I wouldn’t count on that!
The Washington Post reports that a judge ordered an Ohio hospital, against the hospital’s advice, to give the horse dewormer ivermectin to a patient on a ventilator with Covid. His wife got the horse medicine, insisted that the hospital give it to him. The hospital refused, and the woman sued. The judge is a moron. (h/t Randy)
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 642,451, an increase of 1,418 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 4,546,683,, an increase of about 11,600 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on September 2 includes:
- 31 BC – Final War of the Roman Republic: Battle of Actium: Off the western coast of Greece, forces of Octavian defeat troops under Mark Antony and Cleopatra.
- 1666 – The Great Fire of London breaks out and burns for three days, destroying 10,000 buildings, including Old St Paul’s Cathedral.
Here’s a painting of that fire, with the Wikipedia caption: “The Great Fire of London, depicted by an unknown painter (1675), as it would have appeared from a boat in the vicinity of Tower Wharf on the evening of Tuesday, 4 September 1666. To the left is London Bridge; to the right, the Tower of London. Old St Paul’s Cathedral is in the distance, surrounded by the tallest flames.”
The first is said to have destroyed the homes of 70,000 of the 80,000 inhabitants of the city. The death toll was small, with six reported victims, but that figure might omit the poorer and unrecorded people of London.
- 1898 – Battle of Omdurman: British and Egyptian troops defeat Sudanese tribesmen and establish British dominance in Sudan.
Here’s the victory that elevated General Kitchener to fame, as the British defeated a force twice their size. Present at the battle was Winston Churchill, both participating and reporting on it. Here’s a painting of a British charge from Wikipedia:
- 1901 – Vice President of the United States Theodore Roosevelt utters the famous phrase, “Speak softly and carry a big stick” at the Minnesota State Fair.
- 1939 – World War II: Following the start of the invasion of Poland the previous day, the Free City of Danzig (now Gdańsk, Poland) is annexed by Nazi Germany.
Here’s a short video about the invasion of Danzig; it seems that many locals are celebrating. There’s also a scene of Hitler addressing the Reichstag.
- 1944 – The last execution of a Finn in Finland will take place when soldier Olavi Laiho is executed by shooting in Oulu.
- 1945 – World War II: The Japanese Instrument of Surrender is signed by Japan and the major warring powers aboard the battleship USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay.
Here’s a video of the surrender, which took place off Japan:
- 1946 – The Interim Government of India is formed, headed by Jawaharlal Nehru as vice president with the powers of a Prime Minister.
Here’s Nehru and Gandhi in 1942. Nehru, of course, also became India’s first Prime Minister.
- 1998 – Swissair Flight 111 crashes near Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia; all 229 people onboard are killed.
I visited Peggy’s Cove and the crash memorial in Nova Scotia a few years ago, but the crash was 8 km offshore (it was caused by an uncontrollable fire). Two paintings by Picasso were also lost in the crash.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1946 – Billy Preston, American singer-songwriter, pianist, and actor (d. 2006)
- 1948 – Christa McAuliffe, American educator and astronaut (d. 1986)
This was sad, as McAuliffe was selected to be the “teacher astronaut”, and all her students were surely watching the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger, in which she and the other six members of the crew perished.
- 1964 – Keanu Reeves, Lebanese-Canadian actor, singer, and producer
- 1966 – Salma Hayek, Mexican-American actress, director, and producer
Hayek as Frida, asking Diego’s opinion from the 2002 movie “Frida“:
Those who went back to dust on September 2 include:
“Cat” by Rousseau (1863): a lovely tabby!
- 1964 – Alvin C. York, American colonel, Medal of Honor recipient (b. 1887)
- 1973 – J. R. R. Tolkien, English novelist, short story writer, poet, and philologist (b. 1892)
Here’s a 1964 BBC interview (released in 1971) with Tolkien about Lord of the Rings. The interviewer is Denys Gueroult.
- 2005 – Bob Denver, American actor (b. 1935)
WORK???!!! Maynard G. Krebs, perhaps the first Beat on television (he was on the Dobie Gillis show), always had a strong aversion to the notion of work:
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is anxious:
Hili: I’m missing something.A: What?Hili: I don’t know.
Hili: Czegoś mi brakuje.Ja: Czego?Hili: Nie wiem.
From The Dodo. I love this. Cats in love! (h/t Stash Krod):
From Science Humor:
From Titania, who wrote an article about Oli London, a Brit who has come out as transracial and had multiple surgeries to look Korean. They (using London’s preferred pronoun) aspire to resemble a male Korean singer, Jimin. I hadn’t known about this case. Oli is also bisexual, but transracialism isn’t approved by the woke, however sincere it may be, and they’ve received considerable criticism.(I still think transracialism is not always to be denigrated and that arguments about it are made up to preserve race as more than a social construct.) Titania’s piece, which of course is a spoof, is here.
“Those born in the wrong skin have always been persecuted for living their truth.”
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) September 1, 2021
Masih shows a video of an Iranian woman being publicly rebuked for not being modest enough in covering her head.
Today’s tweet from the Auschwitz Memorial. She lived three months after arrival.
2 September 1895 | A Polish woman, Aniela Kolano, was born in Święcice.
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) September 2, 2021
A tweet from Barry. As we know from David Attenborough, lyrebirds are fantastic mimics of all kinds of sounds, including chainsaws, camera shutters, and car alarms (don’t miss the linked video!). Here a lyrebird in a zoo mimics what can only be a crying child. Sound up, of course.
Lyrebird 🤣. Sound up!
— Char Adams, PhD MPH MA (@_cdadams_) September 1, 2021
From Simon. Oded Rechavi takes weird videos and uses them to draw analogies to academic science. Here’s a good one:
“We did the experiment that the reviewer wanted although honestly it didn’t add much to the story” pic.twitter.com/SHf09qCtpf
— Oded Rechavi 🦉 (@OdedRechavi) August 31, 2021
From Ginger K. I trust the colors have not been enhanced or manipulated here, but I don’t know.
48 different colors of the moon, all photographed in a time span of 10 years pic.twitter.com/tjWWxW4byb
— Space Porn (@redditSpacePorn) August 20, 2021
A frog (species unknown to me) sheds its skin, as all frog do. And, as usual, the shed skin is eaten, as it provides a little nourishment:
— ぴよ@カエルと暮らす (@PIYO_KAERU) September 1, 2021
Javalinas are also known as collared peccaries, and are delightful, though noisy and smelly beasts. A friend and I were once overrun by a big herd of stampeding javelinas in Texas’s Big Bend National Park, and were plenty scared, but they just raced around us and left us alone. Here a group of them cross a road, with a straggler racing to catch up:
Wait for the juvenile at the end 🤣 god I love javalinas. pic.twitter.com/tdfnGWNCTe
— Herboreal 🌿✨ (@HerborealArt) August 31, 2021