American Racism — Precursor to Hitler

❝ Americans have an especially insatiable appetite for Nazi-themed books, films, television shows, documentaries, video games, and comic books. Stories of the Second World War console us with memories of the days before Vietnam, Cambodia, and Iraq, when the United States was the world’s good-hearted superpower, riding to the rescue of a Europe paralyzed by totalitarianism and appeasement. Yet an eerie continuity became visible in the postwar years, as German scientists were imported to America and began working for their former enemies; the resulting technologies of mass destruction exceeded Hitler’s darkest imaginings. The Nazis idolized many aspects of American society: the cult of sport, Hollywood production values, the mythology of the frontier. From boyhood on, Hitler devoured the Westerns of the popular German novelist Karl May. In 1928, Hitler remarked, approvingly, that white settlers in America had “gunned down the millions of redskins to a few hundred thousand.” When he spoke of Lebensraum, the German drive for “living space” in Eastern Europe, he often had America in mind.

❝ Among recent books on Nazism, the one that may prove most disquieting for American readers is James Q. Whitman’s “Hitler’s American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law” (Princeton). On the cover, the inevitable swastika is flanked by two red stars. Whitman methodically explores how the Nazis took inspiration from American racism of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He notes that, in “Mein Kampf,” Hitler praises America as the one state that has made progress toward a primarily racial conception of citizenship, by “excluding certain races from naturalization.” Whitman writes that the discussion of such influences is almost taboo, because the crimes of the Third Reich are commonly defined as “the nefandum, the unspeakable descent into what we often call ‘radical evil.’ ” But the kind of genocidal hatred that erupted in Germany had been seen before and has been seen since. Only by stripping away its national regalia and comprehending its essential human form do we have any hope of vanquishing it.

❝ …In our current age of unapologetic racism and resurgent authoritarianism, the mechanics of Hitler’s rise are a particularly pressing matter. For dismantlers of democracy, there is no better exemplar.

Often pedantic, sometimes dry, always factual – which is why conservatives ranging from Holocaust deniers to Trumplicans will hate this article as much as they hate the whole history of the fight for civil rights in America..

Disney pulling content from Netflix — here comes Disneyflix!

❝ Disney is parting ways with Netflix…The company said that it will end its partnership with the streaming service in 2019.

Disney also announced it will launch its own streaming services…

❝ To that end, Disney is paying $1.58 billion for majority ownership of BAMTech…

Last August, Disney acquired a 33% stake in that company, which is a spinoff from Major League Baseball Advanced Media, for $1 billion.

Disney said it will launch an ESPN-branded streaming service in 2018, and a separate Disney-branded streaming service in 2019.

❝ The Disney service will be the only place where U.S. viewers can watch new live action and animated movies from Disney and Pixar, including “Toy Story 4,” the “Frozen” sequel and “The Lion King” live-action movie. It will also feature content from the Disney Channel, Disney Junior and Disney XD.

The ESPN-branded sports service will offer about 10,000 events a year, including live programming with regional, national and international games.

Cord-cutting is getting more interesting by the month.

Blue Origin/New Shepherd 8th Test Flight, Sunday morning, 29th


Click to enlarge
New Shepard Booster landing after a successful Mission 7

❝ Launch preparations are underway for New Shepard’s 8th test flight, as we continue our progress toward human spaceflight. We are currently targeting launch on Sunday, April 29th – with the launch window opening up at 8:30 a.m. CDT.

Livestream will be available on BlueOrigin.com, more info to come.

Gradatim Ferociter!

Thanks, UrsaRodinia

Paul Ryan shoves House Chaplain out the door


That’s Father Conroy on the right. Not far enough to the Right for Ryan.

❝ The chaplain of the House said on Thursday that he was blindsided when Speaker Paul D. Ryan asked him to resign two weeks ago, a request that he complied with but was never given a reason for.

The sudden resignation of the chaplain, the Rev. Patrick J. Conroy, shocked members of both parties. He had served in the role since he was nominated in 2011 by Speaker John A. Boehner, a fellow Catholic. In an interview, Father Conroy was categorical: His departure was not v chickened out on running for oluntary.

❝ “I was asked to resign, that is clear,” Father Conroy said. As for why, he added, “that is unclear.”

“I certainly wasn’t given anything in writing,” he said. “Catholic members on both sides are furious…”

❝ Father Conroy’s resignation is all the more contentious in Catholic circles because Mr. Ryan is a Catholic conservative, whereas Father Conroy is a Jesuit, a branch that is viewed by some as more liberal.

Even-handed fairness isn’t a strong suit among very many conservatives in Congress. Apparently, Ryan feels he can get away with truly royalist behavior now that he’s chickened out on running for the House, again.

Looking at 1.7 billion stars


Click to enlargeESA/Gaia/DPAC

❝ Nearly 1.7 billion stars have been plotted in unprecedented detail with the highly anticipated release of data from the European Space Agency’s Gaia spacecraft.

The $1 billion (750 million euros) Gaia spacecraft launched in 2013 for a five-year mission to map the night sky with unmatched accuracy. The spacecraft is perched far beyond the moon’s orbit, in the Lagrange-2, or L2, point, a gravitationally stable spot about 1 million miles (1.5 million kilometers) away from Earth. Unlike space telescopes such as Hubble that orbit the Earth, Gaia can scan the cosmos without Earth blocking a large chunk of its view. As it rotates in space, Gaia measures about 100,000 stars each minute and covers the whole sky in about two months. Each star is measured 70 times on average. The new 3D map, which was unveiled here at the ILA Berlin Air Show, offers the best-ever look at the Milky Way — now in color — and promises to unleash hundreds of scientific discoveries about our galactic home and beyond…

The link above isn’t for the smaller 3D map. There is a link to that in the article. But, the link up top takes you to a 58+mb hi-res star map that opens to 8000×4000 pixels on two-clicks.

❝ The $1 billion Gaia spacecraft launched in 2013 for a five-year mission to map the night sky with unmatched accuracy. The spacecraft is perched far beyond the moon’s orbit, in the Lagrange-2, or L2, point, a gravitationally stable spot about 1 million miles away from Earth. Unlike space telescopes such as Hubble that orbit the Earth, Gaia can scan the cosmos without Earth blocking a large chunk of its view. As it rotates in space, Gaia measures about 100,000 stars each minute and covers the whole sky in about two months. Each star is measured 70 times on average.

Wow! Folks alive in that most-likely-distant future with faster-than-light travel going to have some fabulous vacations.

Macron — “Alas, the handholding is over!”

❝ France’s President Emmanuel Macron and Donald Trump skipped through Tuesday kissing, hugging, holding hands and rubbing each others’ shoulders.

On Wednesday, before a joint session of of Congress, the charismatic French leader turned around and repudiated the US President’s political philosophy and worldview.

The startling contrast between Macron palling around with Trump on a state visit and his velvet hammer speech — effectively defending the world order from “America First” nationalism — encapsulated his intricate US strategy.

Macron wants to bind the Trump administration into the existing Western international system, to convince it to dive back into multilateral efforts to shut down Iran’s nuclear program, to battle climate change and to safeguard globalization and free trade…

❝ The contradiction between Macron’s own philosophy and his charm offensive with Trump was laced through a speech punctuated by multiple standing ovations and cheers.

More than Trump has ever received before Congress – or is likely to.

Celebrate World Penguin Day

❝ While penguins inspire a range of whimsical and warm emotions, they play a serious role as sentinels of ocean health. Perhaps no one knows that better than Michelle LaRue, an ecologist and science communicator at the University of Minnesota who has walked among these tuxedoed, flightless birds in Antarctica six times.

To celebrate World Penguin Day on April 25, we caught up with LaRue, whose current research focuses on using high-resolution satellite imagery to study polar animals, including emperor and Adélie penguins, and the effects of climate change on polar vertebrates. She has participated in many “species from space” studies, including the first global census of two Antarctic penguin populations.

RTFA, Worthwhile, interesting to all who care about how this planet proceeds into the future.