Psi Phi Society–2020 Winter Session

A new year and a new session of the Psi Phi (ΨΦ) Society…for those that do not know this has nothing to do the genre of SciFi…instead it is a group of academics that meet 4 times a year for a meal and some discussion on topics to be announced at the dinner.

Hard to believe it is Winter….we have had very little cold weather hardly any cool weather…..most temps have been in the 70s…low temps in the high 50s to high 60s…humidity about 94%…all in all just damn miserable for Winter.

Enough bitching ….onward…..

11 members of which 6 were in attendance…..the topic for discussion was America’s Obsession with guns….the draw was from the stainless  bed pan and we were given 30 minutes to prepare our positions…..but not before we had a great meal and a bit of schmoozing…..

My belief is that there needs to be an actual discussion not just finger pointing that we have had in the past 30 years…probably longer….

Gun violence is a uniquely American problem that has left the rest of the world scratching their heads over how a country could choose guns over the lives of its citizens. We have looked at various aspects of this issue and here are some of our top articles from this year. 

Hooked on Lead — Covering America’s Gun Obsession

“For the first time in more than 20 years, Congress could approve federal funding to study gun violence, which kills nearly 40,000 Americans each year. A House bill approved Tuesday includes $25 million for research, split evenly between the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

Think about this……40,000 Americans die by gun violence every year…..

I am not optimistic with Congress in the lead……meetings, studies, and hearings and NOTHING will change…so we are back to finger pointing…..and more Americans will die.

After several hours of argument…..we decided to let it go (for now)….after a snifter of Cognac the meeting broke up and the Spring session will be announced at a later date.

Always a joy to see old friends and have a good debate something should be tried in our country these days instead of resorting to name calling and insults…..if only.

Our Spring session will be planned by the Chi Xi (χξ) Circle and will be announced at a later date.

“lego ergo scribo”

Senate Impeachment Trial–Day 5

Is it snowing in Hell?

I ask because the Senate will be in session for the impeachment trial of Trump on Saturday.

Today will be the start of the Trump’s team presentation….

  • Trump unhappy: The president tweeted Friday that he’s not thrilled with how the impeachment schedule has fallen. “After having been treated unbelievably unfairly in the House, and then having to endure hour after hour of lies, fraud & deception by Shifty Schiff, Cryin’ Chuck Schumer & their crew, looks like my lawyers will be forced to start on Saturday, which is called Death Valley in T.V.,” Trump wrote.
  • Short Saturday: This should help Trump’s concern about Saturday: That day’s session will be short, reports the Hill. It’s scheduled to begin at 10am and wrap up two hours later. The trial would then resume on Monday.

So what happened on Saturday—Day 5—of the impeachment drama?

Enter the defense. President Trump’s legal team, led by personal lawyer Jay Sekulow and White House counsel Pat Cipollone, gave a two-hour presentation Saturday morning against impeaching the president, the Washington Post reports. This after House managers, led by Rep. Adam Schiff, argued that Trump had abused his power and obstructed Congress over his dealings with Ukraine. Trump is accused of withholding military aid in return for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky ordering an investigation into Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. Among highlights in the Senate presentation:

  • ‘Dangerous’: Out of the gate, Cipollone argued that removing Trump would be a “very, very dangerous” precedent for overturning an election. “They come here to the Senate, and they ask you to remove a president, tear up the ballots in all of your states, and they don’t bother to read the key evidence of the discussion of burden-sharing that’s in the call itself,” he said.
  • ‘Not a Real Call’: The team showed a video of Schiff embellishing on a rough transcript of Trump’s call to Zelensky. “That’s fake, that’s not the real call,” said White House deputy counsel Michael Purpura. (Schiff has said at separate times that he was either communicating the gist of Trump’s call or parodying it.)
  • Corruption’: Purpura said the July 25 call to Zelensky was “in line with the Trump administration’s legitimate concerns about corruption” in Ukraine. (Yet the word “corruption” never came up in the call, the Post notes.)
  • Quid pro quo: Purpura also argued that there was no quid pro quo in the call, per the New York Times. “There couldn’t possibly have been a quid pro quo because the Ukrainians didn’t know the security assistance was on hold” before Politico reported it, he said. “There can’t be a threat without the person knowing he’s being threatened.” (The quid pro quo argument hinges on a phrase Trump used in the call.)
  • Witnesses: Trump’s lawyers are also attacking witness testimony over the alleged quid pro quo, the Wall Street Journal reports. They showed video of Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland saying “presume” and “presumption” in regard to the claim.
  • Subpoenas: Deputy White House counsel Patrick Philbin defended the White House blockade against subpoenas for witnesses and documents, saying—among other things—that the House didn’t hold a full vote to launch the inquiry. “The subpoenas weren’t authorized because there was no vote or the subpoenas were to senior advisers to the president who are immune from congressional compulsion,” he said in part.
  • Whistleblower: Philbin also attacked the notion of building an impeachment case on an anonymous whistleblower, saying “you would want to find out something about the complainant that had started it all…” (But there’s an argument for keeping whistleblowers anonymous.)
  • Cough drops: Some senators looked weary Saturday, yawning, stretching, and blowing or wiping their noses. Sen. Michael Bennett (D-Colorado) was offered cough drops by Sens. Tammy Duckworth (D-Illinois) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).
  • ‘Shredded’: Republicans praised the lawyers’ two-hour presentation, with several saying they had “shredded” the House case. “It took less than two hours to completely shred and eviscerate Adam Schiff’s failed case for impeachment,” said Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY).
  • Schiff disagrees: “They don’t contest the facts of Trump’s scheme,” he tweeted. “They’re trying to deflect, distract from, and distort the truth. And they are continuing to cover it up by blocking documents and witnesses.”
  • Sunday off: Trump’s defense will resume on Monday at 1pm EST.

Holy Crap!

I thought the Dems look silly at times….well they have nothing on the defense team for the president…..

This was a day of silly rhetoric….

Day 6 will continue on Monday…..

Watch This Blog!

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Senate Impeachment Trial–Day 4

I apologize for the detour in my weekend posts but the impeachment trial is too important to ignore.  I hope that this does not spoil and otherwise calm weekend.

What seems like the “Never Ending Story” continues and we mere mortals are standing on the sidelines watching this farce of a legal proceeding.

Fidget spinners. Rule-breaking and evident boredom among senators is becoming a theme as the trial progresses. The New York Times reports that senators, who are supposed to sit and silently listen, have taken to wandering outside the chamber, often to the cloakrooms where their electronic devices are stores. At lunch, GOP Sen. Richard Burr handed out fidget spinners to his 52 colleagues.

Republicans don’t want a speedy acquittal. Politico reports that while most Senate Republicans are ready to acquit Trump, they would prefer Trump’s lawyers to offer a substantial, fact-based defense instead of “phoning it in.” “The president’s team … has never presented its case since it did not do so in the House,” says GOP Sen. Susan Collins, who is considered one of the few possible swing votes.

I agree with Chris Hayes on these proceedings……

“Most of those people have other jobs they have to take leave from,” he exclaimed. “If the trial goes for a long time, often they don’t collect their paycheck from that and are given a meager amount of money relative to what some of those people might make.” “These peoples’ jobs is to do this,” Hayes continued. “This is literally their job. If you find it too annoying or frustrating or uncomfortable to sit for eight hours and listen, you can resign tomorrow and go get another job!”

I agree for if I acted like these immature twats in the Senate while serving on a jury I would be held in contempt and gone to jail to think about my attitude….time to teach these Senators that their actions are insulting to the laws of this nation then laws they swore to uphold and protect.

Sorry I needed to get that off my chest.

Day 4 proceedings in the US Senate…….but first a little observations……

Democratic House impeachment managers are in their final day of arguments against President Trump. Friday’s focus: obstruction of justice. The impeachment managers are asserting that Trump withheld crucial documents and blocked the testimony of top White House officials, reports the Wall Street Journal. “The president tried to cheat,” said impeachment manager Rep. Hakeem Jeffries at the start of Friday’s session, per CNN. “He got caught, and then he worked hard to cover it up.” As for the delay in US aid to Ukraine at the heart of the controversy: “The $391 million in security aid was only released because President Trump was caught red-handed,” said Jeffries. Related:

  • Invoking McCain: Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff put the case-to-impeach this way: “If someone sacrifices the national interest in favor of his own and is not removed from office, our democracy is in jeopardy. It’s just that simple.” He also invoked the late John McCain, who said in 2014 after a Russian incursion into Ukraine: “We are all Ukrainians.” He said McCain “advised that this is a chess match reminiscent of the Cold War, and we need to realize that and act accordingly,” Schiff said, per the Washington Post. “He was, of course, absolutely right.” He also played a video clip of McCain extolling the beauty and importance of that country, notes Politico.

Witness protection: Trump’s effort to obstruct justice reached witnesses in the House investigation, Rep. Val Demings told the Senate. She brought up his tweet about Marie Yovanovitch, former ambassador to Ukraine, during her testimony and showed video of his attacks on others. It adds up to witness intimidation, she said, per the Post. “We must not condone President Trump’s attacks on whistleblowers and witnesses,” Demings said.

Trump unhappy: The president tweeted Friday that he’s not thrilled with how the impeachment schedule has fallen. “After having been treated unbelievably unfairly in the House, and then having to endure hour after hour of lies, fraud & deception by Shifty Schiff, Cryin’ Chuck Schumer & their crew, looks like my lawyers will be forced to start on Saturday, which is called Death Valley in T.V.,” Trump wrote.

Short Saturday: This should help Trump’s concern about Saturday: That day’s session will be short, reports the Hill. It’s scheduled to begin at 10am and wrap up two hours later. The trial would then resume on Monday.

Watch Lamar: Senators won’t decide on whether to call witnesses until after opening arguments, and it all hinges on whether Democrats can get four Republicans to vote with them. Politico reports that GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee is the key vote. Three other senators already have voiced some degree of support about witnesses, and Alexander, who is retiring this year, could be the deciding factor.

Believe it or not….but the Senate will do something they rarely do….work on Saturday.

Day 5 coming up!

Watch This Blog!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Saturday Sciencey Stuff

While reading my normal stuff I come across other fields of interests other than foreign policy…and since my weekends is for FYI my readers to garner more information and knowledge…..

First, the new thing is the invention of “living concrete”…..

Scientists at the University of Colorado, Boulder have created what The New York Times calls a “living concrete,” teeming with photosynthetic bacteria, that can grow itself and regenerate itself — much like a living organism.

The concrete is a mixture of gelatin, sand, and cyanobacteria that cools similarly to Jell-O, the Times reports. The resulting structure was able to regenerate itself three times after researchers cut it apart, suggesting a potential breakthrough in the nascent field of self-assembling materials.

https://futurism.com/the-byte/scientists-create-living-concrete-heal-itself

“I Like to be

Under the sea

with the fishes……”

We humans have a limited time in which we can stay under the water…..then came SCUBA and re-breathers……and now we have another invention…..

exolung, an underwater breathing device has been designed to give divers an ‘unlimited’ air supply. it translates the diver’s swimming motions into air movement, keeping breathing air flowing as long as the diver keeps swimming.

exolung is a surface-supplied diving system, which means it uses a buoy that floats on the surface of the water to provide the diver with air. doubling as a safety restraint, a hose measuring 39 feet (12 meters) connects the buoy with the water bell worn on the front of the torso.

inside the bell’s hardshell body, there is a collapsible water bladder attached to leg straps that secure around the diver’s feet. by extending the legs, fresh air is drawn down from the surface and water is displaced from the air bell. when the diver retracts their legs, water pressure puts air inside the bell under ambient water pressure, which can then be inhaled.

the exolung gives divers an ‘unlimited’ underwater air supply

Speaking of breathing…..scientist have found a way to make oxygen out of moon dust….

European Space Agency (ESA) scientists say they’ve found a way to produce oxygen from lunar dust. Samples of real lunar dust have been found to be 40 to 45 percent oxygen by weight, according to the ESA.

The team just opened a “prototype oxygen plant” inside a European Space Research and Technology Center lab in the Netherlands.

“Being able to acquire oxygen from resources found on the Moon would obviously be hugely useful for future lunar settlers, both for breathing and in the local production of rocket fuel,” said Beth Lomax of the University of Glasgow in a statement.

https://futurism.com/the-byte/scientists-make-oxygen-from-moon-dust

Finally, every heard of nano bots?

Well you soon will……

A team of researchers have built what they claim to be the first living robots. The “xenobots,” they say, can move, pick up objects, and even heal themselves after being cut.

The team is hoping the biological machines could one day be used to clean up microplastics in the ocean or even deliver drugs inside the human body, The Guardian reports.

To build the robots, the team used living cells from frog embryos and assembled them into primitive beings.

“These are novel living machines,” research co-lead Joshua Bongard, robotics expert at the University of Vermont, said in a statement. “They’re neither a traditional robot nor a known species of animal. It’s a new class of artifact: a living, programmable organism.”

The millimeter-length robots were designed by a supercomputer running an “evolutionary algorithm” that tested thousands of 3D designs for rudimentary life forms inside a simulation. The scientists then built a handful of the designs, which were able to propel themselves forward or fulfill a basic task inside the simulation using tweezers and cauterizing tools.

 

 

Ban The Books!

Closing Thought–24Jan20

First I wish my mother a Happy Birthday…she would have been 99 today….I miss you Mom!

I was never told what I could read by my parents so I have a real problem with the government in any shade that wants to do what my parents never did.

I bring this up because of some ruling in Missouri…..

The bill was introduced earlier this month by Missouri state Rep. Ben Baker (R), who has argued that the measure is meant to protect children when they visit their public libraries.

“The main thing is I want to be able to take my kids to a library and make sure they’re in a safe environment, and that they’re not gonna be exposed to something that is objectionable material,” Baker told local news station KOAM. “Unfortunately, there are some libraries in the state of Missouri that have done this. And that’s a problem.”

The bill would ban libraries that receive state funding from allowing minors access to “age-inappropriate sexual material.” To identify what that content is, the bill would include the creation of “parental library review boards” made up of five locally elected community members. The boards would then review what content it considers appropriate.

https://thehill.com/homenews/news/478518-missouri-bill-proposes-parental-library-review-boards-that-could-land

Seriously?

Keep this stuff out of the hands of children?

Has this yahoo ever heard of social media?

This is just ignorance in government.

Read it again……

Under the Parental Oversight of Public Libraries Act (H.B. 2044), locally elected “parental library review boards” would be permitted to unilaterally remove books they decide are sexually explicit or otherwise inappropriate for young readers from library shelves. 

Libraries that allow children to borrow books that have been banned or whose access has been restricted would risk losing state funding, and librarians could be ordered to pay fines of up to $500 or sentenced to jail time for up to a year. 

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/01/16/right-wing-review-boards-missouri-would-pave-way-arresting-librarians-over-books

I just find this amazing……this from a party that hates the “Nanny State” and yet wants to be the same beast it rails against.

Hypocrites each and every one.

Ignorance in government should be a crime!

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Senate Impeachment Trial–Day 3

The drama continues…..theatrics abounds…..and mind numbing yada yada…….but someone must take it upon needs to report the soul sucking saga…..

Day Three and nothing has really changed in the attitudes of the belligerents…..it is still a tragedy in many parts……

Day 3 of President Trump’s impeachment trial is underway, and Democratic impeachment managers plan to focus much of the day’s arguments on the abuse-of-power allegation against the president, reports the Hill. “The Constitution is not a suicide pact,” said one of those managers, Rep. Jerry Nadler. It “does not leave us stuck with presidents who abuse their power in unforeseen ways that threaten our security and democracy.” Coverage:

  • Early slam: Nadler told senators that Trump’s conduct “puts even Richard Nixon to shame,” reports Politico. “This conduct is not ‘America First,’” he said, a nod to Trump’s campaign slogan. “This conduct is Donald Trump first.”
  • About-face? Nadler also sought to use Trump attorney Alan Dershowitz’s own words against him, reports the Washington Post. He played a video of Dershowitz in 1998 speaking about the Bill Clinton impeachment and asserting that no crime was necessary to impeach. “It certainly doesn’t have to be a crime if you have somebody who completely corrupts the office of president and who abuses trust and poses great danger to our liberty,” said Dershowitz, who has since changed his view. (Dershowitz was grilled about this by Anderson Cooper.) Nadler made similar points about previous comments by Lindsey Graham and Attorney General Barr.
  • Defending Biden: Rep. Sylvia Garcia, another of the impeachment managers, defended Joe Biden’s actions toward Ukraine when he was vice president. “The allegations against Biden are completely groundless,” Garcia said, referring to Biden’s efforts to get Ukraine’s prosecutor general ousted because of corruption allegations. Biden’s actions were in sync with US policy, unlike Trump’s, she said. Republicans say Biden was trying to protect his son.
  • Rand’s doodle: Rand Paul spent the early part of the day doodling an image of the US Capitol, notes the New York Times. But then Garcia played a video clip of State Department official George Kent being asked whether Republicans such as Paul believed that what Biden did is the same as what Trump did. “Looking up from his doodle, Mr. Paul smiled and raised a fist with his index finger extended, as if to say, ‘Yes!'” per the Times. “Then, when Mr. Kent answered by saying that what Mr. Biden did was very different than what Mr. Trump did, Mr. Paul lowered his arm.”
  • Graham’s timing: Nadler rolled out a video clip of Graham speaking years ago as one of Clinton’s impeachment managers. “What’s a high crime?” he asked then. “How about an important person hurts someone of low means? It’s not very scholarly but I think it’s the truth.” However, Graham wasn’t actually in his seat when the clip came out because he had left the chamber. Politico suspects he knew the video was coming. On his return, fellow Republican Ben Sasse whispered something to him and Graham chuckled.
  • Hacking theory: Lead impeachment manager Rep. Adam Schiff said a “completely bogus” theory often cited by Trump that Ukraine, not Russia, hacked the 2016 election actually came from the Kremlin. He also noted speculation that Trump was heavily swayed by Rudy Giuliani. “You can say a lot of things about President Trump, but he is not led by the nose by Rudy Giuliani.”
  • Short Saturday: It looks like the Senate will opt for a short Saturday session that begins early and wraps up in the morning, reports CNN. The plan isn’t finalized yet, but few senators are expected to object—especially the Democrats running for president who might hightail it for Iowa. No session will be held on Sunday.

I realize that few are actually reading this analyses….but there may be some that actually care about the ramifications of these accusations…..I do this for them.

Day 3 came to an end…..but not mercifully.

Sadly to me it looks like a mockery in process……https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/01/23/a-cesspool-of-constitutional-nonsense-impeachment-in-the-senate/

I will return for the analysis of Day 4…….

Watch This Blog!

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Jabba The Jihadi

Ever hear of this guy?

Of course not you have been focused on and bitching about the impeachment trial……

It seems that this overweight jihadist has been arrested in Iraq…

Iraqi authorities made an arrest so large they had to load it onto a flatbed truck.

An Iraqi SWAT team arrested 560-pound Islamic State preacher Abu Abdul Bari, also known as Shifa al Nima, this week in Mosul. The extremist ideologue was transported in the back of a truck.

The Iraqi government said the large jihadi is a top ISIS leader known for “provocative speeches against the security forces,” according to a statement by the Iraqi government.

Bari issued religious decrees, known as fatwas, that ordered the execution of clerics and scholars who refused to pledge loyalty to the brutal terrorist group.

He also ordered the 2014 demolition of a mosque built on the site believed to be the burial spot for the biblical prophet Jonah. As ISIS came to power in the region, its clerics ordered the destruction of many cultural sites, ruining centuries of history.

Maajid Nawaz, founder of anti-extremism group Quilliam, said that images of the arrest are likely humiliating for ISIS.

“Do not underestimate the psychological blow the image of this obese monster being arrested is to ISIS. Gluttony is frowned upon by jihadists. But, also, ISIS branded themselves as fighters possessing rare courage & discipline… meanwhile this walrus was their top religious cleric,” he said

No way he was gonna outrun the law……

High-ranking Islamic State official, Abu Abdul Bari

Another terrorist taken from the field…..and yet it keeps going and going kinda like the Energizer Bunny…..

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”