Saturday, December 14, 2019


  1. Earth as seen from the surface of Mars, shining brighter than any star in the Martian night sky. This picture was taken by NASA's Curiosity rover.

I love Curiosity.

One of my favourite Mars pics of the year. Taken by Curiosity in March.

We have so much more information because of Curisoity the rover's work on Mars. 

Some good news from NASA . . .

. is getting a friend! , which launches to the Red Planet next summer, borrows from Curiosity's design — but they aren't twins. Curiosity was designed to learn about past water on Mars, & Mars 2020 will look for signs of past life.
Illustrations of NASA's Curiosity and Mars 2020 rovers. While the newest rover borrows from Curiosity's design, each has its own role in the ongoing exploration of Mars and the search for ancient life.

And here are some Tweets from Curiosity's Twitter feed:

  • Oh, it’s a jolly soliday with ! Eight years ago today, I left Earth. One year ago, landed on . See what’s new at
  • Strange things are afoot in Gale Crater I see seasonal rise and fall of oxygen greater than predicted—similar to what I’ve seen with methane. There can be bio and non-bio sources, so it doesn’t necessarily mean life on , but wow. Worth more study.
  • We can't call a robot this awesome forever. K-12 students, get those essays in by midnight PT (3am ET) and you could name 's next rover!
  • Red rover, red rover, send a great name right over 🤖 US students are invited to enter now to name , the next big rover. Please share the opportunity with young people in grades K-12. Hurry! The deadline is this Friday, Nov. 1.
  • Just your friendly neighborhood robotic geochemist checking in with an update from the field: P.S. This selfie was stitched together from 57 individual frames. This video explains how I took them and why my arm isn't in the shot 🤳

  • "Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
    Friday, December 13, 2019.  Joe Biden suffers serious shrinkage as the corporate media continues to ignore Joe's biggest problem in Iowa (the caucus itself), Tiny Pete has some donors demanding their money back, and much more.

    Starting in the US where the race for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination continues.

    I can personally attest to this about Joe Biden. He connects with people through his authenticity, his genuine concern and a wonderful, heartfelt compassion!

    For me, it was the leather fringe vest that Joe wore which put him ahead of both Bobby Sherman and Davy Jones on the dreamy scale.  Just looking at the glossy photos of him and those pale blue eyes, I knew he was so sensitive and I said to myself, "Girl, you already missed out on Paul now that he's married Linda.  You can't lose out on Joe too."

    Thank you to Elaine and Pam above for their worthless contributions since, in fact, we're speaking about a politician hoping to become President of the United States and not some guy on the cover of TIGER BEAT.  If we promise to give you the huge color poster of Joe shirtless in this month's issue of TIGER BEAT, ladies, will you promise to leave the public square so that adults can discuss the policies and proposals and voting records and actions of those who want to be president instead of serving up your useless crap?  Thanks.

    OF COURSE Hunter Biden's drug possession charge was swept under the rug as was pushing to jail black boys for the same thing

    Jordan, I believe that's "men."  African-American men.  But regardless of wording, that's the reality.  Hunter Biden's drug addiction is long, long, long.  It dates back to Joe in the Senate.  The whole time Joe was pushing policies that punished African-Americans (men and women) at a higher rate than White Anglos, his own son was doing drugs and Joe knew it.  Slap the headline "The Joe You Don't Know!" on it and maybe Pam and Elaine will read it.

    Jordan's referring to this report by Alana Goodman and Joseph Simonson (WASHINGTON EXAMINER):

    Joe Biden’s son Hunter was arrested on Jersey Shore drug charges in 1988 and had his record expunged at a time when his father was pushing for the incarceration of drug offenders drawn disproportionately from minority groups.
    Congressional records reveal that Hunter Biden, now 49, was arrested in Stone Harbor, New Jersey, where the Biden family has often holidayed over the years, in June 1988. Hunter Biden, then 18, had just graduated from the prestigious Archmere Academy prep school, which his father had also attended. The former vice president and his wife Jill have often been spotted on trips to Stone Harbor.
    The arrest has not previously been reported. Republicans have recently highlighted Hunter Biden's drug abuse, questioning why it was not taken into account when the lobbyist was appointed to a $50,000-a-month post on the board of the Ukraine oil company Burisma in 2014, when his father, as vice president, was the Obama administration's lead official on Ukraine.

    A year after the arrest, Joe Biden gave a speech in which he said the federal government needed to “hold every drug user accountable" because, "If there were no drug users, there would be no appetite for drugs, there would be no market for them." He neglected to mention the drug use in his own family.

    Joe is such a hypocrite.  But he's worse than a hypocrite.  The hypocrite across the streets just trashes you while he's doing the same thing.  Joe went beyond trashing with words, he actively sought and promoted and supported policies that came down hard on others for doing the same thing that Princess Hunter did -- the same thing that Princess Hunter, because of who his father was, got away with doing.

    "As a Biden."  Remember that?  These last months we've heard that over and over.  Joe vouching for himself and insisting he's telling the truth "as a Biden."  That family's name is mud and Joe and Hunter are responsible for that.

    Replying to  
    Joe Biden is the WORST Democrat running. He is senile from the "Silent Generation" one cannot legitimately say to him "ok Boomer". He spews BS and we laugh, call them gaffes, 'coz it's Joe. His past record, policies are bad, racist. Joe is a hypocrite, has no business running.

    War Hawk Joe is preparing for a loss of Iowa and New Hampshire.  His campaign has insisted that, if it happens, it doesn't matter.  He's got South Carolina sewn up, they insist.  But, as we've demonstrated this week, this same time in 2007, polls said Hillary Clinton had South Carolina sewn up.  Then Barack won Iowa and, oops, Hillary's support vanished in South Carolina.

    It was mid-month December 2007.  Hillary Clinton was the front runner in the national polls.  As for South Carolina?  CNN put her at 42% to Barack's 34%, SURVEY USA put her at 44% to Barack's 40%, CBS NEWS put her at 34% to Barack's 35%.

    January 26, the vote finally took place -- no ranked choice voting options, by the way.

    And all the polls that had Hillary with a lead or within 1% of Barack?


    Hillary only got 26.5% of the vote.  55.4% of it went to Barack.

    Get it?

    South Carolina will decide after Iowa.  After New Hampshire.  The results of both states prior will cast all the candidates in a certain light.  Should Joe lose Iowa, he will be seen as a loser.  Should he lose both Iowa and New Hampshire, he will be the ultimate loser.

    That's the reality.  And, oops, Joe's already losing some support in South Carolina.  David Sherfinski (WASHINGTON TIMES) reports:

    Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden’s Democratic opponents are eating into his lead in Mr. Biden’s “firewall” state of South Carolina, according to a Post and Courier-Change Research poll released on Thursday.
    Mr. Biden was the top choice of 27% of likely Democratic primary voters, followed by Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont at 20% and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts at 19%, according to the poll.

    It’s the first time since February that Mr. Biden hasn’t had a double-digit lead in the state in Post and Courier-Change polls.

    Woops.  And Andy Shain (POST AND COURIER) notes it as well:

    Joe Biden might need to check his firewall.
    The former vice president’s lead in South Carolina keeps shrinking in Post and Courier-Change Research polls as the 2020 Democratic presidential primary gets closer — and even after a key competitor for Palmetto State votes, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris of California, dropped out of the race.
    The latest poll released Thursday shows Biden with just a 7 percentage point lead among likely voters in the South’s first primary, the first time he has not held a double-digit advantage in seven Post and Courier-Change Research surveys taken since February.

    Poor Joe.  Suffering from shrinkage.  And at his age.

    7% is no real lead.  It's just beyond the margin of error.  Joe's struggling and people still get honest about that.

    Here's some honesty they're not offering.  Iowa?

    It was pointless of Joe and his malarkey to waste time there in the last weeks.  His supporters are predominately elderly.  In a primary, that doesn't really matter.  In a caucus state?  In 2008, we were in Iowa for the caucus and the one we were at went on until well past midnight.  During that time, we saw tons of people walk out.  They were tired, they were disgusted in some cases.

    Guess what?

    No young people walked out (teens to mid-twenties).  That's where Joe is weakest in support.

    Start telling the truth in the media.  Stop wasting our time with b.s. headlines about how "Joe's ahead!" in whatever state . . . if you use ranked choice voting when, in fact, the state doesn't use ranked choice voting.

    Reality: No campaign is weaker in Iowa than Joe Biden's.  And that nonsense tour was a waste of time.  While he was on the ground there, others were in South Carolina ensuring that his support erodes.

    If you're not getting how big Joe's decline in South Carolina is, FITS NEWS offers, "Biden is currently drawing the support of 27 percent of likely South Carolina Democratic primary voters, per the survey – his worst mark since pollsters began tracking the race. Just last month, a CBS News/ YouGuv survey showed Biden backed by 45 percent of South Carolina Democrats."

    Shrinkage.  Did someone say Tiny Pete?  Joe Biden's personal Mini-Me is also having problems.  Julia Conley (COMMON DREAMS) reports:

    Though they initially viewed South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg as an intriguing and progressive newcomer when he began his presidential campaign early this year, the #RefundPete hashtag began trending Thursday morning on social media as a growing number of former donors started requesting their donations back in the wake of recent revelations about the 2020 Democratic candidate.
    Kristen Hill, a volunteer community leader for the presidential primary campaign of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) in North Carolina, was one of the first voters to kick off the viral hashtag #RefundPete.
    "If Pete Buttigieg fooled you into thinking he was a progressive at the beginning of his campaign and you donated what he thinks is pocket change, you can ask for a refund by emailing your receipt to," Hill tweeted.
    In October, Buttigieg criticized his progressive opponents, Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) for running their campaigns on "pocket change" by accepting mostly small donations of under $200.
    Buttigieg has raised 52% of his $50 million campaign dollars through large contributions, and has so far been outraised by both Sanders and Warren.
    "Just got my refund from Pete's campaign," wrote one social media user as the #RefundPete hashtag took off. "It was just pocket change so he won't miss it."

    Another shared the email they sent to the campaign as the hashtag took off.

    People want their money back.

    I want my money back
    I'm down here drowning in your fat
    You got me on my knees
    Praying for everything you lack
    I ain't afraid of you
    I'm just a victim of your fears
    You cower in your tower
    Praying that I'll disappear
    I got another plan
    One that requires me to stand
    On the stage or in the street
    Don't need no microphone or beat
    And when you hear this song
    If you ain't dead sing along
    Bang and strum to these here drums
    Till you get where you belong

    I got a list of demands
    Written on the palm of my hands
    I ball my fist, you're gonna
    Know where I stand
    I'm living hand to mouth
    You wanna be somebody? See somebody?
    Try and free somebody?

    "List of Demands (Reparations)" --  The Kills

    In Iraq, the protests continue.  The United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq has released a new report which notes:

    On December 8, Iraqi judicial authorities said that 2,626 protesters who had been arrested during protests since October 1 have been released through December 8. The statement added that 181 protesters remain in custody pending the conclusion of investigations into their respective charges.
    On December 8, unknown gunmen on a motorcycle assassinated activists Fahim al-Taie in central Karbala. Assassins have targeted a number of other activists in recent days. Activists Ehab al-Wazni and Muhannad al-Ka’bi both survived attempts on their lives in Karbala in which militants used silenced weapons and a sticky IED, respectively. Another activist, Basim al-Zubeidi also survived an attack by gunmen in Maysan province. On December 10, activist Ali al-Lami was found dead with bullet wounds to his head about 12 hours after he went missing in Baghdad. Activists and protesters are also facing threats of kidnappings and forced disappearances. On December 11, social media posts said that two young Iraqi activists, Omar al-Amiri and Salman al-Mansouri, went missing that day while on their way to purchase new tents for the protest site near Tahrir Square. On December 11, AFP published a report describing the kidnapping and beating ordeals that to which several protesters were subjected last week as part of what appears to be a systematic campaign of intimidation. Some of these activists were later released alive, while at least one activist was killed by her captors.
    On December 9, the office of the Iraqi Human Rights Commission in Dhi-Qar released statistics on the deaths and injuries among protesters in the province between October 1 and December 3. The report found that 88 of the 94 protesters who died in the province were killed by live bullets. The report also found that 71 of those killed were between 16 and 29 years old. In addition to the deaths, there were 1,648 recorded injuries and 600 detentions among protesters during the same period. 
    On December 11, the UN Assistance Mission to Iraq (UNAMI) published a new report on Iraq’s ongoing demonstration covering the period from November 5 to December 8. The report shows that at least 170 people were killed and 2,264 more were injured during that period. The document says that “UNAMI continued to receive credible allegations of deliberate killings, abduction and arbitrary detention carried out by unknown armed men described as: ‘militia’, ‘unknown third parties’, ‘armed entities’, ‘outlaws’ and ‘spoilers’.” The report also highlights the fact that the Iraqi government is refusing to allow UNAMI to access hospitals that are receiving demonstrations casualties whether to review their data on casualties or to speak with admitted patients. 
    On December 12, Iraq’s Ministry of Migration reported that it has assisted 65 Iraqi refugees in returning home from Turkey. The ministry routinely helps Iraqi refugees return home through the Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration program, which had supported the return of at least 232 refugees in October and November.

    At what point are we going to demand that our candidates for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination offer some comment on what's going on in Iraq right now?  Thus far, only Bernie Sanders has taken the time to note the protests.

    This week’s headlines: • Protests intensify during two-year anniversary of victory over • Disputes in Parliament over electoral law amendments • Mob lynching in Square stirs public opinion For details click link below:

    The following sites updated: