Thursday, October 30, 2014

Mitch McConnell Goes To The Dog (sic)

If McConnell wants us to believe he is warm and friendly with at least eight dogs rather than eight images of one dog, he needs to have the Photoshop done by someone other than one of his grandkids...

Rolling Stone Does Koch

Tim Dickinson of Rolling Stone gets "Inside the Koch Brothers' Toxic Empire."

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Welcome To Hoover's FBI Reborn

AP via TPM: "FBI: We Faked AP Story To Catch Bomb Suspect But Didn't Spoof Newspaper." How virtuous... your government lies to you only when absolutely necessary. Somewhere in Hell, the shade of John Edgar is surely grinning...

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

November March — Doggerel!

November March
Vote... vote... vote... vote...
If Donkey or Elephant, monkey or stoat,
If eagle or pigeon, but not a Pet Goat,
Go vote... vote... vote... vote!

Vote... vote... vote... vote...
Ignore the commercial with five-second quote
And shades of the Koch Brothers crossing the moat,
Just vote... vote... vote... vote!

Vote... vote... vote... vote...
If not, your opinion is not worth a groat,
You'll have no control of who's bless'd and who's smote,
So vote... vote... vote... vote!

Vote... vote... vote... vote...
Just think of the children on whom you do dote,
Or of your opponents, obscure or of note,
The beam's in their eye, and in yours but a mote,
You're useless unless you are rocking the boat,
Stay home and your policies never will float,
Get out of your house or your hovel or cote,
Go winnow the grain while you're feeling your oat,
Rely on your brain, or a list you may tote,
Use mind or use heart, or just do it by rote,
Steve Bates, 1998
(with adaptations)
Every election is important, but among off-year elections, there may never have been one as important as this one. You have, including today, just four days of early voting, plus Election Day a week from today (Nov. 4), left to make your opinion count. Get off your tails and get out and vote! And if you're a Democrat, or see the necessity of voting that way this election, take a few like-minded friends with you.

Monday, October 27, 2014

What Would It Take To Drive A Woman To A ‘Second Amendment Solution’?

Read this opinion piece by Robin Marty at TPM for a few examples of anti-abortion legislation possible (not likely, I think) if we end up with Republicans dominating both houses of Congress.

Remember: under Roe, a woman has a constitutional right to an abortion, subject to some restrictions which the current Congress and Supreme Court seem hellbent on extending. Those efforts notwithstanding, the woman's right is constitutionally protected, as a fundamental right to the integrity of one's own body should be.

Remember also that most of the same zealots who want to ban abortion also want to ban or severely restrict contraception. Even most Republicans whose lives I know anything about use contraception. Banning contraception is madness.

All you anti-abortion women-hating maniacs, think about what your approach means:

You are already prepared to declare women who have miscarriages murderers; several state legislatures have already attempted to do just that (e.g., Kansas, Georgia). (You almost certainly view me, along with every other supporter of a woman's constitutional right to choose abortion, a murderer.)

If you go forward with this... if you render many women and supporters of women's rights murderers under your obscene new laws (or under no law at all, as happened in Dallas in September; please read about this astonishing incident)... if women are already deemed murderers for suffering miscarriage, a phenomenon thought to end 10% to 20% of all pregnancies through no intent of the woman... what do they have left to lose by going after you?

Right. You give women motive, you give them opportunity, and in this society, means are truly no problem. Have a nice day. [/sarcasm]

Sunday, October 26, 2014


... is at the hospital this morning having her cast modified. This is in no way serious, but it requires immediate attention. In addition to the cast's causing her a lot of pain, she had at least one episode of numbness. The @#$%^& thing goes from tip of toe to top of thigh; she can barely sit down, and walking is difficult.  To top it all off, my car wouldn't start this morning and we had to call a cab. Stella is being examined and treated now; fortunately, this first-class hospital has a PC specifically for visitor internet access. Hey, it's browse the web or watch NASCAR...

We will probably be home before evening. Probably...

UPDATE: the orthopedist replaced Stella's cast with one considerably shorter, an inch or two off each end, thigh and toe. As a result, not only can she walk much better (still with a walker), but she can actually drive. She was truly depressed at the thought of being off work for so long (about a week); now she can return to that grindstone...

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Astonishing? No. Offensive? Yes. Mayor Annise Parker's Daughter Was Refused A Driver's License Because Her Birth Certificate Lists Two Mothers

Houston Mayor Annise Parker
Just how far does anti-gay bigotry go in Texas? Usually not very far in places like Houston, where the gay community is large, active and not shy about asserting itself. But in this case, Houston Mayor Annise Parker's daughter presented her documents at a Texas DPS office when applying to take a driver's test... she'd already done everything but the test... and was rejected because some of her documents were listed under mom A, and some under mom K. Can't do that, says Texas DPS.

A few phone calls from Her Honor the Mayor resulted in a reversal. But what if she had not been the Mayor's daughter? This is embarrassing to Houstonians who appreciate what the LGBTQ community... and particularly the Mayor herself... bring to the city. Want a truly great symphony orchestra? how about a major ballet company? Try building those without gay members; it simply can't be done. Then there's Mayor Parker: she was one of the first in the "awl bidness" to master the limited software available 30+ years ago; it's not just the arts that would be bankrupted without the gay community.

Three cheers for our Mayor, and for her daughter. Someday this flavor of raw bigotry, like many others before it, will be ancient history.

Early Voting Is In Progress!

I voted today. Have you voted?

Friday, October 24, 2014

Lush Life With A Sophisticated Lady

I just finished watching the PBS special featuring Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga. As unlikely as the pair may strike you... Tony of my parents' generation, Lady Gaga of my children's (if I had any)... the result was splendid. The post subject names the two songs by great songwriters/bandleaders of Bennett's generation (Billy Strayhorn and Duke Ellington) who wrote the centerpiece solos by Gaga and Bennett respectively... which I have never heard performed with greater passion, craft and drama. This show is available on DVD; if you missed it on the air and you like 40s music, you might consider hearing it from the disc.

Kos Miscellany: Tut-Tut; GOPer Blames The Children; Jailed For Untidy Lawn; Cops Claim Right To Excessive Force

Oh, and... don't forget to VOTE!

Thursday, October 23, 2014


... has a serious medical problem, not life-threatening, but requiring a huge cast on one leg for 4 to 8 weeks. Her limited mobility keeps her at home most of the time; indeed, we are not sure when she will be able to drive to work again.

Just to complicate matters, her computer monitor blew out overnight late last week, rendering some work from home difficult if not impossible. Today I went to Micro Center to get a replacement; the old monitor lasted 7 years, so I have no complaint... as you know, as computer equipment goes, 7 years is a long lifespan indeed. I replaced it with a Samsung 22" diagonal display, movie-screen proportions (as most all of them are these days). It proved truly plug-compatible: within 5 minutes of plugging it in, I had a perfectly satisfactory Windows main screen. For better or worse (better IMHO), the new monitor has no speakers and no iPod dock; the old monitor's speakers were dog-awful, and Stella's life revolved around the iPod for only about two months several years ago, so she won't miss the iPod dock.

I won't be blogging as much for a while. I already prepared probably half the meals; now, for a while, it's all meals and all cleanups. Trust me: Stella is worth the effort, and she's already done the same for me during my most crippled period a couple years ago.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Have You Voted Yet?

No, we haven't. Stella works full-time, but other obstacles came up yesterday. Stella is hobbling around on a walker, one leg in an extremely uncomfortable brace, but that would not have prevented us. Her computer's monitor quit; that in itself would not have prevented us. But the lawn guys' mower threw a rock and shattered our glass "screen" door into a pile of shards on our porch and (slightly) into our living room. So as the stay-at-home partner, I'm pinned to the house this morning until they obtain either a new door or a pane for the existing one and someone to install it; that will likely take all morning. Sigh!

Don't forget to vote when you're able; see the links to basic info here. For us, it will probably be Saturday.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Texas Early Voting Starts Today

Early voting runs from today through 10/31. Election Day is 11/4. See here for days and hours if you live in one of the six largest counties, or here if you live in Harris County and want to find your early voting locations or your Election Day polling place.

Early voting poll hours in Harris County:
October 20-October 24:    8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
October 25:               7:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m.
October 26:               1:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m.
October 27-October 31:    7:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m.
BRING AN ID (e.g., a driver's license or a gun permit) AND YOUR VOTER CERTIFICATE... note that a college student ID is not good enough.


(NOTE: in these days of deceit by the GOP, you may vote and still suffer the consequences...)

Tennesseeans May Vote To Outlaw All Abortion, Even For Rape, Incest Or To Save The Mother's Life

I don't know why this hasn't crossed my desk earlier. Here's Sahil Kapur at TPM:
The ballot initiative "Amendment 1" is the culmination of more than a decade of plotting by anti-abortion advocates, who are finally ready to strike. It says:

"Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion. The people retain the right through their elected state representatives and state senators to enact, amend, or repeal statutes regarding abortion, including, but not limited to, circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest or when necessary to save the life of the mother."

Do you get it now? THIS ISN'T ABOUT RELIGION, AND THIS ISN'T ABOUT THE FETUS: THESE PEOPLE HATE WOMEN. THEY WANT TO CONTROL WOMEN'S MOST PERSONAL DECISIONS. If you live in Tennessee, get thee to the polls. If not, don't be surprised to see such a measure on your own ballot, not this election, but not very long from now either.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Saturday, October 18, 2014

(In)Famous Quotation

—"President" George W. Bush

*Offer void where prohibited by Republicans. Some restrictions apply (race, ethnicity, wealth, etc.). Political party membership may disqualify some voters. All voters must be identified by local driver's license and DNA test performed in three labs with halls of sufficient width as specified by law. Voters regardless of age must have been qualified to vote according to laws in effect prior to August 18, 1920. Votes to be counted by machines manufactured by corporations with directors certified to be GOP activists. Have a nice day.
(If you wonder what inspired this "quotation," see the previous post.)

Supreme Court Reverses Lower Court Decision, Allows Texas Voter ID Law To Stand

@#$%^&*! this partisan Republican, politically activist Court!

Actually, a higher federal court reversed the decision, then the Supremes allowed the reversal to stand with three dissents (Ginsburg, Kagan, Sotomayor). Here's an excerpt from Ginsburg's dissent:
The greatest threat to public confidence in elections in this case is the prospect of enforcing a purposefully discriminatory law, one that likely imposes an unconstitutional poll tax and risks denying the right to vote to hundreds of thousands of eligible voters.

Note that the Texas voter ID case was independently tried, based on evidence gathered in Texas, and that "[t]he judge found that roughly 600,000 voters, many of them black or Latino, could be turned away at the polls because they lack acceptable identification."

Friday, October 17, 2014

Esther Rides The X

Esther and Lily have new toys, each an identical foam-rubber 'X' like this one. Each cat claims both of them, which is only a problem when both cats happen to occupy the same room with both 'X's. Generally we take some trouble to see to it that this does not happen! No amount of persuading would cause Esther to face a flashing camera, so we see her ride the 'X' with her back facing us. Sic transit gloria mundi. (OK, so it's Friday.)

P.S. The toy comes with a bag of catnip, which sometimes enhances the fun... and sometimes simply provokes a fight.

Robert Reich: ‘Why We Allow Big Pharma To Rip Us Off’

Reich's article opens:
According to a new federal database put online last week, pharmaceutical companies and device makers paid doctors some $380 million in speaking and consulting fees over a five-month period in 2013.

Some doctors received over half a million dollars each, and others got millions of dollars in royalties from products they helped develop.

Doctors claim these payments have no effect on what they prescribe. But why would drug companies shell out all this money if it didn’t provide them a healthy return on their investment?

Why, indeed.

My PCP is a very pharmaceutically oriented doc. He knows the whole pharmacopoeia... new and old, drugs profitable to developers and drugs more typically profitable to manufacturers because they've been around for a while. One reason I go to him is that he prescribes newer drugs only when he feels there is a very good reason to prefer them to older, well-established drugs. In a presumably honest response to my inquiry, he says he's not hurting financially... he's living a very comfortable life indeed, thankyouverymuch... but he doesn't appear to earn that livelihood by taking kickbacks from pharmaceutical companies. If only more physicians took that approach!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Stolen Prosthesis Is Antithesis Of Civilized Behavior

Sonny Forriest Jr. took the theft of his prosthetic leg by a drunk woman at a tailgate party with better grace than I would. I have to wonder: what kind of person thinks that is a joke?

All of us who wear these things realize they are a mixed blessing: on the very positive side, they allow us to walk around on two legs almost like a real person; on the not-so-positive side, they are a sweaty and occasionally slightly painful nuisance in hot weather. Mr. Forriest is not alone in removing his prosthesis when he knows he will be sitting in one place for an hour or two.

But I still can't think of what the woman, even allowing for her drunkenness, thought she was going to do with the artificial limb. They are not interchangeable: Mr. Forriest's would not fit me, nor would mine fit him. That, in turn, means there is presumably no market for a stolen one. The prosthesis cost Mr. Forriest (or his insurance company) a couple thousand dollars; the woman who stole it could get $0.00 for it... indeed, she probably couldn't give it away.

I wonder if she votes Republican...

ADDENDUM: Here is an article that contains a news video with more details about the incident. Scroll down a screen or two. The woman fled the scene of the theft, carrying the prosthesis; it turned up some time later on the platform at the end of a mass transit line. The woman has not been caught.

Mr. Forriest says that despite his exasperation with her, he does not want her to serve jail time. I agree. I think a more fitting punishment would require her to perform her regular job for 30 days... strapped in a wheelchair, not allowed to leave it even for bathroom breaks. (Yes, I've lived through that, too; there are suitable receptacles to use for potty trips, though the risk of soiling oneself is non‑negligible.)

Arkansas State Supreme Court Strikes Down Voter ID Law

... as violating the state constitution.

Another one bites the dust...

Can The US Seize A Citizen's Passport?

Yes, says Peter van Buren:
Can the U.S. government seize the passports of American citizens who it believes may travel abroad to join ISIS or other terror groups? Yep. The process is almost no-cost to the government, extra-judicial, can be made secret and requires a lengthy court process to even try to contest. No passport, no international travel, the ultimate no-fly tool against would-be jihadis. ...

And the procedure is ostensibly legal... but it has not been much used. Read van Buren's post to learn why.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Judge Posner Condemns His Own Opinion On Voter ID

Well-known federal Judge Richard A. Posner, 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, Reagan appointee and arguably signature conservative jurist in the nation (apart from those on the Supreme Court), author of the 7th Circuit's 2008 opinion in Crawford v. Marion County (wiki), the case affirming the constitutionality of Indiana's voter ID law, thus opening the floodgates of voter ID laws enacted by other states, has changed his mind about voter ID laws in general. And he's not shy about it. "Dartagnan" at Daily Kos says this:
Posner, joined by four Judges on the Seventh Circuit, authored the opinion requesting a rehearing en banc by the entire Seventh Circuit Court of appeals in Frank v Scott Walker et al, the recent case assessing the validity of the Wisconsin "Voter ID" statute.  A three-judge panel of the 7th Circuit had already cleared the way for the Wisconsin law to go into effect prior to next month's elections. Posner's request for rehearing split the Judges of that Circuit 5-5, and thus no rehearing was granted. Posner's opinion, which eviscerates every rationale promoted in support of these suppression laws, was relegated to a "dissent." ...
In short, if Posner were not Posner, his request for a rehearing would sink beneath the waves, and we would have draconian voter ID laws for as long as our nation lasts. But Posner is indeed Posner, and even conservatives listen to him. If we assume that we haven't heard the last in court of the GOP's skulduggery perpetrated by voter ID laws, it is reasonable also to assume that judges in further federal cases will pay heed to Posner, even all but the most extreme Supreme Court Justices.

One can hope. It's that, or cede our representative democracy to a band of thieves with an elephant as their emblem...

UPDATE: I am not the best at reading legal documents, but this one from the Supreme Court site appears to indicate that the Supremes (with Alito, Scalia and Thomas dissenting) have vacated the 7th Circuit's permanent injunction pending a timely petition for, and issuance of, a writ of certiorari by the Supreme Court. So there's more to come on this whole nightmare. I suppose we all know how Alito, Scalia and Thomas will vote, inveterate partisans that they are, but the rest of the Court may be more inclined to hear the appeal.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Putting The Squeeze On The Old And The Ill: Generic Medication Prices Soar

Are you human? Are you old? Do you have chronic medical conditions? Are the prices of medications for those conditions climbing? Please read "Officials Question the Rising Costs of Generic Drugs" by Elisabeth Rosenthal at the NYT. Here's a sample:

Some of the rises have been huge, according to data released by the lawmakers. The price that hospitals and pharmacies pay for a bottle of 500 tablets of doxycycline, a decades-old antibiotic, rose to $1,849 in April, from $20 in October 2013. The price they pay for a bottle of pravastatin, a drug to lower cholesterol, rose to $196 from $27 in that same time. The price of a pill of digoxin, a centuries-old medicine that is irreplaceable for some cardiac patients, rose to $1.10 this summer from 11 cents in 2012.

Maybe you are of the 1% and don't have to use generics. Maybe you are determined to use brand-name drugs no matter what the cost, and are willing to skip some meals to afford them. But if neither of those statements describes you, sooner or later, you will need ongoing prescriptions of generic drugs... and yes, I take a handful twice a day. If you survive to old age, it's inevitable.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) are mounting an effort in Congress to do something to control these egregious price increases. Perhaps you could get on Sanders's mailing list to track what you can do to help build support for the bill.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Crap Chunks Keep Falling On Our Heads

... NOT by Hal David and Burt Bacharach, believe me. The shit is being slung so fast I can barely read about it and can't even begin to write it up. So I'll just list it, so you can choose for yourself which stench you can tolerate today:
And a couple of sweet-smelling treats for dessert:

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Agent Orange-Like Herbicide Soon To Be Approved By USDA, FDA; Only Obama Can Stop It

This dropped in my email box this morning like a Vietnam-era defoliant: Food and Water Watch, which has been fighting this battle for a long while, notes that
The USDA has already approved [this herbicide], and the EPA is likely to approve the herbicide that will be used on these crops soon. Our last chance is to urge President Obama, who has the authority to block the EPA's decision, to act to protect our health and our agriculture.
That's right. President Obama, Dog help us, is our last hope to stop approval of herbicides made to be used on "[c]orn and soybeans genetically engineered to withstand 2,4-D — [which] are on the verge of being approved for use on our food." Here is a general (though not recent) article on the subject. Here is a press release published this week, "Approval of 2,4-D Tolerant Crops Speeds up Agrichemical Treadmill", that has a few more details. Regrettably, Food and Water Watch does not have a standalone web page directly connected with its current petition campaign, but here is the link embedded in my email if you want to try to sign on to the letter to President Obama.

Monday, October 6, 2014

That Voodoo That You Do Like Hell

Paul Krugman
Paul Krugman examines the unfortunately very real possibility that if Republicans retake the Senate and retain the House, they will be able, by tweaking the formulas used by the Congressional Budget Office ("heretofore a nonpartisan referee on policy proposals" as Krugman describes it), to reinstitute... you guessed it... what the elder George Bush and many of us even less fond of Ronald Reagan than he was called "voodoo economics."

"Poppy" Bush
Voodoo economics, in brief, is cutting taxes to promote economic growth, the formula used aggressively by Saint Ronald to wreck the American economy from about 1980 for about the rest of my natural life. It never really worked to promote genuine economic growth: it was, and is, a signature of allegedly conservative economic policy which has one measurable effect, namely, to make the rich richer and send the rest of us to economic hell. Since its aggressive promotion in 1980, the world's economists have had almost 35 years to examine voodoo economics in its American incarnation and in a number of other countries where variants of it were tried (see Krugman), and to people willing to accept the evidence rather than the ideology, it is manifestly a catastrophe for everyone except those so wealthy that the economic context of the market in which they operate has no effect on their acquisition of wealth. In other words, as one old song has it, "the rich get rich and the poor get poorer." Ain't we got fun.

I am to a point at which I find it increasingly difficult to advocate empowering the Democratic Party. But the Republican Party is nothing but a fast ride straight to hell, especially for the middle class, who are America's last, best hope of avoiding that steep descent.

"Boy" Paul
In November, you can vote for the disappointing Democrats. Or you can vote for a party full of people like Rand Paul, whom Krugman quotes as follows:
When is the last time in our country we created millions of jobs? It was under Ronald Reagan.
Right. Bill Clinton never existed, and he is now invisible.

Vote for Republicans at your peril.

Governor Glasses Lands In Ebola Soup

Clark Kent 'Glasses' Perry to far right
Lucky Texas received the first diagnosed intercontinental case of ebola virus in the US (Liberia to Dallas). Governor Rick "Glasses" Perry promptly jumped on the case as an opportunity to display his Great Leader skills, issuing statements intended to calm the population.

Playing the typical Republican game that views every tragedy as an opportunity, Perry is betting that Texas has the skills and resources to handle the case without facing a serious outbreak of the disease that is by now rampant in part of western Africa.

Perry is probably right: ebola can be successfully combated, and Texas has medical resources comparable to those anywhere in the country and the public health expertise to mount a successful effort against an admittedly terrifying infectious agent which is nonetheless spread only by direct personal contact.

Will Weissert at TPM has an outline of the political dimensions of the "opportunity." If Perry is good at anything, he is good at political opportunism; whether it can take him to the White House is questionable, but it should be entertaining as we all remind ourselves, per Donald Trump, not to shake hands.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Michigan GOP Campaign Mailer Bears Phone Number Of Dem Opponent's 91-Year-Old Mother In Hospice

Catherine Thompson at TPM:
A Democratic candidate for the Michigan House said Thursday that the state GOP sent out campaign mailers this week that urged voters to call him to complain about Obamacare.

The hitch: candidate John Fisher said the phone number printed on the mailer connected voters to his 91-year-old mother, who is receiving hospice care.

"To direct people to call a suffering woman who deserves peace and comfort is beyond the pale," Fisher said in a statement, as quoted by "Their lack of ethics and contempt for personal privacy is just another reason for people to question what – or better, who – the Republican Party stands for, so that they can make a wise decision at the ballot box on Nov. 4."

I am more convinced every day: this is who Republicans really are, deep down inside... cruel bastards who would do literally anything to anyone to gain more power. It is not just wrong to negotiate with them, as Mr. Obama wishes: it is wrong to concede them even the smallest point. We must fight, not merely to win elections, but to send this organization of cold, contemptible, morally bankrupt people to the graveyard of history.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

‘They Wonder Why They're Hated’: Video Of Tallahassee Police Tasing 62-Year-Old Black Woman In The Back

That's the reaction of an onlooker: All pretense of civilized behavior vanishes as a Tallahassee officer apparently tells a 62-year-old-woman to turn around, then tases her in the back as she walks away slowly, threatening no one:

(Incident is at about 2:38 into the video.)

Sixty or seventy years ago, we wondered what it felt like to be confronted by the Gestapo. Now we can simply look out our windows...

This cannot continue. This. Can. Not. Continue.

(Via Shaun King at Kos.)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

QuikSCAT's Replacement, RapidScat, Arrives At International Space Station, Will Resume Hurricane Forecasting Capabilities Much Missed Since QuikSCAT's 2009 Demise

Dr. Jeff Masters at Weather Underground tells us about RapidScat. This one is worth reading in its (relatively short) entirety. Here are some of the basics, from a post on Dr. Masters's blog yesterday:
In November 2009, one of the greatest success stories in the history of satellite meteorology came to an end when the venerable QuikSCAT satellite failed. Launched in 1999, the QuikSCAT satellite became one of the most useful and controversial meteorological satellites ever to orbit the Earth. It carried a scatterometer--a radar instrument that can measure near-surface wind speed and direction over the ocean. ... A QuikSCAT replacement called ISS-RapidScat was funded in 2012 and built in just 18 months. RapidScat was successfully launched on September 20, 2014 on a SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft, which docked last week with the International Space Station (ISS.) This morning, RapidScat was plucked out of the Dragon and install it on the Space Station. The heaters have been turned on, and full activation of RapidScat is expected on Wednesday. In a clever reuse of hardware originally built to test parts of NASA's QuikScat satellite, RapidScat cost NASA just $30 million--80% lower than if the instrument had been built new.

Wednesday... that's today! And according to Masters's article, it has been installed.

QuikSCAT lasted 10 years, well beyond its expected lifetime of 3 years, and was much appreciated by those of us who live in hurricane‑affected areas, for whom early and accurate forecasts are the key to preparation and thus to human survival and, where possible, avoidance of large-scale storm damage. It's been a scary few years without QuikSCAT; RapidScat, though its virtues and limitations are different, is a welcome replacement.

Please note that this is one of the first serious practical missions using a privately developed SpaceX spacecraft, which is, to put it bluntly, all America has in the way of launch capability now that the Space Shuttle has retired. Even putting aside a projected Mars mission in a few years, everyone will benefit from the availability of these craft. And considering the cost saving in delivering RapidScat to the ISS, surely even Republicans could learn to love SpaceX, with its ever-developing expertise in automated space technology.

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