Elsewhere for February 6, 2021

You should read this for 2/6/20201:

Art, Music, and Film

decorative leaf bulletTikToker’s sea shanty Wellerman reaches No 3 in UK charts
decorative leaf bulletTo Hold Nature in the Hand: Revealing the Wonders of the Mira Calligraphiae Monumenta Online facsimile.
decorative leaf bullet7 Things to Look for in Paintings of the Last Supper
decorative leaf bulletHilton Valentine, Founding Guitarist For The Animals, Dies At 77

But it was “House of the Rising Sun” that took the band to the top of the U.S. and U.K. charts. Although the song was well covered by many artists before them — including Bob Dylan — the Animals recorded what became the most widely-recognized version of the gambler’s lament in 1964. Hilton’s hauntingly circular riff contributed immeasurably to the band’s evocative take on the standard.

decorative leaf bulletRussian Fabergé exhibition contains ‘at least 20 fakes’, expert says

A Russian museum has been asked to close a Fabergé exhibition that contains items loaned from the personal collection of a billionaire, after a prominent expert said it contained more than a dozen fakes.
In a letter, the art dealer Andre Ruzhnikov accused the Hermitage Museum’s director, Mikhail Piotrovsky, of “destroying the authority of the museum” by hosting the Fabergé: Jeweller to the Imperial Court show, which runs until 14 March.

Biden Begins

decorative leaf bulletBiden Administration: Here’s Who Has Been Confirmed So Far
decorative leaf bulletEducation Pick Miguel Cardona Is New To Washington — But Not To Classrooms

In a Biden administration full of familiar faces, Cardona is relatively new to the national spotlight. His biggest job to date has been as Connecticut’s education commissioner, a role he’s filled for just the past year and half.
As state commissioner, he spent much of his time focused on the impact of pandemic-driven school closures. He was a fierce advocate for Connecticut’s most vulnerable children — those with disabilities, children in low-income families and English language learners — as he pushed for schools to reopen, arguing that opportunity gaps are only widening.  . . Before his brief tenure as education commissioner, though, Cardona had spent his entire professional career as a public school educator in the city where he grew up: Meriden, Conn.

decorative leaf bulletBiden Plan To Expand Child Tax Credit Could Help Lift Millions Of Kids Out Of Poverty
decorative leaf bulletIn Biden’s White House, surprise visits with staff replace late-night tweets

Since he moved in two weeks ago, Joe Biden has taken to strolling around the White House.
He’s popped into the press offices. He’s walked to the East Wing to visit the military office, which handles everything from food service to presidential transportation. And on the day the Senate confirmed his secretary of State, he stopped by the office of Antony Blinken’s wife, White House Cabinet Secretary Evan Ryan, to congratulate their family. .&nbsp. . While Trump would call friends and allies seemingly at random, Biden has a list of phone calls scheduled for him. While Trump didn’t mind aides and outside allies wandering into the Oval Office, Biden has a handful of gatekeepers who control access to the room. While Trump would sometimes spend days tweeting and watching television, Biden fills his day with policy memos, virtual meetings with outside experts and, of course, visiting staff around the building.

And of course, the really important guests:

Some top aides, including senior adviser Mike Donilon and Steve Ricchetti, counselor to the president, have Oval Office walk-in privileges. So do Biden’s dogs — one of the two German Shepherds, Major, visited him recently in the Oval Office, according to a White House official.

But what we REALLY want to know, is when will the White House Cat arrive?

Books, Libraries, Writing, and Language

decorative leaf bulletThere Are Two Kinds of Happy People
decorative leaf bulletHow to learn calligraphy online
decorative leaf bulletWhat trashy novels taught me about life

It’s easy to mock so-called “trashy” novels. People do it all the time. They’re dismissed as bonkbusters and shagathons. Laughed at for their over-the-top prose. Characterised as being about nothing more than sex and shopping. To their many detractors they are sugary book bonbons, the gilded covers with their (often one word) titles raised up on the front – Lace, Rivals, Scandal, Lucky – further signs that these books lack purpose. They are “women’s fiction”, frivolous works, not the sort of thing a serious reader should bother with.

decorative leaf bulletDante’s descendant seeks to overturn poet’s 1302 corruption conviction

“They were political trials and the penalties of exile and death inflicted on Dante, my dear ancestor, are unjust and have never been cancelled as happened with Galileo Galilei,” Alighieri told Corriere Della Sera. “And therefore, if the laws allow it, we will ask for a revision.”

decorative leaf bulletBirmingham library brings Shakespeare to life in dozens of languages

It is a little-known fact that Birmingham is home to the largest Shakespeare collection in any public library in the world.

Coronavirus | COVID-19

decorative leaf bullet10 days of struggle: Inside Biden’s early coronavirus vaccine effort
decorative leaf bulletWhat’s the difference between all the Covid vaccines?
decorative leaf bulletWhy the Second COVID-19 Shot Feels Worse
H/T Lymnd: decorative leaf bulletComparing the Covid-19 vaccines developed by Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson


decorative leaf bulletThe Colleges That Took the Pandemic Seriously

Food and Drink

decorative leaf bulletChai “Traditional chai tea recipe, prepared with full-bodied black tea, star anise, cloves, allspice, cinnamon, white peppercorns, cardamom, whole milk and sugar.”
decorative leaf bulletA taste of home: Claudia Roden’s majestic Book of Jewish Food
decorative leaf bulletBest Beef Chili “On any given Saturday morning, I might start this early and give it a long, lazy simmer while I sip my coffee, read the paper, or throw in a load of laundry. I can call up friends and have an impromptu, casual gathering with very little elbow grease.”
decorative leaf bulletHow Do You Organize Your Recipes?

History and Archaeology

decorative leaf bullet‘Find of the century’: medieval hoard of treasures unearthed in Cambridge

An early medieval graveyard unearthed beneath student accommodation at Cambridge University has been described as “one of the most exciting finds of Anglo-Saxon archaeology since the 19th century”.

decorative leaf bulletArchaeologists unearth bronze age graves at Stonehenge tunnel site

Bronze age graves, neolithic pottery and the vestiges of a mysterious C-shaped enclosure that might have been a prehistoric industrial area are among the finds unearthed by archaeologists who have carried out preliminary work on the site of the proposed new road tunnel at Stonehenge. . . . “We’ve found a lot – evidence about the people who lived in this landscape over millennia, traces of people’s everyday lives and deaths, intimate things,” said Matt Leivers, A303 Stonehenge consultant archaeologist at Wessex Archaeology. “Every detail lets us work out what was happening in that landscape before during and after the building of Stonehenge. Every piece brings that picture into a little more focus.”

Politics and Society

decorative leaf bulletGOP Rep. Kinzinger to start new PAC to challenge party’s embrace of Trump

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), one of 10 Republicans to vote to impeach Donald Trump earlier this month, has launched a new leadership political action committee that is designed to become a financial engine to challenge the former president’s wing of the GOP caucus and stand up against a leadership team still aligned with him. . . . Kinzinger previewed the launch in a Saturday interview with a small group of reporters on a Zoom call, alternating between taking shots at Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), whose QAnon conspiracy theories have drawn great attention in recent days, and being dismissive toward what he views as the weak leadership of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

decorative leaf bulletSpurred By The Capitol Riot, Thousands Of Republicans Drop Their Party

In the week from Jan. 6 through Jan. 12, about 4,600 Republicans changed their party status in Colorado, according to a CPR News analysis. There was no comparable effect with any other party. CPR News was able to contact dozens of them by tracking changes in the state’s voter file.
The number of people changing parties spiked immediately after the Capitol breach. The same phenomenon is playing out nationwide. News outlets documented about 6,000 defections from the party in North Carolina, 10,000 in Pennsylvania and 5,000 in Arizona.

Science and Nature

decorative leaf bulletPeak District’s last surviving mountain hares ‘at risk’
decorative leaf bulletNap time is the new coffee break. Here’s how to make the most of it.

If you’re in the napping camp, Mednick suggests setting an alarm for about 20 minutes, long enough to enable you to enter Stage 2 sleep. She considers this period of light sleep, in which your heartbeat and breathing slow and your muscles relax, “the reset button of sleep.” In a NASA study that found that naps helped pilots become more alert, 10 to 20 minutes was good. Experiment to see what refreshes you without making you groggy or ruining your bedtime.

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decorative leaf bulletA Cappella Group Recreates Classic iPhone Ringtones

Women’s Work

decorative leaf bulletThe Aids angel: how Ruth Coker Burks comforted dying gay men

Soon, word spread – there was a woman who would help a person with Aids. Sex between men was illegal in Arkansas; most contacted Coker Burks after they were rejected by their families. At the time, she says, HIV/Aids was seen as an illness afflicting gay communities in New York and San Francisco, not middle America.
Coker Burks in 1986, at the start of her period of caregiving. Photograph: Courtesy of Ruth Coker Burks
She arranged housing and ransacked supermarket dumpsters at dawn for food for them (until Bill Clinton, then the governor of Arkansas and a childhood acquaintance, directed food banks to help her). Often, one man would care for a friend until he died; then, when he fell ill, Coker Burks would care for him. When no relatives would take the ashes of the men – they were mostly men – that she came to regard as her “guys”, Coker Burks put them in cookie jars that a potter friend sold her cheaply and buried them in her own cemetery plots. She did it all while juggling jobs at a sawmill, a race track and selling timeshares – mostly with her young daughter, Allison, in tow.
Almost immediately, she was ostracised: “It was like I was contagious.” Her church ejected her from its finance committee. Children stopped inviting Allison to their parties. The Ku Klux Klan twice burned a cross on her lawn.

decorative leaf bulletWith ‘I Hate Men,’ a French Feminist Touches a Nerve

Monstrograph’s editors, Martin Page and Coline Pierré, saw the post and asked her if she would turn it into a book. For Harmange, who volunteers with an association supporting rape victims, misandry had come to feel like the best concept to express her frustration with structural gender violence. “It was an insult you would get as a feminist,” she said. “Whatever you say, as soon as you criticize men, you’re accused of being a misandrist. That’s when I realized: Actually, that’s exactly it.”

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰 Donald J. Trump 🤥🤥👖🔥 and his Capitol Riot Insurrection Fest

decorative leaf bulletAs Trump Raked In Cash Denying His Loss, Little Went to Actual Legal Fight “The picture that emerged in new campaign finance reports was of Donald J. Trump waging a public relations effort to falsely argue that he had won the election rather than mounting a serious legal push.”

The picture that emerges in the new Federal Election Commission reports is of Mr. Trump mounting a furious public relations effort to spread the lie and keep generating money from it, rather than making a sustained legal push to try to support his conspiracy theories.
His campaign’s single biggest expense in December was a nearly $5 million media buy paid to the firm that bought his television advertisements. His second-largest payment, $4.4 million, was for online advertising. And the Republican National Committee pocketed millions of dollars in donations — collecting 25 cents for every dollar Mr. Trump raised online — in the final weeks of the year as it spent relatively little on legal costs.

decorative leaf bulletOcasio-Cortez reveals she’s a sexual assault survivor, recounts ‘trauma’ of Capitol riot: ‘I thought everything was over’

About a week before the Capitol riot, Ocasio-Cortez said she began receiving text messages from members of Congress warning her that she needed to make plans to ensure her safety and “that in particular, I needed to be careful about the 6th,” she said in her Instagram Live chat on Monday.
During the next few days, Ocasio-Cortez said she felt increasingly unsafe. On Jan. 4, after driving to the Capitol for a vote, she returned to find Trump supporters standing behind her car, heckling her. The following day, the crowds outside the Capitol grew.
“It felt actively volatile and dangerous,” she said.

decorative leaf bulletAOC’s powerful plea for Republican accountability cannot be ignored

But early in the broadcast, as she described her frustration over Republican calls to move on from the insurrection, she revealed something else: “I’m a survivor of sexual assault,” she said, the first time she has made that disclosure publicly. “The reason I say this and the reason I’m getting emotional in this moment is because these folks who tell us to move on, that it’s not a big deal, that we should forget what’s happened, or even telling us to apologize,” she said. “These are the tactics that abusers use.”
In recognizing the common rhetorical strategies used by both Republicans eager to minimize the attack and perpetrators of gender violence eager to avoid accountability for their treatment of women, AOC was echoing feminists who compared Donald Trump’s increasingly hostile and reckless behavior in the last two months of his term to a pattern common to domestic abusers, who are known to escalate their violence in the weeks immediately following their victim’s severing of the relationship.
The comparisons have come under fire for creating what is seen as a false equivalence, or for supposedly trivializing political instability and constitutional crises with the language of domestic strife. But to recognize a pattern is not the same thing as drawing an equivalence, and AOC is correct in her observation that the rhetorical strategies used by Republicans – to deny their own wrongdoing, attack the victims seeking accountability, and to pretend that the true wrongdoing has been committed against them – are the same strategies deployed by other tyrants, be they political or domestic, seeking to uphold other unjust and dangerous systems of power. She went on to explain that she knew she would be ridiculed and disbelieved for her revelations, and that this, too, was part of the harm that the Republicans were doing to her – denying, and minimizing her experience. The disbelief and dismissal of those who have experienced trauma, she says, is its own, additional injustice.

H/T Mrs Fringe: decorative leaf bulletBonus episode: Inside the craziest meeting of the Trump presidency

For weeks now, ever since Rudy Giuliani had commandeered Trump’s floundering campaign to overturn the election, outsiders had been coming out of the woodwork to feed the president wild allegations of voter fraud based on highly dubious sources.
Trump was no longer focused on any semblance of a governing agenda, instead spending his days taking phone calls and meetings from anyone armed with conspiracy theories about the election. For the White House staff, it was an unending sea of garbage churned up by the bottom feeders.

decorative leaf bulletPoor handling of virus cost Trump his reelection, campaign autopsy finds

Former president Donald Trump lost the 2020 election largely due to his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a post-election autopsy completed by Trump campaign pollster Tony Fabrizio.
The 27-page document shows that voters in 10 key states rated the pandemic as their top voting issue, and President Biden won higher marks on the topic. The report also indicates that Trump lost ground among key demographic groups he needed.

decorative leaf bulletDOJ Charges 3 More Men For Roles in Capitol Riot

Federal agents on Wednesday arrested a prominent member of the Seattle chapter of the Proud Boys, a nationalist, chauvinist organization, for his role in storming the U.S. Capitol with other pro-Trump rioters on Jan. 6.
Ethan Nordean, a self-described “sergeant of arms” for the Seattle Proud Boys, faces charges of impeding an official government proceeding, aiding and abetting, knowingly entering restricted grounds, and violent entry.
Separately, a federal grand jury in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday indicted Nicholas DeCarlo and Nicholas R. Ochs for conspiracy to obstruct Congress, and other charges related to the insurrection. The indictment says Ochs purports to have founded of the Honolulu Proud Boys.
The U.S. Justice Department says all three men planned to overrun the Capitol in order to stop Congress’ certification of the 2020 electoral votes.

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

decorative leaf bulletBlack Lives Matter movement nominated for Nobel peace prize
decorative leaf bulletRead at Home and Reduce Your Fines The Los Angeles Public Library has a super program whereby patrons 21 and under with overdue fines can “read away” the fines by reading books and filling out a form. Every hour of reading removes $5.00 of fines. Brilliant idea; poorer patrons can’t pay fines, and often, can’t arrange to get to the library to return books. This is a win-win solution.
decorative leaf bullethttps://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2021/02/01/laurent-duvernay-tardif-coronavirus-super-bowl/His team is going to the Super Bowl. He’s staying on the coronavirus front lines.
decorative leaf bulletThe question I always ask other disabled people: did you ride horses?

Something Wonderful

decorative leaf bulletDinosaur footprint found by girl, four, on Barry beach
H/T Jeff Carlson: decorative leaf bulletGiant Pandas sliding in the snow at the National Zoo at the Smithsonian

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