Wednesday, July 6, 2016

A Foggy, Misty Fourth But, By Jove, J-O-I to the Worlds (This One and Jupiter!); FBI on HRC: GOP Trumpocalypse Likely Narrowly Averted

New York Times caption: Fireworks exploding over the Lincoln Memorial at the National Mall, as seen from Arlington, Va., on Monday. Credit Jose Luis Magana/Associated Press.

I have to say -- where the heck in the Washington Monument in this picture?? You can see the Capitol building in the distance and the Lincoln Memorial across the river.

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Unfortunately, as usual, it's quite late as I start the entry I had planned tonight. The previous one was not the planned one but I felt it necessary. Because it is so late and I'm so short on images, I'm not even going to bother to try to post more than several. This entry will just be mostly text.

I'm also not going to do any embedding of stories / events that I reference in this entry.

WashingtonPost.com headline on the FBI's decision not to recommend charges against Hillary Clinton, 11:48AM July 5, 2016. Note the Juno probe at Jupiter portion as well (see below).

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I wanted to talk about the FBI's decision to not recommend an indictment of Hillary Clinton over the ginned up email server controversy -- had she been indicted, it's quite possible we would have confronted the very real possibility of a President Trump and the cult-like insanity of the Republican apparatus with wall-to-wall power at the federal level. The GOP is going nuts, naturally, with the Speaker Paul Ryan, that ultimate fraud, promising "more hearings" to keep the rightwing media/entertainment razzle-dazzle and perpetual outrage motion machine going, but so are some quarters of the left, which despise Hillary as well (to wit, Glenn Greenwald (but when doesn't he??) and some of the Salon.com crowd).


Also, there is the Professional Centrist set, which is more or less coterminous with the Washington punditocratic class, embodied in Fred Hiatt's Washington Post HQ of the Washington Consensus crowd, lifetime scribes, sycophants, and courtiers for the Neoliberal World Order set -- that are shitting a brick. The hyper-Puritanism of this group -- which became obvious during the Monica's Dress escapade all those years ago -- is really galling, considering that there is nothing that a nut-job Republican pol can do or say that is ever "beyond the pale," but if Hillary puts on the wrong color dress, it's an affront to Our Founding Fathers.

Artist's conception of Juno at Jupiter.

There have not been many visible-light images yet -- and I'm not sure that this mission will have that many, as this mission is more centered on peering beneath Jupiter's clouds with an assortment of instrumentation.

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The other big story I wanted to note was the successful arrival of the Juno probe at Jupiter for its 53-day orbital sojourn around the King of the Planets before a sort of kamikaze end -- plunging into / burning up in the Jovian atmosphere. The Juno probe performed the successful Jupiter Orbit Insertion -- JOI -- maneuver last night, and I watched the NASA livestreaming coverage of it after I got home from a totally subdued July 4th.

Jupiter Orbit Insertion timeline as shown on the New York Times website last night, July 4, 2016.

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Specifically, I was watching NASA's livestreaming from Juno mission control at JPL and various interviews including PI Scott Bolton (who is featured in that awesome Juno trailer I featured in a recent jukebox Saturday night entry).

At the actual time of J-O-I, there were as many as 16,600 people watching the livestreaming, according to the stats on the screen. (If you click on the image directly below, you should get a somewhat larger version. The approximate number of viewers is in the upper left corner.)

Juno mission burn-time information screenshot, 3min 4 sec (8:50:23PM PDT / 11:50:23PM EDT) July 4, 2016.

This was just after closest approach to Jupiter's cloud tops and the mileage (upper right) was increasing by about 30 miles per second as June probe swung way back out to get into its elliptical polar orbit. Again, click on image for somewhat larger version.

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About this July 4th, true, I went to a party in Ballston with a dozen plus 20-somethings and early 30-somethings (I was the oldest in that room by 10 years minimum and 15 years on average, and in some cases, by 20 years). But I took the Metro back into D.C. -- very, very mindful of the fact that Tuesday was a regular work day -- and got off at McPherson Square and walked to Trade, where I stopped briefly (and then briefly at No. 9 before heading home with a pit stop at the 17th Street Safeway).

The fireworks on the National Mall went off at their appointed 9:10PM time but following a rainy day, the night featured drizzle and a dense, low overcast that morphed into a fog. It was so obscured that I didn't even bother trying to look for a favorable downtown or midtown vantage point -- such as I did last year from Dupont Circle.

Of note, a mini-scandal erupted when PBS decided "it was the patriotic thing to do" (in the words of a tweet it sent out) and cut away from the nearly totally shrouded "Capital Fourth" fireworks display of 2016 -- the only thing visible were spasmodic, ever-shifting, multicolored glowing diffused orbs of light in the low overcast -- to air previous years' fireworks displays WITHOUT telling viewers what it had done so.

That didn't go over well on social media.

As for the rest of the District of Columbia, many parts of it featured the usual street corner shit show of endless fireworks explosions for hours on end. Two of my friends who live not far from Fort Totten had to care for their respective dear cat and dog in their respective ways. MM said her neighborhood sounded like Beirut (back in the civil war day) and Andrea said it sounded like Aleppo (at present).

(As for Miss Wendy, she is off saving humanity (again) in places where people don't even believe in Jesus (again) and Tacoma, her ginormous but totally 'fraidy cat Alaskan Malamute, was safely staying in a quiet place in the Shenandoah.)

I heard some of the kabooming and tstststing, and the rat-rat-tattattattatting, but it doesn't tend to be as bad right in my 'hood, and once I had the fan and a/c on, and was in bed, well, that was that.

Rain-wise, there was 1/2" to 1" across the area, although frickin' KDCA came in with the lowest (about 0.4") while KBWI and KIAD were at least double that amount. I'm not going to look up the numbers now or I'll never get this entry posted.

Today was mostly sunny, summery warm, and humid with puffy cumulus clouds in a bright blue sky. I think it's supposed to get up to about 90F or a bit higher for the rest of the week with elevated levels of humidity and occasional chances of t-storms. Very standard July weather.

My workday was OK and my gym workout after work -- is that a tongue-twister or what?? -- were both fine, but all transition times (i.e., walking outside, riding / waiting for the Metro, and grocery shopping) were existential nightmares in this spring and summer of my general midlife crisis and discontent stuck forever, apparently, in Washington, D.C.

OK, that's all for now. I'm likely not going to update the blog tomorrow (Wednesday) night as I have plans to go with Andrea & others to the National Building Museum after work to see some exhibit called "ICEBERGS" or something like that. I'm not even sure what it is, but I bought a ticket for it.

Thursday night is a planned gym night and I'll try to update the blog then.

--Regulus

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