On Sunday, 3 September 2023, Republican presidential nomination contender Vivek Ramaswamy was muffled by the collapse of a huge banner reading “TRUTH” as he stumped in Lancaster, New Hampshire. Footage of the event shows the massive backdrop slowly folding forward onto the unexpecting Ramaswamy, in a moment of cosmic irony worthy of a Wes Anderson film. Unhurt, except perhaps in his pride, the incident has led to a plethora of Tweets and internet memes calling attention to the aptness of the visuals, for a candidate who can’t seem to keep his stories straight about his opinion of the prior president.
Asteroid Astrology: National
On 30 August 2023 the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season kicked off with a bang, as Hurricane Idalia battered the northern Florida coast with 125 mph winds and a 7-foot storm surge, making landfall as a category 3 storm at Keaton Beach, in the Sunshine State’s Big Bend region, at 7:45 AM EDT. Earlier projections had seen the storm coming ashore somewhat further south, in more populous areas, but despite the already swampy terrain and smaller communities in its path, Idalia is estimated to have caused some $9 billion+ in damage. Thankfully, loss of life was minimal, with three traffic-related fatalities attributed to Idalia’s effects.
On Saturday, 26 August 2023, a 21-year-old white male, clad in a tactical vest, shot up a Dollar Store on King Road in Jacksonville, Florida, killing three black persons before turning the gun on himself when police arrived on the scene. Ryan Christopher Palmeter had been remanded to state care in 2017 after a mental health breakdown which should have precluded his access to firearms, but was able to legally purchase the AR-15 style assault rifle and Glock semiautomatic pistol used in this crime, earlier this year. Palmeter, who has a history of racism, adorned the rifle with swastikas and ordered all “non-Black” people to leave the store when he entered. Police are investigating the murders as a hate crime.
Here we go again. If you’re counting, this makes three criminal indictments in four months, in three separate jurisdictions. I’m going to step out on a limb here and opine that this has got to be a record. On August 1st, 2023, Special Counsel Jack Smith dropped the other shoe he was holding, indicting Donald J. Trump on four charges in relation to his attempts to overturn the 2020 election: conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding, and conspiracy against rights.
After a very dry spring in much of the eastern US evoked widespread drought conditions, the climate change worm turned dramatically in late June and early July 2023, deluging these same areas with more rain than they could handle. Vermont quickly became the poster child for Northeast flooding, with new records set for rainfall in the Green Mountain State. Wastewater treatment facilities were among the hardest-hit, with 33 impacted statewide, and the plant in Johnson inundated by eight feet of water, leaving “total destruction” in its wake, with “just the shell of a building” remaining.
On June 30th, 2023, the last day of the term, the US Supreme Court issued a bizarre ruling regarding free speech and the ongoing culture wars over gay marriage, siding with a Colorado website designer who balked at having to design wedding websites for same-sex couples. But here’s the thing – in 2016, when the suit was filed, Lorie Smith wasn’t designing wedding webizes at all, for couples of any sexual persuasion; she claimed to have been approached by a gay couple whom she refused the services she wasn’t offering to anyone, based on her religious objections to same-sex unions. So, Lorie Smith’s suit against Colorado’s antidiscrimination law was hypothetical or, shall we say, prophylactic?