Saturday: Comet to light up the sky, helping women to succeed, the pebble and a string

9f4b7a6fbd51ef7870c68b869046edb5Good Morning Y’all

Yes, it may be a bit late…but at least I remembered that I was bringing you this morning’s reads! With Dak making a trip to the cloudy territory of the Northwest…Boston Boomer and I have switched days for the weekend post. So here are your morning reads for this Mid-November Saturday.

Hillary had a great speech this past week. I know that I can’t bring you the special kind of “Hillary Post” that Mona is so well know for, I would not even attempt it…but just look at some of the things our Hillary had to say:

Clinton: Helping women succeed is the ‘great unfinished business of the 21st century’

The latest in a series of high-profile honors and speeches, Hillary Clinton said America must set an example on the global stage with women at the forefront of conflict negotiations and in leadership roles.

“Too many women around the world still face ceilings that hold them back from participating fully in every aspect of life, which, in turn, holds back entire societies,” the former secretary of state said at an event in Washington on Thursday. “And the great unfinished business of the 21st century is helping women and girls break through those ceilings, once and for all.”

“Over and over, in country after country, women have proven themselves a powerful source for peace, even in places where their political power is slight or nonexistent,” she said. “They’re often the ones who are saying ‘to end conflict we need to think about jobs and housing and schools and policing’ – all the things we know to be critical to any stable society.”

She is wonderful.

Clinton pointed to women’s’ involvement in instances of crucial crisis management throughout history – from protecting civil rights in post-apartheid South Africa to working across ethnic lines to help survivors of the Rwandan genocide.


Clinton will join Secretary of State John Kerry and former first lady Laura Bush for an event at Georgetown University on Friday focused on sustaining progress for women in Afghanistan after American troops withdraw next year.

“We cannot afford to stand by silently while the hard-won gains of the past decade are squandered and the United States must stand firmly for the rights of all afghans, women, first and foremost,” she said.

And at that event yesterday…Kerry’s advice on how to marry women like Clinton

Appearing at Georgetown University on Friday with predecessor Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State John Kerry gave some tips to the men at the school, where former President Bill Clinton also studied. “For all the men…who sat in or who sit in classrooms where Bill Clinton sat so many years ago, my advice to you is this: Study hard, go to Oxford, become governor of your state, and then maybe you can marry one of the country’s remarkable Secretaries of State,” he joked.

Kerry was full of praise for Hillary Clinton after she introduced him at the event, which focused on progress made by women in Afghanistan. Referring to her as “Madam Secretary slash Senator slash First Lady slash everything,” Kerry thanked her for her work in advocating for women and girls.

That was pretty much all there was to say about the events over at the CNN blog where those two links are from, and it was fortunate that the comments were closed early…allowing under 25 idiots to make their usually remarks.

This next link is from The New Statesman, by Samira Shackle: Can you be a Muslim and a feminist?

It is astonishing that “Muslims”, and Muslim women, are so frequently spoken about as a monolithic block. If you actually listen to what Muslim women have to say on the subject, you find that many of them have no difficulty reconciling their faith with their conviction that they, as women, should be equal citizens.

You should read the article, it is not very long, but a couple of paragraphs to note:

There is a particular breed of internet troll whose favoured technique is to take selective quotes from the Qur’an or to answer any article on Islam with “The Prophet married Aisha when she was a child!!!”. Yet this cherry-picking proves nothing. The Prophet lived in the 6th Century, and the advent of Islam vastly improved the situation for women in pre-Islamic Arabia. Moreover, most religious texts contain misogynistic elements. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam respectively originated 3,000, 2,000, and 1,450 years ago, and elements of the scripture and lore of all three reflect the times they were written in. The Torah, Bible, and Qur’an all agree that women are unclean during menstruation. The Bible says that “a woman should learn in quietness and full submission”. This is not to play tit-for-tat, but to point out that it is intensely reductive to claim that any single religion is inherently woman-hating. The Bible and the Torah are comparable to the Qur’an in their statements on women; yet one does not commonly hear that “Judaism and feminism are a contradiction in terms” or that “you cannot be a Christian and a feminist”.


In writing this article, my intention is not to detract from the very real problems suffered by many Muslim women, or to argue that sexism in Islam does not exist. It does exist, as threats against women activists in Asia and the Middle East demonstrate. As is often the case, the conservative minority shouts the loudest and essentially drowns out the liberal voices. But by saying that “Islam and feminism cannot co-exist”, you are handing a victory to that conservative faction. My intention – and this may be too nuanced for the trolls who I can already hear queuing up – is to point out that Islam and feminism are not mutually exclusive. To claim that they are is – far from “saving” these victims – to deny women their voices all over again.

Trolls…like the ones trolling those Hillary blog post over at CNN.

Anyway, that was not the only point of Shackle’s piece, but it connected to me at least, as Hillary was talking about the importance of women succeeding in the very areas that Shackle mentions.

Alright. The rest of this will be quick.

Be sure to look for the Comet ISON…I know that we have talked about this thing since last year. Comet ISON Visible To Naked Eye After Outburst Of Activity, Observers Say

Get ready for a stellar show. The much-anticipated Comet ISON is now visible to the naked eye according to reports from many observers.

Comet ISON — the potential “comet of the century” — has suddenly brightened in an outburst of activity with just two weeks to go before it literally grazes the surface of the sun.

In recent months, Comet ISON has repeatedly befuddled forecasters trying to anticipate just how bright it will ultimately become. But earlier this week, the comet’s brightening trend again seemed to sputtering and stalling, but more recent observations suggest a sudden and radical upsurge in brightness. [Photos of Comet ISON: A Potentially Great Comet]

comet ison visible

An hour before sunrise on Monday morning, November 18, catch a sight of the elusive planet Mercury, with brightening Comets ISON and Lovejoy as a bonus.

Comet ISON lightens up, literally

Comet ISON is now in full outburst mode, becoming many times brighter over just the past few days. Astronomers measure the brightness of objects in the night sky as magnitude, in which the brighter an object is, the lower its magnitude number. The human eye can perceive objects as faint as magnitude +6.5.

According to veteran comet observer, John Bortle, Comet ISON was shining only at magnitude +8.5 on Monday (Nov. 11) morning — more than six times too dim to be visible to the unaided eye. But by Wednesday morning, the comet’s brightness had increased three-fold brightening to +7.3. [8 Essential Facts About Comet ISON]

Comet ISON in outburst | Today’s Image | EarthSky

Full moon, Leonid meteors, Comet ISON on November 16-17 | Tonight | EarthSky

Before dawn on peak night of leonids

Before dawn, use binoculars to see if you can spot Comet ISON near Spica, the brightest star in the constellation Virgo the Maiden. Finally, as darkness begins to give way to dawn, watch the planet Mercury finally climb above the horizon.

Did you all hear about this survey from Pope Francis? Pope Francis sends out survey to ask Catholics about gay sex, abortion and contraception (Shame there was nothing there about pedophile priest and cover-ups but..)

Pope Francis is urging members of the Catholic church to fill in a survey on the Vatican’s current teachings regarding contraception, homosexuality and access to communion for the divorced, to see how hard it is to practice what the church preaches in a modern day world.

The unique questionnaire, launched earlier this month, aims to determine how Christians feel about issues such as gay marriage and whether they feel such teachings are practical.

Feedback is expected to highlight the difference between Church teachings and the behaviour of its followers.

Read more details about the survey at the link.

Which is funny when you see what Bill Maher does with it:

Maher Acts Out Pope v. Palin: ‘Listening to You, I’m Reconsidering My Stance on Birth Control’ | Mediaite –

Sarah Palin made some provocative remarks about how liberal the Pope is this week, and despite her apology, Bill Maher found the whole thing way too amusing, and proceeded to show off a mock Twitter feud between Pope Francis and the former Alaska governor.

Video at that link…

Or, you can read about it at this link…Maher: If Palin thinks the Pope is too liberal, ‘wait until she sees what Jesus has been saying’ | The Raw Story But this “tweet” from the Pope to Palin is perfect:

“Dear Sister,” Maher’s Pope replied, “how about a little more silent meditation from you? #AmIRightPeople?”

Last week, on TCM showing of Chapter 11: The story of Film one of the people interviewed was screenwriter/poet Javed Akhtar  who co-wrote the famous epic Sholay with Salim Khan. He was talking about the film and innovation and he said something so poignant, poetic and simple that it gave me goosebumps. I tried to find the clip, but I could not…however I did find someone who must have felt that his description of art was as powerful as I did.

The Pebble and the String: an allegory for art | Lost in the Movies (formerly The Dancing Image)

excerpted from an interview with writer Javed Akhtar in Mark Cousins’ documentary “The Story of Film” (2011)

“You must have seen children playing with a string and a pebble. They’re tying a string to a pebble and they start spinning it over their head. And slowly they keep leaving [makes motion of lowering grip] the string, and it makes bigger and bigger circle. Now, this pebble is the revolt from the tradition. It wants to move away. But the string is the tradition, the continuity of the tradition. It is holding it. But if you break the string, the pebble will fall. If you remove the pebble, the string cannot go that far. This tension of tradition and revolt against the tradition are in a way contradictory but as a matter of fact it is a synthesis: you will always find the synthesis of tradition and revolt against the tradition together in any good art.”

I wish you could hear him say it…it makes it even more beautiful.

Let us end with some pictures that show Beauty in the Everyday from the Lens blog at the New York Times

There is something so poignant about Saul Leiter’s work that looking at it can feel like taking a dart to the heart. Drenched in luxuriant, saturated colors, the images instantly transport the viewer into the photographer’s shoes: peeping from beneath an awning to a snow-swept street, or through a befogged cafe window, weeping with condensation, to a man taking pause on a wintry sidewalk. Intimate and empathetic, Mr. Leiter’s photographs relay what all New Yorkers know about their roaring, daunting home: that life in the city is filled with stolen glimpses and fleeting, quietly personal and often gorgeous moments.

Flipping through a book of Mr. Leiter’s work about seven years ago, Tomas Leach, a commercial film director based in London, fell in love with the pictures. Though many of the images were more than a half-century old, Mr. Leach was struck by their timelessness and “curious, encrypted feel.”

He assumed that Mr. Leiter was a “recognized giant of photography,” but instead discovered that Mr. Leiter, now 89, was an elusive artist whose work was not widely known outside the photography world. “I was amazed,” Mr. Leach recalled. “There was nothing about this guy who’d done this clearly amazing, beautiful work.”

Be sure to take a look at that gallery of images, and have a wonderful day!

21 Comments on “Saturday: Comet to light up the sky, helping women to succeed, the pebble and a string”

  1. Sorry this is so damn late. The kids did not get back from the game until 2 am…and it was not until 3:30 when I remember I had to write this morning’s post. Have a great day.

    • NW Luna says:

      Do not apologize! Sometimes life is like that. Reality happens. I love the eclectic quality of your posts. This one is especially good, with a generous helping of fab Hillary quotes, the amusing incident of Kerry admitting how really good HRC is, and a splash of art and wonder, science and wonder, and a piece on the applicability of religious tolerance to all.

      Besides, it’s still morning on the Left Coast 😉

  2. NW Luna says:

    A few figures on the really bad voter turnout which is unfortunately not too unusual here in the States. What is with the rest of the people? Are they all the ones who, as Ralph pointed out a few threads back, have been brainwashed into thinking their votes won’t make a difference?

    Low voter Turnout

    Turnout in King County [Washington state] was about 47 percent as of Friday, with thousands more votes waiting to be counted, according to King County Elections. It was higher — about 53 percent — in Seattle, where voters decided a hard-fought mayoral race. Turnout was lowest in Yakima County (37.5 percent) and highest in Jefferson County (64.6 percent).

    Even with the relatively low numbers, turnout in Seattle, at least, was stellar compared with that in some other major cities. New York’s mayoral race drew a record-low turnout of 24 percent, The New York Times reported.

    And in Los Angeles, a mayoral runoff election in May drew a record-low turnout of just 23.3 percent, according to the Los Angeles Times.

    • RalphB says:

      I don’t know but I would be surprised if any race in TX drew more than 15%. We are not a Republican right wing state, we are a non-voting state. Change that and it’ll change our world.

  3. NW Luna says:

    Forgive me for continuing to post news snips on the Sawant victory, but it’s not everyday we get a Socialist (!) elected to the City Council of a major city.

    Conlin concession caps stunning turnaround in council election

    After eight minutes and just a dozen questions, Richard Conlin looked up at the television cameras assembled outside his Seattle City Hall office. “Anything else?” he asked, smiling, to silence. And that was that.

    For 16 years, Seattle embraced Conlin as a fleece-vest-wearing, consensus-loving environmentalist. On Friday, he conceded his fifth term to challenger Kshama Sawant, capping a stunning turnaround and paving the way for the city’s first socialist council member in decades at least.

    Sawant, a 41-year-old activist, will join the council in January. “These exciting results show a majority of voters are fed up with the corporate politicians who have presided over the widening chasm between the superrich and the rest of us,” she said in a statement.

    And Conlin, the 65-year-old two-time council president, said his career in public service is finished. “Certainly I’m surprised and disappointed,” he said in the evening news conference. “I felt that we ran a strong campaign, and she obviously ran a stronger one.” Conlin, who said he almost decided last year not to seek re-election, declined to speculate on why he lost. Some have said the longtime liberal became too conservative for Seattle.

    “I don’t think socialism necessarily makes most people in Seattle afraid,” he said.

    Conlin was actually pretty good. I almost wished Sawant had challenged one of the less liberal members. But she will push for even more. Looking forward to when more people are no longer afraid of socialism.

  4. ANonOMouse says:

    JJ…..I’m just grateful that you, BB & Dak and the great work you all do here. I love you all.

    And thanks for giving us the latest Hillary news. Since she will be our next POTUS, we have to keep our ears open and our swords sharpened for the upcoming war of the words.

    As for the Snow Queen, she is off-the-chart ignorant. I listened to the CNN interview where she described the Pope as Liberal and once again she demonstrates that her knowledge of the world around her and current events is about as deep as a puppy puddle. Pope Francis is making some unusual noises, but so far, other than his own decision to lead the life of a regular priest and forgo the outrageous and lavish papal lifestyle, he’s made no changes whatsoever, to the church. And since when is telling people to stop crucifying gay people and making a big deal of women’s contraceptive decisions and instead attend to the poor and those in need, being liberal? Palin needs to STFU!!!! I’m almost embarrassed for her.

    • NW Luna says:

      “stop crucifying gay people and making a big deal of women’s contraceptive decisions and instead attend to the poor and those in need”

      Why, that sounds …… quite Christian. 😉

      Jesus was a liberal.

      • RalphB says:

        Isn’t Pope Francis a Jesuit?

      • ANonOMouse says:

        Yep….And I’ve known tons of people like Palin who call themselves Christian (one who follows the teachings or the lessons from the biblical accounts of Christ) but I’ve known very few people who can walk that talk, or really even try to walk that talk. If the biblical Jesus was living in today’s world I feel certain he’d call himself a liberal. I wonder what Palin would call him?

  5. NW Luna says:

    How much ya wanna bet that the majority of victims are women? We need legislation and enforcement.

    Annmarie Chiarini’s long-distance boyfriend was goading her to pose nude. The pictures would be for his eyes only, Chiarini recalls him saying, because she was so beautiful and because he missed her so much. He promised, she said, they would be stored on a compact disc and hidden in his drawer. Chiarini believed him — until they broke up and the CD was auctioned on eBay with a link emailed to her friends and family. Copies were later mailed to her son’s Catholic school kindergarten teacher and the department head at the college where Chiarini taught English. The images eventually wound up on a pornographic video-sharing site, earning 4,000 views in less than two weeks.

    “I was horrified,” said the 42-year-old single mom living in Towson, Md. “The night he said he was going to do it, I called the police in an absolute panic and tried to explain what was going on. I said, ‘He’s threatening to put these pictures of me on an eBay auction,’ and they (said), ‘So?’ ”

    It’s called “revenge porn,” and it’s legal in every state but California and New Jersey. A person shares a sexually explicit photo or video with a partner, only to see those images pop up online months or even years later, typically after a bad breakup. The images are often tied to the person’s name, address and phone number. And in a particularly disturbing twist, some of the sites appear to be running side businesses offering “reputation protection services”: Dump $500 into a PayPal account, and maybe they will take down your photo.

  6. RalphB says:

    Wow, Obamacare is really powerful.

    Cantor Blames Obamacare For Demise Of Immigration Reform

    House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) on Friday blamed Obamacare and its rollout problems for GOP leaders’ decision not to bring up immigration reform in 2013.

    The No. 2 GOP congressman evoked the health care law in response to House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer’s (D-MD) insistence that he bring the Senate-passed immigration bill to a vote. …

    Who do they expect to believe this bullshit?

  7. NW Luna says:

    Sharply written, insightful editorial on how the middle-class squeeze is playing out in one part of the country.

    the head of Boeing, Jim McNerney, is set to draw a pension that pays a quarter-million dollars per month. Gov. Inslee, Sen. Murray and the rest of the public officials extolling this deal also have nice, safe pensions. That’s fine, but they ought to know how grating it sounds when this same elite class finds it imperative that workers — and only the workers — should unwind their retirement security.

    “I know change can be hard,” Boeing commercial jet president Ray Conner sympathized. Especially when only one party to a deal is being asked to change!

    ….If your boss said to you, “Hey we’re making record profits, and paying ourselves phantasmagorical amounts, but to remain a going concern we must cut your retirement,” how would you react?

    In the elite class’ defense, workers usually do cave. There’s long been resignation about the race to the bottom.

    But who knows, maybe the winds are shifting. In the past week the Boeing Machinists said “no,” SeaTac voters appeared to be raising their minimum wage to $15 an hour and Seattle elected its first socialist to the City Council.

  8. Hey everybody…Dan is watching this show on the new touring Journey with this singer who is from the Philippines.

    Journey Recount Singer Arnel Pineda’s Wild Ride in ‘Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey’ Documentary | Music News | Rolling Stone

    It’s never been easy to replace the singer of a hugely popular rock band. After Steve Perry left Journey in 1998, the platinum-selling Bay Area act moved on with a series of vocalists to varying degrees of success, but it wasn’t until guitarist Neal Schon landed at an obscure video on YouTube late one night that he knew he’d found his man — in Manila.

    Journey donates $350,000 to feed typhoon victims

    Journey singer Arnel Pineda, a Manila native, announced that he and the band, plus members of their camp, are donating $350,000 to provide food relief to victims of the super typhoon that struck the Philippines.

    The band’s promoter Live Nation Entertainment, Creative Artists Agency and manager John Baruck are among the contributors.

    Initial funds will go to the United Nations World Food Programme toward providing 1.4 million meals for Filipinos in urgent need of assistance.

    Which is amazing considering that China alone has donated only 100,000 bucks…


    Newborn babies cling to life in ravaged Philippines | Al Jazeera America

    Philippine city overwhelmed by task of burying typhoon victims –