Elsewhere for January 30, 2021

You should read this for 1/30/2021:

Art, Music, and Film

decorative leaf bulletJon Bon Jovi on wealth, love and his ugly tussle with Trump: ‘It was seriously scarring’

“I was really shocked at the depths [Trump] went to. He wasn’t even qualified to buy the team, because you have to submit your tax returns, and he never filed the paperwork. Instead, he did this dark shadow assassination thing, hoping to buy the team at a bargain basement price. But I just couldn’t understand how this misinformation was being put out there. It was seriously scarring,” Bon Jovi says, eyes wide.

Biden – Harris Begins

decorative leaf bulletRepublicans will try to create an ‘ethics’ trap for Democrats. Don’t fall for it

What we’re seeing at the dawn of the Biden presidency is not the reestablishment of norms, but the establishment of double standards.

Yes, it’s commendable that the incoming Democratic administration pledges to behave responsibly, but it’s far from guaranteed that future Republican administrations will do the same. In fact, as things currently stand, it’s practically guaranteed that they won’t.

decorative leaf bulletBiden Repeals Trump-Era Ban On Transgender Troops

Biden had campaigned on overturning former President Donald Trump’s ban. At his recent Senate confirmation hearing, Austin told lawmakers he supported the move.
“If you’re fit and you’re qualified to serve, and you can maintain the standards, you should be allowed to serve,” Austin said.

decorative leaf bulletSenate Confirms Antony Blinken As Secretary Of State

With bipartisan support, the Senate confirmed Antony Blinken as the new secretary of state on Tuesday. The final vote was 78-22.
Blinken, 58, was earlier approved overwhelmingly by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. . . .
Blinken has a long history with President Biden, previously serving as his adviser both in the White House and the Senate before becoming deputy secretary of state in the Obama administration.

decorative leaf bulletCalls Mount For President Biden To Shake Up Postal Service’s Leadership

There are three vacancies on the board of governors. Of the six men currently on the board, four are Republicans and two are Democrats — one whose term technically has expired but who can continue for another year. All were appointed by former President Donald Trump, and the law allows them to be removed for cause.

Books, Libraries, Writing, and Language

decorative leaf bulletSeattle’s newest bookstore, Oh Hello Again, has a novel system: categorizing books by emotions

H/T Jeff Carlson: decorative leaf bulletThe man third in the line of presidential succession has been in five ‘Batman’ movies

“Entering Batman’s world through my imagination opened an early door into a lifelong love of reading,” he wrote in his foreword.

He’d continue spending hours at the library each day until adulthood, and even after he moved to Washington, he’d make time to pop in. He’s a vocal advocate for literacy and the preservation of libraries so children can have similarly formative experiences with books.

{Some of my fondest memories as a child were at the library, where everyone fit in and possibilities were limitless,” he writes on his Senate website.

H/T @Lymond: decorative leaf bulletA World of Figures: The Rhetoric of Amanda Gorman’s “The Hill We Climb” by Cass Morris:

I will not have found every device worth noting in this poem. I imagine that for decades to come, I will be able to return to it and unfold a little more of its intricate beauty. Amanda Gorman has a delightful grasp of rhythm and imagery and the awesome power of our language’s flexibility and potential complexities. And she’s only twenty-two. Mercy sweet heavens, I cannot wait to see what else she gives us.

Coronavirus | COVID-19

decorative leaf bulletMerck Stops Developing Both Of Its COVID-19 Vaccine Candidates

Merck is halting development of its two COVID-19 vaccine candidates, saying that while the drugs seemed to be safe, they didn’t generate enough of an immune response to effectively protect people against the coronavirus.

Results of Phase 1 clinical studies showed that the two vaccine candidates – known as V590 and V591 – “were generally well tolerated, but the immune responses were inferior to those seen following natural infection and those reported for other SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 vaccines,” Merck said in a statement about its decision

decorative leaf bulletSeattle’s newest bookstore, Oh Hello Again, has a novel system: categorizing books by emotions

decorative leaf bulletModerna Finds COVID-19 Vaccine Less Effective Against Variant Found In South Africa

Moderna says tests show its COVID-19 vaccine offers protection against new variants of the coronavirus, but that the drug is more effective against the variant first identified in the U.K. than one found in South Africa. As a result, Moderna will test booster doses of its vaccine – including one that would be tailored to fight strains that have recently emerged.

decorative leaf bulletWealthy couple chartered a plane to the Yukon, took vaccines doses meant for Indigenous elders, authorities said

See also: Canadian couple who got vaccine meant for Indigenous people may face jail time

decorative leaf bulletWhy N95 Masks Are Still In Short Supply In The U.S.

The Biden administration has invoked the Defense Production Act to prioritize production of N95s and other medical supplies. But even with those measures, U.S. hospitals remain worried about their supply of these medical masks — more formally called respirators — despite efforts by factories to churn out billions more.

The story of N95 production over the last year in many ways reflects shortages seen throughout the U.S. medical supply during the pandemic — from ventilators and exam gloves to syringes and vaccines. The demand is global and sustained, putting pressure on a fragile supply chain that remains stressed and unable to keep up.

Education

Food and Drink

decorative leaf bulletI’ll never forget the fish tacos I had in Mexico – here’s the recipe

Dressing a fish taco is an art. It requires time, patience and practice. Overload, and the ingredients will landslide down your front. Add too much spice and your morning is ruined. But carefully loaded and pinched between thumb and finger, a taco can be easily delivered to your mouth, bringing, with a first bite and gentle sucking, a moment of Baja bliss. The batter is light, the fish meaty; the cabbage has peppery crunch, the chipotle sauce is smoky and smooth. The red salsa provides just enough spice, trailed perfectly by a refreshing smack of lime juice.

decorative leaf bulletThe 20 best curry recipes

From Asma Khan’s saag paneer to Lopè Ariyo’s suya lamb, our exploration of the wider world of curry takes in recipes from south Asia, Nigeria and Japan

History and Archaeology

decorative leaf bulletRemnants of mosque from earliest decades of Islam found in Israel

The foundations of the mosque, excavated just south of the Sea of Galilee by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, point to its construction roughly a generation after the death of the prophet Muhammad, making it one of the earliest Muslim houses of worship to be studied by archaeologists.

Politics and Society

decorative leaf bulletFatal Police Shootings Of Unarmed Black People Reveal Troubling Patterns

The deadly shooting of unarmed Black men and women by police officers in the U.S. has increasingly garnered worldwide attention over the last few years. The 2014 killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., sparked a week of protests that catapulted the Black Lives Matter movement into the national spotlight. Since then, tens of thousands of people across the country have taken to the streets to protest police brutality of Blacks by mostly white officers.

Since 2015, police officers have fatally shot at least 135 unarmed Black men and women nationwide, an NPR investigation has found. NPR reviewed police, court and other records to examine the details of the cases. At least 75% of the officers were white. The latest one happened earlier this month in Killeen, Texas, when Patrick Warren, Sr., 52, was fatally shot by an officer responding to a mental health call.

For at least 15 of the officers, like McMahon, the shootings were not their first — or their last, NPR found. They have been involved in two — sometimes three or more — shootings, often deadly and without consequences.

decorative leaf bulletSenate Democrats Have a Choice

Quite simply, Mitch McConnell is now using the filibuster to stop Democrats from becoming the Senate majority.

Yes, you heard that right. The Democrats won the Senate. But now Mitch McConnell is using the filibuster to stop them from taking it over and leading it. Without a new agreement, the Senate is still operating under the old Congress’s agreement, which means that all the committees are chaired by Republicans – a very big deal since all nominations go through committees first.

Freshman Senators like Warnock and Ossoff can’t even get their committee assignments yet.

decorative leaf bulletWhy McConnell Dumped Trump

Adam Jentleson, a former top Democratic Senate aide and the author of “Kill Switch,” a new book about the Senate, said, of McConnell, “He should be deservedly held accountable for spending more than a month giving credence to Trump’s claims of election fraud—on the Senate floor.” Jentleson added that McConnell, by failing to speak out earlier, had “offered legitimacy” to Trump’s war on the truth: “Other Republicans took their signals from McConnell and continued to fan the flames. You can blame the rioters, but the entire Republican Party was telling them their claims were legitimate.”

McConnell’s accusation that the insurrectionists had been “fed lies” was couched in the passive voice. It skipped over the fact that he hadn’t even acknowledged the outcome of the election himself until December 15th—six weeks after it took place, and following the Electoral College’s certification of Biden as the winner. McConnell, in a brief speech on the Senate floor, congratulated him, calling him “President-elect.” But McConnell did not publicly confront Trump’s continued denials that he had lost until after the January 5th runoff election in Georgia, in which the Democratic Party gained two Senate seats, giving it control of the Senate and toppling McConnell from his position as Majority Leader. By then, according to some polls, as many as eighty-two per cent of Republican voters believed Trump’s false claims of fraud, and when his enraged supporters gathered on the National Mall many of them were determined to use force to override the official election results. The ensuing assault and ransacking of the Capitol was not only the most serious attempt at an anti-democratic coup in the country’s history; it also deepened the crisis of the Republican Party. Additionally, it triggered the flight of a striking number of its major corporate backers—a development that, if it continues, could make it considerably harder for McConnell to retake the Senate in 2022.

decorative leaf bulletAfter objecting to the election results, Kevin McCarthy says all Americans bear responsibility for the deadly Capitol riot

As a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) called in to ABC News from a secure location.

“As a nation, I know we sit back and we’re appalled by what we’re seeing,” McCarthy said. “But I want everybody to take a deep breath and understand: We all have some responsibility here.”

McCarthy was among the Republicans who had spread false claims of widespread presidential election fraud for weeks, which motivated the mob on Jan. 6.

You can watch what McCarthy has previously said about who bears responsibility for the Capitol siege in the video above.

In other words, he’s basically saying “Everybody else did it.” Which is, of course, yet anoter lie.

Science and Nature

decorative leaf bulletOfficials hail ‘encouraging’ number of north Atlantic right whale births

But Jane Davenport, the group’s senior attorney, warned that right whales had been experiencing an “unusual mortality event” since 2017, with 32 confirmed deaths in US and Canadian waters as well as 14 serious or non-survivable injuries.

“While these births are an encouraging sign, the continued threats underscore that we still have to redouble our efforts to protect these vulnerable babies and their mothers,” Davenport said.

“Right whales face a daily gauntlet of fishing ropes and speeding vessels, which together have caused the deaths of more than 200 right whales in the last decade alone. We’re killing right whales far faster than they can reproduce. Unless we move quickly to abate these threats, we’re running out of time to save the species from extinction.”

decorative leaf bulletFelines May Use Catnip for More Than Just Euphoria

Cat owners—and the kitty-obsessed internet—have observed felines go into a frenzy after rubbing and rolling against catnip, Nepeta cataria, when it is nearby. New research published this week in the journal Science Advances suggests that cats not only use catnip for a high but may also use it as protection against mosquitos.

Technology


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Women’s Work

decorative leaf bulletBiden administration revives effort to put Harriet Tubman on $20 bill

The Biden administration will resume the process to replace President Andrew Jackson’s face on the note with famed abolitionist Harriet Tubman, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters during her Monday news briefing. A Treasury Department spokesperson confirmed the change.

There’s some particularly good reasons to replace Jackson, an unrepentant slave owner, with a formerly enslaved Black woman abolitionist. After gaining her own freedom, Tubman risked everything to return to the south 19 times and lead many other slaves to freedom.


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decorative leaf bulletShe survived in the wild against all odds. I took her class to learn how

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰 Insurrection Leader 🤥🤥👖🔥

decorative leaf bulletWhat we know about Trump’s efforts to subvert the 2020 election

decorative leaf bulletAfter Capitol riot, police chiefs work to root out officers with ties to extremist groups

The revelation that the Capitol mob — covered in emblems of extremist groups — included off-duty law enforcement officers possibly assisted by working police is escalating pressure on sheriffs and police chiefs nationwide to root out staff with ties to white supremacist and far-right armed groups.

Law enforcement leaders have faced criticism in the past for failing to police their own officers’ involvement with extremist groups. However, the selfie photos that off-duty officers took inside the Capitol during the violent siege, which left one police officer dead and dozens of others injured, were a wake-up call for many who have long denied the extent of the problem within policing.

. . .

More than a dozen off-duty law enforcement officers were allegedly part of the Jan. 6 mob and are under investigation, according to a Washington Post analysis using news accounts and police and FBI reports. At least a dozen Capitol Police officers are also under investigation for possibly playing a role in the rioting by assisting or encouraging the mob.

decorative leaf bulletInspector general will investigate whether any Justice Dept. officials improperly sought to help Trump overturn the election

The Justice Department’s inspector general announced Monday an investigation into whether any current or former department officials tried to improperly “alter the outcome of the 2020 Presidential Election” — a broad review that follows the revelation that then-President Donald Trump considered replacing his acting attorney general with another appointee more amenable to his unfounded claims of voter fraud.

decorative leaf bulletThe GOP’s Marjorie Taylor Greene problem is spinning out of control

Tuesday’s new revelation is particularly pertinent — and ugly. CNN’s K-File reported that Greene’s Facebook feed featured several endorsements of violence against Democrats and federal agents. In one case, she liked a comment that said “a bullet to the head would be quicker” than removing Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) from her speakership. She also liked a comment about Pelosi that said “through removal or death, doesn’t matter, as long as she goes.” She responded to another commenter who suggested hanging former president Barack Obama and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton by saying, “Stage is being set. Players are being put in place. We must be patient. This must be done perfectly or liberal judges would let them off.” She also liked comments suggesting execution for FBI agents who were viewed as working with the “deep state” against then-President Trump.

Via NPR Politics @nprpolitics: decorative leaf bullet

The union representing U.S. Capitol Police officers revealed that 140 USCP and D.C. Metro police officers were injured in the insurrection at the Capitol, including one officer who will lose his eye, and another who was stabbed with a metal fence stake.

. . .

“Unconscionable”: Capitol Police Union Says Leadership Failed Officers In Riot

The statement Wednesday from the Capitol Police Labor Committee comes a day after acting Chief Yogananda Pittman testified to Congress, saying in prepared remarks:

By January 4th, the Department knew that the January 6th event would not be like any of the previous protests held in 2020. We knew that militia groups and white supremacists organizations would be attending. We also knew that some of these participants were intending to bring firearms and other weapons to the event. We knew that there was a strong potential for violence and that Congress was the target.

Pittman, who apologized in her testimony for her department’s “failings” during the insurrection, told Congress that the former police chief, Steven Sund, had asked the Capitol Police Board, a three-member oversight body, on Jan. 4 to declare a state of emergency for Jan. 6 and to request National Guard assistance.

Pittman said the board denied both requests.

decorative leaf bullet‘A Hostage Situation Every Day’: Strategists Blame Trump For Georgia Senate Losses

In fact, according to sources close to the campaigns, people in and around the White House, including the president’s lawyer, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, also put near-constant pressure on the two Georgia Republicans, David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, to shape their runoff campaigns around his demands.

“It was a hostage situation every day,” said one Republican strategist familiar with the campaigns who only agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity.

“We were always trying to guard against the Tweet [from Trump],” the strategist said.

“Every week we had some new sort of demand,” said another strategist involved with the campaigns. “Calling for the hand recount. The signature match. A special session. $2,000 [coronavirus relief] checks. Objecting to the electors.”

“It was, ‘If you do not do this, the president will actively work against you and you will lose,'” he recalled.

decorative leaf bullet‘The perfect target’: Russia cultivated Trump as asset for 40 years – ex-KGB spy

Then, in 1987, Trump and Ivana visited Moscow and St Petersburg for the first time. Shvets said he was fed by KGB talking points and flattered by KGB operatives who floated the idea that he should go into the politics.

The ex-major recalled: “For the KGB, it was a charm offensive. They had collected a lot of information on his personality so they knew who he was personally. The feeling was that he was extremely vulnerable intellectually, and psychologically, and he was prone to flattery.

decorative leaf bullet‘Brazen, entitled, dangerous’: D.C. judge jails man photographed in Pelosi’s office

Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell repeatedly described Richard Barnett, 60, of Gravette, Ark., as “entitled,” “brazen” and “a braggart.” In her first public remarks related to the events at the Capitol, she said Barnett “showed a total disregard for the law” and “total disregard for the U.S. Constitution.”

Barnett is charged with entering the Capitol violently with a dangerous weapon — a stun gun — and stealing government property — a piece of mail from the Democratic leader’s office that he displayed in interviews outside the building. He identified himself to the New York Times as an intruder in Pelosi’s office during the breach. . . . Howell described the charges against Barnett as “in some ways too benign-sounding to fairly describe what happened,” which is “destined to go down in the history books in this country.” In an incredulous, angry tone, she read from a vulgar letter Barnett left on the desk, which belongs to a member of Pelosi’s staff.

“Wow,” the judge added. “Brazen, entitled, dangerous.”

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

decorative leaf bulletCovid sea shanty video goes viral for Isle of Wight grandad

A singer has become an unlikely internet star at the age of 82 with his recording of a sea shanty aimed at encouraging people to have the coronavirus vaccine.
Martyn Waitt, from the Isle of Wight, wrote and recorded a version of The Wellerman with his granddaughter and posted it on TikTok where it has been viewed more than 450,000 times.

decorative leaf bulletBlaydon Races: Dementia patient’s daughter thanks Geordies See also: Blaydon Races: US carers play Geordie song for Newcastle patient

decorative leaf bullet‘I refused to let them intimidate me’: the untold stories of LGBT+ seniors

Not Another Second, an exhibition in New York City which tells the stories of a dozen LGBT+ senior citizens who tell their own coming out stories. Each photographic portrait and video interview is marked with a number, like “16 years”, representing the time they lost to staying in the closet, based on societal expectations of the past.


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Something Wonderful

BBC Video: decorative leaf bulletDeer herd crossing Hertfordshire countryside captured on camera


Buy me a Coffee! If you find this site interesting, and would like to see more, buy me a coffee. While I may actually buy coffee, I’ll probably buy books to review.


Lisa

She plays o' the viol-de-gamboys, speaks three or four languages word for word without book, hath all the good gifts of nature, knows a hawk from a handsaw, and can see a church by daylight. The rest is subject to fancy.

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