Federal Communications Commission (FCC) officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, fear that worldwide radio communication networks will soon be overwhelmed by interference caused by orbiting Jellicle cat carcasses.
The E-Region of the ionosphere, also known as the Heaviside layer, reflects medium frequency radio waves. It can be used to ‘skip’ radio transmissions far beyond the line-of-sight, and is an essential component of transcontinental radio communication. This has become less important for commercial and military radio since the advent of communications satellites, however even transmissions to and from satellites must at least pass through the ionosphere.
Since 1939, the E-Region has been increasingly polluted with cat carcasses. That year, an unusual feline cult known as the Jellicles began launching its members into high-velocity E-Region orbits in the belief that this would result in their rebirth and eventual return to the community. These “ascending” cats were killed by atmospheric pressure during their unprotected launches, and their bodies usually reached unstable orbits that decayed within several months. The cat remains would then burn up in the atmosphere or crash back to earth.
Every once in a while, I wade into political discussions on social media. I know . . . I am a glutton for punishment.
I don’t do it all the time, and I try to be selective about where I do it. More often than not, it’ll be in the comments on one of my own posts or a post made by a friend. I am more likely to get civil, intelligent responses there than out on the ‘open’ Internet with its millions of fired-up anonymous partisans, Russian bots, and paid astroturfers. And normally this goes okay; we have a passionate but polite discussion, and everybody who participated learns something about those who disagree with them.
One of my Facebook acquaintances is somebody I don’t actually know very well. She is a ‘friend of a friend’ who connected with me at some point, and I accepted because there was no reason not to. I usually enjoy her posts. She is a hard-core right-winger, and while she is not the only one on my friends list, she is probably the most vocal and forward about it. I agree with her a lot of the time, but not always. But whether or not I agree with her on some particular issue, it’s undeniable that she’s smart, sincere, and passionate.
Recently, she posted a statement by Dr. James Dobson in response to a Christianity Today editorial favoring the impeachment and removal of President Donald Trump (R). Nothing against Dobson, but it was mostly polemical nonsense. He starts off by saying, “The editors didn’t tell us who should take [Trump’s] place in the aftermath.” Well they didn’t need to! If a president is removed, the vice president becomes president. So the dastardly left-wing maniac who would replace Trump would be . . . Vice President Mike Pence (R).
My grandmother, Gladys Ferguson, passed away in her sleep early on the morning of December 22, 2019. It was her eighty-sixth birthday.
We knew she was nearing the end; she had left the hospital and entered home hospice care less than two days earlier. But none of us expected it to come quite so soon. We thought we had months, or at least weeks, not just a couple days. But, of course, it happens when it happens, and it’s never easy when it does.
Melissa and I saw her a few times in the weeks leading up to her death. While she was in the hospital, she told us that she really wanted to go home. She did not want to spend her birthday or Christmas in a hospital. And when we saw her on her first full day at home—which also turned out to be her last—she was very happy to be there. She loved her house on the lake, where she had lived for about thirty-five years.
Grandma was one of the most generous people I have ever known. When I was a poor college kid, she would never let me leave her house without accepting at least a twenty-dollar bill . . . whether I wanted to or not. Later, as she lost some of her mobility, she gave me a credit card that was linked to one of her accounts so it would be easier for me to pick up some groceries or perform some other errand for her. Inevitably, she would tell me to take Melissa out to a nice dinner afterwards. “Just put it on my card,” she always said.
She loved the theater and had season tickets in the front row of Box 3 at the Kennedy Center. In recent years, she bought four seats . . . two in the front row for herself and my mom, and two right behind them for Melissa and me. My role, more than anything else, was to play chauffeur and drive the group in and out of the city. Some of the shows weren’t exactly up my alley, but some were . . . and some of the ones I thought I wouldn’t like ended up surprising me. But even when the show wasn’t very good, I always enjoyed the experience and the company.
I sometimes joke that my grandmother loved my wife Melissa more than she loved me. I don’t think that’s really true, but she surely did love Melissa as if she was her own granddaughter. She was a constant supporter of Melissa’s business and art, and always loved to discuss where Melissa had traveled and what foods and restaurants she’d discovered.
Goodbye, Grandma. We will miss you.
In your hands, O Lord, we humbly entrust Gladys Ferguson. In this life you embraced her with your tender love; deliver her now from every evil and bid her eternal rest.
The old order has passed away: welcome her into paradise, where there will be no sorrow, no weeping or pain, but fullness of peace and joy with your Son and the Holy Spirit forever and ever.
The United States House of Representatives has voted to impeach President Donald Trump (R). The House cast votes this evening on two proposed articles of impeachment that were referred by the House Judiciary Committee late last week.
The first article, which alleges abuse of power, passed by a 230-197-1 vote. The vote was largely along party lines. All but three House Democrats and one independent voted to impeach. Of the three Democrats not supporting impeachment, two voted against and one voted “present.” All Republicans voted against.
The second article, which alleges obstruction of Congress, passed by a 229-198-1 vote. This, too, was largely along party lines. All but four House Democrats and one independent voted to impeach. Of the four Democrats not supporting impeachment, three voted against and one voted “present.” Again, all Republicans voted against.
Only two previous presidents have been impeached—President Andrew Johnson (D) in 1868 and President Bill Clinton (D) in 1998. Both were acquitted in Senate trials, and no president has ever been removed from office. Articles of impeachment against President Richard Nixon (R) passed the House Judiciary Committee in 1974 but Nixon resigned before they could be considered by the full House.
The U.S. Senate must now hold an impeachment trial, which would be presided over by U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. It would require a vote by a two-thirds super-majority of Senators to convict and remove the president from office.
Two proposed articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump (R) have passed the House Judiciary Committee on a straight party-line vote, with all Democrats voting in favor and all Republicans voting against. The articles will now head to the full U.S. House of Representatives for consideration.
The first article alleges that Trump abused the power of the presidency for personal political gain. It claims that Trump used a suspension of U.S. military aid and an offer of a state meeting at the White House to entice the government of Ukraine to launch investigations of Hunter Biden’s employment at Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company, and Ukraine interference in the 2016 election. Hunter Biden is the son of former Vice President Joe Biden (D), a Democratic Party candidate for president who may face Trump in the 2020 election.
The second article alleges that Trump obstructed Congress by defying, and instructing other executive branch officials to defy, subpoenas duly issued by the House of Representatives in the course of its impeachment investigations. Executive branch officials may assert executive privilege over particular testimony and documents, or invoke their Fifth Amendment right not to testify, but a blanket refusal by a president to cooperate with a congressional investigation is unprecedented and has not yet been tested in the courts.
The House of Representatives will now take-up consideration of the proposed articles. If the House votes by simple majority to impeach, Trump will be tried in the U.S. Senate. It would require a vote by a two-thirds super-majority of Senators to convict and remove the president from office. The House has not considered formal articles of impeachment against a president since articles were proposed against President Bill Clinton (D) in 1998. Clinton was later impeached, but was acquitted by the U.S. Senate and remained in office until the end of his term.