But first:

Pro-sustainability pescatarians!  Consider adding these fish to your diet.  Scup, anyone?

And look!

WheelTug in the New York Times.  Our main competitor — which for a decade has helped legitimize the concept of electric taxiing (so thank you, Safron!) — seems to have given up the ghost. Not least because their system is so much larger and heavier than ours.  If things go well — especially now that they’ve gotten the funding they think should be adequate to see them through to FAA certification — this may not be the last time WheelTug makes the Times.  It remains a speculation.  But if you bought your shares with money you can truly afford to lose, don’t sell your BOREF.

Also in the Times:

Trump Is the Founders’ Worst Nightmare. “It is a constitutional paradox: The very behaviors that necessitate impeachment supply the means for the demagogue to escape it.”

. . . President Trump has made full use of the demagogic playbook. He has refused all cooperation with the House. He lies repeatedly about the facts, holds public rallies to spread these falsehoods and attacks the credibility, motives and even patriotism of witnesses. His mode of “argument” is purely assaultive. This is the crux of the Trump defense, and not an argument built on facts in support of a constitutional theory of the case. . . .

Indeed . . .

[He] is a past master of throwing up verbal smoke screens . . . knows equally well the effectiveness of massive oratorical assaults that shake the nerves of his opponents and break down their resistance. He knows how to give pledges that will be broken but serve to divide and confuse . . . uses insults and lies to break the respectable but often weak front of his adversaries. He contradicts himself constantly but his contradictions often crush the best defenses of logic and ordinary morality.

Oh wait.  Wrong demagogue, wrong century, wrong country.  It just sounds like Trump.

Back to the Times:

. . . Mr. Trump has instead described Adam Schiff, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, as a “corrupt” politician who shares with other “human scum” the objective of running the “most unfair hearings in American history.”

. . . The demagogue may be boundlessly confident in his own skills and force of political personality, but he . . . can thrive only in political conditions conducive to the effective practice of these dark arts, such as widespread distrust of institutions, a polarized polity and a fractured media environment in which it is possible to construct alternative pictures of social realities. Weak political parties now fall quickly into line with a demagogue who can bring intense pressure to bear on party officials and officeholders through his hold on “the base.”  . . .

This is how the Republican Party has become Mr. Trump’s party. It is also why that party will not conceive of its role in impeachment as entailing a constitutional responsibility independent of the president’s political and personal interests. . . . As another fabled demagogue, Huey Long of Louisiana, famously announced: “I’m the Constitution around here now.”

The implications for the constitutional impeachment process are dire. . . . Nixon’s resignation appeared to indicate that serious charges could bring the parties together in defense of the rule of law. “The system worked” was a popular refrain . . .

The Trump impeachment is headed toward a very different summation. A demagogue can claim that Congress has forfeited the right to recognition of its impeachment power, then proceed to unleash a barrage of falsehoods and personal attacks to confuse the public, cow legislators and intimidate witnesses. So long as the demagogue’s party controls one of the two chambers of Congress, this strategy seems a sure bet.

When this is all over, we will not hear warm bipartisan praise for how “the system worked.” The lesson will be that, in the politics of the time, a demagogue who gets into the Oval Office is hard to get out.


Dinner with Trump supporters.  (I had the sauteed spinach and Brussels sprouts.)

And finally:

Mike Martin: “I liked your Buzzfeed link, but it has a false description of our solar system.  It is not to scale. One of the things I was astounded to discover in college was the vastness of our solar system. Nobody had ever explained it to me.  The four so-called “inner planets” are spaced roughly equally. But Jupiter is much farther from Mars . [And it just gets worse from there.]  Showing the inner planets one inch apart, to scale, it takes 4.6 inches to show Mars if the sun is the edge of the paper. Then Jupiter adds about 11 inches, so your paper is over 15 inches long just to show Jupiter. Saturn takes you out to 28 inches; Uranus, to 58; and Neptune, to 90 — about the height of the average doorway. Earth is only 3 inches from the floor.”

→ And Pluto?  They presumably demoted Pluto to save paper.



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