If you have $2.99 and a sense of wonder, load the Sky Guide app on your smart phone. Yes, that’s the moon — you knew that. And yes — that’s Mars! You were pretty sure, but now you know. But wait: there’s Saturn! And Jupiter! And . . . well, the app knows where on the planet you are, and, as you look around the sky, what you’re looking at — and what else you’d see if only there weren’t so much ambient light (and pollution and clouds). It’s kinda great.
Have you been watching Stephen Colbert cover the Convention this week? Start with this that opened Monday’s show and then, for sure, these four minutes. If at that point you can resist watching all the other clips YouTube will suggest, you are a busier man than I am. (And I am busy! The whole world is at stake! I need your help! Click here!!!)
Finally (as we careen wildly from topic to topic, shiny objects everywhere), my Turkish-American pal, Ayse Kenmore, recently posted “A Convenient Coup”:
In my humble opinion, the wannabe Caliph Erdogan seems to have pulled off a bit of black magic on the world stage with a horrific event allowing him to consolidate his power and eliminate the last of his perceived political, military, and judicial adversaries. Best of all, he’s able adopt the persona of “democratically elected” victim and maintain the support of Turkey’s NATO partners. He may have been “democratically” elected, but Mr. Erdogan is not interested in being the leader of a secular democracy. His personal goal appears to become the all-powerful head of a pro-Fundamentalist autocracy.
A few very minor observations:
1) Erdogan, the presumptive primary target of a takeover, was conveniently on holiday. His major minions and ministers could not be found either. Thus, arresting Erdogan & Co., which should have been the first step of any self-respecting coup, couldn’t happen.
2) If the top generals and officers of the huge Turkish Army had been behind a coup, the rank & file would have followed their orders and the coup would have succeeded. Sadly, hundreds of high-ranking military have been jailed for some time and are not in a position to give orders. Sadder still, because of this “attempted coup,” Erdogan may now arrest any and all persons who disagree with him.
3) By 11:30 PM, the streets were filled by flag-waving Erdogan supporters. International media took this as a sign of his popularity, overlooking the fact that it was Erdogan himself who asked his followers to storm the streets and to ignore the martial law mandate to stay indoors. In other words, anti-Erdogan citizens weren’t in the streets. For example, Trump rallies are filled with enthusiastic Trump supporters. We know there are equally enthusiastic folks who do not support him. Their absence at his rallies don’t indicate support for him.
4) I can’t imagine a circumstance where impromptu citizens take to the streets late at night, all waving identical flags. No, most Turks do not keep a uniformly sized Turkish flag by their doors, ready for just such an unexpected event.
5) Mr. Erdogan won the last election by a very small margin.
His desire to assume all the offices of the executive branch (“l’etat cest moi”) will be voted upon in the near future. With the “help” of this coup, he may get his wish.
Ataturk’s “miracle of democracy” may be unraveling as we watch.