Archive for January, 2010

Check Out Tonight’s Full Moon

January 29, 2010

Apogee Moon, Perigee Moon Credit & Copyright: Anthony Ayiomamitis

Tonight’s full moon will be the biggest and the brightest of the year.  It is 14% wider and 30% brighter than other full moons.

Because the Moon’s orbit around the Earth is an ellipse instead of a circle, it is 50,000 kilometers closer on one side of the orbit than the other.  Tonight’s full moon will be at perigee, or the closest part of the orbit.

As the sun sets, the full moon rises in the east.  Adding to the bright, perigee Moon is the optical illusion that the Moon looks extra large when it’s near the horizon.  It’s a phenomenon that isn’t understood.  [Figure out why, name the effect after yourself, and your name will be a trivia answer.]

As an added bonus, the full moon will be accompanied by a very bright, orange Mars.

Hope for cloudless skies and enjoy the view.

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Don’t Look

January 28, 2010

On my morning drive to work today, I noticed a flock of hovering helicopters ahead.  That usually means some kind of activity that is going to slow or stop traffic.  Sure enough, a minute or so later, nothing but red tail lights.  There was an accident ahead.  Then I noticed that the on-coming traffic was missing.  The accident was on the other side of the freeway.

So why was the traffic slowing down and stopping on my side of the road?  Absolutely no good reason!  Drivers were slowing to look at the accident.  I have no idea what happened.  I make it a policy never to look because I don’t want to add to the needless slowing.  The radio said it was a 4-car collision and debris was scattered across several lanes.  But I’m sure that the debris wasn’t in the south-bound lanes.  It was only a bunch of drivers acting like they had never seen a car wreck before.

Please don’t add to the confusion by looking at car wrecks.  Besides the minor annoyance of causing traffic to stop for no good reason, it’s dangerous.  Often, new accidents are spawned by drivers who are more attentive to the wreck than to the car in front of them.

So let’s just not look.

“Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, . . .”

January 22, 2010

Yesterday, the United States Supreme Court struck down many of the provisions of the McCain-Feingold campaign financing law.  The law prohibited corporations or other groups from running ads 60 days before an election.  A New York Times editorial calls this ruling “disastrous,”  “radical,”  and a “blow to democracy.”   I call it a return to constitutional principles.

The First Amendment states “Congress shall make no law . . .  abridging the freedom of speech, . . .”  It’s not a difficult concept to understand.  Free political speech is a right guaranteed by the Constitution, not an attack on democracy.  The government should not be in the business of regulating speech, especially political speech.  It is as plain as that.

A corporation is nothing more that a collection of individuals (shareholders) with a common goal–to make a profit.  They should be able to express their thoughts, opinions and beliefs the same as an other individual.

I’m at a loss on who this is an attack on democracy.  We already are bombarded with non-stop political ads before an election from every imaginable group.  Allowing corporations to have the same rights as an individual or a political action committee will just be adding another voice to the cacophony.   As always, we will need to listen carefully and separate the wheat for the chaff.  That has always been the responsibility of an informed electorate.

There are calls for Congress to make a new law to counteract the Supreme Court’s ruling.  Hopefully, the new make-up of the Senate will prevent that from happening.  Freedom and liberty are principles worth preserving.  Let’s hope that they will be.

End of the First Quarter

January 20, 2010

President Obama finishes the first quarter of his presidency today.  A co-worker asked me yesterday what I was going to write in my blog to bash the president.  She told me to go back to my office and to think of what I have done to help the president instead of just bashing him.

The problem that challenge raises is I don’t want President Obama’s agenda to succeed.  I don’t want the federal government to take over one-sixth of the national economy with Obama’s health care reforms.  I don’t want to pretend that there is a threat of man-caused global warming/climate change that would require massive changes to the way with conduct our lives and operate our businesses and industries.  I don’t want to naively think that offering apologies worldwide and  talking with tyrants will lead to peace.

Yesterday’s senatorial election in Massachusetts  shows that I am not alone.  In a state with 3 to 1 Democratic registration, Republican Scott Brown’s victory has sent the president a message that his policies are not what the people want.  There is a problem, however.  Even though the voters of Massachusetts sent the message, I don’t think that the President got it.  He has a long history of not getting it.  I’m guessing that he will intensify his effort to cram down the unpopular health care reforms, even though increasingly more and more Americans have no interest in the massive changes.

The President was elected on a promise of Hope and Change and openness.  There has been little openness in the Obama Administration.  So far, the opposite has been the rule instead of the exception.  The health care reforms have only made it this far because of special deals brokered in the backrooms far from the eyes of the public.  The changes have been dramatic.  Candidate Obama criticized the Bush Administration for creating a bad economy.  President Obama has spent and spent the nation into enormous debt.  It’s effect has been, and will continuing to be for a long time, a tremendous drag on the economy.  A year into his presidency, Obama needs to realize that this is now his economy, not Bush’s.   But there is always hope.  Hope that the nation can recover from the president’s shortsighted  policy changes.

The first quarter is over.  Three years is a long time.  Hopefully, the mid-term elections in November will end the one-party rule in our federal government and moderate the actions of our most liberal/leftist president ever.

The Law of Unintended Consequences

January 19, 2010

In the Law of Unintended Consequences, the results of an action are the opposite of what was wanted.  Today, we are seeing the Law of Unintended Consequences being played out in Massachusetts.

When John Kerry was running for president, Mitt Romney was the governor of Massachusetts.  The governor had the right and the responsibility to appoint an interim senator should there be a vacancy.  If Senator Kerry won the presidency, the Republican governor would have been able to replace Democrat Kerry with a Republican.  The Massachusetts legislature didn’t want to take the chance, so they took the appointment power away from the governor and gave it to the people in the form of a special election.  This was done over the veto of Governor Romney.  Senator Kenny lost the election, so there was no immediate need for the change.

With the death of Senator Teddy Kennedy, the interim special election process is now taking place.  Today, the people of Massachusetts will elect Senator’s Kennedy’s replacement.  However, the law of unintended consequences is in full force.  State senator Scott Brown has come from a no-chance candidate to a serious challenger to Attorney General Martha Coakley.  As the voters of Massachusetts go to the polls today, Brown lead Coakley by 5 to 10%.

The Law of Unintended Consequences.  As a policy issue, it is always important to consider “What If.”  Perhaps if the Massachusetts legislature had considered “what if,”  they would have just let things be.  Massachusetts’ Democratic governor would have appointed a good Democrat to replace Senator Kennedy and the Democrats super majority in the U. S. Senate would have been preserved.  As things look now, State Senator Brown will soon be U. S. Senator Brown and the Law of Unintended Consequences will have struck again.

Will Brown Win and Shake Things Up

January 18, 2010

Real Clear Politics has Brown up by 5 to 10%.  If Scott Brown can pull this off, Obama’s health care reform will be derailed.  All Democrats up for re-election in 2010 have to be wondering what is happening.  The Democrats have had a lock on this seat since 1952.  I’m sure everyone thought it was a safe seat.  It is another sign that voters just don’t like what the president and the Congress are trying to cram down our throats.

The Chicago Way

January 18, 2010

Radio host Ed Schultz on the Coakley-Brown senate race in Massachusetts—

“It’s the People’s Seat”

January 13, 2010

A candidate who understands.

Global Warming (not Climate Change) Strikes Again

January 7, 2010

The United States is freezing.  Some of the coldest temperatures recorded in decades, if not ever.  Yet, the true believers are still preaching Climate Change.  Cap and Trade legislation is still a possibility after Congress attempts the governmental take over of the health care system.

The Al Gore-inspired frenzy is all based on computer models, not on observations.  The cold, hard facts are that the “global warming/climate change” disciples aren’t basing their cause on scientific observations, but on political and philosophical thought.

Last night, I started watching a TV program supposedly about natural wonders.  Here is the blurb:  “Globe Trekker Special: Great Natural Wonders Erupting volcanoes in Hawaii and Java; the Arctic; hiking the Perito Moreno glacier in Patagonia; Australia’s Great Barrier Reef; Victoria Falls.”  The part on volcanoes was very interesting and beautiful.  When it got to the Arctic segment, we had to turn it off.  It had almost nothing to do with the natural wonders and everything to do with the Gore agenda of doom.

I think it’s time to bring reason back to this arena.  The scientific method requires one to make a hypothesis, then gather facts through observations.  After the observations have been made, they are analyzed and then a conclusion is made.  The conclusion will either prove or disprove the hypothesis.  The process needs to be open and needs to be honest.  No hiding of facts that don’t support the hypothesis.  No conclusions based on questionable computer projections.

As Jack Webb’s Sergeant Friday never really said, “Just the facts, ma’am.  Just the facts.”  Let’s concentrate on the facts–the clearly observable facts.  Once we really know what is really happening, then we can decide what to do.