They Really Should Do This On The Secret Darkside Moonbase
Not With A Bang
Laser Dog guards Furio and his big fluffy bro during today's exciting t-storms.
This is the way the day ends.
Dad's Day Out
Is it really that unnatural for dads to be out with their kids and no woman around to hold their hand?
I Am A Leaf On The Wind
Joss most likely didn't want Fillion to take on all the pressure for the series' success. But perhaps the prospect of starting his own family with Kai, coupled with knowledge of how intricately involved he was in the intense episodic schedule, led him to initially keep his latest onscreen family at a greater distance than usual. In fact, he warned the cast early on that there was a reason why he named the show Firefly, after the spaceship, and not after any central character. Adam Baldwin recalls Joss declaring, "Because I've had experience with that before and I don't want that. You're all expendable. If I choose, you can go at any time."
Yeah, but he didn't get enough time in the series, so he had to off them in the movie.
Anyway, I'm not a big contemporary biog fan. I like reading about dead people. So this isn't on my Wishlist.
But my 45th birfday is, in fact, still imminent. I mean, if'n anybody's not sure what to get the blogger who has everything, dong ma?
Speaking Of Human Spaceflight
Driving In Dirt Dirt
PS--This really needs an old-timey silent film piano score.
PPS--I still hate when people disable embeds.
When The Moon Hits Your Spacecraft
Or just before it does, you get the first lunar pictures by a US spacecraft.
Unanimous Support Of Israel?
Yes, Reid requested unanimous consent for a resolution expressing support for Israel, and no Senator objected. While I wrote to Bernie to see if he had an explanation, I can't be really incensed about this. It's pretty much the norm, even in the current environment.
Perfect Is The Enemy
Yes, it's always been a puzzle to me how anybody could think no progress, or reversing progress, on healthcare access is better than significant-albeit-incremental progress. And I say this as somebody who actively fought Obamacare in favor of Medicare for All.
Ericka on the press riser, waiting for Obama to show up in Portland, Oregon, May 18, 2008.
Thursday Great War Poetry
Then in the lull of midnight, gentle arms
Lifted him slowly down the slopes of death
Lest he should hear again the mad alarms
Of battle, dying moans, and painful breath.
And where the earth was soft for flowers we made
A grave for him that he might better rest.
So, Spring shall come and leave it seet arrayed,
And there the lark shall turn her dewy nest
PS--'tis a puzzle how this one's not included in The Complete Poems of Francis Ledwidge.
Hadley Rille, My Kind Of Place
Ah! Why, Because the Dazzling Sun
O Stars and Dreams and Gentle Night;O Night and Stars return!And hide me from the hostile lightThat does not warm, but burn—
What We Need Is More Criminalization Of Parenting
Please, for the love of Dog:
“I’m totally dumbfounded by this whole situation,” says Nicole Gainey. She’s not the only one. The Port St. Lucie, Florida, mom was arrested on Saturday for letting her 7-year-old son, Dominic, walk alone — in the daytime, with a cellphone — a half-mile to a local park. “I honestly didn’t think I was doing anything wrong,” she says. “I was letting him go play.”
During his approximately 10-minute walk, the boy passed by a public pool, where a patron asked him where his mother was and other questions. As he told a local news station, “I got scared and ran off to the park, and that’s when they called the cops.” Police picked up the boy at the park, brought him home and arrested his mother for felony child neglect. In their report, police noted that “numerous sex offenders reside in the vicinity.” Gainey says the cops “just kept going over that, you know, there’s pedophiles,” which sounds to me like the kind of problem that perhaps there’s a better approach to than whisking kids off playgrounds and arresting mothers. The state’s sttorney’s office notes that there is no law regarding how old children can be before they can travel unaccompanied.
Our kids have to walk through a scary woods to the school. I'd best escort them, armed, until they're 18, I guess.
Indeed, Canis Familiaris Was Genetically Engineered 33k Years Ago
Yeah, in fairness:
"Practically every food you buy in a store for consumption by humans is genetically modified food," asserts Tyson. "There are no wild, seedless watermelons. There's no wild cows...You list all the fruit, and all the vegetables, and ask yourself, is there a wild counterpart to this? If there is, it's not as large, it's not as sweet, it's not as juicy, and it has way more seeds in it. We have systematically genetically modified all the foods, the vegetables and animals that we have eaten ever since we cultivated them. It's called artificial selection." You can watch the full video above.
In fairness, critics of GM foods make a variety of arguments that go beyond the simple question of whether the foods we eat were modified prior to the onset of modern biotechnology. They also draw a distinction between modifying plants and animals through traditional breeding and genetic modification that requires the use of biotechnology, and involves techniques such as inserting genes from different species.
I love NdGT, but he's being disingenuous here, which Mooney alludes to in the 2nd graf.
As Carl Sagan observed when defending our understanding of evolution and the Miller-Urey Experiment, we've been doing this (at the chemical level) for mere decades whilst Nature has had a few billion year head start. What makes us think we understand all the consequences of our manipulation when we've already fucked things up plenty of times (like creating drug/antibacterial soap-resistant germs, etc).
Regardless, people have the right to know what's in their food supply.
The House Is Funny
So they passed this (HRes694), 227-196:
Then they passed this (HRes676), 225-201:
Providing for authority to initiate litigation for actions by the President or other executive branch officials inconsistent with their duties under the Constitution of the United States.
Yet there is still no Constitutional Authority Statement. Such bullshit.
Has Nobody Heard Of Fireships?
A remarkable piece of scientific detective work has revealed the wooden ship found beneath the wreckage of the World Trade Center was built just before, or during, the American War of Independence. Even the location where the wood was grown appears to have been settled.
In 2010, when digging the foundations for the buildings that will replace the twin towers, workers found a 9.75m long oaken partial hull 7m below what is now street level. Hickory in the keel indicated the ship was almost certainly of North American origin, but its age and specific place of construction were initially a mystery.
“Our results showed the highest agreement between the WTC ship chronology and two chronologies from Philadelphia and eastern Pennsylvania,” the paper reports. The last rings indicate the ship was built from trees felled in 1773, confirming previous theories.
This proves that 9/11 was a false flag op.
Well, It Sounds Like Something Jefferson Would Say
I've seen this floating around in memes:
The end of democracy and the defeat of the American Revolution will occur when government falls into the hands of lending institutions and moneyed incorporations.
Purported to be from Jefferson, vaguely dated as 1816. Indeed, it is similar in spirit to something he wrote to George Logan, November 12, 1816:
I hope we shall take warning...and crush in it’s [sic] birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country.
But the meme is fundamentally a fabrication, or at best a little bit of Jefferson from 1825 combined with something Chomsky wrote in 1994.
The kittens appreciate C's relative calmness and like to snuggle with her.
Blowing Them All Away
"Three lovely notes he whistled, too soft to be heard..."
I never knew a voice,Man, beast, or bird, better than this. I toldThe naturalists; but neither had they heardAnything like the notes that did so haunt me,I had them clear by heart and have them still.Four years, or five, have made no difference. ThenAs now that La-la-la! was bodiless sweet:Sad more than joyful it was, if I must sayThat it was one or other, but if sad'Twas sad only with joy too, too far offFor me to taste it. But I cannot tellIf truly never anything but fairThe days were when he sang, as now they seem.This surely I know, that I who listened then,Happy sometimes, sometimes sufferingA heavy body and a heavy heart,Now straightway, if I think of it, becomeLight as that bird wandering beyond my shore.
Self-interest Improperly Understood
In honor of Alexis de Tocqueville's birthday, I return to something he described near the end of Democracy in America:
I seek to trace the novel features under which despotism may appear in the world. The first thing that strikes the observation is an innumerable multitude of men, all equal and alike, incessantly endeavoring to procure the petty and paltry pleasures with which they glut their lives. Each of them, living apart, is as a stranger to the fate of all the rest; his children and his private friends constitute to him the whole of mankind. As for the rest of his fellow citizens, he is close to them, but he does not see them; he touches them, but he does not feel them; he exists only in himself and for himself alone; and if his kindred still remain to him, he may be said at any rate to have lost his country.
Worshippers of Galt, who earnestly believe they never benefited from society and think the commonwealth enslaves them, are counterexamples of de Tocqueville, the antithesis of enlightened, or at least pragmatic, individualism exemplified by the likes of Henry Ford or even Adam Smith. Self-interest isn't the same as selfishness, and sadly we've got more than enough of the latter floating around these days. Wonder if more people tried to at least imagine--if not actually test drive--other people's lives, how much better our politics and policies would be...
Justice Tony Cassandra
A federal appeals court based in Virginia cited the words of conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia when it struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage on Monday. In its ruling, the court embraced the language of a dissent Scalia authored in the Supreme Court case that struck down state sodomy laws.
I've wondered before if Scalia hates Lawrence a lot these days...
The purposive approach embodied in Supreme Court precedent necessarily leads to the conclusion that Section 5000A of the Affordable Care Act is not a “Bill for raising Revenue” under the Origination Clause. The Supreme Court’s repeated focus on the statutory provision’s “object,” and “primary purpose,” makes clear, contrary to Sissel’s position, that the purpose of a bill is critical to the Origination Clause inquiry. And after the Supreme Court’s decision in NFIB, it is beyond dispute that the paramount aim of the Affordable Care Act is “to increase the number of Americans covered by health insurance and decrease the cost of health care,” not to raise revenue by means of the shared responsibility payment.
Coulda told you that.
So It Begins
There's More To The Constitution Than The Tenth
Senate candidates should know more about how federalism actually works:
"You know we have talked about this at the state legislature before, nullification. But, bottom line is, as U.S. Senator, why should we pass laws that the states are considering nullifying? Bottom line: our legislators at the federal level should not be passing those laws," Ernst said. "We're right…we've gone 200-plus years of federal legislators going against the Tenth Amendment's states' rights. We are way overstepping bounds as federal legislators. So, bottom line, no we should not be passing laws as federal legislators —as senators or congressmen— that the states would even consider nullifying. Bottom line."
Of course, as the Daily Beast pointed out, states can't nullify federal laws.
Sunday Driving On Mars
Apparently its tires haven't gotten slashed:
I was gonna say Opportunity isn't even old enough to drive, but it's 18 Martian years old, so it's all cool.
Everyone suddenly burst out singing;
And I was filled with such delight
As prisoned birds must find in freedom,
Winging wildly across the white
Orchards and dark-green fields; on - on - on - and out of sight.
Everyone's voice was suddenly lifted;
And beauty came like the setting sun:
My heart was shaken with tears; and horror
Drifted away ... O, but Everyone
Was a bid; and the song was wordless; the singing will never be done.
Shit got real 100 years ago...
The Keys To The Gulag
George Will Finds A Nutbrown Immigrant Child
A rare moment of agreement with him:
When iconic conservative columnist George Will gave his thoughts on the influx of Central American children streaming into the U.S., he left “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace struggling for words to respond.
“We ought to say to these children, ‘Welcome to America, you’re going to go to school and get a job and become Americans,’” Will said on the Sunday morning show. “We have 3,141 counties in this country. That would be 20 [children] per county. The idea that we can’t assimilate these 8-year-old ‘criminals’ with their teddy bears is preposterous.”
Wallace stammered as he interjected that he predicted viewers would write in and criticize Will’s position.
“We can handle this problem,” Will said. “We’ve handled what Emma Lazarus famously called ‘the wretched refuse of your teeming shores’ a long time ago and [it was] a lot more people than this.”
Just so long as none of those motherfuckers grow up to be a DH.
Be Vewy, Vewy Quiet
Outright Bans Shot Down
In light of Heller, McDonald, and their progeny, there is no longer any basis on which this Court can conclude that the District of Columbia's total ban on the public carrying of ready-to-use handguns outside the home is constitutional under any level of scrutiny. Therefore, the Court finds that the District of Columbia's complete ban on the carrying of handguns in public is unconstitutional.
File under: no duh.
Luddites Shouldn't Whine Online
"Data! Data! Data!" he cried impatiently. "I can't make bricks without clay."
Did you actually ever read the stories?
Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock Holmes uses a smartphone just as you would expect a genius detective to, with the entire Internet at his disposal to assist in the deductive process. It’s clever, but it always seemed like cheating. Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock didn’t need no stinkin’ smartphone! A few puffs on his pipe was all that was necessary!
Actually, Holmes did use the Victorian equivalent of a smart phone: telegrams. Not to mention newspapers, railroad time tables, etc. Why? Because he needed all available information to cogitate whilst puffing his pipe.
Happy Birthday, State Department!
On this date in 1789, the very first Executive department under our brand new Constitution was established, denominated (in the parlance of the times) as the Department of Foreign Affairs. But a month later the House, followed by the Senate several days after that, passed another bit of legislation dealing with how exactly to transmit and publish new laws. Not sure if there was any controversy surrounding the bill, but it was apparently referred to an ad hoc committee for a few days in the Senate, then Washington signed.
Then in September, the Department of State got its current name. So I'm sitting here thinking, why the hell did they need to change the name? I guess it makes sense since what was originally supposed to deal with foreign relations had some new internal responsibilities (later assigned elsewhere) added to its workload, the first name wouldn't really be fitting.
The department still handles domestic things like certifying amendments to the Constitution and such, so it isn't just dealing with issues between sovereign states but within the United States. Thus, it's a good name.
I just find it interesting how much the First Congress had to feel its way through all the bootstrapping. They realized there was more stuff to be done, so quickly made adjustments to an existing department to take on the tasks. All while organizing other Executive departments, debating the Bill of Rights, figuring out relations with Native Americans, arguing about compensation for elected officials, and tackling mundane things like establishing the post office and oversight of lighthouses. It was a brave new world...
More Dosadi Than Dosadi
Kick Out The J Missions
PS--I hate it when embeds are disabled.
Winter Is Here Again, Oh, Lord
It appears that Curiosity's all-seasons are getting dinged up a bit. Martian municipal government really ought to raise property taxes to fix the roads.
Sometimes it's crowded in space:
NASA is taking steps to protect its Mars orbiters, while preserving opportunities to gather valuable scientific data, as Comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring heads toward a close flyby of Mars on Oct. 19.
The comet’s nucleus will miss Mars by about 82,000 miles (132,000 kilometers), shedding material hurtling at about 35 miles (56 kilometers) per second, relative to Mars and Mars-orbiting spacecraft. At that velocity, even the smallest particle -- estimated to be about one-fiftieth of an inch (half a millimeter) across -- could cause significant damage to a spacecraft.
NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) made one orbit-adjustment maneuver on July 2 as part of the process of repositioning the spacecraft for the Oct. 19 event. An additional maneuver is planned for Aug. 27. The team operating NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter is planning a similar maneuver on Aug. 5 to put that spacecraft on track to be in the right place at the right time, as well.
NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft is on its way to the Red Planet and will enter orbit on Sept. 21. The MAVEN team is planning to conduct a precautionary maneuver on Oct. 9, prior to the start of the mission's main science phase in early November.
In the days before and after the comet's flyby, NASA will study the comet by taking advantage of how close it comes to Mars. Researchers plan to use several instruments on the Mars orbiters to study the nucleus, the coma surrounding the nucleus, and the tail of Siding Spring, as well as the possible effects on the Martian atmosphere. This particular comet has never before entered the inner solar system, so it will provide a fresh source of clues to our solar system's earliest days.
MAVEN will study gases coming off the comet's nucleus into its coma as it is warmed by the sun. MAVEN also will look for effects the comet flyby may have on the planet’s upper atmosphere and observe the comet as it travels through the solar wind.
Odyssey will study thermal and spectral properties of the comet's coma and tail. MRO will monitor Mars’ atmosphere for possible temperature increases and cloud formation, as well as changes in electron density at high altitudes. The MRO team also plans to study gases in the comet’s coma. Along with other MRO observations, the team anticipates this event will yield detailed views of the comet’s nucleus and potentially reveal its rotation rate and surface features.
Hope they remembered which system of measurement to use this time...
You Know It's There, Yeah Here There Everywhere
No Colors Any More
Wide Awake In Philosophical Tranquility
To suppose arms in the hands of citizens, to be used at individual discretion, except in private self-defence, or by partial orders of towns, counties, or districts of a state, is to demolish every constitution, and lay the laws prostrate, so that liberty can be enjoyed by no man; it is a dissolution of the government.
- John Adams in A Defence of the Constitutions (1787)
Oh, Larry, you come so close to the truth:
Prominent gun lobbyist Larry Pratt is doubling down on his insistence that members of Congress should have a “healthy fear” of being shot, lecturing a congresswoman who felt threatened by one of his group’s members that she just doesn’t understand the Constitution.
Right Wing Watch first reported Pratt’s comments in a March interview with radio host Bill Cunningham. Pratt, the executive director of Gun Owners of America, told Cunningham that a member of his group had spoken to a congresswoman who told him, “you want to shoot me, don’t you.”
“Well, that’s probably a healthy fear for them to have,” Pratt said. “You know, I’m kind of glad that’s in the back of their minds. Hopefully they’ll behave.”
[M]y speech was designed to educate citizens, and politicians, that it is the fact that Americans are armed that allows them to resist efforts to be dominated, intimidated, or controlled by politicians.
You should do your job in constant trepidation that:
* Should your constituents disapprove of your job performance, you will be publicly criticized from the soap box;
* Should you enact unconstitutional legislation in violation of your oath of office, you will be voted out via the ballot box;
* Should criminal charges be brought against Americans for crimes which are not authorized by the U.S. Constitution, these prosecutions will be nullified in the jury box; and
* Should you attempt to disarm Americans the way the British crown tried 240 years ago, the same sovereign people who constituted this government using the cartridge box someday may need to reconstitute it, as clearly anticipated by the Declaration of Independence.
Yeah, he always goes for the last remedy first, which is funny given how unsuccessful it's been in our history. But he's a mere hair's breadth away from the real Madisonian perspective. And he forgets what the real defense against tyranny is, as noted by another Virginian, President George Washington:
The well informed members of the community, actuated by the highest motives of self-love, would form the real defence of the country. Rebellions would be prevented or suppressed with ease; invasions of such a government would only be undertaken by mad men; and the virtues and knowledge of the people would effectually oppose the introduction of tyranny.
Republican (civic) virtue is the greatest bulwark against despots. Once you get to using arms, as even Pratt observes in his list, you've pretty much already lost (and/or left yourself open to every crackpot's interpretation of tyranny).
Otherwise people might get the wrong idea...
Not So Fast
[The Virginia-based Family Foundation] has since told members that they don’t actually have to give up food at all to take part in the ‘fast’.
They wrote: “We are asking the entire Body of Christ to join us for this feast – giving up physical food isn’t necessary – but feeding on the spiritual food provided is vital.”
As people don’t actually have to give up food to take part, the group opposed to re-defining the definition of marriage seem to be re-defining the meaning of a fast.
Eh, can't blame them, really. I understand what it's like to go without food for a losing cause.
Anyway, as I have often mused about such milestones on our historical continuum, as well as the conflation of said markers, I read an excerpt from The Lovers' Quarrel: The Two Foundings and American Political Development with a high degree of interest:
If the Federalists and their disciples have specialized in creative syntheses and resyntheses, and layering new meanings on old ones, the Anti-Federalists and their descendants have always responded with historical revisionism. Since the First Founding came first, their followers never felt obligated to engage in any reconciliation with the innovators of their age. As Jefferson took it as a badge of honor that he would “never turn an inch out of my way to reconcile them [the Federalists’ leaders],” today’s Anti-Federalists are similarly unflinching in their commitment to (what they believe to be and indeed fittingly call) “first principles.” If Grover Norquist is uncompromising and inflexible, he is no more so than another earlier neo-Anti-Federalist, John C. Calhoun, who was so rigid he was called the “cast iron man.” Meckler and Martin were only doing what Madison, Jefferson, and Calhoun did, when they first insinuated Anti-Federalist meanings out of Federalist words, in the debate about the First Bank in 1791, the Revolution of 1800, and the Nullification crisis, respectively. Theirs was the same strategy Herman Cain deployed, if less wittingly, when the latter alleged, in a speech announcing his bid for the Republican presidential nomination in May 2011, “For the benefit for those that are not going to read it because they don’t want us to go by the Constitution, there’s a little section in there that talks about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” That section is actually in the Declaration of Independence. Here was another disciple of the First Founding who could not think of the Second Founding as legitimate on its own terms, but who believed that it needed to piggyback on the legitimacy of the First. Consider, also, the web page articulating the “Core Principles” of the John Birch Society, where the Declaration of Independence is twice cited and the Constitution not at all. Consider, finally, Governor Mike Huckabee’s anti-federalization of Federalism at the Republican National Convention in 2012:
So fearful were they [the Second Founders] that government would grow beyond their intention that even after crafting our magnificent Constitution, they said, “We can do even better.” They added amendments that we call the Bill of Rights that limit what the government can do and guarantee what “We the people” have the unimpeded right to do—whether to speak, assemble, worship, pray, publish, or even refuse intrusions into our homes.
Only an Anti-Federalist, original or modern, would see the Bill of Rights, which Publius had argued vigorously against, as an improvement on the Constitution. The frequency and predictability of the foregoing faux pas tell a deeper story, especially now that we have seen the pattern of revisionism that (the post-ratification) Madison, Jefferson, Calhoun, Van Buren, and others in the Anti-Federalist tradition had pioneered. The modern Tea Party and the conservatives who share the movement’s views are Anti-Federalists in their newest guise; their conflation of principles from the Declaration with words from the Constitution is merely the most recent attempt to do a makeover on the 1787 revolution in favor of government, which, as Gordon Wood rightly noted, had done no less than “shattered the classical Whig view of 1776”—the view espoused by the Anti-Federalists.
Me likey. And I'll just point out that my birthday is coming up...
Antonio Machado (translated by Don Paterson):
The wind pulled up and spoke co me one day.
The jasmine on his breath tool: mine away.
"This perfume can be yours too. if you want:
just let me carry off your roses’ scent.”
"My roses? But I have none left,” I said.
“The ﬂowers in my garden are all dead.”
He sighed. "Give me the withered petals, then.
The leaves that rattle in the empty fountain.”
With that, he left me. And I fell to weeping
for the garden that they gave into my keeping.
The literal and figurative aspects strike a chord with me today.
The Great G Minor Symphony
Does love conquer all? That's the question being asked by a group of 20-somethings in the West Bank amid renewed fighting between Israel and Hamas. Using the popular dating apps Tinder and Grindr, they are examining how the conflict is playing out on these online dating services.
The results, which reflect the conflict's deep divisions, and also the mundane reality of dating applications, are documented on the blog Palestinder. Because Israelis use Tinder and Grinder a lot more than Palestinians, the blog provides an unvarnished look at unsavory Israeli opinions of Palestinians more than a view across the divide. Then again, one probably shouldn't expect more from an experiment of this kind.
Spoiler: they all die.
At the end of the last Ice Age 18,000 years ago, the Northern Hemisphere transitioned rapidly into a new climate state. Glaciers retreated and the world warmed, and by 11,500 years ago, the planet had entered the constant summer of today's Holocene Epoch.
Right before this shift, there may have been a warning sign that the planet was hitting a tipping point into a warmer state, finds a new study published yesterday in the journal Science.
The signal was this: Climate and temperature conditions in the northern Pacific Ocean, near Alaska, closely matched temperatures in Greenland such that as the northern Pacific warmed, so did Greenland.
This was highly unusual; usually, the climates of the regions are out of sync.
The findings are relevant to scientists concerned about tipping points resulting from future climate change. As levels of carbon dioxide rise in our atmosphere, the planet may hit a threshold beyond which today's world ceases to exist. The planet may enter a new climate state.
Welcome to the New Normal? Sorry, kids, best of luck...
Ancient Mariner, from Part the Second:
The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew,
The furrow followed free:
We were the first that ever burst
Into that silent sea.
Down dropt the breeze, the sails dropt down,
'Twas sad as sad could be;
And we did speak only to break
The silence of the sea!
All in a hot and copper sky,
The bloody Sun, at noon,
Right up above the mast did stand,
No bigger than the Moon.
Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.
Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
Had It Been Another Day