FROM NASA, which has a bevy of photographs of Curiosity on Mars.
If you’re interested in the mission of Curiosity, Carl Franzen is doing a bang up job covering it.
A Clear Look at the Rover Deck
This full-resolution image shows part of the deck of NASA’s Curiosity rover taken from one of the rover’s Navigation cameras looking toward the back left of the rover.
On the left of this image, part of the rover’s power supply is visible. To the right of the power supply can be seen the pointy low-gain antenna and side of the paddle-shaped high-gain antenna for communications directly to Earth. The rim of Gale Crater is the lighter colored band across the horizon. The effects of the descent stage’s rocket engines blasting the ground can be seen on the right side of the image, next to the rover.
I am not going to do what most progressives and others have been doing today and rip Mr. "Brown- Noser." I know that there is plenty to rip about the guy, but I am going to show some restraint and let him and his running mate lay out their vision for America. (Speaking of his running mate, Mr. Romney, I need to see those tax returns.) This is hard for me, because I really want to go after the guy. You would too if he went on Glenn Beck's radio show and agreed that you were a "cancer" to America. Imagine that? A hard working guy who pays his taxes, never breaks the law, and helps little old ladies across the street is a "cancer" to America. Those republicans are really mean; no wonder some liberals are so hard on them.
"And plenty of people (fewer on the liberal side, though still a great number of moderates) are lauding Ryan himself as ?courageous?. On the surface, such a take is understandable: Ryan?s claim to fame ? his ?Path to Prosperity? budget ? was a political loser when introduced last spring. But a closer look reveals that these claims are bunk: Picking Ryan is essentially a safe sop to the conservative wing of the party, and Ryan himself is not so courageous.
First, Romney?s choice: The past few weeks have made clear that the race is slipping away from him, as President Obama?s lead has widened in state and national polls and the economic outlook has brightened slightly. The right has sensed this ? see talk show host Laura Ingraham, among others ? and conservatives are convinced that Romney is losing because he?s not assertive or conservative enough. So I agree with the New Republic?s Noam Scheiber when he writes this:
Ryan is the way Romney and his aides escape blame for their now-likely defeat ? blame which would have vicious and unrelenting ? and pin it in on conservatives instead. With only minor historical revisions, they will be able to tell a story about how Romney was keeping the race close through early August, at which point the party?s conservative darling joined the ticket and sent the poll numbers into steady decline.If moderates such as Condoleezza Rice (pro-abortion rights) and Chris Christie (pro-gun control and moderate on immigration) were out of the question, Ryan was easy to choose ahead of the other possibilities: He has no Bush administration history, unlike Rob Portman, no raft of mini-scandals-in-waiting, like Marco Rubio, and some actual charisma, unlike Bobby Jindal and Tim Pawlenty. Picking a reliable conservative was much safer for Romney than daring the right to abandon him and/or heap all the blame on him for losing in November. By process of elimination, Ryan was the best ? and the safest ? of the bunch.
Look at Romney's face while Ryan is saying this.RYAN: What we're saying is, take away the tax shelters that are uniquely enjoyed by people in the top tax brackets so they can't shelter as much money from taxation, should lower tax rates for everybody to make America more competitive.
This took place last fall at one of Congressman Rep. Ryan?s ?Pay to Play? town hall meetings where he was discussing cutting Senior?s Social Security, and Medicare as a means of debt reduction. As you might imagine, one senior was not pleased.
Ryan: ?Most of our debt in the future comes from our entitlement programs.?
Senior citizen: ?Hey, (Garbled; Ryan continues to speak). I paid into that for 50 years, my unemployment and my Social Security and my Medicare, and now you?re gonna?? At this point you hear the police who are dragging him out shouting, ?on the ground, on the ground?.
Ryan then jokes, ?I hope he?s taken his blood-pressure medication?, and the room laughs with him.
Chief Operatin' Officer
Dear Brother Cathy,
I stood with you, horking down three Deluxe Chicken Sandwiches, a whole passel of waffle fries, a gallon of co-cola, and four Icedreams on National Chick-fil-A Persecute A Homosexualist Day. I did so because I thought it was important to defend your religious freedom to attack sodimitanians.
Since then, I've learned about another man who is fighting to preserve his religious freedom. A few months back, Two Rivers Grocery Store & Market in Big Sandy, Texas, barred Brother DeWitt R. Thomas from returning to their business. He had done nothing wrong. He simply exercised his religious freedom to have his groceries bagged in a racially pure manner.
The problem was that the store's bagger was unHeartlandishly-hued. As a man of the Bible, Brother Thomas objected to the young man's attempt to handle his rutabagas, saying: "Wait a minute, don?t touch my groceries. I can?t have someone negroidal touch my food, it?s against my creed!"
When ask why he wouldn't allow a "negroidal" man to touch his rutabagas, Brother Thomas cited Leviticus 22:25 and Jeremiah 13:23 and declared, "?Religion?.religion, ma?am. It is against my religion.?"
Brother Thomas's bold defense of his religious freedom inspired me. It prompted me reaffirm my commitment to exercising my religious freedom in every commercial exchange.
That's why I asked the Chick-fil-A counter woman if she was menstruating. It's something I had to do. I mean, how could you expect me to allow a woman who is unclean (Leviticus 15:19-30) to fondle my Spicy Chicken Biscuit?
All I wanted was a sandwich served, as Jesus commands, by a non-menstruating or barren woman, yet you kicked me out and called the police. I expected better from you. I expected you to defend religious freedom.
Gen. JC Christian, patriot
WikiLeaks has announced that its website is now operational again after "installing substantial extra capacity" and additional support through CloudFlare, a website security service capable of blocking threats and limiting "abusive bots and crawlers"[...]
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To the memory of Gore Vidal.I've been looking for a while ? ever since the passing over a week ago ? for a way to eulogize Gore Vidal. For my money, Vidal was one of this nation's best-of-bests: one of our best writers, best historians, and best political thinkers. His style is a delight, his story-telling superb, and his insight in a class with Chomsky's and Zinn's. So in memoriam...
Capt. Peter "Wrongway" Peachfuzz, skipper of the SS Andalusia, where Governor Romney made his latest remarks, has been tapped by the former Massachusetts governor for big things.
As I've mentioned a number of times, as a reader I have a deeply "Yes! . . . but" relationship with The New Yorker's brainy and connection-happy Adam Gopnik. I can recommend without reservation his critic-at-large piece in the current issue, "I, Nephi: Mormonism and its meanings." Drawing on four recent books he sketches the curious history of the faith, stressing its kinship with all manner of other religious cults that sprang up in the early 19th century, then looks at why -- and how -- it survived and metastasized into modern times. And then he comes to this:
All of which leads to the inevitable question: To what degree is Mormonism responsible for Mitt Romney? Is there a thread, dark or golden, that runs from Moroni to Mitt? Garry Wills has argued, after all, that Irish Catholic ideas about sin -- that sin is negotiable currency, to be practiced, done penance for, forgiven -- allowed John Kennedy some serenity as he screwed his way through the White House typing pool, just as the habits of Protestant Evangelical belief, in forgiveness and temptation and forgiveness, in a never-ending cycle, helped Bill Clinton find a common language with working-class people. The most striking feature of Mitt Romney as a politician is an absence of any responsibility to his own past -- the consuming sense that his life and opinions can be remade at a moment's need. Romney, according to Romney, never favored the individual mandate, or supported abortion rights, or opposed the auto-industry bailout, or did any of the other things he obviously, and on the record, did.
One could presumably make a case that beleaguered faiths always shy from admitting errancy in public. Dominant faiths can afford tales of failure and redemption, with sinners becoming saints and saints dropping in and out of the calendar like blue-plate specials; beleaguered ones have to put on a good face in public and never lose it. Donny Osmond talks about the anxieties that arose from a need to appear perfect, and the impossibility of admitting in public to flaws or errors. Better to have a new revelation about, say, health-care mandates that renders the previous one instantly inoperable than spend time apologizing for the old ways. When, in 1978, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints abandoned the rule prohibiting blacks from serving as priests, one church leader, Bruce McConkie, explained, "It doesn't make a particle of difference what anybody ever said about the Negro matter before the first day of June 1978." You could find, or think you've found, a similar logic behind Romney's blithe amnesia when it comes to the things he used to think and say.
Yet class surely tells more than creed when it comes to American manners, and Romney is better understood as a late-twentieth-century American tycoon than as any kind of believer. Most of what is distinct about him seems specific to the rich managerial class of the nineteen-eighties and nineties, and is best explained so -- just as you would grasp more about Jack Kennedy from F. Scott Fitzgerald (an Irish and a Catholic ascending to Wasp manners) than from St. Augustine. In another way, though, this is precisely where faith really does walk in, since commerce and belief seem complementary in Romney's tradition. It's just that this tradition is not merely Mormon. Joseph Smith's strange faith has become a denomination within the bigger creed of commerce. It's unfair to say, as some might, that Mitt Romney believes in nothing except his own ambition. He believes, with shining certainty, in his own success, and, more broadly, in the American Gospel of Wealth that lies behind it: the idea that rich people got rich by being good, that the riches are a sign of their virtue, and that they should therefore be allowed to rule.
Then again, almost every American religion sooner or later becomes a Gospel of Wealth. . . .
SOMEWHERE ON THE BOUNDING SEA, ABOARD THE SS ANDALUSIA -- The likely Republican presidential nominee, former Massachusetts Gov. Willard "Mutt" Romney, denied today that he had picked Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan -- whom he referred to as Paul "Riley" -- to be his vice presidential running mate. "I don't know where these stories get started," Romney said. "Probably it's you media types, being that you're all a bunch of socialist liberals."
Asked about the official statement he made on Saturday, with Representative Ryan at his side, aboard the USS Wisconsin, Governor Romney said, "Wow, wasn't that a doozy of a ship? Wasn't it Hazel who always used to say 'doozy-this' and 'doozy-that'? I had such a good time on the Wisconsin boat that I've decided that from now on I'm going to make all my official annoucements on board of, you know, war boats. I always thought you had to be a . . . like, uh, what do they call Army people on boats again? Well, whatever, that in order to go on board of one of those kind of boats you had be, like, a, er, one of those guys in uniform. Or gals in uniform. Which I'm not, unless you count when I get all dressed up for when Ann and I play 'French maid.'
"You know, nobody's ever caught me in uniform. I always think of that funny old book Don't Go Near the Army. Me and my boys too, those fine strapping lunks, my spawn, I call them. How many of them are there again? Four? Five? Six? Oh, right, five -- and not one served a day in, you know, the Army. Five for five! But that's not what we're here to talk about. Um, what were we here to talk about again?"
Reminded by a reporter that it was his alleged pick of Paul Ryan to be his running mate, Governor Romney said, "Who told you that?"
The reporter, Watt A. Tool, replied, "Do you mean that you had picked Representative Ryan, or that it's only alleged that you picked him?
"Either," the governor said. "Or both. Why? Which did you think?"
The reporter took out his phone and played back for the governor his Saturday appearance aboard the USS Wisconsin. The3 governor said, "Well, as to that, you're familiar with my policies. Now I know there was something else I was going to say, another statement.
"About your running mate?" another reporter prompted.
"Oh, right. All I know is it's not that guy, what's-his-name, the kooky guy who looks like the troll under the bridge. It's a shame he's not blond and cute, or I'd tackle him and cut off his hair. That's really a blast. I don't get to do it as often as I used to. Now where were we?"
"The, uh, you know, vice presidential nominee?"
"Oh, right. What were the choices again? Oh, never mind, I didn't get where I am by not being a shrewd judge of character. That guy there, the one in the fancy uniform . . ."
"You mean Capt. Peter 'Wrongway' Peachfuzz?"
"Yeah sure, I like the cut of his jib. I say, why the heck not? Let's go with, uh, Pooper . . . what was that name again?"
And that's how Capt. Peter "Wrongway" Peachfuzz came to be the designated vice president-in-waiting of the United States.
It appears that the NRCC is in a panic over Paul Ryan's elevation to the national ticket. They've sent a flurry of memos since Saturday, and the latest is over messaging on Medicare and Social Security. Despite the fact that the actual memo came from the NRCC, the instructions are straight out of the Luntz playbook, as outlined in 2009 and 2010.
?Do not say: ?entitlement reform,? ?privatization,? ?every option is on the table,?? the National Republican Congressional Committee said in an email memo. ?Do say: ?strengthen,? ?secure,? ?save,? ?preserve, ?protect.??
The email read like a warning shot, alerting Republicans that they would soon face a barrage of Medicare-themed attacks and telling them they needed to be ready for the scrutiny that was to come. The internal email, obtained by POLITICO, was a clear and immediate sign that Republicans knew Ryan could create trouble down ballot for GOP candidates in tight congressional races.
?Predictably,? the NRCC wrote, Democrats are ?already blasting Mitt Romney?s selection of Congressman Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate. Expect your boss to get questions from reporters on how this selection of a fellow House member impacts your race.?
These directives are being taken to heart, not only by candidates including Romney himself, but also the cable networks cheering Ryan on. No questions are being asked that should be asked, like why it is that if the Ryan plan is so wonderful for people under age 55, people over age 55 can't participate. That one seems fairly obvious, and yet no one asks. That ridiculous softball interview with Bob Schieffer is a terrific example.
The Romney campaign is banking on ignorance to slide Ryan's whole profitization plan right by. Go out and talk to your neighbors, who aren't really paying attention and don't start until sometime in October. They likely won't know who Paul Ryan is or why he's such a threat to their financial future. With messaging schemes like the Luntz terms above, they never will unless people start telling them.
Here it is, plain and simple. Paul Ryan is a fervent believer in killing social insurance by privatizing it for profit. To that end, his budget proposal ends Medicare. It ends it. Period. There is no "choice." involved. It ends Medicare and shifts the burden for medical costs onto senior citizens. Similarly, his scheme for Social Security ends it. Period. It takes our retirement funds and gives them to Wall Street, where all the risk then shifts over to the retiree and all the profit heads into Wall Street's pocket.
Wall Street and health insurers benefit from Paul Ryan's plan, but people don't. They can paint that pig with all kinds of different shades of lipstick but everyone needs to know that Paul Ryan aims to destroy the social safety nets by shifting all costs and risks from the government to individuals, terminating the agreement that has worked so well for so many years, and handing our retirement to profit-driven enterprise.
Spread the word.
Much has happened in the last few days. We have finally announced my choice for vice presidential unit, and it turns out it is that Paul Ryan fellow. Looking up, I see that I noted in my last diary entry that we would certainly not be choosing Paul Ryan for the position if I had any say in it. It turns out that I did not have much say in it, but let me now explain why it was my idea from the beginning.
As you know, Mr. Diary, our campaign has been rocked by scandal in recent days. My press secretary made the gaffe of noting that a law I once endorsed may have provided assistance to sick people. This was disastrous, since providing assistance to sick people goes against the very core principles of my party?there has been a large amount of public drama over this very point, in the last few years.
While our efforts to contain the scandal were admirable, they had little effect. On Friday we came to the conclusion that the only way to demonstrate that I was no longer a candidate who would tolerate providing assistance to sick people was to choose a vice presidential unit who could not possibly be accused of wanting to provide assistance to anyone, ever. Paul Ryan became the obvious choice.
In hindsight he is not as objectionable as I had previously supposed. He has a less objectionable odor than many of the other candidates, and while he is severely poor he conducts himself with an air of self-entitlement worthy of any wealth unit. His hair is the right length. It was only when discussing financial matters with him, however, in a quiet room I have dedicated for the discussion of financial matters, that I began to see that he shared many of my own core values. Like myself, he believes I should pay little to no taxes. He shares my conviction that budget calculations should not be discussed publicly, because there are many complicated parts that commoners would not understand. I believe he has opinions on other things as well. Primarily, however, he believes I should pay little to no taxes, and he has some truly innovative proposals on how to best retrieve monies from the commoners, who primarily squander it on things like sustenance and medical care, and redirect it towards wealth units who can put it to more satisfactory use.
Having spent several days with him at this point, I cannot say that I am entirely satisfied with the choice. I do not like the thought of sharing my bus with him, and so I expressed to my advisers that while this choice was entirely my idea, he would have to obtain his own bus, and that at the very least I would certainly not allow him to accompany me on the current Florida trip. We have therefore left him in some other state, somewhere up north, with instructions that I will contact him again when necessary.
With all the recent commotion, I have not even been able to enjoy riding on Mr. Bus again. I was obliged to answer questions posed by reporters today, which I had thought we had previously agreed I would no longer be doing. The trees in this state are of irritating shapes and sizes. Donald Trump continues to telephone me in attempts to give me advice. While I consider myself quite robust, I did demand that we cancel an event in one of the lesser cities of Florida today; there is only so much of this nonsense I am able to take.
In the end, however, I am determined to see this ridiculous process through. I have a vision, Mr. Diary, of a better nation. I dream of a new America in which all citizens, whether they be wealthy or commoners, whether they be investment bankers or owners of teams related to sport, whether they be white, or slightly off-white, perhaps due to tanning during a recent vacation, possibly while engaging in watersport?a nation in which all individuals, no matter who they may be or how many houses they may own, can come together and agree as Americans that I, Mitt Romney, should pay little to no taxes.