Greetings on Monday, January 17, 2022: National Gourmet Coffee Day. Now by “gourmet coffee,” they don’t mean Pumpkin Spice Lattes or Peppermint Stick Mocha Christmas Lattes, which might as well be made with Instant Maxwell House. No, they mean good coffee!
It’s also Hot Buttered Rum Day, National Hot Heads Chili Day, National Bootlegger’s Day (Prohibition went into effect on this day in 1920), Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (a federal holiday in the U.S.), Ben Franklin Day (he was born on this day in 1706), the Jewish Holiday of Tu Bishvat, and, so they say, Judgment Day, explained this way:
Judgment Day is a tongue-in-cheek holiday that seems to imply you are your own god, and say you don’t have to wait until death for judgment. According to Ruth and Thomas Roy, the creators of the day, you can just look in the mirror and be your own judge. They say of the day, “Now you don’t have to die to see how you measure up to your deity’s standards. Just look in the mirror, wait for the answer, and go out and give it another shot.” According to the description of the day in Chase’s Calendar of Events, “All you need to do to see how you measure up to the standards of your God is simple: look in the mirror. There’s your judgment.”
And here’s King’s famous “I have a dream” speech, delivered during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28, 1963. I still get a tingle when I heard the words and his preacher-y cadence. In fact, I have to admit that I teared up a bit when I heard this—and I’ve heard it a gazillion times.
In honor of Dr. King, Google has a special Doodle today (click on screenshot):
News of the Day:
*Ezra Klein has a new NYT column called “This Presidency isn’t turning out as planned.” It’s a mixed piece: Klein gives Biden substantial kudos for his economic performance, despite inflation:
“We want to get something economists call full employment,” Biden said in May. “Instead of workers competing with each other for jobs that are scarce, we want employers to compete with each other to attract work.”
That they have largely succeeded feels like the best-kept secret in Washington. A year ago, forecasters expected unemployment to be nearly 6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2020. Instead, it fell to 3.9 percent in December, driven by the largest one-year drop in unemployment in American history. Wages are high, new businesses are forming at record rates, and poverty has fallen below its prepandemic levels. Since March 2020, Americans saved at least $2 trillion more than expected. And that’s not just a function of the rich getting richer: a JPMorgan Chase analysis found the median household’s checking account balance was 50 percent higher in July 2021 than in the months before the pandemic.
But Biden gets a potch in tuchas for his handling of the pandemic:
But the Biden administration hasn’t fully embraced its role as an economic planner. When Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, was asked about testing shortages in December, she shot back, “Should we just send one to every American?”
Psaki’s snark soon became Biden’s policy. The administration is launching a website where any family can request four free tests. That’s a start, but no more than that. For rapid testing to work, people need to be able to do it constantly. But because the administration didn’t create the supply of tests it needed months ago, there aren’t enough tests for it or anyone else to buy now. Part of this reflects the ongoing failure of the Food and Drug Administration to approve many of the tests already being sold in Europe.
The same is true, I’d argue, about masks. There’s simply no reason every American can’t pick up an unlimited supply of N95s and KN95s at every post office, library and D.M.V.
*Goodbye, Djoko! Tennis star Novak Djokovic lost his appeal after his visa to enter Australia to play in the Open was cancelled. According to various sources, he was either “deported” or “left on his own”, which are pretty much the same thing in this case. CBS Sports reports that the judicial decision was unanimous:
He left the country, headed for Dubai after a unanimous ruling by a three judge panel. The Australian government may still hand him a three-year ban from entering the country.
Three judges upheld a decision made on Friday by the immigration minister to cancel the 34-year-old Serb’s visa on public interest grounds, saying his presence might be a risk to the health and “good order” of the Australian public and “may be counterproductive to efforts at vaccination by others in Australia.”
*From reader Ken, another freestanding report:
Here’s Tucker Carlson not understanding (or pretending not to understand) at all the First Amendment’s religion and speech clauses.
In Good News Club v. Milford Central School, SCOTUS held that evangelical Christian clubs must be granted access to the limited public forum created by afterschool programs at public schools.
Count on The Satanic Temple to be doing the Lord’s work when it comes to the First Amendment.
*Reader Thomas also gives us a news item:
The link below is again from Dr. John Campbell who has been spot-on regarding the roiling cloud of pandemic for the past 18 months. If I may summarize this vid, Campbell states (rather astonishingly), “it’s almost as if Omicron is protecting us against the ravages of Delta.”(6:20 mark), as well as providing immunity from Delta. We are “quickly” moving towards endemicity and a “new Covid-era,” and that “life in 2022 will be almost back to before the pandemic.” Yikes. Dare I hope for better times?
I wouldn’t be so fast to pronounce on the End Times, but here’s the video:
*The Regents of the University of Michigan have fired President Mark Schlissel after an investigation revealed that he conducted an “inappropriate relationship” with an employee using University email and resources:
Over a period of years, the regents said in a letter made public, Dr. Schlissel used his university email account “to communicate with that subordinate in a manner inconsistent with the dignity and reputation of the University.” Dr. Schlissel was removed for cause, according to the letter.
The regents began their investigation in December, after receiving an anonymous tip that Dr. Schlissel may have had an “inappropriate relationship” with an employee.
The board also posted online dozens of emails and text message exchanges Dr. Schlissel had with the employee, whose name was redacted. The board said the letters indicated he was using official University of Michigan business “as a means to pursue and carry out a personal relationship with the subordinate.”
The messages include discussions about coordinating travel, his hope to see the employee at and after official university events, and a stated wish that flight delays would leave them in Paris together. The regents also posted messages with sexual innuendos and even receipts for takeout orders from local pizza and Indian restaurants.
There are 118 pages of their emails at the link. I couldn’t help but peek a bit.
*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 849,976, an increase of 1,964 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 5,558,980, an increase of about 4,100 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on January 17 includes:
- 1773 – Captain James Cook leads the first expedition to sail south of the Antarctic Circle.
- 1904 – Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard receives its premiere performance at the Moscow Art Theatre.
- 1912 – British polar explorer Captain Robert Falcon Scott reaches the South Pole, one month after Roald Amundsen.
Here’s Scott writing in his journal in 1911 before the fatal journey to the South Pole:
Here’s the NYT exactly one year before prohibition began, when the Act was ratified:
- 1945 – The SS-Totenkopfverbände begin the evacuation of the Auschwitz concentration camp as the Red Army closes in.
Literally, the SS-Death’s Head Units; they were in charge of the concentration camps. Here’s a good photo that Wikipedia labels, “A freed Buchenwald concentration camp prisoner identifies a member of the SS camp guard.”
- 1945 – Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg is taken into Soviet custody while in Hungary; he is never publicly seen again.
Wallenberg saved thousands of Jews in WWII, but then SMERSH got him and put him in the Lubyanka, where he probably died:
- 1950 – The Great Brink’s Robbery: Eleven thieves steal more than $2 million from an armored car company’s offices in Boston.
Most of the gang was caught and imprisoned, but the vast majority of the money was never recovered.
- 1961 – Former Congolese Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba is murdered in circumstances suggesting the support and complicity of the governments of Belgium and the United States.
- 1977 – Capital punishment in the United States resumes after a ten-year hiatus, as convicted murderer Gary Gilmore is executed by firing squad in Utah.
Gilmore’s mug shot:
- 1991 – Gulf War: Operation Desert Storm begins early in the morning as aircraft strike positions across Iraq, it is also the first major combat sortie for the F-117. LCDR Scott Speicher’s F/A-18C Hornet from VFA-81 is shot down by a Mig-25 and is the first American casualty of the War. Iraq fires eight Scud missiles into Israel in an unsuccessful bid to provoke Israeli retaliation.
- 1998 – Clinton–Lewinsky scandal: Matt Drudge breaks the story of the Bill Clinton–Monica Lewinsky affair on his Drudge Report website.
Here’s the announcement:
Notables born on this day include:
- 1706 – Benjamin Franklin, American publisher, inventor, and politician, 6th President of Pennsylvania (d. 1790)
Here’s painting of Franklin when he was still alive
- 1820 – Anne Brontë, English author and poet (d. 1849).
All three Brontë daughters died young, Anne probably of tuberculosis.
- 1834 – August Weismann, German biologist, zoologist, and geneticist (d. 1914)
Weismann (below) was famous for making the distinction between germ plasm (eggs and sperm), which could be the vehicles of heredity, and somatic cells (the rest of the body), which couldn’t.
- 1899 – Al Capone, American mob boss (d. 1947)
Talk about luxury. Here’s the mobster’s cell “at the now decommissioned Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, where he spent about nine months starting in May 1929.”
- 1899 – Robert Maynard Hutchins, American philosopher and academic (d. 1977).
Hutchins (below) became President of the University of Chicago at only 30. And he started many of the traditions we still adhere to. From Wikipedia:
Hutchins was notable as a defender of academic freedom. When the University was accused of fostering communism in 1935 (by Charles Rudolph Walgreen, [JAC: the drugstore magnate] who claimed his niece had been indoctrinated with communist ideas whilst studying there) and again in 1949, Hutchins defended the right of the University’s faculty to teach as they wished, arguing that the best way to defeat communism was through open debate and scrutiny, rather than suppression. “Hutchins stood behind his faculty and their right to teach and believe as they wished, insisting that communism could not withstand the scrutiny of public analysis and debate.”
- 1911 – John S. McCain Jr., American admiral (d. 1981)
- 1922 – Betty White, American actress, game show panelist, television personality, and animal rights activist (d. 2021)
White would have been 100 today.
- 1933 – Shari Lewis, American actress, puppeteer/ventriloquist, and television host (d. 1998)
- 1949 – Andy Kaufman, American actor and comedian (d. 1984)
- 1962 – Jim Carrey, Canadian-American actor and producer
Those who bought the farm on January 17 include:
- 1893 – Rutherford B. Hayes, American general, lawyer, and politician, 19th President of the United States (b. 1822)
- 1911 – Francis Galton, English polymath, anthropologist, and geographer (b. 1822)
They don’t label him “eugenicist” here, but it was added to his longer Wikipedia entry in May, 2020.
Best stained glass artist ever! Here’s one of his wisteria windows:
- 1977 – Dougal Haston, Scottish mountaineer (b. 1940)
Haston (below) was in the first party to to climb the south face of Annapurna and one of the first pair to climb Mount Everest by the south-west face.
Haston in the mountains. What a photo!
The SW face of Everest:
The route up:
- 2008 – Bobby Fischer, American chess player and author (b. 1943)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili and Paulina have a chinwag (yes, Hili’s about to get some food):
Hili: This is very interesting.Paulina: How do you know?Hili: Intuition tells me.(Photo: Paulina R.)
Hili: To bardzo interesujące.Paulina: Skąd wiesz?Hili: Intuicja mi mówi.Foto: Paulina R.
From Simon, who found this amusing, as did I:
Love love love this 🤣 pic.twitter.com/6wSL1AW27l
— Scott Dworkin (@funder) January 15, 2022
Tweets from Matthew: Here’s why we all dream of flying. Eagle with a GoPro!
Soar through snow covered peaks with this stunning eagle's eye view footage captured by Justin Labattu. pic.twitter.com/4hcgHL90CO
— Wonder of Science (@wonderofscience) December 25, 2021
In the mood to be grossed out? Read this thread. Answers mostly from MDs, and there are many more:
necrotising fascitis type III (gas gangrene) that had obliterated the patient's anus/rectum – It was my first ever day on ward rounds as a medical student. The first patient.
— Dr Vyom Sharma (@drvyom) January 16, 2022
LMAO. Try a forgotten potato being used by an elderly ER patient as a pessery till (and we quote) "I got vines in my 'gina" it sprouted. It was trying to sink roots into her vaginal walls. Crazy infected.
Just another night in the life of an ER nurse…
— Gravitate Left (@Gravitate_Left) January 16, 2022
I may have posted this cheeky bird before, but here it is again. All it wants is a little soft fur to line its nest!
Black-crested Titmouse (Baeolophus atricristatus)🐦🦜🕊️🦊🎵❤️ pic.twitter.com/ACXHs4DK2k
— World birds (@worldbirds32) June 16, 2021
The Old Fruit Bats Home. Remember Statler?
— Bat World Sanctuary (@batworld) January 16, 2022
Cats will be cats. . .
Walk in, fuck shit up, walk out. pic.twitter.com/1SSGFFOEnM
— Paul Bronks for Lovina Animal Welfare (@slender_sherbet) January 16, 2022
Part donkey, part wild ass, the kunga is the oldest known hybrid bred by humans https://t.co/38Ud7bd0Xa
— PaleoAnthropology+ (@Qafzeh) January 16, 2022