“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Sunday, July 06, 2014

The sky above and the muck below. Sometimes it helps to look up.

Cassini’s amazing space odyssey to Saturn
Scientists says Cassini is helping them undestand how our solar system developed.

By: Joseph Hall News reporter, Published on Sun Jul 06 2014

Of the astronomically profound discoveries it’s made over a decade of circling, the startling hint this April of a new moon being formed in the rings of Saturn is merely the latest.

Indeed, the spacecraft Cassini — which inserted itself into orbit around the giant gas planet in July, 2004 — has transmitted imagery and sensory data back to Earth that has given us a new understanding of our bejewelled neighbour three doors down.

“It’s one of the most successful (space) missions probably ever,” says University of Toronto astrophysicist Hanno Rein, whose own work has been significantly informed by the tiny craft’s output.
“Fantastic … the stunning images, this is unprecedented. They’re an order of magnitude more exciting than anything we’ve seen before,” Rein says.
Rein is especially intrigued by the natal moon — tentatively named Peggy — that Cassini detected in Saturn’s outermost A Ring this spring.

Because he believes we could be witnessing in the icy satellite’s birth a small-scale version of the planetary formation that created our solar system billions of years ago.

“The kind of theories we develop for Saturn we then apply to other systems like the (ancient) disks (around the sun) in which planets formed,” Rein says.

“But for Saturn, we can observe how it forms in situ. It’s really exciting to see it in action.”

Yet the proto-moon simply joins in the metronomic output of discovery that Cassini has hurled back to Earth since reaching Saturn a decade ago — and during its seven-year, 3.5-billion kilometre journey to get there.

Jesse Rogerson, a PhD candidate in astrophysics at York University, has followed the Cassini project for years and says it’s been revolutionary for our understanding of the sixth planet.

The two NASA Voyager probes that flew past in the early 1980s were able to collect good data on the planet for only a few weeks each, Rogerson says.
“The only way to really learn about it is to have something sit there,” he says. “What Cassini has done for the Saturnian system, it’s like shining a light bulb in a darkened room.”

Speaking from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calf., Cassini project manager Earl Maize says he’ll leave the superlatives to others.

“But … it’s been a wonderful ride,” Maize concedes. “The things that the project has discovered (it’s been) surprise after surprise over the last 10 years.”

Those surprises have fundamentally changed the scientific thinking about Saturn that began when Dutch astronomer Christian Huygens described the rings in 1655.

“In fact I would go even a little bit further and say some of the things Cassini has discovered have changed our view of our own solar system,” adds Linda Spilker, the project’s top scientist.

In particular, two moons in the Saturn system — which thanks in part to Cassini is now known to have at least 53 of them — have provided oceans of material for the craft’s camera’s and probes to explore.

The planet’s largest moon, Titan, which was also discovered by Huygens, has been obscured to astronomers by an orange haze for the 350 years since.

But beneath the fog, the Cassini mission revealed that Titan is among the most Earthlike worlds in the solar system, Spilker says.

The craft, which has made dozens of flybys of the moon, some within 100s of kilometres, also carried and released the European Huygens probe, which parachuted on to Titan’s surface in January, 2005.

Together the twined crafts have shown a moon with liquid methane seas, lakes and rivers and a vibrant, active atmosphere that have shaped its surface in very earthy ways. There’s even an occasional rain.

“We revealed that this really is … very analogous to Earth,” says Maize, who counts the exploration of Titan as the mission’s top achievement so far.
“We have rain, we have lakes, we have rivers, we have weather patterns … it’s absolutely fascinating.”

Continuing flybys will use Cassini’s radar and sensors to further map the moon’s topography, search for seasonal climate changes and attempt to confirm the presence of a huge ocean of water thought to lurk below Titan’s surface.

If Cassini showed Titan to be a topographical and atmospheric mirror of Earth, however, it showed the ice-moon Enceladus to be a tantalizing host for potential life.
Cassini pictures of the moon shocked scientists when they revealed massive geysers of salt water erupting from its southern pole, raising the possibility that Enceladus’ icy surface could be covering vast seas of water below.
With water being a prerequisite of life, tiny Enceladus — just 480 kilometres in diameter — leaped to the head of the solar system’s class of bodies where primitive organisms may one day be found.

“In Esceladus, with its icy jets, and Titan, with its methane lakes and liquid water ocean underneath, we’ve in a sense helped redefine the (solar system’s) habitable zone,” Spilker says.

“It (potential life sites) is no longer just sort of that Goldilocks zone, that place where the Earth orbits where you can have liquid water on the surface.”

In Saturn’s rings themselves, Cassini has revealed a credible analogy for the creation of the solar system’s planets, Spilker says.

Like the shifting clouds of ice, rock and dust that encircled our sun billions of years ago, Saturn’s rings are composed of materials, big and small, that are colliding and melding into larger bodies.

“We saw shadows of large mountain-sized particles that are accreting and accumulating in the rings and giving us ideas about maybe how planets formed in the solar system,” Spilker says.

“It’s just intriguing to think that maybe some of the tiny moons we see just outside the rings might have actually started in the rings themselves.”
It’s this moon-formation process that has most intrigued Rein, who believes that Saturn’s rings represent a current template for the solar system’s beginnings.

“The moons are so small that you can’t actually see the individual moons; there are maybe a few hundred that are maybe a kilometre in size,” he says. “But they create this small disturbance in the rings and because Cassini has such a good resolution you can actually see this perturbance.”
Following these ring disturbances should allow scientist to predict — applying the laws governing gravitational orbits — precisely where new moons will be when Cassini looks for them again, Rein says.
“But it turns out it’s not where (the laws) predicted it would be, it’s moved a bit. And it’s moving because there are strong interactions with the rings in which it’s embedded.”

This is the first time astronomers have seen objects in orbit change their course, Rein says.

And he says the alterations are likely caused by collisions between the tiny moons and even smaller bodies of ice and dirt within the rings. These herky-jerky pathways would be similar to the ones Earth and the other planets took during their formations.

Rein is currently running numerical simulations on the Cassini moonlet data to better understand these interrupted motions so as to better predict what may happen on a planetary scale.

“Really (however) it’s with Cassini just being there long enough to look for and discover these new things … that we’re rewriting the book not only about Saturn but about our solar system as well,” Spilker says.

In its decade at Saturn, the $3.3 billion (U.S.) Cassini mission has logged more than 3.2 billion kilometres in 206 orbits and generated more than 3,000 scientific papers back on Earth.

Some of its greatest orbital hits include:

The discovery of seven new moons around the planet.

The recording of a great northern storm that erupted in late 2010 and within months had grown to ring the planet in a swirling band of orange tumult. During the storm, which petered out soon after its head caught up with its tail, Cassini detected the largest temperature rise ever recorded on a planet and elements never seen before in Saturn’s atmosphere.

The discovery of massive hurricanes at both poles of the planet.

Photographing a shining Earth and its moon — while thousands of people on this planet waved up during the NASA’s “Earth Waves at Cassini” event — during a trip to the dark side of Saturn in July, 2013.
The first full recording of the massive, hexagonal jet stream structure circling at Saturn’s northern pole.

Rein speaks with awe about the ability of Cassini’s Earthbound handlers to position the craft for its orbital observations — manoeuvres that could give the term rocket science new lustre.

“The spacecraft has very little fuel … but they need to make very small changes to the spacecraft orbit with the little fuel they have,” he says. “And they’ve done a remarkable job with that.”

Instead of expending scarce fuel for orbit-altering thruster burns, Rein says, the probe’s remote pilots have plotted out close encounters with Saturn’s moons using their gravitational pull to sling the ship into desired positions above the planet.

“That they can do that is pretty amazing. It’s literally rocket science,” he says.

Its handlers employed similar gravitational strategies in guiding Cassini to its Saturn destination, using the pull of the sun and several of its other planets to manoeuvre and accelerate the craft during a journey of stupefying complexity.

The twined Cassini-Huygens package was launched from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station atop a Titan IVB/Centaur rocket on Oct. 15, 1997.

And while the destination planet is a mere 1.5 billion miles from Earth on average, the craft had to travel more than twice that distance to get there.
The twinned Cassini-Huygens craft made two passes by Venus, where it added to already ample scientific probing of that planet.

It also made an Earth flyby on the way out to slingshot it in the right direction.

“Our biggest gravity assist (however) was Jupiter,” Maize says.

And it was at Jupiter that Cassini worked with the Galileo probe, already in orbit around that giant planet, to achieve a one-two science punch.
“While we were surfing inside and outside of the solar wind and Jupiter’s magnetic field, Galileo was deep inside,” Maize says.

“For the first time we were actually having two spacecrafts make simultaneous measurements of a giant planet’s magnetic field and that was just incredibly exciting.”

It also gave Cassini — named after Italian astronomer Giovanni Cassini — a chance to calibrate and test its 12-pack of instruments, two years before its Saturn encounter.

Later, by waking up Cassini’s propulsion system — which would insert it into Saturn’s orbit — at just the right time, the ground crew was able to take the first close-up readings and images of Phoebe, a Kuiper Belt planetoid that had been pulled into a Saturnal orbit.

If its beginnings were eventful, Cassini’s scheduled death a little more than three years hence promises to be breathtaking, Spilker says. The ship will be taken closer and closer to the planet until it’s finally plunged into its gaseous mass.

“Just imagine the great pictures we’re going to get of both the rings and the planet when we’re so close,” she says.

But before that grand finale, Maize says, he is certain of only one thing:

“We’re going to continue to be surprised.”


  1. Such a wonderful brain - to be sitting on top of such an ignorant, bloodthirsty, despicable ape.

  2. Replies
    1. I'm sure; unfortunately, your link doesn't click through for me.

  3. I guess it makes sense that a Tranny is into girls.

    1. Usually they are in cars and trucks.
      Bicycles, too.

  4. That's puzzling Rufus, you're the only one who can't hit my webpage.

    1. Your links worked for me the first day, or so, and then they didn't.

  5. This, by the way, is how we need to explore the universe. Stay home and let the robots do it for us.

  6. Six months since Colorado enacted its historic marijuana legalization policy, and two big things have already happened:

    1. Colorado's cash crop is turning out to be even more profitable than the state could have hoped.
    2. Denver crime rates have suddenly fallen.

    Ending prohibition saves money.
    Since 1970, the government has spent $1.5 trillion on "drug control," though addiction rates remain constant:

  7. More from Colorado:

    A state health initiative to reduce teen birth rates by providing more than 30,000 contraceptive devices at low or no cost has led to a 40 percent drop in five years, Gov. John Hickenlooper said Thursday.

    The Colorado Family Planning Initiative, funded by a private anonymous donor for five years, has provided intrauterine devices and other implants to low-income women at 68 family-planning clinics across Colorado since 2009.

    The clinics are in local health departments, hospitals and private nonprofit facilities. The program also provided training and technical assistance to family planning clinics statewide.

    "When families are planned and women have children when they're ready and want them ... it's really a better situation for everyone," Hickenlooper said during his state Capitol news conference.

    Seven of every 10 teen pregnancies in Colorado are unintended, officials said.

    The decline in births among girls 15 to 19 years old served by the program accounted for three-quarters of the overall decline in the Colorado teen birth rate, the state said in a news release.

    That rate has fallen from 37 births per 1,000 girls in 2009 to 22 in 2013, officials said.

    The teen abortion rate dropped 35 percent from 2009 to 2012 in those counties where the initiative is in place, Hickenlooper said.

    1. Carrie Gordon Earll, senior director of public policy for the conservative Christian ministry Focus on the Family, said she was skeptical of the state's claim that increased access to IUDs and other birth control caused the steep decline in teen birth rates.

      "What we have seen over many years is that access to contraception does not equal fewer unintended pregnancies and fewer abortions," Earll said. "Availability of contraception leads to increased sexual activity, which leads to unintended pregnancies and abortions."

      Earll said she found it offensive that the state was dispensing IUDs and that teens don't need to be accompanied by an adult to receive these forms of contraceptives.

      "It totally undermines parental rights," Earll said.

      The program has helped thousands of young women avoid unintended pregnancy by using long-lasting, reversible contraceptives, which has reduced social and economic costs to the state, Dr. Larry Wolk, director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, said during the news conference with the governor.

      Those costs include birth defects, low birth weight, elective abortion, maternal depression, increased risk of child abuse, lower educational attainment by mother, delayed prenatal care, high risk of physical violence against expectant mother and reduced rates of breastfeeding.

      The family-planning program has saved $5.68 in Medicaid costs for every dollar spent on the contraceptives, the state said. The state has saved millions in health care expenditures — $42.5 million in public funds in 2010 alone based on the latest available data.

      The decline improved Colorado's standing among states from having the 29th-lowest teen birth rate in 2008 to being ranked 19th among states and the District of Columbia in 2012.

      Thank you, to the 5 old catholic motherfuckers

    2. Keep 'em barefoot and pregnant.

    3. That's the plan; always has been.

  8. Colorado is moving a lot faster than we are, in Washington, still no retailers selling it.

  9. Anonymous Mon Jul 07, 10:12:00 AM EDT
    I guess it makes sense that a Tranny is into girls.

    When you call people trannies on Deuce's blog, WiO, at least have the balls to post under your own moniker, so you don't break my ironyometer. K?

  10. .

    Rufus, I see our little tussle yesterday was followed by a number of comments (probably a lot more than its worth). I just wanted to clear up a couple things from my standpoint.

    Rufus IISun Jul 06, 05:58:00 PM EDT

    Okay, you wrote this:

    "'Comprehensive central planning can only be carried out effectively when the government exercises unlimited power over individuals.'

    which seemed to put you in the "government controlling the means of production" camp.

    No. If you reread the comment in context I think you would see that I was paraphrasing what I thought was Hayek's point, that being the only way you can effectively run a centrally planned economy is by the government having complete control over individuals. However, you misunderstood my words if you thought that either Hayek or I would approve of such a system.


    1. .

      On the other hand, when I say that I think the government should help the poor, and sick, obtain health insurance, I'm railed at by many on the right as one who is promoting "Socialism."

      I don't believe I have ever called you a socialist, Ruf. I think my usual term for you is Lib.



    2. .

      What started the discussion was your comment,

      If you will think for a minute about "Serfdom," you will realize that "socialism" is its exact opposite.

      Not specifically referring to that comment you also said,

      The two situations seem very different, to me. I just want to define the terms.

      Whereas you were asking me to define terms I merely asked the same as you. Exact opposite? Absolutes tend to rankle me. When you come up with a comparison of two unique social systems and state that they are exact opposites you should lay out the characteristics of each system (at least the main ones you are talking about) and be able to point out how they are exact opposites.

      This may be a bit overcritical on my part, some might say nit-picky or even peevish, but hey, that's the way I roll. And, I don't see how you comment makes sense unless we know just what you are talking about.


    3. The apropo designation is IDIOT.

  11. .

    Spotty regulations creating problems in California. Each marijuana plant requires about 6 gallons of water per day.

    Feds’ marijuana policy confusion exacerbating Calif. water crisis

    he federal government’s schizophrenic approach to enforcement of marijuana laws is destroying California’s water supply. The state’s “Emerald Triangle” of Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity counties, for example, is having its water supply drained by illegal pot growers because the federal government won’t allow local officials to craft public policy addressing the issue.

    “Marijuana cultivation has the potential to completely dewater and dry up streams in the areas where [cannabis farmers are] growing pretty extensively,” Scott Bauer, a biologist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), told the business website Quartz.

    California has every reason to try and solve its dilemma — pot brings in big bucks. Dale Gieringer, an economist at California Norm, told Quartz that the value of cannabis grown in the Golden State each year is between $2.5 billion and $5 billion. That isn’t including the export market.

    Read more:
    Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter


    1. No, each plant does not require six gallons of water per day.
      Where ever you got that 'factoid' is just plain wrong.

    2. The cannabis plant loves watering in the developmental stage but too much watering destroys the roots of the plant. Water providers the hydrogen which is required for the growth of cannabis plant. One of the best ways for watering outdoor cannabis is done by installing sprinkler system. One should keep in mind that the bigger the plant is the more moisture it will require. Some plants which are very larger need almost one gallon of water daily.

      Government "Researchers" are quoted when the six gallon per day number is used.
      Their numbers are based upon 'projections' taken from satellite imagery, and the politics of the War on Drugs...

      The plants will die, if watered that heavily.

    3. .

      Tell it to the Washington Times, the business website Quartz, and their contacts in the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW).


    4. Agents of the government, in the Drug Wars, dispensing propaganda.
      They know they are lying.
      Anyone that has ever grown a plant knows they are lying.

      If want to believe and propagate their propaganda, go right ahead, Mr Sheeple.

    5. .

      Rat, who gives a shit you moron.

      If you want to go to maryjanesgarden and have them teach you how to grow marijuana in flower pots, fine, go at it.

      Nobody cares.


    6. Quirk, you're an ass. Go back to bed.

    7. Mr Sheeple mindlessly regurgitates Government propaganda, then has the audacity to tell us that no one cares.

      If that was the case, why post the factoid to begin with?

      Obviously you care, but perhaps you have never gardened.
      Never planted a rose bush, a petunia, or a tulip.

      Anyone who ever had, would have realized the Government was providing misinformation, to sway the sheeple.

    8. It's that "critical thinkin'," don't ya see?

    9. 6 galloons a day per plant does sound like a load of shit to me. The Washington times is a bit of a spotty rag in my experience.

    10. .

      You friggin morons.

      I live in Michigan and am surrounded by the Great Lakes. Water is not my problem.

      California, on the other hand, has a serious water problem, or perhaps you have been too busy to notice. I mean what with posting the same friggin quotes about Israel over and over day in and day out here for the hundredth or more times. Streams and reservoirs all over the state have been drying up and they have been issuing restrictions on water usage.

      They also want to protect their legal marijuana industry in the state, a $5 billion industry. So I assume they are interested in looking for solutions not publishing propaganda.

      The way I read the article, the website was getting all their info from officials in California.

      So I put up a simple post about what I thought was an interesting factoid and I get some asshole from Arizona who plants marijuana in flower pots getting all over me about the water usage quoted in the article, claiming it is some massive conspiracy.

      So I tell him Instead of complaining to me go complain to the source. His response? He calls me a sheeple.

      Then some hick from Mississippi joins in and I am suddenly talking to two morons about a subject I really don't care that much about.


    11. .

      Ah, great.

      I was waiting for the third Stooge to show up. he just blew in from the Great White North.


    12. Grouchy little prick this mornin', aint'cha?

      They must have run out of these before you could get one


    13. The depends haven't been emptied yet today old boy? Pretty darn cranky over a subject you put up with the lead line:

      "Spotty regulations creating problems in California. Each marijuana plant requires about 6 gallons of water per day."

      It doesn't pass the smell test but I guess your nose is faulty and since you read it on the internet it must be true.

    14. Funny how the guy that nipshits everyone else's posts, and calls it "critical thinking," posts something obviously nonsensical, and gets all het up when someone who has actually, at some time, acquired a bit of knowledge on the subject calls bullshit.

    15. Heck, you don't even need to have much knowledge about pot to know that that it is a hardy plant the grows in hot dry climates. That ole Mexican gold grows in rice paddies it does ;)

    16. .

      The 'I Miss W' shows the quality of intellect I am dealing with here, at least for those who have been around here for a while.


    17. and you think allen is a pompous ass. lordy!

    18. .

      ...and gets all het up when someone who has actually, at some time, acquired a bit of knowledge on the subject calls bullshit.

      I had no problem with rat saying the number was bullshit merely with his tone in doing it.

      When rat told me the number was ridiculous, I told him to take it up with the authors of the blog and officials in California.

      When he stated this was all part of a big government conspiracy, I called him a moron.

      When he called me a sheeple and an enabler, I pointed out that the subject just wasn't that important. I should have also at that point called him a moron again but I don't think I did.

      The article I put talked about commercial growers (legal and illegal) in California and I assume the number they gave include such variables as climate, temperatures, geography, and the subject they were most concerned about water diversion by the illegal growers. When I google the subject the first two articles that pop up mention the same water usage

      The third one started to get into inches of water required and I will admit I will have to wait for Bob to get back to learn how to convert inches into gallons per plant.

      At that point, I lost 'all' interest.

      However, since you guys seem so interested in this subject, why don’t you do the googling a put up an article on water requirements for commercial marijuana growers in California. The only thing I have seen so far is an article rat put up from the website selling seeds and telling how to grow weed in a flower pot. Since rat is concerned about government conspiracies skip government sources. Oh, and also skip the growers just to keep it fair. Find some study from a California university or other reputable source.

      Rat is the best at googling but you seem really interested in the subject, Ash, why don’t you do it.

      Then the entire blog will know the definitive answer on how much water per plant it takes for a commercial grower in California to grow a marijuana plant.


    19. .

      Oh, and don't come back until you have that answer.



  12. General Petraeus, once described as the Republicans favorite General, a man whose name was floated for 'National Office'. One thing that could be said about the General, he could always tell which way the wind was blowing.
    Turns out he later endorsed Mrs Clinton for President and now ...

    Fly the spinnaker!

    NEW YORK – In recent weeks, both General David Petraeus and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., have woven into public speeches the theme of combining the United States, Canada and Mexico into a single, North American Union.

    “After America, there is North America,” explained Petraeus, the former U.S. military commander and former head of the CIA, to a panel entitled “After America, What?” held at the Margaret Thatcher Conference on Liberty on June 18, 2014, hosted by the Center for Policy Studies in Great Britain.

    In his presentation to the conference, Petraeus proclaimed the coming of the“North American decade,” a vision he explained was founded on the idea of putting together the economies of the United States, Canada and Mexico, some 20 years after the creation of North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA.

    “In each of these economies there are four revolutions going on,” Petraeus continued, naming the following: an energy revolution, in which the United States is leading the world in the production of natural gas and shale oil, combined with Canada’s enormous resources in the Alberta tar sands and Mexico opening up the state-owned Pemex to international oil companies; an information and technology revolution led by Silicon Valley; a manufacturing revolution; and a life sciences revolution.

    “The forces unleashed by these four revolutions with all three countries being as highly integrated as they are, with Canada and Mexico being our two top trading partners, I believe we can argue that after America comes North America,” Petraeus explained.

    1. What comes 'after America'?
      D.C. insiders drop hints of erasing borders, unifying with Mexico

  13. Arizona's denial of driver's licenses for immigrants: Appeals court overrules state

    An appeals court blocked Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer's policy of denying driver's licenses to young immigrants who have gotten work permits and avoided deportation under an Obama administration policy.

    The ruling Monday by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals marks a victory for immigrant rights advocates who argued the young immigrants were harmed by unequal treatment by the state.

    The appeals court agreed on that issue and said the advocates also showed a likelihood that the immigrants would be harmed by the state's denial.


  14. (Newser) – Just how slippery a slope did the Supreme Court lay out in its controversial Hobby Lobby decision?

    Lawyers for two Guantanamo Bay detainees aim to find out. In a legal motion last week, they demanded that courts step in and order the detention facility to allow their clients to pray communally, citing Hobby Lobby as a justification.
    "If, under our law, Hobby Lobby is a ‘person’ with a right to religious freedom, surely Gitmo detainees are people, too," one of the lawyers tells Al Jazeera.

    Courts had previously determined that detainees weren't covered by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Washington Times explains, but in court documents the lawyers argue that

    "Hobby Lobby makes clear that all persons—human and corporate, citizen and foreigner, resident and alien—enjoy the special religious free exercise protections."

    The lawyers say that Guantanamo guards have prevented the two prisoners from taking part in special Ramadan tarawih prayers to punish them for hunger striking. A Pentagon spokesman said the government would "respond through the legal system."

  15. Bill Van Esveld

    As anger rises in Israel-Palestine, ‘collective punishment’ must be avoided
    Contributed to The Globe and Mail

    Published Monday, Jul. 07 2014, 7:58 AM EDT

    Bill Van Esveld is a Jerusalem-based Israel researcher at Human Rights Watch.

    "The grim Israeli-Palestinian conflict has taken a further, dramatic turn for the worse in recent days with children being deliberately targeted on both sides. Soon after the news broke on June 30 that a search team had found the bodies of the three abducted Israeli teenagers, a car with Israeli license plates hit a 9-year-old Palestinian girl, apparently deliberately, badly injuring her. Then, on July 2, witnesses said, a group of Jewish Israelis abducted Mohammed Abu Khudair, a 16-year-old Palestinian boy, in East Jerusalem. His charred body was found later that day. Two other Palestinian boys, ages 7 and 10, reportedly escaped similar kidnapping attempts.

    With tempers rising on both sides, world and local leaders have issued calls for calm. But calm is proving hard to attain. Israeli thugs ran rampant in East Jerusalem on July 1, chanting “Death to Arabs” and attacking people who answered their questions in Arabic-accented Hebrew. And Palestinians from the murdered 16-year-old’s neighbourhood clashed with Israeli security forces.

    Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian leader, condemned the abduction of the Israeli teenagers and pledged to “hold their kidnappers accountable.” Israeli leaders condemned the killing of the Palestinian teenager and ordered a criminal investigation, and police reportedly arrested violent thugs during attacks. Israel’s justice minister, Tzipi Livni, denounced an Israeli Facebook campaign calling for “revenge” for the Israeli teens’ killings, called the killing of Abu Khudair a possible “act of terrorism,” and said that “Israel must be a state governed by law.”

    And yet, since June 12, Israeli authorities have been involved in what looks a lot like revenge on Palestinians in the form of collective punishment. Israeli forces have killed at least five Palestinians and detained about 450, including 150 who remain in administrative detention without charge, trial, or the ability to challenge or even see the evidence against them.

    The last time Israel held so many administrative detainees was 2009 – the same year Israel last punitively destroyed the family home of a Palestinian suspect. On June 30, Israel blew up the family homes of two abduction suspects. It later blew up the family home of a suspect in the April killing of an Israeli security officer with the full backing of the Supreme Court. And Israeli forces blew up a dairy farm owned by a Muslim charity that Israel claims is affiliated with Hamas.

    Extremist violence against Palestinians, from Israeli settlers’ vandalism and burning of Palestinian mosques to beatings to property destruction, is a long-term security problem that has been getting worse – with more than twice as many attacks resulting in casualties or property damage in 2013 as in 2009, according to UN records. A big part of the problem is the failure of law enforcement; police close 91 per cent of Palestinian complaints of settler violence without filing an indictment.

    On July 1 Israel’s Supreme Court rejected a petition by Hamoked, an Israeli rights group, to stop the military’s plans to demolish the family home of Ziad `Awad, the Palestinian accused of killing Baruch Mizrachi, the Israeli security officer. The court said it had no reason to stop the demolition, citing emergency regulations dating back to 1945, the time of the British Mandate. On July 2, Israeli forces blew up `Awad’s West Bank home – part of a duplex, owned by his brother, where `Awad had lived with relatives including his wife and children

    1. Imagine how Israelis might react if the military detonated the family home of a Jewish extremist, displacing his wife and children. They rightly would see it as a blatant injustice to punish families for the acts of their relative, even one who had actually been convicted of a crime after a fair trial.

      On July 2, as many as 1,000 people demonstrated in Jerusalem against “anti-Arab racism,” Haaretz reported – but that same day, hundreds of Jewish students demonstrated in Jerusalem, demanding vengeance for the three Israeli teenagers. “The people demand collective punishment,” they chanted. If Israel’s government is to help achieve calm, it should not pander to such emotions. As a first step, it urgently needs to end punitive demolitions of suspects’ family homes."

    2. Ash, you are full of shit.

      The head Rabbi of the Settler movement has called for the death penalty for the the 6 jews that murdered the arab boy....

    3. Maybe those rioting arabs that are stoning jews and protesting the Jewish state should move....

      I suggest Gaza or the West Bank

  16. Re: ILLEGAL trespassers who abuse children

    The eyes of Texas are upon you. Iraq and Syria may not be alone in needing to form more perfect unions of likeminded citizens.

  17. Gee, I thought this thread was about astronomy. That's not the nonsense you read in the papers. But since it isn't, I point out that careful observation will show tiny Zionist footprints all over that moon. Probably a wall will come next to protect the unknown quantity of water necessary to grow weed from seed in order to deprive the astro-palis the patrimony of their land. It is rumored that Mohammed's high horse shit here on the way to heaven.

  18. Whoa!

    Mississippi: 1 of 2 Insurance Carriers to cut rates by 25% for 2015

    Submitted by Charles Gaba on Monday, July 7, 2014 - 3:29pm.

    Hat Tip To:

    Cover Mississippi

    This Just In: From the Paul Gallo Show, the Mississippi Insurance Dept. and Cover Mississippi: One of the 2 insurance companies operating on the ACA exchange in Mississippi plans on cutting their rates by a whopping 25%!

    ACA Signups

    1. I've seen the Mississippi Premiums, and the ones I've seen, the two companies were very, very close, and right in line with the National Average.

      25% is a Monster cut.

      I just wonder if someone hasn't made a mistake.

  19. rat is an IDIOT, and so is Noble Ash.