Sunday, July 31, 2022

Across The Universe, Cont.


(click on image to enlarge)

From NASA/ESA, July 25, 2022
This luminescent image features multiple galaxies, perhaps most noticeably LEDA 58109, the lone galaxy in the upper right. LEDA 58109 is flanked by two further galactic objects to its lower left — an active galactic nucleus (AGN) called SDSS J162558.14+435746.4 that partially obscures the galaxy SDSS J162557.25+435743.5, which appears to poke out to the right behind the AGN. 

Galaxy classification is sometimes presented as something of a dichotomy: spiral and elliptical. However, the diversity of galaxies in this image alone highlights the complex web of galaxy classifications that exist, including galaxies that house extremely luminous AGNs at their cores, and galaxies whose shapes defy the classification of either spiral or elliptical. 

The sample of galaxies here also illustrates the wide variety of names that galaxies have: some relatively short, like LEDA 58109, and some very long and challenging to remember, such as the two galaxies to the left. This is due to the variety of cataloguing systems that chart the celestial objects in the night sky. No one catalogue is exhaustive, and they cover overlapping regions of the sky, so that many galaxies belong to several different catalogues. For example, the galaxy on the right is LEDA 58109 in the LEDA galaxy database, but is also known as MCG+07-34-030 in the MCG galaxy catalogue, and SDSS J162551.50+435747.5 in the SDSS galaxy catalogue — the same catalogue that also lists the two galaxies to the left.

Credit:  ESA/Hubble & NASA, W. Keel


Documenting Russian War Crimes In Ukraine

Two documentaries are set to premiere in September that will show Russian war crimes committed in Ukraine following their February invasion of the sovereign Ukraine. From the Associated Press:

"Two documentaries detailing the punishing effects of Russia’s war on Ukraine will air on PBS’ 'Frontline' investigative series.

The specials are part of an extensive collaboration between the series and The Associated Press that includes gathering, verifying and cataloging potential war crimes and co-publishing stories and videos from AP and 'Frontline' war reporting.

'Putin’s Attack on Ukraine: Documenting War Crimes,' will describe the toll of previous Russian conflicts and the invasion of Ukraine. [snip]

The second documentary, '20 Days in Mariupol,' will view Russia’s attack on the Ukrainian city through the work of AP video journalist Mstyslav Chernov. He and two colleagues were the sole international journalists who remained in Mariupol to cover the attack, which included the bombing of a maternity hospital."

These important documentaries are another tool to hold Russian thug Putin to account for his army's war crimes, with the International Criminal Court having already launched an investigation into war crimes and genocide following the massacres in Bucha, Ukraine

Russia's vicious campaign to erase Ukraine and absorb it into a new Russian empire has had attacks on the civilian population as a main feature and tactic. They have to be held to account for their criminal behavior.

(photo: Civilian graves from the attacks on Bucha and Irpin. Ukrainian Government)


Pics Of The Day -- Fire And Rain


A very brief pictorial on what ignoring climate change is doing now and will do, to a greater extent, in the future.


Historic flooding in eastern Kentucky

(Charles Bertram, AP)

(Leandro Lozada/ AFP via Getty)

California wildfires

(Noah Berger, AP)

(Noah Berger, AP)

Lake Mead record low water level

(Caitlin Ochs, Reuters)

(George Rose, Getty)

Record- breaking heat here and in Europe

To borrow a quote, "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows."

Today's Cartoons


(click on images to enlarge)

(Clay Jones,

(Gary Clement, National Post, Toronto)

(Lalo Alcaraz, LA Weekly)

(David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Daily Star)

(Ed Hall,

(Michael L. Martin, @mmandmm1967)

(Dave Whamond,

(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

(Ann Telnaes, Washington Post)

(Monte Wolverton,

(Juan Astasio, The New Yorker)

Sunday Reflection


"I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people." Artist Vincent Van Gogh, the great post-impressionist Dutch painter, in an 1874 letter to his brother Theo. Van Gogh's art influenced so many artists to come who admired his passion, technique and themes. He was unusually prolific, creating over 2,000 art works in the span of a decade while suffering from mental illness.

Unlucky in love himself, Van Gogh's last words were reportedly "the sadness will last forever."


Long Ago And Far Away


Time to travel to London in the 1930s:  Piccadilly, Parliament and Big Ben, Trafalgar Square, an advertiser parade, Buckingham Palace and more.  Jolly good!

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Helping Ukraine -- Verified Charities

Because the evil that Putin's Russia does continues, we'll be periodically running this list of verified charities for providing aid to Ukraine for as long as necessary.  (Please consider on-going donations.) 

Via The Philadelphia Inquirer, this is a (partial) list of verified charities that are helping the people of Ukraine:


World Central Kitchen

What they do:  They have served more than 100 million meals and have teams active in 230 cities and towns in Ukraine. They have also built a logistics network of delivery vans, trucks, trains, and warehouses throughout the country, delivering over 11 million pounds of food to families—sometimes in areas completely cut off due to fighting and near the Russian border.

How you can help:  There are many ways to donate to WCK;  see their website.  This is a registered nonprofit, so donations are tax deductible.


Project HOPE

What they do: Founded in 1958, Project HOPE responds to humanitarian emergencies and disasters. Currently, according to the group’s website, the group is aiding those in Ukraine by mobilizing its emergency teams and “sending medical supplies and standing by to provide health screening and care for refugees.”

How you can help: Donate on the group’s website. This group is U.S. registered, so your donation is tax deductible.




What they do: GlobalGiving uses its funding to support local nonprofits working in affected areas. Currently, “GlobalGiving’s local partners in Ukraine are bringing relief to displaced families and people in high-risk areas.” According to the group, your donation will support refugees with food, shelter, and clean water, as well as providing health and psychological support.

How you can help: Donate to the group’s Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund online. This group is U.S. registered, so your donation is tax deductible.




What they do: Over 510,000 children have been affected by the conflict so far, and the UNICEF emergency response is working to address their needs by preparing health, hygiene, and emergency education supplies, as well as distributing safe water to affected areas, providing children with psychosocial care, and helping kids separated from their families. At the moment, UNICEF is trying to raise $66.4 million to be able to continue their programs and offer immunization, healthcare, child protection, and cash assistance.

How you can help: Donate on the UNICEF website. UNICEF USA is U.S. registered, so your donation is tax deductible.



International Medical Corps

What they do: International Medical Corps helped Ukrainians during conflict in 1999-2000 by delivering medicine and training more than 500 local doctors and medical staff. In 2014, they partnered with the Ukraine Ministry of Health to support mobile health services and train medical professionals on preventing and controlling infections. As the crisis develops, the International Medical Corps has added mental health counseling to the services available for the community.

How you can help: Donate on the group’s website. Donations to this organization are tax deductible.



United Help Ukraine

What they do: United Help Ukraine receives and distributes food donations and medical supplies to people in Ukraine. The group’s current priorities: Aiding Ukrainian soldiers and their families, helping displaced people from Crimea and Eastern Ukraine, and raising awareness of the current situation.

How you can help: Donate via PayPal, or by check payable to United Help Ukraine, Box 83426, Gaithersburg, Md., 20883. This is a registered nonprofit so all donations are tax deductible.



Revived Soldiers Ukraine

What they do: This nonprofit provides medical aid for people affected by military conflict. The group buys medication and medical supplies, helps support army hospitals, and works to improve the living standards for soldiers and their families.

How you can help: Donate directly through the group’s website, through PayPal or Patreon, or make it your preferred Amazon nonprofit, which donates 0.5% of the amount of your Amazon purchases to the group. This group is U.S. registered, so your donation is tax deductible.


Sunflower of Peace

What they do: Sunflower for Peace offers medical assistance to Ukrainian orphans, people displaced by war, and people heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in the country. In February 2022, the group started asking for donations to prepare first aid medical tactical backpacks for paramedics and doctors on the front lines. These kinds of backpacks — usually handled by Marines, special military forces, and military groups — are used to save lives in areas without access to hospitals or emergency care.

How you can help: Donate on Facebook. This group is U.S. registered, so your donation is tax deductible.



The KYIV Independent

What they do: The KYIV Independent is an independent media outlet reporting in English. The organization has been covering the Russia-Ukraine conflict, doing fact checking, and reporting on human rights. Since the group is not affiliated with any government and reports in English, it is becoming an important window into what’s happening in Ukraine right now.

How you can help: Since its creation in 2021, The KYIV Independent runs mainly on donations. Donate through GoFundMe or Patreon.


The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews

What they do
: This group runs an emergency program with $1 million in funding that helps the approximately 300,000 Jewish people in Ukraine. The fellowship has staff and volunteers on the ground in Ukraine, and also funds the country’s Jewish organizations to give Ukrainian Jews the chance to move to Israel. Funds are also used to provide the Ukrainian Jewish community with food, medicine, and heat. This group is U.S. registered, so your donation is tax deductible.

How you can help: Donate online.



Voices of Children

What they do: Voices of Children provides psychological and psychosocial support to children affected by war. Their main focus is on the front lines in the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. Donations help finance art therapy and mobile psychologists, and help families in need.

How you can help: Donate directly on their website.



Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe (CARE)

What they do: Created in 1945 to help people overcome the devastation of WWII, CARE’s works to end poverty, and achieve equity and social justice worldwide. In Ukraine, the group is working on providing girls, women, and elderly people with water, food, and hygiene kits. They currently have a Ukraine Crisis Fund specially focused on continuing their work in the country, and providing psychological support, recovery, and cash assistance.

How you can help: Donate using a credit card or through PayPal on their website.



International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)

What they do: The Red Cross’s International Committee provides shelter, food, first-aid training, and humanitarian aid around the world. The group has been supporting people in Ukraine for almost a decade and as the crisis continues, they are adding to their help comfort kits for individuals and families in need.

How you can help: Donate to the ICRC on its website.


American Red Cross

What they do: In Ukraine, the American Red Cross is currently helping U.S. military people and families deployed in the region. So far, they have sent 30 staff members to Europe to help U.S. military members in Ukraine connect with their families back home, and are delivering hygiene items and resources to service members and U.S. State Department staff abroad. They can not help Ukraine with blood directly, because it can’t be sent without special request from the U.S Department of State, the United Nation, or other affected Red Cross networks.

How you can help: Donate on their website. They are U.S. registered, so your donation is tax deductible.


United Ukrainian American Relief Committee (UUARC)

What they do: Created in 1944, the UUARC was created to help Ukrainians in refugee camps during WWII relocate to the U.S.. They are currently working in coordination with the Ukrainian Embassy to coordinate medical supplies, food, offering shelter, and taking care of injured people and refugee.

How you can help: Donate on their website or send a check to the United Ukrainian American Relief Committee, Inc. 1206 Cottman Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19111. For medical donations call 215-728-1630. They are U.S. registered, so your donation is tax deductible.


American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC)

What they do: The JDC has been helping the Jewish community around the world since 1914; for the last 30 years they have focused on helping Ukraine’s Jewish population. They aid elderly Jewish people, children, and families by providing food, medicine, and utilities. At the moment, JDC is preparing to send psychosocial support to Ukraine as mass displacements increase, as well as delivering food packages, and providing online support.

How you can help: Donate on their website. They are U.S. registered, so your donation is tax deductible.



If you are at all concerned about giving to these or any other charities, you can verify their authenticity by going to Charity Navigator, which evaluates charitable organizations.


Tweets Of The Day


There's no limit to Republican hypocrisy & shamelessness --


Pretty good analogy. Also, it could have been a sand trap -- 


No surprise that this "watchdog" is a Trump appointee --  


Only to be shot down next by the Senate filibuster rule -- 


Confirming everything we ever knew about the Malignant Loser -- 


More HIMARS, air defense systems and attack aircraft would be good --  

Eat well, naughty furry friend -- 


Today's Cartoons


(click on images to enlarge)

(Benjamin Slyngstad, @SlyngCartoons)

(Matt Davies, Newsday)

(Robert Ariail, Spartanburg Herald-Journal, SC)

(Adam Zyglis, The Buffalo News)

(J.D. Crowe, Alabama Media Group)

(Michael de Adder, Washington Post)

(David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Daily Star)

(Pia Guerra, @PiaGuerra)

Russia Still Meddling In Our Elections

BBC reports that U.S. prosecutors have indicted Russian thug Alexander Ionov with using U.S. citizens to act as illegal agents to promote division and confusion by interfering in our elections. His scheme was recruiting political groups to advance Russian interests behind his "Anti-Globalization Movement of Russia" (AGMR) organization:

"The indictment says Mr. Ionov worked under the direction of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) and controlled certain unnamed political groups in Florida, Georgia and California.

One of the Russian goals, it alleges, was to 'promote California's secession from the United States'

California? Really? Maybe he got it confused with Texas. The report continues:

He could face a maximum of five years in jail if found guilty. [snip]

The US indictment says that from at least December 2014 until March 2022, Mr Ionov and at least three Russian officials 'engaged in a years-long foreign malign influence campaign targeting the United States'.  

Mr Ionov is also alleged to be an associate of Yevgeny Prigozhin, who is under US sanctions for Kremlin interference in the 2016 presidential election won by Donald Trump.

The Treasury Department says Mr Ionov 'sought to collaborate with Prigozhin's Foundation for Battling Injustice (FBR) about the feasibility of directly supporting a specific candidate in a 2022 US gubernatorial election'.

It adds that in mid-2021 he 'worked to disseminate and promulgate disinformation that would influence the US election process.'" (our emphasis)

Since Ionov lives in Moscow, he'll have to be tried in absentia, but he's already been sanctioned by the Treasury Department, along with two other organizations and individuals.

(photo: Ionov via AGMR)


QOTD -- Superlative Climate Deal


"...on climate and energy in particular, the bill is a landmark. It authorizes $369 billion of new climate spending, the largest investment in emissions reduction in American history—and, more important, the biggest blow against climate change ever struck by the U.S. government. 'This is it. This is the real victory,' Sam Ricketts, a co-founder of Evergreen Action, a climate think tank, and a former adviser to Governor Jay Inslee of Washington State, told me. 'I struggle to find enough superlatives to describe this deal.'  [snip]

"A few weeks ago, when the previous version of the reconciliation bill was still alive, I set out two questions by which any climate legislative effort should be judged: First, would the bill reduce U.S. emissions on net compared with doing nothing at all? (By that point, it seemed likely that Schumer would concede some amount of new fossil-fuel development to Manchin.) And, second, would the bill make global decarbonization more likely? That is, would it help make zero-carbon technologies cheaper, help produce them in abundance, and generally strengthen the political position of those who want to see the world decarbonize?

"The bill aces both tests. It will almost certainly slash U.S. emissions on net, even when accounting for the increased carbon pollution from leasing new sites for oil drilling in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico. And it puts Biden’s ambitious Paris Agreement goal—to cut emissions by 50 percent, compared with their 2005 level, by 2030—back in reach." -- Robinson Meyer, in The Atlantic, on the energy and climate provisions in the "Inflation Reduction Act of 2022."  To pass this as a reconciliation bill in the Senate before their August 5 recess, we need all 50 Democratic Senators on board (hello, Sen. Sinema);  it would then need to be passed in the House.  There are issues that could hang things up.  So it will take hitherto rare party discipline to pass this once- in- a- lifetime legislation that seemed dead less than a week ago.  Call us hopeless optimists, but we think it will happen this time.

Friday, July 29, 2022

Today's Cartoons


(click on images to enlarge)

(Michael de Adder, Washington Post)

(Ted Littleford, New Haven Independent, CT)

(Matt Wuerker, Politico)

(Mike Peters, Dayton Daily News)

(Jeff Darcy, Cleveland Plain Dealer)

(Pedro Molina, Counterpoint)

(Ann Telnaes, Washington Post)

(Drew Sheneman, The Star-Ledger, Newark, NJ)

(Mike Smith, Las Vegas Sun)

(Randy Bish, @Bishtoons)

Tweets Of The Day

More obstruction of justice --


Helluva message, Christofascists --




He's all yours, Jersey πŸ˜‚ --





The glass remains half full --


Happy Friday! --




Russians "Exhausting Their Capacity" For Further Aggression In Ukraine



Putin's war machine has blown some gaskets:

Russian advances in Ukraine have slowed almost to a standstill as newly delivered Western weapons help Ukrainian forces reclaim much of the advantage they had lost in recent months, opening a window of opportunity to turn the tide of the war in their favor again.

Russian troops have made no significant territorial gains since the Ukrainian retreat on July 2 from the eastern city of Lysychansk under withering artillery fire. The retreat gave Russia full control over Luhansk, one of the two oblasts, or regions, that make up the broader eastern Donbas area, and it marked Russia’s only meaningful strategic success since its retreat from territory around Kyiv in April.

The lack of progress may be explained at least in part by the “operational pause” declared by Russia’s Defense Ministry after the seizure of Lysychansk — to allow Russian troops a chance to “rest and develop their combat capabilities,” in the words of President Vladimir Putin.  [snip]

Rather, Barros and many Western officials and analysts suspect that the Russians are close to exhausting their capacity to make further territorial gains as their depleted army confronts Ukrainian forces with newly acquired capabilities. Already forced to abandon their hopes of capturing the capital, Russian forces may soon have to reckon with their inability to conquer the entirety of the Donbas region — the only publicly declared goal of the initial invasion and the focus of current offensive ambitions.

Significant credit is being given to advanced Western weapons, including the American HIMARS rocket system:

“Right now, the Russians are losing the initiative, and the Ukrainians either have it or are about to have it,” Barros said. “The HIMARS are key to that.”

The HIMARS give the Ukrainians the ability to strike almost 50 miles behind Russian lines with a high degree of accuracy, and Ukrainians have used them to destroy more than 100 high-value Russian targets, including command and control centers, ammunition storage sites, and logistics and support facilities, according to a senior U.S. defense official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to divulge the information.

Most recently, Ukrainian forces have been utilizing the HIMARS to press a fledgling counteroffensive toward the strategically vital southern city of Kherson, which was occupied by Russia in the first days of the war.

This comes amid reports of significant Russian casualties in less than 6 months of war:

Roughly half of the Russian troops initially sent to invade Ukraine are estimated to have been killed or wounded, indicating that the ongoing conflict has enacted a sizable toll on Russia.

Representative Elissa Slotkin on Wednesday told CNN that over 75,000 Russian soldiers have been either killed or wounded since Russia began its invasion on February 24. Slotkin made the remarks after attending a classified briefing on the war in Ukraine with Biden administration officials who described the Russian military as drained.

In the leadup to its invasion of Ukraine, Russia reportedly amassed 150,000 soldiers along the Ukrainian border. Since then, figures on Russian losses have remained nebulous. The new numbers, if confirmed, would mean heavy losses for Russia as Ukraine presses ahead with a counteroffensive.  [snip]

Richard Moore, head of British spy agency MI6, said during last week's Aspen Security Forum that Russia was "about to run out of steam," while Ukraine still enjoyed high morale as it received powerful weapons from Western allies.

"I think our assessment is that the Russians will increasingly find it difficult to supply manpower and material over the next few weeks," he said. "They will have to pause in some way and that will give the Ukrainians opportunities to strike back."

Surging more high- tech weaponry (including aircraft) now will pay enormous dividends in putting Ukraine on the offensive before Fall rains and Winter set in along with a potential battlefield stalemate. The West also needs time to manufacture and re-supply the weapons it's been sending to Ukraine due to the heavy consumption rate of ammunition and degradation of materiel.

But, Ukraine is turning the tide against Putin.  The West must remain stalwart in its military and humanitarian support, and in applying sanctions on Russia, no matter the temporary pain.  It's a small price to pay given what Ukraine is suffering. 

(Photo:  A French- manufactured Caesar 155mm self- propelled howitzer; France has given 18 of the highly accurate howitzers to Ukraine/ BBC News)

Weekend Music


The Heavy Heavy, a rock band from Brighton, UK, are getting ready for their first tour in the U.S. with the release of their debut EP, "Life and Life Only."  The 5- member group, fronted by Georgie Fuller and Will Turner, covers a gamut of rock/ blues genres with effusive harmonies and roots energy.  This is the first single from the EP, "Miles and Miles" (filmed in Brighton). Hope you enjoy.

QOTD: Putting Money Over America


"We have an FBI that says, conclusive, that the Saudis did it. And we have a president who's profiting from them and defending his decisions for making millions and millions of dollars. And one question I wish the media would ask is how much is the president, the former president, how much is Donald Trump personally benefitting from this relationship? How much money is he receiving today for hosting this tournament? [snip] From what I'm hearing, from what I'm seeing, he is literally hemorrhaging support.We have a lot of typical groups that you would expect to vote along the conservative lines, they say that the former president is basically dead to them, that he is aligning himself with an evil kingdom, an evil regime. He is putting money over America."-- Brett Eagleson, founder of the 9/11 victims advocacy group "9/11 Justice," on CNN referring to the LIV tournament, funded by the corrupt Saudi government, being hosted at the Bedminster golf club owned by the Malignant Loser.

Eagleston was referring to the Malignant Loser's false statement yesterday that "nobody's gotten to the bottom of 9/11," when U.S. intelligence and law enforcement have long ago tied the Saudis to the 9/11 hijackers, including the fact that 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis.

 Saudi Arabia was the first foreign visit for the Malignant Loser, and he was treated lavishly by the royal family there. Son-in-law Jared "Mr. Ivanka" Kushner's new investment firm recently received $2 billion from the Saudi's sovereign wealth fund, probably as a "thank you" for four years of services rendered to the Saudi crown. Getting money from the Saudis is a pattern.

(photo: l. to r., Yasir al-Rumayyan, head of the Saudi sovereign wealth fund, the Malignant Loser, and spawn Eric Trump at Bedminster. Doug Mills / New York Times) 

Jon Stewart Blasts Republican Senators For Blocking Veterans Health Bill


Veterans- and first- responder advocate Jon Stewart blasted Senate Republicans for blocking a bill to extend VA health benefits to veterans suffering ailments from exposure to toxic substances (the PACT Act).  Moscow Mitch McConnell and his fellow Republican hypocrites blocked the bill in a fit of pique after a breakthrough deal on President Biden's "Inflation Reduction Act" legislation was announced by Democrats following passage of the semiconductor bill.  (Republicans are also threatening to block the same sex marriage bill because, well, President Biden and the Democrats actually moved a major health care and climate bill forward.  Imagine that.)  Here's Stewart calling out the whinging, two- legged rats:

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Tweets Of The Day


Show of hands -- 


 Sen. Josh "Hawling Ass" Hawley is the new King of Irony --



This third party nonsense will hurt Dem election chances (see Nader, Ralph) --



Ten out of ten scientists agree --  

The Hall of Shame -- 

Aw c'mon, cheer up --  


Today's Cartoons


(click on images to enlarge)

(Michael L. Martin, @mmandmm1967)

(Clay Jones,

(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

(James MacLeod, @MacLtoons)

(Kevin Kallaugher, Counterpoint)

(Steve Breen, San Diego Union-Tribune)

(Gary Markstein,

(Jeff Danziger, The Rutland Herald, VT)

(Lee Judge,

(Banx, Financial Times, London)