Monthly Archives: January 2011

Air Force’s second X-37B space plane nears launch

The Air Force’s second X-37B space plane is now scheduled for a March 4 launch. Key quote:

“We want to be able to put an object up into space, materials, technology and so forth, test them out, bring them back and examine them,” said Richard McKinney, deputy under secretary of the Air Force for space programs. “In that respect, this is a test vehicle.”

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Florida Judge Rules Against Health Law.

Big news! A Florida judge today has ruled the entire Obamacare law is unconstitutional. Key quote:

In his ruling, Judge Roger Vinson, a Republican appointee, said that the law’s requirement to carry insurance or pay a fee “is outside Congress’ Commerce Clause power, and it cannot be otherwise authorized by an assertion of power under the Necessary and Proper Clause. It is not constitutional.” The ruling also said that the entire law “must be declared void,” because the mandate to carry insurance is “not severable” from the rest of the law. [emphasis mine]

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US judge to rule on Obamacare today

Repeal it already! Another US judge is expected to rule on Obamacare today. Key quote:

The judge, Roger Vinson of the U.S. District Court in Pensacola, Florida, was expected to rule on a lawsuit brought by governors and attorneys general from 26 U.S. states, almost all of whom are Republicans. Obama is a Democrat. The plaintiffs represent more than half the U.S. states, so the Pensacola case has more prominence than some two dozen lawsuits filed in federal courts over the healthcare law.

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White House quietly exempts friends from Obamacare

Repeal the damn bill! And even the White House agrees as it quietly exempts its political friends from Obamacare. Key quote:

How can you get your own free pass from Obamacare? Maybe you can just donate $27 million to President Obama‘s campaign efforts. That’s what Andy Stern did as president of SEIU in 2008. He has been the most frequent guest at Mr. Obama‘s White House.

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Challenger accident, 25 years ago

An evening pause: Twenty-five years ago today.

The final words in Reagan’s speech come from a poem by John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ing there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace,
Where never lark, or even eagle flew;
The high, untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

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Electric cars and their cold-weather shortcomings

Reality meets feel-good politics: Electric cars and their cold-weather shortcomings. Key quote:

“If you live in an area where the winters get extremely cold an all-electric vehicle will have to be garaged and equipped with some kind of plug-in battery warmer for it to be effective in the coldest months of the year. Keep these thoughts in mind if you’re planning an electric car purchase; we don’t want you finding out the range of your car has been halved when it’s five below zero and you’re fifteen miles from home.”

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Egyptians brace for Friday protests as internet, messaging disrupted

The triumph of freedom: Protests spread to Egypt and Jordan.

We should recognize that though the overthrow of these Middle East dictatorships is certainly not a bad thing, the regimes that replace them are very likely not going to be much better, and could very well be worse. However, the free flow of information in the Arab world can only be a good thing, and in the long run can only lead to freedom and peace between nations.

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Challenger, 25 years later

Today is the 25th anniversary of the Challenger accident. There are innumerable links from many sources talking about the event, too many for me to list here. You can find most at this link on Jeff Foust’s website, spacetoday.net.

Though I think it is very important for us to remember and honor these events, I have become somewhat disenchanted with the modern American obsession with memorials and anniversaries. Rather than build a memorial, I’d much rather we focused entirely on building new spaceships, new space stations, and new lunar bases, while flying multi-year missions on ISS, all in preparation for exploring and colonizing the solar system.

If we actually made the solar system a place for humans to live in and explore, we would build a far better memorial to those who have sacrificed their lives for the sake of exploration. And I think these heroes would be far more pleased by that memorial than by a stone statue or emotional op-ed that describes their courage.

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