Late Night Clown Shoes Open Thread: To the… MARS, Alice!

They could have blamed it on jet lag (or TBH on having to behave like some approximation of a grown-up for a whole three days in a row), but that would’ve implied their Dear Leader was susceptible to the weaknesses of mere mortals…

At a meeting of the NASA Advisory Council last week, William H. Gerstenmaier, NASA’s associate administrator for human exploration and operations, said that it was unlikely that appropriators in Congress would agree to provide all the money needed for a 2024 moon landing, and that the agency would likely have to cut the budgets for other areas of the space agency.

Hours after the tweet was sent, a White House official attempted to clarify Mr. Trump’s meaning, saying that the administration’s space goals were unchanged. The official added that by seeking additional resources for a journey to the moon within the next five years, the Trump administration intended to accelerate a crewed American visit to Mars…








This Kind of Freaks Me Out

More info here:

With May in the books, another third of the 2019 U.S. corn crop has yet to be planted, according to the latest USDA crop progress report, out Monday afternoon.

“Today’s update from USDA came in on the lower side of estimates for corn and soybean planting, keeping both crops under the gun,” according to Farm Futures senior grain market analyst Bryce Knorr. “Only Texas was ahead of normal for corn planting, though growers in the western Corn Belt made better progress.”

Corn progress reached 67% as of June 2, up from 58% a week ago but still far behind 2018’s pace of 96% and the five-year average of 96%. Analysts expected a more robust pace of 71%, although trade guesses ranged between 68% and 76%. Five of the top 18 production states still haven’t reached the halfway mark, including Illinois (45%), Indiana (31%), Michigan (42%), North Dakota (33%) and South Dakota (44%).

This strikes me as a really big deal, and while I am one to freak out about things like this, I should note that I am not seeing people who know what they are talking about lose their shit, so maybe I shouldn’t. My concerns are beyond a potential corn shortage, how many farmers will go under because they can’t plant alternate crops like soybeans? Cheeto Benito’s trade war wiped out their market, and that ain’t ever coming back. Just the other day China halted big purchases, and last year Brazil and others (including Russia, which I am sure is just a coincidence) eagerly stepped in and filled the void.

So there is that problem. On top of that, I don’t think people fully appreciate just how fundamental the corn crop to so much of our manufacturing and economy. Beyond the obvious foodstuffs, corn is also a key component in everything from cattle feed to pet food to ethanol for cars to vinegar and on and on and on. Almost every product will be more expensive- including beverages, because in response to the US Sugar program, which places tariffs and sets prices for sugar producers, beverages are made from… high fructose corn syrup. It also factors in to a wide number of industrial products, like the following:

* Industrial products — Soaps, paints, corks, linoleum, polish, adhesives, rubber substitutes, wallboard, dry-cell batteries, textile finishings, cosmetic powders, candles, dyes, pharmaceuticals, lubricants, insulation, wallpaper and other starch products.

* Fermentation products and byproducts — industrial alcohols, fuel ethanol, recyclable plastics, industrial enzymes, fuel octane enhancers, fuel oxygenates and solvents.

Again, virtually every stage of manufacturing will be impacted. This, with Trump’s tariffs with Mexico already jacking up prices for consumers and economists predicting a recession in the near term, and it is scary. Making it even scarier is that this isn’t going to be a one-off. Climate change isn’t going to just stop. The flooding is going to become more and more commonplace- you’d think people would notice that they are having 100 year floods every year, but apparently not.

So again, the whole thing has me concerned. Not that there is any realistic chance we’ll fucking do anything about it. The idiots in those states will still keep electing wingnuts, and they’ll respond by transferring tax dollars from blue states to distressed farmers in the moocher red states (and Trump’s wealthy buddies), and talk about salt of the earth real Muricans and evil liberal coastal elites.








Friday Morning Open Thread — King Leer: “I Call It… Infrastructure Week!”

*Not* one of the more successful Shakespearian updates…

Somebody knows where to slip the shiv…


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All About Impeachment

I’m all over the place on impeachment. Obviously, I was ready to impeach the motherfucker on or about 1 pm on inauguration day, so when I see cries to impeach him my gut shrieks “FUCK YES IMPEACH THAT SON OF A BITCH DO IT TWICE FUCK IT DO IT A THIRD TIME JUST FOR SHITS AND GIGGLES.” So, yes, I support impeaching the prick.

At the same time, I realize that impeaching him now (despite being an obvious congressional duty to uphold the fucking law) is kind of pointless. There is no way in hell the craven Republicans would vote to convict. So we’d have impeached him, shot the wad, and nothing would change.

So basically, where I am right now, with both competing thoughts, is to keep working on every front to expose his lies and fraud and criminality- let the subpoenas for his information work through the courts, get the information you can, build your best case, and then hope some fault lines appear in the GOP and public opinion keeps going in our way. Then impeach.

It also occurs to me that all of this MIGHT BE the process of impeachment, it’s just too fucking slow for someone like me who wants the prick out of office and in jail yesterday. So when people are screaming about Pelosi not using the “I” word, they just don’t realize she IS in the process of impeaching him. That’s a possibility.

At any rate, despite me champing at the bit, I’m aware that launching the D-Day invasion with only 1/3 the troops would have probably have been a disaster, so I am telling myself to just calm down and see what happens. It’s hard, after years of middling sternly worded letters, but for now I am holding back and letting all this damaging info come out and happy to let the Republicans continue to defend the scumbag when there is no defense. We’ll see what happens.








Cold Grey Pre-Dawn Open Thread: Justin Amash, Libertarian

Like Dana Houle, I remember Justin Amash as a local (state) nuisance, carrying water for his deVos family patrons in order to help the proud Christianists of Western Michigan stay barefoot and ignorant. But unlike such ‘independent thinkers’ as Mike Lee or Little Prince Rand, he’s not a moron, and he doesn’t assume that everyone not Justin Amash is either lying or a moron or both. If he’s made the decision to cut line on the Squatter-in-Chief, well… He does have his Libertarian principles, but I’m halfway hoping he’s also the first defector before the flood.

For the supposedly well-disciplined and implacable Trump Brigades of the GOP, this is some very weak tea, per the Washington Post:

Trump privately has vented to associates about the Michigan lawmaker, who on Saturday became the first congressional Republican to raise the possibility of impeachment, citing the findings of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, according to officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations…

But on Capitol Hill, few Republicans are eager to punish the libertarian, who had a long history of bucking GOP leaders even before Trump was elected. Top Republican lawmakers and aides said Monday that kicking Amash out of the GOP conference or off his committee would only draw more attention to his apostasy. Instead, they have focused on isolating Amash and portraying him as an outlier. The House Freedom Caucus, a conservative group of which Amash is a member, also took a position Monday night “strongly disagreeing” with Amash’s comments…
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