Another Orion Photo


  • The wackadoodle conspiracy theory about Taylor Swift and the Super Bowl;
  • Items about why Trump is blocking the border deal; how Trump would destroy the American-led world order; why Republicans are killing the border deal; and a handy guide for Republicans commenting on mass shootings;
  • From the fringe: banning sexting; how a GOP lawmaker thinks all gays are pedophiles;
  • Finally: I’ve disabled comments. I only get spam.

This one is even better than the one I posted on 16 Jan 2024, since this shows the constellation in perspective of a ground view. Again, those wisps of red nebulae almost obscure the familiar outline of the constellation. Also in the pic, upper middle: the Pleiades.

Astronomy Picture of the Day, 31 Jan 2024: Camera Orion Rising. Go to this link and hover over the photo for identifications of the various sky objects.


This wackadoodle conspiracy theory involving Taylor Swift and the Super Bowl has reached the front page of the New York Times today.

NY Times, 30 Jan 2024: Taylor Swift, Travis Kelce and a MAGA Meltdown, subtitled “The fulminations surrounding the world’s biggest pop icon — and girlfriend of Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce — reached the stratosphere after Kansas City made it to the Super Bowl.”

For football fans eager to see a new team in the Super Bowl, the conference championship games on Sunday that sent the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers back to the main event of American sports culture were sorely disappointing.

But one thing is new: Taylor Swift. And she is driving the movement behind Donald Trump bonkers.

The fulminations surrounding the world’s biggest pop icon — and girlfriend of Travis Kelce, the Chiefs’ star tight end — reached the stratosphere after Kansas City made it to the Super Bowl for the fourth time in five years, and the first time since Ms. Swift joined the team’s entourage.

The conspiracy theories coming out of the Make America Great Again contingent were already legion: that Ms. Swift is a secret agent of the Pentagon; that she is bolstering her fan base in preparation for her endorsement of President Biden’s re-election; or that she and Mr. Kelce are a contrived couple, assembled to boost the N.F.L. or Covid vaccines or Democrats or whatever.

Do these people have two cents’ worth intelligence? (I’m sure there are many more colorful comparisons. The smarts of a bag of rocks, and so on.) Have they bothered to wonder how the Super Bowl could be ‘rigged’? (All the players would have to agree?) If it’s so easy to do so, why isn’t *everything* rigged??

In six months we will look back on this and find it difficult to believe it ever happened. Well, except that other more outrageous event will happen by then.

Another piece about this, this one free:

Slate, Heather Schwedel, 30 Jan 2024: Bad Blood, subtitled “What do Taylor Swift, Travis Kelce, and the Super Bowl have to do with Joe Biden and the election? Buckle up.”


A few serious items, briefly.

LA Times, LZ Granderson, 31 Jan 2024: Column: The border crisis is real. That’s why Trump is blocking solutions


The irony of Donald Trump pressuring House Republicans to kill a border deal is that many of his voters once counted on him to stop the “deep state” from hurting America. Ever since the former president has been out of office, he and his cohorts have made that conspiracy theory a reality: an unauthorized network of individuals embedded in and around government redirecting power for their own purposes.


Washington Post, Max Boot, 31 Jan 2024: Opinion | If Trump wins, he will destroy the American-led world order

Arguably one of the ways America has been great has been its leadership of the world, especially in the aftermath of World War II, and its endurance past the dissolution of the Soviet Union. How is it that Trump, to make America great “again”, wants to turn inward and isolationist? In high school history we learned all about past isolationist tendencies of the US…


TNR, The New Republic, 30 Jan 2024: Mike Johnson Finally Admits Why He’s Killing the Border Deal, subtitled “Republicans have a shot to address the so-called border crisis they keep railing about—and they’re throwing it all away.”

House Speaker Mike Johnson had a foot-in-mouth moment on Tuesday, absentmindedly admitting to reporters that he has courted Donald Trump’s opinion “at length” on the border deal he wants to kill.

“The former president has made it clear that he doesn’t want you guys to move forward on this, and judging by his comments, he clearly wants to campaign on this issue. Have you spoken to him about the Senate proposal, and are you simply trying to kill this to help him on the campaign?” probed CNN’s Manu Raju.


Washington Post, Jamie Raskin, 20 Jan 2024: Opinion | A handy manual for Republicans commenting on mass shootings


In the immediate aftermath of the mass shooting, you say:

Prayer is appropriate in a time like this, that the evil can end and this senseless violence can stop.

If the mass shooter uses an AR-15 to kill children in a public school, you say:

We had AR-15s in the 1960s. [But] we didn’t have those mass school shootings. … We actually had prayer in school during those days.

But if children are massacred in a Christian school where they have just prayed (or worshipers are killed in a church, mosque or synagogue), you say:

We’re not going to fix it. Criminals are going to be criminals.

The links lead to citations of Republicans actually saying these things.


A couple links from the fringe.


Freedom? Personal responsibility? No, no, Republican politicians know best.

Hemant Mehta, Friendly Atheist, 30 Jan 2024: Oklahoma GOP lawmaker wants to ban single people from sexting each other, subtitled “Sen. Dusty Deevers’ bill would ban adult content, even between consenting non-married adults”


This (Republican) legislator is either lying, or believes something that is not true.

LGBTQNation, 31 Jan 2024: GOP lawmaker calls LGBTQ+ people “pedophiles” & says Pride Month is “child abuse”, subtitled “He claimed that pedophiles will soon be a letter in LGBTQ+.”


Coda: I’ve disabled comments. I only get spam. The last legitimate comment I got to any of my posts was from Dave Hook, in November 2022. I don’t take this personally. Even the most popular authors, like David Brin, only get a few comments to each of their posts. There are so many websites, so many blogs, to keep up with; and I very rarely leave comments on any of those myself….

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