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Archive for July, 2005

Indian Summer of the Gods.

As seen in the NYT Science Times, a volunteer at the Smithsonian discovers a forgotten cache of photos from the Scopes trial, which took place eighty years ago this month.

Martian H20 and Planet X?

Some intriguing new finds right here in our neighborhood: The ESA posts some very nice images of a frozen Martian lake, and astronomers have found a large object (and its moon) orbiting our sun outside Pluto.

Powered by Pork.

“‘This bill digs us deeper into a budget black hole,’ said Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.) ‘It fails to decrease our dependence on foreign oil. It rolls back important consumer protections. And finally, it undermines some of the fundamental environmental laws that our citizens rely upon.'” By a vote of 74 to 26, the Senate passes a grotesquely pork-inflated energy bill that’s riddled with tax breaks for energy companies and devoid of anything that’ll actually help minimize our need for oil. Great job, fellas.

He’ll make a Fabulist Ambassador.

Chalk up another X against Dubya’s UN nominee: It now turns out John Bolton lied to Congress about his part in the investigation of the Iraq-Niger claim. (He claimed he hadn’t been interviewed…He had.) Regardless, Dubya still has plans to appoint Bolton by fiat after Congress skips town. After all, what’s one more liar in this truth-starved administration? He should fit right in.

Physician, Heal Thyself.

Bucking the Dubya trend, Bill Frist comes out for expanded federal stem cell research. Evidently, Catkiller‘s 2008 gurus decided he should hype his M.D. and/or tack moderate — which is probably a mistake…the GOP moderates will likely stick with McCain, while the fundies may now look to Sam Brownback or some other winger freakshow as their primary hopeful. But, hey, the right thing is the right thing, even if it’s for the wrong reasons.

“Hidden in Plain Sight.”

“‘I’ve long assumed that once John Roberts was confirmed for the D.C. Circuit that just like Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia, he was headed to the Supreme Court,’ Aron says. ‘I also knew, based on his thin public record, he would be the hardest nominee to challenge.'” Salon‘s Michael Scherer examines the reasons behind the surprisingly smooth sailing for John Roberts thus far. Recently released documents indicate he’s clearly a dyed-in-the-wool Reagan conservative, but that, however discomfiting, isn’t in and of itself enough to thwart his confirmation. Of course, the White House is still holding on to his Bush Sr.-era records, and I for one am curious to see how Roberts here conducted himself under Ken Starr’s tutelage (and during Bush v. Gore, for that matter.)

‘Til Things are Brighter.

Here’s one I’m actually looking forward to: Joaquin Phoenix channels the Man in Black (with Reese Witherspoon as long-suffering June) in the new trailer for Walk the Line, the Johnny Cash biopic.

Bounded by Foam.

“You have to admit when you’re wrong. We were wrong.” NASA grounds the shuttle fleet until the now-recurring foam debris problem, which thankfully seemed to spare the Discovery orbiter this time, is satisfactorily resolved. Ugh, that’s depressing…but probably for the best.

Crabgrass (and Martian) Frontiers.

Some trailers for movies I doubt I’ll see: Jim Carrey and Tea Leoni keep up with the Joneses via armed robbery in Fun with Dick and Jane, Eomer and The Rock wield BFGs in the totally unnecessary film version of Doom, and suburban housewife Julianne Moore pens her way to big bucks (much to the chagrin of man-of-the-house Woody Harrelson) in The Prizewinner of Defiance, Ohio. Ho-hum. Also in film news, Ellen Page is Kitty Pryde in X3, which sits better with me than the idea of Eli of Freaks & Geeks as Angel.

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