No, it’s not a sophomoric pun … yet.
I want to take a moment of scientific history and apply it to the current situation in the Senate, and only later will we venture into the arena of the sophomoric pun. OK? Good.
Uranus, as seen by Voyager 2
(OK, Righties, time to go into the other room to listen to muzak. We’re talking about science here and we all know how much science disturbs you. )
So, I’m actually talking about Neptune. From the Wikipedia entry on Uranus:
Uranus revolves around the Sun once every 84 Earth years. Its average distance from the Sun is roughly 3 billion km. The intensity of sunlight on Uranus is about 1/400 that of Earth. Its orbital elements were first calculated in 1783 by Pierre-Simon Laplace. With time, discrepancies began to appear between the predicted and observed orbits, and in 1841, John Couch Adams first proposed that the differences might be due to the gravitational tug of an unseen planet. In 1845, Urbain Le Verrier began his own independent research into Uranus’ orbit. On September 23, 1846, Johann Gottfried Galle located a new planet, later named Neptune, at nearly the position predicted by Le Verrier.
You see? When you reach the limits of visibility, you begin to discover objects by indirection and by deductive reasoning. Something was moving the known orbit of Uranus off course. Since one could calculate how massive that object was, and WHERE it was, Galle was able to locate the new planet, Neptune, in the mathematically predicted position.
Now, take the Senate and the “MoveOn” ad condemnation by 22 Democratic senators joining ALL the Republicans. HOW, you might ask, was their orbit perturbed? (As rightly asks the New York Times‘ editorial “In Search of a Congress,” among others.)
ESPECIALLY those like Jon Tester of Montana, who unseated the GOP incumbent with help from the very “netroots” coalitions that MoveOn represents?
Well, clearly, there’s a MASSIVE object of some sort distorting their “orbit” and dragging them out of predictable position.
I’ve written on this before: “FISA — Asking The Next Question.”
Here are the data points:
- Bush has a history of using threats and coersion to bully Congress. Evidence: the explanation that he got the FISA extension by threatening to keep Congress in session (unable to leave town) until he got what he wanted — which is why the extension automatically expired after six months. (“Earlier in the day, President Bush threatened to hold Congress in session into its scheduled summer recess if it did not approve the changes he wanted.” Washington Post) And Bush was happy to meet with the “milbloggers” in the Roosevelt room of the White House — a group NOTED for their torrents of slime, smear, hate and smash against anyone not supporting the war. Clearly, he approves of intimidation tactics, e.g. bullying.
- Bush has been apoplectic about the MoveOn ad. (“Bush Loses It With MoveOn,” and this from The Seattle Times: “The passion in President Bush’s latest news conference was reserved, not for terrorists or evil dictators or makers of dangerous toys for tots, but mainly for Democrats. He doesn’t seem to like them. The president’s greatest ire was directed at a liberal political group called MoveOn.org …”)
- Suddenly, the Senate manages to push forward an amendment — a nonbinding “sense of the senate” resolution — condemning MoveOn, which any Democrat with a lick of sense knows is purely divisive and only useful to the GOP to bash Democrats … and the Democratic leadership allows it to come to the floor for a vote, and 22 Democrats vote for it ANYWAY! What “invisible” massive force is causing the Democratic senators to deviate from their normal, predictable course?
- Given 1 and 2, can anyone seriously doubt that, given the opportunity to spy at will on his political opponents, Bush hasn’t? (Corollary: he doesn’t need dirt ON any of them. Blackmail dirt on their spouses, children, families, friends and business associates works just as well. )
- Congratulations! You’ve just discovered Neptune! Q.E.D.
But, please note, in order to do it, you had to find Uranus first.
(And that’s the sophomoric pun.)