Sunday, March 31, 2024

Across The Universe, Cont. -- A Young Star System


(click on image to enlarge)

From NASA/ ESA, March 25, 2024FS Tau is a multi-star system made up of FS Tau A, the bright star-like object near the middle of the image, and FS Tau B (Haro 6-5B), the bright object to the far right that is partially obscured by a dark, vertical lane of dust. The young objects are surrounded by softly illuminated gas and dust of this stellar nursery. The system is only about 2.8 million years old, very young for a star system. Our Sun, by contrast, is about 4.6 billion years old.

FS Tau B is a newly forming star, or protostar, and is surrounded by a protoplanetary disc, a pancake-shaped collection of dust and gas leftover from the formation of the star that will eventually coalesce into planets. The thick dust lane, seen nearly edge-on, separates what are thought to be the illuminated surfaces of the disc.

FS Tau B is likely in the process of becoming a T Tauri star, a type of young variable star that hasn’t begun nuclear fusion yet but is beginning to evolve into a hydrogen-fueled star similar to our Sun. Protostars shine with the heat energy released as the gas clouds from which they are forming collapse, and from the accretion of material from nearby gas and dust. Variable stars are a class of star whose brightness changes noticeably over time.

FS Tau A is itself a T Tauri binary system, consisting of two stars orbiting each other.

Protostars are known to eject fast-moving, column-like streams of energised material called jets, and FS Tau B provides a striking example of this phenomenon. The protostar is the source of an unusual asymmetric, double-sided jet, visible here in blue. Its asymmetrical structure may be because mass is being expelled from the object at different rates.

FS Tau B is also classified as a Herbig-Haro object. Herbig–Haro objects form when jets of ionised gas ejected by a young star collide with nearby clouds of gas and dust at high speeds, creating bright patches of nebulosity.

FS Tau is part of the Taurus-Auriga region, a collection of dark molecular clouds that are home to numerous newly forming and young stars, roughly 450 light-years away in the constellations of Taurus and Auriga. Hubble has previously observed this region, whose star-forming activity makes it a compelling target for astronomers. Hubble made these observations as part of an investigation of edge-on dust discs around young stellar objects.

[Image description: A bright point of light shines near center-right with diffraction spikes, surrounded by glowing clouds against black space. A blue jet of material extends roughly throughout the center of the image, partially obscured by the clouds.]

Credit:  NASA, ESA, K. Stapelfeldt (NASA JPL), G. Kober (NASA/Catholic University of America)


Republicans In Disarray -- This Can Come To "No" Good


More dumbass cock fighting has erupted in the House MAGA cult, and we're there for it:

Rep. Derrick Van Orden is done with Rep. Bob ["No"] Good.

Good, the leader of the House Freedom Caucus and one of eight Republicans who voted to oust Kevin McCarthy from the speakership, has been at the center of internal GOP infighting that has left their party’s agenda in tatters and their conference embroiled in a bitter civil war.

Now Van Orden has joined hands with a band of House Republicans angling to knock Good off in his June primary by propping up his primary opponent, John McGuire – a tactic long viewed as a serious breach of protocol but one that underscores the bad blood within the House GOP.

“Bob Good didn’t come here to govern. He came here to be famous,” Van Orden, a Wisconsin Republican, told CNN. “Bob Good’s wearing our jersey, and he’s not on the team.”

Van Orden added: “If you look at what we have not been able to accomplish in this Congress, it’s predominantly because of Bob Good and his ilk.”

But Good is undeterred.

As he barnstormed through his district last week with fellow House GOP hardliners, such as Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida, Andy Biggs of Arizona and Chip Roy of Texas, Good said voters in his district don’t care what his colleague from Wisconsin thinks. And he pointedly accused many of his Republican colleagues in Washington of casting votes that hurt the country and undermine the conservative cause. 

“They’ve never heard of Derrick Van Orden. They could care less what Derrick Van Orden thinks,” he said of his constituents, later telling CNN that questions about his Republican colleagues turning against him are “stupid.”

“You come to these things, and you ask questions that nobody here cares about. You bring up Derrick Van Orden, which is a joke,” he said.

“RINOs, establishment moderates do nothing to influence Republican primary elections,” Good added. “Conservative, courageous warriors like those endorsing me today and being here with me today are the ones who my constituents care about.”

The toxic infighting that has dominated the House GOP majority – and has now landed squarely in Good’s conservative district in rural Virginia – is part of a larger battle over the direction of the GOP. As many Republicans in Washington say that compromise and consensus with Democrats is the way to govern in divided government, Good and his bloc of members excoriate such deal-cutting as they push their no-compromise approach...

There's the usual involvement, at least in the background, of the Malignant Loser ("No" Good backed DeSantis once) and, likely, former Squeaker Kevin McCarthy, who's interested in paying back the extreme MAGAts who ended his Squakership after less than 10 months when "No" Good and seven other MAGAt Republicans (and all Democrats) voted to oust him.

These MAGAts have been so busy fighting amongst themselves that they've managed to become the worst, most unproductive Congress in history, following the Nancy Pelosi led Congress, which passed the Infrastructure Investmen and Jobs Act, the CHIPS And Science Act, the Inflation Reduction Act, the PACT act, and appropriations acts that kept the government from facing the threat of shutdowns.  Let them continue until we have the chance to elect legislators rather than the crop of clowns that are in the House majority now.

(Photo:  "No" Good, center, is subject matter expert on insurrection / via CSPAN)

Today's Cartoons


(click on images to enlarge)


(Clay Jones,

(Joe Heller,

(Nath Paresh, The Khaleej Times, Dubai)

(Marty Two Bulls,

(Dave Whamond,

(Matt Wuerker, Politico)

(Michael Ramirez, Las Vegas Review-Journal)

(Bill Bramhall, New York Daily News)

(Pedro Molina, Counterpoint)

(Kevin Kallaugher, Baltimore Sun)

We'll Believe It When We See It, But....

An analysis by Politico indicates warning lights are flashing for the Malignant Loser in traditionally red suburbs and exurbs for 2024. Trump fatigue seems to be showing up in formerly solid red districts, according to the analysis:

"It’s true that the hundreds of thousands of GOP primary voters who voted against former President Donald Trump this year were concentrated in highly educated, suburban areas that have swung blue over the past decade.

But a POLITICO analysis shows there’s also a significant bloc of voters who did not want Trump in more exurban, red-leaning counties — the kinds of places that were skeptical of Trump in the 2016 GOP primary and, while largely voting for him in the 2016 and 2020 general elections, have remained somewhat resistant to his takeover of the Republican Party.

The analysis of GOP presidential primary results from more than 1,000 counties shows warning signs for Trump, especially as Republican voters continued to vote against him in closed primaries after he clinched the nomination. And it makes clear that, while independents and crossover voters may have boosted former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley in some primaries, a chunk of true Republican voters still wished for someone else to be the party’s nominee." (our emphasis)

The Biden-Harris campaign is beginning to court the Nikki Haley voters with ads reminding them of the Malignant Loser's hostility to their "disloyalty" and his denigrating comments about her throughout the primaries. His multiple legal problems will also keep the focus on his criminality, as it will in a couple of weeks when the Stormy Daniels hush money / election interference criminal trial starts.

The fact that, as the article notes, Republican voters in closed primaries continue to vote against the Malignant Loser despite his clinching the nomination shows that there's resistance against his candidacy that may carry over to November. The article continues:

"Republicans are banking on the fact that partisanship usually wins out. This is far from the first contentious primary to leave bruised egos and hurt feelings, and usually the vast majority of voters come home to their party’s presidential nominee eventually. By Election Day, voters tend to return to their partisan camps. [snip]

But in a close election fought on the margins, even small shifts matter. Republicans’ success at bringing those voters back into the fold will help determine whether Trump ousts Biden from the White House. Democrats’ ability to draw away even a small percentage of the non-Trump GOP voters — or, at the very least, convince them to stay home — can help keep him there."  (our emphasis)

It's smart to go after the Republicans who are leaning away from the Malignant Loser, if only to cause them to stay home, and denying him their votes. That effort needs to be a priority of the Biden-Harris campaign.


Sunday Reflection: "No Turning Back"

“There’s no turning back…We will win. We are winning because ours is a revolution of mind and heart…We draw our strength from the very despair in which we have been forced to live. We shall endure.” -- César Chávez (3/31/1927 - 4/23/1993), civil rights leader and founder of the National Farm Workers Association, and later the United Farm Workers union. Today, César Chávez Day is celebrated by proclamation of President Biden, who said he "defined extraordinary moral courage" in his fight for decent wages and living conditions for migrant workers. His images were recently used by election spoiler RFK, Jr., prompting Chávez's family to demand that he refrain from tying Chávez's image and legacy to his cynical campaign.

Chávez, along with fellow iconic civil rights leader Dolores Huerta, founded the United Farm Workers as a result of terrible working conditions and low wages for farm workers over many decades, using boycotts to secure the right of collective bargaining with the agriculture industry. His life work made the lives of countless farm workers and their families far better, and by doing so, made us a better nation.

(photo: César Chávez from NPR)


Trump's Bible: "In The Name Of The Father, Son, And Easter Bunny"


SNL's cold open last night had James Austin Johnson doing his take on the Malignant Loser's blasphemous Bible- hawking grift (including a Miracle Toaster!) during Christianity's holiest season.  

Saturday, March 30, 2024

Today's Cartoons


(click on images to enlarge)

(Matt Wuerker, Politico)

(Michael de Adder, @deAdder)

(Gary Markstein,

(Robert Ariail, Spartanburg Herald-Journal, SC)

(Ann Telnaes, Washington Post)

(Clay Bennett, Chattanooga Times Free Press)

(Lalo Alcaraz, LA Weekly)

(Randall Enos,

(John Deering, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)

(Michael Ramirez, Las Vegas Review-Journal)

(Matt Davies, Newsday)

(Mort Gerberg, @mortgerberg)

QOTD -- Protecting The Courts


Conservative former Federal judge J. Michael Luttig on the Malignant Loser's assault on the rule of law and court system, and the failure of the judiciary to stand up to that assault (excerpt):

... It is a regrettable commentary on our times that a lone federal judge, The Honorable Judge Reggie B. Walton ― because no one whose responsibility it is to do so has had the courage and the will ― would finally be left no choice but, himself, to express on national television the profound concerns of the entire Federal and State Judiciaries over Donald Trump’s contemptible attacks on the federal and state courts, the judges of these courts and their families, and the other participants in the judicial process.

It is the responsibility of the Supreme Court of the United States in the first instance to protect the federal courts, the federal judges, and all participants in the justice system from the reprehensible spectacle of the former president’s inexcusable, threatening attacks, just as it is the responsibility of the respective State Supreme Courts in the first instance to protect their courts and their state judges from the same.

Ultimately, however, it is the responsibility of the entire nation to protect its courts and judges, its Constitution, its Rule of Law, and America’s Democracy from vicious attack, threat, undermine, and deliberate delegitimization at the hands of anyone so determined.

Comments Luttig alluded to by fellow Republican- appointed Judge Reggie Walton can be seen here.

We may be waiting in vain for the institution of the judiciary to "reform" itself and act in accordance with Luttig's commentary.  We've seen time and again the timidity, the unwillingness to treat the Malignant Loser as any other citizen would be treated, and the downright bending of the law and procedures by certain judges to allow him to evade accountability. 

If we are so fortunate as to escape the apocalypse of another Malignant Loser regime, it must be a priority to reform the judiciary and its rules that never anticipated a completely un- moored, lawless authoritarian from rising to power in our democracy.

BONUSMaybe we could learn something from the Brits.

Tweets / Xeets Of The Day


"Law and order" champion my ass --

Enforce the law, revoke his bail and jail him -- 


The Orange Calf has sheep to shear, rubes to shake down, and hell to pay -- 



The sheer depravity of the MAGA party -- 

Grifting is the Trump family business model --


Spoiler RFK, Jr., disowned by family and now by family of icon César Chávez -- 

Putin's war crimes on his own soldiers -- 

What's that Musk-y smell? Another scam -- 

The judge's deadpan "hmm" is priceless --  


Beyoncé's "Cowboy Carter": "A Welcome-Back-To-Country Gift"


Washington Post columnist Brian Broome in a tribute today to music's cross-cultural and cross-racial appeal, and Beyoncé's runaway hit country -- and more -- album "Cowboy Carter," released yesterday. Growing up a fan of "white music" in the 1980s, Broome writes that country music had black roots as well, and that Beyoncé is more than at home in that genre:

"Back then, listening to White music was considered a betrayal of your Blackness. I still have Black friends who would read me for filth if they knew about my love of Silversun Pickups and The Shins. They would playfully, but seriously, suggest that my Blackness had been compromised. If they’re reading this, I guess they know now.

'Cowboy Carter,' Beyoncé’s latest album, hit the airwaves on Friday, and it has me wondering how and and why my community got to that point. Even I rolled my eyes a bit when I heard Beyoncé was releasing a country-themed album. But when I heard the first single, 'Texas Hold ‘Em,' I quit my eye-rolling. I liked it instantly; because it’s catchy and danceable but also because, as it was Beyoncé, I was allowed to like it.

And, when I saw the album cover, I had to chuckle. There she is, sidesaddle on a white horse, wearing a white Stetson and brandishing an American flag: Every stereotypical American symbol save a bald eagle and a rifle is there on prominent and tongue-in-cheek display.

Then there’s the music: I listened to the entire album on Friday and it is, as the kids say, 'fire.'”

She's joined by Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Miley Cyrus and pioneering black country artist Linda Martell, among others. It's being described as her best work, which is something in itself.

(photo: cover of Beyoncé's new album. Parkwood/Columbia/Sony via AP)

Colbert On Fire About Trump Bible Buffoonery


ICYMI, don't worry.  Here's Stephen Colbert delivering a hilarious monologue that covered the Malignant Loser's ridiculous Bible grift, the NBC / Ronna Romney McDaniel screw up, and more in this instant classic from Thursday night. The audience is especially energized and responsive to Colbert's quips about the Orange Calf and his buffoonery, which makes this monologue all the more entertaining. 

Olympic National Park, Washington State


Take a silent hike along Douglas fir- and western red cedar- lined trails in the Pacific temperate rainforest of Olympic National Park in Washington State.  (This Hackwhacker has explored a tiny fraction of this park, which stimulates all of the senses as you are absorbed by it.)  Coastline views of sea stacks are also part of the hike. Interesting fact about the temperate rainforests that stretch from Northern California to Alaska:  "In sheer mass of living and decaying material - trees, mosses, shrubs, and soil - these forests are more massive than any other ecosystem on the planet. In part, this is due to the rarity of fire. Unlike drier forests, which burn periodically, temperate rain forests are naturally subject to only small-scale disturbances, such as blow-downs and avalanches."  No wonder it's a World Heritage Site.

Friday, March 29, 2024

Ad Shows Trump's Contempt For Haley Voters


The Biden-Harris campaign released a new ad today with the aim of encouraging Nikki Haley voters to reject the Malignant Loser and to vote for President Biden. There's polling data showing that a significant percentage of voters who voted for Haley in the Republican primaries will cast their ballots for Biden. 

Today's Cartoons


(click on images to enlarge)

(Dave Whamond,

(Bill Bramhall, New York Daily News)

(James MacLeod, @MacLtoons)

(Tim Campbell, Counterpoint)

(Darrin Bell, King Features)

(Clay Bennett, Chattanooga Times Free Press)

(Jeff Koterba,

(Jeff Stahler,

(Rob Rogers,

(Christopher Weyant, Boston Globe)

(P.C. Vey, The New Yorker)

The Orange Calf Gets Messianic


Axios does it's usual top line look at the Malignant Loser as a "Christian," beginning with a reminder:

Trump was neither a regular churchgoer nor prone to displays of faith before running for president. His 2016 campaign produced a series of memorable gaffes as he courted the GOP's evangelical base.

  • At the Family Leadership Summit in Iowa in 2015, Trump said he had never asked God for forgiveness and called Communion his "little wine" and "little cracker."
  • In an interview with Bloomberg the following month, Trump repeatedly refused to name his favorite Bible verse — calling it "very personal."
  • In a speech at Liberty University in January 2016, Trump cited a verse from what he called "Two Corinthians" instead of "Second Corinthians," drawing laughter from the crowd and mockery from his GOP rivals.

Since those days, he's become even more transparently risible in his devotion to a book he never opened and a religion he never practiced:

On the 2024 campaign trail, the religious undertones employed by Trump and his allies have grown more apocalyptic — even messianic — as his legal troubles have mounted.

  • In one video shared on Truth Social and played at Trump's rallies, a narrator's voice booms: "On June 14, 1946, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, 'I need a caretaker.' So God gave us Trump."
  • On the first day of his New York civil fraud trial in October, Trump shared an AI-generated courtroom sketch depicting himself sitting next to Jesus.
  • This week, Trump posted a message he said he received from a follower: "It's ironic that Christ walked through His greatest persecution the very week they are trying to steal your property from you."

However, he's preaching to a choir of fellow hollowed- out hypocrites, who betray the religion to which they claim adherence:

64% of Republicans view Trump as "a man of faith," according to a November poll by Deseret News — more than his former vice president and vocal evangelical Mike Pence.

Ha!  Their "faith" is focused on the Orange Calf, the most un- faithful person, in every sense, that they could have chosen to follow.   He's their temporal Moses, leading them to the Promised Land of white Christian nationalism. The rest of us should never have had any doubts about this cohort's "faith," except in its fealty and devotion to the Orange Calf, forever and ever, amen.

BONUS: Don't miss this article today in on the blindness of Trumpist "evangelicals".

(Image: Thomas Levinson / Daily Beast/ Getty Images)

Tweets / Xeets Of The Day


Current state of play in Georgia election interference trial --



They're Republicans, so of course they would --



Bible/ shoe salesman has a long way to go... --


... but Trump will try to "sell" even more bullshit --


Putin's EU destabilizing network uncovered, smashed (thread) --


Meanwhile, Trump pal Putin's hostage marks one year --


Satire that mimics the truth about the NYT --



The big problem --


Publicity hound Mace tries to have it both ways (yes) --


Key line (yes):  "I don't know much..." --



Turnabout is fair play (Happy Friday!)  --




Weekend Music Twofer


Two contrasting bands and musical styles for today:  Los Angeles' Cannons performing "Sweeter," and Secret Menu performing "Irish Goodbyes" on Lake Monona in our old haunt and the band's current haunt, Madison, Wisconsin (a nice video of the band making the video, with some local color, is here). Hope you enjoy.

Trump Continues Attacks On Judge's Daughter


For the second time since New York State Justice Juan Merchan imposed a gag order on the Malignant Loser, he renewed his attacks on the Justice's daughter Loren Merchan. As the hush money / election interference criminal trial draws closer, the Malignant Loser is flailing out. From Politico:

"Trump has launched an assault on Loren Merchan, the daughter of New York State Justice Juan Merchan, who is presiding over a case centering on allegations that he concealed hush-money payments to a porn actress during the 2016 election. The trial is set to begin April 15.

'Judge Juan Merchan is totally compromised, and should be removed from this TRUMP Non-Case immediately. His Daughter, Loren, is a Rabid Trump Hater, who has admitted to having conversations with her father about me, and yet he gagged me,' Trump wrote on Truth Social."

In every trial he's facing, adopting the style of a mob boss, the Malignant Loser has attacked judges, prosecutors, and witnesses in order to portray the trials as biased and politically-motivated. One year ago, Justice Merchan had to warn the Malignant Loser against attacks on the court. Judge Arthur Engoron had to impose a gag order on the Malignant Loser during the massive business fraud trial brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James when he went after him, James and members of the court staff. Judges are concluding that the names of jurors need to be protected from disclosure so as not to endanger them at the hands of violent MAGA cultists listening to their cult leader.

The Malignant Loser, who has no decency or impulse control, and suffers from extreme narcissism, will continue to push Justice Merchan to act, which he'll then claim is "persecution" by his political foes and an attempt to interfere in the election. His script has already been written.

(photos: Ahmed Gaber for The New York Times, Todd Heisler/The New York Times)

QOTD -- They Died As Americans


Will Bunch at the Philadelphia Inquirer ($$) writes movingly about immigration, immigrants, demagogues, and the lives lost on the Francis Scott Key bridge in Baltimore, concluding:

When the Dali cargo shipdemolished that bridge support on Tuesday, it also obliterated all the ridiculous lies and myths our demagogues have been spreading around immigration. There were no sex traffickers aboard the Key Bridge that night. Nobody was dealing fentanyl. They were not “animals,” but fathers and husbands like [Maynor Yassir] Suazo [Sandoval] and [Miguel] Luna, whose wife occasionally showed up in her food truck to bring the men tacos and pupusas. They were filling potholes so their children could have an even better life.

These six workers who perished were not “poisoning the blood of our country,” they were replenishing it. This is a moment of clarity when we need to reject the national disease of xenophobia and restore our faith in the United States as a beacon for the best people like Suazo. They may have been born all over the continent, but when these men plunged into our waters on Tuesday, they died as Americans. 

CNN has profiles of some the immigrant men who lost their lives on the bridge on Tuesday. In addition to Suazo Sandoval and Luna, there's Jose Mynor Lopez and Dorlian Castillo Cabrera, who are also profiled, and Alejandro Hernandez Fuentes and Dorlian Ronial Castillo Cabrera.  The profiles are worth the time to read and to remember the next time some Malignant Loser opens his evil, hateful, bigoted mouth.

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Today's Cartoons


(click on images to enlarge)

(Christopher Weyant, Boston Globe)

(Kevin Kallaugher, Counterpoint)

(Ward Sutton, Los Angeles Times)

(Jack Ohman, Tribune Content Agency)

(Rob Rogers,

(Niels Bo Bojesen, @nielsbobojesen)

(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

(Jimmy Margulies, King Features)

(Walt Handelsman, The Times-Picayune, New Orleans)

(Ann Telnaes, Washington Post)

(Jeff Darcy, Cleveland Plain Dealer)

(Lars Kenseth, @AltaJournal)