Welcome to Medary.com Friday, May 24 2024 @ 05:10 AM CST

Current Affairs

Space is getting crowded

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Japan is getting ready to launch a lunar orbiter.
AXA says the SELENE project is the largest lunar mission since the U.S. Apollo program. It involves placing a main satellite in orbit at an altitude of about 60 miles and deploying two smaller satellites in polar orbits. Researchers will use data gathered by the probes to study the moon's origin and evolution.

India has its sight set on Mars.
"A mission to Mars might seem a distant dream at this juncture but it is not impossible given our considerable expertise and experience," a retired ISRO scientist told Asia Times Online. "An India-made rocket like the GSLV [geo-synchronous launch vehicle] can carry over 500-kg payload and reach Mars without a hitch," Nair had pointed out last week.
China and Russia are teaming up on a Mars mission as well.
According to the agreement, a small satellite developed by China would be launched along with "Phobos Explorer," a Russian spacecraft, probably in October 2009, the administration reported.

After entering Mars' orbit -- 10 to 11 months later -- the Chinese satellite would be detached from the spacecraft and probe the Martian space environment, it said.

In the U.S. on the other hand, private space programs are where it's at.  Burt Rutan and Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic space tourism effort and Robert Bigelow's space station program are only two of the rapidly growing private space exploration efforts.

Space is still hot.

Massacre at Virginia Tech

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Gunman at Virginia Tech kills 32 at a residence hall and at a classroom.
The university reported shootings at opposite sides of the 2,600-acre campus, beginning at about 7:15 a.m. at West Ambler Johnston, a co-ed residence hall that houses 895 people, and continuing about two hours later at Norris Hall, an engineering building.

Some but not all the dead were students. One student was killed in a dorm and the others were killed in the classroom, Virginia Tech Police Chief W.R. Flinchum.
Not good at all.

Image via Instapundit and Rocky Top Talk.

A "War Czar???"

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So, there are news stories floating around that the Bush Administration wants to appoint a "War Czar" to oversee operations in Afghanistan and in Iraq.

Um . . . isn't that what we elect a President to do?

Missing the point on Imus

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Now I'll admit that I never paid a huge amount of attention to Don Imus even before he said despicable things about the Rutgers women's basketball team.  That's because Imus has made a career of saying a variety of despicable, "edgy" things while at the same time keeping his job by sucking up to various powers-that-be in media and government.

But the whole 'Imus is a racist' thing that everybody seems to be leaping toward completely misses the fundamental point.  Imus may or may not be a racist, but he is indisputably a boor.  if you say boorish things on national radio (and a cable tv network) you deserve to get fired.  His advertisers appear to agree, and are beginning to desert him.


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As you can tell from the block over to the left, I'm slogging through the book "The Singularity is Near" by Ray Kurzweil.  And I mean slogging.

Oh, it's all very, um, futuristic, with all it's hype about the coming merger of man and computer.  See! the world where you replace your brain with a PC!  Feel! billions of nanobots surging through your veins, killing off cancers and eating nasty free radicals and making you LIVE FOR EVER!!!!

Actually, you can almost buy Kurzweil's argument . . .

Baghdad curfew eased

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We're winning.  Despite Nancy Pelosi, the defeatist know-nothing Democrats and their ideological allies in the western press . . .

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Citing improved security, the Iraqi government said Tuesday it was shortening the Baghdad curfew by two hours and would let citizens be on the streets until 10 p.m.

The A.P. article of course goes on to attempt to minimize this transparently good news.  Almost as if they have a vested interest in failure.  We know the Democrats do.

Nancy Pelosi, International Woman of Mystery

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The Washington Post editorializes about Speaker Nancy's Austin Powers-esque journey to Syria:
After a meeting with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad in Damascus, Ms. Pelosi announced that she had delivered a message from Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that "Israel was ready to engage in peace talks" with Syria.
. . .

Only one problem: The Israeli prime minister entrusted Ms. Pelosi with no such message. "What was communicated to the U.S. House Speaker does not contain any change in the policies of Israel," said a statement quickly issued by the prime minister's office. In fact, Mr. Olmert told Ms. Pelosi that "a number of Senate and House members who recently visited Damascus received the impression that despite the declarations of Bashar Assad, there is no change in the position of his country regarding a possible peace process with Israel." In other words, Ms. Pelosi not only misrepresented Israel's position but was virtually alone in failing to discern that Mr. Assad's words were mere propaganda.

In case you were wondering why I continue to consider the entire Democrat leadership to be a bunch of Know-Nothing buffoons who are held together only by their common hatred of Republicans and their religious fervor to convert Iraq 2007 into Vietnam 1974.

Your Congress at work

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In order to eke out a bare majority to vote for surrender in Iraq, the Congressional Democrats had to throw into the kitty:

$24 million for funding for sugar beets.

$3 million for funding for sugar cane (goes to one Hawaiian co-op).

$20 million for insect infestation damage reimbursements in Nevada, Idaho, and Utah.

$2.1 billion for crop production losses.

$1.5 billion for livestock production losses.

$100 million for Dairy Production Losses.

$13 million for Ewe Lamb Replacement and Retention Program.

$32 million for Livestock Indemnity Program.

$40 million for the Tree Assistance Program.

$100 million for Small Agricultural Dependent Businesses.

$6 million for North Dakota flooded crop land.

$35 million for emergency conservation program.

$50 million for the emergency watershed program.

$115 million for the conservation security program.

$18 million for drought assistance in upper Great Plains/South West.

Provision that extends the availability by a year $3.5 million in funding for guided tours of the Capitol. Also a provision allows transfer of funds from holiday ornament sales in the Senate gift shop.

$165.9 million for fisheries disaster relief, funded through NOAA (including $60.4 million for salmon fisheries in the Klamath Basin region).

$12 million for forest service money (requested by the president in the non-emergency FY2008 budget).

$425 million for education grants for rural areas – (Secure Rural Schools program).

$640 million for LIHEAP.

$25 million for asbestos abatement at the Capitol Power Plant.

$388.9 million for funding for backlog of old Department of Transportation projects.

$22.8 million for geothermal research and development.

$500 million for wildland fire management.

$13 million for mine safety technology research.

$31 million for one month extension of Milk Income Loss Contract program (MILC)

$50 million for fisheries disaster mitigation fund.

$100 million for security at the Presidential Candidate Nominating Conventions

$2 million for the University of Vermont

So much for "principled opposition to" blah blah blah blather blather blather. 

Sooeeee!  Pig!!!!  Let the pork roll, boys, the Dems are back in power!  Too bad the damn thing will get vetoed.

Misreported News Of The Day

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Iran blatantly violates Geneva Convention with British Sailors

I don't know why this isn't the headline in every newspaper in the civilized world.

All credible evidence indicates that the British sailors were conducting themselves within international law, according to a U.N. Mandate, and were inside Iraqi territorial waters.  By seizing the sailors, Iran violated the territorial integrity of Iraq, violated the U.N. mandate.  The recent "confessions" by the British sailors are even more damning.  By coercing and recording confessions from the British sailors, the Iranians are consistently and blatantly violating the Geneva Conventions regarding treatment of uniformed military. These could be considered, separately or together as a pattern of behavior, as acts of war.

The good news for Iran is that what they have done is not, technically, piracy.  Piracy is by definition action by private (i.e. non-military) forces.  If it had been piracy, Iran would have been open to reprisals from ANY law-abiding, sea-faring country.  The United States happens to have two carrier battle groups in the area.

Iran is on very, very, very thin ice right now.

Man, woman fall overboard, rescued

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A man and a woman fell overboard from a Princess Cruise lines ship . . . after about 4 hours in the water, they were rescued:
The captain turned the ship around after friends of the man and woman notified the crew at about 1:30 a.m. CDT that they had gone overboard, Benson said. The ship's crew used high-powered spotlights and rescue boats in the search. One passenger was rescued by the ship's boats at 5:30 a.m. and the other at 6 a.m., according to a statement by the cruise line.
Lucky for them they were in relatively warm Gulf of Mexico waters . . .