Saturday, August 19, 2017

Tweet / Pic Of The Day

Gotta love those Bostonians:

Kudos to Dan Drezner for the Ken Burns-style message.

Today's Cartoon Twofer - Luckovich Edition

(click on images to enlarge)

(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Consititution)

(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Hate Radio Buffoon: "A Second Civil War" Coming

Yesterday, hate radio pustule and depraved opioid abuser Rush "Limpballs" Limbaugh attacked the anti-Nazi    counter protesters in Charlottesville, while weaving multiple anti-Semitic tropes into his tirade. Saying that the white supremacists "were not the problem,"  Limpballs blamed the violence on "people like George Soros and any other number of international financiers whose objective it is to take the United States out and down as a superpower.” He claimed the counter protesters represented an “ongoing effort to erase America by discrediting the entire premise of our culture, our history, our founding,” who "showed up in Charlottesville to create mayhem and cause hell.” Ominously, the porcine buffoon told his faithful audience that, “we are on the cusp of a second civil war.”

Limpballs has a long and ugly history of racist comments. Sadly, he has millions of angry, clueless "dittohead" followers, many of whom will take his "second civil war" comment to heart, continue to arm themselves, and act out their leader's direction in a violent way. Just wait.

BONUS:  Of course, Limpballs is only one of many mercenary crackpots pushing this seditious notion. So are Michael "Wiener" Savage (who is, not coincidentally, flogging his new book whose theme is "civil war") and the ever- porcine Alex Jones. We wonder what kind of a kickback these malicious weasels are getting from the NRA to rile up the morons and boost gun sales.

Letters We Wish We'd Written - Bearing Witness

In today's Washington Post:
Regarding the Aug. 16 front-page article “Trump again blames ‘both sides’ ”: 
I was a preschooler in Germany at the end of World War II. My generation learned the horrific history of the Nazis and how they pulled a whole country along with them. The shame and guilt continue to lie heavily on my generation. Now, as a longtime citizen of the United States, I watched in horror the events in Charlottesville. But more chilling were the words of the president. 
I can only imagine how descendants of slaves, Holocaust survivors and their descendants felt hearing the president equate those who had the courage to oppose with those who marched with the Nazi salute, the Nazi flag, torches, the Ku Klux Klan and the others Mr. Trump called “fine people” who marched along with them.  
I felt the beginning of Nazi history repeating itself. 
It is not enough for our representatives to denounce the alt-right. They must find the moral backbone to denounce those leaders, including the president, who have made excuses for the movement and its hateful ideology. They must refuse to be associated with the president’s party if it continues to value reelection chances and passage of its agenda over what is morally right and if it continues to tolerate this president, who has demonstrated that he lacks the moral authority to lead this great country. The danger is too great.
Ute O’Neal, Potomac
So far, we see very little evidence of Republican politicians willing to directly confront neo- fascist incompetent Donald "Rump" Trump, nor do we expect to see it any time soon if ever. As Brian McFadden portrays Sneaker of the House Paul "Lyin'" Ryan in the cartoon below, the only concern motivating these weasels is that they be able to shovel more of America's wealth upward as quickly as possible. No moral authority there.

Swamp Creatures: Carl Icahn Edition

The New Yorker magazine has a fascinating article (referenced briefly by Rachel Maddow last night) that looks into the dealings of billionaire investor and long-time corporate raider Carl "I Con" Icahn, who until yesterday, was an "advisor" to neo-fascist demagogue Donald "Rump" Trump for regulatory "reform", a euphemism for cutting regulations unpopular with corporations. What makes that particular connection galling is that Icahn -- who has long chafed under Federal regulations impacting his investments -- was more interested in boosting his profits through cutting regulations, particularly at the EPA, that were bothersome to his bottom line.

In particular, he was bleeding millions from his investment in CVR, an oil refinery in Texas, due to a requirement that ethanol be blended into their fuel or purchase "credits" from refineries that do. He wanted that requirement done away with, and he let Rump know that it was his top priority:
"Appearing on Bloomberg TV on August 16, 2016, [Icahn] vowed that Trump would put an end to 'these crazy regulations' on his first day in office. In fact, Icahn continued, he had spoken with Trump about the E.P.A. rule obliging his refiner to purchase renewable-fuel credits. If elected, Trump 'will stop that,' Icahn promised. 'That’s a hundred per cent.' Several weeks after Trump’s victory, Icahn tweeted, 'I’ve agreed to serve as a special advisor to the president on issues relating to regulatory reform.' [snip] 
In the months after the election, the stock price of CVR, Icahn’s refiner, nearly doubled—a surge that is difficult to explain without acknowledging the appointment of the company’s lead shareholder to a White House position. The rally meant a personal benefit for Icahn, at least on paper, of half a billion dollars." (emphasis added)
Icahn's brief stint as "advisor" to Rump on regulatory matters benefitted him greatly, perhaps even beyond the CVR caper. Financiers quoted in the New Yorker article joke that it was a corporate raid on Washington by Icahn, and "the cheapest takeover Carl's ever done." Drain the swamp, indeed.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Today's Cartoon - The "Resistance"

(Far) right on, (far) right on!

(click on image to enlarge)

(Brian McFadden, via Daily Kos)

Tweets Of The Day - Bye Bye Bye

Peak schadenfreude:


Weekend Music Rondo

The Dave Brubeck Quartet's vanguard 1959 album "Time Out" defined "West Coast cool jazz" and was a study in unusual time signatures. "Blue Rondo à la Turk" is no exception to that and, along with "Take Five" from the same album, has become a jazz classic. Hope you enjoy (h/t Silver Spring Bureau Chief and blog musical concierge Brian):

Breaking: Steve Bannon Out! (UPDATED)

Reports are that white nationalist toad and Trump whisperer Steve "Loose Cannon" Bannon has "resigned" his position in the Trump regime. Further reporting suggests Bannon's resignation was forced. He took a page from The Mooch's "How To Get Fired" manual when he let his bizarre, Trump-undermining freak flag fly to The American Prospect magazine. Sad!

Are Stephen Miller and Sebastian Gorka cleaning out their cubbies yet?

Popcorn munching time!

UPDATE:  No hard feelings! (our emphasis)
The Trump presidency that we fought for, and won, is over,” said Bannon Friday after confirming he was leaving the White House. “We still have a huge movement, and we will make something of this Trump presidency. But that presidency is over. It’ll be something else. And there’ll be all kinds of fights, and there’ll be good days and bad days, but that presidency is over.”
The cock crowed three times...

(Photo: Rump and Bannon in happier times.)


The New Yorker joins The Economist in vying for Cover of the Week:

("Blowhard" cover by David Plunkert)

Who's Resigning Today?

Following his hateful and clueless remarks on August 15 that put Nazi demonstrators on the same plane as anti- Nazi demonstrators in Charlottesville, neo- fascist Donald "Rump" Trump hastily folded two of his business advisory councils after it became clear their CEO members were going to resign due to Rump's moral vacuity.

Here's a pop quiz:  which was the next group to disassociate themselves from this vicious moral black hole --  Rump's Evangelical Advisory Board or members of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities?  The "religious" or the "secular"? Psssh! We know, it was a ridiculously easy quiz:

(click on image to enlarge)

(For those who have trouble viewing the letter, you can see the full text here.)

It's as true today as it was nearly 40 years ago that these direct descendants of the so- called "Moral Majority," are neither moral nor a majority. Nor are the bootlicks in the White House and Executive Branch that continue to stain themselves by not resigning from this un- American dumpster fire of a regime.

BONUS:  Mitt Romney has issued a statement calling on Rump to "acknowledge that he was wrong, apologize" for his remarks on August 15. Better late than never, but you can't put Rump's poison back in the bottle now.


The death toll continues to rise from the horrible terrorist attack in Barcelona on Thursday. As of now, 14 people are dead and more than 100 wounded as a result of a van being driven through crowds walking on the popular promenade, Las Ramblas. ISIS has claimed "credit." A number of arrests have been made, and a shootout with Spanish police in a town south of Barcelona has resulted in the deaths of several terror suspects. Barcelona thus joins other cities such as Nice, Berlin, London (twice) and, sadly, Charlottesville as the scene of an act perpetrated by a terrorist behind the wheel of a vehicle.

Today, people in Barcelona made a statement by showing up on Las Ramblas to tell the world they're not afraid of cowards who target innocent lives. From leaders around the world, expressions of horror and sympathy for the victims poured in.

Then we have this:

As Tapper notes, this egregious lie is another example of the lack of truth and moral clarity emanating from neo- fascist Donald "Rump" Trump.  It's also an example of how he'll use any lie or distortion to enflame his base, whether it's against Muslims today, or people opposing Nazis and white supremacy earlier this week.

They're desperate, and this is the van they're driving through American society.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Quote Of The Day - Fumigation

"These statues were put up in the first place to sanitize the history of the men who fought to maintain chattel slavery and the men who later re-established white supremacy in the old Confederacy. Removing them does not sanitize history. It fumigates it." -- Charles P. Pierce today on the charge that removing statues of Confederate traitors is "sanitizing history."

(Photo: fumigation of Confederate statue in Durham, NC, completed Monday; Virginia Bridges, The Herald-Sun/ AP)

BONUS I:  Infidel 753 on the "heritage" argument.

BONUS II: A plaque memorializing traitor Jefferson Davis along side a highway bearing his name  near Gold Canyon, AZ was tarred and feathered yesterday. Many, many more expressions of outrage over Confederate symbols in the days, weeks, and months ahead are needed.

(photo: Steve Krafft)

Today's Cartoons (UPDATED)

(click on images to enlarge)

(Signe Wilkinson, Philadelphia Daily News)

(Stuart Carlson, via

(Rob Rogers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

(Jeff Darcy, Cleveland Plain Dealer)

(Clay Bennett, Chattanooga Times Free Press)

UPDATE: Of course, it's not just Americans who are watching. Here's the cover of this week's The Economist:

"Bibi Bomb Bomb" Follows Trump's Lead

Israeli Prime Minister Bibi "Bomb Bomb" Netanyahu and his right-wing Likud Party have consistently aligned themselves with the Rethuglican / New Confederate Party, virtually endorsing Rethug candidates for office, undermining former President Obama's Middle East policies and attempting to sabotage the Iran nuclear deal. It wasn't subtle. Bomb Bomb was celebratory when neo-fascist demagogue Donald "Rump" Trump won the electoral vote, and saw his close Rethuglican ties as a "win" for his Likudnik coalition.

In the aftermath of the neo-Nazi riot in Charlottesville, Bomb Bomb could have come out immediately on the weekend and condemned the neo-Nazi anti-Semitic slogan chanting mob that committed violence. He didn't, waiting three days to see what his soulmate Rump was going to say. Think about that: someone who pompously calls himself "the prime minister of all Jews" had to see what his friend in the White (Supremacist) House was going to say first about Nazis rioting in the streets of a U.S. city. He waited until Tuesday to tweet a broad condemnation of the riot:
Perhaps more disturbing was Bomb Bomb's 26 year-old son and close advisor Yair's statement on his Facebook page that dismissed the neo-Nazi threat while claiming Black Lives Matter and the Antifa movement were the real danger:
“To put things in perspective. I'm a Jew, I'm an Israeli, the neo nazis scums in Virginia hate me and my country. But they belong to the past. Their breed is dying out. However the thugs of Antifa and BLM who hate my country (and America too in my view) just as much are getting stronger and stronger and becoming super dominant in American universities and public life.” (emphasis added)
That statement goes beyond simply assigning moral equivalence to the neo-Nazis and people protesting the neo-Nazis. That's a statement attempting to misrepresent a growing white supremacist movement in the U.S. while condemning the groups fighting the white supremacists. It speaks volumes about the Israeli right-wing's moral compromise when it comes to Rump.

BONUS: Bradley Burston at the Israeli newspaper Haaretz has a good op/ ed about "Trump vassal" Bomb Bomb's moral judgement:
This is the message of Netanyahu's silence regarding Charlottesville: I am not the prime minister of the Jewish people. I am the prime minister of all of the Jewish people who are right-wing, pro-settlement, anti-Palestinian, pro-Me.

Candelight Vigil At UVA Attracts Thousands

Sanjay Suchak, UVA

Massing on the historic quadrangle of the University of Virginia last night were thousands of students and local residents holding candles and singing "We Shall Overcome," and "This Land Is Your Land." The gathering followed an emotional day for the city of Charlottesville, following the memorial service for Heather Heyer, who was killed by a crazed white supremacist on Saturday following the "Unite The Right" riot.

The peaceful crowd and candles stood in stark contrast to the torches and racist and anti-Semitic chants by white supremacists last Friday as they marched through campus.

Take Me Out To The Nut, Er... Ball, Er... Game!

Ball one! As you watch this, note the stadium announcer's aplomb after things went... south.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

"We're Going To Make It Count"

Yes we are.

Paranoid Cry Baby Nazi Petrified Of Getting Arrested

Tuff Nazi then (the douche wearing the "Radical Agenda" tee), featured starting around 2:20:

Tuff Nazi now:

The master race, ladies and gentlemen. Really this just proves they're scared little creeps.

You want to be a racist, anti- Semitic Nazi, you pay the price, you sniveling little asshole.

Trump Folds Business Advisory Councils As Members Flee

Making sure they're not the last ones that have to turn out the lights on the Trump regime:
As CEOs of major corporations began fleeing President Trump’s two business advisory councils yesterday to protest his remarks on the neo-Nazi violence in Virginia, Trump disbanded both groups. 
“Rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople of the Manufacturing Council & Strategy & Policy Forum, I am ending both. Thank you all!” Trump tweeted. 
A few minutes earlier, the 16 remaining members of the “Strategy and Policy Forum” had unanimously voted to disband, in an emergency conference call convened by its chairman, Stephen Schwarzman, chairman of the investment firm Blackstone Group and one of Trump’s biggest Wall Street supporters. The call was demanded by members of the group who were deeply upset about Trump’s comments at a Tuesday press conference about Charlottesville. Of the 19 business leaders who had been originally named to the group, three had already quit over Trump’s positions on climate change or immigration. 
At least six of the 28 members of the American Manufacturing Council had quit in the days since Trump blamed “many sides” for the deadly violence that erupted in the wake of a “Unite the Right” march enlisting neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups. (our emphasis)
That these people even contemplated working with Rump following his campaign of racism, misogyny, lies and derangement will be a stain that will last with them forever.  They sold their souls for the promise of some regulations going away.

Mid-Week Song

Two months ago, we featured a cut off of War On Drugs' new album, "A Deeper Understanding," which is due for release in September. We have another cut from that album today, "Pain," featuring the ethereal voice and soaring guitar of lead singer Adam Granduciel. Enjoy.
Go to bed now I can tell
Pain is on the way out now
Look away, a domino falls away

I know it's hard lookin' in
Knowin' that tomorrow you'll be back again
Hang your head and let me in, I'm waitin'
So long

BONUS: Blog friend DivaNewYork pointed us to this article in The New Yorker about the band and Granduciel in particular. Worth reading!

Memorializing Traitors

Among the many despicable and racist-affirming things said in yesterday's unhinged press conference by neo-fascist bigot Donald "Rump" Trump was his claim that "very fine people" were among the white supremacist mob to simply protest the removal of the statue of Confederate traitor Robert E. Lee in Emancipation Park. Ignoring the fact that monuments of this sort were erected during the Jim Crow era to glorify the Confederacy, to oppose civil rights, and to humiliate African-Americans, Rump went on to conflate memorials to George Washington and Thomas Jefferson with statues of the treasonous leaders of the Confederate rebellion against the United States. The continued existence of these monuments to treason is not about historical preservation or recognizing a "culture" (unless one is talking about the culture of white supremacy). It is about celebrating a system of slavery and white supremacy, and about providing a rallying point for every sick Nazi, white supremacist and KKK member today.

Last night, Baltimore finally removed four statues of these traitors to the U.S. There are at least 1,500 such monuments still in existence, mainly in the South. They needed to come down long ago, and every decent person, every patriot, should demand their removal in the places they live.

(photo: A statue of a Confederate soldier is pulled down in Durham, NC on Monday)

A Modest Proposal

Jimmy Kimmel calls out neo- fascist Donald "Rump" Trump in no uncertain terms, and has a proposal for Trump voters to get us out of the mess we're in.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Tweet Of The Day

Once, in the not distant past, we had a President who was everything the current occupant of the office is not. This is now the most liked tweet ever, and rightly so.

Please go to the feed and see the rest of the tweet thread and the author of those words.

Trump's Real Voice: Both Sides To Blame In Charlottesville, Some Marchers "Very Fine People"

It didn't last long for the angry, unscripted, real voice of neo- fascist Donald "Rump" Trump to emerge again:

Nazis "innocently protesting."  Choke on that, if you will. Clearly the shitgibbon has been frustrated that he had to recite someone else's words about the events in Charlottesville, and wanted to vent his true feelings.  He even brought a copy of his lame Saturday remarks along, so he was waiting for the moment to lash out.

Some immediate reactions, first from KKK scrotum re-enactor David Duke:

He's a monster. He needs to go.

BONUS:  Many more reactions here. Former Bush communications director Nicolle Wallace had this to say on MSNBC:
“Who resigns? Who resigns over this?” Wallace repeatedly asked on “Deadline: White House” Tuesday. 
“Who resigns? Which one of you can’t live with yourselves for working for a guy that elicits praise from David Duke?” Wallace demanded. “Which one? Who? Tell me. Who resigns?”
Yes, who exactly?

Late Night Takes On Trump's Reaction To Charlottesville

Even Trump hair tousler Jimmy Fallon got serious:

Today's Cartoon - Back Seat Driver

(click on image to enlarge)

(Jen Sorensen, via

Pics Of The Day: A Rat And Trash

For the next couple of days, neo-fascist con man Donald "Rump" Trump will be holed up in his vulgar tower in Manhattan. There and elsewhere, he'll be shadowed by his alter ego, "Trumpy the Rat." Appropriately, he also has some white trash trucks protecting his gilded monument to greed and corruption.

(photos: top, Drew Angerer, Getty Images, bottom, via Thomas Roberts, MSNBC)

Surprise! Trump Retweets Vile Messages

While it took two full days for the political fallout to be such that neo- fascist dimwit Donald "Rump" Trump had to slouch up to a microphone and grudgingly mouth words written for him decrying white supremacists and Nazis, it took him only seconds to re-tweet vile messages from his far right supporters.

This Rump retweet from a twisted mouthbreather was posted at 7 a.m. this morning (deleted after about 30 minutes -- too late, Gen. Kelly!) and shows the "Trump train" mowing down a figure marked "CNN" (screenshot via Daily Beast):

That's exactly the message you want to send to a grieving country after one of your loyal admirers mowed down an innocent person with his car in Charlottesville! Not a dog whistle, a train horn!

Confirming that swamp water seeks its own level, Rump (as he has in the past with Nazis) retweeted notorious alt- right conspiracy troll Jack Posobiec (promoter of the "Pizzagate" and Seth Rich conspiracies, no less):

The malignant evil in the White House needs to be removed, just as the symbols of its spiritual antecedents are being removed in Charlottesville, Charleston, New Orleans, Lexington and other places around the country. Even so, the stigma of Rump and his tiki torch Nazis will mark our country forever.

More CEOs Bail On Trump's Business Council; Many More Remain On It (UPDATED)

Following the tragic events in Charlottesville and neo- fascist imbecile Donald "Rump" Trump's failure to call out the white supremacists, Nazis, alt- right and other assorted pond scum's violent and deadly acts, the CEO of Merck quit Rump's manufacturing council. Yesterday, two more CEOs announced their departure:
Merck & Co. CEO Ken Frazier, the only African-American on the council, was first to step down “to take a stand against intolerance and extremism,” he said in a statement. The move drew an immediate rebuke from Trump, who claimed on Twitter that the pharmaceuticals chief would now “have more time to lower ripoff drug prices.” 
Later, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank quit the group “to focus my efforts on inspiring every person that they can do anything through the power of sport which promotes unity, diversity and inclusion,” he said in a statement. 
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich resigned “to call attention to the serious harm our divided political climate is causing to critical issues,” he said in a statement. “I resigned because I want to make progress, while many in Washington seem more concerned with attacking anyone who disagrees with them,” Krzanich added. “We should honor ― not attack ― those who have stood up for equality and other cherished American values.” (our emphasis)
As of now, there are still 21 members of the council remaining (list at the second link above), including (sadly and inexplicably) Rich Trumka* and Thea Lee of the AFL-CIO. When Merck, Under Armour and Intel executives display even minimally more moral clarity than you, it's time to leave the field.

It should also be noted that neither Plank nor Krzanich named Rump directly; in Krzanich's case, he alluded to the treatment of Merck's CEO in Rump's typically man baby tweet on Monday.

We're seeing who has a conscience and backbone in this country and who doesn't.

UPDATE: Rump continues to attack the Merck CEO, BTW.  Nazis, not so much.

UPDATE II: Another member of the Council has resigned. Scott Paul of the Alliance for American Manufacturing says "it's the right thing to do." Here's man baby Rump's reaction --

*UPDATE III: AFL-CIO's Rich Trumka finally resigns after Rump's bonkers news conference this afternoon (and takes Thea Lee with him)--

What a fine, Presidential temperament!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Tweet Of The Day - Reenlistment

Today's Cartoon Threefer

(click on images to enlarge)

(Darrin Bell, Washington Post Writers Group)

(Rob Rogers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

(Matt Davies, Newsday)

QOTD: How A Real Leader Addresses Racism

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whom most now consider the leader of the free world, issued a statement today against the far-right racism, anti-Semitism and bigotry displayed by the white supremacist rioters in Charlottesville:
"The scenes at the right-wing extremist march were absolutely repulsive - naked racism, anti-Semitism and hate in their most evil form were on display. Such images and chants are disgusting wherever they may be and they are diametrically opposed to the political goals of the chancellor and the entire German government."
The spokesman for Chancellor Merkel went on to say she stood in solidarity with the counter demonstrators.

That's how a moral leader firmly addresses what happened in Charlottesville without equivocation, dog whistles, or cowardice.

BONUS: Charles Pierce weighs in on the shameful "on many sides" statement by neo-fascist demagogue Donald "Rump" Trump:
"He wasn't a national leader. He wasn't even the counterfeit of a national leader that helped get him elected. He was an incoherent, unlettered old man with a deeply troubling allergy to the truth. For the first time since FDR was elected, we have a president unable to state simply that he opposes Nazis. This was the best chance—and the easiest chance—he ever will have to turn people around on himself and his administration, and he bungled it so badly that it is fair to speculate that the president* couldn't call Nazis for what they are because he didn't want to alienate some of his most reliable voters." (emphasis added)

Rethug Kollege Klub Prez Seen At Racist Rally In Charlottesville

As more of the Nazi marchers in last weekend's right-wing riot in Charlottesville, VA are identified, one in particular drew our attention. The president of Washington State University's College Republicans, James "Allcrap" Allsup, was spotted participating in and speaking at the racist rally that included Nazis, the KKK, skinheads and numerous white supremacist groups. After being outed, the coward tried the "prove I'm a racist" defense, and claimed that he wasn't a racist, but was at the rally/riot "because I talk about history and I talk about politics." In a most benign and inclusive way, no doubt. It will be instructive to see what the national College Republican organization does with Allcrap, who likely has his followers in his kollege klub.

Many of the participants are ducking responsibility and scurrying for cover, as social media spreads their images at the rally and they are identified by name. Maybe they should go back to wearing white hoods to conceal their identities next time.


(Photo: The Republican Nazi dudebro.)

Merck CEO Resigns From Trump's Council Over Response To White Supremacists

Reacting to bigoted sociopatic man baby Donald "Rump" Trump's Nazi-coddling comments on the white supremacist riots in Charlottesville, Merck Pharmaceutical CEO Kenneth Frazier, a prominent African-American businessman, resigned this morning from the President's American Manufacturing Council:

Of course, the bigoted sociopahtic man baby took it well:

Let's hope (futilely, we know) that the rest of his Council resigns too. He'll be attacking every sector of manufacturing.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Across The Universe, Cont. - Dwarf Galaxy

(click on image to enlarge)

From NASA/ ESA, August 7, 2017:  The subject of this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image is a dwarf galaxy named NGC 5949. Thanks to its proximity to Earth — it sits at a distance of around 44 million light-years from us, placing it within the Milky Way’s cosmic neighbourhood — NGC 5949 is a perfect target for astronomers to study dwarf galaxies.

With a mass of about a hundredth that of the Milky Way, NGC 5949 is a relatively bulky example of a dwarf galaxy. Its classification as a dwarf is due to its relatively small number of constituent stars, but the galaxy’s loosely-bound spiral arms also place it in the category of barred spirals. This structure is just visible in this image, which shows the galaxy as a bright yet ill-defined pinwheel. Despite its small proportions, NGC 5949’s proximity has meant that its light can be picked up by fairly small telescopes, something that facilitated its discovery by the astronomer William Herschel in 1801.

Astronomers have run into several cosmological quandaries when it comes to dwarf galaxies like NGC 5949. For example, the distribution of dark matter within dwarfs is quite puzzling (the “cuspy halo” problem), and our simulations of the Universe predict that there should be many more dwarf galaxies than we see around us (the “missing satellites” problem).

Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA

Who Got Arrested?

Let's play a quick game.  Guess which group of people was arrested and which wasn't.

(Joshua Roberts/ Reuters)

If you guessed the group that got arrested is in the picture at the top (Nazis rioting in Charlottesville yesterday) ... Surprise! It was actually the group in the photo below, arrested on July 25 at the Hart Senate Building for protesting the Republican plan to repeal Obamacare. They look mean and subversive, all right.

See also post below.

Questions For Officials In Charlottesville

Yesterday morning's parade in Charlottesville of Nazis, KKK members and other assorted degenerates on the right quickly devolved into attacks by them -- using clubs, flag staffs, brass knuckles, and pepper spray -- on counter protesters lining the route. Near the entrance to Emancipation Park, which temporarily has the statue of treasonous Confederate Robert E. Lee, a pitched battle was instigated by the white supremacists who came to Charlottesville looking for a fight and feeling emboldened by their President. Look at the photo above, one of many of that confrontation. Where are the local, county or Virginia State police? Where are the police cordons separating the white supremacists from the people they were hungry to attack? Invisible.

Later in the day, Virginia State police in riot gear did clear he park of white supremacists after an "unlawful assembly" was declared, but only after the pitched street battle. As the day wore on, police in force manned intersections and public spaces to discourage further incidents.

Hindsight is 20/20 and this was an explosive situation for the police, but local authorities had ample warning of many hundreds of violent white supremacists descending on Charlottesville and might have started the day with a show of force. The escalation of violence by the bigots led to the death of a woman among the counter protesters by a young fascist from Ohio, aa well as two state police officers who died in the line of duty when their helicopter crashed as they monitored the scene. Shouldn't the responsible public officials have been better prepared to deal with the violent neo-Nazis from the beginning?


The police had the advantage of observing the Nazis' behavior from the night before, when...

Perhaps the police would rather side with the Nazis than with the Black Lives Matter folks in the counter demonstration? Askin' for friends.

BONUS II: Propublica looks into the police passivity in the Charlottesville mayhem.

(photo: Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images)

Calling Out Trump's Moral Vacuum (UPDATED)

We're just going to focus on selected voices on the right calling out the inability of neo- fascist nitwit Donald "Rump" Trump to mouth the words "white supremacist" or "Nazi" in his weak comments on the tragedy in Charlottesville yesterday. (For the time being, we'll dispense with pointing out "you built this.")

Michael Gerson
Trump’s reaction to events in Charlottesville was alternately trite (“come together as one”), infantile (“very, very sad”) and meaningless (“we want to study it”). “There are so many great things happening in our country,” he said, on a day when racial violence took a life. [snip]
What do we do with a president who is incapable or unwilling to perform his basic duties? What do we do when he is incapable of outrage at outrageous things? What do we do with a president who provides barely veiled cover for the darkest instincts of the human heart? These questions lead to the dead end of political realism — a hopeless recognition of limited options. But the questions intensify.
Jennifer Rubin

Rubin means Trump, of course, and Bannon and Miller and this POS.

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO):

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), hoping against hope:

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT):

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA):

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI):

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ):
“White supremacists and neo-Nazis are, by definition, opposed to American patriotism and the ideals that define us as a people and make our nation special. 
“As we mourn the tragedy that has occurred in Charlottesville, American patriots of all colors and creeds must come together to defy those who raise the flag of hatred and bigotry.” 

None should be surprised at the display of cowardice on the part of Rump, a lump bereft of conscience, morality, and compassion.  It further illuminates the vacuum we have in the most important office in the land, if not the world.

This is a defining moment for many on the right to choose whether they're "Republicans" or "republicans" first. Let's see how many are up to the challenge of calling out their party's leader and the pond scum in his service that support these vile beliefs.

UPDATE:  Much more reaction - left and right - here.

Sunday Reflection - Charlottesville's Sides

Christine Emba on the Trump diversion of "many sides" being responsible for what happened yesterday in Charlottesville:

"Things that have many sides: a Rubik’s cube, a baseball diamond, a complex personality. Things that don’t: the racism and hate seen in Charlottesville this weekend.

Alas, our president doesn’t seem to know the difference. No, that’s too generous. He must know, but he does not care. Or worse, he would rather allow the confusion than endanger his base of support."

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Today's Cartoons

(click on images to enlarge)

(Clay Bennett, Chattanooga Times Free Press)

(Andy Marlette, Pensacola News Journal)

(Steve Sack, Minneapolis Star Tribune)

(Jack Ohman, Sacramento Bee)

State Of Emergency In VA As Nazis Riot - Car Plows Into Crowd (UPDATED)

A tense morning in Charlottesville, VA was followed by street clashes between Nazi marchers and counter demonstrators, causing Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe to declare a state of emergency. Police, whose presence at the beginning of the so-called "Unite The Right" march was negligible, finally declared the white supremacists rally at Emancipation Park (formerly Lee Park) an unlawful assembly. The park is the site of a statue of Confederate traitor Robert E. Lee, which is scheduled to be removed by the city of Charlottesville, home to the University of Virginia.

Confederate and Nazi flags festooned the march, provoking hundreds of counter protestors, some of which were the "Antifa" or anti-Fascist organizations. There were reports of several serious injuries as the white supremacists wielded clubs, poles and pepper spray against the counter demonstrators. Among the Nazi leaders of the march were Richard Spencer, Jason Kessler and the KKK's David Duke.

UPDATE:  Speaking of Duke --

UPDATE II:  A car has plowed into a crowd of anti-fascist demonstrators; story and more pictures here.

UPDATE III:  Now, it's murder --

UPDATE IV:  Not surprisingly, Rump refused to specifically name or condemn the Nazi/ white supremacist/ alt- righters, blaming "many sides" for the violence.

(photos: top CNN. Neo-Nazis gather in Charlottesville, VA; bottom Andy Campbell, HuffPo))

Next Up On Trump's War List: Venezuela

Power drunk Giant Toddler says what?

Clearly, he's talking directly out of his fat ass as usual. (Is it just us, or did Rexxon Tillerson take a little swallow at about 0:12 seconds, after Rump said he wouldn't rule out a military option -- "Jesus H. Christ on a cracker, here's another mess I've got to clean up now.")

No doubt caught by surprise, a Pentagon spokesman said they'd received no orders to prepare for a military intervention in Venezuela.

Good to see that Gen. Kelly is bringing order and discipline to the Rump regime! MAGA!

Nazis March In Charlottesville, Virginia (UPDATED)

Hundreds of tiki torch- bearing (!) American Nazis held a march last night through the campus of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, in advance of today's demonstration at the site of a statue to traitor Robert E. Lee:
White nationalists and counterprotesters are expected to flood downtown Charlottesville Saturday as the Virginia city braces for the "Unite the Right" rally. 
By noon, thousands are expected to gather in Emancipation Park, where barricades have been placed in proximity to the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. 
The rally comes hours after a large group of torch-bearing white nationalists marched through the University of Virginia campus Friday night. [snip] 
Torch-bearing white nationalists confirmed the fears of residents and officials Friday night when hundreds descended upon the UVA campus. 
Chanting "blood and soil" and "you will not replace us," the group rallied around a statue of Thomas Jefferson before they clashed with counterprotesters, CNN affiliate WWBT reported. The group left the university's grounds when police arrived and ruled it unlawful assembly.
Calling themselves "white nationalists" or "alt right" or some other nomenclature is too imprecise for this virulent group of shitheels.  If you're carrying torches and chanting "blood and soil," that's not a dog whistle -- it's a Nazi bullhorn.

University of Virginia political analyst and pollster Larry Sabato expressed feelings most of us would share:

UPDATE:  Balloon Juice has tweets from today's demonstration/ protest.

BONUS: Steve M. at No More Mister Nice Blog notices that far- right media are taking a pass on covering this, and explains why.

BONUS II: Lest there be any doubt about who these degenerates are:

(Photo: screenshot via CNN)

Friday, August 11, 2017

Poll: Strong Support For Saving Obamacare, Dodging TrumpCare

The Kaiser Family Foundation has a new poll out that Republicans in Congress would do well to heed:
-- The August Kaiser Health Tracking Poll finds that the majority of the public (60 percent) say it is a “good thing” that the Senate did not pass the bill that would have repealed and replaced the ACA. Since then, President Trump has suggested Congress not take on other issues, like tax reform, until it passes a replacement plan for the ACA, but six in ten Americans (62 percent) disagree with this approach, while one-third (34 percent) agree with it. 
--A majority of the public (57 percent) want to see Republicans in Congress work with Democrats to make improvements to the 2010 health care law, while smaller shares say they want to see Republicans in Congress continue working on their own plan to repeal and replace the ACA (21 percent) or move on from health care to work on other priorities (21 percent). However, about half of Republicans and Trump supporters would like to see Republicans in Congress keep working on a plan to repeal the ACA. 
--A large share of Americans (78 percent) think President Trump and his administration should do what they can to make the current health care law work while few (17 percent) say they should do what they can to make the law fail so they can replace it later. About half of Republicans and supporters of President Trump say the Trump administration should do what they can to make the law work (52 percent and 51 percent, respectively) while about four in ten say they should do what they can to make the law fail (40 percent and 39 percent, respectively). Moving forward, a majority of the public (60 percent) says President Trump and Republicans in Congress are responsible for any problems with the ACA.  (our emphasis)
Deranged narcissist Donald "Rump" Trump will find it difficult, if not impossible, to give up his Ahab- like obsession with harpooning the signature legislation of President Obama. Certainly his core of mouth- breathing knuckle- draggers will go over the cliff with him on this or most other issues. Even so, there have been signs that core voters are becoming fewer and less strong in their support. Likewise, with Rump's deranged fixations and his sagging poll numbers, there's reporting indicating that Republican officeholders are less concerned about ignoring him, especially since Rump has shown zero loyalty to Republicans in Congress =cough= Missy McConnell =cough= Dean Heller =cough= Lisa Murkowski =cough. The belief is, fellow deranged mouth- breathers in the House Freedom Caucus aside, Republicans are going to want to proceed on their own shitty agenda, on their timeline, regardless of what Rump has to say. This poll gives more evidence that following Rump's self- interested demands on Obamacare would further seriously impede that agenda.

Another Unhinged MAGA-man

The "MAGA" cult certainly has strange bedfellows. They're out there, from wingnuts loving and wanting to emulate murderous Russian autocrat Vladimir "Vlad The Invader" Putin, to NRA TV host and piece of waste Grant "Stinkfield" Stinchfield, who urged a hostile North Korea to attack Sacramento, CA instead of Guam, as North Korea has threatened:

Stinkfield's tweet reflects the violent contempt right-wingers have for basic decency. He would undoubtedly prefer a neo-fascist dictatorship ruling America at the barrel of a gun, at any cost. Just a couple of months ago, he indulged in an ironically loony rant about "leftists" using heated rhetoric to inspire violence:
“I think that when you have an unstable person, the rhetoric that is being pushed, the wink and the nod that violence is okay, actually enables these folks and is even a ‘go’ sign to go and be violent.”
This treasonous coward's defense will almost certainly be "it was a joke," much like the White (Supremacist) House defends sociopath Donald "Rump" Trump's most outrageous comments. If he's looking for "an unstable person," he need only look in a mirror.

BONUS: As if on cue, Stinkfield said just now "it was meant as a joke..."

Today's Cartoons

(click on images to enlarge)

(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

(Dan Wasserman, Boston Globe)

(Rob Rogers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

(Jeff Darcy, Cleveland Plain Dealer)

Weekend Song

This is a combined birthday/ memorial month for Grateful Dead leader Jerry Garcia, who was born on August 1, 1942, and died at the age of 53 on August 9, 1995 (h/t Silver Spring Bureau Chief and blog musical concierge Brian). This is 1987's "Touch of Gray" from the album "In the Dark." Largely irrelevant factoid: it's the only Grateful Dead song ever to reach the Top 40 of Billboard's Hot 100, peaking at number 9.  Hope you enjoy.

Rump "Seriously Sick": Ex-GOP Senator

Former Republican Senator Gordon Humphrey (R-NH) wrote a letter yesterday to New Hampshire's Congressional delegation, asking them to support H.R. 1987, a bill to set up a commission under the 25th Amendment to examine unhinged autocrat Donald "Rump" Trump's mental and physical fitness. Here are some excerpts from Humphrey's letter, which was printed in the Concord, NH Monitor:
"Donald Trump is impaired by a seriously sick psyche. His sick mind and reckless conduct could consume the lives of millions. The threat of nuclear war is steeply on the rise. [snip]
Donald Trump has shown repeated contempt for informed and wise counsel. He is sick of mind, impetuous, arrogant, belligerent and dangerous. Donald Trump should be relieved of the powers of the presidency at the earliest date. [snip]
We cannot leave our national security and our families’ safety in the hands of a president whose poor judgment, belligerence, vindictiveness and reckless impetuosity constitute an indictment of his mental health. 
Donald Trump is seriously sick. He is dangerous."
Sadly, so far there seems to be little stomach in Congress to pass any such bill, despite the evidence cited in Humphrey's strong letter and the evidence that we all see every day of Rump's dangerous unfitness.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Buh Bye, Auf Wiedersehen

Another blind follower of unhinged sociopath Donald "Rump" Trump departs for Nowheresville. That CNN hired him in the first place is mindboggling. First this:


How true:

BONUS: Apparently there were no tears shed among staff at CNN at his firing.