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Friday, October 7, 2016

Last straw.

Well, at least we have a week to pack. That's something. What? Mitch sent himself back in time a week and is demanding that we leave now? For crying out loud, I hate when he does that.

Okay, so you know that we live with a mad scientist. And if you know that, you probably knows that he has a tendency to obsess about outer space matters. Whether you knew it or not, it's happening again, this time over star KIC 8462852, which is flickering at odd interviews. Some have suggested that this is due to some undiscovered alien Megastructure, but I am skeptical. I cannot, however, say the same for Mitch, who is intrigued by this speculative feat of engineering know-how. He wants to see how they built THEIR megastructure so that he can build his OWN. The man has a competitive streak a parsec wide.

Of course, it's not wise to ignore the entreaties of a mad scientist. And we've been collecting some dust in recent years, to be sure, so Big Green got its tiny heads together and decided to do some impromptu interstellar busking as a means of accommodating Mitch's obsession. We thought we'd borrow a spacecraft, head out towards Zenon (home of our occasional sit-in guitarist sFshzenKlyrn), and stop by KIC 8462852 (or '852 for short) along the way. If there turns out to be a Megastructure erected on the mysterious star, we will see if they take terrestrial bookings. Could be a decent venue there, you never know. No Megastructure? Well .... we try to cope with Mitch's disappointment in some non-explosive fashion (hopefully).

Road trip!That of course puts us back into the spacecraft rental market. Never a good place to be, especially in this economy and with the election coming up. It's just hard to get a low parsec ion-drive ship that can hold more than a couple of vertically challenged astronauts. We not only have our own asses, but an entourage and a whole load of equipment. (If the mansized tuber accompanies us, as he has threatened to do, we will need a greenhouse on board as well.) We're considering a kickstarter campaign, frankly. Either that or hiring a grant writer. (Isn't that just a fancy term for counterfeiting? If so, why the hell doesn't Mitch just invent some freaking money for a change.) Hey ... if you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them. Just drop them in the comment field. And if you have a reliable map to '852, drop that in as well.

Veep debate postmortem.

I know most people did not watch the quadrennial spectacle of the vice presidential debate this past Monday. For those who missed it, you didn't miss much. That said, it appears as though the corporate media in particular is intent on scoring this match-up on the basis of style points, thereby awarding the debate to former right-wing talk show host Mike Pence, one of the most reactionary men ever to adorn a major party presidential ticket. He was smooth and relaxed, the commentary goes, whereas Kaine was somewhat agitated and even rude. Well ... glad we're focusing on what matters.

centrist, reactionaryI have, however, heard some more interesting points made outside of the beltway punditocracy. Majority Report has been particularly good on this. Much of it confirms the impression I had at the time that Kaine was basically setting Pence up to defend, point by point, the most ridiculous and intemperate statements Trump has made during the campaign. Not rocket science, right? He was being pretty systematic about it, getting Pence on the record as denying that he and Trump had said things they had obviously said on camera, getting him to take positions at odds with those of his running mate, and drawing him out on some of his own well-documented extremism. That content was subsequently cut together into Clinton campaign web videos. And all of Kaine's interrupting? Some have suggested it was to deny Pence usable soundbites. Basically all the Trump campaign could do was clip together Kaine's interjections in kind of a whiny little ad about him being rude. Kaine - so the thinking goes - basically threw himself under the bus for the good of the order. Why not? Does it matter who "wins" the veep debate?

This is completely aside from the content of what was discussed. That was abysmal, for the most part. The moderator had some kind of Russia obsession, asking at least three questions about it and zero about climate change. Even more irritating was the unchallenged claims by Pence that the Obama administration "paid ransom" to Iran for the release of a detained journalist, that they had some option with regard to the Iraq status of forces agreement George W. Bush had signed with Baghdad forcing a U.S. withdrawal in 2011 (or that to remain would have been either desirable or effective in some respect), and that the "Russia Reset" led to the annexation of Crimea and Russian involvement in Syria. Worse, both men appeared to endorse the creation of a "safe zone" in Syria, which would require a no-fly zone, which would demand a U.S. fighting force of tens of thousands, plus the destruction of Syria's air defense capabilities and its aircraft. That would put us into direct conflict with the Russians. Something to look forward to?

So, yeah ... it was pretty awful. But the fundamentals of this race are the same. We have to do the hard thing - vote for someone we don't like in order to block someone who should never be president under any circumstances. Hard to swallow for many, but we should swallow hard, vote to elect Clinton, then continue the fight as soon as we leave the voting booth.

luv u,

jp