It appears that the IRS targeted a Homeland Security whistleblower.
They slapped a lien on his home after investigating him for a year. They hassled him, determined that the government owed him money, and then poof! they were gone. The government still owes Black money.
It’s not just the tea party the IRS goes after, it’s anyone who causes trouble for those in power.
Leftwing debate: A professor at a Tennessee college ordered her students to publicly express support for gay rights or fail her course.
Students in a general psychology class at Columbia State Community College were directed by their professor to wear “Rainbow Coalition” ribbons for an entire day and express their support for the homosexual community, said Travis Barham, an attorney with the Alliance Defending Freedom. …
The professor told students to write a paper about how they were allegedly “discriminated against” because of their support for homosexual conduct. Several students objected to the assignment because their religious convictions prohibit them from supporting conduct their faith teaches them is immoral and unnatural.
Barham said the professor made it clear they had to follow the rules of the assignment to receive credit and allegedly told the students their own beliefs and viewpoints were irrelevant – even when they wrote their papers. The students were also barred from defending or explaining any other views regarding homosexual conduct, dismissing such arguments as “throwing Bible verses” at her,” the attorney said.
Most of these will be familiar to regular readers of Behind the Black, though the article lays them out very clearly. However, this one is a new one to me:
If your state ran a program to help the uninsured, that’s also a violation, because Insurance is what the ACA is all about. It’s a mandate that you purchase insurance. Any unique solutions generated in one of our 50 incubators must stop even if they have served people well, because they will be in violation of the Affordable Care Act. One of the most successful state Medicaid systems was denied a waiver by the Obama administration despite its proven track record. The worst part of one-size-fits-all solutions is that they are tailored for no one. [emphasis in original]
If you are hoping to buy stock in Elon Musk’s SpaceX company, Musk now says you will have to wait until they have begun regular missions to Mars.
This is a change from earlier comments by Musk, which to me suggests that the company’s recent successes and sales has made it profitable enough that he’d rather maintain control than get cash from an IPO. By keeping the company private, Musk can avoid being beholden to stockholders. He can do what he wants.
Russian concerns about a build-up of mold inside the European ATV, now docked to ISS, has caused a delay in the opening of its hatch.
The Spaceflight101 portal said the delay was due to possible “mold and bacteria contamination on three cargo bags that are inside the spacecraft” and that a decision is yet to be made on whether the crew should use anti-mold kits to clean ATV-4 cargo before taking it inside the ISS.
The Russians had a lot of problems with mold in their early Salyut space stations, and understand the unpleasant consequences should mold spread into the station. Thus, I am not surprised if they are taking this issue seriously.
When Venus Express arrived at the planet in 2006, average cloud-top wind speeds between latitudes 50º on either side of the equator were clocked at roughly 300 km/h [186 mph]. The results of two separate studies have revealed that these already remarkably rapid winds are becoming even faster, increasing to 400 km/h [250 mph] over the course of the mission.
A Virginia school board has voted unanimously to revise their zero tolerance policy in connection to guns after two boys were suspended for “using pencils like guns”.
Under the revised policy, school administrators can look at factors such as intentions of harm and whether the object is listed as a weapon to determine the punishment. Ordinary objects will not be considered weapons.
Union civility: Union bosses threatened businesses and their families because they had legally hired non-union workers to do Hurricane Sandy cleanup work.
One of LGS’s contract workers recalled a union heckler telling them to “take your country ass back to Mississippi,” and “get your dumb Tennessee ass off that piece of equipment.” “What they would say is, ‘It sure would be sad if your trucks caught on fire,’” recalled the LGS worker, who spoke to TheDC News Foundation on condition of anonymity because the union also made threats against his wife and children.
Local 138 vice president Phil Capobianco made the threats, said the source. “[He] called and said, ‘Look you have to get us involved,’” recalled the source. “I said, first of all, I don’t have to; second of all, we’ve tried; and third you’ve said you refuse to work for the rates we can pay.” Then Capobianco said something that the source would never forget. “He said, ‘I would just hate for anything to happen,’” recalled the source. Capobianco then rattled off a list of the source’s home address, his wife’s name, his kids and their current whereabouts.
“I’m a combat veteran, and I have never in my life been as frightened as I was in that phone call when he started naming my family members and where they were and what they were doing,” recalled the source. “From that point forward I wasn’t polite to him. I told him exactly what he could do with himself, what he could do with his union, and what he could do with his threats.”
At $200K per ticket, that’s $120 million in sales, which I suspect will easily produce a tidy profit for the company. It will also allow them to begin lowering the price, once they have become operational.
NASA picks 8 new public relations figureheads, calls them astronauts.
To put it bluntly, NASA presently can’t put any astronauts into orbit, and might not be able to do ever again. Any astronauts on NASA’s payroll will thus likely have to beg a seat on a spacecraft built by others. Eventually, that begging won’t get them anywhere, which means that the work these new astronauts will mostly do will be to sell NASA to the public.
In the past, the PR work of astronauts only consumed a significant part of their time. For the present and probably in the future, it will be the only work they do.
Which makes me question the need to hire these astronauts in the first place. If I had my druthers and ran NASA, I’d rather wait until I actually need some astronauts and then hire the pilots who are flying SpaceShipTwo.
In interviews to Congress, Washington IRS supervisor Holly Paz admitted to scrutinizing tea party applications.
So, very clearly this harassment wasn’t limited to low level employees in Cincinnati. Lois Lerner lied.
Still, this article appears to me to be a leak specifically designed to exonerate the Obama administration and to make it seem that the harassment of conservatives was merely bad management. To me, it reads like hogwash. I suspect when we get to see the entire transcripts of her interviews and when Paz is finally forced to answer some questions publicly things won’t look so innocent. For one thing, it seems impossible that only conservative organizations were picked for harassment without someone making a conscious political decision. For another, the following claim doesn’t meet the smell test for me:
Paz said an IRS supervisor in Cincinnati had commonly referred to the applications as “tea party” cases. But, Paz said, she thought that was simply shorthand for any application that included political activity.
Yeah, right. Anyone could see plainly that “tea party” could also be shorthand for radical leftwing organizations or Democratic Party front groups.
Finally, note that the IRS has admitted to replacing Paz, though they haven’t yet said whether she was actually fired. If she was so innocent, why did they do this?
The world upside down: Even as the IRS was harassing any nonprofit using the word “patriot” in its name, it was rubberstamping exemptions for “Islamic” groups, even those that have violated laws and are thought to have links to terrorist organizations.
The New Horizons team recently completed an 18-month study of potential impact hazards – mostly dust created by objects hitting Pluto’s small satellites – the spacecraft would face as it speeds some 30,000 miles per hour (more than 48,000 kilometers per hour) past Pluto in July 2015. The team estimated that the probability of a mission-ending dust impact was less than 0.3 percent if the spacecraft followed the current baseline plan, far below some early, more conservative estimates. So, with the concurrence of an independent review panel and NASA, the project team expects to keep New Horizons on this baseline course, which includes a close approach of about 12,500 kilometers (nearly 7,800 miles) from the surface of Pluto.
A man claims he has found a piece of debris from the Russian space station Mir in his backyard in northern Massachusetts.
And I have a bridge I want to sell you. This story is very suspicious. No picture, the rock isn’t metallic, the NASA engineer who identified it isn’t identified even though he wrote a letter to the man, and it was found on the eastern United States even though Mir was de-orbited over the south Pacific.
If this story is true, than the journalist who wrote it did a really bad job of reporting it.
The article also provides this updated scheduling information:
A successful test will be key for several of SpaceX’s future ambitions, not least their upcoming increase in launch frequency, with the next Falcon 9 – the debut of the v1.1 – set to loft Canada’s space weather satellite, CASSIOPE, out of Vandenberg Air Force Base. This mission has officially slipped to August, with the likelihood it will be re-targeted to September. Focus will then switch to Cape Canaveral, with two satellite missions, the first carrying SES-8, to be followed by the Thaicom 6 launch.
I had suspected the delays were related to the upgrades to Falcon 9. This article confirms this.
Dozens of lawmakers and aides are so afraid that their health insurance premiums will skyrocket next year thanks to Obamacare that they are thinking about retiring early or just quitting. The fear: Government-subsidized premiums will disappear at the end of the year under a provision in the health care law that nudges aides and lawmakers onto the government health care exchanges, which could make their benefits exorbitantly expensive.
Well, ain’t that just too damn bad. As I say, my heart bleeds.
"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs." --San Antonio Express-News
Radio: every Tuesday and Thursday at 11:30 pm (EST) the John Batchelor Show, syndicated nationally. The weekday show appearances are sometimes 20 or 30 minutes long. Appearance times and days may vary, depending on events, with these changes shown below.
Radio: April 7, 2013: 3:20 pm (Central), WCCO-AM, with Steve Thomson, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota.