Gun-fetish, Trump-suckers

It is a festive family photo with seven broad smiles and a Christmas tree. But one other detail sets it apart: each member of the Massie family is brandishing a machine gun or military-style rifle.

The photo was tweeted last week by Thomas Massie, a Republican congressman from Kentucky, with the caption: “Merry Christmas! PS: Santa, please bring ammo.”

A few days earlier, a school shooting in Michigan left four teenagers dead and seven people injured after a 15-year-old student allegedly went on a rampage…

Massie’s post earned widespread condemnation but was also seen as indicative of a performative, provocative brand of Republican politics, calculated to go viral, “own the libs” – that is, provoke outrage on the left – and contribute to the outsized influence of supporters of Donald Trump…

Each tossing of a verbal grenade commands more airtime than moderate Republicans receive going about legislative business, ensuring that Trump loyalists continue to dominate the national conversation…Massie’s gun fetish post now has more than 80,000 likes on Twitter.

A well-reasoned plea for folks with good sense to stop these shitheads in their tracks. Prevent a re-election of Trump. Help guide the Democratic Party into a political body with dynamism and courage.

Do I think this necessary? You betcha! Do I have confidence in the American electorate, the Democrat Party? Maybe.

NASA’s UFO talking points

According to newly-released internal documents, NASA is keen on emphasizing its ongoing and impressive work searching for evidence of extraterrestrial life—but less keen on examining evidence brought to it by concerned citizens like the one who wanted NASA scientists to examine “a fascinating UFO UAP Alien cooking pot” the citizen proposed was evidence of alien life or interdimensional travel.

The documents, released under the Freedom of Information Act and posted by the transparency site Government Attic, contain all emails mentioning the term “unidentified aerial phenomena” sent to or from one of NASA’s top flacks between May and November of this year, a period surrounding the release of a highly-publicized government report on unidentified flying objects. They are heavily redacted, citing a deliberative-process privilege that allows the government to shield sensitive material from the public, but in internal communications, NASA administrators or scientists appear to be unaware of any evidence that UAPs have origins in the stars, and mostly concerned with crafting talking points emphasizing NASA’s impressive and ongoing work searching for evidence of life beyond our planet…

The questions and answers in the document, like much of the rest of it, are cloaked behind a veil of secrecy, leaving the question of whether NASA will ever be able to take advantage of public obsession with UFOs as frustratingly unclear as the answer to the question of what exactly UFOs are.

But, as always, worth a look!