Google Earth recently added a timelapse feature, equal parts mesmerizing, sobering and incredible. Timelapse in Google Earth combines 24 million satellite photos captured between 1984 and 2020. That’s 37 years of deforestation, urban sprawl, shrinking glaciers, tar sands, agriculture, irrigation, mining and coastal erosion in high definition interactive timelapse. Choose a theme, play, pause on a given year, zoom in, scroll about – kudos Google, job well done. Google Earth introduced Timelapse as “longest video in the world”, 20 petabytes ( one petabyte equals a million gigabytes ), my head spins.
Meet Marjorie Taylor Greene, ugly face of conservative extremism in post-Trump America. Sanctimonious Marjorie pegs the wing in nut. Trump loyalist, conspiracy theorist, this first term U.S. representative for Georgia’s 14th congressional district is driving force behind the America First caucus. America First doesn’t mince words, ponder “common respect for uniquely Anglo-Saxon political traditions”, cessation of humanitarian aide to third world countries, massive spending to repair infrastructure provided it “reflects the architectural, engineering and aesthetic value that befits the progeny of European architecture” and immigration policies designed to exclude minorities. Make no mistake, ugly is here to stay.
Taylor Greene isn’t a uniquely ugly American, she’s joined by Republican representatives Paul A Gosar (Arizona), Barry Moore (Alabama), Louie Gohmert (Texas) and Matt Gaetz (Florida) in promoting America First. Trump empowered ugly, gave it teeth to forsake shadows, validated extremism, applauded exclusion, division and promoted partisan propaganda. Trumpism fits Marjorie like a glove.
Trump has good reason to call her “a rising star”. Taylor Greene ticks all the boxes – Pizzagate believer (2016 conspiracy claiming prominent Democrats operated a human trafficking and child sex ring from the basement of a DC pizza parlour), supports QAnon, opposes abortion and wants to defund Planned Parenthood, tried (and failed) to block the Equality Act (amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity in employment, housing, education, credit, jury service and federal programs) and fiercely denounces gun reform. She sported a “Trump Won” facemask on her first day in Congress,
In years leading up to her run for office, Taylor Greene expressed support for execution of Democrats on numerous occasions. Full throttle, 2020 electioneering Marjorie campaigned as “Squad’s worst nightmare” (the Squad refers to first term Democrat women of colour targeted by Trump in racist Tweets ) This photo appeared on Taylor Greene’s Facebook page with the quote – “We need strong conservative Christians to go on the offense against these socialists who want to rip our country apart,”
In 1998, March 2 was named Read Across America Day, ( Theodor Seuss Geisel – Dr. Seuss, was born March 2, 1904 ) Launched by the National Education Association to celebrate reading, it strives to motivate young readers. Some call it Dr. Seuss Day. His books spark imagination, teach millions to read and endure across generations of bedtime stories. Read Across America isn’t a celebration of Dr. Seuss, it’s an initiative to promote reading at a young age, All good? Not so fast. Publisher Dr. Seuss Enterprises cited racist and insensitive imagery as reason for ceasing sales of six Dr. Seuss titles.
These books haven’t been banned, the decision to cease publication and sales was made last year after an extensive review process. Who knew it would become a “cancel culture” poster for right wing America? Cancel culture refers to “cancelling” individuals, groups/organizations or public figures by ostracizing points of view deemed objectionable. The theme of last week’s Conservative Political Action Conference was “America Uncancelled”, Below, a snippet and link titled “Dr. Seuss Falls Victim to the Cancel Culture Nazis”, read it and weep…
“I warned the country about the cancel culture mob and their nefarious plan to ban books, paintings, films and music they found offensive. I warned that the radical leftists were waging a jihad on our culture, on our American traditions. Their plan is to build a socialist utopia on the rubble of our history and culture.” – Todd Starnes at Dr. Seuss Falls Victim to the Cancel Culture Nazis by Todd Starnes (townhall.com)
Over at Fox, misleading cancel culture propaganda raged. Check out No, Fox News, Dr. Seuss Was Not ‘Canceled’ By VA School District | Crooks and Liars at Crooks and Liars. Conservative media called out Joe Biden for not mentioning Dr. Seuss in his Read Across America statement. Whinny Donald Trump Jr. called “cancelling” Dr. Seuss books “insane”. So this is how it’s going to be? We can’t address questionable optics without threat of America Uncancelled retaliation? Is cancel culture a pseudonym for MAGA? Sigh.
Hang onto your hat – Sandy Hook and Parkland school shootings were faked, 9/11 was an inside job, Trump won the election, the most mistreated people in the U.S. today are white males, Hillary Clinton murdered a child in satanic ritual then ordered the killing of a police officer to conceal the crime, and the 2018 California wildfires were started by a Jewish funded space laser – allow me to introduce Marjorie Taylor Greene, upstart Republican congressional representative from Georgia now sitting on the Republican Education Committee.
This woman makes crazy blush, a duly elected politician so misguided her ignorance defies comprehension. Trouble is, the woefully flawed U.S. constitution coddles bat shit in the name of freedom. Freedom to speak hate, promote absurd allegations without obligation to verify facts, adversely impact the well being of fellow citizens regardless of race or religion and flaunt all of the above with righteous impunity.
America reaped what it sowed, the U.S. has no one to blame but itself for the madness of elected politicians claiming Jewish funded space lasers started California wildfires. Conclusions are drawn, fingers pointed, walls erected and sides taken. Left vs right, partisan editorial masquerades as news. Technology facilitates hand picked reality, truth be damned. Truth takes a back seat to ideology, all is forgiven because freedom of speech allows propaganda to bloom.
Constitutional freedom of speech morphed from well intentioned ideal to weapon of politicized discontent. Ludicrous misinformation parroted on social media blossoms into foundations of misguided truth. Trump legitimized mainstream proliferation of baseless nonsense. Marjorie Taylor Greene isn’t about to apologize for claiming a Jewish funded space laser started California wildfires. Why should she? Voters in her congressional district don’t care, freedom of speech doesn’t care. Who cares?
Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky tabled objection on constitutional grounds to proceeding with a second Trump impeachment trial. Forty five out of fifty Republican senators sided with Rand Paul. Paul based his objection on a misguided premise, only sitting presidents can be impeached. Despite clear constitutional consensus that impeachment serves to prevent tyranny, in this case guaranteeing Trump can never again hold political office – no American president has ever been impeached after leaving office. It’s a murky quandary, the constitution says nothing about impeachment of a former president. Reality check, right or wrong is irrelevant, two thirds Senate majority needed to go to trial will never happen.
Trump won’t be impeached, the damage is done. Quaint notions of sworn oath to uphold the constitution are meaningless. Impeachment is futile, forty five Republican senators have spoken. They scoff at all but their pitiful grasp on reality. Take it as victory that history will never forget his deplorable reign.
What can be done? How will justice be served? Forget impeachment, let it go. Concentrate efforts on irrefutable matters of law, the same law that applies regardless of office or influence. Audit his finances, leave no stone unturned, follow the money. Demand a DNA sample, require him to answer sexual assault charges in court. Investigate and verify facts of his dealings with foreign banks. Force him to understand, days of cowering behind the Resolute desk are over.
Astronomers describe the meeting of planets and other cosmic objects on our sky’s dome as “conjunction”. The term “great conjunction” is reserved for close optical alignment of Jupiter and Saturn. Saturn takes roughly 30 years to complete one orbit of the Sun. Jupiter, approximately 12 years. Every twentyish years they meet for a great conjunction. Why? In a nutshell, each year Saturn completes 12 degrees of orbit, Jupiter 30 orbital degrees. As such, in one year Jupiter closes the gap between itself and Saturn by 18 degrees. (30-12=18). Therefore, over 20 years Jupiter gains 360 degrees on Saturn ( 18×20=360 ). When Jupiter laps Saturn a great conjunction is born.
On December 21, 2020, winter solstice arrives with the closest great conjunction since 1226, a mere 0.1 degrees separates Saturn and Jupiter. Degree of separation so rare that in a thousand years between 1600 and 2599, only six great conjunctions have separation of less than 0.2 degrees. The last in 1683, next on March 15, 2080.
Next week’s great conjunction is exceedingly rare. Saturn and Jupiter appearing so close to the eye, they meld into a single bright object. So bright it’s being called the Christmas Star or Star of Bethlehem. Biblical mythology aside, this once in a lifetime spectacle is worth a gander. Weather permitting, if clouds cooperate, look low to the southwestern horizon on December 21st 30 minutes to an hour after sunset. The great conjunction deserves an audience.
Geraldo Rivera wants to heal a nation divided by naming the first COVID vaccine “the Trump”. Earlier this week Rivera Tweeted – “If you are really interested in conciliation, and sincerely want everyone to work together to make the next administration a success, why not start with this suggestion: call the first vaccine to market the Trump. #TrumpVaccine ”
What the freaking hell? This morning Rivera pitched the Trump on Fox & Friends, saying – “It would be a nice gesture to him, and years from now it would become kind of a generic name. Have you got your Trump yet? I got my Trump, I’m fine. I wish we could honor him in that way”.
Since president elect Joe Biden defeated Trump, coronavirus has claimed 24,000 lives. Over a quarter million have died since Trump flippantly dismissed it as nothing to worry about earlier this year. Every two seconds another U.S. citizen is infected. National new infections per day are pushing 200,000. Trump refuses to concede, denies Biden’s transition team access to vital resources required to implement a national pandemic action plan and announces New York State will get the vaccine last because he didn’t like criticism from Governor Andrew Cuomo. What the freaking hell?
Rivera praised Trump as “prime architect” of Operation Warp Speed, a government funded vaccine development program. Chirping – “But for him we would still be waiting into the grim winter for these amazing miraculous medical breakthroughs”. But for him? Cool your jets Geraldo, the only involvement Pfizer had with Operation Warp Speed was as a supplier. The Trump administration contracted 100 million doses, but no government funding for development. https://www.newsweek.com/pfizer-part-operation-warp-speed-alex-azar-distanced-trump-program-1546594
The staggering absurdity of Rivera’s initiative defies reason. What the freaking hell? It would be a nice gesture if U.S. citizens honored Trump by calling COVID vaccine “the Trump”? Enough! I can’t laugh, cry, shake my head or call upon irony to make it better. Get a grip America, you have mud on your face.
Excuse me Mr. Trump, sorry to interrupt your golf game but by the way, you’re fired. Don’t be mad, you brought it upon yourself. Dig deep for a shred of decency, for once in your life take the high road, concede defeat. No sir, you weren’t robbed, nothing was stolen. What can’t you understand? Yes sir, I realize how hard you tried to stop Democrats from voting, bent over backwards to handicap the postal service, assumed lies enough to sway public opinion.
Do you understand Mr. Trump? It’s over, the people have spoken. You’re fired. Don’t despair, your run at re-election prompted the highest voter turn out of any presidential election in U.S. history since 1900. Close to 67% of eligible voters spoke their mind during a global pandemic. Excuse me sir, are you listening? Pardon me, recount you say? To what end, at what cost? Not over until you say so? Please sir, clean out your desk. Leave with dignity, spare the embarrassment of calling security to show you the door.
Ah Polaris, commonly known as the North Star – humanities guide since the dawn of time. Located directly above the north celestial pole, northern hemisphere skies rotate around this near constant pole star. Knowing where to find Polaris means you’ll always know which direction to travel. Face Polaris, stretch your arms out sideways – the right hand points due east, the left due west. About face and you’re pointed south.
Ken Christison captured these glorious star trails around Polaris, the North Star. He wrote, “For the most common and often the most spectacular star trails, you want to locate Polaris and compose the image so it is centered horizontally and hopefully you can have a bit of foreground for reference.”
To find Polaris locate the Big Dipper, focus on Dubhe and Merak, two stars forming the outermost edge of Big Dipper’s bowl. In your mind’s eye draw a straight line to the tip of Little Dipper’s handle – voila, that’s Polaris the North Star.
Think of northern hemisphere skies as a clock with Polaris at the centre, the line from Dubhe and Merak to Polaris as the hour hand. The Big Dipper rotates once around Polaris every 23 hours, 56 minutes. A few minutes short of a day, equivalent to 361 degrees in 24 hours. As such the North Star moves ever so slightly with each passing day. What never falters is the hour hand from the outermost bowl of Big Dipper to Polaris. Find the Big Dipper, you’ll locate the North Star. Do that and you’ll never be lost in the woods.
If you’re in the northern U.S., Canada or at a similar latitude, the Big Dipper is circumpolar for you, always above the horizon. Image via burro.astr.cwru.edu.