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Friday, December 2, 2016

Thrust.

Did you guys hear that sound last night? Maybe about 3 a.m., I don't know. It was raining like hell, I think - pounding on the windows like a freaking hammer. At least I think that's what it was. Either that or a ... a ... rocket lifting off ...

Well, that last paragraph is a depiction of what I sounded like when it first dawned on me that our leased Plywood 9000 rocket was hijacked in the middle of the night. As some of you recall, just before Thanksgiving we were preparing for a brief tour of some lesser known planets that don't get a lot of respect, like KIC 8462852. That appears to have been, well, scuttled. And while the Plywood 9000 is not what you might call luxury transportation, it apparently was functional enough to be stolen.

Who is the thief? Can't be 100% sure, but the fact that Mitch Macaphee, our mad science advisor, has disappeared probably isn't a coincidence. I think he was getting a little tired of our antics, or lack of same - it's been weeks since we first discussed this tour and still no action. The man just hates waiting around, particularly when there are discoveries to be made. Who can blame him? No one likes waiting, least of all a mad scientist. And when it became obvious that the Trump administration was not going to tap him to be Chief Scientist at NASA, he did seem to be weighing his options.

Hey, man ... what's that noise?That means we have a mad scientist on the lamb. Or on the rent-a-rocket, to put a finer point on it. I think his ultimate destination will be the newly discovered planet KIC 8462852 (and no, I don't mean it was discovered by Anthony Newly), but there are a lot of potential stops between here and there. So I'm just putting this out there: if you astronomers, amateur or professional, notice any unusual activity on the outer planets, particularly Jupiter (about which Mitch has harbored a strange fascination for many years), notify us immediately. Use the comment form on this blog post, or send us a note by snail mail to ... well, just write "Big Green, Cheney Hammer Mill" on the envelope - we'll get it.

Fuck all. Then there's the lease payment for the Plywood 9000 rocket. DAMN YOU, MITCH!

For the ages.

Perhaps the most predictable response to the death of Fidel Castro was the corporate media's nearly exclusive focus on his critics' jubilation. I can't tell you how many times I've heard audio of car horns honking in Miami over the past week. Contrary to the impression viewers and listeners might get from this coverage, the exile community's joy was a small island in a sea of regrets pouring in from nearly the entire world, particularly those corners of it that benefited directly from Cuban assistance over the past 55 years. As was becoming the case with regard to our relationship with the OAS, our reaction to Castro's death isolated us from the rest of the hemisphere and, indeed, the globe.

Made a difference.This cannot be overstated: South Africa and some of its immediate neighbors (Namibia, Angola) would not be the nations they are today without Cuba's intervention on their behalf in the fight against the racist Apartheid military and its allies. Whatever criticisms anyone may have about Castro's rule and his repression of internal dissent, we have to acknowledge that the Cubans have engaged in humanitarian intervention to a degree that far surpasses anything we have done. They did so at great cost: Washington really turned the screws on Havana, making them pay dearly for their activist stance in support of independence movements overseas.

To be clear, our attack on Cuba was never about human rights. We maintain full diplomatic relations with states that have abysmal human rights records, with no problem whatsoever. (China, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain come to mind.) In any case, it's important to remember that when Castro's revolution came to the island, Cuba was not facing a choice between socialism and Jeffersonian democracy. The other option was what Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Haiti saw under the imperial imprimatur of the United States: slaughter in the hundreds of thousands, an all out war on the poor and the church, and a degradation of society that reverberates to this day. And the notion that Cuba was a "terrorist" state is laughable: we carried out terror attacks on the island for decades, making many attempts at assassinating Castro himself, supporting terror bombers like CIA asset Luis Posada Carriles, who blew up an airliner carrying the Cuban Olympic fencing team, as well as Orlando Bosch.

So, Fidel Castro is for the ages, but the legacy of our imperialism is still alive and well.