Monthly Archives: March 2014

A complete list of the Obama administration’s Obamacare.delays.

A complete list of the Obama administration’s Obamacare.delays — so far.

As the article quite correctly notes, “Despite all the Obama administration’s talk about Republicans ‘obstructing’ the health-care law, federal officials and Obamacare administrators have done far more damage to Obamacare by delaying some of its most central provisions.”

Worse, the delays have also done significant damage to the rule of law, since under the law the Obama administration had no right to make these delays in the first place.

Share

Whose side are you on?

Whose side are you on?

The three most important words in politics are: “Compared with what?” And I am more than a little sympathetic to conservatives’ complaints about the failures of elected Republicans in Washington, who consistently disappoint us even when they are in the majority. I am also sympathetic to the view that our situation may have deteriorated to the point that even a unified Republican government under the leadership of principled conservatives may not be enough to turn things around. And though I reject the notion that Mitt Romney wasn’t good enough for true-believing conservatives, let’s say, arguendo, that that was the case. Unless you are ready to give up entirely on the notion of advancing conservative principles through the ballot box, you might consider looking at things this way: Even if you do not think that it matters much whether Republicans win, it matters a great deal that Democrats lose.

Maybe you were not that excited that 2012 gave you a choice between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama. I sympathize — I liked Rick Perry. But how is President Romney vs. President Obama a hard choice? How is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vs. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid a hard choice? How is Speaker of the House John Boehner vs. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi a hard choice?

It isn’t.

Read it all. He smashes to pieces the reasoning many passionate conservatives use to justify not voting at all when they are presented with a choice between a hard leftwing Democratic and what he calls a “squishy RINO.” By abstaining they help put radical leftwing Democrats in power, a circumstance far worse for the country.

This is not to say that we shouldn’t put hard pressure on the squishies to make them less so, only that when push comes to shove, they are still a better option than a politician who is liberal and not squishy.

Share

SpaceX has test fired its Grasshopper replacement test vehicle.

The competition heats up: SpaceX has test fired its Grasshopper replacement test vehicle.

Unlike Grasshopper, which only had one engine, the Falcon 9R (pronounced “niner”) is the equivalent of a Falcon 9 nine engine first stage. They fired it on the launchpad for 5 seconds in preparation for future vehicle take off and landing tests.

Share

According to a new report from the federal government, only 6 percent of the country’s electricity comes from green energy sources.

According to a new report from the federal government, only 6 percent of the country’s electricity comes from green energy sources.

What strikes me about this figure is that, if I remember right, back in around 2001 or so green energy sources only contributed about 3% of our electrical needs, and Vice President Dick Cheney then made the point that even if we doubled that number it wasn’t going eliminate the need to burn fossil fuels. For that comment Cheney got pilloried by the press and by green activists for being a barbarian who was against saving the planet.

Well, here we are, about a dozen years later, and we have doubled our use of green energy, and Cheney was 100% right, we are still reliant on fossil fuels.

Share

The odious Chuck Schumer and Harry Reid.

The odious Chuck Schumer and Harry Reid.

And why are they odious? Because they have the nerve to attack a free American citizen for merely disagreeing with them publicly.

“But, senator, can’t we have a disagreement about how charity is funded without calling somebody un-American?” Scarborough countered. He continued to press Schumer to answer his question. “Do you think David Koch is un-American?”

Schumer finally said, “The commercials he runs are not part of the American mainstream. No two people [David Koch and his brother Charles] should have such a huge influence on our politics. That’s not First Amendment … I think the commercials he is running are against the American grain and un-American, yes …. I think what Harry Reid was saying was the actions are un-American. And they are, and they should change.”

I wonder if people quite appreciate how disgusting this all is. Here we have two Democratic senators labeling a private citizen as being “un-American” because that citizen is vocally advocating public policies they disagree with.

Can you imagine the media (and Hollywood) firestorm if Senator Ted Cruz went to the Senate floor and repeatedly accused, say, Jeffrey Katzenberg of being “un-American”–and Mike Lee echoed the charge?

But hey, they’re Democrats, so they must mean well! In fact, they must be so correct that the proper thing to do would be for us to put together a lynch mob and get these un-American Americans. How dare David Koch, or anyone, criticize a Democrat?

Share

The U.S Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights has forced a Michigan school to rip down a brand-new set of bleachers for its boys’ baseball team because the new seating is nicer than the girls’ softball bleachers.

We’re here to help you: The U.S Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights has forced a Michigan school to rip down a brand-new set of bleachers for its boys’ baseball team because the new seating is nicer than the girls’ softball bleachers.

The raised seating deck for the boys’ baseball team, which was paid for with money raised by parents, was put in place because fans who’d come to watch games at Plymouth High School in Canton, Mich., were having a hard time seeing the game through the chain-link fence WJBK-TV reported. The parents installed the new bleachers themselves and even added a new scoreboard to the field, the station reported. [emphasis mine]

So, something that cost the school nothing that the parents of the students themselves wanted isn’t good enough because our wonderful federal government didn’t like it. Tear it down!

Share

Bruce Rauner, the Republican running for governor of Illinois, is proudly running as a RINO.

Bruce Rauner, the Republican running for governor of Illinois, is proudly running as a RINO.

Essentially, he is copying the campaign approach that was used successfully by RINO Senator Mark Kirk.

I do not say this as a criticism. For a Republican to win in the very Democratic enclave of Illinois, he must move to the left. Moreover, a RINO Republican in office in Illinois will still be a step up from a corrupt Democrat. In fact, getting a lot of Democrats fired in that state might actually force some real reform in that party there.

Share

SpaceShipTwo is outside its hanger today, undergoing cockpit pressure tests.

SpaceShipTwo is outside its hanger today, undergoing cockpit pressure tests.

The article also provides some additional information about the rumored engine issues of the spacecraft, suggesting that the company is working hard to replace its nitrous oxide-rubber engine with a nitrous oxide-nylon engine.

Share

Orbital Sciences has begun construction of the 81satellites that will make up Iridium’s second generation communications satellite constellation.

The competition heats up: Orbital Sciences has begun construction of the 81satellites that will make up Iridium’s second generation communications satellite constellation.

Not only is this big business for satellite construction — 81 satellites is a big order — someone will have to launch those satellites. Even if they are launched in groups of five, which was how it was done for the first generation, it will still take more than 16 launches to get them all in orbit. That will be a lot of business for some lucky rocket company.

Share

The Air Force’s X-37B mini-shuttle presently in orbit has now set a new record for the spacecraft’s longest flight.

The Air Force’s X-37B mini-shuttle presently in orbit has now set a new record for the spacecraft’s longest flight.

The X-37B space plane currently in orbit in flying the Orbital Test Vehicle 3 (OTV-3) mission, the third long-duration flight of the unmanned Air Force spaceflight program. The miniature space shuttle launched on Dec. 11, 2012 and is surpassed the record for longest X-37B spaceflight on Wednesday (March 26). Until now, the record for the longest X-37B mission is 469 days, set by the program’s OTV-2 mission that was launched in 2011.

The OTV-3 mission in orbit today now uses the first of the Air Force’s two X-37B space plane vehicles. The same spacecraft was used to fly the first-ever X-37B mission (the 225-day OTV-1 flight in 2010), while a second vehicle flew the longer OTV-2 mission a year later.

Share

The Republican leadership in the House today held a sham vote to get a spending bill passed.

The Republican leadership in the House today held a sham vote to get a spending bill passed.

They did it because they couldn’t get enough votes from both Republicans and Democrats for the bill. So, “Republican leadership worked with their Democratic counterparts to orchestrate the ploy.”

It is stuff like this that makes me sick for our country: bi-partisan corruption.

Share

Hubble takes an image of Comet Siding Spring and finds two jets coming off the nucleus.

Hubble takes an image of Comet Siding Spring and finds two jets coming off the nucleus.

The comet will fly past Mars on October 19 by a distance of only 84,000 miles, which makes understanding its jets crucially important for protecting the various spacecraft that orbit the red planet.

Share

A feminist comedian calls for violence against conservative Christians.

Feel the love: A feminist comedian calls for violence against conservative Christians.

I really like how effective Obama’s call for civility after the Tucson shootings has been. Considering how rarely he has spoken up on the subject since then, however, you’d almost think his demand that people be civil really only applied to conservatives, while liberals were to remain free to be as abusive and hateful as they like.

Share

A fire at a radar site used by the Air Force to track rockets lifting off at the Kennedy Space Center has delayed all launches there, including SpaceX’s next Falcon 9 flight.

A fire at a radar site used by the Air Force to track rockets lifting off at the Kennedy Space Center has delayed all launches there, including SpaceX’s next Falcon 9 flight.

Initially the Air Force thought they could make repairs relatively quick, but now think it could take as long as 45 days. No new launch date for the Falcon 9/Dragon flight as yet been set.

Share

A college student who was attacked and then arrested by Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control agents because she and two friends had purchased a case of sparkling water is now suing Virginia and those seven agents for $40 million.

Hurrah! A college student who was attacked and then arrested by Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control agents because she and two friends had purchased a case of sparkling water is now suing Virginia and those seven agents for $40 million.

The key here is that she is not only suing the state, she is suing the agents themselves. They screwed up, but instead of apologizing to her immediately they arrested her and put her in jail for the night in order to intimidate her. I am glad she is not intimidated.

Share

Though engineers still don’t know why the Soyuz spacecraft was oriented incorrectly, thereby preventing a scheduled engine firing, they have uploaded new software and have subsequently executed two additional burns successfully.

Though engineers still don’t know why a Soyuz spacecraft carrying three astronauts to ISS was oriented incorrectly — thereby preventing a scheduled engine firing yesterday — they have uploaded new software and have subsequently executed two additional burns successfully.

The engine firings are excellent news, since they demonstrate that the capsule can make the necessary orbital maneuvers to get it to ISS.

Share

Astronomers have found an asteroid with its own rings.

Astronomers have found an asteroid with its own rings.

Chariklo is the largest member of a class known as the Centaurs and it orbits between Saturn and Uranus in the outer Solar System. Predictions had shown that it would pass in front of the star UCAC4 248-108672 on 3 June 2013, as seen from South America. Astronomers using telescopes at seven different locations, including the 1.54-metre Danish and TRAPPIST telescopes at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile, were able to watch the star apparently vanish for a few seconds as its light was blocked by Chariklo — an occultation.

But they found much more than they were expecting. A few seconds before, and again a few seconds after the main occultation there were two further very short dips in the star’s apparent brightness. Something around Chariklo was blocking the light! By comparing what was seen from different sites the team could reconstruct not only the shape and size of the object itself but also the shape, width, orientation and other properties of the newly discovered rings.

The team found that the ring system consists of two sharply confined rings only seven and three kilometres wide, separated by a clear gap of nine kilometres — around a small 250-kilometre diameter object orbiting beyond Saturn.

Share

The road to hell

Back on December 31, 2013, I put up a post about a New York Times article in which it was reported that Americorps volunteers were losing their health insurance plans because of Obamacare, much to their chagrin.

In reading the article, the quote that stood out to me was this one from one volunteer named Sarah Sklaw.

Sarah L. Sklaw, a 22-year-old Vista member from New York City, said: “I really support the Affordable Care Act, and I don’t want to be a naysayer. But it was surprising and frustrating to be told that our health coverage would not meet the law’s standards, especially because the Corporation for National and Community Service told us at orientation in August that we did not need to worry about the issue.”

My reaction? “In other words, she supported Obamacare, partly because she was told “if she liked her health plan, she could keep her health plan. Period.” She has now discovered that this was a lie and is angry. Who wudda thunk it?”

Last week Sarah Sklaw emailed me. She was very unhappy about my post because in her mind I misrepresented her feelings about the situation. This is her email:
» Read more

Share

Astronomers have discovered a new dwarf planet about 300 miles wide at the very edge of the solar system.

Astronomers have discovered a new dwarf planet about 300 miles wide at the outer edge of the solar system.

The closest it gets to the Sun is 80 AU, or about 7.4 billion miles. More tantalizing, however,

… the findings also suggest the presence of another large planet in the outer reaches of the solar system. When the authors plotted the motion of Sedna, 2012 VP113, and distant Kuiper belt objects, they noticed some odd behaviors which they couldn’t explain — but which a massive, “super-Earth” planet about 250 AU away could. They note that such a dimly lit planet “would be fainter than current all-sky survey detection limits, as would larger and more distant perturbers” (i.e., planets), so it’s certainly possible… but right now it’s little more than a guess. A weird, intriguing guess.

Share

A family’s home is raided by a gun-toting SWAT team because police found tea leaves in their garbage pails.

Police state: A Kansas family’s home is raided by a gun-toting SWAT team because police found tea leaves in their garbage pails.

The family, which were entirely innocent of any wrong-doing, also had to spend $25,000 to find out this fact, as the police stonewalled them when they asked why their house was raided.

Share

A Massachusetts judge has ruled that the state there owns your children.

Fascist state: A Massachusetts judge has ruled that the state there owns your children.

The case involves Justina Pelletier, who lived in Connecticut with her parents, was ill, and brought to Massachusetts to get treatment her Connecticut doctors couldn’t give. The Massachusetts doctors took control of the case, changed the diagnosis, and started psychiatric treatment that was against the wishes of the parents. When the parents tried to get their daughter back, the hospital refused, literally imprisoning their daughter and denying them access to her. The Massachusetts judge has now ruled that the hospital and the state have this right, and that the parents are irrelevant to the treatment of their daughter.

My advice: Stay out of Massachusetts. And if you live there, move!

Share

The timeline of Obamacare delays arbitrarily imposed by the Obama administration.

The timeline of Obamacare delays arbitrarily imposed by the Obama administration.

Practically all of these are illegal, as the law does not give the president the power to make these changes. Also, note the wide gap from July 2, 2013 to November 27, 2013, when no delay orders were issued. It was during this time period that Obama and the Democrats in Congress were refusing to negotiate with Republicans about a variety of proposed Republican delays to the law. The result of this refusal was the shutdown of the government in October. Had the Democrats been willing to negotiate then, these delays would at least have been legal, and there would not have been a shutdown.

Share

An expected engine burn on board the Soyuz capsule taking three astronauts to ISS did not take place as scheduled, forcing at minimum a two day delay in the rendezvous and docking.

An expected engine burn on board the Soyuz capsule taking three astronauts to ISS did not take place as scheduled, forcing at minimum a two day delay in the rendezvous and docking.

[NASA spokesman Rob] Navias said the engine burn was aborted due to a problem with the Soyuz’s attitude control system, but further details were not immediately available. “Right now we don’t understand exactly what happened,” a mission manager at Russian Mission Control told the Soyuz crew late Thursday. Ground controllers planned to download data from the Soyuz and determine whether the glitch was due to a hardware or software problem. [emphasis mine]

Though the astronauts are not in any immediate danger, this is very worrisome. Indications from various other news stories suggest the problem was software related, which in a sense is a good thing. They would still have the option to manually fire their engines to do a manual rendezvous and docking. However, if it isn’t a software issue, and the vagueness of the reports so far makes me wonder about this, they might instead be stranded. Let us hope not.

Update: This report gives a little more information. It appears the capsule itself was not in the right orientation at burn time, and the computer software, sensing this, canceled the burn. If so, the problem might be software (incorrectly gauging the position of the spacecraft) or mechanical (something failing so that the capsule is not oriented correctly). Engineers need to find out which.

Share

The Obama administration has once again arbitrarily extended the deadline in Obamacare for obtaining health insurance.

The law is such an inconvenient thing: The Obama administration has once again arbitrarily extended the deadline in Obamacare for obtaining health insurance.

This same President, allied with the Democrats in Congress, refused any negotiations in October with Republicans about legally extending the deadline. Then, they were willing to shut the government down. Now, however, they delay things willy-nilly, like petty dictators. It seems childish, petulant, petty, foolish, and not very thoughtful.

But hey, Democrat voters, we gotta support them, through hell or high water, because they care!

Share
1 2 3 5