Little green men, Russians, and Congressmen

Manassaspatch.com:

WASHINGTON, DC — A GOP congressman raised some eyebrows at a recent hearing on Capitol Hill when he asked NASA officials about the possibility of an intelligent alien civilization on Mars just a few thousand years ago.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican from California who has been in the news recently for his ties to the Russian government and some inflammatory comments, asked a panel of NASA experts testifying before the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology about the possibility of intelligent Martians living not long ago on the Red Planet. The video of the exchange is embedded below.

“You have indicated that Mars had, was totally different thousands of years ago. Is it possible that there was a civilization on Mars thousands of years ago?” Rohrabacher asked.

Kenneth Farley, who is a project scientist with the NASA Mars Rover 2020 mission, replied that in fact Mars would have been significantly different billions, not thousands, of years ago, and that there is absolutely no evidence that any intelligent life ever existed there.

Rohrabacher pressed Farley, asking him if he would rule it out.

“I would say that is extremely unlikely,” Farley responded.

While scientists are vigorously studying Mars for signs of ancient life, they are looking for very basic microbial life, not for human-like aliens.

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Embarrassment: A failed promise

Washingtonpost.com:

By any measure, the collapse of the Senate health-care bill represents an epic failure for the Republican Party and a major embarrassment for President Trump. The crusade that animated — and bound — conservatives for seven years proved to be a mirage, an objective without a solution. Power comes with consequences.

There is no way to spin to those who were promised that the Affordable Care Act would be repealed and replaced once Republicans held full power in Washington that what has happened is the fault of forces outside the party. This has been a GOP undertaking from start to finish. It is as though Republicans unknowingly set a trap and then walked into it without having prepared escape routes.

What price, if any, Republicans will pay for this setback will be revealed over the coming months. Perhaps they will be able to move quickly on other priorities — a tax bill being the most appealing now, although not necessarily a slam dunk — and wash away the bitter taste of the health-care debate. That might be the best they can hope for, but there are no guarantees.

The failed promise to repeal and replace Obamacare surely will affect the mood and enthusiasm of the Republican base heading toward 2018. When the Gallup organization asked Americans about the future of the Affordable Care Act recently, 30 percent overall said they favored “repeal and replace,” but 70 percent of Republicans supported that option. GOP lawmakers will have left them empty-handed, perhaps disillusioned. That will energize Democrats even more in their quest to take control of the House in 2018.

The health care bill was doomed from the start.  Replacing a flawed plan with an even worse one just isn’t going to please anyone. That new bill that just went died an embarrassingly painful death sounded awful to almost everyone. The really stupid part is that it hurt the Trump base the most.

What does it tell us when the Republicans own the White House and both the House and the Senate and they still can’t get a bill passed?  Trump wants to blame the Democrats.  Well, math must not be his forte.  Maybe the problem lies with the quality of health care the Republicans were proposing.

Here’s a novel idea–keep what’s good about Obamacare and fix the bad parts.  Maybe the idea of repealing the whole thing was repugnant to too many Americans.  Maybe Democrats and Republicans have to work together and push politics aside.

Corey Stewart announces the “most vicious, ruthless campaign” against Tim Kaine for the Senate

Bristowbeat.com:

Corey Stewart announced his run for senate, July 13, at his Prince William home, saying “I’m going to run the most vicious, ruthless campaign against Tim Kaine.”

Corey Stewart, Chairman At-large for the Prince William Board of County Supervisors, who just recently completed a fairly successful run to be the Republican candidate for Virginia Governor, used fighting words to announce his run for the U.S. Senate, challenging Democrat Tim Kaine.

Stewart proposed he would not be “holding back any punches” and said he was “disgusted” when George H. W. Bush had promised “a kinder, gentler nation.”

Corey does not disappoint.   Emboldened by a near-successful primary bid for the governorship, Corey will continue with his mini-me Trump-like behavior as the Trump administration circles the drain daily.  As more and more is uncovered in the various Russia-gate capers,  the Trump administration appears to be headed for a crash-and-burn scenario that will ultimately end in impeachment and removal from office.

Stewart is a seasoned local politician who could overcome the set-backs, on a local level, that a politically naive Trump will have trouble extricating himself from.  Unfortunately for Stewart, he now plans on swimming in shark-infested political waters that might just be a little more than he bargained for.

I can’t see Corey driving “old Dixie down” this go-round.  The primary is over.  Corey won’t be running for governor.  Corey will run for the Senate.

Will Corey seriously run on keeping Robert E. Lee while waving the Battle Flag of Northern Virginia?   On a national level, that stuff just won’t fly.  There has to be substance about issues most Virginians care about like jobs, health care, threats from foreign invaders. etc.    Those who turn out for a primary simply aren’t the same folks who turn out for a general election. v

Nicolle Wallace condemns Trump tweets


Washingtonpost.com:

Hours after President Trump posted a pair of ugly tweets attacking cable TV hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, cable news talk shows across the political spectrum featured lengthy, often angry monologues accusing him of demeaning his office as well as women.

Conservatives Charles Krauthammer and Tucker Carlson criticized the tweets on Fox News, with Krauthammer saying, “Presidents don’t talk like this.”

On CNN, Don Lemon and Anderson Cooper dedicated their opening remarks to what Lemon called Trump’s “flat-out gross and disgusting” tweets.

And on a CNN panel Thursday night, USA Today columnist Kirsten Powers got into a lively debate over the definitions of “feminism” and “misogyny” with Trump surrogate Jeffrey Lord.

But even Lord, who usually defends anything and everything Trump does, said, “I don’t think he should have done it.”

Perhaps the strongest repudiation yet comes from Nicolle Wallace.  Wallace served as George W. Bush’s communication chief.  Nicolle Wallace, as a Republican woman sums up pretty much what the rest of us think.

To those who try to excuse Trump or make excuses for him–this is 2017.  This kind of garbage issued in a tweet is unacceptable and beneath the Office of the president of the United States.  The se is sim ycophants need to start telling Trump he is simply rude, crude and socially unacceptable.

PWCSB passes anti-discrimination measures for LGBTQ students and staff

Insidenova.com:

The Prince William County school board has passed new anti-discrimination measures for LGBTQ students and staff, a move that marks the end of a contentious fight that raged over the course of the last year.

The board voted 5-3 on June 21 to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, following a second lengthy meeting on the subject after the board previously voted to delay consideration of the policy change last September. Acting member Shawn Brann of the Brentsville District, Willie Deutsch of the Coles District and Alyson Satterwhite of the Gainesville District cast the dissenting votes.

More than 500 people attended the board’s meeting in Bristow, though purple-clad supporters of the nondiscrimination measures dominated the board’s chambers. When lawmakers considered the same change last fall, it was hundreds of opponents donned in red who packed the room.

But several advocacy groups, including Equality Virginia and Virginia’s chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, focused on whipping support for the policy change over the last few weeks. A variety of local lawmakers — including Congressman Gerry Connolly, D-11th District, and many of the county’s Democratic state representatives — also wrote letters to the board urging them to support the policy alteration.
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Hail to the Redskins….Hail Vic-tor-y!

Washingtonpost.com:

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that a law that prohibits the government from registering trademarks that “disparage” others violates the First Amendment, a decision that could impact the Washington Redskins’ efforts to hang on to its controversial name.

Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. delivered the opinion for a largely united court. He said the law could not be saved just because it evenhandedly prohibits disparagement of all groups.

“That is viewpoint discrimination in the sense relevant here: Giving offense is a viewpoint,” Alito wrote.

He added that the disparagement clause in the law “offends a bedrock First Amendment principle: Speech may not be banned on the ground that it expresses ideas that offend.”

All of the participating justices — Neil M. Gorsuch was not on the court when the case was argued — joined that part of Alito’s opinion. Four justices peeled off from parts of the opinion where they say Alito opined on more than what was needed to decide the case.

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Julius Caesar interruptus

Theguardian.com:

A rightwing protester has been charged with trespassing after interrupting a New York production of Julius Caesar during the assassination scene and shouting: “This is violence against Donald Trump.”

The protester, who later identified herself as Laura Loomer, interrupted the Shakespeare in the Park production on Friday night and shouted “this is political violence against the right” while audience members booed and told her to get off the stage.

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No high road for Ted Nugent

Washingtonpost.com:

Musician Ted Nugent is known for speaking his mind about the Second Amendment and hunting, but especially on politicians. He once said then-Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama should “suck my machine gun.” When President Obama was running for reelection in 2012, the rocker said during the National Rifle Association convention that, “If Barack Obama becomes the president in November, again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year.” The statement attracted the attention of the Secret Service.

But after Wednesday’s shooting at a congressional baseball practice, Nugent has decided to be “more selective with my rants and in my words.”

“At the tender age of 69, my wife has convinced me I just can’t use those harsh terms,” he said on the 77 WABC radio program Thursday. “I cannot and will not and I encourage even my friends, slash, enemies on the left, in the Democrat and liberal world, that we have got to be civil to each other.”

“I’m not going to engage in that kind of hateful rhetoric anymore.”

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Neil Cavuto calls out Trump: Mr. President, you are the problem

Huffingtonpost.com:

Cavuto summed up his comments by telling the president that his critics are not the issue. “They’re not the problem, Mr. President,” he said. “Like I said, these days, you are.”

Finally I agree with Neil Cavuto about something. Hats off to him.  More people need to call out this bad behavior. Some lack the courage to do so.  Neil Cavuto has cojones!

Perhaps even Fox is fleeing this sinking ship.

Open Thread………………………….June, 2017

June is finally here and we weren’t washed away.  I can’t remember a rainier May than 2017.  Hopefully June will have warm, dry days with low humidity.

Supposedly, the fireflies are out.  That’s always a happy sign of summer.   I haven’t seen any yet but I haven’t been sitting outside on the deck in the rain.

School will soon be out for all the kids. Drive carefully.   Kids and squirrels are on the move.

Why conservatives won’t dance….

dailybeast.com:   (Matt Lewis excerpt)

…[F]awning praise isn’t limited to the partisans in the White House or at Fox News. Over at National Review, Dennis Prager has authored a controversial column criticizing “Never-Trumpers” for not falling in line. He describes Trump as “our general” and theorizes that conservatives who oppose Trump “do not believe that America is engaged in a civil war, with the survival of America as we know it at stake.”

He concludes, “I beg them: Please report for duty.”

In fairness, there’s a lot of truth to Prager’s theory. Yes, a common denominator for Trump backers might be a belief in an apocalyptic future—lacking their Trumpian savior, of course. Likewise, Never Trumpers did not see a Trump loss as the end of America. But that is only one of the differences that separate the pro-Trump conservatives from the Never Trumpers.

Trump supporters, it seems to me, are more disposed to prize authoritarian traits like loyalty and hierarchy. For these Trump apologists, the analogies never end. He is our general. Sometimes he’s our daddy. Sometimes he’s our CEO. Whether it’s paternalistic, militaristic, or capitalistic, there are numerous ways to be subservient to him. Pick your favorite!

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One A-hole ruins 70 years of trust and good-will in Europe

Washingtonpost.com:

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday declared a new chapter in U.S.-European relations after contentious meetings with President Trump last week, saying that Europe “really must take our fate into our own hands.”

Offering a tough review in the wake of Trump’s trip to visit E.U., NATO and Group of Seven leaders last week, Merkel told a packed Bavarian beer hall rally that the days when Europe could rely on others was “over to a certain extent. This is what I have experienced in the last few days.”

It was a stark declaration from the leader of Europe’s most powerful economy, and a grim take on the transatlantic ties that have underpinned Western security in the generations since World War II. Although relations between Washington and Europe have been strained during periods since 1945, before Trump there has rarely been such a strong feeling from European leaders that they must turn away from Washington and prepare to face the world alone.

 

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Lest we forget–Memorial Day 2017

Guest contribution by our very own poet laureate, Captain George S. Harris:

 

LEST WE FORGET-MEMORIAL DAY 2017

It is just a few days past the day our own Civil War ended on May 9,1865-151 years ago.  On that day, two great armies and two great leaders met at Appomattox, Virginia to begin the process of bringing our nation back together again. They were there to salve the wounds that four years of war had inflicted on its participants.  Some 640,000 men, 2% of our population, were lost; the worst war we have ever been engaged in.  A war that saw fathers against sons and brothers against brothers in a fight to the death.  It was the hope of these two great leaders, General Ulysses S. Grant and General Robert E. Lee, that at last we would once again seek the path to the “perfect union” our founders sought some seventy-eight years earlier during several muggy weeks in the spring and fall of 1787 in Phildelphia.

Some who read this may remember when Memorial Day was known as Decoration Day.  It is a day set aside to decorate the graves of those military folks who lost their lives in service to our Nation.  “Decoration Day or, if you prefer, Memorial Day, began shortly after our Civil War. There are several claims as to just when it began but decorating the graves of warriors has been around for many decades or perhaps centuries.

More than a million Americans have made the ultimate sacrifice and almost all of them in two wars-our own Civil War and World War II.  While we are now engaged in the longest war we have ever known, there are fewer deaths but many more have sustained what are often euphemistically referred to as “life alternating injuries”.  These injuries run from simple wounds to multiple limb loss, paralysis, traumatic brain injury and what we now know as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  This latter disorder has had many names in the past but it ultimately means the terrible impact war has on the minds and souls of our military personnel.

No one goes to war who doesn’t come back changed.  It is not always easily recognized but for me and others who read these words, we know because we live with it every day of our lives.  This is not some made up psycho-babble, it is a real, palpable thing.  Most of us continue to live and work and carry out normal lives but others do not even to the point of destroying themselves by suicide.

We have to ask ourselves, “Will the day ever come when we will no longer have any new graves to decorate on Memorial Day?  When will we have peace?” In a speech at American University on June 10, 1963, only a few months before his death by assassination, President John F. Kennedy said this about peace.

“I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, the kind that enables men and nations to grow and to hope and to build a better life for their children–not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women–not merely peace in our time but peace for all time.”

This Memorial Day, more than 1,000 soldiers will place flags at more than 300,000 graves in the annual “Flags In” ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.  Lest we forget, this is the price of freedom for our great Nation.

 

God bless all those who have gone before and God bless the Untied States of America on this Memorial Day.

“Hymn to the Fallen” by John Williams featured.