Thirty years. Ten billion dollars. Launching on Christmas morning, the Webb telescope is finally off the earth and on its way to a point in space one million miles away where it will point its eighteen gold-plated mirrors into deep space, hoping to look back in time to the beginning of the universe. The Webb is far more sensitive, especially at the low infrared radiation frequencies than the Hubble Space Telescope. It is hoped it will succeed and surpass that amazing instrument to study the formation of the universe and the most distant worlds. It will take about six months to maneuver into position and be calibrated, ready for its first observations. Bon Voyage Webb.
General Mills just paid a $300 million dividend to investors and bought back $150 million in stock to enrich executives and investors. It pays its CEO $16 million a year. It makes $2.1 billion a year in profit. It is raising prices on breakfast cereal 20%. It blames “inflation.”
Kentucky Republican Congressman Thomas Massie tweeted a Christmas card picture of himself and his family holding guns around a Christmas tree, four days after four high schoolers were killed in a mass shooting in Michigan. By the end of the day the post received tens of thousands of “likes” as well as 9,000 retweets and about 13,000 comments as of Saturday afternoon, including criticism of his timing.
Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota once derided the “giant handout” of federal funds. Now she is telling legislators that the $1 billion slated for her state is critical. Other Republican Governors, Senators and Representatives who fought the Democrats tooth and nail and voted against the big budget bill are parading in front of voters telling them what wonderful things they have brought back home to help their constituents. You can’t make this stuff up.
Scores of people in Kentucky and other states have been killed or injured or have seen their homes destroyed in recent tornados and other severe storms. Kentucky’s Senator Rand Paul has consistently opposed disaster relief for other parts of the county when they faced similar crisis, but his hand is out now, begging President Biden, who he criticizes daily, for money. You still can’t make this stuff up either.
Before they took telephone calls from American soldiers stationed around the world President Biden and the First Lady talked with children who had called into the NORAD Santa tracker to see where Santa was on Christmas eve. After a nice cordial chat with four children from Oregon, their father wrapped the conversation up with a vulgar slur against the President which has become popular in right wing social media and cable news channels.
The father, a 35-year-old former cop named Jared Schmeck, responded to criticism like that of one Twitter writer who posted, “Some of us celebrate Christmas Eve with gratitude for the birth of Jesus, others shout obscenities to entertain their son and @YouTube audience,” by complaining that it is HIS right to free speech which is being criticized.
‘Tis the season. Where’s the spirit?