Cardinal Dolan to lead Republican convention in prayer for victory over civil rights, liberated women and uppity nuns

On your knees, sinners!

The news that New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the nation’s most prominent Catholic prelate, will deliver the closing blessing to the Republican National Convention in Florida next week was seen as a huge coup for Mitt Romney, the party’s presumptive nominee. But the move has also prompted a sharp debate within the church over the increasingly close ties between leading bishops and the GOP.

The cozy relationship between a sizable portion of U.S. bishops and the Republican Party should be cause for concern, and not just among progressive Catholics,” Michael O’Loughlin wrote in a post on the website of America magazine, a leading Catholic weekly published by the Jesuits.

“Cardinal Dolan’s appearance in Tampa will damage the church’s ability to be a moral and legitimate voice for voiceless, as those who view the Catholic Church as being a shill for the GOP have just a bit more evidence to prove their case,” O’Loughlin concluded…

Similarly, David Cruz-Uribe, a member of the Secular Franciscan Order and a professor of mathematics at Trinity College, wrote on the Vox Nova blog that Dolan’s decision “will only drag the Church further into a partisan divide and fuel the perception (true or not) that the Catholic Church wants to replace the Episcopalians as the Republican party on its knees…”

Cripes. I haven’t read that phrase in years. Reminds me of no end of salacious jokes.

By tradition, the local bishop often delivers a prayer at the party convention meeting in his city, but it is highly unusual for another bishop — and the leader of the hierarchy — to fly in to deliver a benediction, as Dolan will do on Aug. 30, right after Romney is formally nominated…

Examine the range of issues – and positions on those issues – today’s Republican Party and the most reactionary elements of the Catholic Church hold in common. They share a war on Women – denying reproductive rights, abortion, birth control, IVF – even the papal edict against a woman choosing to abort to save her own life.

They oppose civil rights for the LGBT community. They demand that religious dogma and doctrine take precedence over civil law. All that may be missing from the podium that night is an appearance by one of those uppity nuns – gagged and in chains.

Nanometer-scale printing demonstrates resolution at the limits of light and sight

A method of printing nanometer-tall pillars has been used to create full-colour images with a resolution pushing up against the maximum theoretical limit.

The Singapore-based team, who describe their work in a paper in Nature Nanotechnology, created pixels using tiny nanoscale posts, with silver and gold nanodiscs on top. The distance between these structures, and their diameter, sets the colour of light that they reflect.

As proof of concept, the researchers, based at Singpore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research, printed a 50 x 50 micrometer image of Lena Söderberg, a Swedish model from a 1972 issue of Playboy magazine, often used in image processing experiments.

They used electro-beam lithography to cover a silicon wafer with pillars made from an insulating material, then deposited the nanodiscs on top and coated the surface of the wafer with metal to reflect the coloured light and make the image brighter. The resulting image came in at an impressive 100,000 DPI resolution.

That’s right up at the maximum possible resolution that can be achieved. Even under the best microscope, a limit can be reached due to the wavelength of visible light. If two objects are too close together, light reflecting off them will diffract and they’ll blur together. In the case of visible light, in the centre of the colour spectrum, that distance is 250 nanometers — exactly the distance between the pixels in the created image.

The other benefit of using nanostructures to create colour is that they’ll never fade. So long as the pillars don’t corrode and change shape, the image won’t change over time.

Astounding stuff. I have been fascinated with images, what they can communicate and how, whether still or in motion – since I was a kid with my first box camera.

This tech is concerned with printing images – perfectly. Another side of technology is dealing with sending higher resolution television to consumers. As they have been for the past decades, Japan’s NHK is out in front. They offered HDTV for years before it was authorized in the United States and, now, they’ve demonstrated a technique for transmitting 8K TV images. These are 16 times higher resolution than the HDTV we’re accepting as usual in the US.

The United Nations approved their tech as a new standard – simply because no one even had a competing system to offer.

Republican Cross of Gold? More like an Albatross!

Say this for the GOP: by resurrecting the very bad, no good, truly awful idea of a gold standard, they’ve given us something to talk about.

Matthew O’Brien makes one obvious point: anyone who believes that the gold standard era was marked by price stability, or for that matter any kind of stability, just hasn’t looked at the evidence. The fact is that prices have been far more stable under that dangerous inflationist Ben Bernanke than they ever were when gold ruled.

I’d like to offer a different take. There is a remarkably widespread view that at least gold has had stable purchasing power. But nothing could be further from the truth. Here’s the real price of gold — the price deflated by the consumer price index — since 1968:

That’s a pretty huge range of variation. What’s going on?

Well, there may be bubble aspects, but there’s also a pretty clear (and economically understandable) relationship between the real price of gold and the real interest rate: when real rates are low, real gold prices are high.

And when are real rates low? High inflation can do that, as it did in the late 1970s; but so can a severe economic slump due to a deleveraging shock, as in recent years.

What does that tell us about how a gold standard would work? Faced with the kind of shock we’ve just experienced, the real price of gold would “want” to rise. But under a gold standard, the nominal price of gold would be fixed, so the only way that could happen would be through a fall in the general price level: deflation.

So if we’d had a gold standard operating in this crisis, there would have been powerful deflationary forces at work; not exactly what the doctor ordered.

Now, the gold bugs will no doubt reply that under a gold standard big bubbles couldn’t happen, and therefore there wouldn’t be major financial crises. And it’s true: under the gold standard America had no major financial panics other than in 1873, 1884, 1890, 1893, 1907, 1930, 1931, 1932, and 1933. Oh, wait.

The truth is that the Paulista fringe has done an efficient job of leading their truly ignorant Kool Aid Party followers down the primrose path that leads to this scenic billboard that says, “We need Congress – meaning Republicans – to override the Federal Reserve and start managing monetary policy”.

And just like the job they’ve already done in setting the standard for incompetent fiscal policy, we can let them do the same for our currency and foreign exchange?

Lemmings! Line up over here on the Right!

Republican official says New Mexico Governor disrespected Custer by meeting with American Indians — UPDATED

Pat Rogers, a Republican National Committee (RNC) leader, is facing calls for his dismissal after telling the staff of Gov. Susana Martinez, R-N.M., that because she agreed to meet with American Indians, she disrespected the memory of Col. George Armstrong Custer…

Rogers is a GOP lobbyist and partner with the Modrall law firm of Albuquerque, New Mexico. A recent member of the RNC Executive Committee, he is also an RNC National Committeeman for his state. He is currently in Tampa, Florida preparing for the upcoming Republican National Convention…

Rogers made the Custer-friendly statement in an e-mail obtained by Independent Source PAC and publicized by ProgressNow New Mexico, a liberal advocacy organization that is urging his exit from the RNC…

“The state is going to hell,” Rogers wrote in part of the e-mail. “Col. [Allen] Weh would not have dishonored Col. Custer in this manner.” Weh was a Republican candidate for governor of New Mexico in 2010 who ran against Martinez.

The e-mail was sent following a meeting in June between Martinez and the state’s tribes, according to ProgressNow. It was directed to senior members of the governor’s administration…

George Armstrong Custer may be regarded as a kind of military hero by Pat Rogers, but to the Native peoples of America Custer represents the bellicose imperialism that was responsible for the systematic slaughter of American Indians throughout this continent,” according to an e-mail being circulated by ProgressNow.

“Such a blatantly racist statement against our Native people is offensive from anyone, but to come from a national GOP leader and lobbyist for some of our country’s largest corporations is indefensible,” said Pat Davis, executive director of ProgressNow New Mexico, in a statement.

The list of firms this bigot represents as lobbyist include General Motors, Molina Healthcare, Motorola, CYRQ Energy and Verizon. The petition from ProgressNow includes them in the list of those contacted about Rogers’ racist position.

Am I surprised to read such racist crap from a leading New Mexico Republican? Of course not.

Do I expect today’s Republican Party to disavow Roger’s arrogance and bigotry? Of course not.

This is what the Republican Party has become. Home base for the disaffected racists of America. A hate magnet which gathers in the most reactionary nutballs in this land – and says they are the vision of conservatism represented by 21st Century Republicans.

UPDATE: Roger’s boss at the Modrall Sperling law firm “accepted” his resignation, today. More than the Republican Party will do — no doubt.

Is the U.N. preparing to invade Texas for President Obama?

Not that everyone in Lubbock thinks like Judge Head

The United Nations scoffed on Friday at claims by a judge in Lubbock County, Texas, that U.N. troops could invade the southern U.S. state to settle a possible civil war, which the judge warned could be sparked if Obama is re-elected in November.

“It’s absolutely ridiculous,” said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s spokesman, Martin Nesirky, when asked if the United Nations had any plans to invade Texas.

He later added: “No one, not even the United Nations, would ever mess with Texas…”

Texas not only has a special share of nutballs, they specialize in loonies living in the wrong century.

He was responding to comments from Tom Head, a county judge in Lubbock who told a local Fox News station on Monday that taxes needed to be raised so the county could prepare for contingencies if Obama was re-elected for a second term.

“He (Obama) is going to try to hand over the sovereignty of the United States to the U.N. What’s going to happen when that happens? I’m thinking worst case scenario — civil unrest, civil disobedience, civil war maybe,” Head said.

“What’s going happen … if the public decides to do that? He’s going to send in U.N. troops, I don’t want them in Lubbock County. I’m going to stand in front of their armored personnel carriers and say ‘You’re not coming in here,'” he said.

When I was still on the road, I was supposed to be in Lubbock every two weeks to see a couple of clients.

I recall one of those clients – and the one and only time I met him. After our initial business pleasantries were over he asked, “Before we discuss anything further I need to know what denomination you are?”

At first I thought he was asking some weird question about currency. Was I a 2-dollar-bill kind of guy? Then, he clarified his question. “If we’re going to do business, I need to know what kind of Baptist you are? We generally only deal with Southern Baptists around here?

I gave him the short lecture on the history of New England Protestantism, the Congregational Church – and did not tell him I had been an atheist since the age of thirteen. I never returned to his business. I turned him over to inside sales.

Yes, I was supposed to be in Lubbock every two weeks to see a couple of clients. The other one was bright and well-educated.

He left town. I stopped going there altogether.