It’s shabbos for cats: Saturday, November 6, 2021: National Nachos Day, a good accompaniment to Thanksgiving football. Wouldn’t you like some of these now?
It’s also National Wine Tasting Day, World Numbat Day, National Bison Day, Basketball Day, Book Lovers Day, National Saxophone Day, and International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict,
Here’s an adorable numbat; there’s only one species (Myrmecobius fasciatus), and it’s an endangered marsupial with a scattered distribution in south and west Australia.
Wine of the Day: This Spanish Mencia from 2011 is a red wine I’ve never had before, and I love trying new varietals. This grape is grown in western Spain. Checking online, I find that the note and rating by my wine go-to, Robert Parker, is enticing:
From vineyards planted in pure granite soils, the 2011 A Portela is an amazing, unoaked, naturally made 100% Mencia. Opulently styled with copious notes of blueberry liqueur, crushed rocks, spring flowers and a hint of camphor, it exhibits fabulous intensity, a medium to full-bodied mouthfeel, superb ripeness and an ethereal lightness in spite of its intensity and richness. This stunning effort from Jose Luis Murcia should be drunk over the next 5-10 years.
I don’t remember buying it or how much I paid, but I note that the 2014, supposed to be excellent, is only $15. Again I’m pushing it, as it’s ten years past vintage, but let’s try it with pizza. . .
The verdict: a superb wine rich, unctuous, and with the “barnyard” aroma characteristic of good Burgundy. It’s by no means over the hill, with several years left of life. If you can find the 2014 for around $15, buy it!
News of the Day:
The House passed a $1 trillion bill on Friday night to rebuild the country’s aging public works system, fund new climate resilience initiatives and expand access to high-speed internet service, giving final approval to a central plank of President Biden’s economic agenda after a daylong drama that pitted moderate Democrats against progressives.
But an even larger social safety net and climate change bill was back on hold, with a half-dozen moderate-to-conservative Democrats withholding their votes until a nonpartisan analysis could tally its price tag.
. . . In a late-night vote that followed a day of near-death experiences for Mr. Biden’s agenda, the House passed the infrastructure measure on a 228-to-206 vote, with 13Republicans bucking their party leadership and joining all but six Democrats in support. Its triumph was something of a vindication of Mr. Biden’s efforts to seek bipartisanship on a key issue that both parties have long viewed as a priority.
Biden will speak on his bill at 9:30 a.m. Eastern time this morning. Here’s the vote; click on screenshot to see the breakdown.
Every one of the six Democratic “no” votes came from a “progressive”:
What’s below was written yesterday evening:
*Rebuffing House “progressives,” Nancy Pelosi has announced that she’s putting up Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill for a vote. The progressives had said they wouldn’t vote for it until the big social safety-net bill was passed first. Many Democrats said they couldn’t vote on the latter bill until its impact and costs were fully assessed (there’s a government agency, the Congressional Budget Office, that can do this, but it hasn’t reported yet). But we have no idea whether even the cheaper bill will pass:
Heading into the meeting, Representative Cori Bush, Democrat of Missouri, said she was a “hard no” on passing the infrastructure bill on Friday without also passing the social policy plan. “There is no phone call I could get or offer that could change my mind,” she said, adding that progressives’ trust in their centrist colleagues was “hanging by a thread.”
and from Reuters:
Representative Pramila Jayapal, leader of the 95-member progressive caucus, rejected the idea of voting on the infrastructure bill without knowing whether the six centrist holdouts would ultimately support the social spending package. [JAC: did vote anyway, and a “yes”]
*The rush to get the infrastructure bill passed surely reflects, at least in part, the view that the Democratic Party’s losses in last Tuesday’s election reflected Biden’s failure to pass his spending bills. In response to a question about whether Democrats would have done better if the bills had already been passed. The NBC Evening News reported yesterday that Biden said yes, that it would have been much better were the bills passed before election day.
*The SpaceX capsule that was supposed to bring four astronauts back to Earth from the ISS now has a broken toilet, forcing the astronauts to wear diapers during the return. (It can take up to 20 hours.)
NASA astronaut Megan McArthur described the situation Friday as “suboptimal” but manageable.
“Spaceflight is full of lots of little challenges,” she said during a news conference from orbit. “This is just one more that we’ll encounter and take care of in our mission. So we’re not too worried about it.”
What I want to know is where they’re going to get the diapers. Is there a supply on the ISS?
*You might know that the death penalty in Japan (another technologically advanced country that has capital punishment) is brutal. You never know on what day you’ll be hanged until the morning of that day, when you’re informed that it’s time to face the Reaper. You’ve given a last meal, a spiritual consultation, and then the noose. Neither the general public nor your family know that you’re dead until it’s over. I think that’s much worse than knowing the day on which you’ll die well in advance, though some may feel otherwise. At any rate, from the BBC we hear that two Japanese condemned prisoners have sued the government for inhumane treatment. But perhaps some readers think that this is more humane than living for, say, a year knowing exacty when you’ll die. (h/t Gravelinspector)
*In a column in the Washington Post, Karen Attiah calls out Beyoncé for wearing what Attiah sees as a “blood diamond,” though it isn’t really one—it’s a “colonial diamond.” It is in fact the 128.5-karat Tiffany Yellow DIamond, unearthed in 1877. While some venues, like CNN, celebrate this as a moral advance, since Beyoncé is the first black woman to wear the diamond in public. Wikipedia notes this:
The diamond is known to have been worn by only four women during its lifetime. It was worn by Mrs. E. Sheldon Whitehouse at the 1957 Tiffany Ball held in Newport, Rhode Island, mounted for the occasion in a necklace of white diamonds. It was subsequently worn by Audrey Hepburn in 1961 publicity photographs for Breakfast at Tiffany’s. In 2019, Lady Gaga wore the diamond at the 91st Academy Awards. Beyoncé wore the necklace in a collaboration campaign with Tiffany in 2021, becoming the first Black woman to wear the yellow diamond.
While Attiah kvetches about the incident like this:
Tiffany may be trying to rebrand, but it has badly misjudged the ethos of the moment. Its campaign does not celebrate Black liberation — it elevates a painful symbol of colonialism. It presents an ostentatious display of wealth as a sign of progress in an age when Black Americans possess just 4 percent of the United States’s total household wealth. If Black success is defined by being paid to wear White people’s large colonial diamonds, then we are truly still in the sunken place.
I guess we’re still in the sunken place. Here’s Beyoncé wearing the huge gem:
*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 753,517, an increase of 1,206 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 5,056,293, an increase of about 8,700 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on November 6 includes:
- 1860 – Abraham Lincoln is elected the 16th President of the United States with only 40% of the popular vote, defeating John C. Breckinridge, John Bell, and Stephen A. Douglas in a four-way race.
- 1900 – President William McKinnley is re-elected, along with his vice-presidential running mate, Governor Theodore Roosevelt of New York. Republicans also swept the congressional elections, winning increased majorities in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Teddy became President when McKinley was assassinated in 1901.
- 1947 – Meet the Press, the longest running television program in history, makes its debut.
Here’s a two-minute history of this show (now 74 years running), even showing the first broadcast:
- 1971 – The United States Atomic Energy Commission tests the largest U.S. underground hydrogen bomb, code-named Cannikin, on Amchitka Island in the Aleutians.
Have you ever seen an underground test? Here’s the Cannikin test:
- 2012 – Tammy Baldwin becomes the first openly gay politician to be elected to the United States Senate.
Baldwin, below, is still in office, and of course is a Democrat:
Notables born on this day include:
- 1814 – Adolphe Sax, Belgian-French instrument designer, invented the saxophone (d. 1894); see above.
Here’s Sax in the 1850’s. It’s a good thing his name wasn’t Rubenstein!
- 1854 – John Philip Sousa, American composer and bandleader (d. 1932)
- 1861 – James Naismith, Canadian-American physician and educator, invented basketball (d. 1939)
And here’s the first court, with the Wikipedia caption, “The original 1891 “Basket Ball” court in Springfield College. It used a peach basket attached to the wall.”
Schwerner was one of these three, killed by the Klan.
- 1946 – Sally Field, American actress
- 1948 – Glenn Frey, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and actor (d. 2016)
Here’s Frey singing lead on what I think is the Eagles’s best song, “Lyin’ Eyes” (he also co-wrote it with Don Henley). A live video from their farewell tour. And a note from Wikipedia:
The title and idea for the song came when Glenn Frey and Don Henley were in their favorite Los Angeles restaurant/bar Dan Tana‘s which was frequented by many beautiful women, and they started talking about beautiful women who were cheating on their husbands. They saw a beautiful young woman with a fat and much older wealthy man, and Frey said: “She can’t even hide those lyin’ eyes.”
This is a terrific performance, even when the boys were getting on:
Those who went to Valhalla on November 6 include only one notable, but it’s a doozy:
- 1816 – Gouverneur Morris, American scholar, politician, and diplomat, United States Ambassador to France who died a bizarre death (b. 1752)
Well, we can’t let that rest, can we? Here’s his bizarre death as recounted by Wikipedia:
Morris died on November 6, 1816, after causing himself internal injuries and an infection while using a piece of whalebone as a catheter to attempt clearing a blockage in his urinary tract. He died at the family estate, Morrisania, and was buried at St. Ann’s Church in The Bronx.
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is eager to come inside:
Hili: I’m back from the forest.A: And what now?And you have to open the door for me.
Hili: Wróciłam z lasu.Ja: I co?Hili: I musisz mi otworzyć drzwi.
And here’s a photo by Andrzej of Szaron in his too-small cat bed:
For the Sabbath, some sayings of a Jewish Buddha (click to enlarge):
Several versions of this self-description are floating around, and I think I’ve posted one, though not this one. They are real.
If you’re not announcing your pronouns, race, hairstyle and accessories, you’re on the wrong side of history.pic.twitter.com/cfmynPoFX4
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) November 5, 2021
From Luana. By god, madam, this is going too damn far! (Yes, d*gs can carry and transmit Covid, but rarely.)
Animal abuse pic.twitter.com/1oPIL4ee8z
— Libs of Tik Tok (@libsoftiktok) November 5, 2021
From Dom; yes this is real, a species Petroica rodinogaster) from SE Australia.
Even if you’re feeling a bit grouchy, it can still make you feel chirpy to know that pink robins exist (photo: James White, Shortlist, Birdlife Australia Photography Awards 2021)https://t.co/QigSPNKFIF pic.twitter.com/dSHsUQQ2qp
— Journal of Art in Society (@artinsociety) November 5, 2021
From Barry, who loves how the cat bobs its head:
The cat, who's paying attention, bobs his head.
📽️ source unknown pic.twitter.com/pxSrnfPX7P
— Char Adams (@_charadams_) November 5, 2021
From the Auschwitz Memorial:
6 November 1926 | A Dutch Jewish girl, Maria Os, was born in Maastricht.
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) November 6, 2021
Tweets from Matthew. This first one is a rare capture indeed:
HERE IT IS: THE REVEAL!
This is the first time in 15 years of studying corals that I've captured larval settlement in a clear timelapse
Yet EVERY CORAL REEF in the world started from coral larvae doing THIS EXACT THING
The black box of larval dispersal, now in full color🤯🤩😍 pic.twitter.com/hLmCeAHblr
— Dr. Kristen Marhaver (@CoralSci) November 4, 2021
Nevertheless, he persisted:
— Elzo (@Elzo_) November 3, 2021
Cats always move to the sunny spot. In Coyne’s Green New Deal, all cats would be equipped with solar panels:
Cat on a warm tiled roof. pic.twitter.com/UvAHIWzf0p
— Dick King-Smith HQ (@DickKingSmith) October 2, 2021