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Trump Administration Poetry in Motion – Mark Fiore

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Totalitarianism Thursday


Another acting tool in the shed of cruelty.

In April, after starting a new system of sending asylum seekers back to Mexico to wait for their US court dates, the Trump administration received a familiar piece of news: A judge in California was blocking the policy. It was the latest loss in a string of legal defeats that made President Donald Trump appear powerless to stop families from crossing the border in record numbers.

Four months later, following unexpected court victories and bullying of government leaders in Mexico and Guatemala, the president now has far more authority to practice his brand of border cruelty. On Wednesday, the Trump administration rolled out the last major piece of that crackdown: A regulation that would allow Immigration and Customs Enforcement to detain families indefinitely, instead of the current legal limit of about 20 days. The rule is set to go into effect in October and would lead to families spending months, if not longer, in family detention centers.


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Wired Wednesday


AGAINST THE BACKDROP of China, Russia, and Iran working to sequester their own private, national internets, other countries like Kazakhstan have experimented with similar balkanization and internet-control initiatives. Kazakhstan first piloted a monitoring system in 2015 that would offer access to all web traffic within the country, even encrypted data. After fierce debate and some legal hurdles over the years, the government implemented a test of this draconian screening system in July. Now, Google and Mozilla are incorporating technical protections into their Chrome and Firefox browsers to fight back.

Today the two companies are announcing new defenses that block the Kazakhstan government’s traffic-interception mechanism. When Chrome or Firefox detect that this surveillance has been enabled, the browser will block the connection and display a warning. In both browsers, users won’t be able to bypass this warning even if they want to.


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Standing Rock Tuesday


The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is asking a judge to throw out a federal permit for the Dakota Access oil pipeline, arguing that the government shut the tribe out of a court-ordered second environmental review and ignored its concerns.

The challenge comes as Energy Transfer, the company behind the pipeline, is now seeking to double how much oil the pipeline can carry. The Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) passes under the Missouri River, the tribe’s water supply, just upstream from the Standing Rock Reservation.

The Army Corps of Engineers “never engaged with the Tribe or its technical experts, shared critical information, or responded to the Tribe’s concerns,” the tribe writes in a legal motion filed Friday in federal court. “The result is an irretrievably flawed decision, developed through a process that fell far short of legal standards. With DAPL’s proposal to double the flow of the pipeline, the unexamined risks to the Tribe continue to grow.”


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Meteoric Sunday

WHY ARE SO MANY METEORS GREEN? The Moon is not made of green cheese. Neither are meteors. But if that’s true, why are so many meteors green? During the recent Perseid meteor shower, sky watchers witnessed hundreds of green meteors. Take a look at this fireball. And this one. And this one. And, last but not least, this one:

“This green Perseid cut right through the Double Cluster (h Persei and χ Persei) in Perseus,” says photographer David Blanchard of Flagstaff, Arizona, who caught the verdant streak during a 30 second exposure with his Nikon digital camera.

The source of the green is not cheese, it’s air. Green is caused by oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere. When a meteoroid rips through the atmosphere, air in its path becomes so hot that oxygen molecules briefly lose one of their electrons. They recombine (e + O2+) very rapidly, emitting green photons as a side-effect. A similar process is responsible for the green colors of many auroras.

Blanchard’s meteor has a fringe of yellow alongside the green. Yellow, it turns out, is due to the meteor. When a sodium-rich meteoroid cuts through the atmosphere, hot sodium vapors glow yellow like a sodium discharge lamp.


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Woodstock Saturday


Woodstock was a just few hours in my 60-plus-year-long career,” says Leo Lyons, the bassist for blues rock band Ten Years After, who performed on the final day of the festival in the summer of 1969. “But I suppose my epitaph will no doubt read: ‘Musician who played at Woodstock.’”

It’s a sentiment that’s widely shared by the countless characters who populated the three-day festival famously devoted to peace and love, from the half a million hippie spectators to the musicians, organizers and workers who all converged for not only one of the most important events in music, but American culture in general. It’s a renowned status that has gained new attention timed to the festival’s half-century anniversary with countless retrospectives, documentaries and anniversary events, whether happening or attempted. “The amount of press this anniversary is generating is beyond anything I’ve seen before,” notes Michael Lang, who co-created the 1969 festival along with Artie Kornfeld, John P Roberts and Joel Rosenman. “I think it gave everybody an example of how things could be.”


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Trump Administration, Poetry in Motion – Mark Fiore

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