July 4th Evening Open Thread

21814379414587642_Y5fs7eV7_c Good Evening

Hope everyone is doing well, the open thread will be short tonight.

Here in Banjoville the rain has been falling for days, so that puts the kibosh on any fireworks show down over the lake…but that doesn’t mean the country boys won’t be out there shooting their favorite 2nd Amendment brand of firework.

Ever wonder, How do fireworks get their colors?

Thousands of people across the United States will be celebrating Independence Day on July 4 by attending a fireworks display. The red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple colors exploding in the night sky during a pyrotechnic festival are created by the use of metal salts.


In chemistry, a salt is defined as an ionic compound that is formed from the reaction of an acid and a base. Salts are electrically neutral compounds that are composed of both positively charged ions and negatively charged ions. For example, familiar table salt consists of both positive sodium ions (Na+) and negative chloride ions (Cl).

Metal salts that are commonly used in firework displays include: strontium carbonate (red fireworks), calcium chloride (orange fireworks), sodium nitrate (yellow fireworks), barium chloride (green fireworks) and copper chloride (blue fireworks). Purple fireworks are typically produced by use of a mixture of strontium (red) and copper (blue) compounds.

These salts are packed into little balls called “stars” that are then placed with in the firework package that includes the fuse.  The gunpowder charge is what gets the firework up into the sky while the fuse burns down to the stars within the firework package.

When metal salts ignite, they emit light. The heat from the ignition causes an influx of energy into the metal atoms. As heat gets absorbed by the metal atoms, electrons that are circling around the lower orbitals of the atomic nucleus excite and jump to a higher energy level. As the heat dissipates, the electrons fall back to their lower energy level or ground state and release the extra energy in the form of light.

Light travels in waves. Different metal atoms produce different colors of light when excited because the light that they emit is traveling at different wavelengths. The wavelengths of light produced by metals vary in accordance with the amount of energy that is released by the unique arrangement of electrons in the atom as it falls from an excited state back to a ground state.

When metal salts emit short wavelengths of visible light in the range of 400 to 500 nanometers, they produce violet and blue colors. When metal salts emit longer wavelengths of visible light in the range of 600 to 700 nanometers, they produce orange and red colors. Yellow and green colors are produced by metal salts that emit visible light at intermediate wavelengths (500 to 600 nanometers) along the electromagnetic spectrum.

Bottom line: The red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple colors exploding in the night sky during a pyrotechnic festival are created by the use of metal salts. When metal salts are ignited, they release energy in the form of light. Shorter wavelengths of light (400 to 500 nanometers) produce violet and blue colors while longer wavelengths of light (600 to 700 nanometers) produce orange and red colors. Yellow and greens are produced by intermediate wavelengths (500 to 600 nanometers) along the electromagnetic spectrum.

Now a couple of cartoons, one gives an update on a case in California that we have been following:

Rall: Yo, BofA, it’s just chalk – latimes.com

Chalk graffiti protester

San Diego graffiti protester who wrote anti-bank messages in chalk on the sidewalk outside branches of Bank of America was acquitted this week. (Ted Rall / For The Times / July 4, 2013)

Jeff Olson, 40, charged with vandalism after he wrote protest slogans in chalk outside Bank of America branches, was found not guilty by a San Diego jury.

Statue of Liberty – Truthdig

And finally a series of vintage photos:

18 Vintage Photos of People Celebrating Independence Day | Mental Floss

You’ll spend today grilling, drinking, and watching fireworks. Here’s how people celebrated in years gone by.

10. 1906: A little boy holding three large firecrackers and an American flag. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Hope you enjoy those pictures…this is an open thread.

4th of July Evening Boom…Boom, Sans Fireworks

Happy 4th of July!

Most of America is feeling a massive heat wave, and many communities are canceling the regularly scheduled firework show because of the dry conditions. Then you have the towns that are cutting the show to protect the birds…or to save money, either way…you won’t find any fireworks here on tonight’s post either.

However, what you will find is a shitload of cartoons to tickle your fancy! So, let’s get on with the show!

This video clip is from the AdultSwim cartoon Robot Chicken…

The American Revolution, as interpreted by the people who brought you 300.

“From the people who claim 300 is a true story comes the tale of our nations birth.”


Yeah, “it ain’t accurate, but it will blow your f’ing mind.”  I can just imagine there are folks out there who would actually think that is a true depiction of our nations birth. I am not joking…I could see something like that being passed off as a history lesson in one of Bobby Jindal’s flagship schools….I mean, look what Huckabee did with it. Check out the actual copy from the Learn Our History website.

We recognize and celebrate faith, religion and the role of God in America’s founding and making our country the greatest place on Earth…

Learn Our History is a diversified educational media company that teaches children and teenagers about history, social studies and current events through the use of animated films supplemented with online resources with the goal of providing a solution to many of the recognized shortcomings in the way history and social studies currently are taught.  Learn Our History’s products are differentiated by the Company’s focus on entertaining while teaching history and social studies from a proudly American standpoint.

When your kids or grandkids get their hands on these videos, you’ll be amazed at how they‘re instantly pulled in to the stories.  As they watch the history videos, they’ll be learning about the major events and most influential people that shaped our great nation.  And because they’ll be having so much fun watching the zany characters, they won’t even realize they’re learning!

With Learn Our History, your kids gain an understanding of important concepts and how those concepts play a role in our everyday lives. From understanding the role of government and taxes to national security, democracy and more, your children will learn to appreciate what it means to be an American and how fortunate they are to live in the the home of the brave and the land of the free!

American Revolution Trilogy

The Declaration of Independence – learnourhistory.com

Go back to see the story behind how our Declaration of Independence came to be.

The Birth Of A Revolution – learnourhistory.

In this outstanding film, young viewers will journey back to the American colonies during the period leading to that first fateful battle.

Winning Our Freedom – learnourhistory.comcom

Victory over Great Britain depended not only on military success, but also political acumen. Great Britain possessed a modern, wealthy and well-trained army – one of the finest fighting forces in history. In contrast, the colonists were poor, but their ambitions for independence compelled them forward. Believing their quest was divinely inspired, with each step they took, their goal of independence from Britain became an answered prayer.

Ooof, that just gives me the chills…maybe it is because I am a history major? Or perhaps it is just the thought of such accurate story telling. /snark

(Anyway, the reason I spent some time on this will come together at the end of tonight’s post.)

We have seen many years go by since John Footpenis Handcock signed the Declaration of Independence with such passionate flair.

Independence Day 2012 – Political Cartoon by Bruce Plante, Tulsa World – 07/04/2012

Cartoon by Bruce Plante - Independence Day 2012
Yeah, that looks about right!
This cartoon is just one of many in a similar theme…
AAEC – Political Cartoon by Charlie Daniel, Knoxville News Sentinel – 07/04/2012
Cartoon by Charlie Daniel -
AAEC – Political Cartoon by Chan Lowe, Sun-Sentinel – 07/04/2012
Cartoon by Chan Lowe -
AAEC – Political Cartoon by John R. Rose, Byrd Newspapers of Virginia – 07/04/2012
Cartoon by John R. Rose -
Alright…now for the more creative of the bunch:
Clay Bennett editorial cartoon – Political Cartoon by Clay Bennett, Chattanooga Times Free Press – 07/04/2012
Cartoon by Clay Bennett - Clay Bennett editorial cartoon
The look on that tea-bag’s face is perfect.
This next one brings the major power outages home:
The Powerlines Red Glare – Political Cartoon by Steve Artley, Artleytoons – 07/04/2012
Cartoon by Steve Artley - The Powerlines Red Glare
This one is served with a touch of  Scalia :  7/4 Mike Luckovich cartoon: Fireworks | Mike Luckovich
Then there are the cartoons meant for reflection:
Cartoon by Randy Bish -
Still Standing Tall
Still Standing Tall COLOR © Nate Beeler,The Washington Examiner,fourth of july, july fourth, 4th, liberty, tree, axes, independence day, holiday, freedom
Cagle Post » Fourth of July
Fourth of July COLOR © Nate Beeler,The Washington Examiner,fourth of july, july fourth, independence day, fireworks, pursuit, happiness, declaration of independence, holiday, 4th, family
I don’t know about you, but I prefer the ones with a bit more bite:
AAEC – Political Cartoon by Gustavo Rodriguez, El Nuevo Herald – 07/04/2012
Cartoon by Gustavo Rodriguez -
The 4th of July – Political Cartoon by Angelo Lopez, Philippines Today – 07/04/2012
Cartoon by Angelo Lopez - The 4th of July
(I have to admit, this one above by Angelo Lopez is my favorite.)
Outsourced Flag – Political Cartoon by Richard Bartholomew, Artizans.com – 07/04/2012
Cartoon by Richard Bartholomew - Outsourced Flag
Cagle Post » Work
Larry Wright Cartoon for 06/30/2010
Cagle Post » July Fourth
And that brings me back to the beginning of this post…American History at its finest…face palm is exactly what I’m talking about!
Have a wonderful evening, and if the fireworks are banned in your neck of the woods, you don’t have to outsource your 4th of July fun. May I suggest you simply enjoy an all American meal of cheesburgers, fries and beer…and make your own damn explosions of BOOM-BOOM.

Tuesday Reads: Natural and Human-Made Fireworks, the God Particle, and More

Good Morning!

Someone in my neighborhood has begun celebrating Independence Day already, so I’m writing this with the sound of firecrackers in the background.

That may soon be followed by thunder and lightening, so I shouldn’t have any trouble staying awake long enough to finish this post. As long as my power doesn’t go out, everything should be fine!

That’s downtown Boston in a thunderstorm.  Isn’t it gorgeous?   Now let’s see what the morning papers have in store for us.

Everyone is agog about physicists’ discovery of a new particle–is it the “god particle?”

Physicists in Europe will present evidence of an entirely new particle on Wednesday, Nature has learned.

But more data will be needed to officially confirm whether it is indeed the long-awaited Higgs boson — the particle thought to be behind the mass of all the others.

Even as rumours fly in the popular media, physicists have begun quietly cheering at CERN, the European particle-physics lab near Geneva in Switzerland. “Without a doubt, we have a discovery,” says one member of the team working on the ATLAS experiment, who wished to remain anonymous. “It is pure elation!”

For nearly half a century, physicists have predicted the existence of a particle that helps to endow others with mass. Named after theoretical physicist Peter Higgs, the boson is the upshot of a mathematical trick that unites the electromagnetic and weak nuclear forces into a single ‘electroweak’ interaction. It is considered the final, crucial piece of the standard model of particle physics.

I’m fascinated by physics, but this thing is beyond my comprehension. From what I can figure out it has something to do with an energy field that permeates the universe; so to me it sounds like confirmation of something that has been talked about by mystics for centuries.

“We think the Higgs boson really gets at the center of some physics that is responsible for why the universe is here in the first place and what the ultimate structure of matter is,” said Joe Lykken, a theoretical physicist at Fermilab….

“You can think of it as an energy field. We believe there is a Higgs energy field spread out in the whole universe,” Lykken said. Photons — light particles — are unaffected by this field. But as other elementary particles move around, he explained, “they feel this energy field as a kind of sticky molasses that slows them down and keeps them from moving at the speed of light.”

When enough of that field is packed into a small enough space, Lykken said, it manifests as a particle — the Higgs boson.

A group of researchers will leave today to mount a search for the wreckage of Amelia Earhart’s plane.

Organizers hope the expedition will conclusively solve one of the most enduring mysteries of the 20th century – what became of Earhart after she vanished during an attempt to become the first pilot, man or woman, to circle the globe around the equator.

A recent flurry of clues point to the possibility that Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, ended up marooned on the tiny uninhabited island of Nikumaroro, part of the Pacific archipelago Republic of Kiribati.

“The public wants evidence, a smoking gun, that this is the place where Amelia Earhart’s journey ended,” said Richard Gillespie, executive director of The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR). “That smoking gun is Earhart’s plane.”

The expedition was scheduled to begin yesterday, but the group’s departure was postponed because of an administrative issue. The trip will last 16 days, with 10 days spent on the search for the wreckage.

One of my cousins works in the White House, and her power has been out since that big storm the hit the mid-Atlantic states. According to my mom, many people in Indiana are also without power. Hundreds of thousands in the Eastern U.S. are in the same boat, and there is a likelihood of more blackouts. During a heat wave like this, that can be more than inconvenient–it could be dangerous.

Electrical utilities are advising customers in and around Washington that it may well be a whole week before all power is restored after the unusually potent storm that ravaged the mid-Atlantic region on Friday. Many customers are outraged as to why it would take so long.

More than two million people in the eastern United States, including more than 400,000 in the greater Washington area, were still without power on Monday.

The storm, which claimed at least 22 lives, shuttered businesses, stores and gas stations and littered the region with fallen tree limbs and downed power lines, many of which are still strung along poles above ground.

It hit during a period of record-breaking heat and immediately shut down air conditioning systems across an area well known for its hot, humid summers and poor air quality.

As evidence grows that Chief Justice John Roberts changed his vote on the Affordable Care Act case at the last minute, Republicans are gnashing their teeth and cursing their former idol as a traitor to the cause: Scorn and Withering Scorn for Roberts

The day after Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. joined the Supreme Court’s four-member liberal wing to uphold the health care overhaul law, he appeared before a conference of judges and lawyers in Pennsylvania. A questioner wanted to know whether he was “going to Disney World.”

Chief Justice Roberts said he had a better option: he was about to leave for Malta, where he would teach a two-week class on the history of the Supreme Court. “Malta, as you know, is an impregnable island fortress,” he said on Friday, according to news reports. “It seemed like a good idea.”

The chief justice was correct to anticipate a level of fury unusual even in the wake of a blockbuster decision with vast political, practical and constitutional consequences. The criticism came from all sides. And it was directed not at the court as whole or even at the majority in the 5-to-4 decision. It was aimed squarely at him.

Read the rest at the link. The NYT tried to “balance” their story by claiming that liberals are angry too. Seriously? Even they admit the wingers are “particularly bitter.”

Former Dubya speechwriter Michael Gerson describes “John Roberts’ alternate universe.” And Marc A. Thiessen asks, “Why are Republicans so awful at picking Supreme Court justices?”

While conservatives agonize, a new Kaiser Health Tracking poll finds that 56% of Americans “would like to see the law’s detractors stop their efforts to block its implementation and move on to other national problems.” More evidence that conservatives are out of touch with reality and headed for disaster in November unless they can manage to buy a clue.

CNN also ran a poll on reactions to the ACA decision–also asking respondents about their attitudes toward the Supreme Court.

According to a CNN/ORC International survey released Monday, the public is divided on last week’s ruling, with 50% saying they agree with the Supreme Court’s decision and 49% saying they disagree. And there is the expected partisan divide, with more than eight in ten Democrats agreeing with the decision, more than eight in ten Republicans disagreeing, and independent voters divided, with 52% disagreeing and 47% agreeing…..

“Despite howls of protest from many Republican leaders, only about one in five Americans – and only 35% of the Republican rank and file – say they are angry about the decision,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “And despite victory laps by many Democratic leaders, only one in six Americans – and only one in three Democrats nationwide – say they feel enthusiastic about the court’s ruling.”

But attitudes toward the Court generally have changed.

“As recently as April, Republicans and Democrats had virtually identical positive opinions on the Supreme Court. But not any more,” adds Holland. “That’s the biggest change that the court decision has created.”

The court’s approval rating among Democrats jumped by 23 points; to 73%. Among Republicans, it fell by 21 points, to 31%. Approval of the Supreme Court among independents edged up five points, to 53%.

I’ll end with a story that is a few days old, but still interesting: Mormons quit church in mass resignation ceremony.

A group of about 150 Mormons quit their church in a mass resignation ceremony in Salt Lake City on Saturday in a rare display of defiance ending decades of disagreement for some over issues ranging from polygamy to gay marriage.

Participants from Utah, Arizona, Idaho and elsewhere gathered in a public park to sign a “Declaration of Independence from Mormonism.” [….]

The Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is known for its culture of obedience, and the mass ceremony was a seldom-seen act of collective revolt.

After gathering in the park, participants hiked a half-mile up nearby Ensign Peak, scaled in 1847 by church President Brigham Young to survey the spot where his Latter-day Saints would build a city.

At the top, those gathered gave three loud shouts of “Freedom,” cheered, clapped and hugged.

The reasons participants gave for leaving their religion included the Mormon church’s political activity directed against the LGBT community, racism and sexism in the church, and the church’s efforts to cover up its own troubling history, which includes violent acts and polygamy.

Now what are your reading recommendations for today?