Its Wednesday, June 22, 2022, or, in German, “Mittwoch” (middle of the week), and National Chocolate Eclair Day. You know you want one. . .
Stuff that happened on June 22 includes:
- 1633 – The Holy Office in Rome forces Galileo Galilei to recant his view that the Sun, not the Earth, is the center of the Universe in the form he presented it in, after heated controversy.
- 1870 – The United States Department of Justice is created by the U.S. Congress.
- 1898 – Spanish–American War: In a chaotic operation, 6,000 men of the U.S. Fifth Army Corps begins landing at Daiquirí, Cuba, about 16 miles (26 km) east of Santiago de Cuba. Lt. Gen. Arsenio Linares y Pombo of the Spanish Army outnumbers them two-to-one, but does not oppose the landings.
Here are the America troops landing at Daiquirí (yes, the cocktail is supposedly named after the village):
- 1911 – George V and Mary of Teck are crowned King and Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
George was the cousin of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, who of course was executed along with his family by the Bolsheviks. Here they are in German uniforms before WWI, with George on the right. The resemblance is remarkable, and when I saw my first photo of George this morning, I thought it was the Tsar:
- 1940 – World War II: France is forced to sign the Second Compiègne armistice with Germany, in the same railroad car in which the Germans signed the Armistice in 1918.
A deliberate humiliation! Here’s a video of the signing. At 1:40 Hitler, obviously ebullient, raises and stamps his leg down once in joy. This gesture was manipulated on film so that on some videos it looks as if he did the gesture several times, giving rise to the legend that Hitler “danced a jig” after the signing.
- 1942 – The Pledge of Allegiance is formally adopted by US Congress.
The words “under God” were added in 1954 during the Cold War. They’re wrong, as we are neither one nation nor “under God”. But it’s too late to change it!
- 1948 – The ship HMT Empire Windrush brought the first group of 802 West Indian immigrants to Tilbury, marking the start of modern immigration to the United Kingdom.
This group of immigrants is said to have started the modern generation of British immigrants, for a group of over a thousand West Indian immigrants to England, anticipating a later bill that would give all residents of UK colonies permission to immigrate. Here’s the ship.
Below: The ship, which was bringing home UK servicemen from Jamaica, wasn’t full, so they advertised for passengers, spurring the spate of immigration:
- 1948 – King George VI formally gives up the title “Emperor of India”, half a year after Britain actually gave up its rule of India.
- 1986 – The famous Hand of God goal, scored by Diego Maradona in the quarter-finals of the 1986 FIFA World Cup match between Argentina and England, ignites controversy. This was later followed by the Goal of the Century. Argentina wins 2–1 and later goes on to win the World Cup.
Both goals are below. The first goal was certainly an illegal handball, but the referee didn’t call it as a violation. The second goal was a great one (and legal): Maradona worked his way past five British defenders to score magnificently. Still, given the illegal goal, Argentina shouldn’t have won.
*The NYT, in its update of the January 6 hearings, reports a new slew of Republican officials from various states recounting how Trump tried to pressure them to overturn the election results. If he gets indicted for anything, it’s got to be something like this:
Former President Donald J. Trump was directly involved in a scheme to put forward slates of false pro-Trump electors in states won by Joseph R Biden Jr., the committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol revealed Tuesday during a hearing delving into his pressure campaign on state officials to help him invalidate his defeat.
The committee played deposition video from Ronna McDaniel, the Republican National Committee chairwoman, who testified that Mr. Trump had personally called her about helping further the scheme. Mr. Trump put conservative lawyer John Eastman on the phone with Ms. McDaniel “to talk about the importance of the R.N.C. helping the campaign gather these contingent electors,” she testified.
[Tuesday’s] accounts have brought home how Trump and his allies unleashed severe harassment upon election workers and their families. Giuliani used charged language likening Shaye Moss, an election worker in Georgia and a Black woman, to a low-level drug dealer. That language was followed by a wave of online threats and harassment against Moss and her mother, as well as an attempt to break into her grandmother’s house. Raffensperger testified that Trump’s allies broke into his widowed daughter-in-law’s house and that his wife received threats.
. . .Lawmakers repeatedly emphasized that the claims by Mr. Trump and his supporters were already having a detrimental effect on the conduct of elections and could have dire consequences in the years ahead if allowed to take hold.
“The president’s lie was and is a dangerous cancer on this body politic,” said Representative Adam Schiff, the California Democrat who was leading the questioning by the panel at its fourth hearing. “If you could convince Americans they cannot trust their own elections, anytime they lose is somehow illegitimate, then what is left but violence to determine who should govern?”
*In an op-ed at the Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin argues that despite the GOP’s poo-pooing the hearings, the public is paying more attention to them than anticipated. This has, she thinks, increased the possibility that Trump may indeed be indicted for his shenanigans around January 6.
Other polls confirm these findings. A new ABC News-Ipsos poll released on Sunday found that 58 percent of Americans think Trump should be charged criminally, up about six points from a similar poll in April.
There is also some anecdotal evidence that the hearings are getting through even among some Republicans. . .
the amount and value of evidence that Trump was at the center of the coup plot will only continue to build. Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), another committee member, recently suggested there is evidence that Trump was directly involved in the scheme to come up with alternative slates of electors.
She winds up suggesting that one effect of the hearings will be pressure on Attorney General Merrick Garland, if he doesn’t indict trump, to explain why. My own view coincides with my wish: indict him!
*The bipartisan gun bill, in a preliminary vote, passed the Senate by a vote of 64-34. which is enough to overcome any filibuster. Here are the stipulations:
The 80-page bill, called the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, would enhance background checks, giving authorities up to 10 business days to review the juvenile and mental health records of gun purchasers younger than 21, and direct millions toward helping states implement so-called red-flag laws, which allow authorities to temporarily confiscate guns from people deemed dangerous, as well as other intervention programs.
The measure would also, for the first time, ensure that serious dating partners are included in a federal law that bars domestic abusers from purchasing firearms, a longtime priority that has eluded gun safety advocates for years.
Senators agreed to provide millions of dollars for expanding mental health resources in communities and schools in addition to funds devoted to boosting school safety. In addition, the legislation would toughen penalties for those evading licensing requirements or making illegal “straw” purchases, buying and then selling weapons to people barred from purchasing handguns.
It may actually pass the Senate by the weekend. It’s a decent first step, but I think this is as far as the Republicans will go.
*The Biden administration is moving forward with a plan to reduce the amount of nicotine in cigarettes. SInce nicotine is the addictive substance, this is a move to cut cigarette consumption, a worthy aim:
The plan, unveiled Tuesday as part of the administration’s agenda of regulatory actions, likely wouldn’t take effect for several years. The FDA plans to publish a proposed rule in May 2023. Then it would invite public comments before publishing a final rule. Tobacco companies could then sue, which could further delay the policy’s implementation. The Wall Street Journal previously reported that the FDA planned to pursue a nicotine-reduction mandate.
The move would be the biggest step by the U.S. government to curb smoking since a landmark legal settlement in 1998, when tobacco companies agreed to pay more than $200 billion to help states pay for healthcare. As part of the settlement, the companies also agreed to various marketing restrictions, including a ban on free product samples and advertising on billboards.
I’m not a libertarian, and I am opposed to smoking and don’t smoke, even my once-beloved cigars, but I do think this may be going too far. It’s like the government decreeing that the amount of alcohol in whiskey or other liquors be reduced because it’s the alcohol that turns people into alcoholics. I’m happy with bans on public smoking and gruesome ads about the dangers of smoking, but not so much with trying to change cigarettes themselves. . .
*Another from the NYT: “How bad are the germs in public restrooms, really?” The answer is that a number of pathogenic viruses and bacteria are associated with restrooms, and can be aerosolized after flushing, staying in the air for up to an hour. But no worries: there are tips to minimize your risk. First, you don’t need toilet seat covers unless you have open gashes or wounds on your bum. Second, and most important, wash your hands thoroughly after you’ve finished (I try to dry my hands with a paper towel if available, and then use that towel to open the restroom door).
For hand washing to be effective, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wetting your hands with clean water, scrubbing with soap for at least 20 seconds, rinsing and then drying them.
Then sanitize your hands if you can. I skip that if I can open the door with a paper towel, which I then discard.
Learn how to wash your hands properly: my own version involves washing palms, then both sides of the wrists, putting the palm of one hand on the back of the other and interlace your fingers, scrubbing them, bunching your fingers and rubbin them into each palm, and washing your thumb by inserting it into the clenched fist of the other hand and twisting the thumb hand like a screwdriver. I’m big on this because I do this frequently, and I haven’t had a cold since the pandemic started.
Finally, if you bring a bag or purse into a public restroom, don’t put it on the floor. Oh, and close the toilet lid before you flush as a boon to others.
*Biology news: A Cambodian has caught the world’s largest recorded freshwater fish, a giant stingray, in the Mekong river. It’s huge (photo below):
The stingray, captured on June 13, measured almost 4 meters (13 feet) from snout to tail and weighed slightly under 300 kilograms (660 pounds), according to a statement Monday by Wonders of the Mekong, a joint Cambodian-U.S. research project.
The previous record for a freshwater fish was a 293-kilogram (646-pound) Mekong giant catfish, discovered in Thailand in 2005, the group said.
The stingray was snagged by a local fisherman south of Stung Treng in northeastern Cambodia. The fisherman alerted a nearby team of scientists from the Wonders of the Mekong project, which has publicized its conservation work in communities along the river.
Here it is.
I’m sad, though, that such a magnificent animal has to be caught and killed. It belongs in the river: I didn’t read closely enough; they let the fish go after weighing and measuring it.
*The Daily Mail has a piece about a cunning fox (is that redundant?) stealing boxes of eggs (h/t Malcolm)
The fox was discovered after Helen Greenwood, from Leeds, set up a camera in an attempt to catch the thief who had stolen three lots of eggs.
In the video, the animal is seen approaching the box of 12 eggs, which was nearly the length of its body, before whisking it away.
Mrs Greenwood, a mother of two, said: ‘We got a clip of the milkman delivering the milk and eggs, carefully placing them in the box on our step.
‘It’s slightly annoying to have lost our eggs, but it’s satisfying to have solved the mystery and it gives us something to laugh about in the current climate.
‘Maybe it’s an example of how wildlife is reclaiming the city during the lockdown.’
The video. You go, fox!
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is being opaque:
Hili: Do you have a new paradigm?A: Why do you ask?Hili: One of mine needs exchanging.
Hili: Masz jakiś nowy paradygmat?Ja: Dlaczego pytasz?Hili Jeden z moich jest do wymiany.
And a photo of Szaron, the rare gray tabby:
A groaner from Merilee:
Sent in by David: a cartoon in New Scientist by Tom Gauld:
From Laurie Ann. I don’t think it’s true, but even if it is it’s a good joke. A couple of readers should try it, but these days nobody would understand:
It’s always worth paying attention to the Tweet of God:
Everything's bigger in Texas. Especially the fear of the 21st century.
— God (@TheTweetOfGod) June 20, 2022
A tweet from Simon, who says, “I hope there isn’t a bug in the code controlling this.”
— Figen (@TheFigen) June 20, 2022
And another from Simon. I wonder if you can buy cups and saucers like this. But you’d slop your coffee all over the place!
— Tansu YEĞEN (@TansuYegen) June 20, 2022
From reader Ken, who adds a quote from George Orwell: “To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.”
Larry Kudlow asks Mike Pence if he's ever seen a president say as many falsehoods as Biden. Pence says "never in my lifetime." Not a single shred of self-awareness between these two guys. pic.twitter.com/lqf9SLlCSa
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) June 20, 2022
For his 2nd birthday, 21 June 1942, Richard Frenkel received a letter-opener (@yadvashem) from his father Nissan from Beaune-la-Rolande camp. Few days later Nissan was deported to #Auschwitz. Richard & his mother Esther (pic) were murdered in Auschwitz too https://t.co/7Q3mPyWz3Y pic.twitter.com/08tPVdn6f9
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) June 22, 2022
Tweets from Professor Cobb. I’m not sure the “saved” monkey really turned out okay. . .
He saved his friend's life, he's a natural doc! That's incredible! 💕❤️pic.twitter.com/SqZvTsishd
— Figen (@TheFigen) June 20, 2022
Read the short piece at the link. The secret? An anti caking agent:
I’ve always wondered, why did a salt company choose “a little girl with an umbrella in the rain who is unknowingly pouring salt behind her, leaving a path of salt in her wake” as their logo?
Well, now I know, and I’m upset about how smart it is.https://t.co/ZCPctc4Him
— zaxstarr ☮️ (@zaxstarr2) June 19, 2022
This elephant either knows where it is and has no fear, or it’s completely ignorant of the consequences of slipping:
Filmed this morning by Jean Louis Kakoua Atsima, the DTA at @Parcs_Gabon, this elephant is feeding on aquatic plants in the Ivindo River above Koungou Falls – in the Ivindo World Héritage Site. pic.twitter.com/l5uc7z5059
— Prof. Lee White CBE (@LeeWhiteCBE) June 14, 2022
Matthew is writing a detailed biography of Francis Crick, and, checking up on details, found that Watson’s memoir “The Double Helix” appears to contain a lot of stuff that’s just made up. Here he found Watson reporting the times of trains that didn’t exist:
For those of you who read Jim Watson’s The Double Helix believing it is historically accurate, I have news. You can’t even believe the times of the trains.
— Matthew Cobb (@matthewcobb) June 19, 2022