Three lawsuits filed against USPS over ICE-trucks

Three separate lawsuits were filed today against the U.S. Postal Service over the quasi-independent agency’s billion-dollar move to replace its aging delivery fleet with a majority of gasoline-powered vehicles (ICE = Infernal Combustion Engines).

The lawsuits say USPS failed to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act, including by using inaccurate or outdated information about the emissions of gas-powered trucks and the cost of electric vehicles.

The Natural Resources Defense Council and the United Auto Workers filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Earthjustice, CleanAirNow, the Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity filed their lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta (D) and New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) led 14 other states and the District of Columbia in filing a separate lawsuit in the Northern District of California.

Bonta and James were joined by the attorneys general of Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington, as well as the city of New York and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has said scaling up the agency’s purchase of electric vehicles would be too expensive in both the short and long term.

DeJoy is a liar. I don’t know or care which suits he’s sharing the money with. After he loses the lawsuit he should be forced to get an honest job. For once.

ISS transiting the Sun


Wang Letian

It’s not uncommon to spot the International Space Station as a light moving across the sky just after sunset or before sunrise, when the Sun’s light reflects off it. The view you see here, though, is far from common. Chinese astrophotographer Wang Letian used a solar telescope and specialized camera to capture this series of photos, combined into a single image of the ISS passing in front of the Sun. You can see several gaseous prominences around the edge of the Sun as well as a dark sunspot.

A labor of love. Unique beauty the result.

Text describing the photo is from the Planetary Society newsletter, The Downlink.

Republicans decide Nazis had the best idea when they came up with burning books

The Republican-led Tennessee state House passed a bill Wednesday that would require public school librarians to submit to the state a list of book titles for approval, as a GOP lawmaker suggested burning books that are deemed inappropriate.

During a contentious debate on the bill in the House, state Rep. John Ray Clemmons (D) asked state Rep. Jerry Sexton (R) what he would do with the books that he and the state consider inappropriate for libraries.

“You going to put them in the street? Light them on fire? Where are they going?” Clemmons asked.

“I don’t have a clue, but I would burn them,” Sexton replied.

“That’s what I thought,” Clemmons said…

Book burning is emblematic of authoritarian regimes, and it was notably carried out in Nazi Germany. One of the most prominent examples in history occurred May 10, 1933, when students in German universities set fire to more than 25,000 books that were deemed “un-German,” according to the U.S. Holocaust Museum. The action came after some 40,000 people gathered to hear Joseph Goebbels, chief propagandist for the Nazi Party, deliver an address declaring “No to decadence and moral corruption,” according to the museum.

Under the Tennessee House bill, librarians would be required to submit to a state-run commission a list of book titles in their collections for approval. The Tennessee state Senate approved a different version of the bill. After differences between the two are resolved, it will head to Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) to be signed into law.

This new formerly-known-as-the-Republican-Party will now literally carry their torch forward to advance racism, discrimination on gender, politics and sexual identity. All the bigotry historically favored by the Nazi Party…is now embraced as the heart and soul of the Republican Party.

Omicron’s Anatomy Explains Why It Is So Contagious


Falconieri Visuals

The Omicron coronavirus variant was likely the fastest-spreading virus in human history. One person with the measles virus—a standout among infectious microbes—might infect 15 others within 12 days. But when Omicron suddenly arrived this past winter, it jumped from person to person so quickly that a single case could give rise to six cases after four days, 36 cases after eight days, and 216 cases after 12 days. By the end of February the variant accounted for almost all new COVID infections in the U.S.

Back when the Alpha variant was spotted in November 2020, scientists knew little about how its few mutations would affect its behavior. Now, with a year’s worth of knowledge and data, researchers have been able to link some of Omicron’s 50 or so mutations to mechanisms that have helped it spread so quickly and effectively…

Omicron hosts twice as many mutations as other variants of concern, and its BA.2 sublineage may have even more. There are 13 mutations on Omicron’s spike protein that are rarely seen among other variants. Those changes to its anatomy gave it new and surprising abilities. If Delta is the brute-force Hulk variant, think of Omicron as the Flash—masked and wicked fast.

RTFA. It helps to understand what we’re facing. So far.

The article tracks four ways this variant has physically changed. Three of those alterations helped enable the virus to evade our immune systems. Making it more infectious. Fortunately. the fourth appears to have made it produce a milder disease.

Look! – There’s Edgar.

This is supposed to be a birdbath and a drinking dish for the smaller birds that populate Lot 4. However, Edgar – that’s what we call our favorite raven – has been showing up the past few days for an occasional drink.

We love his visits and this is the first time I was able to grab an iPhoto of him. Very sensitive to movement at the windows of the house.

Explosions, fire, in Russian provinces bordering Ukraine

A series of explosions were heard in the early hours of Wednesday in three Russian provinces bordering Ukraine, authorities said, and an ammunition depot in the Belgorod province caught fire around the same time…

The Belgorod province borders Ukraine’s Luhansk, Sumy and Kharkiv regions, all of which have seen heavy fighting since Russia invaded Ukraine two months ago.

Separately, Roman Starovoyt, the governor of Russia’s Kursk province, which also borders Ukraine, said explosions had been heard in Kursk city early on Wednesday, which were most likely the sounds of air defence systems firing…

In Voronezh, the administrative centre of another province adjacent to Ukraine, Russia’s TASS news agency cited an emergency ministry official as saying that two blasts had been heard and the authorities were investigating.

Russia said it was sending investigators to Kursk and Voronezh regions to document what it calls “illegal actions by the Ukrainian army”…

A top Ukrainian official on Wednesday described the attacks as payback and “karma” for Moscow’s invasion.

“If you (Russians) decide to massively attack another country, massively kill everyone there, massively crush peaceful people with tanks, and use warehouses in your regions to enable the killings, then sooner or later the debts will have to be repaid,” Ukraine’s presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said.

You can’t always get what you want. Sometimes you get what you need. Even better, sometimes you get what you deserve!