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Gender: Do not display
Hometown: WV
Member since: Thu Jan 15, 2015, 01:37 AM
Number of posts: 5,817

About Me

Ancestral WV hillbilly & old-style liberal who believes in US Constitution & detests RW revisionism of its principles (esp Establishment Clause)

Journal Archives

Planetary Society to test its LightSail solar sail in May

From EarthSky:
The Planetary Society’s solar sail satellite will hitch a ride to space aboard an Atlas V rocket launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The mission will test LightSail’s critical functions, a precursor to a second mission slated for 2016. That second flight will mark the first controlled, Earth-orbit solar sail flight and ride along with the first operational launch of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket. Bill Nye (The Science Guy), CEO at The Planetary Society, said:

There’s an old saying in aerospace, ‘One test is worth a thousand expert opinions.’ After six years of development, we’re ready at last to see how LightSail flies.

LightSail is technically wonderful, but it’s also wonderfully romantic. We’ll sail on sunbeams.

But wait, there’s more: this unique, remarkable spacecraft is funded entirely by private citizens, people who think spaceflight is cool.


Our Saudi 'friends? Still 'no way out' f/ Saudi women

What does the United States' alliance with the repressive kingdom say about us?

Morning Memo:


Just because our own society isn't as un-biased as some claim, or as our founding principles purport to be, doesn't mean those who opose the inequality can't try to help women in other societies.

Praise God And Bash The Gays | The National Memo

James Hohmann, writing for Politico from Des Moines, Iowa: “The U.S. Supreme Court is poised to rule on gay marriage once and for all in June, and there are many Republicans who privately would love nothing more than to have the question settled and off the table in time for the 2016 presidential election.

“It’s not going to happen. Social conservatives here are determined to keep the issue alive during the run-up to next February’s Republican caucuses, no matter how the high court rules or how much some establishment figures would like to move on.”

Such a curious term, “social conservative,” when there is nothing cordial or hospitable in wielding God as a political two-by-four in the fight to deny basic human rights — in this case, the right to marry.



WH pushes public-private partnership f/ infrastructure investment

"The administration's idea is to combine some of the most attractive features of public-private partnerships with those of wholly public projects. Local governments would get a private equity partner willing to share the risk of a project, while the private sector would get access to low-interest loans. The program would require congressional approval, and some observers think it may have a good chance among lawmakers … because receipts from the federal excise tax on motor fuel have been inadequate.”


Let’s Take Apart The Corporate Case For FastTrack Trade Authority:

This pertains, of course, to the corporate-written Trans-Pacific Partbership agreement.

"The promoters of fast track say we need it to push “trade” agreements through Congress to expand trade and increase exports. “What we’re going to do through this trade agreement is open up markets,” U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman told Congress Tuesday, “and then level the playing field so we can protect workers, protect American jobs and then ensure a fair and level playing field by raising labor and environmental standards, raising intellectual property rights, standards and enforcement, making sure that we’re putting disciplines on state-owned enterprises that pose a real threat to workers.” These corporate arguments ... just make me more skeptical of what they are selling. Here’s why... ."


Rare Saharan cheetah caught on camera

A hidden camera set up in the Sahara Desert captures some of the world's only images of the rare Saharan cheetah.


1st Neanderthal-human 'love child' in Israel

From DiscoverNews:

The remains of an ancient Israeli female strongly suggests that Neanderthals and Homo sapiens first met -- and mated -- in Israel.


Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters: Bryan Fischer fired from the AFA!

Details are sketchy and we don't know what the firing entails, but it looks like the entire incident has to do with a trip to Israel which would have included 60 members of the Republican National Convention scheduled from Jan. 31 to Feb. 8. The trip was going to be paid for by the American Family Association.

And the trip probably would have flown under the radar except for the watchful eye of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

According to Media Edge Network:

In a letter dated January 14 to RNC offices across the country, SPLC President Richard Cohen reminded RNC members of the AFA's extremism and its demonizing attacks on minorities.
"Given the AFA's public statements - including the false contention that gay men were responsible for the Holocaust, an idea undoubtedly offensive to Israelis - political leaders should not lend the prestige of their office to this event or to this organization," Cohen wrote.
Cohen's letter goes on to outline several of Bryan Fischer's (director of issue analysis and spokesman for the hate group) more outrageous anti-LGBT and racist statements including his support of Uganda's "kill the gays" bill and his statement that African Americans "rut like rabbits."
"Given that the disease of anti-Semitism is flaring throughout the world, we certainly understand your desire to show your commitment to Israel at this time," Cohen wrote to RNC members. "But accepting funding from an extremist group like the AFA would make a mockery of that commitment and legitimize its extremism."

According to the Israeli news agency Haaretz , of the 168 RNC members invited, more than one-third accepted.

Haaretz also notes that Fischer and Tim Wildmom, president of the AFA, as well as the group's external public relations representative, did not reply to multiple requests for their response to SPLC's statements.

However, according to Maddow, AFA did respond today:

 Maddow quoted AFA President Tim Wildmon as dismissing Fischer as “just a talk show host” who is no longer associated with the AFA. When asked specifically what bothered him about Fischer, he cited “the soundbite quotes, you know, the Hitler and the homosexuality one… we reject that.”

That would be a bizarre explanation by Wildmon, seeing that Fischer was, before today, AFA's Director of Issues Analysis. And as for AFA's "rejection of Fischer's rhetoric, just when did that begin? Fischer has been saying wildly inane things ever since he was hired by the organization (snip)

In 2010, SPLC  designated the AFA and several other religious right organizations as hate groups due to their dehumanizing and bigoted rhetoric against the lgbt community.

In the case of the AFA, SPLC has on several occasions pinpointed the rhetoric of Fischer as a main reason why it considered AFA to be a hate group (snip)

Headlines in several Jewish and  Israeli newspapers read as such:

US NGO: 'Hate group' funding Republican National Committee trip to Israel
GOP Israel trip funded by 'hate group,' watchdog says

 'Hate Group' Funds Republican Trip to Israel

Anti-Gay Group Funds US Politicians Visit to Israel

(In the article, links are provided for the headlines and a video of Fischer provided.)

UPDATE - According to The New Civil Rights Movement, Fischer's replacement isn't any better:

But, and there are many buts, there is much more involved in this story, including the fact that Fischer's de facto replacement is David Lane, the head of the American Renewal Project, which is housed in and funded by the American Family Association.

Lane is so toxic that an op-ed he wrote for World Net Daily, the same site that regularly claims President Barack Obama is gay, was so offensive it was actually removed from the site.


(UPDATE)Scientist Tyson & football maker Wilson call bull on Belichick's deflategate excuse

Original Huffpost story:


UPDATE 1/28/15: Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson now says he got his Deflategate numbers wrong.

It doesn't happen very often, but astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson was wrong this week. And like any good scientist, he's not afraid to admit it, correct it and explain himself.

On Monday, the director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History took to Twitter in an attempt to deflate the New England Patriots' Deflategate excuse.

Coach Bill Belichick had said atmospheric pressures and balls being transported from the warm indoors out onto a cold field could have caused them to lose enough pressure to fall below league standards. But Tyson tweeted that to lose as much pressure as the balls did, they would need to be inflated with 125-degree air.

"My calculation used the well-known gas formula that relates pressure to temperature within a fixed volume," Tyson explained on Facebook on Tuesday. "Quite simply, the two quantities are directly and linearly related. e.g. Halve the temperature, you've halved the pressure. Triple the temperature, you've tripled the pressure."

He wrote that his mistake was using absolute pressures instead of gauge pressures. Going by gauge pressures, the balls would need to be inflated with 90-degree air.

"A delightfully moot point since neither temperature absolves the NE Patriots even as we all know that the NE Patriots, in their 45 to 7 victory over the Colts, would have won the game no matter the ball pressure," he wrote. "And, as far as I am concerned, the Patriots would have won that game even in the vacuum of space."

Tyson could have left it at that. But he didn't, adding a postscript that explains how these same calculations are at work in far more significant ways than football deflation:

"A version of this principle even applies to the universe itself. When the famous cosmic microwave background was formed, the temperature of the universe was about 3,000 degrees (K). Since then, the universe has expanded by a factor of 1000, dropping the temperature to 1/1000th of 3,000 degrees. Or about 3 degrees (K), the current temperature of the universe."


LeGarrette Blount ‘mum’ about leaving Steelers for Patriots

When running back LeGarrette Blount walked out of the locker room on his Pittsburgh Steelers teammates, then returned only when assistant defensive coach Joey Porter asked him to rejoin team only to watch him walk away again, he may have done it intentionally.  During Media Day leading up to Super Bowl XLIX on Tuesday, Blount was questioned about the incident and whether he intentionally created a situation that would remove him from the Steelers roster.  He simply smiled.

When asked by the media whether he knew that he would reunite with New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick before being dismissed from the Steelers for what the team felt was a serious protocol breach and disregard for team policies.  Blount’s response was a simple smile once again.  Further, when he was questioned if he may have had the idea the Patriots may have been interested in having him return to their team, again Blount smiled widely and laughed.  “I didn’t know nothin’,” was the only words he gave in response to the thread of questions.

NFL.com released an article on Monday detailing a Blount vs Marshawn Lynch running back debate.  Social media sites like Twitter and Facebook lit up with a wide range opinions, including one by this author, that Blount’s “history” in the league and his early infraction of the NFL substance abuse policy appeared to illustrate a general dismissal of sportsmanship and offered a revealing look at his personality.  Attacks were leveled against those who agreed, with comments ranging from cries of ‘racism’, a lack of knowledge of him as a player or a man to threats so filled with vitriol that Twitter began looking into comments that are against their user policies.  Others simply stated they felt Lynch was a better running back, still drawing abusive responses.

Many NFL insiders and members of the media have maintained that Blount’s actions while with the Steelers were intentional and pre-meditated.  Blount was released by the Patriots as a free agent and then signed by Pittsburgh where he was given the opportunity to be the one-two punch in their rushing game.  Blount’s run in with law enforcement after being in a vehicle driven by Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell after a traffic stop in which a police officer smelled the odor of marijuana, an illegal substance and banned from usage by NFL players league-wide, caused friction within the Steelers locker room.

Blount had seven carries in his first two games after the incident and was limited by the Carolina Panthers to 10 carries for 118 yards followed up by four carries in a three-point loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  Bell was listed on the depth chart as the number one running back and Blount expressed frustration over not having a bigger role.  Now it appears his rumblings may have been an elaborate plan to return to New England.

According to Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports, Blount was keeping in contact with his former Patriots teammates, including New England’s leading running back Stevan Ridley.  On Tuesday, Blount referred to Ridley as being “like a little brother.”

“I stayed close with a lot of guys,” admitted Blount.  “I stayed close with Ridley…Shane Vereen.  I stayed close with all of my running backs…with Devin McCourty.”  Blount added that it was his “brotherhood” with Patriots players that supported him “through everything” that he was going through.  Following an injury to Ridley, Blount rushed for no gain against the Tennessee Titans.

Blount was called out for committing what many in league circles, including coaches and players, feel is an unforgivable sin – abandonment of his brothers due to selfishness.  With the revelation that Blount considered the Patriots to be his brothers instead, it becomes even more glaring that negative reactions may have been what he wanted all along.  In fact, Blount said, “I wasn’t worried at all,” when asked if he was concerned about not landing with another team.  Just one day following his release, the New England Patriots called him and 48 hours later he was back with Belichick.  Blount’s response to a question about the call from Belichick was, “He just said, ‘Be ready to go’.”

After a rather disappointing personal performance with Pittsburgh, suddenly Blount replaced the role of fellow rusher Jonas Gray who was no slouch, running for 200 yards and four touchdowns in a game prior to Blount’s reunion.  Blount suddenly became very active, rushing for six touchdowns on 93 carries.
This will be Blount’s first Super Bowl appearance and while laughing and grinning through his media day appearance, he exhibited what many consider to be his true intentions all along.  Blount reportedly spoke to Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor and defensive end Brett Keisel on Tuesday, but insists he was innocent of any intentional misconduct in order to get back on the Patriots’ roster.  Then, out came the smile and laughs once again.
As Steelers Gab lead writer Matt Leode stated on January 19,

Blount is clearly a selfish person, let’s not forget the incident that started his rep as a player that most teams would rather not have to deal with…Yes, that was the start, but giving the devil his due, Blount took the opportunity to run to the Pats after his release from the Steelers, and has made the most of it.

The post appeared first on SteelersGab.com



IMHO no matter his reason, his actions showed disrespect f/ Steelers organization, its fans, & the idea of sportsmanship. Maybe the Pats are just his kind of team.
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