Friday Reads: It’s time to Fight for the Rule of LawPosted: April 12, 2019 Filed under: ICE Immigration and Customs Enforcement, immigration, Injustice system, morning reads, NSA, National Security Agency | Tags: Trump's Enemies list 25 Comments
Good Morning Sky Dancers!
I’m busy trying to finish up grades here and get break started so I’m going to put up a series of things that clearly demonstrate that we have a lawless administration that must be stopped. Congress and the Courts must do their jobs more urgently than any time in our history. I know BB did a great job of covering this yesterday but there is more information and some astounding reporting at WAPO on Trump’s plans to disrupt the hometowns of his political rivals using Asylum Seekers and other folks seeking to cross the US Border. He has also installed an eager crony at the helm of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
There is continuing evidence that the Trump administration will clearly ignore law and the Constitution’s protections to ethnically cleanse our southern border. Trump massacred the professionals at the DHS to bring this disgrace of a human being to the top.
Most of the renditions today of Lady Liberty can be found at Web Urbanist: “Artistic Liberties: 15 Faces of the Statue of Lady Liberty”.
From Buzzfeed: “An ICE Official Who Said Detention Was “More Like Summer Camp” Will Now Lead The Agency. “It’s hard to imagine what’s tougher than what Nielsen and Vitiello were doing, but assuming there is such a thing, Matt is certainly up to the task,” said a former senior ICE official.”
Trump told reporters last week that he pulled acting director Ron Vitiello’s nomination to lead ICE because he wanted to go in a “tougher” direction. Vitiello informed ICE employees that he will leave the role and resign Friday.
“Beginning tomorrow I will be out of the office, during which time Acting Deputy Director Matt Albence will be leading the agency,” he wrote to ICE employees Thursday.
A former senior ICE official said of Albence: “He’s definitely enforcement minded and has long been working on making [deportation officers] more efficient and more effective at enforcing the immigration laws in the interior. It’s hard to imagine what’s tougher than what Nielsen and Vitiello were doing, but assuming there is such a thing, Matt is certainly up to the task.”
The former official said that Albence “will be very willing to follow through on implementation.”
The new acting leader first began his career at the former Immigration and Naturalization Service in the mid-’90s before moving to the Transportation Security Administration and then returning to ICE in a position overseeing operations and field training among other things. Albence has moved up the ranks at ICE since 2012, when he became a deputy assistant director.
The Trump administration pressured the Department of Homeland Security to release immigrants detained at the southern border into so-called sanctuary cities in part to retaliate against Democrats who oppose President Donald Trump’s plans for a border wall, a source familiar with the discussions told CNN on Thursday.Trump personally pushed Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to follow through on the plan, the source said. Nielsen resisted and the DHS legal team eventually produced an analysis that killed the plan, which was first reported by The Washington Post.The proposal is another example of Trump’s willingness to enact hardline immigration policies to deliver on border security, a key issue for his political base. Thursday’s reports come as the President has amplified his rhetoric on illegal immigration in recent weeks, even threatening to close the southern border if Congress and Mexico don’t take action.White House senior adviser Stephen Miller urged senior DHS officials to make the plan a reality, the source said. The plan finally died after Miller and other White House officials pushed it in February, according to the source.Miller was angered that DHS lawyers refused to produce legal guidance that would make the plan viable, saying the proposal would likely be illegal.DHS officials believe that the legal standoff is one reason why Miller has pushed for the firing of John Mitnick, the general counsel for DHS, who is still with the department.A separate DHS official confirmed there was such a proposal. “These are human beings, not game pieces,” the official said.
Here’s that WAPO report from Rachel Bade and Nick Miroff: “White House proposed releasing immigrant detainees in sanctuary cities, targeting political foes”. Read that again. He’s using people and Federal resources to target political “foes”.
White House officials have tried to pressure U.S. immigration authorities to release detainees onto the streets of “sanctuary cities” to retaliate against President Trump’s political adversaries, according to Department of Homeland Security officials and email messages reviewed by The Washington Post.
Trump administration officials have proposed transporting detained immigrants to sanctuary cities at least twice in the past six months — once in November, as a migrant caravan approached the U.S. southern border, and again in February, amid a standoff with Democrats over funding for Trump’s border wall.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s district in San Francisco was among those the White House wanted to target, according to DHS officials. The administration also considered releasing detainees in other Democratic strongholds.
Besides using the DOJ to stall bringing his crime syndicate to justice, Trump has told Mnunchin to ignore the law that requires the IRS to turn Trump’s Taxes over to Congress. This is from the Daily Beast and David Cay Johnston.
The reason will no doubt surprise those who think Trump can thumb his nose at the law governing congressional access to anyone’s tax returns, including his. It will for sure shock Trump, who claims that “the law is 100 percent on my side.”
The exact opposite is true.
Under Section 6103 of our tax code, Treasury officials “shall” turn over the tax returns “upon written request” of the chair of either congressional tax committee or the federal employee who runs Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation. No request has ever been refused, a host of former congressional tax aides tell me.
There is, however, a law requiring every federal “employee” who touches the tax system to do their duty or be removed from office.
The crystal-clear language of this law applies to Trump, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, Mnuchin and Rettig, federal employees all.
Nancy Cook at Politico writes this lede “Trump bulldozes across the presidency’s red lines.In recent weeks, the president has labored to reshape a federal government he feels is frustrating his agenda.”As BB wrote yesterday, we clearly have a lawless president who has cleared out the government of any professional that will follow the law and replaced them with loyal flying monkeys that will just do his bidding.
President Donald Trump has spent the last few weeks trying to bend to his will what are arguably three of the federal government’s least political institutions – the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Reserve and Department of Justice.
Frustrated by the organizations’ deliberate pace and the substance of their decision-making, Trump has tried to remake them in his own image. He’s purging staffers who disagreed with him, or whom he felt were insufficiently loyal at DHS, and he hopes to stock the Fed with vocal political allies who can do his bidding on monetary policy.
Trump cares little about how such moves will be perceived, former administration officials and Republicans close to the White House say. They argue he always prefers to push the boundaries of what is possible, legally and otherwise. And in year three of his presidency, he’s pushing harder than ever before.
On immigration, Trump has never grasped why the U.S. government could not simply hold undocumented immigrants indefinitely as they awaited immigration court proceedings, according to one person close to DHS. This so-called “catch and release” policy frustrated him, as if the government’s due process should not extend to everyone on U.S. soil. The president reportedly clashed with now-ousted DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen as he sought to bar all asylum seekers from entering the country, in violation of existing law.
Every president chafes at being stymied by Congress or the law, noted Timothy Naftali, a historian and former head of the Nixon Presidential Library. What makes Trump’s actions so unprecedented, he said, is the president’s reaction: Trump appears willing to steamroll through the constraints that American presidents have traditionally respected.
“Instead of learning to become presidential and accepting the structure of the American presidency, he is trying to reshape it,” Naftali said. “He has removed anyone, it appears, who stood up to him and said he cannot do this. This is a huge test of our institutions.”
I’m going to leave all of this here to return to grading but with the fear that the people remaining in the institutions may not have a fighting chance against all this chaos and blatant disrespect for rule of law. We can not afford complacency. This process has been put on overdrive and we must stop it. Congress has remedies. They should start using them.
Sunday Reads: They’re real, and they’re spectacular…Posted: July 6, 2014 Filed under: Diplomacy Nightmares, Foreign Affairs, Israel, morning reads, NSA, National Security Agency, Palestine | Tags: Seinfeld 25th Anniversary 42 Comments
Twenty-five years…in the real world, they probably would begin to sag by now.
See, yesterday was a special day for those of us who are Seinfeld fans. It was the 25th Anniversary of the first time the show was on the air. Yup, July 5th 1989, started it all.
As you will see at the end of the post, I have a shitload of links for you from around the world celebrating the four misfits of a show about “nothing” that really connected to people and became part of the popular culture throughout the world…in more ways than anything else on “TV” before or since.
As this quote from Rolling Stone states:
Seinfeld‘s pilot episode aired 25 years ago, on July 5th, 1989, yet it continues to be the most influential sitcom in TV history — not only for changing how we watched television and rewriting the playbook for every comedy that followed it, but also how this “show about nothing” expanded our vocabulary.
Nearly every episode of Seinfeld contains one word or phrase that we still weave into our day-to-day interactions…..the show left a lasting mark on our lexicon.
Its true, not a day goes by that I don’t use a Seinfeldisms in my conversations. I still see many references to the show on commercials till this day. I love that damn show.
Anyway, let’s just start the post alright? But, as you will see…this is another link dump, and one of massive proportions. (Things are still far from “back to normal” here in Banjoville.)
This is a remarkable day: The mainstream media has actually noticed an atrocity perpetrated by Israelis against Palestinians. Teenaged boy Mohammed Abu Khedair, mentioned in our previous post, was burned alive, a fact ascertained by the traces of smoke in his lungs. CNN took note, as did The Guardian and The Jerusalem Post.
If you visit The Jerusalem Post site, you’ll find a predictable response:
The use of agent provocateurs has been a central component of Arab disinformation and propaganda for decades now. This has all the hallmarks of an operation that was mounted specifically to negate international anti-Muslim animosity following the discovery of the three murdered Jewish boys. It allows the anti-Semites to retreat back to their standard anti-Israel position.
Actually, it has been established that right-wing Jewish zealots were responsible for what happened to Mohammed Abu Khedair. The source for that report is Ha’aretz, not normally considered an anti-Semitic journal.
Moreover, it turns out that Mohammed’s 15 year old cousin Tariq Khdeir — a gentle youth who was also kidnapped and beaten nearly to death — is an American citizen visiting family in the area.
Video at the link.
Turns out the American boy that was beaten up is from Tampa: Tampa teen Tariq Khdeir beaten, jailed in Jerusalem
From Juan Cole’s site: Can Palestinians ever Get a Break in the American Press? | Informed Comment
As tragedy and uninterrupted terror strikes the besieged Palestinian population once more, Western media outlets have been busy producing and presenting articles and television reports on the events taking place. These “news reports” – for the lack of a better terminology – are presented as factual and true, objective and neutral, unblemished by personal, emotional, political, or historical bias.
Snowden is in the news again: New Snowden leak: Of 160,000 intercepted messages, only 10% from offical targets | Ars Technica
Late Saturday night, the Washington Post dropped a bombshell of a report related to a trove of documents leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. The documents included 160,000 e-mail and instant-message conversations intercepted by the NSA, as well as 7,900 documents taken from more than 11,000 online accounts. The Washington Post says that the information spans from 2009 to 2012.
In the Post‘s analysis, “nearly half” of the files contained details that the NSA had marked as belonging to US citizens or residents, which the agency masked, or “minimized,” to protect those citizens’ privacy. Still, despite the 65,000 minimized references to Americans that the Post found in the cache, 900 additional e-mail addreses were found unmasked “that could be strongly linked to US citizens or US residents.”
This is disturbing, about the city water in Detroit: Water : Lawyers, Guns & Money
And from the Vatican: Pope Francis calls destruction of nature a modern sin | Al Jazeera America
A look at population and “polarization” in the US by Digby: Hullabaloo
Another link from Hullabaloo, this one is written by Dennis Hartley. It is a review of the movie Life Itself:
Saturday Night at the Movies
Out there, in the dark: Life Itself
When the long-running TV program At the Movies quietly packed its bags and closed the balcony for good back in 2010, I did a piece about the profound impact that the show had on me in its various incarnations over the years; first as a film buff and later on as a critic:
Back in the late 70s, I was living in Fairbanks, Alaska. This was not the ideal environment for an obsessive movie buff. At the time, there were only two single-screen movie theaters in town. And keep in mind, there was no cable service in the market, and the video stores were a still a few years down the road as well…Consequently, due to the lack of venues, I was reading more about movies, than actually watching them. I remember poring over back issues of The New Yorker at the public library, soaking up Penelope Gilliat and Pauline Kael, and thinking they had a pretty cool gig; but it seemed like it was requisite to actually live in NYC (or L.A.) to be taken seriously as a film critic (most of the films they reviewed didn’t make it out to the sticks)…Then, in 1978, our local PBS affiliate began carrying a bi-weekly 30-minute program called Sneak Previews. Now here was something kind of interesting; a couple of guys (kind of scruffy lookin’) casually bantering about current films-who actually seemed to know their shit. You might even think they were professional movie critics…In fact, they were professional rivals; Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel wrote for competing Chicago dailies… This underlying tension between the pair was always bubbling just under the surface, but imbued the show with an interesting dynamic…One thing these two did share was an obvious and genuine love and respect for the art of cinema; and long before the advent of the internet, I think they were instrumental in razing the ivory towers and demystifying the art of film criticism (especially for culturally starved yahoos like me, living on the frozen tundra).
After Siskel died in 1999, Ebert kept the show going whilst essentially auditioning an interestingly diverse roster of guest critics for several months, with fellow Chicago Sun-Times reviewer Richard Roeper eventually winning the permanent seat across the aisle. Ebert remained a stalwart fixture until 2006, when treatment for his thyroid cancer began. Of course, Roger Ebert’s life journey didn’t end there, just as it had already taken many twists and turns before his fame as a TV personality. In fact, it is these bookends that provide the most compelling elements in Life Itself, a moving, compassionate and surprisingly frank portrait from acclaimed documentarian Steve James (Hoop Dreams).
Read the rest at the link.
Variety is up next, with a write-up on John Oliver’s new gig at HBO. How John Oliver and HBO Shattered TV’s Comedy-News Format | Variety
Brevity, so it has been said, is the soul of wit. John Oliver seems to believe the opposite is equally true.
The comedian has been letting loose on his new HBO program “Last Week Tonight,” unveiling segments that can last anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes and often pack as much research as a front-page story you might see from a traditional outlet like a newspaper (when front-page stories carried more weight in the modern news cycle). Last Sunday, Oliver presented a nearly 20-minute treatise on the plight of gay, lesbian and transgender citizens of Uganda, raising the notion that evangelicals from America may have played an instrumental role in harsh new treatment being doled out by that nation’s government.
… Oliver and his staff are shaking up the genre anew, providing a sort of investigative journalism that is not seen in any of the other comedy-news hybrids on the air.
Yet “Last Week Tonight” defies nearly all current norms. The show surrounds soundbites with exposition, rather than letting video stand as the sole element of a segment. It trusts the attention span of its audience, believing a viewership constantly distracted by smartphones and mobile alerts will hang in there for the duration of a story, so long as it is compelling and informative. And it believes people will keep watching even if they might walk away feeling uneasy or unsettled by the issues presented each week despite the many jokes and laughs that are also delivered.
In an era during which even the most celebrated newsmagazines have taken to relying on soft celebrity interviews and tales of heinous murders, many could learn something from “Last Week Tonight.” The program is drawing people in with the promise of laughter, but sending them back out to the world with an unexpected element: knowledge.
I don’t get HBO but the show does have a youtube channel you can watch segments at:
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver – YouTube
One last link before we get to the massive Seinfeld dump: Marlene Dietrich and The Beatles! « Kinoimages.com
Some cool pictures there eh?
Now the big fun stuff!
Feel free to double dip as much as you like, you are master of your domain here:
Seinfeld 25th Anniversary : People.com
The Top 10 Seinfeld Episodes – IGN
‘Seinfeld’ at 25: Nothing means everything – CNN.com
‘Seinfeld’ debuted 25 years ago, yada yada yada, it remains a cultural giant – The Washington Post
Seinfeld 25th anniversary: 25 life lessons from Jerry, George, Elaine, Kramer and the sitcom’s best characters – Mirror Online
Seinfeld at 25: There’s Still Nothing Else Like It | TIME
12 Times a day using a Seinfeld quote makes total sense
‘Seinfeld’ 25th anniversary: Watch best moments
‘Seinfeld’ 25th anniversary: The 10 best episodes | TV | Entertainment | Toronto Sun
The Ultimate Seinfeld Quiz | Test your knowledge | TV | Entertainment | Toronto Sun
You Don’t Know ‘Seinfeld’: 25 Facts About the Legendary Sitcom – The Moviefone Blog
Seinfeld at 25: The show’s best quotes – Features – TV & Radio – The Independent
Twenty of the best sports moments on ‘Seinfeld’ | FOX Sports on MSN
Yankees, Not Mets, Were Masters of Seinfeld’s Domain – WSJ
Vulture Superfan Quiz: Test Your Seinfeld I.Q. — Vulture
The 25 best ‘Seinfeld’-isms | News.com.au
How Classic Seinfeld Episodes Were Written — Vulture
‘Seinfeld’ 25th Anniversary: 39 Surprising Celebrity Guest Stars Before They Were Famous [PHOTOS]
Master of Their Domain: 10 Great ‘Seinfeld’ Episodes Pictures | Rolling Stone
‘Seinfeld,’ No. 14 in Its Debut Season, Would Beat Every Show But One Today – TheWrap
5 Seinfeld References That Made Their Way into Politics | Mediaite
Soup Nazis, Big Salads + More: The Legacy Of Seinfeld | Celebrity Gossip and Entertainment News | VH1 Celebrity
Why celebrate the “Seinfeld” anniversary? Jerry Seinfeld himself doesn’t seem to care about his legacy – Salon.com
Close Talkers and Double Dippers: 15 Phrases ‘Seinfeld’ Spawned Pictures | Rolling Stone
43 of ‘Seinfeld’s Most Memorable Lines, Phrases, & Made-Up Words — VIDEO | Bustle
What’s Your Favorite Seinfeld Moment? — Vulture
Have a great day and tell us…what was your favorite Seinfeld moment?
Wednesday Reads: Put up your dukes!Posted: March 26, 2014 Filed under: abortion rights, Accommodation and Compromise, Affordable Care Act (ACA), American Gun Fetish, Barack Obama, birth control, Diplomacy Nightmares, Discrimination against women, Egypt, Foreign Affairs, fundamentalist Christians, Gun Control, morning reads, NSA, National Security Agency, Religious Conscience, Reproductive Health, Reproductive Rights, Republican politics, Russia, SCOTUS, the GOP, U.S. Politics, Ukraine, Violence against women, War on Women, Women's Healthcare, Women's Rights | Tags: China, Crimea, ebola, Guinea, Hobby Lobby, international space center, Justice Kennedy, Liberia, NASA 38 Comments
Oi! Put up your dukes and lets duke it out!
WordPress has fugged up with their editor, which means that the pictures and formatting may be a little off in this post. That said the images are all found on pinterest and are all various vintage picture of women boxing.
Because, the shit going on with the Supremes is something that makes me want to put on a pair of boxing gloves and kick some PLUB #HobbyLobby loving ass.
Justice Kennedy Thinks Hobby Lobby Is An Abortion Case — That’s Bad News For Birth Control | ThinkProgress
“Your reasoning would permit” Congress to force corporations to pay for abortions, Kennedy told Verrilli. This was not the Anthony Kennedy that worried about conservatives imposing their anti-gay “animus” on others, this was the Anthony Kennedy that views abortion as a grave moral wrong. Shortly after Kennedy made this statement, Justice Kagan’s face dropped. It appeared that she’d just figured out that she would be joining a dissenting opinion.
It’s worth noting that Kennedy expressed a different concern than one offered shortly thereafter by Chief Justice John Roberts. Hobby Lobby objects to four forms of contraception on the mistaken ground that these contraceptive methods are actually forms of abortion — a brief filed by numerous medical organizations explains that they are not. Roberts, however, suggested that someone’s mere belief that something is an abortion is enough to trigger an religious exemption to federal law.
More from :
SCOTUSblog: Birth control, business, and religious beliefs: In Plain English
Wednesday round-up : SCOTUSblog
Ugh….but that fucked up crap about the pill being “abortion” aside, last night Boston Boomer put up a tweet in the comments that I think needs to be shared up on the front page.
This brings up a good point, one of the tweets in this thread says that Hobby Lobby responded…
Some of the tweets mention the “myth” of infanticide and forced abortions…which is bullshit. Take a look at this from Telegraph:
Malaysia Airlines missing flight exposes tragedy of China’s ‘orphaned’ one-child parents
Much has been written about the human rights abuses associated with China’s notorious one-child policy: the forced abortions, sterilisations and even cases of infanticide as rural families sought to rid themselves of girls they thought were less useful than boys.
But the disappearance of MH370 has cast light a less well-known but equally devastating phenomenon: that of the “orphaned” parents who, through accident or illness, lost the only child the Chinese government allowed them to have.
There are an estimated one million so-called “shidu” families in China, with state media reporting that around 76,000 new families are “orphaned” each year.
“When you lose your only child, it feels like the sky has fallen in,” said one bereaved Shanghai mother, who lost her only daughter and her husband to a 2012 car accident.
“Because of the one-child policy a million families have lost their offspring forever,” added the woman, who requested anonymity because of the politically sensitive nature of the subject. “It is an ethical tragedy. Nobody can take away the pain.”
Recent months have seen several major Chinese cities and provinces including Beijing and Shanghai start to change the controversial birth control policy, relaxing family planning rules so parents who are both only children can now have two children.
On the subject of lost children…grown children…the numbers have gone up in the death toll over in the Washington state landslide claims up to 24, more than 100 missing.
The number of dead climbed to as high as 24 with the recovery Tuesday of two more bodies and another eight believed to have been located in the debris.
Authorities did not immediately release the identities of the dead nor did they provide details about where the bodies were found.
At least 176 people are unaccounted for. Officials have stressed those unaccounted for are not necessarily all victims of the disaster. They say they believe many names have been duplicated.
Three sheriff’s deputies who specialize in missing persons cases have begun reviewing the lists to get a more accurate count, Snohomish County Emergency Management Director John Pennington said.
And if death from plane crash or mudslide is not depressing enough, how about Ebola: W Africa scrambles to prevent Ebola spread
West African nations scrambled to contain an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus suspected to have killed at least 59 people in Guinea, with symptoms of the disease reported in neighbouring Sierra Leone and Liberia as well.
The spread of Ebola, one of the most lethal infectious diseases known, has spooked nations with weak health care systems. In Guinea’s southeast, home to all the confirmed cases, residents are avoiding large gatherings and prices in some markets have spiked as transporters avoid the area.
Health authorities in Liberia said they had now recorded eight suspected cases of Ebola, mainly in people who crossed the border from Guinea.
Five of these had died but tests were still being carried out to check if the cases were indeed Ebola, the Reuters news agency reported.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) said a total of 86 suspected cases, including 59 deaths, had been reported in southeastern Guinea near the border with Sierra Leone and Liberia.
This next quote is very scary:
“People are really frightened. They have seen people die in a matter of just two or three days. They are constantly worried who is going to be the next fatality,” said Joseph Gbaka Sandounou, who manages operations for aid agency Plan International in Guekedou.
On to more “newsy” link goodness. Major Garrett has a piece up over at National Journal: Obama Tries to Put Putin in His Place—Again
Moments after deflecting a question about his diminished influence on the world stage, President Obama described Russia as a “regional power” operating in Crimea out of weakness, not strength.
Noting Russia’s long-standing influence in all of Ukraine, Obama said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s illegal annexation of Crimea “indicates less influence, not more.”
I guess that’s why Ukraine’s defense minister resigned and Ukrainian troops bugged out of Crimea, leaving it to Russian forces. This is the only “off ramp” that matters in Crimea. Ukraine and its rhetorically florid Western allies took it. Not Putin.
Even as the White House insists Crimea is not “lost” (Putin can find it without satellite imagery, after all), the grudging language of concession seeps from every corridor of Ukrainian talks here.
“It’s not a done deal in the sense that the international community by and large isn’t recognizing the annexation of Crimea,” Obama said, before acknowledging the “facts on the ground” favored Russia. “It would be dishonest to say there is a simple solution to resolving what has already taken place in Crimea.”
Obama and European leaders are rattled and resentful, thunderstruck that the wispy bonds of international “norms” could be so easily shredded. Fearful of the precedent they appear incapable of reversing, and desperate to limit Putin’s ambitions to Crimea, the G-7 nations have effectively conceded Crimea. They threatened “sectoral sanctions” if Putin further bulldozed international law by gobbling up more of Ukraine or plowing into Moldova. Weak or strong, Putin enforces the new Crimean status quo. All he’s lost is Russia’s G-8 membership pin and decoder ring.
One of our astronauts hitched a ride yesterday. Leaving politics behind, Russian-U.S. crew blasts off for space | Reuters
Two Russian cosmonauts and a U.S. astronaut blasted off for six-month stay aboard the International Space Station on Tuesday, a partnership unaffected by the political rancor and economic sanctions triggered by Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
The Russian Soyuz rocket carrying cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev and NASA astronaut Steven Swanson lifted off at 5:17 p.m. EDT from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
The trip to the space station, a $100 billion research laboratory that flies about 260 miles above Earth, was scheduled to take about six hours. However, an unknown problem caused the crew’s Soyuz capsule to skip two planned steering maneuvers, delaying the crew’s arrival until Thursday.
“The crew is in no danger. The Soyuz (is) equipped with plenty of consumables to go even beyond the next two days, should that be become necessary. Nobody expects that that will be the case,” mission commentator Rob Navias said during a NASA Television broadcast.
My son has a sinus infection, and was home from school yesterday…so he watched the launch live.
At Least Russia and the U.S. Still Get Along in Outer Space – NationalJournal.com
NASA, however, is not worried about the Ukraine crisis taking a toll on space exploration.
“We do not expect the current Russia-Ukraine situation to have an impact on our long-standing civil space cooperation with Russia, which goes back decades, including our partnership on the International Space Station program,” said NASA spokesman Joshua Buck in a statement to National Journal. “We are confident that our two space agencies will continue to work closely as they have throughout various ups and downs of the broader U.S.-Russia relationship.”
The International Space Station has indeed weathered terrestrial political storms in the past. “It doesn’t appear that we are affected by what’s going on diplomatically with the Russians,” Al Sofge, director of NASA’s human exploration and operations division, has said of the conflict in Syria and Russia’s protection of American whistle-blower Edward Snowden. “I don’t know that we’ve ever even discussed it.”
After 16 years in orbit, the International Space Station is truly a bilateral effort. The station, divided into American and Russian segments, uses American solar arrays and power systems, Russian life-support systems, and a navigation system that comes from both nations.
The U.S. and Russia first collaborated in space in July 1975, when a Soviet Soyuz capsule carrying two cosmonauts docked with a U.S. Apollo module carrying three astronauts. In the 1990s, after the Soviet Union collapsed, the U.S. asked Russia to join its work on the International Space Station. Russia was too financially strapped to build a program of its own, BBC’s Melissa Hogenboom explained in 2012, and the U.S. was behind schedule on the project and needed help.
This “reluctant codependency,” as NBC space analyst James Oberg dubbed it, persists to this day. At the International Space Station, Russia depends on NASA’s electronics and communications technology, which are more advanced. The U.S. depends on Roscosmos, the Russian federal agency, to send its astronauts to space. After NASA retired its space-shuttle program in 2011, Russia became the sole nation with the capability of carrying astronauts and cargo to and from space. Even U.S. national security satellites are powered into orbit on an American rocket with a Russian-built rocket engine.
While Jake was watching that rocket take off, I told him the Russians would not mess up that arrangement, they are getting paid. How much?
Right now, NASA pays $70.7 million per seat to send its astronauts to space on Russian Soyuz capsules, $8 million more than a previous agreement. But by 2017, NASA officials say the U.S. should be able to send its astronauts to the International Space Station on its own, thanks to private American spaceflight companies.
I will put this other link here for you, Zandar Versus The Stupid: Last Call For One Hell Of A Coincidence, where an article in the Business Insider by Michael Kelley is asking the question:
U.S. officials think that Russia recently obtained the ability to evade U.S. eavesdropping equipment while commandeering Crimea and amassing troops near Ukraine’s border.
The revelation reportedly has the White House “very nervous,” especially because it’s unclear how the Kremlin hid its plans from the National Security Agency’s snooping on digital and electronic communications.
One interesting fact involved is the presence of Edward Snowden in Russia, where he has been living since flying to Moscow from Hong Kong on June 23.
In July, primary Snowden source Glenn Greenwald told The Associated Press that Snowden “is in possession of literally thousands of documents that contain very specific blueprints that would allow somebody who read them to know exactly how the NSA does what it does, which would in turn allow them to evade that surveillance or replicate it.”
So it’s either a crazy coincidence that the Russians figured out how to evade NSA surveillance while hosting the NSA-trained hacker, or else it implies that Snowden provided the Russians with access to the NSA’s blueprint.
No doubt Kelley’s article is going to draw a massive screed from Double G and the usual suspects. But as the people who support Snowden’s actions remind us, we need to have a serious debate about American intelligence capabilities, and that includes debating the consequences of someone with the vast knowledge of these capabilities defecting to a foreign country.
I’ve said on a number of occasions that the actions of Snowden and his partners are not consistent with the goal of reigning in the NSA through existing means, but very consistent with the goal of taking it upon themselves to irreparably damage our intelligence-gathering abilities as a lesson to the Unites States government.
The threats have been made that if anything happens to Snowden, the full trove of information would be leaked.
It’s a reasonable question to ask if that’s already happened.
So, over at CNN they are looking for news since their 24/7 coverage of MH Flight 370 is coming to a close….Two CNN Producers Arrested in Sad Attempt to Break into the WTC Site
Two CNN producers were arrested today after trying—and failing miserably—to break into the World Trade Center site for a story about people who successfully broke in.
A CNN spokesperson said that producers Connor Boals, 26, and Yon Pomrenze, 35, were on assignment “but were not asked to sneak onto the WTC site.”
According to reports, the pair first tried to talk their way past security guards into the heavily guarded construction site. When that failed, they tried scaling a nearby fence. Both times officers merely turned them away.
The tipping point came on their third attempt, when they tried to forcibly push their way through a security checkpoint.
That coup de grâce got Boals and Pomrenze cuffed and booked on criminal trespass, obstruction of governmental administration and disorderly conduct charges.
Sad…sad…sad…when all they had to do was head on over to Jersey: Body parts injure 4 after man killed by train
A man was struck and killed by a train Tuesday in a gruesome scene that left others on the New Brunswick Station platform injured.
Preliminary eyewitness accounts suggest that the man was struck after leaning into the path of the oncoming train while standing on the station platform.
As a result of the collision, at least four other people waiting on the platform were struck by parts of the man’s body, officials said.
The incident happened at about 5 p.m. EDT and involved a New York-bound Northeast Corridor train carrying about 300 passengers, NJ Transit spokesman John Durso said.
Three of the four people who were hurt went to the hospital with injuries…eek! Now that is a “story” those producers could have gotten into…dirty laundry there. Literally.
Back to the MH370 for a moment: Families of Flight MH370 Victims Issue Blistering Statement | Vanity Fair
The families on the receiving end didn’t take kindly to the message or the manner in which it was delivered. Families gathered in Beijing read a blistering rebuke of Malaysian Airlines and authorities on Monday:
“At 10pm on March 25, the Malaysian prime minister sent a statement to the families of MH370 passengers without any direct evidence that MH370 crashed in the south Indian ocean and no people survived.
From March 8 when they announced that MH370 lost contact to today, 18 days have passed during which the Malaysian government and military constantly tried to delay, deceive the passengers’ families and cheat the whole world.
This shameless behaviour not only fooled and hurt the families of the 154 passengers but also misguided and delayed rescue actions, wasting a large quantity of human resources and materials and lost valuable time for the rescue effort.
If the 154 passengers did lose their lives, Malaysia Airlines, the Malaysian government and military are the real executioners who killed them. We the families of those on board submit our strongest protest against them.
We will take every possible means to pursue the unforgivable crimes and responsibility of all three.”
Malaysia Airlines claims a representative for the company told the assembled families in person, and that phone calls and SMS messages were only sent to relatives who were not in the family-support center.
The rest of the links are in quick dump fashion:
What happens when a female student in a hot pink top walks through Cairo University? – News – Student – The Independent
Wearing a pink top and tight jeans, the young woman is whistled and shouted at as she makes her way through the site amongst a growing group of men following her.
University guards are seen in the clip, which has gone viral on social media, escorting her off the premises after she hid in a toilet to escape the group, who were allegedly trying to remove her clothes.
The school Dean blamed the girl of course…video at the link.
From the fuckwads in my state, In Georgia, Carry a Gun, Just Not in the Capitol – NYTimes.com
There’s a lot of concern about new legislation in Georgia that expands how people can buy, carry and use guns. It reduces some licensing requirements and provides Georgians with a stronger “Stand Your Ground” defense should they feel threatened and decide to open fire. Some critics were calling it the “guns everywhere” law. That’s so unfair. Georgia’s lawmakers are not allowing everyone’s safety to be endangered by gun-slinging people. They are deeply concerned, for example, with their own.
The bill, passed on Thursday and awaiting the governor’s signature, will, among other things, allow people to carry concealed weapons into more places — including ones, like bars, which conveniently enough are spots where they are likely to be put to use.
They may also be carried in unsecured areas of airports. Even toting a gun in secured areas will merely be a misdemeanor in Georgia as long as you did it by mistake. After all, who among us has not had the embarrassing experience of forgetting they were carrying their Glock semiautomatic through airport security?
Republican lawmakers in the Georgia House tried — and failed — to require colleges and churches to allow concealed weapons. The law bans them on college campuses (thank goodness for that, at least) and requires armed Georgians to get permission from their church before they go to Sunday services packing heat.
But, while patting themselves on the back for protecting the Second Amendment rights of their fellow citizens and dismissing any notion that guns could be a danger to the public, Georgia lawmakers were careful to continue to ban the carrying of weapons in government buildings with security checkpoints, like the Capitol itself, though guns are welcomed in buildings without screening.
Barbara Boxer: Why no Viagra complaints? – Tal Kopan – POLITICO.com
As the Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday about the Obamacare mandate on birth control coverage, Sen. Barbara Boxer questioned why those up in arms about the requirement have no problem with most insurance covering Viagra.
“I have never heard Hobby Lobby or any other corporation, I could be wrong, or any other boss complain that Viagra is covered in many insurance plans, practically all of them, or other kinds of things, you know, for men, which I won’t go into,” Boxer said Tuesday on MSNBC’s “Jansing & Co.”
Yeah, isn’t every sperm sacred?
After 27 years, Burger King Baby finds birth mom, feels pure joy
A woman who, as a newborn, was abandoned in the bathroom of a Pennsylvania fast-food restaurant said Tuesday she has found her birth mother just three weeks after launching a search that garnered worldwide attention.
Next…another blast from 80s’ past, an interview with Boy George: Boy George Discusses New Album, Gender Identity, Madonna And More
If you’re ever given 60 minutes to sit down with Boy George, one of the most beloved pop icons of the 20th century, in a private club on the west side of Manhattan in the middle of February, take them.
In the course of that hour, you’ll not only be treated to stories about how as a teen, his brothers would cross the street so they didn’t have to be seen with him and find out if he ever considered transitioning to the other end of the gender binary, but you’ll also quickly realize that he is one of the most thoughtful — and refreshingly honest — interview subjects you’ve ever had the pleasure of encountering.
Next, tales of animals…remember that zoo in Copenhagen? The one that killed the young giraffe and butchered it then fed it to the lions?
Look what the zoo did to the lions: Danish zoo that killed giraffe puts down four lions
Two lions and their two 10-month-old cubs, all from the same family, were put down on Monday to make way for a new male after the zoo failed to find a new home for the felines.
Copenhagen Zoo said in a statement: “Because of the pride of lions’ natural structure and behaviour, the zoo has had to euthanise the two old lions and two young lions who were not old enough to fend for themselves”.
The cubs “would have been killed by the new male lion as soon as he got the chance,” it added.
On the case of inbreeding and genetic defects…no I am not talking about Banjoville, Birth Defects In Last Woolly Mammoths Suggest Inbreeding May Have Led To Species’ Extinction
Scientists studying 12,000-year-old mammoth fossils unearthed near the North Sea discovered that many of them had extra ribs along their neck vertebrae. Cervical ribs, while innocuous on their own, are usually a sign that something went wrong during the animal’s development and are associated with chromosome abnormalities and even cancer.
Researchers found that cervical ribs were 10 times more common in woolly mammoths from the North Sea than in modern elephants. Scientists were stunned to find such a high rate of cervical ribs among European woolly mammoths.
“The high incidence and large size of the cervical ribs [in woolly mammoths] indicates a strong vulnerability, given the association of cervical ribs with diseases and congenital abnormalities in mammals,” the researchers noted in a study published in the journal PeerJ. “The vulnerable condition may well have contributed to the eventual extinction of the woolly mammoths.”
Scientists theorized that there are two possible explanations for the high frequency of cervical ribs in the last of the mammoths. The first is that there was rampant inbreeding among the last mammoth populations. This theory fits nicely with the idea that climate change fragmented the woolly mammoth’s habitat, isolating small pockets of the animals from each other. These groups would have lost their genetic variation through inbreeding, which would have made them susceptible to abnormalities and disease.
The second theory is that woolly mammoth mothers suffered prenatal stress due to outside factors like famine and disease.
And finally, Goats are far more clever than previously thought
Goats learn how to solve complicated tasks quickly and can recall how to perform them for at least 10 months, which might explain their remarkable ability to adapt to harsh environments, say researchers at Queen Mary University of London.
Writing in the journal Frontiers in Zoology today, the scientists trained a group of goats to retrieve food from a box using a linked sequence of steps; first by pulling a lever with their mouths and then by lifting it to release the reward.
The goats’ ability to remember the task was tested after one month and again at 10 months. They learned the task within 12 trials and took less than two minutes to remember the challenge.
“The speed at which the goats completed the task at 10 months compared to how long it took them to learn indicates excellent long-term memory,” said co-author Dr Elodie Briefer, now based at ETH Zurich.
Before each learning session, some of the goats had the opportunity to watch another goat to demonstrate the task.
Dr Briefer added: “We found that those without a demonstrator were just as fast at learning as those that had seen demonstrations. This shows that goats prefer to learn on their own rather than by watching others.”
Wow, I wonder if a goat could learn that the birth control pill does not = an abortion? Yeah, they sound like they are smarter than some of the Supremes sitting on the bench.
Have a great day, and let us know what you are reading and thinking about today.