Top of the morning to you on Sunday, September 5, 2021: National Cheese Pizza Day. It’s also World Samosa Day, Pet Rock Day (does anybody still have theirs?), National Shrink Day (celebrating psychologists and psychiatrists), and International Day of Charity, a United Nations Holiday. It’s Labor Day Weekend, so tomorrow “regular” people have the day off.
News of the Day:
I’m getting my flu shot this morning, and it’s about that time for us all to get the annual jab. September is a good time to get it, but ask your doctor. I will have it in my left shoulder, as I hurl duck food with my right arm.
The Biden administration has said that only around 200 Americans remain in Afghanistan. Estimates by veterans groups, however, say that estimate is not only too low, but fails to include foreign-born people who hold American green cards, and are American for nearly all purposes, including getting the right to go back to the U.S. I suspect Biden better make some good-faith efforts to keep finding and recovering these people, as his approval rating has plummeted (on Friday he had 45.8 percent approval and 48.5 percent disapproval)—even though most Americans think the withdrawal from Afghanistan was a good thing.
The NYT has a good if not particularly novel op-ed by two law professors, “We are becoming a nation of vigilantes.” It was, of course, prompted by the Supreme Court’s refusal to strike down the vigilante-enforced Texas anti-abortion law. But the rot, they say, is spreading further:
Gutting Roe v. Wade, especially in this backdoor fashion, is a staggering blow to equality in America. And in fact, the president of Florida’s State Senate just promised to introduce a copycat bill in the coming legislative session. But the subversion of private enforcement laws to restrict individual rights goes far beyond abortion. Since the beginning of this year, Tennessee has authorized students and teachers to sue schools that allow transgender students to use the restrooms that match their gender identity; Florida has followed suit, with a law that allows students to sue schools that permit transgender girls to play on girls’ sports teams.
Additional bills are in the works across several jurisdictions authorizing parents to sue schools if teachers or outside speakers mention the principles of critical race theory. And there’s every reason to expect that red states will push private enforcement further — to election monitoring and perhaps even immigration enforcement.
Of course the banning of teaching intelligent design in Dover, PA, was done in a lawsuit of a group of students and parents suing the school board, but of course that was a First Amendment suit. Perhaps thats why that suit went forward and the others above, say the professors, represent “vigilante” justice. I’m not sure, for example, that bathroom bills (which I oppose) cannot be the subject of lawsuits, for don’t those fall under Title IX? But surely the professors know which suits are possible and which are not. I still don’t understand why such suits represent “private enforcement”.
A surprise: the European Parliament of the EU has unanimously denounced the anti-Semitic content of textbooks produced by the Palestinian Authority. The hatred against Jews taught in Palestinian schools has no parallel in Israel, but is either ignored or tacitly approved by Leftist anti-Semites. The condemnation is based on an EU-commisioned report (see here) by the George Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research
The report — produced by the Germany-based Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research — analyzed 156 textbooks and 16 teacher guides published between 2017 and 2019 by the Palestinian Ministry of Education, in a range of subjects.
It found that PA textbooks trafficked in antisemitic tropes, removed previously-included references to Israeli-Palestinian peace agreements, and “glorified” as heroes terrorists convicted of killing Israelis. They also portrayed violence against civilians as part of a “narrative of resistance,” and conspicuously delegitimized Israel, erasing the Jewish state from maps and even avoiding mentioning its name.
Can and will the EU do anything about this? They could, because those hateful textbooks are funded with Europea and American money. Will they do anything? I doubt it. (h/t Malgorzata)
The Wall Street Journal has a short but catchy picture story about how, for four decades, the British government asked people to volunteer to catch the common cold in an attempt to cure it or prevent it. Volunteers spent ten-day stints in the Wiltshire countryside, kept in “bubbles” with meals delivered to their rooms, though they were allowed to go outside if they kept their distance from each other. The cold virus was squirted into their nostrils. Many people returned year after year, regarding it as a kind of vacation. Sadly, the “challenge trials” ended in 1990 with no progress in curing colds.
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 647,887, an increase of 1,544 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 4,576,748, an increase of about 8,100 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on September 5 includes:
- 1666 – Great Fire of London ends: Ten thousand buildings, including Old St Paul’s Cathedral, are destroyed, but only six people are known to have died.
- 1698 – In an effort to Westernize his nobility, Tsar Peter I of Russia imposes a tax on beards for all men except the clergy and peasantry.
- 1774 – First Continental Congress assembles in Philadelphia.
A painting of this meeting, which selected George Washington to head the Continental Army:
According to Wikipedia, “16,594 official death sentences had been dispensed throughout France since June 1793, of which 2,639 were in Paris alone, and an additional 10,000 died in prison, without trial, or under both of these circumstances.” Robespierre was the main architect of the laws that allowed these mass execution, but he eventually got his at the age of 36. A depiction of his decapitation:
This was actually a country that existed from March 2, 1836, to February 19, 1846. Here’s its extent, with the Republic in dark green and the disputed area in light green:
- 1877 – American Indian Wars: Oglala Sioux chief Crazy Horse is bayoneted by a United States soldier after resisting confinement in a guardhouse at Fort Robinson in Nebraska.
There are no authenticated photos of Crazy Horse, but here’s an alleged photo from the year he was killed:
- 1914 – World War I: First Battle of the Marne begins. Northeast of Paris, the French attack and defeat German forces who are advancing on the capital.
- 1945 – Cold War: Igor Gouzenko, a Soviet Union embassy clerk, defects to Canada, exposing Soviet espionage in North America, signalling the beginning of the Cold War.
- 1945 – Iva Toguri D’Aquino, a Japanese American suspected of being wartime radio propagandist Tokyo Rose, is arrested in Yokohama.
Tokyo Rose spent two years in prison for treason before being pardoned by Gerald Ford. Here’s a mugshot and a WWII propaganda film featuring one of her broadcasts, the “Voice of Truth”:
- 1960 – Muhammad Ali (then known as Cassius Clay) wins the gold medal in the light heavyweight boxing competition at the Olympic Games in Rome.
- 1969 – My Lai Massacre: U.S. Army Lieutenant William Calley is charged with six specifications of premeditated murder for the death of 109 Vietnamese civilians in My Lai.
Calley served but three years of house arrest. Here’s his mugshot:
- 1972 – Munich massacre: A Palestinian terrorist group called “Black September” attacks and takes hostage 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympic Games. Two die in the attack and nine are murdered the following day.
Here’s a famous picture of one of the terrorists. In fact, the three surviving gunmen (five were killed) were freed in exchange for the release of a hijacked plane. Over the next 20 years, Mossad tracked down and killed or imprisoned most of the terrorists involved in this operation. You can read more about the Munich Massacre here.
Here’s a video of Squeaky’s assassination attempt and her apprehension. As Wikipedia reports, she got 34 years in prison and has been paroled:
She was released on parole from Federal Medical Center, Carswell, on August 14, 2009, and moved to New York State, where she and her boyfriend Robert Valdner live in a house decorated with skulls. In a 2019 televised interview, Fromme said about Manson, “Was I in love with Charlie? Yeah, […] I still am.”
Here’s Mr. and Mrs. Squeaky’s home in New York and a recent photo of the Squeakster:
- 1984 – Western Australia becomes the last Australian state to abolish capital punishment.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1847 – Jesse James, American outlaw (d. 1882)
Here’s Jesse (left) and Frank James, leaders of the James-Younger Gang, in 1872. By then the gang had already committed several train robberies. James was shot in the back of a head by a colleague in 1882.
- 1902 – Darryl F. Zanuck, American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter (d. 1979)
- 1905 – Arthur Koestler, Hungarian-English journalist and author (d. 1983)
- 1912 – John Cage, American composer and theorist (d. 1992)
- 1929 – Bob Newhart, American comedian and actor
- 1936 – Bill Mazeroski, American baseball player and coach
“Maz” is best known for hitting the home run that won the 1960 World Series (10-9) for the Pittsburgh Pirates over the New York Yankees in the bottom of the ninth inning, game seven. The video is shown below. I was watching it live on television at the time. ESPN ranks it as “the greatest home run of all time.”
- 1940 – Raquel Welch, American actress and singer
- 1942 – Werner Herzog, German actor, director, producer, and screenwriter
- 1946 – Freddie Mercury, Tanzanian-English singer-songwriter and producer (d. 1991)
Here’s part of Mercury’s famous performance with Queen at Live Aid in 1985.
- 1973 – Rose McGowan, American actress
Those who passed away on September 5 include:
- 1548 – Catherine Parr, Sixth and last Queen of Henry VIII of England (b. c. 1512)
- 1877 – Crazy Horse, American tribal leader (b. 1849)
- 1906 – Ludwig Boltzmann, Austrian physicist and philosopher (b. 1844)
- 1997 – Georg Solti, Hungarian conductor and director (b. 1912)
- 1997 – Mother Teresa, Albanian-Indian nun, missionary, and saint, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1910)
The Wikipedia article on Mother Teresa is surprisingly negative, especially the part on “quality of medical care.” (Note that she also had the dying baptized as Catholics, regardless of their religion.) Here’s the men’s ward at her Kolkata hospital, Nirmal Hriday:
- 2016 – Phyllis Schlafly, American lawyer, writer, and political activist (b. 1924)
Schafly, a diehard conservative, was an anti-feminist, opposed to everything that feminists support today. Here she is speaking of abortion:
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is pessimistic again:
Hili: Did the world always look like that?A: No, it changes constantly.Hili: It bodes ill.
Hili: Czy świat zawsze tak wyglądał?Ja: Nie, ciągle się zmienia.Hili: To źle wróży.
I’m elevating this tweet because it’s such a good joke (h/t Matthew):
me: do you sell ducks?
him: yes, but they're going quick
me: ok I'll take one
me: I see
— john (@mrjohndarby) September 4, 2021
From Jesus of the Day:
A meme from Nicole:
Two Muslim women duke it out (this was in January, 2020): Masih takes on the nefarious Ilhan Omar, who refuses to decry oppression of women if it’s dictated by Islam. There are ten responses in the thread.
MPORTANT THREAD ⬇️⬇️⬇️
1-Earlier this week, Rep Ilhan Omar shared a defamatory article about me on social media by a Koch-Brothers funded “think tank” co-founded by a known sympathizer of the Iranian regime.
— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) January 10, 2020
From the Auschwitz Memorial:
5 September 1938 | A Polish Jewish boy, Jchiel Bela Tiszman, was born in Płońsk.
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) September 5, 2021
A tweet from Dom, who notes:
My friends Dr Rebecca Nesbit and Dr Phil Gould just moved to Cornwall, and Phil, an entomologist, has been using a moth trap to identify species in their garden. He just caught a crane fly with pseudoscorpion hitch hikers!
You've got to wonder quite how, with two pseudoscorpions on board, this small cranefly managed to get airborne in order to appear in my moth trap the other night! #diptera #arachnida @BritishSpiders pic.twitter.com/4Jn9o7Symn
— Philip Gould (@PhilipJLGould) September 1, 2021
A tweet from Ginger K. There are many tweets like this showing Godzilla Cats sleeping in dioramas:
Just a cat napping in a model village pic.twitter.com/FhKcFKAUeA
— Mat Osman (@matosman) August 18, 2021
Tweets from Matthew. This organism isn’t that rare, it’s just hard to see. It’s a ciliate protist that’s filled to the brim with endosymbiotic algae that provide nutrition. Read more about it and its biogeographic distribution here.
This VERY rare organism, called spirostomum semivirescens, has only been documented in four countries in the entire world… until now!
I recently found it in Denmark 🇩🇰 as well.@MoticEurope BA310E microscope 🔬 pic.twitter.com/Yz5KjdHmfl
— My Microscopic World (@MyMicroscopic) September 4, 2021
This is a big toad (the American toad Anaxyrus americanus ), but Greg has a comment:
It is pretty big; the record for the species is 111 mm. But cane toads get to 240 mm. As Crocodile Dundee would say looking at the American toad, “That’s not a toad.” Then, pulling a cane toad with a flourish from his backpack, he’d say, “That’s a toad.”
This is the largest American Toad I have ever seen. That is all. pic.twitter.com/vYKhVgIZSs
— NKFherping (@noahkfields) September 4, 2021
I’d love to be a nurse at a bat hospital!
Baby Bats at the Tolga Bat Hospital in Atherton, Australia
(Photo: Jurgen Freund Photography) pic.twitter.com/FxXyaz5lfw
— Diane Doniol-Valcroze (@ddoniolvalcroze) September 4, 2021
Matthew thought that the abdominal pincers of earwigs were for sexual selection (male-male combat?), but they’re clearly not.
— 虫とりどうふ@ちくわ教 (@Tofuinsect) September 2, 2021