A “Tokamak” is a doughnut-shaped fusion reactor—often as much as hundreds of miles in circumference—that can control the plasma-scale temperatures of fusion energy by channeling thermal streams around a super-powered magnetic racetrack.
After decades of research on prototype Tokamak designs, the Iter project has recieved a final go-ahead from 34 international governments. That’s really satisfying to me, because fusion power is one of the few “sure bets” for sustainable power generation in the future. Not quite as important as that, I should note that the last time I presented a technical pitch on fusion technology at an international science conference, the topic was the Iter project. Not saying I made the Iter project happen, just that—like thousands of other people—I gave it a nudge.
As more information comes to light about the Beantown Bombers, it becomes increasingly clear that Uncle Ruslan was right all along: The brothers were / are a pair of not-too-bright losers. Mother Jones offers a list of odd and stupid things the Boom-Boom Bros did that directly resulted in their death and/or capture. These items include leaving their carjacked hostage alone in the vehicle while they went into a convenience store for Red Bull and then failing to toss their escaped victim’s mobile phone, enabling the cops to track their every move.
They’re murderers, sure, but sophisticated terror kingpins? Please. And yet the very lawmakers who most frequently have to pause to wring the accumulated ball-sweat out of their much-humped personal copies of the US Constitution are now ready to torch that document because of the supposed existential threat posed by clowns like the Boom-Boom Bros.
Senator Lindsey Graham, perpetually trying to butch up sufficiently to head off a possible tea party primary challenge, took to the Senate floor yesterday to baldly declare a thought-crime and ethnic-caste standard that would eliminate due process for certain American citizens:
“Here’s what we’re suggesting, that the surviving suspect—due to the ties that these two have to radical Islamic thought and the ties to Chechnya, one of most radical countries in the world—that the president declare preliminarily that the evidence suggests that this man should be treated as an enemy combatant.”
The “we” in that first clause includes Senator John McCain, the Hanoi Hilton survivor who is apparently transformed into a squealing candy ass at the sight of a teenage jihadi-wannabe’s wispy moustache. Senator Kelly Ayotte rounds out the new neocon triumvirate in lieu of the departed Joe Lieberman. She’s an improvement over her predecessor only in that her mouth isn’t bracketed by alarming skin-pleats and she doesn’t have a mewling voice that tempts listeners to drive chopsticks through their own eardrums to escape its range. But on foreign policy, she’s pretty much Joe in a dress.
In the interest of civility, let’s assume that these three and their fellow Republicans aren’t corrupt, cynical hucksters who are attempting to transform the blood of innocent people into political gain. So they must be cowards instead, sniveling, bed-wetting chicken-shits who are ready to toss our national experiment with free speech and equality before the law into the toilet and hide under the nearest rock—and not before the very real and powerful threats arrayed against it from within and without, but before a pair of moronic clowns like the Boom-Booms. Some “Daddy Party.”
Sorry, Uncle Ruslan. You may have lived peacefully and productively in this country for decades, but since your nephews went terribly awry for reasons not yet, and perhaps never to be, entirely clear, your Mooslin kind is not wanted here, immigration reform is hereby declared over, and Pam Gellar’s stiffie over your ethnicity will last as long as her sundried corpus draws breath.
Meanwhile, in non-terror-related news, 30,000 Americans are still dying of gun violence a year.
Oh parts and guns, parts and guns, it’s a sort of theme day here at Rumproast. But what with the ole saltpeter pouch up there, celebrated humorist Mitch “Cuddles” McConnell, taking to Facebook to harry Harry Reid over his failure to pass the background-check gun bill, how can one not notice how inextricably, amongst the ‘Baggy crowd, parts and guns are entwined?
Naturally, with Newtown families in the Senate chamber (or, “props,” as the GOPs like to style sentient beings with legitimate grievances against the reign of Senator Yertle), the testudinous Kentuckian was unable to pump his claw in the air, but once he repaired to the Cloakroom, it was Katie bar the Iphone! What more hilarity could ensue than MitchMemes’ (take note, Rep. Hansen) LOLguns?
What a synecdouche. (Hat tipped respectively to Lowkey and mainmati. All glory, or blame, properly punctuated hate mail etc, to them.)
We don’t know who did this or why. And people shouldn’t jump to conclusions before we have all the facts. But make no mistake, we will get to the bottom of this. And we will find out who did this, we’ll find out why they did this. Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups will feel the full weight of justice.
The terrible devices which exploded in Boston today have forced not just horror, fear and suffering on innocents, but, depending on the perpetrator(s), uncertainty and vulnerability on a new generation of Americans. We still have no word on who may be responsible; the New York Post’s rumor of an Arab suspect in custody was denied by the Boston Police Department.
As in the case of the disgruntled Texas judge who may have gunned down his fellow lawmen rather than the Aryan Nation, there are better and worse scenarios for who is culpable, for the psychological sake of the society involved, though the victims’ pain is undiminished.
The President’s measured response will naturally incur wrath among his detractors, but let us hope that the right people are now at work bringing the right people to justice this time. And send our prayers, those who do, and wishes for comfort for the families of the victims.
This is Polly posting for Strange, who could not let Jonathan Winters’ passing go unremarked. Winters’ brilliance is perhaps no more perfectly illustrated than by the wild, multitudinous and instant characterizations he created, particularly the ones he wasn’t supposed to create while filming ads for products he was supposedly pitching, like the out-takes for Good Humor bars here.
One of Strange’s old flames was the daughter of the director who filmed Winters’ Hefty ads, and had a reel of such out-takes which so far seem not to have made it to You-tube, but which Strange was lucky enough to see. One sample line, from a rueful coach: “Fifty-six to nothin’ in the first quarter——somebody’s not doin’ their job!”
Two items in the news about Cuba (optional soundtrack below):
As Balloon Juice commenter Lamh35 pointed out in the bitchfest thread, it’s probably unwise for Marco Rubio to try to turn Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s trip to Cuba into Benghazi II: The Castro-ation. It’s dumb for several reasons:
1) Castro is a doddering, toothless old fart whose utility as a wingnut bogeyman is receding faster than his gum line.
2) Beyoncé may be more widely worshipped than Jesus at this point, so Rubio will piss off her millions of fans, and for what? The Cuban exile vote can’t even swing an election in Florida anymore, much less the US.
3) The only reason our absurd Cuba policy continues is because, a) most Americans don’t know / don’t give a shit about it, and b) numbers 1 and 2 above haven’t quite sunk in yet with the political-media industrial complex.
Rubio released a statement on Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s trip, saying, “U.S. law clearly bans tourism to Cuba by American citizens because it provides money to a cruel, repressive and murderous regime.”
Well, yeah, but Saudi Arabia is a medieval dictatorship that openly enslaves half of its population and beheads people for fucking sorcery, and yet I’m allowed to travel there as an American citizen. If I had to be parachuted into either Cuba or Saudi Arabia, I’d damn well go where the cigars and mojitos are.
Second news item out of Cuba:
The parents who kidnapped their own children from the kids’ grandmother and sailed out of Tampa Bay earlier this week have turned up in Cuba. Several things about this story smell fishier than Hemingway’s tackle box:
1) The parents, whom the media characterize as “anti-government protesters,” were busted last June in Louisiana for pot and firearms after a disturbance at a hotel. The cops allege they made bizarre references to Armageddon, prompting the court to put the kids in foster care. The father later confronted the foster parents, waving a gun around and demanding his children before running off before the cops arrived.
2) This supposedly prompted the authorities to terminate parental rights and pass custody of the kids to the grandmother in Florida. Practically everyone in Louisiana and Florida is “anti-government” and skulks around with pot and guns mumbling about Armageddon. And from what friends in CPS tell me, terminating parental rights is REALLY, REALLY hard, even for people who have a documented history of thrashing their kids half to death. And yet these people’s parental rights were terminated in less than a year for guns, pot and Armageddon talk?
But now the government of Cuba says it’s going to hand them over to the US, apparently without even pausing to wring any anti-US propaganda mileage out of them. Even if the parents are bona fide, bug-eyed loons and / or the most annoying Paultroons in the universe, that’s unusual. There’s more here than meets the eye.
Steve Bell covers Thatcher’s resignation in 1990 (click to enlarge).
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
I despaired this morning when I heard the news that Margaret Thatcher was dead at 87. Not because her passing upsets me. I’d already celebrated that in late 1990, when her party finally realized the old bat was potty, the wheels had long fallen off the Iron Lady, and she was growing even more unpopular than her historically record-breaking low approval ratings might have anticipated, and she needed to be removed from office for their own good before she took them down with her.
I recall walking round the streets of Greenock that day, in something of a daze, overhearing a couple of old guys on a street corner in conversation: “She’s gone, then.” “Aye.” It had been a long, difficult era from her election in 1979, when as a politically inexperienced 19-year-old I barely realized what she was about to usher in, through the horrible early 1980s, protesting against the Falklands War and the UK and US’s saber-rattling in the face of the “Soviet threat,” then the Middle East adventures that were a pale prologue to those of the 2000s, and being subjected to none too subtle state surveillance for my troubles, to standing on my doorstep one morning faced with a court official who was threatening to send the bailiffs round to confiscate what little property I had.
That last event happened because Ms YAFB and I had had the audacity to do as we’d been encouraged by the government and set up a small business in the teeth of a recession, our industry—publishing—was being more than decimated, work had dried up, we’d submitted accounts the local council needed to decide whether we were eligible for some benefit to help pay our Council Tax (a.k.a. Poll Tax), and they’d somehow lost the papers we’d sent in (not for the first time). No court date for a hearing. A sheriff somewhere had heard our case among a slew of others some time earlier. We were never offered the opportunity to attend and put forward our side of the case. The first we knew was a lunatic demand in the post for immediate payment of an absurd amount of money we had no prospect of finding. And so I stood there as this besuited, rather shifty guy threatened me with sending round the heavies.
That was Thatcher’s Britain. Or a small series of snapshots of it. And we got off lightly compared to many. We survived. Survived to see Thatcher leave office in tears.
So says the NYT Media Decoder blog. Ed Schultz will get a weekend slot, presumably between prison documentaries. Huzzah, I say. I agree with Schultz on most things but find his schtick irritating. Hayes is thoughtful and informative.
Now if MSNBC would only shit-can Reverend Al and replace him with Joy Reid! And dropkick Tweety in favor of someone who can get through a paragraph without mentioning his stint in the Peace Corps, obsession with JFK or the Camelot of Comity that existed when Tip O’Neill and Ronald Reagan broke bread. Then, the network would actually have a watchable lineup instead of just the fabulous Rachel and the Not-Rachels.
The source of the sensation of the 2012 election campaign, the Romney 47% video, is set to reveal himself to the world this evening, according to HuffPo. To blow further sand up Mitt’s underoos, it appears his offhand attitude to the waitstaff bit him in the ass:
The man, who tended bar for a company that catered to a high-end clientele, had previously worked at a fundraiser at a home where [Bill] Clinton spoke. After Clinton addressed guests, the man recalled, the former president came back to the kitchen and thanked the staff, the waiters, the bartenders, the busboys, and everyone else involved in putting the event together. He shook hands, took photos, signed autographs, and praised the meal—all characteristic of the former president.
When the bartender learned he would be working at Romney’s fundraiser, his first thought was to bring his camera, in case he had a chance to get a photo with the presidential candidate.
Romney, of course, did not speak to any of the staff, bussers or waiters. He was late to the event, and rushed out. He told his dinner guests that the event was off the record, but never bothered to repeat the admonition to the people working there.
The bartender said he never planned to distribute the video. But after Romney spoke, the man said he felt he had no choice.
“I felt it was a civic duty. I couldn’t sleep after I watched it,” he said. “I felt like I had a duty to expose it.”
HuffPo—which, like Mother Jones, whose David Corn played the crucial role in standing the story up after snippets of unattributed tape had appeared on YouTube (not to forget the contribution of James Carter, of course), has shown admirable restraint in protecting its source—ran some more background on him earlier today:
Once the full tape aired, he said he knew he’d have to quit his bartending job. “I knew I was forfeiting the right to work there,” he explained. He said he had bartended events for half the guests at the Romney speech. They all knew him and probably suspected what he had done, he said. He felt like he couldn’t just go back to work. “I was worried I was going to end up dead.”
“I was the only person in that specific spot,” he said of where he positioned his camera that night. “There was no real doubt. I could say that they know. My employers knew and the people I worked with knew that I did it.”
No one fingered him.
Releasing the video was worth risk to his wallet, he said. “It’s a bigger issue than a part-time catering job,” he explained. “I felt like it was my duty. I felt the guy was dangerous, to be honest. ... The one thing I didn’t hear in his voice—I didn’t hear an ounce of empathy whatsoever. ... That kind of scared me a little bit.”
I hope this guy is truly prepared for the backlash he’s likely to face from the vengeful RW thuggerati. Better polish those countertops. He’s no doubt had plenty of practice.
More: The big reveal happens on MSNBC’s The Ed Show at 8pm ET tonight (followed by a slot on HuffPo Live tomorrow morning):
Enterprise Florida, a public-private partnership that funds official state economic development initiatives, paid $380,000 for this logo:
Many lady Floridians are peeved about it since, aside from the period immediately following the release of the film Annie Hall in 1977, men’s neckties haven’t served as an inclusive symbol that encompasses both sexes.
The article linked above is all about the tie in the logo, but it also features this video publicized by the same outfit:
All the hands in the video appear to be attached to men, with the possible exception of the gloved hands, which look decidedly masculine, but who knows?
I can see how maybe one all-male piece of advertising collateral slipped under the radar (though a competent creative director should have caught it). But the all-male video too? Now it’s harder to see this as an honest mistake.
We Florida business ladies are being dissed! And did Enterprise Florida really pay $380,000 US dollars for that logo? (If so, I’d like to speak to them about some land I’m putting on the market, teeming with biodiversity and mere centimeters from the surface!)
This branding initiative was unveiled by Governor Voldemort, who slashed funding for the disabled and schools so he could attempt to zero out the corporate tax rate. Those tea-people really get financial stewardship.
Shifty-eyed Frenchman Wayne LaPierre was on Capitol Hill today, using his pie-hole to spray lies and obfuscations in defense of guns ‘n ammo makers’ profits much as a prepper might fantasize about using a drum magazine-fitted assault rifle to spray bullets at imaginary urban hordes to protect his bunker.
While LaPierre was lying and obfuscating, yet another nutbag went on yet another shooting rampage, which Captain Mark Kelly, husband of Gabby Giffords, pointed out to the committee. Early report:
Three people were shot and wounded Wednesday, one of them with life-threatening injuries, when a gunman opened fire at a Phoenix office complex, authorities said.
One of the three victims sustained “extremely critical” injuries, while the two others were less severely wounded, police said, correcting their earlier report that all three had been critically injured.
Phoenix police Sgt. Tommy Thompson said the gunman was not in custody and that authorities were seeking an “older white male.” Police said shell casings at the scene indicated that at least two weapons were used.
Witnesses told KNPX that they heard nine or 10 shots total. A woman who works in the building told the station that she immediately began running down the hallway.
“We didn’t know where to hide, because all of our offices are all windows,” she said.
I know just how that woman felt: 20 years ago, another disgruntled white man showed up at an office building where I used to work with a gun he’d purchased legally. He shot and killed several people. Everyone in the building, me included, ran away like scared little bunnies and hid. It turns out that’s a natural human reaction. Even for concealed carry permit holders!
Chances are, they’ll find the Phoenix shooter dead after he kills himself with one of his legally purchased guns. That’s what the guy who shot up my office building did.
It was kind of a shock when I thought back on it after this latest incident and realized it’s been 20 years since that happened. So little has changed.