Welcome to the Cat Sabbath: Saturday, December 4, 2021. It’s National Cookie Day, and take your pick. Will you have an Oreo, a chocolate chip cookie, or one of these, which I love? ((I don’t know what they’re called.)
News of the Day:
*The parents of 15 year old Ethan Crumley, who fatally shot four of his school classmates in Michigan, have been charged with involuntary manslaughter, an unprecedented step for a situation like this but one clearly justified by the facts. First, they bought him a 9-mm semiautomatic handgun that they left unlocked in the house. Then they laughed off his attempted purchase of ammunition, spotted on his phone by a teacher.
On Monday, when a teacher reported seeing their son searching online for ammunition, his mother did not seem alarmed.
“LOL I’m not mad at you,” Jennifer Crumbley texted her son. “You have to learn not to get caught.”
But that’s not all; they also ignored warnings that their son was about to unleash hell:
On the morning of the Nov. 30 shooting, the suspect’s parents were urgently called to Oxford High School after one of his teachers found an alarming note he had drawn, scrawled with images of a gun, a person who had been shot, a laughing emoji and the words, “Blood everywhere,” and, “The thoughts won’t stop. Help me.”
School officials told the parents during the in-person meeting on Tuesday that they were required to seek counseling for their son, Ethan, Ms. McDonald said. The teenager’s parents did not want their son to be removed from school that day, and did not ask him whether he had the gun with him or search the backpack he brought with him to the office, Ms. McDonald said.
“The notion that a parent could read those words and also know their son had access to a deadly weapon, that they gave him, is unconscionable, and I think it’s criminal. It is criminal,” she said.
He was allowed back to class.
A few hours later, authorities say, those ominous words and drawings erupted into bloodshed. At 12:50 p.m., authorities said, Ethan Crumbley walked into a bathroom carrying his backpack, emerged with the handgun and began to fire.
They didn’t tell the school that the kid owned a gun? Lock ’em up! The whole damn family should go to jail. Remember, four kids died because these parents were morons. If you want to see an example of completely irresponsible parenting, read the article. It’s almost as if the parents wanted the shooting to occur.
UPDATE: The AP reports that the cops can’t find the two parents! But the NYT says this:
Law enforcement officials said that the parents had gone missing on Friday afternoon and that the county’s fugitive-apprehension team, F.B.I. agents and United States Marshals were looking for the couple. “They cannot run from their part in this tragedy,” Sheriff Michael Bouchard of Oakland County said in a statement.
Lawyers for the parents said the Crumbleys had not fled, but had left town for their own safety and were returning to be arraigned.
UPDATE 2: The NYT reports today that the parents were arrested in Detroit early this morning, apparently hiding in a building. They now face extra charges for evading police. Lock ’em up!
*The Biden administration has resumed the Trump policy of requiring asylum seekers coming from Mexico to remain in that country pending adjudication of their request to enter. Biden suspended that policy his very first day in office, but has “reluctantly” resumed it after lawsuits were filed:
Revival of the “Remain in Mexico” policy comes even as the Biden administration maneuvers to end it in a way that survives legal scrutiny. President Joe Biden scrapped the policy, but a lawsuit by Texas and Missouri forced him to put it back into effect, subject to Mexico’s acceptance.
Mexico’s foreign relations secretary said in light of U.S. concessions Mexico will allow returns, expected to begin next week, “for humanitarian reasons and for temporary stays.”
. . . Migrants are expected to be returned starting Monday in one border city, which has not been identified. It will eventually be done in seven locations: San Diego and Calexico in California; Nogales, Arizona; and the Texas border cities of Brownsville, Eagle Pass, El Paso and Laredo.
Jen Psaki, circling around, called the policy “deeply flawed.”
*In a Washington Post op-ed, “It’s time to say it: The conservatives on the Supreme Court lied to us,” political columnist Paul Waldman speaks the truth.
It. Was. A. Lie.
We went through the same routine in the confirmation hearings of every one of those justices. When Democrats tried to get them to state plainly their views on Roe v. Wade, they took two approaches. Some tried to convince everyone that they would leave it untouched. Others, those already on record proclaiming opposition to abortion rights, suggested they had undergone a kind of intellectual factory reset enabling them to assess the question anew with an unspoiled mind, one concerned only with the law.
Unfortunately, that lie was and is still enabled by the news media. Even in the face of what we saw at the court on Wednesday — when at least five of the six conservatives made clear their intention to overturn Roe — press accounts continued offering euphemisms and weasel words, about “inconsistencies” or “contradictions.”
The sick part is that we knew they lied, but still hoped that they wouldn’t overturn Roe. And I agree with Waldman’s conclusion:
From this day forward, no one should be naive enough to believe a word any conservative says on this subject, except for those few who forthrightly proclaim that the Supreme Court must read right-wing policy preferences into the Constitution. There was never any mystery about who these justices are and what they would do. There were only liars saying otherwise, and fools who chose to believe them.
*You may remember that Alex Baldwin accidentally killed the cinematographer and wounded the director of the low-budget western, “Rust” they were filming last October. Someone put a live round instead of a blank in the gun he was using. Nobody knows what happened yet, but Baldwin didn’t do himself any favors by saying that “the gun just went off”, and that he had neither cocked the antique Colt revolver nor pulled the trigger. It’s very unlikely that Baldwin bears any responsibility for the killing, but it’s also very unlikely, say gun experts, that a Colt revolver would go off without being cocked or having the trigger pulled.
*Reader Ken wrote me this and sent a link:
Administrators at the University of Florida have told faculty that they cannot use the words “critical race” in any course description, out of fear that the Florida legislature and governor Ron DeSantis are contemplating legislation banning critical race theory from any aspect of state government.
*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 786,270, an increase of 1,121 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 5,261,092, an increase of about 8,000 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on December 4 includes:
- 1619 – Thirty-eight colonists arrive at Berkeley Hundred, Virginia. The group’s charter proclaims that the day “be yearly and perpetually kept holy as a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God.”
- 1783 – At Fraunces Tavern in New York City, U.S. General George Washington bids farewell to his officers.
The historic tavern still exists in Manhattan, at the corner of Pearl and Broad (below). A note from Wikipedia about what George said to his officers:
A week after British troops had evacuated New York on November 25, 1783, the tavern hosted an elaborate “turtle feast” dinner, on December 4, 1783, in the building’s Long Room for U.S. Gen. George Washington during which he bade farewell to his officers of the Continental Army by saying “[w]ith a heart full of love and gratitude, I now take leave of you. I most devoutly wish that your latter days may be as prosperous and happy as your former ones have been glorious and honorable.” After his farewell, he took each one of his officers by the hand for a personal word.
Here’s the first Sunday newspaper in the world:
- 1861 – The 109 Electors of the several states of the Confederate States of America unanimously elect Jefferson Davis as President and Alexander H. Stephens as Vice President.
- 1881 – The first edition of the Los Angeles Times is published.
And the first edition of the L.A. Times:
- 1909 – The Montreal Canadiens ice hockey club, the oldest surviving professional hockey franchise in the world, is founded as a charter member of the National Hockey Association.
- 1918 – U.S. President Woodrow Wilson sails for the World War I peace talks in Versailles, becoming the first US president to travel to Europe while in office.
- 1956 – The Million Dollar Quartet (Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Johnny Cash) get together at Sun Studio for the first and last time.
Here’s a live performance from that historic meeting, “Just a little talk with Jesus”. It clearly shows the gospel roots of early rock and roll. Can you recognize the voices?
- 1964 – Free Speech Movement: Police arrest over 800 students at the University of California, Berkeley, following their takeover and sit-in at the administration building in protest of the UC Regents‘ decision to forbid protests on UC property.
Here’s the most famous part of free-speech leader Mario Savio on the steps of Sproul Hall, Berkeley, December 2, 1964
- 1969 – Black Panther Party members Fred Hampton and Mark Clark are shot and killed during a raid by 14 Chicago police officers.
Here are the original six members of the Black Panther party with the Wikipedia caption below:
- 1978 – Following the murder of Mayor George Moscone, Dianne Feinstein becomes San Francisco’s first female mayor.
- 1991 – Pan American World Airways ceases its operations after 64 years.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1835 – Samuel Butler, English author and critic (d. 1902)
- 1865 – Edith Cavell, English nurse, humanitarian, and saint (Anglicanism) (d. 1915)
Cavell was accused of treason for helping Allied soldiers escape from the Germans, and was shot by a German firing squad:
Delbrück,Hershey, and Luria, the Big Three of early molecular genetics, shared the prize in 1969 for genetic work on viruses:
- 1914 – Claude Renoir, French cinematographer (d. 1993)
Renoir was the grandson of the painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir, who painted “Girl Sleeping With Cat”, 1880:
- 1940 – Gary Gilmore, American murderer (d. 1977)
- 1944 – Chris Hillman, American singer-songwriter and guitarist
- 1944 – Dennis Wilson, American singer-songwriter, producer, and drummer (d. 1983)
- 1949 – Jeff Bridges, American actor
- 1964 – Marisa Tomei, American actress
How can you not love Marisa Tomei? Here’s a scene from the movie that made her famous: and for which she won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.
Those were judged at the Pearly Gates on December 4 include:
Read the version of his poems arranged and translated by Edmund FitzGerald; it’s only $7.99 at Amazon or free online here. This was one of the books that changed my life.
My favorite verse:
The Worldly Hope men set their Hearts upon
Turns Ashes—or it prospers; and anon,
Like Snow upon the Desert’s dusty Face
Lighting a little Hour or two—is gone.
- 1642 – Cardinal Richelieu, French cardinal and politician, Chief Minister to the French Monarch (b. 1585)
- 1893 – John Tyndall, Irish-English physicist and chemist (b. 1820)
- 1945 – Thomas Hunt Morgan, American geneticist and biologist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1866)
- 1967 – Bert Lahr, American actor (b. 1895)
- 1975 – Hannah Arendt, German-American historian, theorist, and academic (b. 1906)
- 1993 – Frank Zappa, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer (b. 1940)
Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention singing “Approximate” (1974):
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn: Hili wants to come inside but is being ignored:
Hili: You are not paying me any attention.A: I have to finish reading this article.Hili: Everything is more important than me.
Hili: Nie zwracasz na mnie uwagi.Ja: Muszę dokończyć czytanie tego artykułu.Hili: Wszystko jest ważniejsze niż ja.
And a photo of Szaron by Andrzej:
From the Not Another Science Cat FB page:
From Mark Plotkin. Can you see the cat?
From Bruce: I believe this is a real, unaltered photo, and I’ve seen it before with an explanation. I can’t find that now, but can you explain it?
A wrathful God—or is it the Godfather?
Look how they massacred my boy 😩😩 pic.twitter.com/0yLLzL5kFX
— God (@god) December 1, 2021
A tweet from Luana:
— Seerut K. Chawla (@seerutkchawla) December 3, 2021
From Barry. This wins tweet of the month so far, but be sure the sound is up!:
Baby penguin loves being tickled.🐧🥰
Sound On. pic.twitter.com/P4Hm2WPLGE
— 𝕐o̴g̴ (@Yoda4ever) December 1, 2021
This is happening in Chicago. Inclusive bathrooms! What can go wrong? And it starts with 6 years olds.
Here are some examples of the bathroom signage that will be required in all Chicago public schools by December 1st: pic.twitter.com/6WRZgXb2Hv
— Marie Oakes (@TheMarieOakes) December 2, 2021
From the Auschwitz Memorial:
4 December 1939 | A Jewish girl Magdalena Dora Blau was born in Rotterdam in the Netherlands to Fritz and Mina.
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) December 4, 2021
Tweets from Matthew, who happens to be in Cambridge now:
— A Cambridge Diary (@acambridgediary) December 3, 2021
This is amazing. How’d they get the head to look like it stuck out?
Amazing, like 3D … !!😮
( unknown ) pic.twitter.com/wzWha7eIx3
— Stefano S. Magi (@myworld2121) December 2, 2021
And some brain food:
Of course, for me the star here is the pesky mouse scampering up the leaf, but this 2,300 year-old Lucanian silver coin actually commemorates the ancient Greek goddess of the harvest, Demeter, with ears of wheat/barley in her curly hair https://t.co/oF9EcFkSRL pic.twitter.com/yjdRHfrCGV
— Journal of Art in Society (@artinsociety) December 2, 2021