Picture of the Day: I-35W Memorial

I-35W Memorial by Jvstin
I-35W Memorial, a photo by Jvstin on Flickr.

Today’s picture is also from Thanksgiving Night.

This is the memorial built to remember the 13 people who were killed in the collapse of the I-35W bridge. Each of the pillars is dedicated to one of the victims, and each has one of the names of the victims inscribed on it.

The wall behind it has the names of all of the people who were on the bridge, but survived the collapse.

For a while, those names had been removed, because some cretin decided to try and deface the memorial by removing letters. Thankfully, the memorial is now complete.

There is also a path to an observation desk where you can see the I-35W bridge. It’s actually not a great vantage point for taking pictures, too many things blocking the view, especially at night.

Picture of the Day: Little Manitou Falls

Little Manitou Falls by Jvstin
Little Manitou Falls, a photo by Jvstin on Flickr.

It’s #waterfallwednesday, so time for a waterfall.

This is Little Manitou Falls, in Pattison State Park in Northwest Wisconsin. It’s not terribly far from Duluth. But this park is the little sister to Amnicon, which gets far more visitors for some reason.

This park also has a taller waterfall but the sight lines on that waterfall aren’t great. Never been thrilled with the pictures I take of it.

Rest in Peace, Anne McCaffrey

Anne McCaffrey
You gave me the first sympathetic portrayals of dragons I encountered in my reading life
You taught me that the boundaries of fantasy and science fiction could blur.
You taught me that female characters could be far more than cardboard cutouts
You taught me, dammit, that female writers of genre were as good as the male ones.
May you always soar with the Dragons and characters you brought to life.
Rest in Peace.

Picture of the Day: Nighttime at the I-35W Bridge

I-35W Bridge by Jvstin
I-35W Bridge, a photo by Jvstin on Flickr.

Once again, today’s picture is a case of “I didn’t think it was good at the time…”

This is the I-35W bridge over the Mississippi River at Minneapolis. The bridge is usually lit up, but the range of colors was a one night only event celebrating diversity. I went down to take some pictures, and after seeing some truly spectacular shots, despaired that my shots were, well, worthless.

Not quite so, so I have been told. People seem to think the reflections in the water truly make this and its sister shots come alive. What do you think?

Picture of the Day: Frozen shore of Lake Superior

Frozen Lake Superior by Jvstin
Frozen Lake Superior, a photo by Jvstin on Flickr.

Today’s picture is not a technical masterpiece, but rather its the location that is interesting to me.

This is the North shore of Lake Superior a few years ago. As you might be able to tell from the barrier and other clues, those people you see in the shot are standing on the frozen surface of the lake itself. The entire lake doesn’t freeze, but in cold winters, it freezes out a fair distance from shore.

Yes, Minnesotans are crazy in winter.

A Modest Proposal: Patents of Nobility

In keeping with my previous Modest Proposal, another one to raise revenue. This one would require a Constitutional Amendment but the Republican party, in particular, seems willing to amend the Constitution.
Section One, Articles Nine and Ten of the U.S. Constiution include the following passages:
No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person
holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince or foreign State.
No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.

It’s time we faced facts, friends. The One percent are a de-facto Nobility, and its going to stay that way. Why don’t we formalize that, and make some money in the process. My previous Pyramid Tax Plan already shifted the tax burden away from the rich and onto the numerous teeming poor. This plan would raise revenue from the rich, but in a completely voluntary way that is also capitalistic and free-market oriented.
This proposal would amend the Constitution to remove the language not allowing the States and the United States to grant titles of Nobility. It would work as follows:
The United States Government would establish a hierarchy of national nobility ranks as follows:
2 Grand Princes/Princesses (Grand Princess of the Eastern United States; Grand Prince of the Western United States)
4 Archdukes/Duchesses (Archduchess of the Southwestern United States, et cetera)
9 Princes/Princesses
12 Dukes/Duchesses
20 Earls/Count/Countesses
20 Peerage titles revolving around the personages of Congress and the White House, in the same way that French Kings once granted ranks to nobles in their courts. People already call Washington “Versailles on the Potomac”. Let’s leverage that!
In addition, each State would be allowed to establish nobility ranks as follows:
1 Marquis/Marchioness (Marchioness of the State of Minnesota)
10 Barons/Baronesses
20 Baronets/Baronetess
The noble titles would be sold by means of auction. I bet the bidding would be rather fierce, and raise a significant amount of revenue.
The titles would not be merely ceremonial. A noble who had state nobility would be entitled to a vote in that state’s legislative chamber. The federal nobles of Prince and below would be entitled to vote in the House of Representatives, the Archdukes and Grand Princesses would be considered Senators. They would also have the right of High Justice.
(It occurs to me that repealing the 17th Amendment and merely making the Senate a House of Lords like in the United Kingdom might be for something down the road)
These titles would not be heritable, as a holder of one of the titles passes away, on that sad day, the title would be resold. The first born child of the deceased noble would have the first right to buy the title at the cost, adjusted for inflation, that their parent paid for it.
The revenues brought by the selling of these noble titles would definitely help America stay strong and free, and the oppressed, wrongly hated wealthy would finally have some formal recognition of how important they are in society.
God Bless you and God Bless America

Picture of the Day: The Four

The Four by Jvstin
The Four, a photo by Jvstin on Flickr.

Today’s picture is of Mount Rushmore from my trip to South Dakota in 2008.

I would like to think that the ghosts of these four Presidents are going to haunt Mayor Bloomberg, among others.

I would like to think that if any of them were alive today, they would support and cheer the expression of Democracy, and decry the tightening and restriction on its exercise.

(Yes I know about the Alien and Sedition Acts, and Lincoln’s acts during the Civil War…)

Picture of the Day: “The Gate”

I am not a giant fan of abstract art. That said, however, sometimes a piece speaks to me, or perhaps I’ve seen it enough that it becomes familiar, interpretable, and likeable.

Today’s picture is of such a piece. This is “The Gate”, by David von Schlgell, and it stands at the Thompson Hill overlook, the rest stop on Interstate 35 that overlooks and welcomes you to the city of Duluth.

Thus, the themes of the abstract art and what it is trying to invoke are easily made clear. Maybe that’s why I like it so much.

You can see some of the city downslope of the overlook on the right hand of the picture.