autumn anniversaries, black and white reflections, galaxies and cannibalism

black and white wallpaper

black and white tree water reflections

November 22, 1963 President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, KENNEDY IS KILLED BY SNIPER AS HE RIDES IN CAR IN DALLAS; JOHNSON SWORN IN ON PLANE

The killer fired the rifle from a building just off the motorcade route. Mr. Kennedy, Governor Connally and Mr. Johnson had just received an enthusiastic welcome from a large crowd in downtown Dallas.

Mr. Kennedy apparently was hit by the first of what witnesses believed were three shots. He was driven at high speed to Dallas’s Parkland Hospital. There, in an emergency operating room, with only physicians and nurses in attendance, he died without regaining consciousness.

Not to view Kennedy through the hazy lens of political idolatry, Kennedy himself was a very pragmatic liberal, but if he had lived out his presidency obviously our history would have been different. At the time of his assassination the U.S. had 15,000 militarily advisers in Vietnam, but as much as Kennedy hated the communist he knew that South Vietnam’s leader Ngo Dinh Diem ( a Catholic) ran the country as a repressive despot. Kennedy at least saw the moral dilemma in starker terms then a typical far right cold warrior. Kennedy was anti-communist because he was committed to democracy, but the territory he was trying to help from falling to communism was doing so only to protect its own brand of totalitarianism. Diem was killed in coup shortly before Kennedy’s death. Thus Nam became a bloody dilemma that speaks well in 20/20 hindsight for non-intervention or at least not committing U.S. power and resources to defending one kind of evil against another. Yet that experience and time held no lessons for Ronnie Reagan who preferred to use U.S. power to assist right-wing thugs and death squads in  Nicaragua rather than use that power to solve some deep historical injustices in Nicaragua. The 25th of this month is the anniversary of the Iran-Contra scandal or what conservatives do for fun. Is there something in the autumn air we should know more about.

Some good things do happen in the fall. Though the arguments they had in the recording sessions became legend and were harbingers of their eventual break up, The Beatles released The White Album in November of 1968. “Dear Prudence” thank you for “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”, “Blackbird” and “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road?”.

shiny objects

ESO 44/09 – Photo Release

A new technique using near-infrared images, obtained with ESO’s 3.58-metre New Technology Telescope (NTT), allows astronomers to see through the opaque dust lanes of the giant cannibal galaxy Centaurus A, unveiling its “last meal” in unprecedented detail — a smaller spiral galaxy, currently twisted and warped. This amazing image also shows thousands of star clusters, strewn like glittering gems, churning inside Centaurus A.

Are galaxies made of meat and is Zeus, The Flying Spaghetti Monster, Allah, Kali, Jehovah or whatever a cannibal? Sarah Palin endorses cannibalism

“If any vegans came over for dinner, I could whip them up a salad, then explain my philosophy on being a carnivore: If God had not intended for us to eat animals, how come He made them out of meat?”

While the cannibalistic galaxies reminded me of Palin’s strange logic, Palin’s logic reminded Mark Kleiman of Flanders & Swann’s “The Reluctant Cannibal,”

…a father addressing his son who has refused a dish of Roast Leg of Insurance Salesman on the silly grounds that “Eating people is wrong”:

But people have always eaten people.
What else is there to eat?
If the Juju had meant us
not to eat people
He wouldn’t have made ‘em of meat!

I’m not sure whether to be pleased that even Sarah Palin knows Flanders & Swann or horrified that she doesn’t see that her argument points toward cannibalism.