The Blue Raccoon

Monday, May 26, 2008

Mars, bay-beee!

Phoenix Rising: The NASA unmanned probe eased on down to the surface
closer to the Red Planet's North Pole. No Martian elves or Santa sighted;
but if you follow the horizon line to the middle right I see what looks like
a light flare. Probably the glint off a beer can. Via Phoenix Mars Mission Gallery.

Mars is a place. We can go there. I remember as a kid looking at the pictures that the Viking lander sent back; the rust-colored sand and the Arizonian landscape of rocks. You almost expected to see sagebrush and cacti. At once alien and familiar, the pictures cannot convey the intense cold and the inhospitable atmosphere. There's no dew clinging to the rocks. No creatures spewing ice-crystal breath. At least, none that we know of.

After reading about horrendous catastrophes in China--earthquakes, death, pollution and the Olympics; the Myanmar cyclone recovery efforts and the tattered remnants of our godforsaken godespairing godhaunted rigged-to-explode tottering oil-drunk civilization (such as it is), I like to take a little solace in this news.

About 50 percent of efforts to land a vehicle on Mars fail, and this was a risk, because instead of air bags, Phoenix used retro rockets to break its fall and bring it to the surface. The chances were hight that of one of its three feet glancing on a rock and the whole device falling over, and becoming unable to deploy its solar panels.


"PASADENA, Calif. - NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander survived a fiery plunge through the Martian atmosphere Sunday to make a three-point landing on the red planet's arctic plains, where it beamed back its first images to the delight of mission scientists.

"It looks as if the solar arrays have completely deployed, absolutely beautiful," said Dan McCleese, chief scientist at here at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). "It's just beautiful, crystal clear images."

The spacecraft touched down in the Vastitas Borealis plains within the Martian arctic circle, where it is slated to spend at least three months searching for water ice hidden away below the frozen surface. The descent and landing sequence went completely as planned.

"This team has performed perfectly...did you see that thing zoom down and then just touch?" said an exuberant Peter Smith, Phoenix's principal investigator of the University of Arizona. "It's not on a's in a safe place."

Mission scientists here at JPL received the signal that Phoenix had landed at around 7:53 p.m. EDT (2353 GMT) today, exactly when they expected to. (The probe's signals take about 15 minutes to traverse the 171 million miles (275 million km) between Mars and listening stations back on Earth.)

"Phoenix has landed! Phoenix has landed!" shouted a NASA commentator as the signal was received. "Welcome to the northern plains of Mars!"

The $420-million Phoenix mission, which launched in August, is designed to dig down to the rock-hard layers of water ice thought to lie under the Martian soil in the northern arctic region. Phoenix's arrival marked the first successful landing on Mars since NASA's twin Spirit and Opportunity rovers bounced to a stop in 2004 and the first powered landing in more than 30 years for NASA."

The Sweetest Thing: Mars, we have
arrived. Bring on the frozen microbes!
"Do-You-Want-To-Play-A-Game?"Via the BBC.

When I was a teenager and much more into speculative fiction than I am now, I had this half-formed idea for a story in which a probe learned that the Martian moons Phobos and Deimos were, in fact, constructed. They housed the memories and artifacts of the Martian civilization before it self-extinguished following a long decline due to some kind of environmental catastrophe that forced them underground.

But, these days, I'd be happy with a paradigm-shifting discovery of a bit of fossil material that was definitely from Mars, and not flown in by an asteroid. C'mon, just one little piece. A tooth or something. Heck with this bacteriological germ stuff. That's all Andromeda Strain. Check out this cool video from the Jet Propulsion Labs, here.

Stay tuned, it could get interesting in the next several months.

There are those out there that say: this is colossal waste of our money. I don't agree; because we just don't know what we're going to find. I also look forward to the 2012 arrival of another automated rover that can, like Phoenix, dig trenches and analyze soil but in different locations. And if while digging around up there, we find oil, well, imagine that Marscape sprouting Halliburton-built oil Weyland-Yutani, "The Company" in Alien.

Ben Stein's Baloney: "The Enterprise Is for the Young"

Ben Stein's essay in the Sunday New York Times, "Running Out of Fuel, But Not Out of Ideas," wasn't arch enough to be considered a "modest proposal" in Swiftian terms, and it was too predictable to be serious. Except, I think that he is. [Image via Flickr]

He writes: "Gasoline is unimaginably important in our lives in the United States. Without gas in virtually limitless supply, and at prices we could afford, American life would change...In a way, we would stop being America as we know it."

And Stein says this like stopping being the America as we know it would be a bad thing. He goes on to write about the addiction and dependence we have on oil. And his ambivalence and hemming and hawing about not wanting really to alter his own behavior reminds me of Thomas Jefferson's response to Edward Coles in 1814. (I came across this fascinating exchange in Alan Pell Crawford's Twilight At Monticello, about T.J.'s later years).

Edward Coles was an Albemarle County neighbor of Jefferson. At age 27, Coles was confronted by the moral and ethical issue of holding slaves. He sought Jefferson's advice on the best way to free the people he owned. Coles considered himself a Virginian, and didn't want to leave the country, but felt that perhaps the only way to give his slaves their freedom was to move all to Illinois. [Image of Coles via]

Jefferson couldn't really give him any advice -- though he did commend Coles on his initiative, and weasled out of giving him a straight answer.

... Your solitary but welcome voice is the first which has brought this sound to my ear; and I have considered the general silence which prevails on this subject as indicating an apathy unfavorable to every hope.

Yet the hour of emancipation is advancing, in the march of time. It will come; and whether brought on by the generous energy of our own minds; or by the bloody process of St Domingo, excited and conducted by the power of our present enemy, if once stationed permanently within our Country, and offering asylum & arms to the oppressed, is a leaf of our history not yet turned over.

As to the method by which this difficult work is to be effected, if permitted to be done by ourselves, I have seen no proposition so expedient on the whole, as that as emancipation of those born after a given day, and of their education and expatriation after a given age. This would give time for a gradual extinction of that species of labour & substitution of another, and lessen the severity of the shock which an operation so fundamental cannot fail to produce.

For men probably of any color, but of this color we know, brought from their infancy without necessity for thought or forecast, are by their habits rendered as incapable as children of taking care of themselves, and are extinguished promptly wherever industry is necessary for raising young. In the mean time they are pests in society by their idleness, and the depredations to which this leads them. Their amalgamation with the other color produces a degradation to which no lover of his country, no lover of excellence in the human character can innocently consent.

I am sensible of the partialities with which you have looked towards me as the person who should undertake this salutary but arduous work. But this, my dear sir, is like bidding old Priam to buckle the armour of Hector "trementibus aequo humeris et inutile ferruncingi." No, I have overlived the generation with which mutual labors & perils begat mutual confidence and influence. This enterprise is for the young; for those who can follow it up, and bear it through to its consummation. It shall have all my prayers, & these are the only weapons of an old man."
[The entire letter is here].

Jefferson told Coles what he needed to know. The younger man wrote back that he didn't agree that prayers were "the only weapons of one your age, nor that the difficult task of cleaning the escutcheon of Virginia of the foul stain of slavery can best be done by the young."

Eager to advance in life, young men too readily flowed "with the current of popular feeling" to make an independent, and indeed, controversial course. It was precisely because the antislavery position would be received so strongly that it could be advanced only "by those whose previous course of useful employment [gave them] the firmest footing in the confidence and attachment of their country." Only such men "have it in their power effectively to arouse and enlighten public sentiment."

Coles concluded that he'd not even thought of Jefferson's age, since Benjamin Franklin, to whom Pennsylvania owed its early abolitionist stance, was active and useful "in arduous duties after he had past your age."

There's no evidence that Jefferson replied to Coles' second letter--what could Jefferson possibly have said? Coles, thus satisfied, moved his household to Illinois and freed his slaves. Coles became the governor of the state and kept it free of the onus of slavery.

Ben Stein's solution to the present and enduring oil predicament is to just start drilling anyplace where we think oil is. I'm reminded of intravenous drug users who, having worn out their veins, start using other parts of their body--the genitalia, the eyes--to shoot up. Of course, what follows soon is death.

Stein writes:

"In my humble view, we are now in a short-term oil bubble. It will pass and correct, as bubbles do. And speculators will make millions, whichever way it goes. But the long run is terrifying. If we are at or past peak oil, if oil states stop or even hesitate to send us the juice, if Canada decides not to fill our needs, we are in overwhelming trouble.

So, what to do? First, we do not kill the geese — the big oil companies — that lay the golden eggs. We encourage them and cheer them on to get more oil. They need incentives, not hammer blows...

We need to turn coal into oil into gasoline, to use nuclear power wherever we can, and to brush aside the concerns of the beautiful people who live on coastal pastures (like me). And we need to drill on the continental shelf, even near where movie stars live. This must be done, on an emergency basis. If we keep acting as if the landscape were more important than human life, we will make ourselves the serfs of the oil producers and eventually reduce our country to poverty and anarchy."

So basically, Stein wants to turn our national parks into that Pennsylvania "ghost town" with the poetic and ironic name of Pithole City, Pa. This was an early oil boom settlement that after having exhausted their supply of oil, burned, collapsed and all but vanished. I guess this is the fate Stein wants to prevent -- but the fact is, and he alludes to this in his essay -- the only way out of this is to innovate-- but with new, creative technologies. And get off the petro-crack-rock -- which he doesn't say at all. He's all about coal and nukes. I'm all about finding what works best in each region of the country, and endeavoring to pleasing the greatest amount of people through variations on some alternative measures.

I go back to my cars-as-slaves analogy. Our dependence on automobiles is to me quite connected. True, motor vehicles are not people, as were slaves, but owners of slaves considered them investments, as means of production, as walking machines. We name cars. We baby them. We build garages for them. Some see cars as extension of their personality and for certain as status symbols. They are psycho-sexual machines. They convey worth. They are symbols of material wealth -- just as slaves were for their owners.

I'm reminded now, too, of a great apologist for slavery and patriot, Patrick Henry. He wrote in 1773 to a Quaker acquaintance Robert Pleasants, that yes, he did agree that Patrick Henry owning slaves was strange. Less eloquent than Jefferson, Henry says much the same thing, but with even more of a point:

"Would any one believe that I am Master of Slaves of my own purchase! I am drawn along by ye. general inconvenience of living without them, I will not, I cannot justify it. However culpable my Conduct, I will so far pay my devoir to Virtue, as to own the excellence & rectitude of her Precepts, & to lament my want of conforming to them.--

I believe a time will come when an oppo. will be offered to abolish this lamentable Evil.--Every thing we can do is to improve it, if it happens in our day, if not, let us transmit to our descendants together with our Slaves, a pity for their unhappy Lot, & an abhorrence for Slavery. If we cannot reduce this wished for Reformation to practice, let us treat the unhappy victims with lenity, it is ye. furthest advance we can make toward Justice [We owe to the] purity of our Religion to shew that it is at variance with that Law which warrants Slavery.--" [See the whole letter here]

This is the line that jumps out at me: "I am drawn along by ye. general inconvenience of living without them, I will not, I cannot justify it."

This is Ben Stein's argument! Getting off oil, cold turkey, would be a "general inconvenience." Doing without our cars would cause us, oh, to live closer together and not pollute and walk more and invest in transit. Oh, this could save the world, and perhaps what's left of our humanity, but no, let's go drill off California. On an emergency basis. It's the Paint Your Wagon argument. Mine out the natural resources underneath your civilization, then what it's done, go on to the next one.

Ooops! No place to go! Until people build their own rocket Conestoga Wagons and start wildcatting on Mars.

I am reminded of Supreme Court Justice John Marshall's fear...I cannot recall the letter. He is referring to the obstinacy of Southerners where slavery was concerned, and he feared--this is around 1834-ish--the question would only be solved through civil conflict.

Likewise, this issue of contemporary life with its dependency on oil will not be resolved without some kind of conflict. Right now, it's pretty much overseas and out of mind except for those who are participating in the wars or are family members and friends of the men and women who've been sent to fight.

It is preposterous to think that a nation of 300 millions can continue to exist with three motor vehicles for every man, woman and child. This notion is just absurd. Nature cannot bear the weight of such disastrous habits. Ben Stein--and those like him--know it's impossible to continue as we have. They just don't want to face...inconvenient truths.

Utah hopped his last freight

A great character of the U.S of A. died this past week, at home, in bed, next to his wife. Utah Phillips, folksinger, rail rider, poet, outsider maker of culture and a real working class hero. He was 73, and packed several lives into one. You can read more here.

Like Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, he was a true individual, and one who strove for authenticity in a world covered over more and more by the humongous corporate hegemon.

He was a veteran of the Korean War and that experience turned him into a peace activist.

There's much to cause despair when one looks about; Phillips wasn't immune. He said if you looked around, you came to the conclusion that the world was going to hell in a wheelbarrow. But, if one traveled, and met others, he realized that there were too many people doing good things to surrender hope.

He was nominated for a Grammy for his collaboration with Ani DiFranco.

U. Utah Phillips died following heart problems that developed in 2004.

Amy Goodman at "Democracy Now!" ran an interview with him taped during the last election cycle on Tuesday, here.

And The "Clackers" Just Worship Her

About as far as I can go from the ethos of Mr. U. Utah Phillips is the homage to consumption and career opportunity that is The Devil Wears Prada. I mention the 2006 movie because this morning while eating my oatmeal the movie came on, and I found myself sucked in. I even saw this on a big screen. It isn't that the Message, such as it is, means anything: Be True To Yourself And That Is The Best Reward Provided You Can Be Fabulous and Rich.

But Anne Hathaway! She may even be related to Shakespeare's wife. The stylish look of the film, the editing, the jazzy/disco soundtrack, Meryl Streep at her most imperious, Stanley Tucci making me forget he's Stanley Tucci, redheaded Emily Blunt, and New York, oh New York looks so lovely--all this, and Paris, too. So I get a twofer threefer or so. Eye candy, as Amie says.

I even like that Pavolvian ring-tone on Andy's telephone that signifies Miranda is calling with more of her impossible demands -- maybe because I also associate the aural cue with a clever HBO promotion from months ago that highlighted the newest round of movies airing, and it made a rhythmic roundelay of several of them. Funny and attention-getting.

I also love the way "Andy" refers to the girls in stiletto heels walking in the marble halls as "clackers." Never fails. Whenever I've been in an archive or library, and the guys hear the "click clack" of heels, everybody's head swivels. Can she be as good as she sounds? Kind of primal.

For the record, though, I liked Anne Hathaway just fine in the racer back T, tanktop and jeans outfit that you see in the video at :57, though the Northwestern hoodie is a bit much. Maybe it's cold in that apartment.

She just looks good, glammed up or dressed down. At least, far as I know. And here she is in a T-shirt.

I'm fed up, too. [Image via Flickr]

Plus, she makes a hat look great. And I love me some hats, and girls who can wear them.

I Want A Recount

So last night, I almost stayed awake through all of HBO's Recount. It was one of the late night repeats and, well, I lived through this shameful white-knuckle event of our recent political history. Considering all the hell that has followed after the 2000 un-election-- this movie just made me sad. This is before 9/11, the Iraq-Afghanistan wars, the Patriot Act, FISA, Katrina and just a whole rasher of scheit that probably wouldn't have happened, or not quite the way in which it came out, had that election gone the other way.

Tthe acting in the tertiary roles was uneven. The dubbing is really atrocious in some parts; particularly when we're looking behind Al Gore, or George W., and even in some master shots, where the looping just is wonky. I thought the emphasis on the fluorescent-lined ceilings of the Democratic party strategy centers was a direct homage to the Washington Post newsroom in All The President's Men. There are numerous scenes in which people's faces are reflected in table tops, and other shiny surfaces. And there was some sense of that film, mixed with a John Grisham thriller, like, say, Runaway Jury, or Sydney Pollack's The Interpreter.

Laura Dern just about disappears into Katherine Harris, and aside from some Dern mouth-twists, its scary how close she resembles the Harris who all the sudden appeared on the television during that fateful time like some mad scientist bursting into the programming to announce she's going to take over the world. And Assistant Director Walter Skinner! -- I mean -- Mitch Pileggi playing Chicago's William Daley. I really expected Scully and Mulder to show up, or, perhaps more appropriate, the Lone Gunmen. The 2000 election was, if nothing else, an X-File.

Yet for all the effort to sleek up the clunky and chad-hanging process, I felt kind of like I was watching a movie from the 1970s. Something about the lighting, maybe, that dubbing, the clothes, even the look of the characters. Had kind of a Parallax View feel. Maybe I was just projecting. Not so much actual time has passed, but indeed, an entire country, a world and a way of acknowledging the future is dead and lies moldering in the grave.

"Someone will have to measure the wreckage. Someone will have to walk through the ruins. Someone will have to count the cost."

I direct your attention to this month's issue of Esquire. Not because of the Rachel Radha pictorial or the "What I've Learned" with Gore Vidal : "We're the most captive nation of slaves that ever came along. The moral timidity of the average American is quite noticeable. Everybody's afraid to be thought different from everyone else."

Contrast this with the interview Amy Goodman conducted in 2004 with the late U. Utah Phillips:

"It’s a damn shame, though, that we have to be alternative. But then, we’re in a capitalist environment, we’re in a capitalist system that’s built on—that’s built on the least commendable features of the human psyche, greed and envy, rather than the best. We in community radio, in pirate radio, in alternative music distribution, we reach for the best in people, you know, we don’t—not lowest common denominators. And we are building a new world within the shell of the old.
I don’t feel pessimistic about that at all. There’s simply too many good people right here in this room, too many good people on the street, close to the street, doing too many good things for me to afford the luxury of being pessimistic. I’m going to—I’ll tell people that tonight, damn it. I’m glad it came up.
If I look at the world from the top down, from FOX, God help me, or CNN or—there ought to be a CNN Anon to ween people from that idiocy. If I look at it from the top down, I get seriously depressed. The world’s going to hell in a wheelbarrow. But if I walk out the door, turn all that off, and go with the people, whatever town I’m in, who are doing the real work down at the street level, like I said, there’s too many good people doing too many good things for me to let myself be pessimistic about that. I’m hopeful, can’t live without hope. Can you?"

An excellent question from Mr. Phillips.

Unlike him now, you, billion-eyed audience, can read Charles P. Pierce's "The Cynic and Senator Obama." Pierce to my mind takes the cadences of Obama's speech writing and puts into an essay about the candidate, and turns the whole hope thing on its head. He also put into words what's been bothering/inspiring me about Obama.

Some quotes:

Pierce, the Cynic, is listening to Obama speak over a car radio and through poor reception. Poetry.

"The sound quality is erratic, as though the engineer were putting down the volume at the end of every line. The applause sounds like water rushing through rusty pipes. The rudimentary transmission makes the stump speech sound both fresh and timeless. All of the same laugh lines and punch lines and applause lines are there, but they sound to the cynic like something different, as though he were listening for the first time to something out of the Library of Congress, a recording recently exhumed from an obscure archive. The cynic decides that politics is better on the radio, the same way baseball is, where you have to construct the scene in your own head. Radio is for dreamers. Television is for hucksters, and it has leached from American politics all of its creative imagination."


“I look forward as president to going before the world community and saying, ‘America is back. We’re ready to lead,’ “ Obama says on the radio, the static crackling and popping and the transmission fading, and it takes a moment for the cynic to wonder whether or not the world wants America to lead. Maybe the world wants America to sit down and shut up for a while.

. ...........................................................................................................................................

How we didn't get into this predicament just during the past eight years; oh no, there's plenty of blame to go around, including who you see in the mirror:

"There is no point anymore in blaming George Bush or the men he hired or the party he represented or the conservative movement that energized that party for what has happened to this country in the past seven years. They were all merely the vehicles through whom the fear and the lassitude and the neglect and the dry rot that had been afflicting the democratic structures for decades came to a dramatic and disastrous crescendo. The Bill of Rights had been rendered a nullity by degrees long before a passel of apparatchik hired lawyers found in its text enough gray space to allow a fecklessly incompetent president to command that torture be carried out in the country’s name."

The ownership of the people over their politics -- and, therefore, over their government -- had been placed in quitclaim long before the towers fell, and the president told the people to be just afraid enough to let him take them to war and just afraid enough to reelect him, but not to be so afraid that they stayed out of the malls.

It had been happening, bit by bit, over nearly forty years. Ronald Reagan sold the idea that “government” was something alien. The notion of a political commonwealth fell into a desuetude so profound that even Bill Clinton said, “The era of Big Government is over” and was cheered across the political spectrum, so that when an American city drowned and the president didn’t care enough to leave a birthday party, and the disgraced former luxury-horse executive who’d been placed in charge of disaster relief behaved pretty much the way a disgraced former luxury-horse executive could be expected to behave in that situation, it could not have come as any kind of surprise to anyone honest enough to have watched the country steadily abandon self-government over the previous four decades. The catastrophe that is the administration of George W. Bush is not unprecedented. It was merely inevitable. The people of the United States have been accessorial in the murder of their country."

"The catastrophe that is the administration of George W. Bush is not unprecedented. It was merely inevitable," a-men, brother a-men.


"In 2007, when asked about the possibility -- just the possibility -- of impeaching George W. Bush and/or Dick Cheney, Obama scoffed at the idea, not entirely because it was constitutionally unsound but also because it was impolite and a nuisance and might make many people angry at one another, and he was, after all, running to help save us from ourselves.

“We would, once again, rather than attending to the people’s business, be engaged in a tit-for-tat, back-and-forth, nonstop circus.”

He was offering a guilty country a nolo plea. Himself. Absolution without confession.

The cynic declined the deal. There were not enough people in handcuffs yet."


Pierce with deft dispatch describes the field of candidates and how they narrowed down to these three, and his observations are trenchant and accurate -- except he left out the other--and perhaps the only one true idealist of this cycle--Ron Paul. Which surprises me.

"Mitt Romney of Massachusetts spent an entire campaign revealing himself to be the Piltdown man of American politics. Mike Huckabee, a likable preacher who played bass guitar, was an appealing fellow with dangerously loopy ideas. In the end, the Republicans settled on John McCain, who’d traded his shiny armor from 2000 for a tattered choir robe, and who was promising to run on being better at everything at which George W. Bush had been bad. The cynic had spent time with McCain almost a decade earlier, and he had liked him tremendously, and now the cynic didn’t recognize him at all.

On the other side, an equally sizable field thinned itself down pretty quickly. Hillary Rodham Clinton was bright and enthusiastic, and her campaign seemed to be doing everything correctly, but she was engaged without being particularly engaging, her campaign something out of 1972. Barack Obama, as the tennis coaches say, wrong-footed her almost from the start."


"The cynic wondered if Obama’s campaign had not found itself in a blind alley of its own devising. By offering his complicit, fearful nation and its complicit, brutish people absolution without confession, without penance, Obama guaranteed that the sins would stay, and they would be committed over and over again, and against him this time. Poor bastard, thought the cynic. When the cynic heard Obama talk about Dr. King’s “fierce urgency of now,” he wondered first and always why Obama spent so much time talking about great men -- Abraham, Martin, John, and Bobby -- who’d all been shot in the head."

And Pierce wrote this before Hillary's Bobby Kennedy-primary ending in June kerfluffle. In the New York Deli a few days ago, I overheard an older gentleman striking up conversation with a college-age kid. The older man was more of a Ron Paul guy, so was the kid, and the Paulite said, he actually said this, "I feel so sorry for Barack. Even if he gets elected, somebody's going to shoot him."

Why do we think these things? Because in our hearts we don't really want any change. Anybody who tries is either marginalized, vilified -- or killed. Now who sounds cynical?

Read Pierce's article.

For a portrait of the Paulines, if your Sunday, May 25 New York Times is already in the recycle bin, you'd do well to dig it out to read Alex Williams' description of the Paulists and their man.

Note the image, by David R. Lutman via The New York Times. There's more than a few people who sympathize with the sentiment -- but not enough to vote for Paul.

Paul's lure to the young, swing and independent is noted, and how Paul's grassroots groups resemble the one that erupted around Barry Goldwater in 1964 -- even Hillary Clinton was a "Goldwater Girl." Paul is anti-IRS, pro-legalization of marijuana and thinks the Roe decision should be left up to the states.

"At a recent mixer at a bar on East 15th Street in Manhattan, it seemed as if Paul supporters had built a community without the help of gates.

Don’t you feel like an evangelist sometimes?” asked Rain Chacon, 36, a television writer and former Kucinich Democrat who lives in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. “It’s like, ‘Here’s The Book, have you read The Book?’ ” she said, wearing a Fleshtones T-shirt and cat’s-eye glasses and hoisting her copy of “The Revolution” into the air.

The assembled — a few women and about 15 men — cheered with approval. They talked about their beliefs in spiritual terms, using phrases like “seeing the light.” Those who follow “the movement” are termed “awake.” The fact that their candidate has essentially zero chance to be president did not seem to faze them."

He's more libertarian than Republican, but the Libertarians just nominated former Republican Bob Barr of Georgia. Newsweek interviewed him, here. I remember Barr only because of how he was in the thick of the impeachment of Bill Clinton. Between Paul and Barr, the Repubs may have their own version of Ralph Nader.

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At 9:41 PM, Blogger Tutrik said...

Here's an exciting tid-bit from NASA! HOpe you enjoy!


At 6:28 AM, Blogger HEK said...

Tutrik: Thanks for landing on this part of the Internet. Appreciate the link and this method of looking at newspapers throughout the world is certainly novel to me! I'm used to looking at century old publications that have been digitized from microfilm.


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