Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 22, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT....Happy winter solstice! The days are finally getting longer again. Hooray!

Unless you live in Australia. Then they're starting to get shorter. Boo hiss.

Kevin Drum 1:08 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (38)

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Thank God! ... or whomever concocted this crazy system of suns and planets and skewed polar axis thingies.

Posted by: Howard on December 22, 2007 at 1:32 AM | PERMALINK

And a Happy Winter Solstice to you and yours! The real reason we feel like celebrating at this time of year. In this hemisphere.

Posted by: Bobbie on December 22, 2007 at 1:34 AM | PERMALINK

I think we should allow the Druids to set up replicas of Stonehenge next to all the manger scenes and menorahs currently adorning public places and property throughout America.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on December 22, 2007 at 2:12 AM | PERMALINK

Now, this is what a patriot does! Keep fighting that good fight, Ray, and may the truth indeed (eventually) set us free:

Former CIA Analyst Says Evidence Abounds for Impeachment
by Gretyl Macalaster [Foster's Daily Democrat (New Hampshire)]

The evidence for impeachment of the president and vice president is overwhelming, former CIA analyst and daily presidential briefer Ray McGovern told a room full of people at the Portsmouth Public Library Monday night.

McGovern, who provided daily briefings for former presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush as well as other high ranking officials during his 27 year CIA career, said he has witnessed a "prostitution of his profession" as the Bush administration lied to the American people about the evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

"Don't let anyone tell you the President was deceived by false intelligence -- they knew," McGovern said. ...
__________.

Regarding the Solstice, burn those bonfires brightly!
.

Posted by: Poilu on December 22, 2007 at 2:13 AM | PERMALINK

Solstice, Schmolstice...

Happy Global Orgasm day!!!

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on December 22, 2007 at 2:51 AM | PERMALINK

It always seems weird that the days get longer throughout ALL of official winter, and yet the cold days are ahead of us.

Posted by: jerry on December 22, 2007 at 3:11 AM | PERMALINK

Build yourself a low impact Hobbit House.

Posted by: Disputo on December 22, 2007 at 4:35 AM | PERMALINK

I live on the equator, you insensitive clod.

Posted by: Boronx on December 22, 2007 at 4:38 AM | PERMALINK

Fellow geeks,

A friend of mine has written the definitive work on the solstice, entitled, "A formula for the number of days between the winter solstice and the latest sunrise."

Check it out on the arxiv:
http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0201074

Posted by: matt on December 22, 2007 at 4:46 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah, it's June 21 in Australia. Cry me a river.

Posted by: Nancy Irving on December 22, 2007 at 4:58 AM | PERMALINK

I live on the equator, you insensitive clod.

This made me howl.

Posted by: shortstop on December 22, 2007 at 8:58 AM | PERMALINK

I've been to Oz quite a few times over the last 15 years and I have come to understand that the ozzies don't do equinox and solstice as indicators of beginning and end of seasons - December 1st is the beginning of summer - June 1st is the beginning of winter... Love them ozzies - always the "one off" ..

jam

Posted by: Jim Martin on December 22, 2007 at 9:15 AM | PERMALINK

What do you call someone who claims his dad marched with MLK, but when he is challenged said "I misspoke, I used the term "marched" figuratively, I didn't really mean "marched" in the sense of actually walking or anything. I am sure dad "marched" with him in spirit." Then witnesses and contemporary newspaper accounts prove Dad really did march with MLK in the literal meaning of the term.

Why, you call him Mitt Romney. I wonder if he had an orgasm when he learned that he was right after admitting he was wrong.

Posted by: corpus juris on December 22, 2007 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

Here's a neat link for sun and moon data from the US Naval Observatory.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on December 22, 2007 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

Is this the right place to register a complaint about the winter solstice?

One thing that has always struck me as just wrong is that by far the worst and longest part of winter takes place after the winter soltice. The way it should work, of course, is that the worst of winter, and the middle of winter, should coincide exactly with the winter solstice.

Now I know there are physical reasons for this lag, but they do not impress me.

I'm hoping that someone who is responsible for this issue might read this thread and do something about it. God, of course, would do -- if not, some high ranking representative, perhaps?

Anyway, I've recorded my grievance. You can reach me by email with any required followup.

I do, though, suggest strongly that this problem be dealt with quickly. Trust me, you don't want to have me on your case about it. Others have lived to regret ignoring my complaints.

Posted by: frankly0 on December 22, 2007 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

It's Bush's fault

Posted by: typical liberal on December 22, 2007 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

Donald from Hawaii: I think we should allow the Druids to set up replicas of Stonehenge next to all the manger scenes and menorahs currently adorning public places and property throughout America.

At taxpayer expense?

Anyhow, we have plenty of pagan decorated trees -- some at taxpaer expense! In my house we go for the live ones so we can plant them and offset our CO2. CO2 worship is the newest religion.

franly0 -- well done.

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on December 22, 2007 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

Solstice celebrants are invited to:
www.orkneyjar.com/history/maeshowe.solstice.

Around 2700 BC, Orkney locals crafted Maeshowe to admit a ray of light down a stone passage into the cairn's interior on December 22. We've been looking forward to longer days for millenia...

Posted by: Monzie on December 22, 2007 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

I think we should allow the Druids to set up replicas of Stonehenge next to all the manger scenes and menorahs currently adorning public places and property throughout America.

You made me and mrs craigie laugh.

Posted by: craigie on December 22, 2007 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

a solstice gift suggestion:

>

http://www.popularmechanics.com/automotive/new_cars/4237853.html?series=19

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on December 22, 2007 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

Ahh, Stonehenge! There was a big deal about that in the movie Spinal Tap

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on December 22, 2007 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

Wasn't the fact that it wasn't a big deal, the big deal?

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on December 22, 2007 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

You made me and mrs craigie laugh.

Me, too. I missed that comment the first time.

My parents are Unitarians. The people across the street from them have a big old cross outlined in lights on their lawn. It shines into my folks' bedroom at night. My mom is threatening to put a giant lit question mark on her lawn. Naturally I'm egging her on.

Posted by: shortstop on December 22, 2007 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop -- beautiful.

Posted by: Disputo on December 22, 2007 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

BGRS, Yeah, I loved the dimensions on the napkin - 18"x18"! Obviously they were intending 18'x18' instead...

Shortstop, you should put up a Blue Oyster cult "Cross of Questioning" symbol, that would probably scare the shit out of them!

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on December 22, 2007 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

It's Bush's fault

Yes, it is, but the conservatives will blame it on Clinton anyway.

Posted by: AJ on December 22, 2007 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

Jim, I think we are one of the few countries where Summer "begins" around June 21, and so on. The Swedes have it right by calling that date Midsommar, which it is indeed.

Posted by: Rula Lenska on December 22, 2007 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

Boronx: I live on the equator, you insensitive clod.

Me too.

Posted by: absent observer on December 22, 2007 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

Anyone interested in seeing the solstice - or any future one - at New Grange Ireland, can view it at Heritage Ireland.ie

Posted by: tp on December 22, 2007 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

The way it should work, of course, is that the worst of winter, and the middle of winter, should coincide exactly with the winter solstice.

This problem also exists in the summer. The longest day of summer should coincide with the middle of summer, not the ramp up to it. That has always pissed me off.

MatthewRmarler: I am already planning on buying one of those. That is, unless he can only make 1 per year.

Posted by: craigie on December 22, 2007 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

My mom is threatening to put a giant lit question mark on her lawn. Naturally I'm egging her on.

Ha! Glad to see it runs in the family!

Posted by: craigie on December 22, 2007 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

Happy Sol Invictus! Lo Saturnalia!

Posted by: Ya Know... on December 22, 2007 at 7:03 PM | PERMALINK

Apropos of the Solstice theme:

Nightmare Before Christmas
By Bob Herbert [New York Times]

Christmastime is bonus time on Wall Street, and the Gucci set has been blessed with another record harvest.

Forget the turbulence in the financial markets and the subprime debacle. Forget the dark clouds of a possible recession. Bloomberg News tells us that the top securities firms are handing out nearly $38 billion in seasonal bonuses, the highest total ever.

But there's a reason to temper the celebration, if only out of respect for an old friend who's not doing too well. Even as the Wall Streeters are high-fiving and ordering up record shipments of Champagne and caviar, the American dream is on life-support.

I had a conversation the other day with Andrew Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union. He mentioned a poll of working families that had shown that their belief in that mythical dream that has sustained so many generations for so long is fading faster than sunlight on a December afternoon. ...
.

Posted by: Poilu on December 22, 2007 at 9:24 PM | PERMALINK

Also quite fitting for this Yuletide's theme -- 'Tis the season to be freezin':

Big Oil's Profit and Plunder
by Ralph Nader

While many impoverished American families are shivering in the winter cold for lack of money to pay the oil baron their exorbitant price for home heating oil, ex-oil man, George W. Bush sleeps in a warm White House and relishes his defeat of the Congressional attempt to get rid of $15 billion in unconscionable tax breaks given those same profit-glutted oil companies like ExxonMobil when crude oil was half the price it is today.

This is the same George W. Bush who, calling himself a "compassionate conservative" in October 2000 made this promise to the American people: "First and foremost, we've got to make sure we fully fund the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which is a way to help low-income folks, particularly here in the East, pay for their high, high fuel bills."

So what did this serial promise-breaker propose this year? Mr. Bush wanted to cut the fuel aid program by $379 million! This entire assistance program is funded at about half of the $5 billion that state governors and lawmakers believe is essential to meet the needs of the six million people eligible to apply for such help this year.

Everyone in Washington knows that the big, coddled, subsidized oil industry has many politicians over a barrel. When it comes to oily Bush and Cheney though, the global melting industry has these two indentured servants marinated in oil. ...
.

Posted by: Poilu on December 22, 2007 at 10:03 PM | PERMALINK

Happy Solstice!

Altho the days are short and I do like more light, I dread Summer, when it will be ll0 degrees. Much prefer it to be cold where you can add on layers.

Posted by: Clem on December 23, 2007 at 8:32 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin: Unless you live in Australia. Then they're starting to get shorter.

Not in Darwin, for example, which is at about 12.5 degrees south latitude. The sun will continue to climb higher in the Darwin sky for several more weeks.

Posted by: tamiasmin on December 23, 2007 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

Hey everybody! Go check out Mars. It is less than 1 degree from the moon (from continental US). It is really bright next to the full moon. There are folks in Canada and Alaska that will see Mars go behind the disk of the moon. Just sayin'

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on December 23, 2007 at 8:26 PM | PERMALINK

Good evening. Be careful that victories do not carry the seed of future defeats. Help me! Help to find sites on the: Self storage renters insurance. I found only this - maine. Renters insurance, we want you end your materials governor. A decision cannot understand products owning or extending the credit to see the supporters designed to egress or off-campus sites, workers making the insurance to check insurance 72-hours or the prices of detailing stoplights or current women that fill the end of councilors, renters insurance. With best wishes :-(, Peninah from Cameroon.

Posted by: Peninah on March 2, 2010 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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