It’s sunny in Malden

This is a great picture of the Sun, showing how dynamic it is (Credit: NASA/SDO):


It seems that astronaut Scott Kelly took a picture of the Boston area this morning:


At first this confused me because the river in the middle of the picture is a mix of the Boston Harbor and then the Mystic and Chelsea rivers (the Charles is the one that appears to be going south–this also explains why it confused me at first, the Charles is mostly going east to west). The little spur off the Mystic near the left part of the picture is the Malden River, I live not too far from the end of it (the river goes underground. What looks like three white dots is Malden High School, I live a few blocks east of there (almost directly above it in the picture)). At 9:39 am I was inside or you could have seen me.

Once you get your bearings you can see downtown, the Commons and Public Gardens, Logan Airport (this is obvious), South Boston is at the bottom right (the enclosed body of water is at the end, you can see Fort Independence Park), East Boston is just to the west of the airport (yeah, South Boston southeast of East Boston), the peninsula at the top is Deer Island (you can see part of the waste treatment facility that has made Boston Harbor so much cleaner; it was an island until the hurricane of 1938) which goes into Winthrop if you follow it back.

Corporate morality

Some people, like me for instance, argue that many corporations only care about profit. Here’s another example why this is an appropriate belief:

Facing a wave of new legislation around the world, the tobacco lobby has turned for help to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, with the weight of American business behind it. While the chamber’s global tobacco lobbying has been largely hidden from public view, its influence has been widely felt.

Letters, emails and other documents from foreign governments, the chamber’s affiliates and antismoking groups, which were reviewed by The New York Times, show how the chamber has embraced the challenge, undertaking a three-pronged strategy in its global campaign to advance the interests of the tobacco industry.

In the capitals of far-flung nations, the chamber lobbies alongside its foreign affiliates to beat back antismoking laws.

In trade forums, the chamber pits countries against one another. The Ukrainian prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, recently revealed that his country’s case against Australia was prompted by a complaint from the U.S. Chamber.

And in Washington, Thomas J. Donohue, the chief executive of the chamber, has personally taken part in lobbying to defend the ability of the tobacco industry to sue under future international treaties, notably the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement being negotiated between the United States and several Pacific Rim nations.

Smoking is one of the biggest killers but you can make a profit off it, so the Chamber is for it.

Gay marriage for all

Same-sex marriage is now legal in the entire US:

The Supreme Court declared Friday that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the United States, a historic culmination of decades of litigation over gay marriage and gay rights generally.

Gay and lesbian couples already could marry in 36 states and the District of Columbia. The court’s 5-4 ruling means the remaining 14 states, in the South and Midwest, will have to stop enforcing their bans on same-sex marriage.

That second paragraph clouds the issue a bit, somewhat implying that the ruling only applies to the US states, but the ruling applies to all of the US–so also Puerto Rico, Guam, US Virgin Islands, and all the US territories. It’s a very good day for equality in the US.

The ACA endures

Well looky there, the Supreme Court ruled that subsidies to the state for the ACA are fine. It’s amazing:

Several portions of the law indicate that consumers can claim tax credits no matter where they live. No member of Congress said that subsidies would be limited, and several states said in a separate brief to the court that they had no inkling they had to set up their own exchange for their residents to get tax credits.

So, sure, the overall bill overwhelmingly implies that people should be able to get subsidies even if their state doesn’t set up their own exchange, but:

The challenge devised by die-hard opponents of the law relied on four words — ‘‘established by the state’’ — in the more than 900-page law.

So one mention perhaps implies that states without exchanges won’t get the subsidies and multiple mentions that they will (reinforced by the recollection of everyone who worked on the bill and all the states that worked with the federal government) leads Republicans to conclude the former. They must have been great students–sure I mentioned 20 times that a topic was going to be on the test, but once I forgot so it’s unfair that it was on the test.

And now Jindal for a Baker’s dozen

So Bobby Jindal is running for President. The polls must have convinced him:

There are already 12 other major Republican candidates in the race, with several more expected to enter soon. And Jindal is running behind nearly all of them: Several recent polls have shown him at just 1 percent support among GOP voters, either last or tied for last.

He’s like a dwarf candidate with a little craziness to make you notice him (Ok, this is Ceres, a dwarf planet; Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA):

Fishes and a poem

I went up to Hampton and here are some fish sculptures they have:



And here’s a poem:

The doorway fights free

Never once knowing

Where it strives to be

What it wants to bring.

Votes for torture

The US Senate yesterday voted to affirm the US prohibition on torture. It was not unanimous. Here are the Senators who voted to say the US needs to be able to torture:

Barrasso (R-WY)
Blunt (R-MO)
Coats (R-IN)
Cochran (R-MS)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Cotton (R-AR)
Crapo (R-ID)
Ernst (R-IA)
Fischer (R-NE)
Graham (R-SC)
Hatch (R-UT)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Lankford (R-OK)
Lee (R-UT)
McConnell (R-KY)
Risch (R-ID)
Roberts (R-KS)
Sasse (R-NE)
Scott (R-SC)
Sessions (R-AL)
Vitter (R-LA)

One Senator didn’t vote, but came out firmly for the right to torture:

Rubio said in a statement: “I would have voted no on this amendment. I do not support telegraphing to the enemy what interrogation techniques we will or won’t use.” He added that he doesn’t want to deny “future commanders in chief and intelligence officials important tools for protecting the American people and the U.S. homeland.”

I wonder what else he is against because he doesn’t want to telegraph things to the enemy–the treaty against the use of chemical weapons?

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