More health insurance cancellations due to Obamacare

Finding out what’s in it: A new report says that 50,000 people in seven states will have their health insurance plans cancelled in the next month.

This of course is only a small sampling. The disastrous ramifications of Obamacare have only just started.

I wonder if Obama has found out about this. Usually he has to read a newspaper to find out what happens in his administration, and this story is just breaking now.

Another court rules against Obamacare subsidies

Another federal court has ruled against an IRS decision to allow Obamacare subsidies in states with federal Obamacare exchanges.

This means that anyone who gets Obamacare using the federal exchange because their state did not set up its own exchange will not be legible for subsidies.

The court was also bluntly critical of the liberal judges who had written dissents trying to defend the IRS ruling, noting that

The role of this Court is to apply the statute as it is written – even if we think some other approach might ‘accor[d] with good policy.’” [Quoting a number of other decisions:] (“This Court has no roving license, in even ordinary cases of statutory interpretation, to disregard clear language simply on the view that . . . Congress ‘must have intended’ something broader.”) (“The power of executing the laws necessarily includes both authority and responsibility to resolve some questions left open by Congress that arise during the law’s administration. But it does not include a power to revise clear statutory terms that turn out not to work in practice.”).

This badly written law, forced down our throats by Obama and the Democratic Party, is going to do significant harm to many people now, because they will not get subsidies for their health insurance and the law itself forces the price for that health insurance to skyrocket to prices they cannot afford.

All the more reason to vote for Democrats in November, not because they have any brains or have demonstrated even the slightest ability to write laws, but merely because they care! All that other stuff is irrelevant!

We don’t need no intelligence briefings

Does this make you feel safer? President Obama routinely misses 60% of his intelligence briefings.

A new Government Accountability Institute (GAI) report reveals that President Barack Obama has attended only 42.1% of his daily intelligence briefings (known officially as the Presidential Daily Brief, or PDB) in the 2,079 days of his presidency through September 29, 2014. The GAI report also included a breakdown of Obama’s PDB attendance record between terms; he attended 42.4% of his PDBs in his first term and 41.3% in his second.

The GAI’s alarming findings come on the heels of Obama’s 60 Minutes comments on Sunday, wherein the president laid the blame for the Islamic State’s (ISIS) rapid rise squarely at the feet of his Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. “I think our head of the intelligence community, Jim Clapper, has acknowledged that I think they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria,” said Obama.

According to Daily Beast reporter Eli Lake, members of the Defense establishment were “flabbergasted” by Obama’s attempt to shift blame. “Either the president doesn’t read the intelligence he’s getting or he’s bullshitting,” a former senior Pentagon official “who worked closely on the threat posed by Sunni jihadists in Syria and Iraq” told the Daily Beast.

This data, coupled with numerous reports showing that the intelligence community was quite clear about the threat of ISIS for years, illustrates how uninformed our President has been about these matters. Worse, it once again proves how willing he is to blame someone else for his own failures.

Australia’s climate agency admits to fudging climate data

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology (ABM) has finally admitted that it alters the temperatures recorded at almost all the official weather stations in Australia.

They claim that these adjustments are necessary to make the readings more accurate.

Using a process it calls homogenization, ABM has replaced actual temperature measurements with massaged numbers. ABM claims anomalies have arisen in both the historical data and current measurements due to a wide variety of factors unrelated to climate, such as differing types of instruments used, choices of calibration or enclosure and where it was located, and the closure of some stations and opening of others. The ABM argues such factors justify homogenization of the numbers.

Yet somehow, all the adjustments make the present readings hotter and the past readings colder, thus accentuating the illusion of global warming. Nor is this surprising, as the head of ABM has publicly stated his firm belief in global warming, as noted in the article above.

So, shut up and trust their judgment! When they tell you to give up your cars and nicely heated homes, it is just because they want to save the planet.

Dream Chaser still alive!

The competition heats up: Sierra Nevada (SNC) has announced a new effort to gain international customers for its Dream Chaser manned spacecraft.

From the press release:

SNC’s Global Project offers clients across the globe access to low Earth orbit (LEO) without the time, resources and financial burden of developing the necessary capabilities or infrastructure to support a mature human spaceflight program. The Global Project utilizes the Dream Chaser spacecraft as a baseline vehicle which, in turn, can be customized by the client for an array of missions to support government, commercial, academic and international goals. The individual mission customization of the Global Project can be applied to both crewed and uncrewed variants for a single dedicated mission or suite of missions.

This is excellent news, as it tells us that the company is not giving up on the spacecraft, and intends to push hard to finish it. Not only are they working make it a viable product to many customers and thus obtain the construction financing to build it outside of NASA’s manned program, they also appear ready to bid on NASA’s second round of cargo launches, using Dream Chaser as an unmanned cargo freighter to ISS.

In fact, I would not be surprised if NASA chooses Dream Chaser over Dragon for that second round of cargo deliveries. Dragon is slated for the manned flights, so the agency will need another vehicle to replace it. Why not give the contract to Sierra Nevada, thus providing NASA with two manned vehicles and three cargo vehicles, all capable of accessing the station.

All in all, this increasingly looks like a win-win situation for everyone.

Congress demands American rocket engines for military launches

In a letter written by a bi-partisan group of California legislators, Congress is pressuring the Air Force to replace the Russian engines on its Atlas rocket, and do to it competitively.

“While it is important that we invest in new technology, the problem of Russian reliance calls for an immediate solution,” states the Sept. 22 letter, which was signed by 32 of California’s 53 members of the U.S. House of Representatives. … In the letter, the House members said they are “troubled by the Department’s willingness to continue sourcing this engine from the Russian government, apparently in the hope that the situation with Russia does not deteriorate further, and that Russia chooses to continue supporting U.S. military launches — while it ignores American sources of engine technology. “We strongly encourage you to recognize that the United States — and specifically, California — today produces technology that exceeds any capability offered by Russian systems,” the letter said. “It is time for the Department to look to these existing U.S. engine manufacturers and launch vehicle providers.”

This letter suggests to me that SpaceX has won its battle with the Air Force and is going to get some launch contracts. It also suggests that ULA and Blue Origin will likely be able to get the funding from Congress to finance the design and construction of the replacement engine they have jointly proposed.

Washcloth delays SLS engine tests

The testing of an engine for the giant SLS rocket will be delayed because engineers have found the remains of a washcloth in the ducts of the test stand at Stennis Space Center.

The investigation found the fibers belong to a cotton shop rag from a weld shop that had been involved with working on the LOX duct ID surface during manufacture. The roughened surface (of the duct) was where the fibers were observed to be hanging up on.

The investigation team reported that, under microscope inspection, a piece of the run duct stock showed metallic particles loosely adhered to the ID surface and embedded in the ‘machining’ groves. Several were easily dislodged and identified as ID surface material. “A tape sample was pulled from the same stock (after an identical cleaning process) and produced a rather large quantity of particles. This is an unacceptable condition and it was agreed that the entire run duct will need to be replaced or reworked (~30-ft of pipe),” added the investigation notes.

Replacing the duct will cause a several month delay in the test program. Fortunately for NASA, they have some wiggle room (for the moment), since the entire SLS schedule has already slipped a year to 2018.

Nonetheless, do not be surprised if this is only the first of many further delays.

Mangalyaan’s first global images of Mars

Indian engineers have released the first global images taken by Mangalyaan.

As MOM’s orbit is highly elliptical, reaching from 262 miles (periareon — closest approach) to 47,841 miles (apoareon — farthest extent), we can expect a lot more global views from Mars’ newest satellite, providing us with a beautiful global perspective of a planet that currently has seven robotic missions (from three different space agencies) exploring it.

These images suggest that a dust storm is beginning to stir on the Martian surface.

Something keeps coming and going in a sea on Titan

Cassini images taken in 2007, 2013, and 2014 of one of Titan’s largest hydrocarbon seas find that a mysterious feature there keeps appearing and disappearing.

The mysterious feature, which appears bright in radar images against the dark background of the liquid sea, was first spotted during Cassini’s July 2013 Titan flyby. Previous observations showed no sign of bright features in that part of Ligeia Mare. Scientists were perplexed to find the feature had vanished when they looked again, over several months, with low-resolution radar and Cassini’s infrared imager. This led some team members to suggest it might have been a transient feature. But during Cassini’s flyby on August 21, 2014, the feature was again visible, and its appearance had changed during the 11 months since it was last seen.

Scientists on the radar team are confident that the feature is not an artifact, or flaw, in their data, which would have been one of the simplest explanations. They also do not see evidence that its appearance results from evaporation in the sea, as the overall shoreline of Ligeia Mare has not changed noticeably. The team has suggested the feature could be surface waves, rising bubbles, floating solids, solids suspended just below the surface, or perhaps something more exotic.

That the seasons are slowly changing on Titan is probably contributing to the transient nature of this feature.

Russian investigation begins on failed Soyuz solar array

The Russians have established an investigation committee to look into the failure of a solar array to deploy during the most recent Soyuz manned launch.

They are also going to have the array inspected by Russian astronauts during a planned spacewalk in October. Still no word, however, on the capsule’s viability as a lifeboat for the next five months with one failed solar array.

Sierra Nevada protests NASA manned spacecraft contact award

The competition heats up: Sierra Nevada has formally protested NASA’s decision to award Boeing and SpaceX manned spacecraft contracts.

The company said late Friday that its bid in the NASA Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCTCap) was $900 million less than the bid submitted by Boeing, which won a contract worth as much as $4.2 billion to complete development, test fly and operate its CST-100 crew capsule. At the same time, SNC said, its proposal was “near equivalent [in] technical and past performance” source-selection scoring.

“[T]he official NASA solicitation for the CCtCap contract prioritized price as the primary evaluation criteria for the proposals, setting it equal to the combined value of the other two primary evaluation criteria: mission suitability and past performance,” the company stated. “SNC’s Dream Chaser proposal was the second lowest priced proposal in the CCtCap competition.”

In other words, they are challenging NASA’s decision to pick Boeing over them, as their proposal was far cheaper.

We all know that Boeing got the contract as much for its political clout as for its technical expertise. NASA wanted to make sure that members of Congress who promote the Boeing jobs in their districts would have nothing to complain about. Whether Sierra Nevada can get the government to look past that political clout is very doubtful, though I think I support them whole-heartedly in their effort.

India: Space success vs red tape?

Even as India celebrates the success of its Mars orbiter Mangalyaan, its aerospace industry complains of red tape and a slow-moving bureaucracy.

Between 2007 and 2012, ISRO accomplished about half of its planned 60 missions, government data showed. The government cited “development complexity” as the reason for the delay in some missions. Between 2012 and 2017 the target is 58 missions. The agency has completed 17 missions so far, and ISRO did not say why the number remained low. Some company executives and experts do not see that changing any time soon, with the absence of heavy rocket launchers, too few launch facilities and bureaucratic delays hampering growth.

I could also say that the battle is now joined between India’s military-industrial complex and private enterprise. With a government now in power that claims to be pro-business, we shall see where this battle leads.

Soyuz docks successfully with ISS

Despite the failure of one solar array to deploy, a Soyuz capsule carrying three astronauts successfully docked with ISS today.

The solar array issue, still unresolved, needs to be figured out, as this Soyuz spacecraft must serve as one of ISS’s lifeboats for the next few months. Without that array the spacecraft will have limited power, and will definitely not be considered the best way home should something go wrong on the station.

A solar panel on manned Soyuz fails to deploy

One of the two solar panels on the manned Soyuz capsule transporting three astronauts to ISS has failed to deploy.

“According to our data, one of the solar panels is still unable to unfold for reasons unknown. But preliminary data suggest that it will not impede [the spacecraft] from docking to the ISS. They have carried out a maneuver just now which involved all of the spacecraft’s engines, all systems are running smoothly, the crew is OK,” the source in the agency said.

Because they are flying the fast route to ISS a shortage of power is not as critical. However, this failure once again indicates the increasing quality control problems faced by the Russian aerospace industry. In past decades these problems simply did not happen, especially on their manned missions. Now they are happening with increasing frequency.

New study devalues carbon dioxide again

The uncertainty of science: A new study now suggests that previous climate models significantly over-estimated the effect increased carbon dioxide has on the climate.

Lewis co-authored a report with science writer Marcel Crok earlier this year that found many climate models running hot and overestimating climate sensitivity by 40 to 50 percent. The paper also criticized the IPCC for trying to hide the climate’s weaker response to carbon dioxide in its 2013 report by not giving a central climate sensitivity estimate.

Judith Curry, one of the co-authors, was also very quick to note that this result is by far not the final word. “There remains considerable meta uncertainty in the determination of climate sensitivity, including how the problem is even framed.”

Of course, if you are a global warming activist and communist, none of these minor details matter. Revolution for the climate is a must!

New Jersey prosecutor drops prison threat against Pennsylvania gun-carrying mom

How nice of him! A New Jersey prosecutor has dropped the treat of imprisonment for a Pennsylvania mother who mistakenly brought her legally purchased gun into New Jersey.

Allen was arrested last October after she was pulled over on the Atlantic City Expressway for a minor traffic violation and volunteered to the state trooper that she had a gun in her purse. She erroneously believed that her Pennsylvania carry permit was good in New Jersey, and for that mistake McClain was prepared to put her behind bars for years, separating her from her two young sons. McClain’s predecessor and prosecutors in other counties took a more lenient approach, commonly approving PTI for defendants like her. But until now McClain had argued that New Jersey law did not allow such exceptions.

As a general rule, it is wise to avoid entrance to fascist states. This mother has discovered why in a very blunt manner.

Hamas cedes some Gaza control to Fatah

In what appears to be evidence that the recent Israeli Gaza effort did significant damage to Hamas, the terrorist organization has agreed to give the Palestinian Authority some control once again in the administration of Gaza.

Hamas and Fatah leaders said that the agreement reached on Thursday calls for the PA government, headed by Rami Hamdallah, to “immediately” assume its responsibilities in the Gaza Strip. Palestinian sources said that the agreement allows the PA to take control over the border crossings in the Gaza Strip, including the Rafah terminal. Musa Abu Marzouk, a senior Hamas official, announced that the Palestinian Authority government would soon manage all the border crossings in the Gaza Strip.

A second quote gives as some idea of the corrupt patronage of these two organizations:
» Read more

AG Eric Holder to resign

Good riddance: Attorney General Eric Holder will announce his resignation today.

Morrissey offers a lot of good analysis about why Holder might be doing this now, but I think this story might explain it best: Federal Court Denies DOJ Motion for Delay, Orders Release of Fast and Furious Documents List to Judicial Watch by October 22.

The Holder Justice Department is under legal attack from several fronts. Holder’s effort to block all investigations, from Fast and Furious to the IRS scandal, will be revealed quite soon in court, and when it does, he is going to be toast. Better he leave now then be forced to resign at a time not of his choice. As Morrissey notes,

Resigning now allows Obama to appoint a replacement soon, and Senate Democrats to schedule the hearings during the lame-duck session (and don’t forget Harry Reid’s rule change on filibusters for presidential appointments, too, which expires at the end of this session).

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