Thursday, October 31, 2019

No (Candy) Treats Tonight For Any Kid Wearing A Trump (Or Other Objectionable) Mask.

Wearing any of these despicable masks will get a kid a Granny Smith green apple, nothing more.

No - there will be NO candy or other sugary goodies for any kid who shows up tonight in a Donald Trump mask.  There will be a "treat" of  sorts (recommended by a good friend):  a nice green, Granny Smith  apple. This is the same approach I used some years ago for kids wearing racist Obama masks, e.g.

 but for different reasons.Why a kid would choose such a mask instead of a zombie, dinosaur, Frankenstein  or demon, is beyond me.

But maybe the kid perhaps believes Donald Trump's visage is scarier than any 'Walking Dead" zombie's or a Satan mask.  Or maybe a parent (Trumpie) thought it'd be cool to "scare the libtards" with a Trump mask.  No, not cool, not a good idea.

We already see this depraved beast and man -baby con man defiling the office and the nation at large. An oozing pustule on the U.S. body politic,  contaminating the public airwaves every night on the news. So we don't need to see a facsimile of the orange bastard on a kid's face for Halloween..  As psychiatrist Allen Francis writes in his book, 'Twilight of American Sanity' (p. 35):

"Trump's peevish truculence, previously confined to reality TV shows, temper tantrums at business meetings, and petty now destabilizing the world."

So we don't need a Trump mask to also destabilize the kid world of 'Trick or Treat' which ought to be totally apolitical.

Look, this is simple and basically common sense.  There are aesthetic and moral limits to the Halloween costumes that can be tolerated and accepted.  Further, education concerning what is appropriate needs to be an integral part of the event.  This also goes far beyond the meme of "political correctness" which is mocked these days even when it's blatantly over extended into areas pertaining to civility, and plain old common sense.

With that in mind here's a list of Halloween costumes which  merit a Granny Smith green apple, should trick or treaters show up in any of them.  Those appearing with good old fashioned, non-political  costumes (i.e. devil, ape, zombie, etc.) get a bag filled with Reese's Pieces, M&Ms, Snickers, and Nestles Crunch mini (2 oz.) bars.

1) Barack Obama rodeo clown mask: Absolutely not, no way and no how. Besides, it's not even funny but merely a sneaky way to mock our first African -American President. I already explained all of this in a previous blog post,

2) Blackface: This is a more generic extension of (1) given it mocks African Americans in general. People need to know, however that , blackface   was developed in the country's primitive early social era barely five decades after the Civil War as a form of "entertainment". Sadly, despite supposedly having entered a more refined and civilized era, it remains a perennial favorite among both intentional and accidental racists. For those in need of some education before you don it, here is a handy flowchart in case you need further guidance on the subject.

3) Adolf Hitler: Jeebus, this ought to go without saying, no? Especially in the full array, as decked out in the official Führer uniform, i.e.

Bundesarchiv Bild 183-S33882, Adolf Hitler retouched.jpgThis guy, perhaps the greatest monster of the 20th century, needs no advertising from either wayward kids, or parents. It simply ought to be a no-brainer to not even go there!

4) Donald J. Trump,  Second only to Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin (I rank them co-equal 1s) in manifest evil.  So just as I'd not tolerate a Hitler mask I'd not tolerate one bearing the face of the most malignant criminal, con man, traitor and demagogue to ever foul the office of the presidency.  

5) 'The Joker' -  This was the get up mass killer James Eagen Holmes' used in his murderous assault on an Aurora, CO theater in July 2012. It's now had a new iteration in a new movie entitled 'Joker' but people here in Colorado are still sensitive to the subtext and message and don't want reminding.  Just as theaters have barred patrons in masks from entry so many of my neighbors don't want to see kids coming  down the cul-de-sac with such masks to their doors.  Fortunately, the costumes-masks were relatively rare - let's hope they remain that way. People here in Colorado don't need to be reminded of that tragedy 

6) Anna Rexia: Lol. Get it? A personification of Anorexia, a high fave of teen girls over the years. Sorry to suck the fun out of your pun, chickies, but eating disorders are never sexy, nor are they something to be mocked — same goes for any other illness or disorder.

7) The Human Centipede:  Fortunately, this one is rare - so unlikely to be seen anywhere in my burg - also, this place is far too conservative to remotely tolerate it so I probably don't have to worry about it.  Compared to the real-life horrors cited above, dressing up as the Human Centipede, the horror film machination of humans stitched together from mouth-to-anus, is hardly the most offensive costume. But it’s still  really gross- and isn't one to be rewarded.

Have fun, get the kids outside - as opposed to keeping 'em corralled  merely at house parties or Malls- but know what costumes are appropriate and what are not.  And remember: political correctness has value - despite some of Bill Maher's objections  - in the promotion and service of moral consciousness and the cultivation of a moral compass!

See also:

 How Halloween makes kids more monstrous


American Chemical Society Investigates How Much Ha...

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

'New Republic' Expose Shows How Wall St. Cost- Cutting Model Turned Boeing's 737 MAX Into A Disaster

Image result for brane space, Ethiopian MAX 8"
The Ethiopian MAX 8 of the sort that crashed earlier this year. No one in his or her right mind should be pining for this monstrosity to get back in the air anytime soon.

"I'd walk before I'd get on a 737 Max."  -  Sen. John Tester  in Senate hearing  yesterday on Boeing's 737 Max

"In the now infamous debacle of the Boeing 737 MAX, the company produced a plane outfitted with a half-assed bit of software programmed to override all pilot input, and nosedive when a little vane on the side of the fuselage told it the nose was pitching up." - Maureen Tkacik, 'How Boeing's Managerial Revolution Created The 737 Max Disaster'The New Republic, October, p. 12.

The interrogation of Boeing CEO  Dennis Mullenburg yesterday was notable for one thing: the consistency of weasel words and lack of transparency as to the basis for Boeing's two 737 MAX -8 crashes.  In effect, no one watching would gain any deep insights. Not like they would if they took the time to read the 12-page article in The New Republic by Maureen Tkacik.   Given most readers might not have ready access, I provide the link to this must read article here:

Given the length of the piece, I summarize below what I believe are the key takeaways:

Boeing's acquisition of McDonnell Douglas in 1997 foreshadowed its downward spiral in terms of the quality of decision making, and becoming hostage to Wall Street shareholder imperatives.  Thereby Boeing adopted the "Hollywood model" for dealing with engineers: Hire them for a few months with project deadlines approaching then fire them "when you need to make numbers"

In other words eliminate engineers' input to expedite a product goal, given it likely means cutting corners to appease Wall Street leading to "endless wars" with assorted unions, including mechanics.


Much of the software on  the MAX had been engineered by recent grads of Indian coding schools, who earned barely $9 an hour. Boeing didn't want to pay any more.

In a number of cases quality control documents were regularly forged

Employees who tried to enforce standards were sabotaged

Planes were regularly delivered to airlines with loose screws, scratched windows and random debris everywhere. 

The 737 Max's design was so far out of whack with aerodynamic principles that even test models in wind tunnels "botched certain extreme maneuvers."

At the core of the issues were the use of two, massive "LEAP" engines manufactured  by CFM (a joint 50-50 venture of GE and the French firm, Safran).  The massive  engines' fans were over 40 percent larger in diameter than the original 737 Pratt & Whitneys - and weighed in at twice the weight of those original engines.  The correction for the increased weight was translated into a longer and heavier fuselage and also a wider wingspan.  But the key bugbear in altered design was the inability to increase the plane's height. (Which would have meant redesigning the landing gear and risking an easier FAA certification.)

The aerodynamics were negatively impacted because the LEAP engines were too large to just tuck into their original positions underneath the wings so Boeing's engineers decided to mount them slightly forward - just in front of the wings.  The problem was that this change caused the plane's center of gravity to also move forward given the engines' mass.

The alteration using a MAX replica the size of an eagle - with tests in a wind tunnel - disclosed even 4 years before certification that the plane was a mess.  The aerodynamic profile caused the tail to keep pitching down while the nose pitched up.  There was no normal way to alter the aerodynamics to get it to fly so the engineers devised the MCAS software fix  to do the job.   The problem was the software pushed the nose down in the event of rare set of circumstances in conjunction with the "speed trim system".  (Devised in the 1980s to smooth takeoffs).

Once the MAX "materialized" in actual scale 4 years later test pilots discovered how it was even more stall prone than its predecessors. This led Boeing to modify the MCAS to force down the nose of the plane whenever the angle of attack (AOA) sensor detected a stall - and regardless of the speed.   The trouble was Boeing created an additional problem to solve the original problem of  unstable aerodynamic design.

In this case, Boeing had to give the MCAS system more power while it removed a safeguard - but not in a formal, specifically documented way that might have given the FAA pause in any certification.  The issue is traced to the fact that while the MAX has two AOA sensors only one was programmed to trigger the MCAS.  One Boeing whistleblower quoted in the NR article gave a simple explanation: if a program required data from BOTH sensors it would have had to account for any divergence.  Also the possibility that any sensor disagreement would trigger a cockpit alert.  That in turn would require additional and more complex training (D level)  and no Boeing hotshot - least of all Mullenberg - wanted to risk that in a race to beat Airbus in gaining market share.

Therefore, Boeing's machinations spawned the single point of failure; the MCAS system was programmed to turn the nose down based on the feedback from a single sensor.  In other words, they'd created the "world's first self -hijacking plane."

Worse, the single system programming was such that it enabled the plane to nose dive again 5 seconds later, and "again five seconds after that ad infinitum".

- The worst travesty is that Boeing kept the details of the MCAS software fix and actions hidden including from test pilots.


Pilots were particularly stunned (e.g. at the Lion Air Crash last year) and the tracing to the MCAS given MCAS  "had been a big secret, largely kept from Boeing's own test pilots, mentioned only once in the glossary of the plane's 1,600 page manual and left entirely out of the 56 minute Ipad refresher course that some 737 pilots took for MAX certification."

And to top it off, "most pilots only heard of the MCAS from their unions which had gotten wind of the software from a supplementary Bulletin Boeing put out."

Outraged, many pilots took to message boards and others contacted the press including  Dominic Gates of The Seattle Times, Sean Broderick of Aviation Week and the WSJ's  Andy Pasztor.  Subsequent investigation has uncovered Boeing lobbied (FAA) regulators successfully to keep any explanation of the system from pilot manuals and training - then after the 2 crashes tried to blame the foreign pilots for improper or inadequate training.  We now know this was a ruse and depraved way to shift blame when Boeing alone bears responsibility for designing an unstable plane and a god-awful attempt at a software fix which they were ashamed to even admit existed..

Other pilots went to their corporate management to try to get additional resources "to train people on the scary new planes."

In the end not enough was done and neither the Lion Air or Ethiopian Airlines pilots had a chance,  see e.g.

BOEING 737 MAX 8 May Not Fly Until 2022 - If Then ...

The bottom line is that this plane is an aerodynamic disaster - and was from the instant the massive LEAP engines were mounted so far forward so that no natural re-design (that cost less than projected) was possible, or recertification without complications.  It is a menace to fly, for any passengers and Sen. John Tester was correct to express misgivings. I would not go so far as to "walk" instead of flying, but I would take a train.

Nobody in his or her right mind ought to be cheering for this aerodynamic monstrosity to take to the skies again, if ever. Not unless and until the entire plane is redesigned without the need for an MCAS "fix"  to hide in the background ready to "self hijack".

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

"Hobo Cities" Growing - So Why Don't The Billionaires Help Out - Like In Tulsa, OK?

As a humanitarian crisis (homelessness)  grows in the wealthiest country in the world, most of the media attention still goes to Trump and his staged PR stunts, braggart claims, lies and "firing back" at the House Dems almost every day by deranged tweet.  It is almost as if the media is being driven by tweet as they repeat every psychotic piece of drivel he brain farts.

Trump has so overwhelmed politics that most of what passes for dialogue consists of his shouted lies, insults and threats and the Democrats’ scattered efforts to respond to them.  Most often in tepid, wimpy ways- such as castigating World Series baseball fans yesterday (at Nationals Stadium)  for booing the traitorous maggot and yelling "Lock him up!".  True to form, too many clueless, Milquetoast Dems still believe when Dotard goes low they need to go high - thereby exposing themselves to being kicked in the groin.

The media, as I've consistently pointed out, is almost no help at all - as we beheld with Trump's claims of bringing down Baghdadi when as a NY Times report notes, that achievement was in spite of Captain Bonespurs not because of him.

I confess that to an extent the ongoing crisis and drama also obsesses me.  Each morning I turn on cable news for the latest evidence of Trump’s insanity. I read the morning papers (WaPo, NY Times, Financial Times), drink coffee and then Janice and I share our separate insights into how best Trump can be brought to heel like the rabid dog he is.

 But I digress, because none of this is related to the growing homeless population across our nation and especially in the cities, e.g. San Francisco.   What one does notice is that the reactionary finance media (e.g. WSJ) tend to blame the cities and the homeless themselves for their predicament.  A case in point is the recent editorial "California's Hobo Paradise", WSJ, Sept. 24, p. A16) where we find the basic issue of exploding housing costs is generally ignored, instead blaming California voters for not being tough enough on crime, i.e.:

"California's homeless rate began climbing in 2015 after voters approved a referendum effectively decriminalizing drug possession and theft...Many low level criminals and addicts have been  released onto the streets."

In other words, throw the bums in the hoosegow for being addicts, or stealing an apple or loaf of bread or milk for a starving kid.

The WSJ goes on:

"The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals last year also made it harder to remove people from the streets."

Here's a newsflash: how about removing people from the street to secure housing where they can forge a life, get clean of drugs and begin to resolve mental and physical health problems?  This is what Tulsa, OK did - according to a study conducted by the Colorado Springs Gazette. The paper  found the input of local billionaires and other money men immensely helped in moving thousands of the city's homeless from the streets to housing where they successfully stabilized their lives. (More than 60 percent success rate.)  We learn, for example, from the Sept. 25 piece,  how billionaires in the city donated money to support housing units for the homeless:

"The presence of multiple well-heeled philanthropists in Tulsa - and those donors' penchant for giving large sums of money to the social service sector - is what separates that city from others.  Most of the Mental Health Association of Oklahoma's units were purchased over the last ten years after the non-profit raised  $65.5 million.  Three quarters of those donations came from private donors and nearly half ($30m) from a single philanthropic organization, the Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation."

The piece goes on to note the motivation of these Tulsa philanthropists:

"Homelessness and mental health have been top priorities for them, as well as for Henry's brother Jack Zarrow."

Then noting:

"Without that kind of philanthropic investment, replicating anything similar is a long shot, say Colorado Springs nonprofit leaders. "

The piece then cites the Springs Rescue Mission which has struggled for years just to raise the final $2.25 million needed to complete its first one- of- a -kind campus for housing homeless.  The Gazette partly blames Colorado Springs  "white hot housing market" where - as I noted before-  the average wage earner doesn't even make the $22 / hour needed to get a decent apartment.

Furthermore, "complexes that sold for $50,000 or $60,000 a unit now routinely go for well over $100,000 a unit."   This puts them totally out of reach of general public charity donations. Well, because those of us in that category - like yours truly and wifey - can afford maybe a few hundred dollars a year, but not the millions needed to house all the city's homeless.

As the article goes on to note: "Housing costs across the state increased by 77% over the past decade as newcomers flocked to the state", see e.g.

Too Many Coming To Colorado Are Ruining The State

The effect has caused housing prices across the Front Range to "skyrocket".  Meanwhile, "wages have inched up a mere 4.5% in the same time".

 Our own home, for example, has increased in value by 85 % since 2000 when we bought it. Other homes on the more preferred western side of town (e.g. Mountain Shadows) have shot up even more, some past 150-200%.  The resulting mortgages make it nearly impossible for anyone to purchase who isn't earning at least $100k a year. Not surprisingly, homelessness grows by the day or month as more people fall through the cracks, whether from an addiction, or losing a home to foreclosure because of a health problem or a job loss.  This lays the basis for a cycle of homelessness owing to stress.  As Sarah Barnes, manager of the Colorado Children's Campaign notes:

"One of the big connections between housing instability and mental health is around chronic stress."

Hence, people tossed onto the streets for whatever reason, continually experience more stress which makes them more likely to turn to drugs or alcohol and less likely to get off the streets. It is a vicious circle.  By contrast, more affordable housing - or low cost units provided by philanthropy - mean fewer people hostage to the vagaries of food and shelter insecurity - as well as health problems- thereby reducing the generational cycle of poverty. The latter often cause traumas that lead to poor mental health and more homeless people. Evidently, the WSJ editors have no clue about that.

On the other hand, one of the local voices (Lee Patke)  quoted in the Gazette piece admits:

"It's not that we don't have the capacity for those that are interested."

So okay, where are the big shot money men who should be interested?  What about local billionaire Philip Anshutz, the guy that owns the Gazette as well as the fantastically upscale  Broadmoor, e.g
Image result for Anschutz owned hotel in COlorado Springs

Anshutz - like the Zarrows in Oklahoma-    could easily afford to donate $30- 40 million to local social needs and housing, such as has been done by the Tulsa philanthropists. Why doesn't he?  He could solve - via  construction of more housing units- the homeless problem in the city in a  heartbeat, like it's been proven solved in Tulsa.  And as for San Francisco, why aren't the Silicon Valley billionaires helping out there to reduce the "Hobo paradise" problem? Again, they could afford to do it like Tulsa's own Zarrow family, but the question is why they choose not to.

After all:

"It's not a conservative or liberal issue.  It's a humanitarian and economic issue".

See also:

Monday, October 28, 2019

Killing Baghdadi Doesn't Give Captain Bonespurs Any "Lifeline" To Escape His Just Deserts!

Image result for Trump as TraitorImage result for Trump the coward, images

I could barely watch 5 minutes  on MSNBC  yesterday as Captain Bonespurs Trump  seized media attention to spiel his braggadocio about offing Isis No. 1 terrorist,  Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.  Merely the short exposure  revealed an imp  trying his best to look and sound presidential for claiming to have dispatched the top Isis rat.  But I was not impressed, despite his embellishments of how Baghdadi died ("like a dog", "like a rat", "crying and whimpering").

I still saw the same sniveling, whiny bitch coward and traitor who has betrayed his country on multiple occasions - from the capitulation to Putin in Stockholm two years ago (even volunteering to have his own Intel people interrogated by Vlad), to walking over to North Korea and greeting Kim last year (despite Kim amping up his missiles), to surrendering the Kurds to  Turkey's dictator Erdogan barely a month ago.  None of what he did or claimed yesterday absolves him one iota from his past crimes and betrayals and it certainly doesn't give him any "lifeline" from being impeached.  If the Dems fall for that they'd really deserve to lose next year.  Lifeline?

Yes, that's the word I saw bandied about in later press, media accounts, along with this tripe spewed by CBS' Gayle King this morning:

  "And this is a BIG victory for president Trump who was accused of giving  a lifeline to Isis when he pulled American troops out of northern Syria".

Then compounding her imbecility five minutes later, after a clip showing Trump getting booed at the World Series, the third game (with the Houston Astros)  in D.C.:

"It's so interesting to me that on a day when it's a clear victory for his administration he gets booed at a World Series game. I don't care who you are nobody likes to get booed! That's not nice."

Tough shit, Gayle. Maybe if your head was less in the clouds you'd grasp those fans probably know more than you do with your "victory" babble - which is just what the Trump cabal wants.  Mayhap Gayle ought to have read Jennifer Weiner's column ('Why Did It Feel So Good To See Trump  Booed?')in today's NY Times,   wherein she writes:

"The booing itself wasn’t the problem. The booing was appropriate. The booing was necessary, insofar as his trip to Nationals Park was one of the few times Mr. Trump has crept out of his self-made bubble and encountered something resembling the real world. When he eats out, it’s in a restaurant in a hotel he owns; when he plays golf, it’s at a club he owns; when he’s with a crowd, it’s his crowd.

Inside and outside of the White House, Mr. Trump has surrounded himself with sycophants and suck-ups, minions who stroke the emperor’s ego and assure him that his decisions are wise and his phone calls are perfect and his new clothes are absolutely the best. The boos were a reality check, real-life proof that it’s not just the “corrupt” media or the “do-nothing Democrats” who oppose him."


"Civility is a wonderful thing, when shared among equals. When people who have power require civility from those with less, or none, though, that demand is a cudgel, a weapon the haves use to keep the have-nots in line. When you’re confronted with evil, you don’t shake its hand or applaud it. If booing is incivility, bring it on."

Gayle King - if she even had an average  IQ - would grasp that.  And also that a  con man coward who keeps himself in a bubble surrounded only by sycophants, then steps out expecting more acclaim from non-MAGA hat citizens, deserves booing - and worse ('Lock him up!' chants).  Most of those who booed  and shouted the 'lock him up' chants  likely understood - unlike King- that the butchering of hundreds of Kurds, including children, and the prospect of further genocide and ethnic cleansing -   doesn't give Bonesuprs a pass for no hectoring in public. Or any  claimed "victory". No way in hell!

In fact, there is no such "victory" and if King paid more attention she'd know not to repeat such drivel.    Where Dotard does get credit is in shamelessly exaggerating his role in the elimination of Baghdadi to be able to hoodwink those like Gayle King.  How so?  As ABC national security correspondent Martha Radditz pointed out it was the culmination of a heroic effort by the Syrian Kurds with informers on the inside of Baghdadi's operation. Kurd couriers also helped in getting critical info to the CIA.   The operation had been going on for WEEKS.  Indeed, the commander of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Mazloum Kobani, tweeted on Sunday morning that the hunt for Baghdadi had been a five-month US-SDF joint intelligence operation.

But in Trump’s 50 minute self-obsessed bloviation, the Kurds were barely mentioned and  then only grudgingly.  Why would they be allowed much credit when Bonespurs stabbed them in the back, withdrawing U.S. forces 2 weeks ago, leaving them at the mercy of the oncoming Turks?  Apart from that - as Radditz also pointed out - taking out Baghdadi doesn't end Isis, given it is a multi-headed Hydra and not merely one man. Indeed, recall Trump's abandonment of the Kurds effectively made it possible for hundreds of Isis fighters, terrorists to escape from their prisons - as the Turks bombed them open.

So don't be snookered by his bellicose babble.  Trump had only a minimal role in this whole episode, and it doesn't mean the end of the Isis terror. As Thomas Friedman wrote in his NY Times piece, "Trump boasts of defeating the Islamic state which only shows how ignorant he is."  

So pardon me as I howled with laughter when this sorry, orange hued maggot hyped his role waxing forth on how he had  "captured Isis in one month and Mattis said it would take two years".   In fact he did no such thing. Most of the captured Isis scum escaped from their Kurd-held prisons after Trump abandoned the Kurds. The advancing Turks caused the Kurds to retreat - without U.S. help - and the prisons were  blasted open enabling a mass jail break. Baghdadi himself wasn't captured, he blew himself up using a suicide vest.

Predictably,  as Gayle King's useless editorializing showed, the clueless media missed the boat on Trump - as they so often do when he briefly  shows the slightest hint of being  a real commander -in- chief,  usually after being programmed by handlers and reading from his teleprompter instead of going off half -cocked. (Which he did anyway after ten minutes yesterday).   But most of us aren't fooled because we know this is his core character:  a sneering, mendacious, bullying con man and cowardly traitor who merits impeachment and rapid removal from office.  This is the same character, as Gen. Jim Mattis chided at a recent national press event, who five times got his daddy to get a doctor to write letters to excuse him from military service for "bone spurs".  This was a terrific comeback after Dotard had denigrated his former defense secretary for being “overrated” and “not that tough".  Well, Mattis actually went into service unlike Trump who tried 5 times to escape with phony medical ruses.

But never mind, because cowards like Trump never recognize their cowardice. Hence, he could go on his bombastic way babbling that Baghdadi  “died  a coward crying, whimpering and screaming after running into a dead end tunnel ".   Thereby projecting the same behavior onto Baghdadi that Trump himself would have exhibited, say if he'd been sent to Vietnam instead of escaping with con man inspired "bone spurs".  As Gen. Jim Mattis noted,  Trump might call him "overrated" but at least he (Mattis) didn't use "bone spurs" to get out of military service five times.  Correction:  task his rich daddy Fred to recruit a doc to write a letter excusing Dotard from service for bone spurs.

Captain Bonespurs didn't stop there with his egoistic boasting and denigration, seeing the overawed media assembled before him - a veritable captive audience -  waiting with bated breath so he could carry on his asinine, half-baked rhetoric. So we also  learned  the Isis leader was a “dog”, a “gutless animal”, and the Isis militants who died alongside him were “losers” and “frightened puppies”.  In other words, all  characterizations of Donnie Dotard himself as he faces imminent impeachment with  another parade of witnesses to provide depositions this week.

 So one would think the media would have been able to see this as well, no? Not on your life.  The corporate media still give Trump the benefit of the doubt every time - or almost - and on an occasion like  this one heard nary a critical word.  This despite the fact of having told over 13,000 lies - by the Washington Post's latest count.

One would have at least expected the media to ignore Trump's  overheated claptrap  that frankly sounded like it came from a Z-grade made-for-TV  epic about  a narcissist authoritarian who brags after killing a foe.  Well, the film ('Last King Of Scotland') about Idi Amin Dada comes to mind,  with that authoritarian tyrant bragging at various points about his conquests. That's what Trump's spiel reminded me of.  Indeed, at one point Trump  himself confirmed he had witnessed it almost as a piece of cinema, “as though you were watching a movie. The technology alone is really great.”

A legend in his own mind, like Idi Amin Dada.
Image result for idi amin

So yeah, I was appalled that within hours  of  seeing Trump's performance (recall he's an entertainer first)  a number of sectors in the press claimed that the  killing  gave  Trump a "lifeline " in the midst of a battle for his own political survival..  Do not believe this codswallop for a nanosecond! This one off episode  which translated into a very minor role (giving a simple ok) does not make up for his betrayal of the Syrian Kurds to the Turks,  and the hundreds of Kurds slaughtered in the wake. A people who now also face massive ethnic cleansing as Turk Tyrant Recep Tayyip Erdoğan resettles over a million into the region the Kurds had to abandon. (Under orders from Russia's Vladimir Putin who had met with Erdoğan in the power vacuum left by Coward Dotard - who now seeks glory for vanquishing the Isis terrorist thugs he released by his withdrawal).  Then there was his Mafia-style  shake down of  the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy to try to get dirt on Biden. No way in hell.  And again, the media for being so daft and lacking in critical thinking is doing us no favors by such wretched lazy ass reporting

So don't buy for one second this guy is a hero or finally "presidential". He isn't. and don't buy Gayle King's gibberish that it's a great victory for him.  He's the same craven, self obsessed mutt who isn't fit to be a dog catcher.

Two things are clear to me after seeing the Trump chest -thumping PR spectacle:

1) The asshole still has an inferiority complex vis-a-vis Barack Obama, which provides more reasons for him to lie and exaggerate. Recall Obama actually did oversee the takedown and elimination of Osama bin Laden.  Indeed, Dotard left little doubt that Barack Obama’s success in tracking down and killing Osama bin Laden was on his mind.

As is his wont in declaring bigger wins he barked that taking down Baghdadi was the "greater win".  But again, bear in mind he'd not have done zip without the Kurds' critical role and he shafted them when he realized he didn't need them any more. So, subtract 55 points for a hollow 'W'.

Oh, subtract another 45 points for an all out lie.  Trump  repeated a claim that he had somehow had a hand in Bin Laden’s downfall by calling for him to be targeted before the 9/11 attacks, before he was generally perceived as a threat. This is a false claim. Trump does mention Bin Laden in passing in one of his books, but does not call for him to be tracked down. Also, the al-Qaida leader was already widely seen as a substantial threat following several attacks on the U.S.  No one needed (or wanted) Trump's input.

Trump, let us remind ourselves, has also sought to erase the Obama legacy. Secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, repeatedly has made the false claim that it was the current administration that amassed a coalition to defeat Isis. But that coalition was almost totally put together and made operational under Obama.

2) Given the preceding facts, it is evident that this whole Sunday PR show was scripted and put out by Trump's handlers and minions - like  Pompeo and Stephen Miller (aka Goebbels Junior) -  to use as a political weapon against the Dems and impeachment. The very bombastic content of his rambling and vainglorious, bullshit conveyed a foreshadowing of exactly how he will use it for political ends, and as a club to swing at his political enemies pushing for impeachment.   From where I sit, the Dems and Pelosi need to  club the maggot right back - right in the face. Starting with why he didn't give them a heads up on the operation, while he did deliver it to Putin (and assorted Repukes with less standing than Nancy Pelosi).

By contrast, when Bin Laden was killed in 2011, one of Obama’s first calls was to George W Bush, who had launched the hunt for the al-Qaida leader.  The idea of calling Putin before Bush or others in the congress would have been unthinkable. But they are doable for Trump because he is a traitor at heart and is only using this takedown of another human rat as a political PR weapon to wield against Pelosi and the House Dems.

At the end of the day, while one can say good riddance to al Baghdadi, Trump is no hero in this, only a bystander for whom the effort was 99 percent completed (by the Kurds) before he even knew where Baghdadi was.   The ultimate design  of this public relations stunt was to craft a cudgel to use against his political enemies who he's referred to as "human scum".  Thereby hoping his "victory" - and future barking about it, including questioning anyone's patriotism who isn't 100 % sold-  - will cause the Dems to back off and slink away.   Also expecting his chorus of coward enablers, like Lindsey Graham, Devin Nunes, Matt Gaetz and  Steve Scalise to step in to further help with the call for 'No impeachment now!'

More alarming, even before the Sunday show, the personality cult that Trump is seeking to construct had already taken on an alarming tone. Over the weekend, his press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, had denounced another former aide turned critic, John Kelly, as “totally unequipped to handle the genius of our great president”.   This after Kelly, in a discussion and panel appearance, admitted he warned Trump not to have any 'yes' men who might advise him to do or act in way that would get him impeached.

As for Steph Grisham believing Trump has any "genius", well she's now proven she has an even lower IQ than her clueless predecessor, Sara Huckleberry Sanders.

Don't blink, don't get bamboozled, and don't bite on the PR which will be shooting out like putrid fracked water pumped  from a firehose  in the coming days. These vermin all need bringing down, and they should not be allowed to don the mantle of faux patriotism using the corpse of al Baghdadi.  The Dems,  and citizens at large, need to see through this charade and act accordingly - like the DC fans who booed Trump at the World Series.

'Nuff said!

See also:

by Margaret Kimberley | October 31, 2019 - 5:45am | permalink


"The corporate media, Democrats and Republicans all joined in celebrating Baghdadi’s reported demise. Even those who count how often Trump tells lies suddenly expressed complete confidence in the version of events. Once again we see the embrace of Trump by the so-called resistance if he adheres to imperialist orthodoxy. The same man who they claim to want to impeach suddenly gets praise as he did when he launched an attack on Syria in 2017. The man mocked as a buffoon can be seen as “presidential” if he kills or even claims to kill people in a far away land.." 



Saturday, October 26, 2019

Stellar Evolution Revisited

Stellar evolution is a specialist area of astrophysics concerned with the aging of different masses of stars, and their ultimate fates. It is generally approached using analysis of complex stellar models, see e,g.
But we confine attention here to gross properties and how they are assessed using the tool of the Hertzsprung -Russell (H-R) diagram, one example of which is shown above.  This particular diagram shows an "evolutionary track" for our own star, the Sun. That is, an extended lifetime path from stellar birth to its death as a white dwarf.

In the diagram there are two “quality dimensions”- displayed on the vertical axis and on the horizontal. In this case, the “Absolute magnitude” value  (M) on the vertical represents a measure of absolute brightness  and doubles as an index for what we call Luminosity (L).. In terms of absolute magnitude the lower the value, the greater the brightness. The scale is also logarithmic, so that a star of (-10) say will always be 100 times brighter than a star of (-5). So five magnitudes difference in M corresponds to 100 times brightness ratio. Thus, every single magnitude arithmetic difference will be a ratio of 2.512 times.

The other quality dimension is the horizontal axis which is labeled in capital letters associated with the spectral class. In terms of this lettering, class O stars are always the hottest, and class M the coolest. Thus, we have also can double the spectral class as a temperature scale (top of diagram). Within this representation framework all the key domains - star colors, star ages, star distances, star energy use, can be integrated and depicted in their relations if one can interpret the quality axis properly and use them in specific ways.

Stellar ages enter via the position a star’s evolutionary track (makes with a band called “the Main Sequence” – with the latter being the superposed domain for all stable stars.  On the main sequence we have what is called a pressure-gravity balance so the star is maintained in a state of equilibrium. 

dP/dr = - G M(r) r / r2

So that the outward (radiation) gas pressure(P)  is balanced by the inner directed gravitational pull from the star's layers.  Another equation makes use of the fact that a star’s luminosity is produced through the consumption of its own mass. This may be expressed mathematically as:
dL/dM = e

where e denotes the rate of energy generation. For the proton-proton cycle (for stars like the Sun- and designed for cgs units!): 

e= 2.5 x 106 (r  X2).· (106 /T)2/3 exp[-33.8(106 /T)1/3]

The faster the rate of energy generation the more rapid the star's evolution.

In the case of the proton-proton cycle we are looking at the steady depletion of the Sun's hydrogen fuel.  When only ten percent hydrogen remains (X= 0.10, Y = 0.87 for fractional abundances, say), the Sun is no longer able to generate sufficient energy from its core nuclear reactions to balance the weight of overlying layers. According to a well-known physical principle (the virial theorem), the Sun’s core must contract. The contraction converts gravitational potential energy into thermal (heat) energy that heats the core.[1] By now, hydrogen burning has moved to a peripheral shell around the core, and is ignited by the core heating process. 

The ignition creates radiation pressure that forces the outer shells, layers to expand. This same radiation, however, is now emitted from a much larger surface area. The result of this combination of circumstances is that the Sun becomes a Red Giant.

The details and theoretical consistency of such diagrams are generally checked by plotting brightness (on the stellar magnitude scale) and spectral index or color index (B-V)[2] for a variety of open star clusters, such as the Pleiades.

Going back to the H-R diagram,  the dot on the Main Sequence indicates roughly where the Sun is currently in its evolution. As can be seen, its path to the Red Giant (R)region remains ahead of it, as does its subsequent collapse to a compressed white dwarf star, with the track veering down and to the left.

In the case of a star much more massive than the Sun (say more than ten times the solar mass), pre-Main Sequence collapse also occurs within an interstellar gas and dust cloud, but the Main Sequence is joined at a higher position, corresponding to greater luminosity. Astronomers have determined a basic empirical relation for mass and luminosity to be:

L = (M’/M) 3.5

That is, the luminosity is proportional to the mass raised to the 3.5 power. What this also means is that the massive star initiates its Main Sequence lifetime at higher temperatures, including higher core temperatures.  In most applications the equation is used in a ratio form, say for comparing one star's mass with the Sun's (as a standard).  Then we would have:

 L’/L = (M’/M) 3.5

Or Log (L’/L) = 3.5 Log (M’/M)

where L, M refer to solar luminosity and mass  values and L', M' to stellar values.  The equation  enables us to infer the actual brightness of a main sequence star based on its mass, and also to compare stellar luminosities (intrinsic brightnesses) and deduce other stellar properties  such as mass and radius.

As an illustration, say that we observe the intrinsic brightness (luminosity) of Regulus to be greater than the Sun's by a factor 120. Then we can find the approximate mass of Regulus.

Here: L'/L = 120 so Log (120) = 3.5 Log (M'/ M)

and we are seeking to find M' in terms of M.

Log (120) = 2.079 = 3.5 Log (M'/ M)


0.594 = Log (M'/M)

Taking antilogs of each side:

3.93 = (M'/M) or M' = 3.93 M

So Regulus is approximately 4 times the mass of the Sun.

This means, of course, that it will evolve more rapidly given the increased mass.

In massive stars, fusion reactions are much more diverse than in the Sun  because a far more diverse range of heavier elements is produced. A key transition point occurs after carbon is formed in the core, and reaches a critical density and temperature to detonate. The resulting deflagration, which includes the core separating from exploding outer layers, turns the star into an instant nuclear factory. Nickel and iron are formed as well as lighter elements in the shells including: magnesium, sulphur, silicon, manganese, chromium and a host of lesser atomic weight elements such as oxygen and nitrogen.

If the star survives carbon detonation, its end is still heralded by formation of nickel-iron in the core. The nuclear reactions become endothermic, absorbing energy instead of generating it. This means the star’s radiation, gas pressure supporting the outer layers is radically decreased. Collapse of the layers occurs, with oxygen ignited in one of them precipitating the spectacular explosion we call a supernova. One of the most recent significant events was designated 1987A, in The Large Magellanic Cloud. Gamma ray line radiation from the decay of Cobalt 56 (Co 56)was detected in this event[3], indicating that indeed it had been precipitated by formation of an unstable Nickel (Ni 56)core.

In such cosmic cataclysms the star's outer layers explode into space, while its core collapses to form a neutron star or black hole. It is the outer layers - containing magnesium, silicon, sulphur and especially carbon, expelled into space that set the stage for the future evolution of life on other worlds.

What is the importance of stellar evolution then? Just this: that biological life forms cannot arise unless the fundamental element for life - carbon, has been first manufactured in stars[4]. It also shows that the stars themselves evolve at different rates, the more massive stars at faster rates than the less massive (like the Sun). The role of massive stars, therefore, is to expedite elemental production and evolution by making available more complex elements -the building blocks for planets as well as life, on a more rapid time scale than would otherwise be possible.

Creationists contend that all stars were ‘created’ by some divine fiat in the past. However, this is refuted by the observational, astronomical evidence. The fact is that embryonic stars can be detected right now with infrared telescopes, as well as the Hubble Space Telescope, collapsing out of interstellar dust and gas analogous to phases 1 and 2 of the evolutionary track in the H-R diagram for the Sun. Some of these T Tauri stars are in the well-known Orion Nebula about 1600 light years away. On an H-R diagram like that shown for the Sun, these embryo stars would be on the track approaching the Main Sequence.

The T Tauri  and other observations clearly demonstrate that creationism can’t be valid. If it were, no new stars should be forming. This is only one contradiction arising when the scrolls of unscientific nomads are accepted too literally. Another example is the Genesis account that Earth was formed before the Sun (the "light to rule the day"). Logically, however, the Sun had to form before any planets, since vegetation can’t exist without benefit of photosynthesis - which depends on sunlight. Also, it’s impossible for a planet to exist by definition without a Sun to revolve around! Planets require a massive object to provide the centripetal acceleration to enable them to remain in orbit.

[1] According to the virial theorem: 2K + W = 0 for any spherical system in equilibrium, where K is the gas kinetic energy (K = 3/2(y-1)U) and W is the gravitational potential energy. From this one can obtain the binding (or total) energy of a star as: E(S)= K + W. Combining the two equations, E(S) = W/ 2 = -K. Thus, the total energy of the star is negative and equal to half the gravitational potential energy, or the negative of the gas kinetic. Hence, if E(S) decreases, K increases, but W decreases, i.e. contraction.

[2] The (B-V) index uses the difference in apparent magnitudes between the blue spectral region and the violet (m_B – m_V).

[3] Arnett, D. and Bazan, G.: Nucleosynthesis in Stars: Some Recent Developments, in Science, Vol. 276, 30 May, 1997, p. 1359.

[4] The primary elements formed in the immediate aftermath of the Big Bang were hydrogen and helium. So, in the ‘beginning’, there was really nothing – no building blocks from which life could emerge. This had to await the first stars.