[P.S. - LET'S MAKE THIS THE OPEN THREAD OF THE DAY]
[P.S. - LET'S MAKE THIS THE OPEN THREAD OF THE DAY]
While Wordsworth had the good fortune to be inspired by “a host, of golden daffodils”…
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
This is today’s Open Thread. What inspires you these days?
Senator Ron Johnson, R-Wis., has been in the news a lot lately, in part for having been one of the select few Republicans who were invited to the recent dinner meeting with President Obama. In an appearance yesterday on This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Senator Johnson stated,
“If we’re going to really get to an agreement, this is a good step…You have to start meeting with people. You have to start developing relationships. You’ve got to spend a fair amount of time figuring out what we agree on first.”
[Especially when the Republican "leaders" won't tell their flock the truth about what the President has offered, and the flock and the media are too dumb or brainwashed to lift a couple of fingers and check whitehouse.gov!]
The same “This Week” appearance also saw Paul Krugman, in his inimitable manner, school Senator Johnson on the Social Security program.
Prior to that, in the debate over authorizing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), Senator Johnson was one of a group of “…Republicans [who] have objected to new provisions in the law, including one allowing tribal courts for the first time to prosecute men who aren’t American Indians when they’re accused of abusing an American Indian woman on a reservation. . .”, according to ThinkProgress, which also quotes Senator Johnson as saying:
“the Senate has approved a piece of legislation that sounds nice, but which is fatally flawed. By including an unconstitutional expansion of tribal authority and introducing a bill before the Congressional Budget Office could review it to estimate its cost, Senate Democrats made it impossible for me to support a bill covering an issue I would like to address.”
Coincidentally and fortuitously (or not), when searching for a link on a completely different topic, I ran across this one about Ron Johnson from 2010. It includes a video of Johnson, demonstrating the average conservative’s love of fetuses but not actual children, while “…testifying against the Wisconsin Child Victims Act, which would have eliminated the statute of limitation on lawsuits brought by victims of abuse by priests against the Catholic Church.”
Okay, as a palate-cleanser, I believe that there’s something for everyone in these photo slideshows from The Weather Channel.
For all of us who love space science and/or who have experienced various types of mind-enhancement, here’s (now think Muppets “Pigs in Space” voice) “Light Trails from Space.”
Staying in space for the moment, the Comet Pan-STARRS is in the ‘hood, and should start to be visible to the naked eye tomorrow. The chart shown in this article indicates where the large comet can be located (in the western sky at sunset) over the next two weeks or so.
Last from TWC (and getting back to ‘trails’…you’ll see): unusual (and occasionally claustrophobia-inducing) tunnels are highlighted in this feature. Although the first tunnel shown only has the one photo – see below – the rest of them have some amazing shots. Tunnel #18, Shanghai’s Bund Sightseeing Tunnel, described as “senseless, yet fabulous“, could likely induce trails even for persons who have never seen trails before. A youtube video of the entire ride is linked to under the description of the Shanghai tunnel, but I haven’t had the chance to watch it yet. Who’s gonna go first?
This is our Open thread – what topic would you like to discuss?
“First light at Daytona brought in heavy fog.” Thank you, houseofroberts, for inadvertently (and somewhat circuitously) inspiring this post. Hopefully you’ll enjoy the respite from the perpetual political perturbations in this refreshing pool of nature’s glory and wonder.
Let’s start with, appropriately, Sunrises. The first photo in the group, “…taken by johndhard at Smith Rock State Park in central Oregon…”, brings to mind the style of artist Maxfield Parrish, i.e.:
According to the DEC’s website regarding the bald eagle population in New York State, back in 1976,
“One pair of bald eagles still nests in New York, but there are no young birds. In fact, year after year eggs are laid in the nest, but they collapse during incubation, their shells thinned by DDT in the parent birds’ bodies.”
But here’s some good news:
“Through the work of New York’s program and those in other states and Canada, the magnificent bird that symbolizes our nation is coming back from the brink of extinction. Higher population levels and successful reproduction mean the bald eagle is on a firmer footing today than it has been for half a century. In fact efforts have been so successful that the bald eagle has been removed from the federal endangered species list.” [However] “Its status in New York has been changed from Endangered to Threatened.”
The DEC project took pre-fledgling bald eagles from other states and transplanted them to suitable habitats in New York; through a process called “hacking”, the fledglings were raised on specially-built nesting platforms and carefully fed from behind a blind to avoid human contact. The project, started in 1976, achieved its goal of ten nesting pairs in 1989. The DEC’s website reports that “Conservation efforts have increased that number to 173 pairs in 2009.”
Although the nearest habitats where bald eagles populations have been increasing due to the DEC’s program are along the Hudson River (about 30-35 miles to the west of our area), on very rare occasions over the last dozen years or so, I have spotted one or two bald eagles here in southeastern New York, close to the Connecticut state line. On the first occasion, two eagles were flying high above Interstate 684; luckily, I was driving on a fairly straight part of the highway, with little traffic, so I was able to observe the birds long enough to ascertain that they were, indeed, bald eagles. The second occasion occurred when I was getting out of my car at the grocery store, and I stood and watched as the eagle flew south over a nearby hillside.
Yesterday morning was quite different from my previous sightings. I had slept late, and was heading to work a little after 10:00am. Fortuitously, I had decided to cut over to the highway (I-84) via one of the local county roads, rather than go straight down NYS Route 22 – one of those “six-of-one, half-a-dozen of another” decisions, as both routes normally take about the same time. So, heading west toward the highway, I suddenly became aware of a huge bird with an amazing wingspan flying almost directly toward me over the eastbound side of Route 311. As the bird began to angle toward the fields and trees on the southern verge of the road, I spotted the white head and tail (along with whatever prey it was carrying–I tried not to study that) and realized that it truly was a bald eagle. It was flying low enough that, had the usual earlier-morning traffic of school buses and 18-wheelers been heading eastbound at that moment, the eagle might have been hit from behind. Luckily, there was no other traffic on the road; unluckily, I didn’t have a camera with me, and, even if I had, there would not have been time for me to pull over and try to locate where the eagle had headed so that I could try to photograph it. All in all, though, the experience helped to lift my spirits by a brief, up-close glimpse of such a glorious sight.
This is our daily open thread — seen anything inspirational lately?
For today’s post, here’s a mix of articles with one very minor common theme: they’re all numbered lists.
First, from Foreign Policy magazine, a list of “The FP Top 100 Global Thinkers”, which includes Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma (recently visited by President Obama), Bill and Hilary Clinton, Bill and Melinda Gates, Malala Yousafzai, and (coming in at Number 7) President Barack Obama. As David Rothkopf says in a companion article on FP (titled “The Opposite of Thinking”):
“Once again, Foreign Policy has with characteristic humility compiled its list of leading Global Thinkers. How we could possibly identify the top 100 thinkers on a planet of 7 billion people when we’ve never met a fairly considerable number of those people is not something we dwell on when discussing our methodology. Suffice it to say, the list is impressionistic. (OK, it’s more than a little ridiculous. But this is a tradition, so let’s just keep that between us, shall we?)”
On a more aesthetic theme, from The Weather Channel, here’s “The World’s 20 Most Amazing Bridges”, several of which are located in the United States.
And, just for fun, visit cracked.com for “14 Photographs That Shatter Your Image of Famous People.” Try not to get lost at cracked.com, it’s an addictive site.
This is our Open Thread. What’s up?
As some of you know, I have been invited to start my own blog on the local ‘Patch’ online newspaper. Before getting set up in my ‘new digs’, I thought I’d take a look around at the other blogs on the Patch site, to see what they looked like, what personal info showed, etc. While doing so, I ran across a blogpost from the Fourth of July, written by M. Doretta Cornell, RDC, of the Sisters of the Divine Compassion, and thought it well worth sharing.
While I do not agree with 100% of the good Sister’s sentiments, she makes excellent points, based on her interpretation of her faith, the Constitution, and in science. A few excerpts:
Our founders were declaring independence from rule by birth, by a class of people whose only claim to that rule was their parentage. No test of ability or morality or vision for the country and its people was necessary, only birth into the “right family.”
Hmm, sounds like a recent Republican President and a current Presidential hopeful we all know.
In our current economic crisis, we have much to reflect on:
- How faithful are we to this basic tenet of our country that all people are created equal and have equal rights to life, justice, ability to make a decent living – even happiness, as our founders claimed?
- How can we reform our laws and policies to create a nation in which all could prosper?
- What are we doing to close the rifts between races that are still deep in our culture, in spite of all the scientific evidence that race is a superficial characteristic?
- What are we doing to close the newer abysses that have been created between people of different religions, particularly since September 11, 2001?
Sister Mary Doretta certainly sounds like quite the liberal – just as so many of us believe Jesus would have been. Personally, I believe that today’s “Christians” would, at least figuratively, crucify him if he showed up now.
“Another aspect of independence that comes to my mind is that, for many people, independence today seems to be synonymous with egocentric individualism: the feeling that no one has contributed to this person’s achievements, and therefore that person has no responsibility for anyone but him—or herself.”
(Psst…Republicans, faux-Christians, and Libertarians, listen up, I think she’s talking to you. C’mon, even the god of the Old Testament got pretty pissed when Cain asked “Am I my brother’s keeper?”)
“…along with Independence, we must also celebrate today our Interdependence! Interdependence—not subservience. Subservience is what our founders were rebelling against in founding this new nation: the belief that some are inferior and others superior by nature, and therefore people have different rights.
Interdependence says that we all have the same “inalienable rights” and that these rights are intertwined, as are all elements of our very existence.
And here’s what I found most impressive and inspiring about Sister Doretta’s piece:
Over the last few decades, we have been learning just how deep our interdependence is, at microscopic levels of ourselves and of the world around us. Astronomy and cosmology teach us that each molecule of our bodies is inherited from one pool of matter, each breath we take is dependent on the exhalations of trees and other plants. Even the tiniest shift in temperature, or chemical makeup of the air, position of the sun, or radiation in the atmosphere would render Earth unable to support human life. We are all interdependent—people, animals, grasses, stars, Earth.
Independence, then, demands that we reflect on and adjust our understanding to the interdependence of all things and all people on each other. It also demands that we learn to act in ways that support that interdependence—ways all our moral and religious educations have taught us. And, as Jesus taught, “the greatest of these is love,” and understanding of the essentialness of each creature to the enterprise we call life.
If more Christians were this enlightened about the role of their faith’s principles and their implicit responsibility to each other and the planet that we call home, this world, or at least this country, would be an infinitely better place.
This is our daily open thread — Got anything you feel like discussing?
This is the song that I hear every morning and every evening. It’s a very comforting sound and relaxing sound. The woods echo with the wonderful, sweet, musical sound coming from the Wood Thrush. What a great way to start and end the day.
Ok, so for the next few months, if you’re in a “swing” State, you’ll be inundated with SuperPAC commercials designed to get you to vote against your own best interests. We will also be systematically bombarded with messages from the Mainstream Media designed to influence our thinking.
IT’S ALL A SHOW. IT REALLY DOESN’T MATTER.
If the Powers That Be really want Obama out, all they have to do is raise gas prices to about $5.00/gallon. Instead, gas prices are going down, heading into the summer vacation season. That’s not to say they won’t go up between now and the election – but they are an accurate predictor of where our economy will head. So, pay attention to the pump, not the talking heads.
Ok, that’s my $0.0199 cents. And you?
EVERYTHING I SAID
DOESN’T REALLY MATTER
This is our daily open thread — What’s on your mind today?
Nasa’s Kepler telescope, whose specific mission is to explore strange new worlds – er, uh, to seek out possible Earth-like planets, has already discovered more than 1000 new exoplanets (outside of our solar system.) One planet, which made news earlier this year, was dubbed “Tatooine”, as it revolves around twin suns. The Planet Habitability Laboratory has an online catalogue of such discoveries, and a current update now lists Kepler-22-b, featured as part of the First Kepler Scientific Conference.
Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, the popular astrophysicist at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, had met the team of NASA scientists at Ames Research Center earlier this week. In an interview with The Weather Channel, Dr. Tyson stated that Kepler-22-b “is the first Earth-like planet in a Goldilocks zone around a sun-like star. This one hits a check in every box.” Exciting news, indeed. Unfortunately, Kepler-22-b is 600 light-years from Earth, and as Dr. Tyson says, “The fastest spacecraft we have ever launched would take 50,000 years to get to Kepler-22b.” When asked in The Weather Channel interview, “Given the population explosion and impact on the environment, would inhabiting another planet give humankind a chance to start over?“, Dr. Tyson responded:
“After we mess up this planet go move to another one? If you had the power to move to another planet then you’ve got the power to fix your own planet. I’m much more in favor of thinking of other planets as a place to expand to, not a place to escape to because we’ve trashed Earth…don’t think of it as an escape hatch.”
Damn! I was really hoping that the science of cryogenics might advance enough within my lifetime that I could be frozen, then sent to Kepler-22-b and thawed in order to request political asylum from any ‘overlords’ there may be on this possible new home.
Mum got so much enjoyment from the little things in life. She would have been 91 today.
All photos by Jane E. Schneider
I find so much inspiration and personal solace from the beauty and wonders of nature.
Would anyone like to reflect on any topic?
We can all learn something from this, especially the
greedy wealthy job creators.
Let’s start the week on a positive note.
This is our Open Thread. Time to Speak Up!
Words of wisdom from a great Native American;
You must teach your children that the ground beneath their feet is the ashes of our grandfathers. So that they will respect the land, tell your children that the earth is rich with the lives of our kin. Teach your children that we have taught our children that the earth is our mother. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of earth. If men spit upon the ground, they spit upon themselves.
What values are we teaching?
This is our Open Thread. Speak Up!
The man who decided to climb a mountain.
A modern parable by Briseadh na Faire
There once was a man who decided to climb a mountain. He started off on his journey and quickly ascended the first few small hills on the way to the mountain. Then he entered a valley. He followed the trail through the valley, winding and turning as it went. After awhile, he began to get discouraged. He could still see the mountain, but he was not getting any higher as he walked along.
Then, around the next bend in the trail, he chanced upon a fellow traveler who was sitting in the shade eating some fruit. The man shared his discontent with the fellow traveler.
The traveler looked at him with a gleam in his eye. “So,” said the Traveler, “right now you’re not getting any higher, but you are getting closer to the mountain.”
The man looked at the mountain ahead. It was true. As long as he stayed his path, he would climb the mountain.
© 2005 Briseadh na Faire
This is our Open Thread. What mountains have you chosen to climb?
What a huge weekend for you!
Congratulations on your graduation from the university! We are all so very proud of you and this huge accomplishment! You’ve worked so hard for it and really rocked those grades!
We all wish you the best of luck with where you go from here, and with what you decide to do next with your life. You deserve the best.
Lots of love from all us Critters!
Psst, this is really Muse’s work, not Gummitch’s.
Anyone following the news on 12/01 should know that the ancient city of Pompeii is being eaten by the elements. Pompeii offers a snapshot of Roman living in the first century of the Christian Era.
The city was buried in volcanic ash in 79 CE. Its ruins were rediscovered in the early 18th century and gradually excavated into the 20th century. Beyond bomb damage in WWII, the city remained a pristine picture until the time immediately following the war. Materials were removed for construction of personal structures, albeit at a slow pace until Italian Antiquity’s stepped into the fray, banning removal of additional material from the site.
One thing that should be realized is that Italians should not be allowed to take part in the preservation of their history. Preservation consisted of opening a profit center for tourists and closing down areas as they went into decay. These closed areas are presently suffering most from the elements. While the ruins were once protected by the layers of ash that destroyed the city itself, the historical record is being ravaged by the elements and the wear brought on by tourism now that the ash has been removed. My family visited the site in 1985 and we could see the damage effected by pumice being ground underfoot into the ancient marble plazas. Even I had a ‘Felix Unger’ moment as we visited.
This is our Open Thread. Please feel free to add your thoughts on this, or any other topic that comes to mind.
California has adopted an Alert System to aggressively post information about suspects vehicles when a child is kidnapped. That system was put to use today when an 8 year-old girl was kidnapped in Fresno. Signs on the freeways alerted drivers to the description of the suspect vehicle, and TV stations included it in their broadcasts. Today, it paid off:
An 8-year-old girl who was abducted by a stranger while playing outside a Fresno home escaped from her captor Tuesday morning after a driver recognized the suspect’s vehicle and cut it off, police said. … Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said the driver recognized the red pickup truck from media reports that showed surveillance video of the kidnapper’s vehicle.
So, Kudos to the driver, Victor Perez, for taking action. He may well have saved the girl’s life.
One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.
This date marks the day in 1889 when the Eiffel Tower was dedicated. This was yet another landmark that Hitler ordered destroyed in the final days of WW II. Thankfully, his minions did not obey that order.
Climbing the first two levels of the tower is a knee wrenching experience for a 43 year old man. especially after being egged on by a trio of teen-aged boys.
After reaching the second tier, the elevator to the top was a blessed relief.
I did not engage the race to the bottom after the lift returned to the second tier. I finished last.
Mom stayed at the base with her trusty camera.
This is our open thread. Please feel free to offer your own comments on this or any other topic.
The employees of Providence St. Vincent Medical Center in Portland, Oregon put together this fun video to promote breast cancer awareness — Go Pink!!
“Our family vacations left us injured and exhausted.”
You will be missed, Senator Kennedy. By family and friends…
You can vote here.
No picture, I do not want to bias the vote.