Tuesday, 07/22/2014

Secret Moon Base Revealed!

Oh, that's just old fake Apollo footage...


July 22, 10:41 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Whistling Past The Obamacare Lawsuits' Graveyard


Today’s ruling is also further proof that President Obama’s health care law is completely unworkable.  It cannot be fixed.

Really, it couldn't be fixed by, you know, Congressional clarification that the subsidies which clearly apply to Federally-run state exchanges do, in fact, apply to Federally-run state exchanges?  Not a lot of faith in yourself there, Mr Speaker.


July 22, 8:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Picking Up The Split

Emily Bazelon Johnson is right:

Obamacare is increasingly popular. One recent survey found that 74 percent of newly covered Republicans are satisfied with the health coverage they’re getting through the law. Throw in newly covered Democrats and independents, and the rate goes up to 78 percent. Do all those governors who refused to set up state exchanges want the people in their state to be stripped of subsidies now? Does the Supreme Court want to pick up this ax and throw it? Surely the answer is no. Let’s count on the D.C. Circuit to come to its senses in the next round. If that happens, and no other full appeals court strikes down this part of the law, these cases will sputter out. As they should. It’s time to stop picking at the statute’s loose threads and move on to a new national project.

Yeah, this ain't going to SCOTUS.  Full DC Circuit will reverse, the score will be 4-0 and we will move on, even if people of a certain ilk can't ever take no for an answer.


July 22, 7:12 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

And A Good Ruling

And the 4th Circuit upholds subsidies:

That Congress sometimes specified state and federal Exchanges in the bill is as unremarkable as it is unrevealing. This was, after all, a 900-page bill that purported to restructure the means of providing health care in this country. Neither the canons of construction nor any empirical analysis suggests that congressional drafting is a perfectly harmonious, symmetrical, and elegant endeavor...Sausage-makers are indeed offended when their craft is linked to legislating...At worst, the drafters’ perceived inconsistencies (if that is what they are at all) are far less probative of Congress’ intent than the unqualified and broad contingency provision.



PS--How did I miss the pizza analogy?

July 22, 1:55 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Coming Home

A converstation with Capcom Charlie Duke on July 22:

05 12 17 21 CC
...Mrs. Robert Goddard said today that her husband would have been so happy. "He wouldn't have shouted or anything. He would just have glowed." She added, "That was his dream, sending a rocket to the Moon." People around the world had many reasons to be happy about the Apollo 11 mission. The Italian police reported that Sunday night was the most crime free night of the year. And in London, a boy who had the faith to bet $5 with a bookie that a man would reach the Moon before 1970 collected $24.000. That's pretty good odds. 
05 14 37 53 CC
Apollo 11, Houston. You are GO for TEI. Over. 

05 14 37 59 CMP
Apollo 11. Thank you. 

05 14 49 25 CC
Hello, Apollo 11. Houston. You've got about 8 minutes till LOS. Your AOS with the burn, 135 34 05, no burn 135 44. Over. 

05 14 49 43 CMP
Okay. Thank you. 

05 14 49 46 CC
Yes, sir. 

05 14 56 35 CC
Apollo 11, Houston. One minute to LOS. Go sic 'em. 

05 14 56 41 CMP
Thank you, sir. We'll do it. 

05 15 19 -- BEGIN LUNAR REV 31 

05 15 35 14 CC
Hello Apollo 11. Houston. How did it go? Over. 

05 15 35 22 CMP
Time to open up the LRL doors, Charlie. 

05 15 35 25 CC
Roger. We got you coming home. It's well stocked. 

That first beer call on terra firma must've been nice, even if it was with Nixon.


July 22, 12:06 PM in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Affordable Care Act Wasn't Intended To Make Care Affordable

An unsurprising, bad ruling, that likely can be overcome:

A divided three-judge panel on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the text of the Affordable Care Act restricts the provision of premium tax credits to state-run exchanges. The two Republican appointees on the panel ruled against Obamacare while the one Democratic appointee ruled for the law.

"We conclude that appellants have the better of the argument: a federal Exchange is not an “Exchange established by the State,” and section 36B does not authorize the IRS to provide tax credits for insurance purchased on federal Exchanges," Judge Thomas B. Griffith wrote for the court.

His ruling was joined in a concurring opinion by George H. W. Bush-appointed Judge A. Raymond Randolph.

Carter-appointed Judge Harry T. Edwards voted to uphold the subsidies.

"This case is about Appellants’ not-so-veiled attempt to gut the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act," Edwards wrote in his dissenting opinion.



July 22, 11:11 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


Yeah, no:

There is a school of thought, called “declarationalism,” that holds that our Declaration of Independence should be viewed on equal par with the Constitution in American jurisprudence. Has there ever been an instance in which a ruling by our highest court has used the Declaration as the key legal basis for any of its decisions? None that I could find, though there look to be scores of instances in which it is mentioned.

In one case that set back political equality — the Dred Scott case of March 1857 — the Supreme Court ruled that black Americans in the United States, whether slaves or free, did not have the right to become citizens. In Dred Scott v. Sanford, Chief JusticeTaney, in legalizing slavery, wrote for the majority that black Americans “had no rights which the white man was bound to respect; and that the negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit. He was bought and sold and treated as an ordinary article of merchandise and traffic, whenever profit could be made by it.” Taney held that the Declaration’s claim that “all men are created equal” did not apply to black Americans. To him, “it is too clear for dispute, that the enslaved African race were not intended to be included, and formed no part of the people who framed and adopted this declaration. . . .”

But most instances in which the Declaration is mentioned by our highest court appear more in the vein of what John Quincy Adams had in mind. For instance, in Cotting v. Godard, in 1901, the Supreme Court makes the case that the Constitution is but the “body and the letter” of the “thought and spirit” of the Declaration’s founding principles.

It's a good piece, so read it all.

Anyway, right wingers have a tendency to conflate the Declaration and our Consitution.  I hate that.  

Look at the damned documents.  Does the Declaration lay out any frame of government?  Nope, it's a statement of purpose and list of grievances.  Sure it announces what our motivating ideals are, but saying I'm all for liberty is meaningless without my putting that into practice.

Consider that on the day Henry Lee first proposed a resolution declaring independency, Congress postponed that decision for three weeks and immediately appointed a committee to come up with "a plan of confederation" that became the Articles.  They knew that whatever happened, they needed a coordinated government of some form.

Same goes for the Constitution's Preamble (and the pre-Preamble that Madison proposed).  It's all important, and can provide some guidance I guess (in the context of natural rights, perhaps), but shouldn't be treated as having any force of law.


July 22, 10:47 AM in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

"From her beacon-hand Glows world-wide welcome..."

Yes, how quaint:

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles.

Emma Lazarus.


July 22, 7:28 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, 07/21/2014

No Time To Talk

Whether you're a brother or whether you're a mother...


July 21, 11:28 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

At Least They're Keeping Things In Perspective

Sarah Palin Johnson is right!

This president’s forgotten man is we the people, and we the people know that our best days are still ahead because we know that God shed his grace. He’s given us our freedom to do what’s right. God doesn’t drive parked cars. I think he expects us to get up and take action in order to defend these freedoms that are God given. I think it’s an affront to God to let this go on because he gave us these freedoms. We’re not going to let someone, a person, a party take them from us. We’re not going to dethrone God and substitute him with someone who wants to play God.

She's really pulling her punches, though, compared to this guy:

We all know, if there ever was a president that deserved to be impeached, it’s this guy. Alright? And I wouldn’t stop. I would think being hung, drawn, and quartered is probably too good for him.

He seems nice.


July 21, 10:59 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

We Don't Need Another St Louis


Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) announced a proposal on Friday for two military facilities to serve as host sites for some of the thousands of undocumented Central American immigrants who have come into the U.S. in recent months, saying the move falls in line with the country’s tradition of helping children in need.

“We have rescued Irish children from famine, Russian and Ukrainian children from religious persecution, Cambodian children from genocide, Haitian children from earthquakes, Sudanese children from civil war, and New Orleans children from Hurricane Katrina,” Patrick said. “Once, in 1939, we turned our backs on Jewish children fleeing the Nazis, and it remains a blight on our national reputation. The point is that this good Nation is great when we open our doors and our hearts to needy children, and diminished when we don’t.”

Richest country in the world.  You'd think we could do something other than bomb other places and send kids back to hellholes created by our policies.


July 21, 10:38 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Yes, I Cannot Do The Job

Yeah, this makes a lot of sense:

Sara Hellwege is a member of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists who believes that birth control can “cause the death of a human embryo.” As such, she is able to “counsel women regarding all forms of contraception,” but not prescribe it “unless pathology exists,” which is exactly what she told the director of human resources at Tampa Family Health Centers. She then inquired about available positions as a laborist or antepartum nurse. The director responded with a polite email informing her that no such positions were available, and that her stated refusal to meet the requirements of the position of certified nurse-midwife would be a barrier to her moving forward with the application process.

Hellwege’s complaint against the medical center alleges that she was “told she could not apply for the positions of certified nurse-midwife by Tampa Family Health Centers [...] explicitly based on her religious beliefs and moral convictions in opposition to prescribing certain drugs that she believes can cause the death of a human embryo.”

Imma try this with Lockheed Martin soon...


July 21, 10:19 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Gotta Learn To Crawl Before You Can Run To The Moon

We had to figure out how to even stay up there before Gemini, let alone Apollo.  Ole Gus, he did alright.


July 21, 1:35 PM in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

A Quarter Million Miles Away

First Men on the Moon:

That afternoon in mid-July,
Two pilgrims watched from distant space
The moon ballooning in the sky.
They rose to meet it face-to-face.
Their spidery spaceship, Eagle, dropped
Down gently on the lunar sand.
And when the module's engines stopped,
Rapt silence fell across the land.
The first man down the ladder, Neil,
Spoke words that we remember now—
“One small step...” It made us feel
As if we were there too, somehow.

J. Patrick Lewis.


July 21, 7:51 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, 07/20/2014

Speaking Of Landing On The Fucking Moon

Holy shit, an oldie but a fucking goodie.


July 20, 10:39 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Speaking Of Going Biblical On The Moon

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?

 - Psalm 8:3-4

From The Inside Story of America's Apollo Moon Landings:

"Eagle, Houston," he spoke into his microphone. His words raced across space at 186,300 miles per second to the two men. "If you read, you're GO for powered descent."

Armstrong and Aldrin were not alone in space. A third member of the Apollo 11 crew, Michael Collins, was 50 miles above them, in lunar orbit in their command ship, Columbia. He had heard clearly the vital message from the control center.

"Eagle, this is Columbia. They just gave you a GO for powered descent," Collins said.

The two men glanced at each other. "Roger," Armstrong acknowledged. They were now headed for a waterless sea known as Tranquility.

Inside Houston's Mission Control Center, a small army of tense flight controllers sat with eyes riveted to their data consoles. "Hey, gang." Heads turned. Gene Kranz, flight director, smiled. "We're really going to land on the moon today."
When the instruments told them that they were 192 miles from their projected landing site, Armstrong and Aldrin would unleash decelerating thrust and begin slowing their speed for the touchdown.

This was it. PDI. Powered Descent Initiate.

On earth, radio listeners and television viewers held their breath. People prayed. Fingernails dug into palms.

Gently the ship descended through the black sky. The Eagle's electronic brain monitored the deceleration, measured the loss of velocity, judged height and confirmed the angle of descent. The invisible hand of the computer then began to add power.

Throttle up. Full power!

Flame gushed beneath them. The Eagle rocked from side to side and pitched violently. The computer fired control thrusters to hold the craft steady.

Gravity pulled at Eagle with a vengeance as it decelerated. Inside their capsule, Armstrong and Aldrin, who had been weightless, were once again in a gravity field. Their arms sagged. Legs settled within their suits.

Armstrong smiled, immersed in the reality of their incredible adventure. He saw Aldrin grinning like a kid.

They were going to land on the moon!

SPOILER: after sailing the breezes of heaven, they make it as Dog intended.  And weren't deported by Christian Loonies.


July 20, 9:22 PM in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Speaking Of Crappy Christians

Ted Cruz is nice:

“Join the fight to stop the crisis on the border -- sign the petition to #StopObamasAmnesty,” Cruz wrote on his Facebook and Twitter.

Cruz argues the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program has spurred a wave of child immigrants from Central America to seek illegal entry into the United States, creating a crisis at the border.

The Tea Party favorite is pushing legislation that would defund the program to prevent it from being expanded. Cruz says his bill should be a part of any broader package approved by Congress to deal with the crisis.

Noting that Cruz clearly thinks the US is a "Christian" nation, and keeping RMJ's admonishment about quoting the Bible in mind, I cannot help but recall Leviticus 19:33-34:

33 [I]f a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him.

34 But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am theLord your God.

Of course Cruz applauds "charity" like Glenn Beck's, but only to keep kids from abject misery until we send them back to abject misery.  How charitably Christian.


July 20, 7:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Speaking Of Nixon

He was no Al Gore.  And no Friend (certainly not the type who would run an underground railroad to rescue LGBT Ugandans).


July 20, 6:07 PM in Conscience | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

John 15:5

I'd like to take this opportunity to ask every person listening in, whoever and wherever they may be, to pause for a moment and contemplate the events of the past few hours and to give thanks in his or her own way. Over. 

 - LMP from Tranquility Base, 105:25:38 MET

Buzz wrote in his 2009 book, Magnificent Desolation:

Landing on the moon is not quite the same thing as arriving at Grandmother's for Thanksgiving. You don't hop out of the lunar module the moment the engine stops and yell, "We're here! We're here!" Getting out of the LM takes a lot of preparation, so we had built in several extra hours to our flight plan. We also figured it was wise to allow more time rather than less for our initial activities after landing, just in case anything had gone wrong during the flight.

According to our schedule, we were supposed to eat a meal, rest awhile, and then sleep for seven hours after arriving on the moon. After all, we had already worked a long, full day and we wanted to be fresh for our extra-vehicular activity (EVA). Mission Control had notified the media that they could take a break and catch their breath since there wouldn't be much happening for several hours as we rested. But it was hard to rest with all that adrenaline pumping through our systems.

Nevertheless, in an effort to remain calm and collected, I decided that this would be an excellent time for a ceremony I had planned as an expression of gratitude and hope. Weeks before, as the Apollo mission drew near, I had originally asked Dean Woodruff, pastor at Webster Presbyterian Church, where my family and I attended services when I was home in Houston, to help me come up with something I could do on the moon, some appropriate symbolic act regarding the universality of seeking. I had thought in terms of doing something overtly patriotic, but everything we came up with sounded trite and jingoistic. I settled on a well-known expression of spirituality: celebrating the first Christian Communion on the moon, much as Christopher Columbus and other explorers had done when they first landed in their "new world."

I wanted to do something positive for the world, so the spiritual aspect appealed greatly to me, but NASA was still smarting from a lawsuit filed by atheist Madalyn Murray O'Hair after the Apollo 8 astronauts read from the biblical creation account in Genesis. O'Hair contended this was a violation of the constitutional separation of church and state. Although O'Hair's views did not represent mainstream America at that time, her lawsuit was a nuisance and a distraction that NASA preferred to live without.

I met with Deke Slayton, one of the original "Mercury Seven" astronauts who ran our flight-crew operations, to inform him of my plans and that I intended to tell the world what I was doing. Deke said, "No, that's not a good idea, Buzz. Go ahead and have communion, but keep your comments more general." I understood that Deke didn't want any more trouble.

So, during those first hours on the moon, before the planned eating and rest periods, I reached into my personal preference kit and pulled out the communion elements along with a three-by-five card on which I had written the words of Jesus: "I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me, and I in him, will bear much fruit; for you can do nothing without me." I poured a thimbleful of wine from a sealed plastic container into a small chalice, and waited for the wine to settle down as it swirled in the one-sixth Earth gravity of the moon. My comments to the world were inclusive: "I would like to request a few moments of silence ... and to invite each person listening in, wherever and whomever they may be, to pause for a moment and contemplate the events of the past few hours, and to give thanks in his or her own way." I silently read the Bible passage as I partook of the wafer and the wine, and offered a private prayer for the task at hand and the opportunity I had been given.

Neil watched respectfully, but made no comment to me at the time.

Perhaps, if I had it to do over again, I would not choose to celebrate communion. Although it was a deeply meaningful experience for me, it was a Christian sacrament, and we had come to the moon in the name of all mankind — be they Christians, Jews, Muslims, animists, agnostics, or atheists. But at the time I could think of no better way to acknowledge the enormity of the Apollo 11 experience that by giving thanks to God. It was my hope that people would keep the whole event in their minds and see, beyond minor details and technical achievements, a deeper meaning — a challenge, and the human need to explore whatever is above us, below us, or out there.

As I've said before, I never had a problem with Genesis on Apollo 8 and think it would be completely appropriate for Buzz to have been more public, too.  Now if Nixon had done something like that, it would've been a different story.


July 20, 5:21 PM in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Around The Horn

Go, no go, for undocking...


July 20, 1:06 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Look Out For Chang'e

Just before Neil and Buzz entered Eagle for final descent prep:

03 23 16 32 CC
Okay. Church services around the world today are mentioning Apollo 11 in their prayers. President Nixon's worship service at the White House is also dedicated to the mission, and our fellow astronaut, Frank Borman, is still in there pitching and will read the passage from Genesis which was read on Apollo 8 last Christmas. The Cabinet and members of Congress, with emphasis on the Senate and House space committees, have been invited, along with a number of other guests. Buzz, your son, Andy, got a tour of MSC yesterday. Your Uncle Bob Moon accompanied him on the visit which included the LRL. Among the - - 

03 23 17 27 LMP
- - Thank you. 

03 23 17 28 CC
Roger. Among the large headlines concerning Apollo this morning, there's one asking that you watch for a lovely girl with a big rabbit. An ancient legend says a beautiful Chinese girl called Chang-o has been living there for 4000 years. It seems she was banished to the Moon because she stole the pill of immortality from her husband. You might also look for her companion, a large Chinese rabbit, who is easy to spot since he is always standing on his hind feet in the shade of a cinnamon tree. The name of the rabbit is not reported. 

03 23 18 15 LMP
Okay. We'll keep a close eye out for the bunny girl. 

About 7 and a half hours later, they were on the surface.


July 20, 10:52 AM in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

One Giant Leap

One small baby.


July 20, 9:13 AM in Family Life | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Birthday Lights

By Calef Brown:

Light bulbs on a birthday cake.
What a difference that would make!
     Plug it in and make a wish,
     then relax and flip a switch!
No more smoke
      or waxy mess
      to bother any birthday guests.
But Grampa says, “it’s not the same!
      Where’s the magic?
       Where’s the flame?
To get your wish without a doubt,
You need to blow some candles out!”

And thus Sadie turns TWO...


July 20, 7:53 AM in Family Life | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, 07/19/2014

A Million Lights Above You...

Smile down upon your home.


July 19, 10:40 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Hath Not An Immigrant Lice?

An American tradition:

[C]onservative media figures have stoked tensions with wild and dishonest rhetoric on the supposed threat of new arrivals. “Dengue fever, 50 to 100 million new cases a year of dengue fever worldwide. In Mexico, it is endemic. It’s a terrible disease, for anyone that’s had it,” said Fox News host Marc Siegel, who continued with a warning. “There’s no effective treatment of it. It’s now emerging in Texas because of the immigration crisis.” Likewise, on her radio show, Laura Ingraham declared, “The government spreads the illegal immigrants across the country, and the disease is spread across the country.”

Because climate change couldn't be involved:

Warmer temperatures, heavy rainfall (remember, wetter areas get wetter) and high humidity make conditions ripe for ticks and mosquitoes, whose range is expanding. And they’ll bring West Nile virus, Dengue Fever and Lyme disease along with them. That’s certainly the case for the Asian Tiger Mosquito; a study from last August found that over the next two decades, the amount of land area the pest covers will likely increase from 5 to 16 percent.

“Right now, about one-third of the total population of 55 million people in the northeastern U.S. live in areas where the tiny insect has taken up residence,” explains PLoS blogger Linda Marsa, “but that number is projected to double, to 60 percent, by the end of the century, when the mosquito is expected to infest all the major cities on the Atlantic Coast, making over 30 million people who live in these areas vulnerable to locally acquired infections.”

The National Climate Assessment found that those same climate factors will influence the development of both the Lyme disease bacteria and the ticks that host it.

Who could believe in science when there are brown people to blame?


July 19, 8:07 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)


Tomorrow's her birthday...

...but the was a general consensus that...

...we shouldn't wait for cake.

Presents and bowling with Papa tomorrow.  And more cake.


July 19, 6:49 PM in Family Life | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

061:39:55 MET

11's crossing the equigravisphere today, so here's a refresher on what that is:

Between the Moon and Earth, there came a point where the gravity of the approaching body became stronger than that of the receding body. When this point of gravitational equality was reached, it was customary for mission control, and especially those concerned with flight dynamics, to switch their frame of reference from one world to another.

However, because the Moon itself was in motion around Earth, the numbers representing the spacecraft‘s speed and position appeared to jump. Journalists, more used to figuring out the trajectories of political figures rather than those of spacecraft, found it difficult to make sense of this change in the velocity figures being fed to them by the NASA public affairs people, and some got the impression that a ‘barrier’ was being crossed and that this must surely be felt by the crew. 

Mike Collins later related how Phil Shaffer, one of the flight dynamics controllers in the MOCR struggled to explain the truth to reporters as Apollo 8 entered the lunar sphere of influence: “Never has the gulf between the non-technical journalist and the non-journalistic technician been more apparent. The harder Phil tried to dispel the notion, the more he convinced some of the reporters that the spacecraft actually would jiggle or jump as it passed into the lunar sphere. The rest of us smirked and tittered as poor Phil puffed and laboured, and thereafter we tried to discuss the lunar sphere of influence with Phil as often as we could, especially when outsiders were present.” 

As a homeward-bound Apollo 11 crossed the imaginary line between the gravitational spheres of influence of the two worlds, Capcom Bruce McCandless called the spacecraft to inform the crew: “Apollo 11, this is Houston. Stand by for a ‘mark’ leaving the lunar sphere of influence." He then indicated the moment’s passing, “Mark. You’re leaving the lunar sphere of influence. Over.”

Collins saw a chance for some mischief. “Roger. Is Phil Shaffer down there?“ The FIDO console was being manned by Dave Reed rather than Shaffer. “Negative.” said McCandless, “but we've got a highly qualified team on in his stead.”

“Roger. I wanted to hear him explain it again to the press conference," teased Collins. “Tell him the spacecraft [definitely] gave a little jump as it went through the [equigravisphere].“

“Okay. I'll pass it on to him. Thanks a lot," said McCandless, “and Dave Reed is sort of burying his head in his arms right now.”

Oh, those astronauts, always playing pranks!  Anyway, tomorrow's a big day...


PS--NASA defined the equigravisphere as 40,000 statute miles (64,374 kilometers) from the center of the Moon.

July 19, 12:02 PM in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Mayakovsky In 1913

Happy birthday, Vladimir:

I didn’t know you when you were in your full glory,
I only saw your fiery ascent,
But, maybe, today I have the right
To remember that day from years ago.
How sounds braced the lines of your poetry
With voices like we’d never heard…
Your young hands didn’t rest,
And the scaffold you built was terrifying.
Everything you touched
Seemed transformed,
Whatever you wanted to destroy—collapsed,
A life or death sentence in every word.
Alone and never satisfied,
You tried to rush fate along.
You had already freely and willingly accepted
That soon you’d have to go out and join the great struggle.
I can still hear the answering roar
When you read to us,
The rain slanted its angry eyes,
You started a wild fight with the city.
And your still-unknown name,
Flew into the stuffy lecture hall like lightning,
So that today, cherished everywhere in this country,
It could ring out like a battle cry.

Anna Akhmatova.


July 19, 10:49 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, 07/18/2014

177k Miles From Earth

If that's not the Earth, we're in trouble.


July 18, 10:32 PM in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday Familyblogging

Sometimes you just have to give 'em electronics to stop the screaming.

Kittens need no such parental tricks.


July 18, 6:51 PM in Family Life | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Terrorists Of Infinite Space

Israeli journo Noam Sheizaf writes:

I keep running into Israelis who don’t know, for example, that we still control Allenby Bridge (which connects the West Bank to Jordan), and with it each entrance and exit of every Palestinian into the West Bank; or they don’t know that the Israeli Defense Force still operates in Area A, supposedly under the full control of the Palestinian Authority; or that there is no 3G network in the West Bank because Israel doesn’t permit the Palestinian cellular providers to use the necessary frequencies; or that we imprison hundreds of Palestinians without trial for months and years; or any other factual, undeniable aspect of the occupation. If all this is unknown, then perhaps this is all just a big misunderstanding.

Most of the time I try to correct misconceptions and argue over such details, but if I had to explain the whole thing briefly, I would use the following metaphor: We’ve built two giant prisons. Let’s call them “West Bank Prison” and “Gaza Prison.” The West Bank Prison is similar to a minimum-security facility, where prisoners get torun their own affairs as long as they behave. They are entitled to vacations from time to time, and once a year they are even taken to the beach. Some lucky people get below-minimum-wage jobs in nearby factories, and when you consider the low prices in the prison canteen, it’s actually not a bad deal.

Gaza, on the other hand, is a maximum-security facility. It is difficult to visit and impossible to leave. We allow in essential food, water, and electricity so that the prisoners don’t die. Apart from that, we don’t really care about them—that is unless they approach the prison fence, or the “forbidden” perimeter, where anyone who wanders too close is shot, or if they try to throw something over the fence.

There it is in a nutshell. 


July 18, 5:52 PM in Viva Palestina | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Corporatism Needs No Amendment

Indeed, Godel's right that we could constitutionally become a dictatorship through Article V processes.  But how quaint: just inject enough money into the system and you don't even need to amend things.


July 18, 2:49 PM in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Swimming Through The Void

We're one in the river and one again after the fall.


July 18, 1:05 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Riding The Fire

Michael Collins describes his first launch, flying on Gemini 10 with John Young, on July 18, 1966:

10 — 9 — 8 . . . grab the ejection D-ring between your legs with both hands; one jerk and our seats will explode free of this monster . . . 7 — 6 — 5 . . . it’s really going to happen . . . 4 — 3 — 2 — 1 . . . engines should be starting—IGNITION—pay attention to those gauges—LIFT OFF!

A barely perceptible bump, and we are airborne. Fairly high noise level, but we feel the machine, rather than hear it. Down below the engines shift back and forth in rapid little spastic motions, keeping the cigar-shaped load poised in delicate balance despite gusty winds and sloshing fuel tanks. Up on top we feel this actively in the form of minute sideways jerks.

There is absolutely no sensation of speed, and only a moderate increase above one G as we are gently pushed back into our contoured seats. I am dimly aware that a thin overcast layer above us seems to be getting closer when pow we burst through the wispy clouds in brief but clear contradiction to the seat-of-the-pants feeling of standing still. Cod- damn, we are moving out! As the G level begins to build, so does a choppy, buzzing vibration, not side to side now, but fore and aft.

This is the so-called POGO motion, and we are expecting it; it is no surprise and no discomfort, causing only a high-frequency quivering of body and instmment panel, which makes the dial faces appear slightly out of focus. In fifty seconds we pass our ejection seat limit and I loosen the death grip on my D-ring. Noise and vibration increase sharply as we approach Mach 1; then there is an abrupt smoothing effect as we reach the supersonic domain in the thin upper atmosphere.

The G level is getting noticeable now as the first-stage fuel tanks are nearly empty, but the two first-stage engines are still churning away at full thrust. "Staging" (the shut-down of the empty first stage, separation from it, and ignition of the second-stage engine) nears, as the clock approaches two and a half minutes and the C meter creeps up over 5.

Staging is a shock. Too many things happen too swiftly for the brain to render a verdict. The eye barely has time to register catas- trophe and rescue: the G load abruptly ceases, and I feel myself flying forward against restraining straps. The window is instantaneously full of reds and yellows and bright parficles and whizzing pieces of debris, and then, as quickly as chaos has come, it evaporates, leaving black sky and quiet ride as the second stage hums serenely along.

On the ground Pat watches her TV screen and thinks that the vehicle has exploded. She is right. An instant after the two stages separated, the first-stage oxidizer tank ruptured explosively, spraying debris in all directions with dramatic, if harmless, visual effect. Back in the cockpit we have no time to discuss the matter. John, up for his second time on a Titan, knows this one is different, but not me—I luxuriate in my ignorance and begin to enjoy this ride.

He had to do stuff like this to get himself and the whole program ready so he could be coasting toward the moon a mere 3 years later.


July 18, 11:07 AM in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

At Least He Didn't Make A Lidice Joke

Jesus fuck, this is more assholish than usual:

“Dealing w/ Hamas is like dealing w/ a crazy woman who’s trying to kill u,” Maher posted. “u can only hold her wrists so long before you have to slap her.”

Genocide and misogyny all in one tweet.  Well played.


July 18, 9:41 AM in And Fuck... | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


The first poem from Shostakovich's 13th Symphony.


July 18, 9:02 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

No Monument Stands Over Babi Yar

A little of my gruesome heritage:

Wild grasses rustle over Babi Yar,
The trees look sternly, as if passing judgement.
Here, silently, all screams, and, hat in hand,
I feel my hair changing shade to gray.

And I myself, like one long soundless scream
Above the thousands of thousands interred,
I'm every old man executed here,
As I am every child murdered here.

Yevgeny Yevtushenko.


July 18, 7:40 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, 07/17/2014

Peanuts On Earth

Happy birthday, Vince!


July 17, 10:34 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Peanuts In Space

You can tell we're approaching the moon landing (and Sadie's birthday):

[T]he agency wanted a symbol, a Smokey the Bear-type mascot for safety in the reinvigorated Apollo program. The agency approached Charles Schulz, the cartoonist behind the Peanuts comic strip, for permission to use Snoopy. He promptly sketched an image of Snoopy as an astronaut for NASA to use.

As a sometimes aviator, Snoopy was a natural choice. Throughout the long-running comic strip, the beagle had frequent fantasies of flying a Sopwith Camel in a dogfight against famed WWI fighter pilot the Red Baron. In all his daydreams, Snoopy refused to accept defeat, even after being shot down and sent to kitchen detail for losing too many aircraft (yes, in his own fantasies). He also had an ‘outside the doghouse’ way of looking at things, a trait NASA wanted its workers to adopt in moving forward with Apollo. A series of Snoopy-in-Space – Astrobeagle – products emerged as part of this campaign.

I resent Ericka for not letting me call our daughter Buzz.  I mean, really, at least I didn't try to name her after a cartoon beagle...


July 17, 9:12 PM in Family Life, Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

To Infinity And Beyond, Bitches!

Not sure who was CapCom during the morning news, but at 23:14:23 MET the Apollo 11 crew got this news update:

Washington UPI: Vice President Spiro T. Agnew has called for putting a man on Mars by the year 2000, but Democratic leaders replied that priority must go to needs on Earth. Agnew, ranking government official at the Apollo 11 blastoff Wednesday, apparently was speaking for himself and not necessarily for the Nixon administration when he said, "We should, in my judgment, put a man on Mars by the end of this century."

Yeah, well, we missed that one.  Not entirely clear when, if ever, we'll get there.


July 17, 7:59 PM in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Michael Collins: NASA Foodie

No mention of Tang, probably because it all was faked.


July 17, 5:13 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Envoy To Palestine

Seems apt for a few reasons:

I’ve come to this one grassy hill
in Ramallah, off Tokyo Street,
to place a few red anemones
& a sheaf of wheat on Darwish’s grave.
A borrowed line transported me beneath
a Babylonian moon & I found myself
lucky to have the shadow of a coat
as warmth, listening to a poet’s song
of Jerusalem, the hum of a red string
Caesar stole off Gilgamesh’s lute.
I know a prison of sunlight on the skin.
The land I come from they also dreamt
before they arrived in towering ships
battered by the hard Atlantic winds.
Crows followed me from my home.
My coyote heart is an old runagate
redskin, a noble savage, still Lakota,
& I knew the bow before the arch.
I feel the wildflowers, all the grasses
& insects singing to me. My sacred dead
is the dust of restless plains I come from,
& I love when it gets into my eyes & mouth
telling me of the roads behind & ahead.
I go back to broken treaties & smallpox,
the irony of barbed wire. Your envoy
could be a reprobate whose inheritance
is no more than a swig of firewater.
The sun made a temple of the bones
of my tribe. I know a dried-up riverbed
& extinct animals live in your nightmares
sharp as shark teeth from my mountains
strung into this brave necklace around
my neck. I hear Chief Standing Bear
saying to Judge Dundy, “I am a man,”
& now I know why I’d rather die a poet
than a warrior, tattoo & tomahawk.

Yusef Komunyakaa.


July 17, 3:54 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Case Of The Missing Flying Cars

Yeah, some good points: there's been no human footfall on the moon since 1972, and there are also no flying cars, because our development has gone in different directions.  But still...


July 17, 2:06 PM in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

I Got To Keep On Movin'

Nobody's gonna slow me down, oh no.


July 17, 12:14 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Lady Liberty Is Skewed

None of these people can take 'no' for an answer:

Aaron Klein, in a WND article yesterday, “Impeach Obama? Presidency Likely Illegal,” suggests that impeaching Obama for allegedly ignoring the Constitution is to ignore the basic problem:

According to correspondence from the original framers of the Constitution as well as Supreme Court rulings, the legal writings that helped establish the principles of the Constitution and even a Senate resolution affirmed by Obama himself, Obama likely does not qualify for the constitutional requirement that stipulates only a “natural born” citizen can serve as U.S. president.

The statement is, of course, blatantly false and it’s beating a dead horse as nearly a dozen birther lawsuit filers could tell you.

Yeah, no shit, just ask my favorite homegrown birther, H Brooke Paige.  Of course WND would revive a loser argument: they also think Americans hate America because they don't like Sarah Palin.  Time to unskew the Constitution and America!


July 17, 11:36 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

That's Gold, Gerry! Gold!

Happy birthday, Elbridge Gerry, who gave the world gerrymandering!


July 17, 10:07 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


Just this week whilst cleaning the "junk room" upstairs I found the nose Patch Adams gave me in Tel Aviv.


July 17, 8:57 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, 07/16/2014

You Know We'll Have A Good Time Then

Some lives are too damned short.


July 16, 10:32 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Extremism In Defense Of Comcast Is No Vice

Oh yes, of course, States' Rights:

In many states, major providers of high-speed Internet connections have successfully lobbied state lawmakers to deliver legislation that bars community-owned ISPs from expanding beyond their home territories. The Federal Communications Commission has the authority to intervene and preempt such state laws to enable smaller Internet providers to compete with larger national firms.

The legislation, introduced by Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee as an amendment to an annual spending bill, would strip the FCC of this power. "Inserting the FCC into our states' economic and fiscal affairs sets a dangerous precedent and violates state sovereignty in a manner that warrants deeper examination," she said.

The Wednesday vote broke largely along party lines: 221 Republicans voted in favor of the proposal, along with two Democrats; 196 Democrats and four Republicans opposed it.  New York Rep. Jose Serrano, the top Democrat on the House Appropriations Financial Services subcommittee, rejected Blackburn's argument."This amendment means the federal government will tell every local citizen, mayor, and county council member that they may not act in their own best interests," Serrano said. "Any such amendment is an attack on the rights of individual citizens speaking through their local leaders to determine if their broadband needs are being met." 

Blackburn’s top campaign donors include private telecommunications firms that do not want to have to compete with publicly owned ISPs. Her state is home to EPB, a taxpayer-owned power company in Chattanooga that also provides local residents some of the fastest Internet speeds in the world at market-competitive rates. EPB is now aiming to expand its services beyond Chattanooga.

Yes, the money.  Follow it.


July 16, 10:03 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Well, That's A Generic Title


Green is the false nettle
and green is its bloom
and few are the tenders
you pull from your room,

fewest are the cinders
that fall from your fire,
the many times I wait at
the sparking of desire,

and full yearned, unsated
you adopt a green regret,
unfaithed a slopping kettle
you in my love, beset.

Susan Wheeler.


July 16, 9:25 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)