Celestial Bauble

Hubble has another great capture. This one is being called a celestial bauble. And just in time for Christmas. What a crazy coincidence, I know. (SpaceDaily thought it prudent to dumb down the article title a bit.)

Celestial Bauble

This is called SNR 0509, which means it’s a supernova remnant. It’s located in the Large Magellanic Cloud, which looks a little something like this.

Large Magellanic Cloud

(None of this is here for or because of human existence, by the way.)

Okay, now the rich have their money

Great, wonderful, magical. The rich have avoided a marginal tax increase so they can keep money that will not find its way to those at the other end of the massive, Republican-caused income gap. (Trickle down economics. Lol.) So can Congress do something that matters?

  • Maybe they can approve the START treaty. I don’t know about you, but I don’t trust Russia, whether in its agenda or its infrastructure and ability to maintain its nuclear arsenal in any manner (such as, I don’t know, keeping track of it). Oh, and Ronald Reagan supported arms reduction. That isn’t a reason for my support. I’m just mentioning it because Dick Morris said exactly the opposite on a radio show last night. He’s a moron.
  • Or maybe they could allow gays to help make us safer. I know, I know. All the right-wing conservative bigots (apologies for redundancy) are going to throw a fit over this – just like they did in response to racially integrating…well, anything. But this is the right thing to do, it will make our 20th century-style military more effective, and there is no rational reason that says we shouldn’t do it. And oh, c’mon. Let’s be honest. We all know what the slime-bag bigots (like McCain) are thinking, and no. No, gay people do not fuck everything that moves. Grow up.
  • Or maybe they could give health care to 9/11 First Responders. I’m grammatically uncomfortable with capitalizing “First Responders”, but I’m more than morally okay with it. I’m just not sure if the Republican’ts are comfortable giving health care to anyone. When Jon Stewart showed his anger over the lack of action on this bill, I figured it really just came down to the Republican’ts sticking together on their crappy do-nothing pledge until the billionaires got their tax breaks. But it looks like it’s going to be tough to scrape together the 60 votes needed to pass this thing. Does it make me a name-caller if I say this group is really fucking scummy? Because I might have to argue that I’m making a descriptive, not a normative, claim.

Can’t we have our bigotry? Pleeeaaassse?

Republicans in Iowa want their judges to be purely political figures, making their decisions based upon lay opinions, not law.

Several Republican state lawmakers said Friday that they will try to impeach four Iowa Supreme Court justices who joined in a unanimous 2009 ruling that legalized gay marriage in the state.

The effort, led by newly elected House member Kim Pearson of Des Moines, comes about six weeks after voters removed three other justices from the seven-member court after a campaign that focused on the gay marriage ruling. Those three justices were up for retention elections, in which voters have the option of ousting judges near the end of their terms.

Pearson said the remaining justices should be impeached because they overstepped their authority and violated the state constitution when they overturned a state law that defined marriage as being between one man and one woman. She claimed the court ruling infringed on the Legislature’s role in making laws.

This is a political stunt that isn’t going to go anywhere given 1) the fact that Democrats, the party of mostly non-bigots, still control the Iowa state Senate and 2) any amendment needs to pass in two elected Legislatures back-to-back. It won’t happen and these Republicans know it. What they’re doing is preying on the anti-gay fears of voters in a traditional mid-Western state.

There are dozens of states which passed pro-bigot amendments to their constitutions after gay marriage became legal in Massachusetts. Even though it isn’t any fun to give praise to states that are literally ruining lives, they made the smart decision in terms of how to stop two people of the same sex from getting married. The Republicans in Iowa need to suck it up and accept that sometimes women love women and men love men and they deserve the legal protections that can only be had in marriage, and too bad if you didn’t pass your own pro-bigot amendments years ago.Your supreme court made the correct legal and moral decision.

I (heart) boobies!

Brianna Hawk and Kayla Martinez are suing their school, Easton Area Middle School, for suspending them for wearing breast cancer awareness bracelets which read “I (heart) boobies!” It’s another case of out-of-touch old people who are doing no good with their misplaced fear.

The girls were suspended for what the school considered “disruption, defiance and disrespect” — although they were previously told they had violated the school dress code. According to the school district, the bracelets prompted at least two boys to try to touch girls inappropriately.

“Do you think boys would have a natural attraction to girls’ breasts?” school district lawyer John E. Freund III asked Hawk in one of the day’s more awkward moments.

For real? That’s the issue? Two boys were “prompted” by what the girls were wearing? Didn’t we all learn in Common Fucking Sense 101 that sexual harassment is the fault of the harasser, not the harassed? Besides that, the two boys are in middle school. This is a good teaching moment, as they say.

Schools from Florida to California also have tried to ban the bracelets. The American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing the Pennsylvania girls on free-speech grounds and described them as good students, successfully intervened without filing suit in a few other districts.

I hate these arguments. I do not care if the girls were straight F students. That is not the point.

The judge plans to hear oral arguments in the case early next year before ruling. She asked the school’s principal for seventh and eighth grades, Angela DiVietro, if the bracelets had caused distractions before the ban was announced in late October.

DiVietro replied that teachers were concerned the bracelets would start to become “a disruption in the classroom.”

What is this, a humanities course? These mamby-pamby answers absolutely do not cut it. DiVietro was asked if the bracelets had caused a distraction, not if teachers were concerned that they could. She continues:

“They were concerned they were making a mockery out of the breast cancer awareness campaign, and some of the kids were wearing it just to wear it,” she said. “It was a fad. It was cute. It was more appealing to that age group.”

The correct, proper, mature, adult, intelligent, developed, sophisticated, effective response would be to hold a school-wide gathering that addressed these concerns with the students, making them aware of what the bracelets mean, what it means to have breast cancer, what is means to know someone with breast cancer, and all the other issues that come with not squashing obvious free speech rights because a couple old fogies are uncomfortable with a little word. If anyone is making a mockery of breast cancer awareness, it’s DiVietro and her crew; by engaging in a misguided attempt at censorship, they’re blocking out an important message, belittling the entire reason behind the creation of the bracelets.

The Keep A Breast Foundation aims to raise young people’s awareness about breast cancer through art exhibits, a pilot school program and outreach at music and skateboard festivals, marketing manager Kimmy McAtee testified.

“I see no sexual message in the ‘I love boobies’ campaign,” McAtee testified.

Crazy, huh? It’s almost like the whole point of the campaign is to raise awareness of breast cancer – especially among kids. I guess the Keep A Breast Foundation thinks it’s sort of an important issue.

Thought of the day

It’s as meaningful as it is cheesy: Practice random acts of kindness.