Space porn: These images are (quite literally) out of this world
Hundreds of thousands of disgruntled conservatives, still smarting from the re-election of President Obama last week, are signing petitions to allow more than 30 states to secede from the United States — and they are being joined by a motley collection of white nationalists, neo-Nazis and Klan sympathizers.
As of midday today, eight of the petitions, which are being posted on a government website set up to encourage citizen participation, have crossed the threshold of 25,000 signatures required to prompt a guaranteed official reply from the White House. (The states are Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas, the state with the most signers.) But the petitions carry no legal weight at all, and almost no one anywhere on the political spectrum expects them to result in anything more than a collective blowing off of right-wing steam.
Still, that hasn’t stopped the denizens of Stormfront, a huge white nationalist Web forum run by a former Alabama Klan leader, from enthusiastically embracing the cause. Starting last Saturday, a large number of comment threads began appearing on the site that encouraged the radical right to join in on the fun.
Of course, the discourse on the forum has that special Stormfront kind of feel — which is to say, the underlying concern of most participants there is how to create a country, or perhaps countries, that is all, or at least mostly, white.
“We would be better off using all of our strength to secede 80% white states,” wrote “MattwhiteAmerica” in one of more than a dozen threads discussing secession. “A state like Texas, LA, MISS, AL, CA etc are going to need a good old fashion [sic] war to remove the non-whites. … I’m saying this as most non-whites are socialists and takers. We won’t get a good constitution without a solid white majority.”
“We need to form a WHITE republic,” MattwhiteAmerica added a little later. “One that is for whites by whites!”
Responded “Buffalo”: “I have a feeling a lot if not most of the coloreds would be more than willing to leave a state that actually seceded. I have a feeling they would be smart enough to know that it would be either leave on your own or your [sic] going to be removed by whatever means needed.”
One unexpected dissent came from “Britannic Nationalist,” a foreigner. “Either you’re a country or you’re not,” the poster wrote. “Either all the States should be completely independent, or they should all be a single country. … Will what is now the USA just turn into a land mass of warring factions, states and peoples?”
Most of those posting at Stormfront seemed to realize that they were engaging in a pipe dream. But a few had definite hopes. “Once the cumulative secession petition count exceeds one million then Obama will be very worried,” wrote “Disappointed American.” “One million pissed off armed Americans, coupled with the [antigovernment group] Oathkeepers 3%, can defeat the military. At 2 million signatures, it’s basically a certainty at least one state will secede.”
Well, maybe. Of course, if that’s true, it’s just as likely that some of the other petitions at the government’s We the People website will eventually win their causes, too — causes like “Not Allow The FDA To Regulate Premium Cigars,” “outlaw offending prophets of major religions,” “Restore Fairness And Objectivity To Our Media,” and even “Peacefully grant the city of Austin Texas to withdraw from the state of Texas & remain part of the United States.”
And then there were two direct responses to the secession petitions: “Force all states to pay their portion of the national debt before they can secede from the union” and “Strip the Citizenship from Everyone who Signed a Petition to Secede and Exile Them.” Which is just the kind of thing Stormfronters might actually like.
NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins
On December 28, 2013, Expedition 38 crew member Mike Hopkins participating in the second of two space walks to replace a degraded pump module on the International Space Station. (NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio is reflected in his helmet!)
The Soyuz TMA-10M
The Soyuz TMA-10M headed towards the International Space Station with crew members from Expedition 37 onboard.
40 years ago the Apollo 8 mission flew up to the moon, orbited it ten times and then returned to Earth. This picture was taken from that flight and shows the Earth as it seemingly rises in similar fashion to a sunrise.
Sunrise from Expedition 36
NASA Flight Engineer Karen L. Nyberg of Expedition 36 took this photo of the sun rising -- a sight they saw nearly 16 times per day due to the speed of the International Space Station's orbit around the earth.
A pair of NanoRacks CubeSats -- nanosattelite spacecrafts carrying experiments -- were launched by Expedition 38.