The Sublime and the Shambolic

Technicians prepare to move NASA Asteroid double redirect test (DART) from a shipping container on a workstation inside the Astrotech Space Operations Facility at Vandenberg Space Force Base in Calif. (Image Credit: USSF 30th Space Wing/ Aaron Taubm)

“Confirmed impact for the world’s first planetary defense test mission.” Nasa

A reminder that we can still do great things.

Humanity’s first attempt to alter the motion of an asteroid or any celestial body took place in a NASA webcast from the mission operations center outside Washington, DC, 10 months after launching DART.

The live stream showed footage taken by DART’s camera as the cube-shaped “impactor” vehicle, no bigger than a vending machine with two rectangular solar panels, streaked into the asteroid Dimorphos, about the size of a football stadium, at 7:14 p.m. EDT (2314 GMT) some 6.8 million miles (11 million km) from Earth

Good Tuesday.

Now back to our chaotic and petty politics.

ICYMI, the GOP house released its Gingrich-lite “The Commitment to America“Last week. “The document,” writes Ed Kilgore, “clearly designed for online consumption, has lots of bells and whistles and facts about the hellish reign of Joe Biden and his ‘Democrat’ party.”

But, as befits a political party that in 2020 has felt no need for a platform, it is decidedly light in its political moccasins. It “does not mention climate change, Russia or extremist threats to democracy” and “suggests that the only cure for inflation is to cut ‘unnecessary government spending’ without explaining what that means…”.

Even Fox News hosts noted the essential nothingness of the non-legislative agenda, beyond the usual bromides.

And of course…

Instead of legislating Adam Kinzinger predicts, a GOP-led house will impeach Joe Biden every week. Specific charges? To be determined.

“Before we had all the crazies here – just a few crazies – you know, every vote we took, we had to kind of defund ObamaCare…

“It’s going to look like child’s play in terms of what Marjorie Taylor Greene is going to demand from Kevin McCarthy…

Do you know that’s true? Everyone knows it. So why pretend otherwise?

A great day for the law on the electoral count… Via Wapo’s Early 202:

The Senate bill to strengthen the Electoral Count Actthe 19th century law that governs the role of Congress in certifying the results of presidential elections, will be considered by the Senate Rules Committee this afternoon, the last stage of the bill before it is put to the vote.

All signs point to a big bipartisan victory on an issue that has divided the country since Trump exploited loopholes in the law in his bid to overturn the 2020 election results. Just nine Republicans, none of whom will face voters in November, voted for a similar version in the House Last week.

Check the rule of law and the highest law enforcement official in the state. Via the Texas Tribune:

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton fled his home in a truck driven by his wife, State Sen. Angela Paxtonto avoid being served with a subpoena on Monday, according to an affidavit filed in federal court.

Ernesto Martin Herrera, a bailiff, was trying to serve the top state attorney with a subpoena for a hearing in federal court on Tuesday in a lawsuit brought by nonprofit organizations that want to help Texans pay for out-of-state abortions.


But… Texas is still #1!

Texas banned more books from school libraries last year than any other state in the countrytargeting titles centered on race, racism, abortion and LGBTQ representation and issues, according to new analysis from PEN America, a nonprofit advocating for free speech.

The report released Monday found that Texas school administrators banned 801 books in 22 school districts and 174 titles were banned at least twice between July 2021 and June 2022. PEN America defines a ban as any action taken against a book based on its content after challenges from parents or legislators.

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As you know, we are no longer in the business of predictions here at Morning Shots. But if the GOP fails to capture the Senate and key governorships, this chart may explain the party’s “popularity gap” problem. Aaron Blake writes:

While that doesn’t count the GOP on the potential to win the House and Senate and some key gubernatorial races, the candidates’ popularity presents an important and unnecessary obstacle in this should, historically speaking, be a good election for Republicans

The gap is perhaps most pronounced in Pennsylvania, where GOP Senate candidate Mehmet Oz and gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano consistently trail in the polls.

Check chasm here:


Speaking of Doug Mastriano; You really have don’t hate to see it: “Mastriano’s spraying campaign: no TV ads, small crowds, little money.”

Mr. Mastriano, an insurgent state senator who in the spring traveled to the Republican nomination, learns this fall that while it’s one thing to win a crowded GOP primary on the back of fame online and Donald J. Trump endorsementit’s quite another to prevail in a general election in a battleground state of nearly 13 million people.

He is vastly outmatched by his Democratic rival, has aired no TV ads since May, has chosen not to interact with state news media in a way that would push his agenda, and double digit trails in reputable public polls and in most private polls.

There’s no sign of cavalry coming to his aid either: The Republican Governors Association, which helps party candidates in Arizona, Michigan and six other states, currently has no plans to help Mr. Mastriano, according to people familiar with its deliberations. .


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Be sure to read our friend, Tom Nichols, in the Atlantic: “Russian clocks are all ticking.”

The Russian president is facing multiple countdowns that could end in disaster, all triggered by a series of his own foolish and reckless decisions that cost thousands of lives and endangered world peace. There’s one last mistake he has yet to make – the use of a nuclear weapon – and we can only hope all the other clocks run out before he even considers the most serious. missteps.

Let’s talk about this student loan cancellation plan. Still. On Monday, we have the price, and it’s not cheap.

White House plan to write off student loan debt for tens of millions of U.S. borrowers will cost around $400 billion, according to a new estimate released by the nonpartisan Congressional Marker.

The marker also found that the White House’s plan to temporarily extend an existing pause on student loan repayments would cost around $20 billion.

But wait, there’s more…

The estimate from the Congressional Budget Office excludes the concurrent White House decision to reduce the monthly amount borrowers may be required to repay as a percentage of their income from 10% to 5%. JThe policy is expected to cost an additional $120 billion, according to estimates from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a DC-based think tank that has opposed Biden’s policy.

I know this is a quibble for you democracy fans, but you’ll notice there was no single vote in Congress on this. Despite the “power of the purse strings,” Congress passed no bills or appropriations for this (rather significant) outlay of taxpayer funds.

Everything was by the executive decree. Forbes explains:

The Biden administration says its authority to cancel student loans stems from Section 1098bb(a)(1) of the HEROES (Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students) Act.

Passed in 2003 in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and subsequent invasion of Afghanistan, in the HEROES Act, Congress sought to grant the executive the power to grant students serving in the armed with financial assistance with their student loan obligations in the event that their studies were interrupted due to deployment or national emergencyand to do it quickly, with a minimum of administrative requirements.

Exit take: If presidents can bypass Congress on this scale due to “national emergencies”… What could go wrong?

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Meet Alla Pugacheva, the Russian pop mega-star who challenges Putin.

Of all the different reasons given for Vladimir Putin’s decision last week to order the “partial mobilization” of Russian reservists, the most unusual is Free– perhaps a little ironic – by Oleksiy Arestovych, a top adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky: that Putin’s decision was prompted by a defiant anti-war statement by a 73-year-old Russian singer who has been compared to Madonna, Tina Turner, and other American pop music goddesses. Moreover, Arestovych also affirmed that the singer, Alla Pugacheva, had not only emasculated Putin (he put it a bit more colorfully) but “drove a wooden stake through [his] coffin.”

A little exaggerated, perhaps; but Pugacheva is a fascinating figure, and his overt anti-war stance could be a big deal, especially as Putin’s “special operation” becomes more of a blatant fiasco.

Tim Miller and Jim Swift in Today’s Bulwark:

Moore’s unique selling proposition is that his candidacy and the message of progressive patriotism he launches could well win over both groups – poorer voters who have long been loyal Democrats but are targeted by the “populist” GOP. and the more affluent suburbs. swing voters who head to the Democratic camp but stay susceptible to reversal. He presents this vision in both environments with equal swagger and skill. You might not guess he’s new to the political game: Moore sounds like a natural politician; his talent is so pronounced that even long-time pros are jealous. His last Democratic predecessor in the governor’s office, Martin O’Malley, said of Moore that “in terms of connecting with the leader of the people[s] and their hearts, [he’s] probably the most competent communicator we have named in many years.

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