There is a tiny Google Doodle this morning honoring the dead of 9/11. It’s very understated; click the screenshot to see it in context .
Good morning on the Cat Sabbath, Saturday, September 11, 2021. Because it’s the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Foodimentary has named the day “National Hot Cross Buns Day/A ‘Day’ for Remembrance”. (They once again inserted erroneous scare quotes, not to mention combining the attack with hot cross buns.) Related to those attacks, it’s also National Day of Service and Remembrance, National Emergency Responders Day, and Patriot Day.
Other days today are National Iguana Awareness Day, Aunt’s Day, German Language Day, Women’s Baseball Day, World First Aid Day, and Make Your Bed Day (I scrupulously make my bed each morning, convinced that it’s the best way to start the day).
News of the Day:
Another two flights left Kabul carrying 21 American citizens and 22 American green-card holders. There still appear to be about 100 Americans (some say more) in Afghanistan. The fate of Afghan refugees still stalled at Hamid Karzai airport is unclear, but the U.S. put a hold on all flights of Afghan refugees headed to America after discovering several cases of measles aboard those who arrived.
You already know about the Republican pushback against Biden’s new vaccination mandate, with 19 Republican governors vowing to oppose the mandate (it requires all federal workers as well as employees of businesses with more than 100 workers to be either vaccinated or face weekly Covid testing). Mask mandates are being fought as well, with the Kentucky legislature overruling the governor’s order for such a mandate in public schools.
Robby Soave, a libertarian journalist and author who’s the senior editor of the equally libertarian magazine Reason, has a scathing op-ed in the NYT: “Biden’s vaccine mandate is a big mistake.” His beef? That Biden and his spokesperson Jen Psaki assured the country that there would be no vaccine mandate, and then two days ago he imposed a pretty strict one. I agree with the mandate, because people are dying and we need some pressure on the vaccine-resisting chowderheads, but Soave worries (as does Andrew Sullivan in his column this week) that the mandate is too authoritarian and autocratic and will have dire consequence. Soave:
But forcing vaccines on a minority contingent of unwilling people is a huge error that risks shredding the social fabric of a country already being pulled apart by political tribalism.
The president should not — and most likely does not — have the power to unilaterally compel millions of private-sector workers to get vaccinated or risk losing their jobs: Mr. Biden is presiding over a vast expansion of federal authority, one that Democrats will certainly come to regret the next time a Republican takes power. Moreover, the mechanism of enforcement — a presidential decree smuggled into law by the Department of Labor and its Occupational Safety and Health Administration — is fundamentally undemocratic. Congress is supposed to make new laws, not an unaccountable bureaucratic agency.
I am concerned about the expansion of the executive branch’s reach that started with Trump and continues with extra-Congressional “executive orders,” but on the other hand I don’t want people to die, and Congress probably wouldn’t pass a mandate anyway. Biden is operating under an old OSHA regulation designed to protect workers in emergency situations, but the regulation has never been applied to vaccinations before. Do you think Biden has the authority to do what he did?
Steve Novella at Science-Based Medicine is clearly stung by his site’s Woke-ish removal of Harriet Hall’s article (a book review of Abigail Shrier’s book Irreversible Damage). Now he’s denying that sex is binary and making other wonky statements on Twitter. In 31 Tweets (Twitter is clearly not a good place for this kind of stuff, but it’s good enough if you lack a website), a person with the handle Le Canard Noir takes Novella’s claims apart. Click below to start following the thread. (h/t Matthew)
I thought the statement extraordinary and confused. I shall explain why and perhaps how we might disagree so much.
— Le Canard Noir (@lecanardnoir) September 10, 2021
There have been a few hitches in the Elizabeth Holmes/Theranos trial that has delayed its progress, so there was no courtroom action yesterday.
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 658,865, an increase of 1642 deaths over yesterday’s figure. (Remember when 200,000 deaths was thought to be an unimaginable toll?) The reported world death toll is now 4,632,282, an increase of about 9,800 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on September 11 includes:
- 9 – Battle of the Teutoburg Forest ends, where the Roman Empire suffers the greatest defeat of its history and the Rhine being established as the border between the Empire and the so-called barbarians for the next four hundred years
- 1226 – The first recorded instance of the Catholic practice of perpetual Eucharistic adoration formally begins in Avignon, France.
When the adoration of the Eucharist (often a fancy displayed wafer) occurs 24 hours a day, it’s called “perpetual Eucharistic adoration.” It’s a very strange practice, but hey, it’s religion. Here’s one object of this adoration, labeled by Wikipedia: “A consecrated host placed in a monstrance for adoration”:
- 1297 – Battle of Stirling Bridge: Scots jointly led by William Wallace and Andrew Moray defeat the English.
- 1609 – Henry Hudson discovers Manhattan Island and the indigenous people living there.
- 1789 – Alexander Hamilton is appointed the first United States Secretary of the Treasury.
- 1792 – The Hope Diamond is stolen along with other French crown jewels when six men break into the house where they are stored.
This was during the time of the French Revolution, when the jewels were owned by Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette (it was called the “French blue” at the time, and was probably worn by the Queen). When they were imprisoned, the jewel was stolen from the Royal storehouse and recut from its original 68 to its present 45.5 carats. After a tortuous history, the fabulous blue diamond is on display at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. Here it is in its setting:
- 1857 – The Mountain Meadows massacre: Mormon settlers and Paiutes massacre 120 pioneers at Mountain Meadows, Utah.
- 1941 – Construction begins on The Pentagon.
- 1941 – Charles Lindbergh’s Des Moines Speech accusing the British, Jews and FDR’s administration of pressing for war with Germany.
Lindbergh was a real anti-Semite, but that’s not grounds for cancellation these days.
Here’s part of his antiwar speech.
- 1944 – World War II: The Western Allied invasion of Germany begins near the city of Aachen.
- 1973 – A coup in Chile, headed by General Augusto Pinochet, topples the democratically elected president Salvador Allende. Pinochet exercises dictatorial power until ousted in a referendum in 1988, staying in power until 1990.
- 2001 – The September 11 attacks, a series of coordinated terrorist attacks killing 2,977 people using four aircraft hijacked by 19 members of al-Qaeda. Two aircraft crash into the World Trade Center in New York City, a third crashes into The Pentagon in Arlington County, Virginia, and a fourth into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Here’s a news report with video of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, followed by the collapse of the towers. I well remember this, as we watched much of this on live television at the time, for we had a small t.v. in the lab. We had a post on “where were you then?” yesterday, and there was a substantial response, with many answers quite interesting.
Here’s a video purporting to show the explosion of the bomb (CNN can’t verify it). It is not a nuclear bomb, but a conventional one, with the power of 44 tons of TNT—the force of a small tactical nuclear weapon. It explodes in mid-air like a nuclear bomb, though.
- 2012 – The U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya is attacked, resulting in four deaths.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1816 – Carl Zeiss, German lens maker, created the Optical instrument (d. 1888)
- 1862 – O. Henry, American short story writer (d. 1910)
His real name was William Sydney Porter, and he served three years for bank embezzlement, wrote great short stories, and died at 47 from alcoholism. Here he is:
- 1885 – D. H. Lawrence, English novelist, poet, playwright, and critic (d. 1930)
This great writer also died young: of tuberculosis at 44. Here’s a picture of Lawrence taken by Lady Ottoline Morrell in 1915
- 1917 – Jessica Mitford, English-American journalist and author (d. 1996)
- 1945 – Leo Kottke, American singer-songwriter and guitarist
I’m a big fan ot Leo Kottke, the spiritual heir of my favorite acoustic guitarist, John Fahey. Here’s Kottke reworking the old Byrds song, “Eight Miles High” (1977). Unlike Fahey, Kottke can sing.
- 1965 – Moby, American singer-songwriter, musician, and DJ
Whatever happened to Moby? He was a big deal some years back, but we don’t hear about him any more.
Those who passed through death’s door on September 11 include:
- 1948 – Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Pakistani lawyer and politician, 1st Governor-General of Pakistan (b. 1876)
It was Jinnah (below) who was the force behind the partition of India into a Muslim state (Pakistan) and a Hindu state, and was the first leader of Pakistan, but died of TB a year after he took office. Here’s Jinnah with Gandhi in 1944:
- 1950 – Jan Smuts, South African field marshal and politician, 2nd Prime Minister of South Africa (b. 1870)
- 1971 – Nikita Khrushchev, Russian general and politician (b. 1894)
- 1973 – Salvador Allende, Chilean physician and politician, 29th President of Chile (b. 1908)
Allende, a Marxist, was deemed a disaster by the U.S. because he was the first democratically elected Marxist head of state in Latin America. And, of course, in one of the many black moments in the life of Henry Kissinger and the CIA, the U.S. helped overthrow him. He committed suicide by shooting himself with an AK-47 as the troops closed in on the Presidential Palace. Here’s Allende in 1972:
- 1987 – Lorne Greene, Canadian actor (b. 1915)
- 1987 – Peter Tosh, Jamaican singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1944)
- 2002 – Johnny Unitas, American football player and sportscaster (b. 1933)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is thinking about whether to chase little Kulka away from the food bowl. Malgorzata tells me they’re getting along much better now.
Hili: To chase away or to accept?Kulka: If she is thinking it means she is not sure.
Hili: Przegonić, czy zaakceptować?Kulka: Jeśli myśli, to nie jest pewna.
From Not Another Science Cat Page, we have a cat burglar:
A shaman cat from Jesus of the Day:
From Titania, who’s upset at the competition here:
This is NOT okay. 😡
Social justice activism is NOT some kind of grubby competition to see who can be the most virtuous.
Please like, retweet,and tell everybody about my brave stance on this issue. https://t.co/kX7MxeU3X7
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) September 10, 2021
From the Auschwitz Memorial. 596 out of 598 arriving prisoners were gassed on the spot.
11 September 1944 | A transport of 598 prisoners transferred from KL Stutthof arrived at the Auschwitz camp. Only two of them were registered after the selection made by SS doctors. The remaining 596 people were murdered in gas chambers.
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) September 11, 2021
From Simon, who asks me, “Was this your moment of truth pre-WEIT?”
When you decide to stop the rat race and write a book pic.twitter.com/84awsDsIDo
— Oded Rechavi 🦉 (@OdedRechavi) September 8, 2021
From Barry, who’s sent me several very weird tweets from Maajid Nawaz this week about Covid. He sent this one noting: “It seems unlikely to me that a large number of military people would go AWOL. Anyway, Nawaz presumably thinks this idiot is delivering an important message. What a shame.”
UPDATE: Apparently Nawaz has deleted this tweet from his site, so you’ll miss the military guy ranting about the vaccine mandate. I don’t know why it was deleted.
US military walk-outs occurred after Biden mandates vaccines for Federal employees & military
Fighter jet pilots have walked out:
— Maajid أبو عمّار (@MaajidNawaz) September 10, 2021
Tweets from Matthew, with several for Caturday:
Good morning! pic.twitter.com/Le5g5d7Zdl
— Diane Doniol-Valcroze (@ddoniolvalcroze) September 9, 2021
The whole internet loves Hardhat Cat, a lovely cat that wears a hardhat! *5 seconds later* We regret to inform you the cat supports the annexation of Crimea pic.twitter.com/txZ9IpOdRK
— Gwen C. Katz (@gwenckatz) September 7, 2021
And from Larry the Cat, Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office of the UK. This isn’t Larry, but it’s a chill kitty!
— Larry the Cat (@Number10cat) September 4, 2021
Nice ice crystals!
Candle ice is a form of rotten ice that develops in columns perpendicular to the surface of a lake or other body of water. This occurs due to the hexagonal structure of the ice crystals [read more: https://t.co/U2zz0LGZuL] [gif: https://t.co/qDsRFRJ2Xr] pic.twitter.com/htC9sqhYs9
— Massimo (@Rainmaker1973) September 9, 2021
Matthew tweeted a video of vampire bats in action:
“Oh come on, it’s just a slight graze, not a big bite. I’ll only take a little, I promise.” https://t.co/5hiv7sWq5Z
— Matthew Cobb (@matthewcobb) September 10, 2021