(Permanent Musical Accompaniment To The Last Post Of The Week From The Blog's Favourite Living Canadian)
On Friday, Senator Cory Booker made it official. He's running for president, which, to be honest, he's been doing in one way or another since I first heard his name. He's trying to define the race in gospelish terms-talking about journeys and tapping into the Obama This Is Bigger Than One Man's Campaign dynamic.
“I believe that we can build a country where no one is forgotten, no one is left behind; where parents can put food on the table; where there are good paying jobs with good benefits in every neighborhood; where our criminal justice system keeps us safe, instead of shuffling more children into cages and coffins; where we see the faces of our leaders on television and feel pride, not shame. It is not a matter of can we, it’s a matter of do we have the collective will, the American will? I believe we do. Together, we will channel our common pain back into our common purpose.”
That's from his announcement video, and that is the kind of thing Booker has been most effective in employing on the stump. I watched him campaign for Doug Jones in Alabama and Booker was at his most magnetic when he talked in this vernacular to people primed and ready to hear it. But what hamstrings his campaign a bit at the outset is not God, but Mammon.
Given the nature of the Democratic primary field, Booker can't help but be the candidate of the establishment, as defined by the Clinton and Obama administration. More than a few people remember him chiding the 2012 Obama campaign for being too hard on the private equity industry. He has been a bridge between the Democratic Party and Wall Street-as a senator from New Jersey, he has hundreds of little masters of the universe as his constituents, who flee across the bridge and through the tunnel every night-but it is entirely possible that the Democratic primary electorate doesn't want a bridge to Wall Street any more.
That's his tightrope to walk, just as Kamala Harris's record as a prosecutor is hers. But he also is a charismatic presence in the field, and an undeniable source of energy. It's a better field with him in it. Let's see him go through the wringer. And if his presence keeps Joe Biden on the sidelines, that's all the better.
WWOZ PIck To Click: "Put Out The Light" (James Booker): Yeah, I pretty much still love New Orleans.
Weekly Visit To The Pathe Archive: A hundred years ago this week, 47,000 workers in Glasgow went on strike. At issue was their anger at a 47-hour work-week. What ensued has come down as the Battle of George Square. Ultimately, the British army was called in and showed up with tanks and machine gun nests. Somehow, there were no fatalities. History is so cool.
Look, My Favorite Machine even does great things by accident. From Forbes:
So it should come as no surprise that, now and again, Hubble finds something lurking behind something else. That's exactly what has just happened, with the space telescope 'accidentally' finding an ancient galaxy, nicknamed Bedin 1, in our cosmic neighborhood while looking at something else entirely...
Bedin 1 is a 13 billion-year-old dwarf spheroidal galaxy, which is defined as a galaxy with a maximum of several billion stars. It measures only around 3,000 light-years at its greatest extent (almost 1/30th the diameter of the Milky Way), and it is roughly a thousand times dimmer than our Milky Way. There are 36 dwarf spheroidal galaxies in our 'Local Group' of galaxies, 22 of which are satellite galaxies of the Milky Way. The Local Group is a collection of 54 galaxies, one of which is the Milky Way.
New neighbors! Somebody bring over a sponge cake and some Romulan ale.
OK, this is something I am not buying. In fact, I am not buying a syllable of it. From The Scotsman:
Ross relayed the statement during a speech to the Commons and leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom. He said: "Last week, as many of us celebrated Rabbie Burns, Sheila Gray, of Fochabers Ice Cream Parlour in Moray, in her own nod to the Bard, was creating a new variety of ice cream which blended whisky, tattie scones and haggis.
"So will the Leader of the House join me in congratulating Sheila for this latest imaginative variety, particularly since loyal customer 84-year-old Charlie Armour - after trying the ice cream - described it as 'better than sex'." Mrs Leadsom joked in reply: "Well, with 84 years of experience I'm sure Charlie would know. "I'm not sure it'd be my first choice of flavour, but I guess it would have to be tasted to be believed.
First of all, even whisky is not enough to make me eat haggis ice cream. Second, there isn't enough whisky in the world to make me believe haggis ice cream is better than sex. I don't think it sounds like it's better than Valvoline.
What came in the mail: one of the first things that convinced me that there could be superb journalism done on the Intertoobz was Dave Cullen's masterful work in Salon on the Columbine massacre. By carefully piecing together information overlooked by the rest of the media, Cullen upended the prevailing narrative and, when he finally put together a book on that awful day, our perception of it was completely changed. Now Cullen has a new book, this one about the survivors of the Parkland massacre in Florida and how they turned their horror into political activism. I can't wait to get into this one.
Speaking of books, Roger Daltrey's memoir, Thanks A Lot, Mr. Kibblewhite, is worth a read, even if you are not a Who fan of five decades standing like, well, me. The most interesting passages are Daltrey's account of growing up in a battered and bombed-out Great Britain after World War II. It's not as deep and ponderous as Pete Townshend's memoir, which is fitting. Rog always has been a bloke, first. He tells his story like a bloke, and god bless him for it.
Is it a good week for dinosaur news, CBC? It's always a good day for dinosaur news!
It's not the Antarctica we know today, but the one that existed 250 million years ago. Now, researchers have discovered an iguana-sized dinosaur cousin that once roamed the lush forested area. Meet Antarctanax shackletoni, an archosaur, an early relative of dinosaurs and crocodiles. Based on their fossil findings, researchers believe Antarctanax was a lizard-sized carnivore that ate bugs, early mammals and amphibians. This new discovery - as well as some earlier fossils found - is teaching paleontologists that Antarctica was home to some very unique life.
Roughly 300 million years ago, there was just one supercontinent on Earth, called Pangea. About 200 million years ago, it began to break apart. Scientists had once thought that because life evolved and thrived on this supercontinent that the fossil records would show the same animals right around the globe. But that's not quite the case. "The prevailing thought in the literature was what you found in Antarctica is a subset of what you'd find elsewhere because everything was connected," said Peecook. "But the more work we've done … there's a lot of very unique life forms in Antarctica."
Since we're losing Antarctica in huge chunks anyway, thanks to those crafty Chinese climate hoaxsters, who knows what we may find there before the planet boils away into steam. But, for a while, we will still have dinosaurs that lived then to make us happy now.
I'll be back on Monday to begin what could be quite the week in Washington. Be well and play nice, ya bastids. Stay above the snake-line, and, for god's sake, just drink the whisky and leave the haggis in the sheep where it belongs.
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