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Name: yeah,right
Gender: Male
Hometown: Devilandthedeepbluesea, Beme.
Home country: murcah!
Current location: Vanishintheair, Ynfm.
Member since: Tue Dec 16, 2014, 10:48 PM
Number of posts: 380

Journal Archives

Republicans and Democrats agree about one thing: very expensive space flight

Boer Deng, writing in Slate...

Rockets, satellites, and spaceships on display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., are a testament to American achievements in space. But in an exhibit on the heady days of the 1960s and ’70s, one note on a timeline placard stands out. In 1969, it explains, a government task force suggested that NASA should build a permanently manned space station, and perhaps go to Mars. This did not happen. Political support for the ideas evaporated while people worried about the Vietnam War, social upheavals, and the money already spent on the Apollo program. The country must “define new goals which make sense for the seventies,” President Richard Nixon declared. A year after the moon landing, 56 percent of the public said it hadn’t been worth the price.

You would think that funding Orion, NASA’s first new type of crewed spaceship in three decades, and the Space Launch System, the powerful rocket Orion will eventually be attached to, would give politicians pause. The projects are meant to finally fulfill grand ambitions to go to Mars, but launching SLS would cost $17 billion, NASA has estimated. (And that’s an estimate for a 2017 launch; the launch date has since been pushed back to 2018, with costs that presumably have mounted apace.) The Government Accountability Office says that the total to develop and run Orion and SLS through 2021 will be $22 billion and that NASA is already several million dollars short on what it needs. President Obama’s entire proposed budget for NASA in 2015 was $17.46 billion, and space exploration is only supposed to be 22 percent of all projects. But on Tuesday, Dec. 9, Congress cut a new deal that would boost NASA spending to $18 billion.

This might seem odd, given an environment of tight-fistedness and frequent fretting over “wasteful spending.” But politicians of all stripes are keen on the project. Rep. Lamar Smith, a Republican crusader against “ill-spent” public science funds, says SLS and Orion exemplify “our greatest breakthroughs and demonstrate American ingenuity.” A Democrat, Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, sponsored the legislation that created SLS. It “has the distinction of being the first rocket designed by a committee of politicians,” quips the Economist. The 2010 bill specifies that the SLS must be capable of “lifting payloads weighing between 70 tons and 100 tons into low-Earth orbit” and that it is robust “in areas as related to solid and liquid engines.” When did senators and representatives become so well versed in rocketry?

Full article http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/space_20/2014/12/politics_of_space_flight_funding_republicans_and_democrats_agree_on_orion.html

I'm a total space nerd, so I don't have a problem with this. Hey, it's a helluva lot better than bank bailouts!

What happens if there's a terrorist attack in NYC with the cops on a semi-strike?

Rhetorical question: Obama will be blamed, of course! (But you already knew that.)

As oil falls, Russia choked by military, social spending

Source: Reuters

By Darya Korsunskaya and Elena Fabrichnaya

MOSCOW Tue Dec 30, 2014 3:01am EST

(Reuters) - Russian authorities are facing some unpalatable options as they try to keep the economy afloat - unless they can persuade President Vladimir Putin to curb massive military spending.

Officials fear that without limiting the defense budget, the government will have to raise taxes, increase the pension age or print money to prevent the state deficit from running out of control.

Despite a crisis brought on by diving oil markets and Western sanctions, they believe Russia can muddle through next year provided the price of crude, its dominant export earner, holds near current levels.

But even at $60 per barrel, the present oil price is little more than half what the Kremlin needs to balance the budget, and it is quickly running out of money.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/12/30/us-russia-crisis-budget-idUSKBN0K80EK20141230

Oh, but the sanctions didn't hurt at ALL! Right, Vlad? Vlad?

John Boehner Backs Steve Scalise Amid Controversy Over White Supremacist Meeting

Source: HuffPo

Posted: 12/30/2014 2:29 pm EST Updated: 21 minutes ago

WASHINGTON -- House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is throwing a lifesaver to House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R) as the Louisiana congressman faces a deluge of criticism and questions over a 2002 speech he gave to a white supremacist group.

"More than a decade ago, Representative Scalise made an error in judgment, and he was right to acknowledge it was wrong and inappropriate. Like many of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, I know Steve to be a man of high integrity and good character. He has my full confidence as our Whip, and he will continue to do great and important work for all Americans," Boehner said in a Tuesday statement.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is also standing by Scalise.

"Congressman Scalise acknowledged he made a mistake and has condemned the views that organization espouses," McCarthy said in a statement released moments after Boehner's. "I've known him as a friend for many years and I know that he does not share the beliefs of that organization."

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/30/john-boehner-steve-scalise_n_6396798.html

That an Orange-American like Boehner can forgive Scalise's White Supremacist association(s) is stunning!

Wreckage, Bodies Reveal Jet's Fate Days After It Disappeared

Source: ABC News/AP

PANGKALAN BUN, Indonesia — Dec 30, 2014, 8:14 AM ET

Family members of those aboard AirAsia Flight 8501 collapsed in agony Tuesday as images of debris and a bloated body flashed across Indonesian television screens, proof that the plane crashed into the sea two days earlier with 162 people on board.

The low-cost carrier vanished Sunday halfway through a two-hour flight between Surabaya, Indonesia and Singapore after encountering storm clouds, sparking an international hunt with dozens of planes, ships and helicopters.

On the third day of searching, the first signs of the jet were found in shallow, aqua waters only about 10 miles (16 kilometers) from the plane's last known coordinates: A life jacket, an emergency exit door. Parts of the jetliner's interior, including an oxygen tank, were brought to the nearest town, Pangkalan Bun. Another find included a bright blue plastic suitcase, completely unscratched.

First Adm. Sigit Setiayanta, Naval Aviation Center commander at Surabaya Air Force base, told reporters six corpses were spotted about 160 kilometers (100 miles) from Borneo island.

Rescue workers were lowered on ropes from a hovering helicopter to retrieve bodies. Efforts were hindered by 2-meter-high (6-foot) waves and strong winds, National Search and Rescue Director SB Supriyadi said, but several victims were later picked up by a navy ship.

Read more: http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/indonesia-bodies-found-site-plane-disappeared-27892739

Indonesian officials find items resembling plane door, emergency slide in search for missing AirAsia

Source: Raw Story

Agence France-Presse
30 Dec 2014 at 01:11 ET

Items resembling an emergency slide, plane door and other objects were spotted during an aerial search Tuesday for missing AirAsia flight 8501, Indonesian officials said.

“We spotted about 10 big objects and many more small white-coloured objects which we could not photograph,” Indonesian air force official Agus Dwi Putranto told a press conference.

“The position is 10 kilometres (six miles) from the location the plane was last captured by radar,” he said.
He displayed 10 photos of objects resembling a plane door, emergency slide, and a square box-like object.

Read more: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/12/indonesian-officials-find-items-resembling-plane-door-emergency-slide-in-search-for-missing-airasia-flight/

No aliens, no CIA, no dark maneuvers here. Just three salient words: Oceans. Are. Big.

BAD READ: This is why I don't have a Facebook account

Eric Meyer, writing in Slate...

I didn’t go looking for grief on Christmas Eve, but it found me anyway, and I have designers and programmers to thank for it. In this case, the designers and programmers are somewhere at Facebook.

I know they’re probably very proud of the work that went into the “Year in Review” app they designed and developed, and deservedly so—a lot of people have used it to share their highlights of 2014. I kept seeing them pop up in my feed, created by various friends, almost all of them with the default caption, “It’s been a great year! Thanks for being a part of it.” Which was, by itself, a little bit unsettling, but I didn’t begrudge my friends who’d had a good year. It was just a weird bit of copy to see, over and over, when I felt so differently.

Still, it was easy enough to avoid making my own Year in Review, and so I did. After all, I knew what kind of year I’d had. But then, the day before Christmas, I went to Facebook and there, in my timeline, was what looked like a post or an ad, exhorting me to create a Year in Review of my own, complete with a preview of what that might look like.

Clip art partiers danced around a picture of my middle daughter, Rebecca, who is dead. Who died this year on her sixth birthday, less than 10 months after we first discovered she had aggressive brain cancer.

Full article http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2014/12/29/facebook_year_in_review_my_tragic_year_was_the_wrong_fodder_for_facebook.html

Doesn't this make you wanna punch Zuckerburg in the face? But we're really all to blame. We've sold our souls to mechanisms we thought would bring us closer together, when in fact, they've turned us into an oxymoronic society of hermits.

The Onion Looks Back At 'Home Alone'

I'll bet my bottom dollar: If this were posted to Redstate or some other wingnut site, "Peter K. Rosenthal" would be showered with praise for his "common-sense" review!

Obama Visits Troops on Christmas in Hawaii

I have no regrets about voting for this good man twice.

Alleged: NYPD Cops Fly anti-de Blasio Banner Over Hudson River

Former police officer John Cardillo writes in his blog...

Late last night I was contacted by a coalition of NYPD cops, Detectives, and supervisors hundreds strong and asked to disseminate the following statement on their behalf. They requested I wait until after the plane towing a banner which reads "DE BLASIO, OUR BACKS HAVE TURNED TO YOU" was airborne.

At 08:50 I received word that the plane was in the air and asked to release the statement and photo below.


Link to blog post (including police statement).

This could be very bad. In fact, if Cardillo's claims are true, it could be downright dangerous!
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