Sunday, August 13, 2017

Truest statement of the week

In 1946 and 1948 President Harry Truman threatened the Soviets over Iran and Berlin, respectively, and the Chinese in 1950 and 51.
President Eisenhower also threatened the Chinese over Korea in 1953, and again in 1956 over Quemoy and Matsu. He offered the French nukes to use against the Vietnamese at Dienbienphu in 1954.
President Kennedy threatened a nuclear strike at the Soviets over Berlin, and sent nuclear armed missiles to Turkey on the Russian border in 1961. Though these were later wisely withdrawn after the nuclear standoff of the Cuban missile crisis, the US has consistently based its nukes on its fleets and bases in the Pacific, in Europe and Asia, and for decades in South Korea.
Presidents Johnson and Nixon menaced North Korea, Vietnam and the Soviet Union with air and seaborne nukes, and President Gerald Ford ordered nuclear armed bombers from Guam to loiter for an extended time off the coast of North Korea. Jimmy Carter issued the Carter Doctrine, reaffirmed by Ronald Reagan which committed the US to a nuclear response if its vital interests in the Middle East were every threatened. Ronald Reagan terrified the world, though he did briefly consider a lasting arms treaty with the USSR.

Bush 1, Bush 2 and Bill Clinton all menaced North Korea and Iraq, and Obama declared “all options on the table” against Iran.

-- Bruce A. Dixon, "Every US President Makes Unilateral Nuclear Threats. It's an American Tradition" (BLACK AGENDA REPORT).

A note to our readers

Hey --

A Sunday.

Somehow we did it three weeks in a row.

Let's thank all who participated this edition which includes Dallas and the following:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Trina of Trina's Kitchen,
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

And what did we come up with?

Another truest for Bruce Dixon.
Where is the outrage?  If this community were to fold on Tuesday, how many other US sites would bother to note the Iraq War?
Ava and C.I. thought they were writing a review of Jennifer Jason Leigh's new NETFLIX series.  But they had a sidebar in it.  They ditched everything else but kept the sidebar and developed it into a completely different media commentary.
Hillary Clinton's responsible for enough deaths and wars, she can't run from them.
We agree with Betty, Curiosity should be TIME's person of the year.
If xenophobia forces you to believe that Barack's a hero, here's a dose of foreign opinion that might help you face reality.
It's a regular feature.
The album comes out in September.
What we listened to while writing.
A press release from Senator Johnny Isakson's office.


-- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.

Editorial: More deaths in that never-ending Iraq War

Liars like to pretend Barack Obama kept his promise to end the Iraq War.

But, after two terms as president, he left the White House last January.

And the Iraq War continues.

Today, the news hit that 2 US service members were killed and five more injured in Iraq.

Yesterday, there were at least 8 reported deaths of Iraqis and eighteen more were reported injured.

When is it enough?

When does the war end?

And when does America get outraged again about the ongoing war?

Last week, THE NATION published a piece refuting the claim that Russians were behind a 'hack' on the DNC and revealing it was a leak (not a hack) and an inside job.

Are we finally at the point where the Hillary Zombies can stop passing as left?

Are we finally at the point when we can return to calling for an end to war instead of worrying about Hillary's hurt feelings and how a War Hawk s**ts in the woods?

Iraq is a US-created war.

The country and its people have been destroyed.

Those who ignore the ongoing war come off as more than detached, they come off as cold and uncaring.

Media: Truth is hard in thoughtless times

We live in thoughtless times.

That was clear over the weekend most infamously in Charlottesville.

a new illst

Why the counter-protest going on as a group of White racists demonstrated their hate for everyone else?

We're not questioning their right to protest.

We're just questioning the how?

By protesting alongside the racist demonstration, they guaranteed that the media would be there.

Much smarter?

Letting the racists march and get a tiny bit of publicity -- no conflict, no news.

Letting the small coverage establish how many were present and then turning out more than that the following weekend for an inclusion demonstration.

The inclusion demonstration, having far more attendees, would then be news and be covered much more prominently than the racist demonstration had been.

Again, people can protest however they like.

But when a protest is scheduled to take place and you plan a counter-protest at the same time, grasp that you are feeding into the 'conflict' that the media loves and serving to amplify the event you are attempting to protest.

We live in thoughtless times.

WEEKEND UPDATE airs one of their prime time specials on Thursday.  After waiting to make sure the reviews are kind, a writer leaks that she is back.

The Water Cooler Set proceed to act as though they've unearthed something of import but as usual they couldn't see beyond the dog bowl they'd buried their snout in.

No, the news was not that Katie Rich had returned.  After a Tweet that offended some at the start of the year, the writer was on leave.

But that she was finally back was not the news.

This was the news:

Megan Callahan
Michael Che
Mikey Day
Steve Higgins
Colin Jost
Dennis McNicholas
Josh Patten
Katie Rich
Pete Schultz
Streeter Seidell
Kent Sublette
Brian Tucker

That's the list of writers for the half-hour broadcast.

See a problem?

We did.

Two women.

Twelve writers and only two are women.

This is SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, the show NBC honcho Robert Greenblatt declares "is having its best season in a quarter of a century!"

For those who are impressed by that claim, do the math.

SNL is having its best season . . . since Kevin Nealon anchored WEEKEND UPDATE.

Nealon being one of the few former WEEKEND UPDATE anchors not noted by NBC in last week's press release ("Chevy Chase, Dan Aykroyd, Jane Curtin, Dennis Miller, Norm Macdonald, Jimmy Fallon, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers").

The so-called rebirth is based on the fact that SNL has rediscovered how to stick out its tongue.

For 8 long years, they refused to mock or challenge the White House.

Barack is gone and yet again they can take on the president of the United States.

If only they could do it better.

If you're not getting how bad the show is, this past season had a cast of 13 plus 3 featured players.

But to play the sitting president, they had to turn to Alec Baldwin, a non-cast member -- they had to turn to him 15 times.  And to play a White House spokesperson, they had to turn to Melissa McCarthy, a non-cast member.

How sad.

They pay 16 actors to be part of the regular cast but not one of them could do the president or the spokesperson?

That doesn't sound like a cast that's "having its best season."

It sounds like a show on its last legs.

This is the season that has had how many new breakout characters?

Yes, zero.

Zero breakout characters.

The show famous for Roseanne Roseannadanna, Enid Loopner and Lisa and Todd, Emily Litella, Gumby, Buckwheat, the Sweeney Sisters, Mr. Subliminal, Hans and Franz, Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer, Dieter, Wayne and Garth, Pat Stevens, Denise Venetti, Master Thespian, Matt Foley, Opera Guy, Nat X, The Copy Guy, Mary Katherine Gallagher, DELICIOUS DISH's Margaret Jo and Teri, Pat Riley, the Spartan Cheerleaders, the Roxbury Guys, BRONX BEAT's Jodi and Betty, Debbie Downer, Brian Fellow, Jacob the Bar Mitzvah Boy, Megan and Sheldon, Stefon,  "We aren't porn stars anymore," etc.

What about this past season?

Zero breakout characters.

This is something to be proud of?

You pay a regular cast but spend episode after episode with Alec Baldwin and Melissa McCarthy stealing the roles?

That's something to be proud of?

WEEKEND UPDATE continued the tradition of shame on Thursday.

You had twelve writers and only two were women.

You had two anchors -- both men.

Bonus points: Whose drug addiction is so out of control it's obvious if you watch?

It was cute to watch the near robotic Michael Che come to life when he decided to impersonate a woman -- the Statue of Liberty, "'I just need a man, ya'll.'  Now she's on Tinder, 'Lord, he's got to be rich and smart and light-skinned . . ."

We also got jokes about "the tip" of a penis, self-sucking, and many more limp ha-has.

We got four men playing Eric Trump, Donald Trump, Anthony Scaramucci and LaVar Ball.

Finally, in the last minutes, Leslie Jones showed up.

So that was two male anchors, four male actors and one female.

6 men and one woman.

If you're not paying attention, you might not grasp that's the same as the writing -- one woman for every six men.

This is an example of an outstanding season?

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE has been in the toilet for a year now.

It's unable to debut interesting new characters and apparently the cast is so poor that outside actors have to be brought in to play the president and Sean Spicer.

What The Water Cooler Set has mistaken for a renaissance appears to have been the death rattle.

One of the hate preachers

Replying to 
But the incitement of hatred that got us here is as real and condemnable as the white supremacists in our streets.

The incitement of hatred came a lot from Hillary Clinton.

She's the one, remember, using "super predator" to describe young, African-American men in the nineties, remember?

She's also the one referring to American citizens as "deplorables."

Her hands are far from clean.

She's not the only one that's been attacking and dividing the American people.

It's past time we all woke up to reality: They are the enemies.

These whores masquerading as politicians who suddenly millionaires . . . while supposedly working for We The People.

They market hate and they campaign on it.

Hillary's an old hag who -- with her husband and without -- is responsible for the deaths of millions around the world.

It's only the xenophobes in America who rush to worship domestic politicians.

Throughout the rest of the world, these people who divide us domestically are seen as the true terrorists they are.

No wonder they work so hard to divide us, they couldn't steal from us if they didn't.

Question of the week

Question for and With everyone talking about Nazis, please explain your support of THESE Nazis in the Ukraine.

Curiosity five years later

Where were you?

  1. Five years ago tonight, I was rappelling out of a jetpack onto the surface of . Where were you?

When Curiosity landed on Mars?

At WSWS, Bryan Dyne noted:


Since its remarkable and complex landing on the Martian surface on August 6, 2012, the Curiosity rover has proven to be the most fruitful astrobiological study of the red planet to date. For the past five years, Curiosity has provided a deluge of scientific data on the planet’s geological history, organic compounds, atmospheric conditions, radiation levels, liquid water and past and present potential for human habitability and alien life.
Curiosity has so far lived more than twice its original specifications. When it first landed on Mars via sky-crane, it was only slated for a two-year mission to land in Gale Crater and explore the slopes of Aeolis Mons (Mount Sharp). The mission was extended indefinitely in December 2012 and has allowed Curiosity to return 427,000 images to Earth, traverse a total of 19 kilometers and climb more than 180 meters while deepening our knowledge of the 4.5 billion year history of the red planet.
The rover’s major achievement is showing that the conditions of early Mars may have been able to sustain terrestrial-like life. It is now thought that a primordial Martian ocean covered the planet’s northern hemisphere and reached depths of 1.6 kilometers. Moreover, this ocean likely lasted for around 900 million years. While Curiosity’s scientific instruments aren’t equipped to actually find the remnants of life from early Mars, they do provide evidence for a primordial ocean, and further evidence of various organic compounds from that period strongly suggest that, at the very least, Mars once had a rich reservoir of the diverse set of chemical environments needed for Earth-like life.

Other accomplishments?  Michael Zhang (PETAPIXEL) notes, "NASA's Curiosity rover has captured a series of photos showing what clouds look like as they float across the sky on Mars. The photos are the clearest images of clouds seen so far by Curiosity since the rover arrived on Mars 5 years ago."

Hey, you! Get a load of my ! These are my best views yet of Martian clouds, likely made of ice-water crystals

NASA explained:

Wispy, early-season clouds resembling Earth's ice-crystal cirrus clouds move across the Martian sky in some new image sequences from NASA's Curiosity Mars rover.
These clouds are the most clearly visible so far from Curiosity, which landed five years ago this month about five degrees south of Mars' equator. Clouds moving in the Martian sky have been observed previously by Curiosity and other missions on the surface of Mars, including NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander in the Martian arctic nine years ago.
Researchers used Curiosity's Navigation Camera (Navcam) to take two sets of eight images of the sky on an early Martian morning last month. For one set, the camera pointed nearly straight up. For the other, it pointed just above the southern horizon. Cloud movement was recorded in both and was made easier to see by image enhancement. A midday look at the sky with the same camera the same day showed no clouds.
Mars' elliptical orbit makes that planet's distance from the Sun vary more than Earth's does. In previous Martian years, a belt of clouds has appeared near the equator around the time Mars was at its farthest from the Sun. The new images of clouds were taken about two months before that farthest point in the orbit, relatively early in the season for the appearance of this cloud belt.
"It is likely that the clouds are composed of crystals of water ice that condense out onto dust grains where it is cold in the atmosphere," said Curiosity science-team member John Moores of York University, Toronto, Canada. "The wisps are created as those crystals fall and evaporate in patterns known as 'fall streaks' or 'mare's tails.' While the rover does not have a way to ascertain the altitude of these clouds, on Earth such clouds form at high altitude."
York's Charissa Campbell produced the enhanced-image sequences by generating an "average" of all the frames in each sequence, then subtracting that average from each frame, emphasizing any frame-to-frame changes. The moving clouds are also visible, though fainter, in a sequence of raw images.

The Curiosity mission has been investigating the environmental conditions of ancient and modern Mars since the rover landed on Aug. 5, 2012, PDT (Aug. 6, EDT and Universal Time). For more about Curiosity, visit:

Still blinding you with SCIENCE. Check out the top discoveries of my mission's first five years.

SPACE.COM defines Curiosity's 10 biggest moments on Mars.  AUSTRALIA's ABC looks back on the start of the mission five years ago.

Our own Betty's long covered Curiosity (such as here, here and here -- for starters).  And she's long advocated for TIME to declare Curiosity its person of the year.

We agree and argue that the country needs to pay more attention to science.

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