Sunday, June 30, 2024

Across The Universe, Cont. -- A Field Of Galaxies


(click on image to enlarge)

From NASA/ ESA, June 27, 2024: An international team of astronomers have used the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope to discover gravitationally bound star clusters when the Universe was 460 million years old. This is the first discovery of star clusters in an infant galaxy less than 500 million years after the Big bang. Young galaxies in the early Universe underwent significant burst phases of star formation, generating substantial amounts of ionising radiation. However, because of their cosmological distances, direct studies of their stellar content have proven challenging. Using Webb, an international team of astronomers have now detected five young massive star clusters in the Cosmic Gems arc (SPT0615-JD1), a strongly-lensed galaxy emitting light when the Universe was roughly 460 million years old, looking back across 97% of cosmic time. The Cosmic Gems arc was initially discovered in NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope images obtained by the RELICS (Reionization Lensing Cluster Survey) programme of the lensing galaxy cluster SPT-CL J0615−5746. With Webb, the science team can now see where stars formed and how they are distributed, in a similar way to how the Hubble Space Telescope is used to study local galaxies. Webb’s view provides a unique opportunity to study star formation and the inner workings of infant galaxies at such an unprecedented distance.

[Image description: A field of galaxies on the black background of space. In the middle is a collection of dozens of yellowish galaxies that form a foreground galaxy cluster. Among them are distorted linear features, which mostly appear to follow invisible concentric circles curving around the centre of the image. The linear features are created when the light of a background galaxy is bent and magnified through gravitational lensing. A variety of brightly colored, red and blue galaxies of various shapes are scattered across the image, making it feel densely populated.]

Credit: ESA/Webb, NASA & CSA, L. Bradley (STScI), A. Adamo (Stockholm University) and the Cosmic Spring collaboration.


Today's Cartoons


(click on images to enlarge)

(Steve Breen,

(Monte Wolverton,

(Matt Wuerker, Politico)

(Marshall Ramsey, Mississippi Today)

(John Buss, @repeat1968;  context here)

(Jesse Duquette, @_jesseduquette)

(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

(Ted Littleford, @tedlittleford)

(John Deering, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)

(Morten Morland, Verdens Gang, Norway;  context here)

(Brooke Bourgeois, @b_a_bourgeois)

Sunday Reflection: Remembering Mistakes

"We are a people who do not want to keep much of the past in our heads. It is considered unhealthy in America to remember mistakes, neurotic to think about them, psychotic to dwell on them." -- Lillian Hellman (6/20/1905 - 6/30/1984), from her 1976 memoir "Scoundrel Time." The author of such works as "The Children's Hour," "The Little Foxes," and "Watch on the Rhine," Hellman was blacklisted in Hollywood during the Joseph McCarthy / House UnAmerican Activities Committee era for her Communist Party identification and pro-Soviet sympathies. 

With the sanitizing of America's racial and civil rights history texts by right-wing MAGAts and the likes of Ron "Bootsie" DeSantis, it's important to remember that no matter how they try to lessen their feelings of guilt or responsibility, history will always be shadowing them and correcting them until they fall silent.

(photo: CPL Archive/Everett/Rex Features)


"Don't Ignore The Signs" Of Frontotemporal Dementia!


It bears repeating, since our broken media is focused *elsewhere*:



(h/t MockPaperScissors)

A "Mini-Trial" For Trump?


As we await the illegitimate Republican Supreme Court's purposefully- delayed decision Monday on convicted felon Malignant Loser's expansive claim of presidential immunity, some are gaming out how Special Counsel Jack Smith might proceed in the election interference case, should the Court instruct Judge Chutkan to define which actions in the indictment are protected presidential acts and which are not.  One expert believes there could be a "mini-trial" that will allow the evidence against the Malignant Loser to be laid out for the public before the election:

[NBC legal expert Katie] Phang suggested Chutkan would jump into the case with both feet immediately after all of the delays.

'"I believe, as do others, that Judge Chutkan will be told she needs to make a determination as to what conduct that is alleged in the indictment is quote 'official acts as president' and what conduct is quote 'unofficial acts.' The unofficial acts do not get the immunity."

"I'm a believer and I've been pushing this idea you will see an evidentiary hearing that Judge Chutkan will do and I think very quickly, she's going to put the pedal to the metal on this," she added.

"And the evidence you'll be hearing will be an opportunity for special counsel Jack Smith to present the entirety of the indictment because I believe the indictment against Donald Trump is all unofficial acts; none of that was kosher, none of it was supposed to happen, it was all illegal."

"You will see special counsel Jack Smith put on what I'm going to call a mini-trial through the course of the evidentiary hearing so Americans can hear what Donald Trump did."
(our emphasis)

We may not have the full trial and verdict before the election, but the public may well get to see the mountains of evidence of the Malignant Loser's role at the center of the plot to overthrow the results of the 2020 election.  If the Court rules as expected Monday, it will be up to Judge Chutkan and Jack Smith to sort out how to proceed in the most expedited manner possible in order for the public to be reminded of the existential threat posed by the Malignant Loser. 

(Photo:  Trump between a rock and a hard place? / Jim Watson, Saul Loeb, U.S. District Court, AFP via Getty Images) 


Philadelphia Inquirer: Trump Should Withdraw

In a contrast to the New York effing Times' editorial calling for President Biden to step aside, the Philadelphia Inquirer published an editorial yesterday, saying that if anyone should drop out of the race, it should be the Malignant Loser. An excerpt:

"Lost in the hand wringing was Donald Trump’s usual bombastic litany of lies, hyperbole, bigotry, ignorance, and fear mongering. His performance demonstrated once again that he is a danger to democracy and unfit for office. In fact, the debate about the debate is misplaced. The only person who should withdraw from the race is Trump. [snip]

His performance demonstrated once again that he is a danger to democracy and unfit for office. Trump, 78, has been on the political stage for eight years marked by chaos, corruption, and incivility. Why go back to that?  [snip]

He is running for president to stay out of prison. If anything, Trump doesn’t deserve to be on the presidential debate stage. Why even give him a platform?"  (our emphasis)

Biden's debate performance was dreadful and concerning. But the Malignant Loser's firehose of lies, slanders, and dictatorial threats is being downplayed by our broken media, which has normalized him over the past eight plus years (more if you count his birtherism).  Time to call it out.


Saturday, June 29, 2024

"Donald Trump Doesn't Care About You"


The latest post- debate ad from the Biden-Harris campaign, using the convicted felon Malignant Loser's own words:



Today's Cartoons


(click on images to enlarge)

(Jeff Danziger, The Rutland Herald, VT)

(Jack Ohman, San Francisco Chronicle)

(Darrin Bell, King Features)

(Oliver Schopf, Der Standard, Vienna)

(Clay Bennett, Chattanooga Times Free Press)

(Ann Telnaes, Washington Post)

(Michael de Adder, The Gleaner, Canada)

(Bruce Plante,

(Joe Heller,

(Dave Granlund,

(Vaughan Tomlinson, @vaughantomlinson)

Tweets / Xeets Of The Day


Biden's post-debate message will resonate if repeated often --

Lifelong Republicans turned off by the Malignant Loser's debate evasions and lies --


New York effing Times calls for Biden to step down.....but not the convicted felon and rapist -- 


Dems are different than MAGAts, part infinity -- 

Headed to prison on Monday. Cheers (and be careful in those prison showers) --


Fascist movement leader Trump is at least consistent -- 


History has judged, and the Malignant Loser is dead last among Presidents -- 

A misallocation of resources among our broken Beltway media -- 

SCOTUS' deliberate foot-dragging on Presidential immunity claim gave Trump a win -- 

We call them Russia's useful idiots -- 

It only works if you've had edibles --

Brake Issues With Tesla's Cybertruck

Megalomaniac and crashing car mogul Elon Musk's Tesla Cybertruck continues to have safety and engineering problems, this time a brake system that didn't work. Just days ago, we posted about the vehicle's third and fourth recall in just months. Details on the latest incident from Business Insider:

"A Tesla owner said he crashed his new Cybertruck into a neighbor's yard within the first few hours of driving it — and he said it's because the vehicle's brakes didn't work.

The owner, Bruce Freshwater, told BI that the crash happened on April 27 after he picked up the Cybertruck. He said he pumped the accelerator when his daughter asked him to, but that nothing happened when he hit the brakes.

'I held the brakes down, and the vehicle really wasn't slowing down,' Freshwater said.

Freshwater said he went to make a turn and 'the back wheels locked up.' According to a report from the North Fayette Township Police Department in Pennsylvania, Freshwater stated that his vehicle went forward 50 feet and crashed into his neighbor's yard. The Cybetruck then barreled into one of his neighbor's cars. That car then ran into a second vehicle, Freshwater told the police in the report, which BI has viewed." (our emphasis)

According to the article, Freshwater shelled out $109,000 for the faulty truck, and is now looking at repairs of between $16,000 to $30,000. He's also not getting much feedback from Tesla, who hasn't responded to him after they last communicated a week or so after the April 27.

As we suggested in the earlier post, Musk's $56 billion pay package should have incentivized him to do better, but it only seems to have robbed resources from Tesla to do, say, proper brake engineering.

(photo: "Look out behind you Elon!"; via


QOTD -- Overruling Chevron


"The Supreme Court fundamentally altered the way that our federal government functions on Friday, transferring an almost unimaginable amount of power from the executive branch to the federal judiciary. By a 6–3 vote, the conservative supermajority overruled Chevron v. NRDC, wiping out four decades of precedent that required unelected judges to defer to the expert judgment of federal agencies. The ruling is extraordinary in every way—a massive aggrandizement of judicial power based solely on the majority’s own irritation with existing limits on its authority. After Friday, virtually every decision an agency makes will be subject to a free-floating veto by federal judges with zero expertise or accountability to the people. All at once, SCOTUS has undermined Congress’ ability to enact effective legislation capable of addressing evolving problems and sabotaged the executive branch’s ability to apply those laws to the facts on the ground. It is one of the most far-reaching and disruptive rulings in the history of the court.

"The facts of Friday’s decision, Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo, matter far less that the legal holding. But they are worth dwelling on because they illustrate the conservative supermajority’s hunger to reach its conclusion by any means necessary. Loper Bright challenged a program, enacted under the Trump administration, that required the fishing industry to help cover the costs of federal compliance monitors on their boats. The plaintiffs argued that federal law did not clearly authorize the government to seek cost-sharing from fishermen. The Biden administration shut down this program and refunded every cent back to the industry, so there is no live controversy anymore. Nonetheless, the Supreme Court took up the case as a vehicle to target Chevron, a landmark 1984 decision..." -- Mark Joseph Stern, writing in Slate on a blockbuster opinion that was all but buried in the coverage of Thursday's debate (we covered it briefly here).  This decision has been likened to the illegitimate Republican SCOTUS's Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade, but having a more universal impact across all functions of the Federal Government (energy, environment, health, education, food and drug safety, etc.).  Stern quotes Justice Kagan's dissent:

It barely tries to advance the usual factors this Court invokes for overruling precedent. Its justification comes down, in the end, to this: courts must have more say over regulation—over the provision of health care, the protection of the environment, the safety of consumer products, the efficacy of transportation systems, and so on. A longstanding precedent at the crux of administrative governance thus falls victim to a bald assertion of judicial authority. The majority disdains restraint, and grasps for power.

This decision, coupled with other recent decisions by this radical, illegitimate Republican court, is giving unelected, MAGAt judges unprecedented authority to meddle in the administration of  regulations meant to balance the power of corporations and other private interests and to promote the general welfare of the American people.  This can't be allowed to stand.

These are the stakes at play in November.

Why We Need The Ten Commandments Everywhere


We thought a little humor was in order this morning, so here's comedian Brent Terhune telling us why we need the Ten Commandments everywhere.

Friday, June 28, 2024

Today's Cartoons


(click on images to enlarge)

(Steve Brodner, @sbrodner)

(Chris Britt,

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

(Dennis Goris, @EandPCartoons)

(Bill Bramhall, New York Daily News)

(David Horsey, The Seattle Times)

(Kevin Necessary,

(Michael de Adder, Counterpoint)

(Nick Anderson, Reform Austin News, TX)

(Adam Zyglis, The Buffalo News)

(Peter Steiner, @plsteiner)

Tweets / Xeets Of The Day

The debate and its aftermath --











Thus the expression "cat burglar" -- 


Mid-Week Song


We're feeling like some jazz for today to settle us down. Jazz alto saxophonist Will Donato released a new single last week, "Dream Maker," an upbeat number with piano, guitar and brass accompaniment. Enjoy.

SCOTUS Decisions: Jan. 6 Obstruction And Fed Regulations


The right-wing Trumpist majority Supreme Court handed down key opinions on a case linked to the Malignant Loser's role in his January 6 insurrection, Fischer v. United States and the ability of Federal agencies to engage in regulatory activities and rulemaking, Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo.

In Fischer, the case involved the Government charging rioter Joseph Fischer with obstruction of an official proceeding, a charge leveled on most if not all of the rioters, and one leveled against the Malignant Loser in his leading the insurrection. The Court ruled against the Government in a 6-3 vote (Coney Barrett, Kagan and Sotomayer dissented), significantly narrowing the "obstruction" criteria for an official proceeding. While this is a gift for the Malignant Loser's cult, his incitement of the riot on January 6 was specifically designed to stall the electoral count in order to provide time to submit false elector slates and subvert the 2020 election, since the ruling notes that submitting false documents to obstruct is not covered in the opinion.

In Loper Bright Enterprises, the case involved the power of Federal agencies to interpret a law if it is ambiguous, a decision (6 -3 with Kagan, Jackson and Sotomayer dissenting) that effective hampers the Federal regulation powers of executive branch agencies over their ability to interpret and implement statues. Expect cheers from corporate polluters and donors to the MAGA Republican movement over this terrible decision.


QOTD: Fact Checking, Debate Prep, and The Convention


Disaffected cynic Jeff Greenfield at perhaps echoing what many prominent Dems may be thinking in private:

"For Biden’s partisans, Trump’s affect will count for much less than his prevarications. They will demand to know why the moderators did not fact check in real time (Spoiler Alert: It’s not their job, it’s the candidate’s job; in fact, CNN’s Jake Tapper and Dana Bash did first-rate work). They will argue that Biden did better as the debate went on, provided you don’t count the closing statement, which bookended the incoherence of his first answer. Their sharpest questions however, might be directed at the team of experienced, seasoned debate prep mavens, who are now doing Google searches about the Witness Protection Program.

As for the rest of the Democratic Party, I suspect there will be even more urgent searches looking into the details of convention rules, and just how bound the delegates are."

Btw, nice line about Biden's "experienced, seasoned debate prep mavens" looking into the Witness Protection Program. If that was debate prep, it's a case study in how not to do it.


Biden's Bad Performance, Trump's Lies

Last night's CNN-hosted debate has sent aftershocks through the Democratic Party over the poor performance of President Biden, who stumbled in his answers in a voice was low and raspy, and who looked dazed at times. The Malignant Loser meanwhile peppered Biden with one lie and distortion after another with no real time fact checking. The Biden campaign was hoping that the Malignant Loser's unhinged rally persona would show up, but he left it outside. Some commentaries on the debate:

The WaPo's Aaron Blake with an assessment:

"Biden came out raspy and with relatively little vigor or inflection in his voice. He stumbled over his words and lines of argument. Perhaps the most striking example came as he tried to make an early point about health care, failing to finish his thought before his time was up. [snip]

Later in the debate, Biden sought to get a little feistier, referring to Trump as a “whiner” over his statements that Capitol riot defendants were too harshly treated. He called him a “loser” and a “child.” But the points didn’t land with much force, just like much of Biden’s performance.

Shortly after the debate, Democrats set about fretting about Biden’s candidacy in a way we haven’t seen before — one top former Biden White House aide called his performance “really disappointing” — and the worries will probably continue in the days ahead. [snip]

It’s no surprise at this point, but Trump’s performance included his usual stream of false and misleading claims.

They included his false claim to having capped insulin costs before Biden did; blue states executing babies after birth; there being no terrorist attacks on his watch; Biden’s wanting to quadruple people’s taxes; and Biden’s having indicted him. (There is no evidence of Biden’s involvement in the cases.) [snip]

Trump largely filibustered, repeating his false claims, mostly without fact-checking by Biden and not really at all by the debate moderators (who decided beforehand that it wasn’t their role). Biden struggled to make his points and drive the contrasts in a way that deprived the proceedings of much flow, though he did counter some of Trump’s claims."

As for reactions from Dem officials, and what options lie ahead, there are examples here, here and here

The consensus is that Biden damaged his reelection campaign with last night's performance. Key Dem elected officials, State party chairs, major donors and political influencers have to assess how much damage was done, whether the campaign is salvageable and whether he can be a viable candidate to stop the Malignant Loser's march toward American fascism. Not time for panic, but for cool, dispassionate heads.

(photo: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images) 

Thursday, June 27, 2024

Why This Election Matters For Gun Safety


The National Education Association has a powerful ad out regarding the epidemic of school shootings that have not succeeded in changing the MAGA right and it's cult leader's gun fetish. Watch, and vote.

Undecided Voters Questioned Expertly


As we anticipate tonight's Presidential debate with a mixture of dread and fascination, there may be a number of undecided voters out there walking around in a daze for the past eight years. They may also be called "low information" voters or doofuses. In this video, Triumph the Insult Dog deals with their situation, and the results are hilarious.

Tweets / Xeets of the Day


Still waiting for the Presidential immunity decision --

But SCOTUS has cranked out other decisions (Moyle,  Ohio, Purdue Pharma, Jarkesy)-- 



Tips for the President for tonight's debate -- 



The theocratic MAGA right eager to violate church / state separation -- 

"And she reminds me of my daughter Ivanka, whom I'd be dating if she wasn't my daughter..." -- 

What's that Musk-y smell? A perpetual blight -- 

Malignant Loser fans practicing for the next insurrection ? -- 


QOTD: Undermine, Undercut and Cast Doubt


The Malignant Loser has already set up a narrative for his cult about the debate tonight: heads I win, tails you lose. His lack of preparation reflects the confidence that his cult will follow him no matter what, and also the contempt he has for issues and what the normal voter cares about. From Politico:

"Donald Trump in recent days gave speeches in Washington and Philadelphia and greeted supporters at a cheesesteak restaurant in Pennsylvania. He flew to New Orleans for a fundraiser Monday, and called in to a roundtable with Black leaders on Wednesday in Atlanta.

Ahead of what could be the most consequential political event of the cycle, Trump has continued campaigning and has eschewed intense debate preparations, even as Joe Biden has remained hidden away at Camp David to get ready.

That’s made easier by the fact that he’s already declared the debate is essentially rigged.

Trump and his team have worked to undermine, undercut and cast doubt on the historic debate before it’s started: They’ve questioned the fairness of CNN moderators Dana Bash and Jake Tapper. Trump and his allies have criticized the format of the debate. They’ve repeatedly asked President Joe Biden to take a drug test.

It’s a playbook Trump has followed for years, most notably ahead of the 2020 election and his criminal trial this spring in Manhattan. If Trump comes out the winner of the debate, his allies predict, then it will be in spite of the obstacles. If Trump stumbles, then he has already set up who and what to blame. It’s also a brand of grievance politics that has long animated Trump’s most fervent supporters and helped him, baselessly, explain away past political failures and legal setbacks." (our emphasis)

With his cult follower wearing t-shirts and flying flags celebrating his convicted felon status, and his outrageous fascistic policies, there's no depth to which the Malignant Loser could descend and not find his followers with him. 

Nutjob Steve Bannon Has MAGA Mike On His Side

Derelict impersonating fascist Steve Bannon, who is facing jail time (finally) for not honoring a Congressional subpoena, is just days away from the slammer. But help may be on the way from extreme theocratic Speaker of the House Mike "MAGA Mike" Johnson in the form of an amicus brief to the court to free Bannon from his sentence. From

“'We’re working on filing an amicus brief,' Johnson said on Fox News after a House vote allowed the chamber to take such an action. 'The January 6th committee was, we think, wrongfully constituted. We think the work was tainted.'

Bannon’s refusal to answer to a Congressional subpoena from the Select Committee on the January 6th attack landed him a 4-month sentence in prison, despite numerous failed appeals. But the House vote to disavow the previous chambers’ finding that Bannon violated its orders may boost his chances of staying free." (our emphasis)

That's not the only task that the felonious Malignant Loser has given MAGA Mike; naturally, he's asked him to interfere in his hush money / election interference conviction on his behalf:

"The former president tasked the speaker with finding ways to “overturn” his criminal conviction earlier this month, Politico reported, as Johnson publicly bragged of him singing his praises."

Almost nothing has gotten done in the House of Representatives for the benefit of the American people under MAGA Mike's watch. But it's nice to know that he and his fellow MAGA cultists are working hard for the Malignant Loser and his friend on their legal problems.

(photo: He knows his priorities)



Republican Crime Blotter: Spider Woman

You can't say that Republican candidate for a Minnesota county board is an example of "Minnesota Nice." Hennepin County candidate Marisa Simonetti was arrested and charged with fifth degree assault for flinging a tarantula and other objects at Jackie Vasquez in a rental dispute. From station KARE-11:

"The alleged victim, Twin Cities attorney Jackie Vasquez, tells KARE 11 News Simonetti threw a live tarantula at her, among various other junk, in what she describes as a scary encounter.

Simonetti spent the weekend in custody and was released Monday after a court appearance. The charge involves 'fear of bodily harm' and does not require battery.

KARE 11's Lou Raguse spoke with Simonetti following her court appearance. She says the charges aren't true, telling Raguse that her accuser Vasquez is a squatter -- who rented a room from her through a short-term rental website and then refused to leave when the contract was up. 

Property records indicate Simonetti is not the owner of the home, raising questions about whether she was authorized to rent out a portion of it. In addition, short-term rentals are not allowed in Edina."  (our emphasis)

It seems that this isn't Simonetti's first rodeo:

"Simonetti, who was the runner-up in this summer's special election in the nonpartisan Hennepin County Board race running as a conservative, has faced a number of allegations in criminal and civil court. 

She was charged with credit card fraud for more than $80,000 of charges on her ex-fiancรฉ's credit card. That was dropped when the ex-fiancรฉ, an embattled former Woodbury dentist, settled with Simonetti in civil court.

Simonetti and another ex-boyfriend, the father of Simonetti's child, have current harassment restraining orders against each other. 

Court papers show allegations of assault and stalking. And he accuses Simonetti of creating a phony Grindr account using his name and photo and messaging several men who then showed up at his house expecting to hook up. Simonetti would not comment on the situation involving this man." (our emphasis)

She sounds delightful. As a scofflaw, she'll go far in MAGA politics, we're certain. No doubt she's running on a law and order platform, too.

(photo: Simonetti and accomplice. Hennipin Co. Sheriff's Office) 

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Today's Cartoons

(click on images to enlarge)

Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal Constitution

Michael de Adder 

Mike Smith, Las Vegas Sun

Ivan Ehlers, The New Yorker

Tweets / Xeets of the Day


Malignant Loser's spokescultist discloses his debate prep. He has none --



Clarence Thomas, looking out for his wealthy patrons --

Trump-endorsed Senate candidate in Utah loses primary to Romney favorite. Bwahaha -- 

A reminder of Assange's history with Russia --  

Pill-pushing Rep. Ronny Johnson Jackson needs to sit this one out --

The perverse and cruel behavior of RFK, Jr. toward his ex-wife -- 

Countdown clock for derelict impersonating nutcase Steve Bannon -- 


Warning for incumbent Dems: voting against infrastructure bill a problem -- 

Netanyahu, "a smarter Trump," has been widely unpopular at home for over a year -- 

"DPRK News Service" enters the Dave Grohl - Taylor Swift tiff  --