Sunday, 12/04/2016

I see a man chilling with his dog in the park

Watch out for those black Santas.


December 4, 11:04 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

For absolutely nothing but joy.

The Dogs at Live Oak Beach, Santa Cruz:

As if there could be a world
Of absolute innocence
In which we forget ourselves
The owners throw sticks
And half-bald tennis balls
Toward the surf
And the happy dogs leap after them
As if catapulted—
Black dogs, tan dogs,
Tubes of glorious muscle—
Pursuing pleasure
More than obedience

Alicia Ostriker.


December 4, 9:18 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Giant Puppets: How Do They Work?

Indeed, it doesn't work all the time (when does any human endeavor?).  But perhaps people will find some constructive lessons from Standing Rock about direct action instead of saying "that shit only worked in the 60s"...


December 4, 7:44 PM in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, 12/03/2016

The Heavens Declare The Glory Of Philip

Pants?  Where we're going, we don't need pants.


December 3, 11:33 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

cleanse thou me from secret faults

The Error of the Tyrant:

That stolid Spartan fables shall redeem
Flexed muscle, not the ductile tear’s esteem,
Is fundamental error we confound.
Where treacherous simplicities redound
Sharp horn, stifi drum, beware
The grief in the fault of hollow-angled air
No calculate of bloodshed can repair.

Incarnate ghosts have sturdin reproved
The reason’s angled neatness. Though, removed
From multiple men, the master can compel
Impersonal the pinpoint, troubled swell
As we assemble; so the hidden rise,
Accumulate air defending mobile eyes
Of those whom he, too late, shall recognize.

Jeremy Ingalls.


December 3, 10:48 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins

Indeed, St Nick was totally not a swarthy Greek:

Three years after Fox’s Megyn Kelly definitively explained to America that both Jesus Christ and Santa Claus were white men, Mall of America dismissed her advice and hired Larry Jefferson, a retired U.S. Army veteran from Irving, Texas to spend four days at the mall listening to the wish lists of children of all colors.

According to the editorial editor of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, comments on black Santa became so offensive the paper shut down their online comments on the article about it.

“Looks like we had to turn comments off on story about Mall of America’s first black Santa. Merry Christmas everyone!” Scott Gillespie wrote.

That didn’t stop people whose world was rocked by a non-white Santa from finding other venues to rage against the Claus, including Twitter and other comment sections.

Look for a 3am twitterstorm from PEOTUS about how Billy Bob Thornton proves Santa is going through life white, drunk, and stupid...


December 3, 9:31 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart

Camels through eyes of a needle and whatnot:

Buried deep in Section 2634 of federal ethics laws is a tax avoidance maneuver called a “certificate of divestiture,” that allows incoming cabinet picks to sell off billions of dollars in assets — in order to avoid future conflicts of interest — much of them tax-free.

When former President George W. Bush selected Goldman Sachs CEO Henry Paulson top serve as his treasury secretary, Paulson sold off approximately a half a billion dollars’ worth of Goldman stock and avoided what might have totaled over $200 million in capital gains taxes.

According to Robert Lenhard, a campaign-finance lawyer and former FEC chairman, the law was put in place out of fairness to potential administration picks.

“If you suddenly had to absorb the capital-gains taxes of substantial parts of your holdings, it would be a real body blow to some people financially,” he explained. “I just think of it as an act of fairness for those people entering public service.”

Depending on the position, not all cabinet secretaries will be asked to divest themselves of holdings that might give rise to questions of conflicts of interest, but those who want to take advantage on the law could recognize substantial savings, including possible education secretary, Betsy DeVos, whose family fortune is estimated at approximately $5 billion.

To be fair to Paulson, it would've been hard to live on $300M if that had been his only asset.  I can only imagine how difficult a time this must be for DeVos...


December 3, 8:44 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

His going forth is from the end of the heaven

Emoluments, eschmoluments.

So key-ute!  Consent of Congress.  Key words.  It doesn't say that Congress shall pass a law...their consent can be as silent as a Republican mouse not stirring in the House on Xmas eve.  Ain't gonna stop him any more than Hamilton's Pure Electors.


December 3, 7:35 PM in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

Day unto day uttereth tweets

Trump's foreign policy is like sausage: it is better not to see it being made on Twitter.  We.  Are.  All.  Gonna.  Fucking.  Die.


December 3, 6:57 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Psalm 19:2

On this date in 1904, the largest irregular moon of Jupiter, Himalia, was discovered by Charles Dillon Perrine at the Lick Observatory:

Himalia is the fifth largest moon orbiting Jupiter. With a mean radius of 85 km assuming an albedo of 0.04), it's only about 5% the size of the fourth largest moon, Europa. But it's by far the largest member of the Himalia group, a family of Jovian satellites which have similar orbits and appearance, and are therefore thought to have a common origin.

Himalia may be the largest remaining chunk of an asteroid (a C- or D-class asteroid, judging by the fact that it reflects only about 4% of the light it receives), which had several pieces broken off in a collision either before or after being captured by Jupiter's gravity. In this scenario, those pieces became the other moons in the Himalia group...

Himalia was named for a nymph of the island of Rhodes in Greek mythology who was one of the lovers of Zeus (the Greek equivalent of the Roman god Jupiter). She bore him three sons: Spartaeus, Cronios and Cytus.

And in 1973, Pioneer 10 made its closest approach to Jupiter, taking awesome pictures like the one above (taken about 1.5M miles away).  The sequence below taken on December 4 is pretty cool, too:

NASA's Pioneer 10 spacecraft sent back images of Jupiter of ever-increasing size. The most dramatic moment was after closest approach and after the spacecraft was hidden behind Jupiter. Here, images gradually build up into a very distorted crescent-shaped Jupiter. "Sunrise on Jupiter," a team member said. The giant planet crescent gradually decreased in size as the spacecraft sped away out of the Jovian system.

Night unto night sheweth knowledge...


December 3, 5:46 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, 12/02/2016

Emerson, Lake, And Trumpster

Guessing the PETOUS ain't a fan.


December 2, 11:09 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)


An die Freude:

Joy, thou beauteous godly lighting,
Daughter of Elysium,
Fire drunken we are ent'ring
Heavenly, thy holy home!

Thy enchantments bind together,
What did custom's sword divide,
Beggars are a prince's brother,
Where thy gentle wings abide.

Friedrich Schiller.


December 2, 10:43 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Species Survive, Individuals Do Not

Yes, RMJ is right, the Republic will live on:

[W]e survived a President who said that when the President does it, it's not illegal.  We survived a President who was already suffering from dementia in his last term, and a President who was a benign doofus who really did think he could invade Iran and make the world safe for kleptocracy with pallets of cash.  We'll survive this, too.

But the crazy will always be with you.**  The fact that they can grab the microphone doesn't mean they just erupted sui generis from the brow of Trump.  They've been reaching for that microphone for many years now.  Like the election of Andrew Jackson, their time has just come around again.

I suspect if we studied history carefully enough we'd find out populists have never been much better than this.  I can certainly point to the history of Texas, and especially the Texas Constitution, as prime examples of what populism produced, and how uninspiring and unenlightened it really was.  Then again, not everyone in Athens was Socrates or Plato, either.

My concern is the 20,000,000 Americans who will have less of a chance after Obamacare and other programs are decimated, and less-white Americans who will have their franchise restricted and less justice in the face of systemic racism, and less-maled Americans who will lose reproductive freedom, and less-cis-het Americans who will be shoved back into the closet and gutter...


December 2, 9:10 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Trump's America Goes Not Abroad, There Are Plenty Of Monsters To Destroy At Home

Oh yeah, since I had fun with John Quincy Adams, I'll note he spoke on July 4, 1821:

[America] goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy.

She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all.  She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.  She will commend the general cause by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example.

She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom.

Fast forward a couple years, when Britain and the US were concerned about a resurgence of European monarchial/colonial power in the Americas.  George Canning proposed a bilateral announcement warning everybody off.  President Monroe wasn't sure how to respond, so he sought advice.

JQA recorded in his journal in November, 1823:

13th. Morning occupied in making a draft of minutes for the message of the President upon subjects under the direction of the Department of State. I took to the President's my draft of minutes and copies of the instructions to R. Rush dispatched last summer. I read and left my draft with him.

I find him yet altogether unsettled in his own mind as to the answer to be given to Mr. Canning's proposals, and alarmed, far beyond anything that I could have conceived possible, with the fear that the Holy Alliance are about to restore immediately all South America to Spain. Calhoun stimulates the panic, and the news that Cadiz has surrendered to the French has so affected the President that he appeared entirely to despair of the cause of South America. He will recover from this in a few days; but I never saw more indecision in him...

15th....[President Monroe] asked for the correspondence relating to the intercourse with the British American Colonies, with a view to the particular notice which he intends to take of it in the message; which I thought should have been only in general terms. He also showed me two letters which he had received—one from Mr. Jefferson, 23d October, and one from Mr. Madison of 30th October, giving their opinions on the proposals of Mr. Canning. The President had sent them the two dispatches from R. Rush of 23d and 28th August, enclosing the correspondence between Canning and him, and requested their opinions on the proposals.

Mr. Jefferson thinks them more important than anything that has happened since our Revolution. He is for acceding to the proposals, with a view to pledging Great Britain against the Holy Allies; though he thinks the island of Cuba would be a valuable and important acquisition to our Union. Mr. Madison's opinions are less decisively pronounced, and he thinks, as I do, that this movement on the part of Great Britain is impelled more by her interest than by a principle of general liberty.
The subject of Mr. Canning's proposals was resumed, and I soon found the source of the President's despondency with regard to South American affairs. Calhoun is perfectly moon-struck by the surrender of Cadiz, and says the Holy Allies, with ten thousand men, will restore all Mexico and all South America to the Spanish dominion. I did not deny that they might make a temporary impression for three, four, or five years, but I no more believe that the Holy Allies will restore the Spanish dominion upon the American continent than that the Chimborazo will sink beneath the ocean.

But, I added, if the South Americans were really in a state to be so easily subdued, it would be but a more forcible motive for us to beware of involving ourselves in their fate. I set this down as one of Calhoun's extravaganzas. He is for plunging into a war to prevent that which, if his opinion of it is correct, we are utterly unable to prevent. He is for embarking our lives and fortunes in a ship which he declares the very rats have abandoned.
21st....I took with me the draft of my dispatch to R. Rush in answer to Canning's proposals, with the President's projected amendments and my proposal of amendment upon amendment. We had a very long discussion upon one phrase, which seemed to me to require none at all. The sentiment expressed was, that although we should throw no impediment in the way of an arrangement between Spain and her ex-Colonies by amicable negotiation, we should claim to be treated by the South Americans upon the footing of equal favor with the most favored nation.

The President had proposed a modifying amendment, which seemed to admit that we should not object to an arrangement by which special favors, or even a restoration of authority, might be conceded to Spain. To this I strenuously objected, as did Mr. Calhoun...The President did not insist upon any of his amendments which were not admitted by general consent, and the final paper, though considerably varied from my original draft, will be conformable to my own views...

My purpose would be in a moderate and conciliatory manner, but with a firm and determined spirit, to...assert [principles] upon which our own Government is founded, and, while disclaiming all intention of attempting to propagate them by force, and all interference with the political affairs of Europe, to declare our expectation and hope that the European powers will equally abstain from the attempt to spread their principles in theAmerican hemisphere, or to subjugate by force any part of these continents to their will.

The President approved of this idea; and then taking up the sketches that he had prepared for his message, read them to us. Its introduction was in a tone of deep solemnity and of high alarm, intimating that this country is menaced by imminent and formidable dangers, such as would probably soon call for their most vigorous energies and the closest union. It then proceeded to speak of the foreign affairs, chiefly according to the sketch I had given him some days since, but with occasional variations.

After hashing out the US stance, Adams sent instructions to Ambassador Richard Rush in London on the 30th:

As a member of the European community Great Britain lias relations with all the other Powers of Europe, which the United States have not, and with which it is their unaltered determination, not to interfere. But American Affairs, whether of the Northern or of the Southern Continent can henceforth not be excluded from the interference of the United States. All questions of policy relating to them have a bearing so direct upon the Rights and Interests of the United States themselves, that they cannot be left at the disposal of European Powers animated and directed exclusively by European principles and interests.

Aware of the deep importance of united ends and councils, with those of Great Britain in this emergency, we see no possible basis on which that harmonious concert of measures can be founded, other than the general principle of South-American Independence. So long as Great Britain withholds the recognition of that, we may, as we certainly do concur with her in the aversion to the transfer to any other power of any of the colonies in this Hemisphere, heretofore, or yet belonging to Spain; but the principles of that aversion, so far as they are common to both parties, resting only upon a casual coincidence of interests, in a National point of view selfish on both sides, would be liable to dissolution by every change of phase in the aspects of European Politics.

And so President Monroe unilaterally declared on December 2:

The citizens of the United States cherish sentiments the most friendly in favor of the liberty and happiness of their fellow-men on that side of the Atlantic. In the wars of the European powers in matters relating to themselves we have never taken any part, nor does it comport with our policy to do so. It is only when our rights are invaded or seriously menaced that we resent injuries or make preparation for our defense.

With the movements in this hemisphere we are of necessity more immediately connected, and by causes which must be obvious to all enlightened and impartial observers. The political system of the allied powers is essentially different in this respect from that of America. This difference proceeds from that which exists in their respective Governments; and to the defense of our own, which has been achieved by the loss of so much blood and treasure, and matured by the wisdom of their most enlightened citizens, and under which we have enjoyed unexampled felicity, this whole nation is devoted.

We owe it, therefore, to candor and to the amicable relations existing between the United States and those powers to declare that we should consider any attempt on their part to extend their system to any portion of this hemisphere as dangerous to our peace and safety. With the existing colonies or dependencies of any European power we have not interfered and shall not interfere.

But with the Governments who have declared their independence and maintain it, and whose independence we have, on great consideration and on just principles, acknowledged, we could not view any interposition for the purpose of oppressing them, or controlling in any other manner their destiny, by any European power in any other light than as the manifestation of an unfriendly disposition toward the United States.

And there you have it.  Monroe's Doctrine has been expanded and tweaked a number of times over the intervening years.  

F'rinstance, Teddy Roosevelt had something to say about it on December 6, 1904:

It is not true that the United States feels any land hunger or entertains any projects as regards the other nations of the Western Hemisphere save such as are for their welfare. All that this country desires is to see the neighboring countries stable, orderly, and prosperous.

Any country whose people conduct themselves well can count upon our hearty friendship. If a nation shows that it knows how to act with reasonable efficiency and decency in social and political matters, if it keeps order and pays its obligations, it need fear no interference from the United States.

Chronic wrongdoing, or an impotence which results in a general loosening of the ties of civilized society, may in America, as elsewhere, ultimately require intervention by some civilized nation, and in the Western Hemisphere the adherence of the United States to the Monroe Doctrine may force the United States, however reluctantly, in flagrant cases of such wrongdoing or impotence, to the exercise of an international police power...

While they thus obey the primary laws of civilized society they may rest assured that they will be treated by us in a spirit of cordial and helpful sympathy. We would interfere with them only in the last resort, and then only if it became evident that their inability or unwillingness to do justice at home and abroad had violated the rights of the United States or had invited foreign aggression to the detriment of the entire body of American nations. It is a mere truism to say that every nation, whether in America or anywhere else, which desires to maintain its freedom, its independence, must ultimately realize that the right of such independence can not be separated from the responsibility of making good use of it.

In asserting the Monroe Doctrine, in taking such steps as we have taken in regard to Cuba, Venezuela, and Panama, and in endeavoring to circumscribe the theater of war in the Far East, and to secure the open door in China, we have acted in our own interest as well as in the interest of humanity at large.
We continue steadily to insist on the application of the Monroe Doctrine to the Western Hemisphere. Unless our attitude in these and all similar matters is to be a mere boastful sham we can not afford to abandon our naval programme. Our voice is now potent for peace, and is so potent because we are not afraid of war. But our protestations upon behalf of peace would neither receive nor deserve the slightest attention if we were impotent to make them good.

It appears Roosevelt's Corollary was fundamentally spurred by the Venezuela Crisis of 1902 (which he'd brag about for years), although he'd been formulating his philosophy and policy stance for quite some time:

The Roosevelt Corollary was a departure from previous hemispheric policy in that it proceeded from a global vision of U.S. security... 

Roosevelt's thinking on the Monroe Doctrine and the U.S. status and duty in the hemisphere went back a long way and fed on his reading and research as a young historian. Following the Venezuela Crisis of 1895. during which he enthusiastically supported Olney's vigorous reassertion of the 1823 warning, with its defiant reminder of U.S. invulnerability in the Americas, he penned in the March 1896 issue of The Bachelor or Arts an article that set forth his own interpretation of the celebrated pronouncement.

According to Roosevelt, the doctrine existed even before its actual formulation, as evidenced by American opposition to Napoleon's purchase of Louisiana from Spain in 1802. No territorial transfer, grant, or aggrandizement was to be permitted in favor of any European power.

Although he accepted the status quo, he looked forward "to the day when not a single European power [would] hold a foot of American soil.” His defense of the Monroe Doctrine then was unmistakably nationalistic; it was "not a question of law at all" but "a question of policy." It was also subtly imperialistic, as the corollary would later show; Roosevelt claimed rather disingenuously that it was "distinctly in the interest of civilization that the present states of the two Americas should develop along their own lines," while implicitly postulating U.S. superiority and trusteeship over “Spanish America." The future president's vision was essentially strategic.

In 1896 he advocated the instant annexation of Hawaii, the construction of an isth- mian waterway, and the revival of the Monroe Doctrine, backed by a “first-class fighting navy" without which it would stand as "an empty boast."
Shortly after his accession to the presidency, in view of the upcoming International Conference of the American States to be held in Mexico City, Roosevelt instructed Secretary of State john Hay to remind the "sister republics" that their stability and pros- perity were vital for the United States, to offer them generous commercial cooperation, and to invite them to iointly champion the Monroe Doctrine so as to better defend their sovereign rights and territorial integrity against possible encroachments by a European power. As vice president he had similarly urged its recognition as "a great international Pan-American policy, vital to the interests of all of us." light of all our intervention in Europe since we put on our Superpower Pants, I found an interesting article about the Doctrine by Rear-Admiral Colby Chester (the only naval officer to have served in the Civil War, Spanish-American War, and WWI) from July, 1914, not long after Archduke Ferdinand has been assassinated:

In defending the continental policy of "America for the Americans" the United States will have ample cause for keeping up an efficient navy, and to protect the seven thousand miles of coast line, including "the greater Panama Canal zone," she will need every ship that our non-military people will authorize to be constructed. It has been well said that the Monroe Doctrine is as strong as the navy of the United States, and in view of the fact that our country- men insist on maintaining but a small navy as compared with those that might be brought against it in combination, our people should avoid creating enemies, who might be tempted, in order to protect their own interests, to form an alliance with more power than we could bring to bear against them. 
Let the United the words of the Hon. John Barrett, director of the Pan-American Union, "take advantage of the opening of the Panama Canal, to signalize formally, as it were, the beginning of a new Pan-American era in which the Monroe Doctrine, which represents the dictum of one government in the family of nations, shall evolve into a greater Pan-American doctrine, which shall represent the mutual interest and protection of all." 

It is better to make friends than to build guns.

Indeed.  But a few years later Yanks with their guns turned the tide in France and--demobilization notwithstanding--we had fundamentally reversed the European side of Monroe's equation.

So thank the fuck christ that America gonna be made great again.  Just ask Taiwan!  Here's hoping no European power not named Putin won't intervene over here!  Please don't throw us in the briar patch!  Take our Electoral College, please!


December 2, 8:24 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, 12/01/2016

First Day Of Advent

And Chanukah starts on the 24th this year!  It's a Chrismukkah Miracle!


December 1, 11:29 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

fatherless, everything has come


Pick out the one
that doesn’t belong.

Rae Armantrout.


December 1, 10:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

See? Hillary Can't Complain Because History!

Remember Founding Father Child Prodigy John Quincy Adams?

Per statute, the Presidential Electors met on December 1, 1824, to cast their ballots (the 1st Weds of December, which was the law until the 1880s).  While there was no CNN back then, and election dates and mechanisms were all over the map, the results were fundamentally known.

Officially the votes weren't counted until February 9, but there was no mystery that Andrew Jackson had 99 and JQA had 84, with nobody getting the required majority.  So the House would, under the Twelfth Amendment, ultimately elect Adams over the other Top 3 candidates (the other being Crawford), 13-7-4.

Jackson decried a "corrupt bargain" that allegedly involved Henry Clay (who was disqualified for the contingent election coming in 4th) throwing his support behind Adams for an appointment to Secretary of State (the best path to the presidency in those days).  The sore loser quit his Senate seat in a huff, and 4 years later kicked his rival's butt.

Which shows that this year's winner of the popular vote should totally unite behind the billionaire appoint other billionaires and Nazis and generals who shared classified information because the Framers wanted rich white slaveowners to democratically rule our Republic and not moistened bints lying in ponds...


December 1, 9:08 PM in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, 11/29/2016

Chimp #81

Then began men to call upon the name of the Lord...


November 29, 11:35 PM in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0)

trust the feel of what nubbed treasure your hands have known


The longship’s swimming tongue
was buoyant with hindsight—
it said Thor’s hammer swung
to geography and trade,
thick-witted couplings and revenges,
the hatreds and behind-backs
of the althing, lies and women,   
exhaustions nominated peace,   
memory incubating the spilled blood.

Seamus Heaney.


November 29, 9:50 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

So Jeff Sessions Supports Quotas?

Well, this is a bit odd:

The question went nowhere because the witness, conservative activist Linda Chavez, who urged senators to vote down Sotomayor's nomination, disputed Sessions' premise that having a large number of Latino judges was problematic.

Sessions: Ms. Chavez, I noticed one thing. According to the ABA statistics, only 3.5 percent of lawyers in America in 2000 were Hispanic, yet they—Hispanics make up 5 percent of the federal district court judges and 6 percent of circuit court judges. Would you comment on that?

Chavez: …I reject all of that. That doesn't bother me in the least that they are overrepresented. I think we should not be making ethnicity and race or gender a qualification for sitting on the bench or being a firefighter or being a captain or lieutenant on a firefighting team. I think we ought to take race, ethnicity, and gender out of the equation.

Given that Hispanics and Latinos are about 17% of the American population, it's even odder that General Beauregard wants his quotas to be just based on attorney demographics.


November 29, 8:19 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Monday, 11/28/2016

As good a gentleman as the emperor.

The king's a bawcock, and a heart of gold.


November 28, 11:27 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Genesis 1:27

A Divine Image:

Cruelty has a Human Heart
And Jealousy a Human Face 
Terror the Human Form Divine 
And Secrecy, the Human Dress 
The Human Dress, is forged Iron 
The Human Form, a fiery Forge. 
The Human Face, a Furnace seal'd 
The Human Heart, its hungry Gorge.

William Blake.


November 28, 10:12 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Every Astronaut Poops

NASA wants a better space suit to crap in.  What's wrong with the traditional system of getting naked with lots of tissues?


November 28, 8:56 PM in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, 11/27/2016

Also Sprach Zaratrumpster

O America, take care!


November 27, 11:16 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)