Monthly Archives: October 2013

The best (and worst) concealed carry states for 2013.

The best (and worst) concealed carry states for 2013.

I am happy to report that my state, Arizona, is number one. And not surprisingly, the states from which I fled, New York and Maryland, are 46 and 43 respectively.

I strongly believe that where a government respects the right of its citizens to possess and bear arms, freedom will be strongly defended. Take a long look at these rankings. That the most heavily regulated blue states tend to be near the bottom and the less regulated red states tend to be near the top lends weight to my belief.

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The Justice Department and Homeland Security are threatening to prosecute a novelty store owner for selling mugs and t-shirts that make fun of the two agencies.

Modern free speech: The Justice Department and Homeland Security are threatening to prosecute a novelty store owner for selling mugs and t-shirts that make fun of the two agencies.

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Here’s some evidence that in trying to spin his earlier lies, Obama has only lied again.

Here’s some evidence that, in trying to spin his earlier lies, Obama has only lied again.

Yesterday, the President said in Boston that the millions of people who are getting cancellation letters ending their coverage in the individual health insurance market are being saved from “substandard plans” that were sold to them by “bad apple insurers.” …

Are health insurance plans in the individual market substandard? Not the overwhelming bulk of them. How do I know that? Because individual health insurance policies have been regulated for decades by the states. Every policy sold in a state has to be approved by that state’s insurance commissioner. Have you heard about the longstanding debate over whether or not states over regulate this market with too many state health insurance coverage mandates and policy requirements?

In other words, Obama lied about Obamacare allowing you to keep your plan. Now that millions are having those plans cancelled because of Obamacare, he has made up a new lie: Your plan stinks, and only he knows the right plan for you.

Not you. Not your state government. Not the insurance company. Only he knows what’s best.

How nice of him.

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Another young Obamacare supporter finds out what’s in it.

Another young Obamacare supporter finds out what’s in it.

My old plan was as bare-bones as they came, so I assumed that even though the new plan would cost more, my coverage would improve under Obamacare, at least marginally. It did not.

Under my old plan, my maximum out-of-pocket expense was $4,900. Under the new plan, I’m on the hook for up to $6,350. Copays for my doctor visits will double. For urgent-care visits, they will quadruple. Though slightly cheaper plans exist if I decide to shop around on the exchange, I will lose my dental coverage should I switch.

Needless to say, I am not pleased.

He is also shocked that the burden for paying for this hellish law will fall on him and other young citizens. What I am amazed at is how surprised he is. And I think this statement by one commenters sums things up very well:
» Read more

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Bras in space: How a bra company made the spacesuits the astronauts wore on the Moon.

Bras in space: How a bra company made the spacesuits the astronauts wore on the Moon.

Fascinating interview, though I find it humorous how it is considered absurd and unlikely for a private company that makes bras to make these spacesuits. In truth, when the Apollo missions happened, Americans had no doubt that ordinary private businesses were the best places to go to get something novel and creative done.

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One expert estimates that 129 million people, 68% of those who buy health insurance, will lose their plan by the end of 2014 because of Obamacare.

Finding out what’s in it: One expert estimates that 129 million people, 68% of those who buy health insurance, will lose their plan by the end of 2014 because of Obamacare.

I am sure all those people will be grateful to Obama and the Democrats for standing strong and shutting down the government rather than allow any changes to this law.

Note: I keep repeating this point about the government shutdown because it is important to remember the real cause of that shutdown: The Republicans objected to Obamacare and the Democrats endorsed it. We mustn’t forget this very fundamental fact as we watch Obamacare roll over the country like a bulldozer.

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Obama and the Democrats solve the terrible terrible problem of the terrible name of the Washington Redskins.

Obama and the Democrats solve the terrible terrible problem of the terrible name of the Washington Redskins.

In a move certain to delight most of official Washington, D.C., it has been decided to change the name of the Washington Redskins football franchise to the Washington Reds. President Obama, himself, voiced his approval of the decision, as did Harry Reid, who was practically giddy upon hearing the news. The stadium will be painted red, in keeping with the new name, and its own name will be changed to Red Stadium. All players who play for the Reds, as well as all Red staff, Red cheerleaders, and Red coaches, will be asked to pay a 60% surtax on their exorbitant salaries and to divest of their pension plans entirely in order to share their wealth more equitably with all of the people of the District of Columbia. Any profit-sharing from games played by the Reds will be placed into the general coffers at Treasury Department and administered by Jack Lew.

Click on the link. It is worth it.

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IRS official Lois Lerner illegally provided private tax information to other government agencies.

Working for the Democratic Party: IRS official Lois Lerner illegally provided private tax information to other government agencies.

A conservative government watchdog says it has obtained emails revealing that the Internal Revenue Service sent conservative groups’ private tax exemption application and tax return information to the Federal Elections Commission, in violation of federal law.

According to Judicial Watch, the emails from Jan. 2009 to the present, provided by the FEC in response to an August 2013 Freedom of Information Act request, yielded a “revealing email chain” between former Internal Revenue Services (IRS) Director of Exempt Organizations Lois Lerner and enforcement attorneys at the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

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Obamacare does not provide patients or doctors or hospitals any way of finding out who is in or out of network.

Not finding out what’s in it: Obamacare does not provide patients or doctors or hospitals any way of finding out who is in or out of network.

“In many cases, consumers are shopping blind when it comes to what doctors and hospitals are included in their Obamacare exchange plans,” said Josh Archambault, senior fellow with the think tank Foundation for Government Accountability. “These patients will be in for a rude awakening once they need care, and get stuck with a big bill for going out-of-network without realizing it.”

All of this represents a larger problem with the Affordable Care Act, said Archambault, who has extensively studied the law. “It reflects deeper issues in implementation,” he said. “Some hospitals and doctors don’t even know if they are in the network.”

In addition, this story indicates that many major hospitals are opting out of Obamacare, with no way for patients to find out beforehand.

Aren’t you glad the Democrats and President Obama shut down the federal government earlier this month to make sure Obamacare went into effect?

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A fundamental design failure appears to be the cause of the fuel leak that caused the launch postponement of India’s first home-made geosynchronous powered rocket in August.

The complete failure of the fuel tank appears to be the cause of the massive leak that caused the launch postponement of India’s first home-made geosynchronous powered rocket in August.

Mr. Radhakrishnan [head of India’s space agency] said while the expert committee had attributed the fuel leak to stress corrosion cracking of the tank filled with propellants, exactly why this happened was “a research problem” that remains to be investigated. The next GSLV mission will switch to a better aluminium alloy material for its propellant tanks.

Up to now the reports have been somewhat vague about the cause of what was clearly an extensive leak. This story tells us that the tank essentially failed. As they filled it with propellants, cracks apparently showed up everywhere, with fuel spewing out in all directions. As far as I can remember, I don’t think there has ever been a rocket tank failure quite this spectacular.

This suggests there were fundamental design flaws in the tank or very serious quality control problems in its manufacture. With the next launch attempt scheduled for December 15, I hope India has identified the source of this incredibly basic problem and taken action to prevent it from happening again.

Update: Reader Patrick Ritchie found this older article which suggests the failed tank was an old tank of a design that was “prone for delayed cracks”. The error here then was in using this substandard old equipment rather than a newer tank.

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The first Earth-sized exoplanet, just discovered, makes no sense to scientists.

The first Earth-sized exoplanet, just discovered, makes no sense to scientists.

Kepler-78b is a planet that shouldn’t exist. This scorching lava world circles its star every eight and a half hours at a distance of less than one million miles – one of the tightest known orbits. According to current theories of planet formation, it couldn’t have formed so close to its star, nor could it have moved there. “This planet is a complete mystery,” says astronomer David Latham of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA). “We don’t know how it formed or how it got to where it is today. What we do know is that it’s not going to last forever.”

The planet itself is only 20 percent larger than the Earth, with a comparable density that suggests its composition is similar as well.

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A new dark matter detector has failed to detect any dark matter after its first three months of operation.

The uncertainty of science: A new dark matter detector has failed to detect any dark matter after its first three months of operation.

Buried about a mile underground in a repurposed South Dakota gold mine, the LUX experiment searches for signs of dark matter particles colliding with the atoms in a vat of liquid xenon. During its first three months of operation, the detector found no such signals whatsoever. “We looked hard for these dark matter particles and we didn’t see anything,” says physicist Rick Gaitskell of Brown University, co-spokesperson for the LUX experiment. The results, presented at a seminar today and submitted to Physical Review Letters for publication, rule out a number of possible masses and characteristics for the particles that make up dark matter. The null result also conflicts with earlier experiments that had reported possible signals of dark matter.

This experiment has not proven that dark matter does not exist. It merely has narrowed significantly the kinds of particles that dark matter could be made of. That the results also contradict evidence from other detectors, however, leaves this specific area of science particularly uncertain.

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A physicians organization has filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration’s decision to delay Obamacare employer mandate by one year.

A physicians organization has filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration’s decision to delay Obamacare employer mandate by one year.

The AAPS lawsuit, which was filed today in the Eastern District of Wisconsin, asks the Court to enjoin the Obama Administration from imposing its “individual mandate” while delaying the “employer mandate.” The law that was passed by Congress in 2010 requires that the employer mandate go into effect at the same time as the individual mandate: Jan 1, 2014.

“The U.S. Constitution requires a strict separation of powers between the three branches of government, such that the executive branch cannot change laws passed by Congress,” AAPS’s lawsuit explains. By imposing the individual mandate in 2014 without the protection of the employer mandate, the Obama Administration has changed the legislation passed by Congress.

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70% of Americans want to delay the Obamacare individual mandate.

Poll: 70% of Americans want to delay the Obamacare individual mandate.

One, I suspect that many of those polled really think they are asking for a delay of Obamacare entirely, and do not understand that delaying the mandate will do nothing to save their present insurance plan. If Obamacare requires that plan to die, it will die, regardless of when the mandate goes into effect.

Two, this is strong evidence that, when the next budget deadline arrives in a few months, the Republicans should once again demand to either delay, defund, or repeal Obamacare. They should force the Democrats to once again vote for this law. If the Republicans do this, they might actually be in a position to force Democrats to agree to a repeal.

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“If you like your plan you can keep your plan.”

I am posting the video below mostly as a marker, so that I can find it again easily when I am confronted by Democrats who can’t seem to understand what a lie is and what a liar looks like.

But watch it anyway. I knew it was a lie when he said this repeatedly in 2009 and 2010, but it is even more infuriating to see it now, especially considering the wreckage that lie is causing across the country as people find they no longer can afford any health insurance, no matter how minimal.

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According to insurance executives, the White House is threatening them with “retribution” if they don’t keep silent about the problems Obamacare is causing them.

Fascist thugs: According to insurance executives, the White House is threatening them with “retribution” if they don’t keep silent about the problems Obamacare is causing them.

“What is going on is a behind-the-scenes attempt by the White House to at least keep insurers from publicly criticizing what is happening on this Affordable Care Act rollout,” reports Andrew Griffin of CNN. ”Basically, if you speak out, if you are quoted, you’re going to get a call from the White House, pressure to be quiet.”

According to Griffin’s sources, Bob Laszewski of Health Policy and Strategy Associates – a prominent consultant for insurance companies with a history of criticizing ObamaCare – says he’s getting calls from the executives he works with, asking him to speak out on their behalf, “because they feel defenseless against the White House PR team.”

Laszewski told Griffin, “The White House is exerting massive pressure on the industry, including the trade associations, to keep quiet.” Industry sources confirmed “they fear White House retribution.”

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The president and the Democrats lied us into a bad law.

“The president and the Democrats lied us into a bad law.”

The Right opposed the law on principle. A single party — the Democrats — own this law in a way that no party has had complete ownership of any major social legislation in a century. They bought this legislation with deceit and the GOP said so. Now that it is going into effect, the facts on the ground are confirming that deceit. Moreover, the same haughty condescending bureaucrats and politicians who told us they were smart enough and tech-savvy enough to do just about anything are being exposed as incompetent political hacks.

And remember: This same President and those same Democrats re-affirmed their support of Obamacare less than one month ago by insisting on shutting the government down rather than agree to even the slightest revision of this disaster of a law.

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The reasons Obamacare makes health insurance much more expensive.

The reasons Obamacare makes health insurance much more expensive.

All of these reasons were expounded in great detail by conservatives back in 2010 in their effort to get Democrats to negotiate the law. The reasoned response from the left: “You’re a racist!”

Well it now turns out that a lot of very liberal pundits, politicians, and Democratic supporters are racist too, as they are discovering that the conservatives in 2010 were right.

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Sierra Nevada reveals that its Dream Chaser engineering test vehicle survived its bad landing in weekend in reasonably good shape.

Sierra Nevada reveals that its Dream Chaser engineering test vehicle survived its bad landing this weekend in reasonably good shape.

After lining up on the runway, the spacecraft’s nose landing skid and right main landing gear deployed normally about 200 feet off the ground. But the left main gear hung up for some reason. Sirangelo said the software issued the proper commands, leading engineers to suspect a mechanical problem of some sort.

The landing gear in the test vehicle were taken from an F-5 training jet and will not be used on operational versions of the Dream Chaser.

In any case, the Dream Chaser’s flight software responded to the unbalanced load at touchdown, keeping the spacecraft’s left wing off the ground as long as possible. But it eventually came down and the craft skidded off the runway in a cloud of dust. [emphasis mine]

They should release the video. If the vehicle’s software was able to keep the vehicle stable, even as it was speeding down a runway short one wheel, this would impress people. Not releasing video of this only feeds the doubts people have.

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Steny Hoyer, #2 Democrat in the House, admitted today that Democrats knew that Obamacare would cause the cancellation of millions of health plans.

Steny Hoyer, #2 Democrat in the House, admitted today that Democrats knew that Obamacare would cause the cancellation of millions of health plans.

The Democrats really think Americans are stupid. This is how Hoyer tried to explain away Obama’s often-repeated lie that “if you like your plan you get to keep it”:

Asked by another reporter how repeated statements by Obama to the contrary weren’t “misleading,” Hoyer said “I don’t think the message was wrong. I think the message was accurate. It was not precise enough…[it] should have been caveated with – ‘assuming you have a policy that in fact does do what the bill is designed to do.’”

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Geologists have determined that the magma reservoir under Yellowstone is much bigger than previously thought.

The uncertainty of science: Geologists have determined that the magma reservoir under Yellowstone is much bigger than previously thought.

Jamie Farrell, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Utah, mapped the underlying magma reservoir by analysing data from more than 4,500 earthquakes. Seismic waves travel more slowly through molten rock than through solid rock, and seismometers can detect those changes.

The images show that the reservoir resembles a 4,000-cubic-kilometre underground sponge, with 6–8% of it filled with molten rock. It underlies most of the Yellowstone caldera and extends a little beyond it to the northeast.

The geologists also noted that the threat from a huge volcanic eruption is less of a concern than that of earthquakes.

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Sierra Nevada today released a video of the test flight this past weekend of its Dream Chaser engineering test vehicle.

Sierra Nevada today released a video of the test flight this past weekend of its Dream Chaser engineering test vehicle.

Don’t get too excited. They very cleverly have edited the tape so that we do not see what happened after touchdown. You can see how the left landing gear does not completely deploy, but then they cut away. Nonetheless, the video is posted below the fold.
» Read more

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“It was reported today by MSNBC that President Obama was unaware that he had ever said to anyone the words ‘If you like your healthcare plan, you can keep it.'”

“It was reported today by MSNBC that President Obama was unaware that he had ever said to anyone the words ‘If you like your healthcare plan, you can keep it.'”

As is commonly known, the details of policies put in place by various departments of the Administration are considered beneath the purview of the office of the presidency. The President is above all that and, as Chris Matthews points out, he can hardly be expected to remember such minutiae such as who gave the order to stand down at Benghazi, which is thousands of miles away, or who ordered the IRS to harass certain Tea Party members, let alone members of other terrorist groups, or even what was happening in Fast & Furious down in Mexico. That’s somebody else’s country, said Matthews, and the President just wasn’t personally aware. Besides, he was on the golf course at the time . . . every time.

There’s more, all tragically hilarious.

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Unnamed healthcare officials admit that the Obama administration specifically wrote the Obamacare regulations so that millions would have to lose their healthcare plan.

He lied: Unnamed healthcare officials admit that the Obama administration specifically wrote the Obamacare regulations so that millions would have to lose their healthcare plan.

Buried in Obamacare regulations from July 2010 is an estimate that because of normal turnover in the individual insurance market, “40 to 67 percent” of customers will not be able to keep their policy. And because many policies will have been changed since the key date, “the percentage of individual market policies losing grandfather status in a given year exceeds the 40 to 67 percent range.”

That means the administration knew that more than 40 to 67 percent of those in the individual market would not be able to keep their plans, even if they liked them.

Yet President Obama, who had promised in 2009, “if you like your health plan, you will be able to keep your health plan,” was still saying in 2012, “If [you] already have health insurance, you will keep your health insurance.”

These regulations were written in the executive branch, which is the complete responsibility of Obama. So, the agency he controls wrote regulations they knew would force the cancellation of millions of healthcare plans, and Obama went around the country lying about it. It is as simple as that.

But remember! Obama and the Democrats forced a government shutdown so Obamacare would go into effect now. Shouldn’t we all be grateful?

Update: The quote above is from the original version of the story. The article itself disappeared from the web on Monday night and then reappeared at a new url (which I have linked to above) with some changes to some paragraphs, none of which did much to change the essential content.

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Sierra Nevada provides an update on the condition of its Dream Chaser test vehicle after this weekend’s glide flight and bad landing.

Sierra Nevada provides an update on the condition of its Dream Chaser test vehicle after this weekend’s glide flight and bad landing.

SNC has not yet decided whether to repair the Dream Chaser test craft, which does not use the same landing gear the orbital vehicle would use. Investigating what went wrong will take “a couple of weeks,” Sirangelo estimated. He said the vehicle, which is now in a hangar in Mojave, Calif., was “fully intact” after the crash.

“The pressure vessel was completely pristine, the computers are still working, there was no damage to the crew cabin or flight systems,” Sirangelo said. “I went inside it myself and it was perfectly fine. There was some damage from skidding.

“We learned everything we wanted to on this test, and learned more than we expected to learn,” Sirangelo said. “We believe we’ve got most of the data we need [but] I can’t honestly say, I just don’t know yet. It’s not going to affect our schedule in the long term [but] It might affect whether we do another free flight test this year or next year. We’re still assessing that.”

The company also claims that the flight met the requirements of a $15 million NASA milestone payment, since the goals of the flight were to test the vehicle’s flight capabilities, not its landing gear. (The failed landing gear used will not be the gear used on the final flight vehicle.)

They have scheduled a press conference for tomorrow. Stay tuned.

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Lockheed Martin successfully powered up the first Orion capsule last week.

Lockheed Martin successfully powered up the first Orion capsule last week.

During the test, operators in the Test Launch and Control Center (TLCC) introduced software scripts to the crew module’s main control computers via thousands of wires and electrical ground support equipment. During this process, the foundational elements, or the “heart and brains” of the entire system were evaluated. The main computers received commands from the ground, knew where to send them, read the data from different channels, and successfully relayed electrical responses back to the TLCC. The crew module power systems will continue to undergo testing for six months as additional electronics are added to the spacecraft.

It is a good thing that NASA has finally gotten this far with this very expensive capsule. However, pay no attention to their claims that the capsule “is capable of taking humans farther into space than they’ve ever gone before.” Any long journey it takes will be quite limited in scope. Humans can’t really travel beyond lunar orbit in just a capsule. You need a real interplanetary spaceship for that, and Orion does not fit this bill.

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