It’s Monday, November 15, 2021 and National Raisin Bran Day. I do like that stuff although I almost never eat cereal (or breakfast).
It’s also National Bundt Day, celebrating the Bundt cake, National Spicy Hermit Cookie Day, National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day, I Love to Write Day, America Recycles Day, Steve Irwin Day (he wasn’t born or died on November 15, so the date is a mystery), and International Day of the Imprisoned Writer.
Here are some lovely (and undoubtedly tasty) Hermit Cookies, in this case shaped like slabs. The recipe is here, and looks like a cookie version of Indian Pudding (cornmeal, molasses, spices, etc.)
News of the Day:
I have little news today because a). nothing much happened, b). I am exhausted from insomnia, and c). Our electricity went off for two hours yesterday evening and I missed the evening news as I had to sit in the dark without television. . The evening news is always my spur to writing this section, and then I trawl the Internet to see what’s happening. Let us do that. .
*According to the Wall Street Journal, Biden’s Build Back Better bill, now back up a bit ($2 trillion) may pass the House, though of course the Senate vote is up for grabs.( I still don’t understand how the “reconciliation process” can completely circumvent a filibuster, for this process now seems to be used in every bill.)
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) appears to have enough votes now to pass the education, healthcare and climate bill, known as the Build Back Better plan, in coming days. In a carefully worded statement, a group of centrist Democrats who held up the bill earlier this month committed to vote for the legislation no later than this week, as long as cost and revenue estimates from the Congressional Budget Office largely line up with administration figures showing the bill is fully paid for.
And Uncle Joe schooled the “Progressives”:
A White House official and lawmakers said the president told progressives at a meeting on the day of the vote on the infrastructure bill that if the infighting didn’t stop, he would have to drop the Build Back Better package and move on.
*We all know that Queen Elizabeth can’t live forever but now, at 95 and still getting about, it looks like she can. But she’s circling the drain, having missed two overseas trips to the climate summit in Glasgow and a a jaunt to Northern Ireland because an unspecified hospitalization for “exhaustion”. Now we’re told that she will also miss a remembrance service because she sprained her back. Maybe that’s true, but she hasn’t been seen since mid-October, a very long time for her. She’s not in hospital, but I wonder what Prince Charles is thinking.
*A grim (for me) editorial in the Washington Post by conservative writer and academic Hugh Hewitt tells all in the title, “‘Roe’ will be overturned. The federal courts will go back to normal.” What the hell is “normal” with a bunch of Catholics on the bench bent on turning religion into law? A quote from the jubilant Hewitt:
“Out, out damn spot” is the perfect summary of the thinking of serious conservatives toward Roe, as well as Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the 1992 case that narrowed Roe. I am an optimist; come late June 2022, at least six members of the Supreme Court will overturn these cases. The Dobbs case is due for oral argument on Dec. 1 before the high court. Roe’s Waterloo is, finally, at hand.
Most states that permit abortion now — such as New York and California — will see their laws untouched by the jettisoning of Roe and Casey. The subject of “reproductive rights” will return to the control of a self-governing people exercising their views through elected representatives at the state level. If the left wishes to constitutionalize abortion law again, it will have to do it the old-fashioned way: with an amendment to the Constitution.
Yes, but if this goes down, many states will prohibit abortions, despite most Americans favoring the “pro choice” position. I just want to know where in the Constitution the majority that overturns Wade will find something specifying that a fertilized egg is a person. And how will they justify overturning an already justified decision?
*Two pieces on Thanksgiving from HuffPost (click if you must read). The grammar in this first one sounds wrong to me. “Big OF a Thanksgiving turkey”? Why not just “big a Thanksgiving turkey”?
And this one will take the fun out of Thanksgiving, as it’s guaranteed to make you feel guilty. Nix on the stuffing, mac and cheese, and even the cranberry sauce (how much cranberry sauce do people even eat at Thanksgiving?); what you want are heaping helpings of Brussels sprouts and squash. Yuk! More culinary fascism!
*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 761,980 an increase of 1,133 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 5,117,769, an increase of about 4,700 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on November 15 includes:
- 1532 – Commanded by Francisco Pizarro, Spanish conquistadors under Hernando de Soto meet Inca Empire leader Atahualpa for the first time outside Cajamarca, arranging a meeting on the city plaza the following day.
As in all these cases, the Spanish eventually killed the ruler. In Atahualpa’s case, he was promised that he wouldn’t be executed if he converted to Catholicism, which he did. But they killed him anyway, with a garrote. Here’s a depiction of his execution, though it shows him being burned at the stake (the initial method that was changed).
A dramatic depiction of the ruler’s funeral (see? he’s not charred!) by Luis Montero1867). Since Atahualpa converted to Catholicism, he was given a Christian burial.
- 1806 – Pike Expedition: Lieutenant Zebulon Pike sees a distant mountain peak while near the Colorado foothills of the Rocky Mountains. (It is later named Pikes Peak.)
Here’s Pikes Peak (no apostrophe, but why not?). Height 14,115 feet (4,302.31 m):
- 1864 – American Civil War: Union General William Tecumseh Sherman begins Sherman’s March to the Sea.
Here’s Sherman photographed by Matthew Brady. Sherman always looks like he just got out of bed:
Here are Sherman’s men tearing up a railroad track in Atlanta:
- 1942 – World War II: The Battle of Guadalcanal ends in a decisive Allied victory.
- 1943 – The Holocaust: German SS leader Heinrich Himmler orders that Gypsies are to be put “on the same level as Jews and placed in concentration camps“.
Here some Roma (not called “gypsies” any more) in a concentration camp. The U.S. Holocaust Museum notes that “historians estimate that the Germans and their allies killed between 250,000 and 500,000 European Roma during World War II. It is estimated that the prewar Romani population numbered between 1 and 1.5 million.”
Here it is!
- 1988 – Israeli–Palestinian conflict: An independent State of Palestine is proclaimed by the Palestinian National Council.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1708 – William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham, English soldier and politician, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (d. 1778)
- 1738 – William Herschel, German-English astronomer and composer (d. 1822)
- 1882 – Felix Frankfurter, Austrian-American lawyer and jurist (d. 1965)
Frankfurter was nominated to the Supreme Court, where he served for 23 years, by FDR; a photo of the official nomination is below. Frankfurter also helped found the ACLU:
- 1887 – Georgia O’Keeffe, American painter and educator (d. 1986)
For some reason artists love Siamese cats, and O’Keeffe was one of them. Here she is with her moggy:
- 1891 – Erwin Rommel, German field marshal (d. 1944)
Rommel and von Stauffenberg (below) both died because they were involved in a plot to assassinate Hitler. Rommel, a military hero, was given the choice of taking cyanide or standing trial. If he chose suicide, which he did, his involvement with the plot would be kept secret, he’d be buried with full military honors, and his family would not be persecuted, as they would be if he stood trial (where he’d surely be convicted).
- 1907 – Claus von Stauffenberg, German colonel (d. 1944)
von Stauffenberg (below) was the man who placed the bomb in the briefing room where Hitler and his flunkies met. Four people were killed, but Hitler, protected by a part of the oak table under which the bomb was placed in a briefcase, survived with minor injuries. von Stauffenberg was tracked down and executed. Here’s the room after the explosion:
- 1932 – Petula Clark, English singer-songwriter and actress
She’s 89 today; how time flies!
- 1942 – Daniel Barenboim, Argentinian-Israeli pianist and conductor
Those who died on November 14 include:
- 1917 – Émile Durkheim, French sociologist, psychologist, and philosopher (b. 1858)
- 1949 – Narayan Apte, Indian activist, assassin of Mahatma Gandhi (b. 1911)
- 1949 – Nathuram Godse, Indian assassin of Mahatma Gandhi (b. 1910)
Here’s a photo of the conspirators (caption from Wikipedia). Nine men stood trial, eight were convicted, six were given life sentences, and Apte and Godse were hanged. (Godse is the one who shot Gandhi.)
- 1954 – Lionel Barrymore, American actor, singer, director, and screenwriter (b. 1878)
- 1958 – Tyrone Power, American actor, singer, and producer (b. 1914)
- 1978 – Margaret Mead, American anthropologist and author (b. 1901)
Here’s Mead in Samoa in 1926, doing her famous field research. The validity of that research is now debated, with some anthropologists claiming that she was hoaxed about the sexual mores of the Samoans:
- 1998 – Stokely Carmichael, Trinidadian-American activist (b. 1941)
The above two deaths, of course, were by execution (hanging)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is vain as she wants to look good for the forest creatures.
A: How do you look?Hili: OK, I can go to the forest.
Ja: No jak?Hili: w porządku, mogę iść do lasu.
Here’s a photo by Matthew of his most recently acquired cat. Caption: “Harry trying to hide by flattening his ears while dreaming of catching the wood pigeons I have just fed on the roof…”
A Gary Larson cartoon from Stash Krod:
And from Instagram via Stash Krod: a serval with its chicken dinner. Click the arrow; sound up to hear the growls!
I don’t know if Richard is prompting us to think or instructing us, but his conjecture below seems wrong. Think about how a common ancestor becomes two or more isolated lineages. It’s via the geographic isolation of two (or more) populations, not two individuals. He’s responded to my tweet with an email, so stay tuned: we’ll sort this out!
.@RichardDawkins Not true! What happened is that the common ancestral species of humans and wombats (ca. 160 myr ago) fragmented into 2 isolated populations that became new species, eventually resulting in the two lineages. There are sibling POPULATIONS, not sibling individuals. https://t.co/Vkjqux8Wat
— Jerry Coyne (@Evolutionistrue) November 14, 2021
This is an old one I found tweeted by Joyce Carol Oates with one of Anthony Hutchinson’s Bengal cats that he brought to the New Yorker Cats vs. Dogs debates. I took the picture. Look at those lovely kitties!
Anthony Hutchinson & Bengal kittens at New Yorker, NYC? https://t.co/ZA0We074QN
— Joyce Carol Oates (@JoyceCarolOates) August 28, 2016
God has a sweet tooth!
I need this now! https://t.co/K2D9RpGLuH
— God (@god) June 4, 2021
From Barry. As a secular Jew, I eschew these people and their ridiculous comparisons. Tattoo numbers on your arm and shave your heads, then we’ll talk. Oh, and about those foreskins. . .
In Kansas, anti-vaxxers are showing up to municipal meetings wearing yellow stars, portraying themselves as having equal footing with Jewish victims of the Holocaust. pic.twitter.com/buXTibFON8
— Chad Loder (they/them) (@chadloder) November 12, 2021
A tweet sent by Ginger K.. Click to see the whole agreement.
Just sign on the dotted line, please. pic.twitter.com/8HPq27z309
— Lorenzo The Cat (@LorenzoTheCat) November 14, 2021
Tweets from Matthew. The anti-Semites are out again in Poland. Translation:
#Poland : “Death to the Jews” chanted in a far-right demonstration, the Minister of the Interior calls for legal proceedings.
— i24NEWS Français (@i24NEWS_FR) November 14, 2021
I never saw this movie:
Dreams (1990, Akira Kurosawa) pic.twitter.com/KWfvDB5TLL
— Diane Doniol-Valcroze (@ddoniolvalcroze) November 14, 2021
Sound up on this one. It looks like a disco!
Styrofoam balls reacting to different sound frequencies 😱 pic.twitter.com/6JYPbpVf5a
— Physics-astronomy (@Physicsastronmy) November 13, 2021
Wally the Errant Walrus has a female Doppelgänger! Seehouses is an English town.
Walrus in Seahouses harbour. Surprise visitor this morning. Not “Wally” but thought to be “Freya” an immature female seen in Germany and Holland in the last few weeks pic.twitter.com/HdjC9KxeRX
— Natural Newbiggin (@NatNewbiggin) November 14, 2021