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marmar's Journal
marmar's Journal
December 26, 2023

Kristina Karamo's running mate wants meeting to discuss her removal

(Detroit News) Lansing — Malinda Pego, who ran alongside Michigan Republican Party Chairwoman Kristina Karamo to lead the state GOP 10 months ago, has now joined a push to consider unseating Karamo.

Amid internal divisions and financial struggles within the Republican Party, Pego, co-chairwoman of the party and the clerk in Holton Township, announced in an email Friday that she had signed a petition "to support a meeting for discussions of removal of our chair of the Michigan Republican state committee."

Pego's 400-word message, which didn't mention Karamo by name, could boost the removal effort and potentially revealed a crack at the top of Karamo's coalition as Pego had previously remained quiet publicly about ousting Karamo as others openly criticized the Michigan Republican Party's chairwoman. ...................(more)


December 26, 2023

How 3,000-year-old Babylonian tablets help scientists unravel one of the weirdest mysteries in space

How 3,000-year-old Babylonian tablets help scientists unravel one of the weirdest mysteries in space
Archaeomagnetism helps us understand spacecraft hiccups — and why the humanities are crucial to STEM

Staff Reporter

(Salon) Among the most enigmatic mysteries of modern science are the strange anomalies which appear from time to time in the earth’s geomagnetic field. It can seem like the laws of physics behave differently in some places, with unnerving and bizarre results — spacecraft become glitchy, the Hubble Space Telescope can’t capture observations and satellite communications go on the fritz. Some astronauts orbiting past the anomalies report blinding flashes of light and sudden silence. They call one of these massive, growing anomalies the Bermuda Triangle of space — and even NASA is now tracking it.

With all the precisely tuned prowess of modern tech turning its eye toward these geomagnetic oddities, you might not expect that some key scientific insights about them could be locked inside a batch of 3,000-year-old Babylonian cuneiform tablets. But that’s exactly what a recently published study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests.

“The geomagnetic field is one of the most enigmatic phenomena in earth sciences,” said study co-author Lisa Tauxe in a release. “The well-dated archaeological remains of the rich Mesopotamian cultures, especially bricks inscribed with names of specific kings, provide an unprecedented opportunity to study changes in the field strength in high time resolution, tracking changes that occurred over several decades or even less.”

This newly discovered connection between ancient Mesopotamian writing and modern physics is more than an amusing academic fluke. It highlights just how much is at stake for 21st-century scientific progress when budget-slashing lawmakers, university administrators and private industry investors shovel funding into STEM field development while neglecting — and in some case, actively destroying — the humanities. ...............(more)


December 26, 2023

"If Trump wins the 2024 election ...": Leaving the "carnival of madness" that was 2023 behind

"If Trump wins the 2024 election ...": Leaving the "carnival of madness" that was 2023 behind
Political experts take a look back at the tumultuous last year — and make their predictions for the big year ahead

Senior Writer

(Salon) In the best of times, the New Year season is very challenging for many people. The end of the year (and the holiday season more generally) brings an increase in depression, loneliness, interpersonal violence, stress, anxiety, drug use and alcohol use.


Trump has promised to be a “dictator” on “day one” of his presidency if he returns to power in 2025. He is publicly channeling the evil of Hitler and the Nazis. Public opinion polls show that the American people are increasingly feeling down and depressed about the present and future of their country and lives. Still, he is leading President Joe Biden in the early 2024 election polls, with some polls showing that Trump’s lead is increasing as Biden and the Democrats are losing the support of their base voters. It's a harsh juxtaposition and source of great frustration and dark feelings among Democrats and other pro-democracy Americans: Donald Trump’s popularity is remaining steady (if not growing) because – and not despite – his Hitlerian dictatorial threats and plans as well as his multiple criminal trials.


In an attempt to make better sense of this tumultuous last year, I asked a range of trusted experts for their thoughts and reflections, and what, if anything, surprised them. I also asked them to look ahead and share what they will likely be doing a year from now if Donald Trump defeats Joe Biden in the presidential election.

Steven Beschloss is a journalist and author of several books, including "The Gunman and His Mother." His website is America, America.

Optimism is a struggle right now, especially as Donald Trump and his sycophants have made it clear they’ll aggressively push toward dictatorship and the end of democratic rule, an independent judiciary and a nonpartisan civil service, as well as pursue the deportation of millions of migrants without due process, the use of military against domestic protestors, the installation of thousands of loyalists and retribution against political opponents and the media. But this outcome is not inevitable—even as the authoritarians want Americans to believe it is and lose hope that there’s anything they can do to stop it. ................(more)


December 25, 2023

Undeterred by racist incident, a Black Santa brings cheer to Arkansas

(Guardian UK) An Arkansas man has continued his work as a professional Santa Claus to promote diversity, three years after receiving a racist note for displaying a Black Santa Claus statue in his yard.

Chris Kennedy, of North Little Rock, Arkansas, is currently in his third year as a professional Santa Claus. He attends both local and out-of-state events as “Santa Chris”. What once started as a rebuttal to a racist note about his diverse Christmas decorations has now grown into a bonafide, seasonal business that continues to thrive.

Kennedy first began dressing up as Santa Claus in 2021, a year after receiving a bigoted note about a Black Santa inflatable that Kennedy had placed outside his home. He said that he and his wife, Iddy, intentionally displayed the Christmas decoration to include Black representation for their seven-year-old daughter.


In response, Kennedy received a racist letter, demanding that the Black Santa statue be removed. The anonymous note accused Kennedy of “trying to deceive kids into believing that Santa was Black”, he said. ..............(more)


December 25, 2023

'You better pray': Christian nationalist groups are mobilizing before the 2024 elections

(Guardian UK) On a cold night in November, a man named Jefferson Davis addressed a crowd of conservative activists gathered in an American Legion hall 20 miles north of Milwaukee. In his left hand, Davis brandished an unusual prop.


Davis was speaking at an event organized by Patriots of Ozaukee County, a rightwing group that vows to “combat the forces that threaten our safety, prosperity and freedoms” and compares itself to the musket-toting Minutemen of the revolutionary war.

The organization is one of more than 30 such “patriot” groups in Wisconsin identified by the Guardian which claim that the last presidential election was stolen from Donald Trump. Many, including the Ozaukee county organization, openly embrace Christian nationalist rhetoric and ideology, arguing that the laws of the US government should reflect conservative Christian beliefs about issues like abortion and LGBTQ+ rights.


Now, with the 2024 presidential election less than a year away, Wisconsin’s patriot movement and its allies are fighting for legislation that they believe will protect the state’s electoral process from fraud, and mobilizing supporters to work the polls, observe polling places and spread the word about their concerns – pushing the GOP further to the right and threatening more challenges to the voting process come election day. ..........(more)


December 25, 2023

Proposed passenger rail line through Napa County (CA) is eligible for funding

Dec. 18—A 40-mile-long passenger train service proposed to run from Solano to Marin counties — and through Napa County — is eligible for federal funding.

The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District, or SMART, made the announcement on Monday. The route has been designated for inclusion under the Federal Railroad Administration's corridor identification and development program.

State Senate President-designee Mike McGuire, D- Healdsburg, in a news release called the move "a game-changer."

"Up until now, this east-west rail corridor that connects Marin, Sonoma and Solano counties hadn't been eligible for federal passenger rail funding," he said. "Now, SMART will be able to tap these federal and state funds to help move the commuter service east." ............(more)


December 25, 2023

When Hitler tried to redesign Christmas

When Hitler tried to redesign Christmas
Donald Trump now claims to have "won" the so-called war on Christmas. The holiday was an issue for Hitler as well


(Salon) It's a real contest but if I had to choose Donald Trump's most fatuous claim it would have to be that until he became president "nobody could say Merry Christmas anymore." He made the claim again just the other day and his ecstatic followers practically went into a collective fugue state and began speaking in tongues they were so thrilled. This war on Christmas has been a theme on the right for many, many years but Trump is the first politician to say that he "won" it. It was smart. After all, the war didn't exist in the first place so every time anyone says "Merry Christmas" he gets the credit. Boom!

I have no doubt that his right-wing evangelical fans are thrilled by all this. This is one of Christianity's most important holidays after all. On the other hand, most of them are also fine with Trump evoking Adolph Hitler's rhetoric so their alleged reverence for Christmas as a religious holiday may be beside the point.


They're happy to join in Trump's racism and bigotry against his chosen "others" which he recently specifically defined as people from Asia, Africa and South America who are "poisoning the blood" of our country. Trump and his supporters also despise Muslims from anywhere, "radical leftist thugs," LGBTQ people and the media, all of whom the Nazi Party also saw as enemies. Let's just say the historical Nazis shared a whole lot of the same grievances we see in the MAGA movement today.


Hitler ordered that Christmas be altered in other ways as well. The Christmas tree was originally a German tradition but he really didn't like that star on the top which was just a little bit too reminiscent of the Jewish Star of David or the five-pointed star of the Soviet Union. So they replaced it with a Germanic “sun wheel” or a Sig rune. This was in keeping with the Nazi plan to move Christmas away from a Christian holiday into a more ancient German pagan celebration of the winter solstice, even calling it by a different name: Rauhnacht, the Rough Night (for some reason.) ............(more)


December 24, 2023

Detroit Lions win NFC North with thrilling 30-24 victory over Minnesota Vikings

(Detroit Free Press) MINNEAPOLIS — The Detroit Lions are division champs, and it didn’t take a Christmas eve miracle for it to happen.

The Lions on Sunday won their first division title since 1993 with a thrilling 30-24 win over the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. They will be a top-3 seed in the NFC playoffs and host at least one game at Ford Field when the postseason opens in mid-January.

The Lions, who had never won the NFC North since its inception in 2002, still could climb as high as the No. 1 seed and earn homefield advantage throughout the NFC playoffs if San Francisco stumbles twice.

The Lions visit the Dallas Cowboys next Saturday night, and likely need to win that game to be the No. 2 seed and stay home through the divisional round. The Cowboys are 7-0 at home; the Lions are 6-2 on the road. .............(more)


December 23, 2023

Lordy, there are more tapes

Lordy, there are more tapes: How Trump's Michigan arm-twisting may come back to haunt him
3 ways the new audio of Trump pressuring 2020 Michigan vote certifiers can hurt him in 2024


(Salon) Lordy, there are tapes. Make that, MORE tapes!

On Thursday, the Detroit Free Press reported that it had a recording from November 17, 2020 of Trump arm-twisting by phone Monica Palmer and William Hartmann, two Republican “canvassers,” to get them not to certify the vote in Wayne County, Michigan.Biden won that county, where Detroit sits, by more than twice the votes he needed to turn the state his way.


01 Biden can wrap Trump’s mantra around his neck.

Expect Trump’s 2024 campaign battlecry to be “Election Interference!” whenever he talks about his prosecutions. That’s what Steven Cheung, Trump campaign spokesman, howled after Wednesday’s Colorado Supreme Court ruling removing him from the state’s primary ballot as an insurrectionist under the 14th Amendment.

Talk about chutzpah! Here’s Trump, someone who just got caught on tape arm-twisting two local Republicans to help him steal the 2020 election. .................(more)


December 23, 2023

Mixed-race people become Brazil's biggest population group

Mixed-race Brazilians are now the largest population group in the South American country, the latest census has revealed, as the number of people identifying as African-descended in Brazil continues to grow.

New data from the 2022 census released on Friday shows that 92.1 million Brazilians identify as mixed-race, equivalent to 45.3% of the population. This is up from 43.1% in 2010, when the last census was carried out.

The proportion of self-declared white Brazilians has fallen from 47.7% to 43.5%, or 88.2 million, while those labelling themselves as Black jumped to 10.2% of the population (20.6 million), from 7.6% 12 years earlier.

The 2010 census had already confirmed that Brazil was no longer a majority-white country, but this is the first time since records began that mixed-race Brazilians – a broad grouping that includes descendants of Indigenous Brazilians as well as of Africans – outnumber the white population in official data. ...............(more)


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