Monday, December 31, 2007

Good Political Comics for today

This one is for Dorid....And this one is for our Wal-Mart shoppers out there....

Friday, December 28, 2007

In spite of all the accomplishments of our Space Program this year.....

We have a probe in orbit around Saturn photographing new wonders and maping the terrain of Titan, a moon with an atmosphere filled with organics and the possibility of new life. New Horizons encountered Jupiter en route to Pluto, where it will arrive in about 6 or 7 years, providing us with the first views we will get of the planet. Probably the only ones we will get in our lifetime. MESSENGER will be encountering Mercury next month and maping terrain we have never seen before. The Space Shuttle has had a banner year on its route to retirement in two years. The only drawback was its missing the December 6 launch. Other than that, the timetable went like clockwork. However, all the public will remember of the Space Program this year is that one "astronauty" went crazy and tried to kill her rival in a love affair.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Flushing Remonstrance

For those that say that American is a Christian Nation and that religous freedom and tollerance are not a part of our herritage should read this. This document was the first expression on American soil of religious tollerance. This happened before England gained control of New York or New Netherlands as it was known at the time. The Flushing Remonstrance was an attempt by the English who had come to the colony to assert religious tollerance against the Dutch Governor Peter Sturveyant who imprisioned those who would assert their religious freedom, the signatories of the document below. Four were imprisioned and while two recanted their activities, Edward Hart, who authored of the document and the Sherrif of Flushing, Tobias Feake. Both endured prison and a bread and water diet for months. Hart was eventually banished from the colony and Feake eventually was forced to recant and banned from holding public office.

There are those in our world today who would reassert that world of yesterday. Religion has no business in public office and things like this prove the grave mistake when the state favors one religion over another. Politics becomes ordainments from God, and religious life is meaningless since it has no true seperating from politics.

Flushing Remonstrance (1657)

December 27, 1657

Right Honorable,

You have been pleased to send up unto us a certain prohibition or command that we should not receive or entertain any of those people called Quakers because they are supposed to be by some, seducers of the people. For our part we cannot condemn them in this case, neither can we stretch out our hands against them, to punish, banish or persecute them for out of Christ God is a consuming fire, and it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

We desire therefore in this case not to judge least we be judged, neither to condemn least we be condemned, but rather let every man stand and fall to his own Master. Wee are bounde by the Law to Doe good unto all men, especially to those of the household of faith. And though for the present we seem to be unsensible of the law and the Law giver, yet when death and the Law assault us, if we have our advocate to seeke, who shall plead for us in this case of conscience betwixt God and our own souls; the powers of this world can neither attack us, neither excuse us, for if God justifye who can condemn and if God condemn there is none can justify.

And for those jealousies and suspicions which some have of them, that they are destructive unto Magistracy and Minssereye, that can not bee, for the magistrate hath the sword in his hand and the minister hath the sword in his hand, as witnesse those two great examples which all magistrates and ministers are to follow, Moses and Christ, whom God raised up maintained and defended against all the enemies both of flesh and spirit; and therefore that which is of God will stand, and that which is of man will come to nothing. And as the Lord hath taught Moses or the civil power to give an outward liberty in the state by the law written in his heart designed for the good of all, and can truly judge who is good, who is civil, who is true and who is false, and can pass definite sentence of life or death against that man which rises up against the fundamental law of the States General; soe he hath made his ministers a savor of life unto life, and a savor of death unto death.

The law of love, peace and liberty in the states extending to Jews, Turks, and Egyptians, as they are considered the sonnes of Adam, which is the glory of the outward state of Holland, soe love, peace and liberty, extending to all in Christ Jesus, condemns hatred, war and bondage. And because our Saviour saith it is impossible but that offenses will come, but woe unto him by whom they cometh, our desire is not to offend one of his little ones, in whatsoever form, name or title he appears in, whether Presbyterian, Independent, Baptist or Quaker, but shall be glad to see anything of God in any of them, desiring to doe unto all men as we desire all men should doe unto us, which is the true law both of Church and State; for our Savior saith this is the law and the prophets. Therefore, if any of these said persons come in love unto us, wee cannot in conscience lay violent hands upon them, but give them free egresse and regresse unto our Town, and houses, as God shall persuade our consciences. And in this we are true subjects both of Church and State, for we are bounde by the law of God and man to doe good unto all men and evil to noe man. And this is according to the patent and charter of our Towne, given unto us in the name of the States General, which we are not willing to infringe, and violate, but shall houlde to our patent and shall remaine, your humble subjects, the inhabitants of Vlishing.

Written this 27th day of December, in the year 1657 , by mee

Edward Heart, Clericus

Atlantis STS-122 Status Report - 18:00 2007-12-27


Posted: 6:00 PM, 12/27/07

By William Harwood
CBS News Space Analyst

Changes and additions:

SR-30 (12/27/07): NASA orders external ECO sensor plug/socket replacement with soldered components; launch date under review


6:00 PM, 12/27/07, Update: NASA orders external ECO sensor plug/socket replacement with soldered components; launch date under review

NASA managers today cleared engineers to remove the external components of a suspect feed-through connector built into the wall of the shuttle Atlantis' external tank in a bid to fix intermittent electrical problems with low-level engine cutoff - ECO - sensors that derailed launch attempts Dec. 6 and 9. The external fittings will be replaced with soldered pins and sockets like those developed and successfully flown by tank builder Lockheed Martin for its Centaur rocket stages.

Shuttle Program Manager Wayne Hale said today the work likely will delay Atlantis' launch "a few days to a couple of weeks" beyond the previous Jan. 10 target. But that "no-earlier-than" date was little more than a placeholder intended to ensure the launch team enjoyed a few days off over the Christmas holiday. As such, it was not based on any actual repair schedule.

NASA has now settled on a course of action, but Hale said today he was not ready to discuss when Atlantis might be ready for a third launch try. During an afternoon teleconference, he told reporters "I'm not going to make a launch date announcement ... because we're in the middle of troubleshooting and repair. Until that gets a little bit further along, I actually have no valid dates to give you."

"To avoid what I think would be a totally misleading headline along the lines of 'NASA delays the space shuttle again,' we're just not going to give you a launch date because that, in fact, would not be accurate," he said.

But sources familiar with the discussion said the feed-through connector replacement and subsequent testing could delay launch to the last week in January when all is said and done, and that assumes the work goes smoothly.

Atlantis was grounded Dec. 6 and 9 when intermittent failures of ECO sensors at the base of the hydrogen tank occurred during fueling and later, draining. A fifth sensor, which indicates when the tank is 5 percent full, also malfunctioned when the tank was drained.

The ECO sensors are part of a backup system intended to make sure the shuttle's main engines don't inadvertently drain a tank dry after some other problem - a leak, for example, or an improper hydrogen-oxygen mixture ratio - used up propellant at faster than normal rates. An engine running out of hydrogen during normal operation likely would suffer a catastrophic failure.

The wires that carry signals from all four ECO sensors and the 5 percent sensor pass through the same connector in the wall of the external tank. The three-part connector features a pass-through fitting with male pins, embedded in glass, on both sides. Wires from the sensors inside the tank terminate in a female connector inside the tank that is plugged into the male pins of the pass-through. A similar female socket plugs into the pass-through on the outside of the tank.

The central feed-through fitting features 37 pins on each side, only 10 of which are actually used. Each pin is roughly two-and-a-half inches long and one-sixteenth of an inch in diameter. The 37-socket connectors that attach to each side of the central feed-through are a little more than an inch across, Hale said.

Based on data collected during a fueling test Dec. 18, engineers believe the problem involves gaps in pins and sockets on the external side of the feed-through connector when the system is chilled to ultra-low temperatures. They believe the sensors themselves are healthy and that only two circuits are actually experiencing problems: ECO sensors 1 and 3.

"We have allowed the team that did the troubleshooting to very thoroughly go through all of that data," Hale said today. "They have told us they are sure that the problems that we're seeing reside in that series of connectors (on the external side of the interface). Where exactly in that series of connectors is a little bit open to interpretation.

"We would like to get the whole thing out and send it to a laboratory for bench analysis. Unfortunately, as we discussed today, that's probably not a really good option. So what we decided to do today is to tell the team to take the next step and remove the pass-through plug and the external connector and some length of the wiring on the outside as a unit and send that back to the lab."

The removed components will be bench tested under cryogenic conditions in an attempt to duplicate the observed failure mode. In the meantime, replacement hardware featuring soldered pins and sockets will be installed on the tank at the launch pad. The fix is similar to changes Lockheed Martin made several years ago to correct problems with sensor circuitry in the Centaur stage used by unmanned Atlas rockets.

The internal connector that plugs into the pass-through pins from the inside of the shuttle tank does not have enough slack in the wires leading to the ECO sensors to permit the internal connector's removal. It will be visually inspected, however, and possibly X-rayed to check its integrity. But Hale agreed that NASA will face the possibility that the repairs ordered today might not fix the problem.

"It is a possibility that the internal connector is involved," he said. "However, all the physics-based discussion of the kinds of things that can happen point to something happening on the external connector. The Centaur problem was a problem with the external connector. And so while it's not a slam dunk, guaranteed situation, the preponderance of evidence indicates that the external connector is the problem."

Engineers are keeping their fingers crossed because "getting the internal connector out is much more invasive and there's much greater risk of flight hardware damage because you have to actually go into the hydrogen tank to get to the internal connector to replace it," Hale said. "We can pull it out just far enough to do a visual inspection, perhaps take some X-rays, but you cannot replace that connector from the outside of the tank. To get into the hydrogen tank, then you have to roll back to the VAB (Vehicle Assembly Building) and do all the work that's involved there.

"Since the preponderance of evidence to a very high degree point to the external connector - we can get to that, we know how to fix it, that's been our experience with our sister program - that's where we're going to concentrate our efforts. Of course, if we're unsuccessful we will come back and look at the internal connector again."


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Stolen from my brother......

According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, while all reindeers sprout antlers in the summer, male reindeer drop theirs at the beginning of winter while the females retain them till after birthing in the spring. So, thusly, with full racks of pointy antlers in the wintertime, all of Santa’s reindeers, from Rudolph to Blitzen, are actually girls! It makes sense – think about this -- only women would be able to drag a fat-ass man in a red velvet suit all around the world in one night and not get lost.


These are purported to be from real “report cards” and the teachers who wrote them have been “reprimanded.” (I believe the reason would be that some of these are HARSH! But they are also funny..

1.) …Since my last report, your child has reached rock bottom and has started to dig.

2.) …Your son is depriving a village somewhere of an idiot.

3.) …I would not allow this student to breed.

4.) …He sets low personal standards and then consistently fails to achieve them.

5.) …Your child has delusions of adequacy.

6.) …This student has a ‘full six-pack’ but lacks the plastic thing to hold it all together.

7.) …He’s been working with glue too much.

8.) …The gates are down, the lights are flashing, but the train isn't coming.

9.) …The wheel is turning but the hamster is definitely dead.

10.) …It's impossible to believe the sperm that created this child beat out 1,000,000 others.

11.) …If this student were any more stupid, he'd have to be watered twice a week.

12.) …When your daughter's IQ reaches 50, she should sell!


Weird/ironic trivia facts found on the internets…

1.) Fish can get seasick!

2.) Pierre Michelin, inventor of the super-safe Michelin tire, died in a car accident.

3.) In 1957, entertainer and former Tonight Show host Steve Allen was on to a "Ten Best Dressed Men" list and also a "Ten Worst Dressed Men" list.

4.) Cyndi Lauper’s hit song "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” was written by a man

5.) Kodak founder George Eastman, hated to have his picture taken.

6.) King George VI's first name was Albert

7.) Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin's mother's maiden name was "Moon".

8.) The cigarette lighter was invented before the match

9.) The founder of the modern diner, P.J. Tierney, died of indigestion in 1917 -- after eating at a diner.


Personally, I’m really feeling #2/Flabbergasted and #3/Abdicate, especially after the in-laws copious holiday spread yesterday, and am definitely experiencing #10/Balderdash as I get older, and have recently been the recipient of #1/Coffee…

The Washington (DC) Post newspaper has a contest in which readers are asked to supply alternate meanings for common words. Here are some of the winning submissions to its 2007 contest:

1. Coffee, n. the person upon whom one coughs.

2. Flabbergasted, adj. appalled by discovering how much weight one has gained.

3. Abdicate, v. to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.

4. Esplanade, v. to attempt an explanation while drunk.

5. Willy-nilly, adj. impotent.

6. Negligent, adj. absentmindedly answering the door when wearing only a nightgown.

7. Lymph, v. to walk with a lisp.

8. Gargoyle, n. olive-flavored mouthwash.

9. Flatulence, n. emergency vehicle that picks up someone who has been run over by a steamroller.

10. Balderdash, n. a rapidly receding hairline.

11. Testicle, n. a humorous question on an exam.

12. Rectitude, n. the formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.

13. Pokemon, n. a Rastafarian proctologist.

14. Oyster, n. a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.

15. Frisbeetarianism, n. the belief that, after death, the soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.

16. Circumvent, n. an opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Grimmy the Security Dog

After this Christmas at the Mall it was a welcome relief to see this in the paper this year. God Bless Mike Peters.

Santa Has to watch the Parking Meter....

No Freebies for Santa!

Thee Environmentally responsible Santa.....

Even Santa drives a Hybrid!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Good and Evil at the Center of the Earth:

Good and Evil at the Center of the Earth:
A Quechua Christmas Carol
by Greg Palast

December 24th, 2007

[Quito] I don't know what the hell seized me. In the middle of an hour-long interview with the President of Ecuador, I asked him about his father.

I'm not Barbara Walters. It's not the kind of question I ask.

He hesitated. Then said, "My father was unemployed.”

He paused. Then added, "He took a little drugs to the States... This is called in Spanish a mula [mule]. He passed four years in the states- in a jail.”

He continued. "I'd never talked about my father before."

Apparently he hadn't. His staff stood stone silent, eyes widened.

Correa's dad took that frightening chance in the 1960s, a time when his family, like almost all families in Ecuador, was destitute. Ecuador was the original "banana republic" - and the price of bananas had hit the floor. A million desperate Ecuadorans, probably a tenth of the entire adult population, fled to the USA anyway they could.

"My mother told us he was working in the States."

His father, released from prison, was deported back to Ecuador. Humiliated, poor, broken, his father, I learned later, committed suicide.

At the end of our formal interview, through a doorway surrounded by paintings of the pale plutocrats who once ruled this difficult land, he took me into his own Oval Office. I asked him about an odd-looking framed note he had on the wall. It was, he said, from his daughter and her grade school class at Christmas time. He translated for me.

"We are writing to remind you that in Ecuador there are a lot of very poor children in the streets and we ask you please to help these children who are cold almost every night.”

It was kind of corny. And kind of sweet. A smart display for a politician.

Or maybe there was something else to it.

Correa is one of the first dark-skinned men to win election to this Quechua and mixed-race nation. Certainly, one of the first from the streets. He'd won a surprise victory over the richest man in Ecuador, the owner of the biggest banana plantation.

Doctor Correa, I should say, with a Ph.D in economics earned in Europe. Professor Correa as he is officially called - who, until not long ago, taught at the University of Illinois.

And Professor Doctor Correa is one tough character. He told George Bush to take the US military base and stick it where the equatorial sun don't shine. He told the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, which held Ecuador's finances by the throat, to go to hell. He ripped up the "agreements" which his predecessors had signed at financial gun point. He told the Miami bond vultures that were charging Ecuador usurious interest, to eat their bonds. He said ‘We are not going to pay off this debt with the hunger of our people. ” Food first, interest later. Much later. And he meant it.

It was a stunning performance. I'd met two years ago with his predecessor, President Alfredo Palacio, a man of good heart, who told me, looking at the secret IMF agreements I showed him, "We cannot pay this level of debt. If we do, we are DEAD. And if we are dead, how can we pay?" Palacio told me that he would explain this to George Bush and Condoleezza Rice and the World Bank, then headed by Paul Wolfowitz. He was sure they would understand. They didn't. They cut off Ecuador at the knees.

But Ecuador didn't fall to the floor. Correa, then Economics Minister, secretly went to Hugo Chavez Venezuela's president and obtained emergency financing. Ecuador survived.

And thrived. But Correa was not done.

Elected President, one of his first acts was to establish a fund for the Ecuadoran refugees in America - to give them loans to return to Ecuador with a little cash and lot of dignity. And there were other dragons to slay. He and Palacio kicked US oil giant Occidental Petroleum out of the country.

Correa STILL wasn't done.

I'd returned from a very wet visit to the rainforest - by canoe to a Cofan Indian village in the Amazon where there was an epidemic of childhood cancers. The indigenous folk related this to the hundreds of open pits of oil sludge left to them by Texaco Oil, now part of Chevron, and its partners. I met the Cofan's chief. His three year old son swam in what appeared to be contaminated water then came out vomiting blood and died.

Correa had gone there too, to the rainforest, though probably in something sturdier than a canoe. And President Correa announced that the company that left these filthy pits would pay to clean them up.

But it's not just any company he was challenging. Chevron's largest oil tanker was named after a long-serving member of its Board of Directors, the Condoleezza. Our Secretary of State.

The Cofan have sued Condi's corporation, demanding the oil company clean up the crap it left in the jungle. The cost would be roughly $12 billion. Correa won't comment on the suit itself, a private legal action. But if there's a verdict in favor of Ecuador's citizens, Correa told me, he will make sure Chevron pays up.

Is he kidding? No one has ever made an oil company pay for their slop. Even in the USA, the Exxon Valdez case drags on to its 18th year. Correa is not deterred.

He told me he would create an international tribunal to collect, if necessary. In retaliation, he could hold up payments to US companies who sue Ecuador in US courts.

This is hard core. No one - NO ONE - has made such a threat to Bush and Big Oil and lived to carry it out.

And, in an office tower looking down on Quito, the lawyers for Chevron were not amused. I met with them.

"And it’s the only case of cancer in the world? How many cases of children with cancer do you have in the States?" Rodrigo Perez, Texaco's top lawyer in Ecuador was chuckling over the legal difficulties the Indians would have in proving their case that Chevron-Texaco caused their kids' deaths. "If there is somebody with cancer there, [the Cofan parents] must prove [the deaths were] caused by crude or by petroleum industry. And, second, they have to prove that it is OUR crude – which is absolutely impossible.” He laughed again. You have to see this on film to believe it.

The oil company lawyer added, "No one has ever proved scientifically the connection between cancer and crude oil." Really? You could swim in the stuff and you'd be just fine.

The Cofan had heard this before. When Chevron's Texaco unit came to their land the the oil men said they could rub the crude oil on their arms and it would cure their ailments. Now Condi's men had told me that crude oil doesn’t cause cancer. But maybe they are right. I'm no expert. So I called one. Robert F Kennedy Jr., professor of Environmental Law at Pace University, told me that elements of crude oil production - benzene, toluene, and xylene, "are well-known carcinogens." Kennedy told me he's seen Chevron-Texaco's ugly open pits in the Amazon and said that this toxic dumping would mean jail time in the USA.

But it wasn't as much what the Chevron-Texaco lawyers said that shook me. It was the way they said it. Childhood cancer answered with a chuckle. The Chevron lawyer, a wealthy guy, Jaime Varela, with a blond bouffant hairdo, in the kind of yellow chinos you'd see on country club links, was beside himself with delight at the impossibility of the legal hurdles the Cofan would face. Especially this one: Chevron had pulled all its assets out of Ecuador. The Indians could win, but they wouldn't get a dime. "What about the chairs in this office?" I asked. Couldn't the Cofan at least get those? "No," they laughed, the chairs were held in the name of the law firm.

Well, now they might not be laughing. Correa's threat to use the power of his Presidency to protect the Indians, should they win, is a shocker. No one could have expected that. And Correa, no fool, knows that confronting Chevron means confronting the full power of the Bush Administration. But to this President, it's all about justice, fairness. "You [Americans] wouldn't do this to your own people," he told me. Oh yes we would, I was thinking to myself, remembering Alaska's Natives.

Correa's not unique. He's the latest of a new breed in Latin America. Lula, President of Brazil, Evo Morales, the first Indian ever elected President of Bolivia, Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. All "Leftists," as the press tells us. But all have something else in common: they are dark-skinned working-class or poor kids who found themselves leaders of nations of dark-skinned people who had forever been ruled by an elite of bouffant blonds.

When I was in Venezuela, the leaders of the old order liked to refer to Chavez as, "the monkey." Chavez told me proudly, "I am negro e indio" - Black and Indian, like most Venezuelans. Chavez, as a kid rising in the ranks of the blond-controlled armed forces, undoubtedly had to endure many jeers of "monkey." Now, all over Latin America, the "monkeys" are in charge.

And they are unlocking the economic cages.

Maybe the mood will drift north. Far above the equator, a nation is ruled by a blond oil company executive. He never made much in oil - but every time he lost his money or his investors' money, his daddy, another oil man, would give him another oil well. And when, as a rich young man out of Philips Andover Academy, the wayward youth tooted a little blow off the bar, daddy took care of that too. Maybe young George got his powder from some guy up from Ecuador.

I know this is an incredibly simple story. Indians in white hats with their dead kids and oil millionaires in black hats laughing at kiddy cancer and playing musical chairs with oil assets.

But maybe it's just that simple. Maybe in this world there really is Good and Evil.

Maybe Santa will sort it out for us, tell us who's been good and who's been bad. Maybe Lawyer Yellow Pants will wake up on Christmas Eve staring at the ghost of Christmas Future and promise to get the oil sludge out of the Cofan's drinking water.

Or maybe we'll have to figure it out ourselves. When I met Chief Emergildo, I was reminded of an evening years back, when I was way the hell in the middle of nowhere in the Prince William Sound, Alaska, in the Chugach Native village of Chenega. I was investigating the damage done by Exxon's oil. There was oil sludge all over Chenega's beaches. It was March 1991, and I was in the home of village elder Paul Kompkoff on the island's shore, watching CNN. We stared in silence as "smart" bombs exploded in Baghdad and Basra.

Then Paul said to me, in that slow, quiet way he had, "Well, I guess we're all Natives now."

Well, maybe we are. But we don't have to be, do we?

Maybe we can take some guidance from this tiny nation at the center of the earth. I listened back through my talk with President Correa. And I can assure his daughter that she didn't have to worry that her dad would forget about "the poor children who are cold" on the streets of Quito.

Because the Professor Doctor is still one of them.


Watch the Palast investigation, Rumble in the Jungle: Big Oil and Little Indians, on BBC Television Newsnight, now on-line via - and Thursday's US broadcast of Democracy Now.

For a copy of Palast's prior reports from Venezuela for BBC and Democracy Now, get "The Assassination of Hugo Chavez," on DVD, filmed by award-winning videographer Richard Rowley.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Sometimes these things are just wierd.

The Keys to Your Heart
You are attracted to those who have a split personality - cold as ice on the outside but hot as fire in the heart.

In love, you feel the most alive when your lover is creative and never lets you feel bored.

You'd like to your lover to think you are stylish and alluring.

You would be forced to break up with someone who was insecure and in constant need of reassurance.

Your ideal relationship is lasting. You want a relationship that looks to the future... one you can grow with.

Your risk of cheating is zero. You care about society and morality. You would never break a commitment.

You think of marriage as something precious. You'll treasure marriage and treat it as sacred.

In this moment, you think of love as something you can get or discard anytime. You're feeling self centered.

I am a Sci-Fi Nerd....

Take the Sci fi sounds quiz I received 92 credits on
The Sci Fi Sounds Quiz

How much of a Sci-Fi geek are you?
Take the Sci-Fi Movie Quiz canon s5 is

Your Score : 92 creditsYou're an extreme sci-fi geek! You're probably wearing your very own homemade TRON costume right now!

I think I need to get out of the house more!

Friday, December 21, 2007

White and Nerdy.....

I Am A: Neutral Good Human Bard/Wizard (3rd/2nd Level)

Ability Scores:

Neutral Good A neutral good character does the best that a good person can do. He is devoted to helping others. He works with kings and magistrates but does not feel beholden to them. Neutral good is the best alignment you can be because it means doing what is good without bias for or against order. However, neutral good can be a dangerous alignment because because it advances mediocrity by limiting the actions of the truly capable.

Humans are the most adaptable of the common races. Short generations and a penchant for migration and conquest have made them physically diverse as well. Humans are often unorthodox in their dress, sporting unusual hairstyles, fanciful clothes, tattoos, and the like.

Primary Class:
Bards often serve as negotiators, messengers, scouts, and spies. They love to accompany heroes (and villains) to witness heroic (or villainous) deeds firsthand, since a bard who can tell a story from personal experience earns renown among his fellows. A bard casts arcane spells without any advance preparation, much like a sorcerer. Bards also share some specialized skills with rogues, and their knowledge of item lore is nearly unmatched. A high Charisma score allows a bard to cast high-level spells.

Secondary Class:
Wizards are arcane spellcasters who depend on intensive study to create their magic. To wizards, magic is not a talent but a difficult, rewarding art. When they are prepared for battle, wizards can use their spells to devastating effect. When caught by surprise, they are vulnerable. The wizard's strength is her spells, everything else is secondary. She learns new spells as she experiments and grows in experience, and she can also learn them from other wizards. In addition, over time a wizard learns to manipulate her spells so they go farther, work better, or are improved in some other way. A wizard can call a familiar- a small, magical, animal companion that serves her. With a high Intelligence, wizards are capable of casting very high levels of spells.

Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus (e-mail)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

OH, this is priceless....

Mary and Joseph today....

Global Warming is Comming to you......

MESSENGER Mission News - MESSENGER Zeros in on Mercury, 2007-12-19

MESSENGER Mission News
December 19, 2007


MESSENGER’s nineteenth trajectory-correction maneuver (TCM-19) completed on December 19 lasted 110 seconds and adjusted the spacecraft's velocity by 1.1 meters per second (3.6 feet per second). The movement targeted the spacecraft close to the intended aim point 200 km (124 miles) above the night-side surface of Mercury for the probe's first flyby of that planet on January 14, 2008.

The maneuver started at 5:00 p.m. EDT. Mission controllers at The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md., verified the start of TCM-19 about 13 minutes later, after the first signals indicating thruster activity reached NASA's Deep Space Network tracking station outside Canberra, Australia.

“The MESSENGER spacecraft’s TCM-19 is one in a series of potential course correction opportunities planned in advance of the first Mercury flyby,” explained APL’s Eric Finnegan, MESSENGER’s Mission Systems Engineer. “TCM-19 corrected small deviations in the trajectory remaining after the successful execution of the deep-space maneuver on October 18.”

“We’re now set for our flyby,” added MESSENGER Principal Investigator Sean Solomon. “Achieving our aim point not only will give us our first close-up view of Mercury in nearly 33 years; it will ensure that we continue on the trajectory needed to place, for the first time, a spacecraft into orbit around the innermost planet three years later.”

For graphics of MESSENGER's orientation during the maneuver, visit the “Trajectory Correction Maneuvers” section of the mission Web site at http://messenger/the_mission/maneuvers.html.

MESSENGER (MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging) is a NASA-sponsored scientific investigation of the planet Mercury and the first space mission designed to orbit the planet closest to the Sun. The MESSENGER spacecraft launched on August 3, 2004, and after flybys of Earth, Venus, and Mercury will start a yearlong study of its target planet in March 2011. Dr. Sean C. Solomon, of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, leads the mission as principal investigator. The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory built and operates the MESSENGER spacecraft and manages this Discovery-class mission for NASA

Why does Iran need nuclear power?

End of Fuel Rationing in Sight for Iranians – Natural Gas Vehicle Use Reducing Demand on Gasoline

Source - Reuters - Through NGV Global

Thursday, 20 December 2007 Iran, Teheran

Iranian motorist could see and end to fuel rationing by March with increased use of natural gas vehicles contributing to reduced demand for gasoline. Reuters quotes Deputy Oil Minister Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh as saying that the government was working to increase natural gas vehicle and refuelling station numbers in response to demand from motorists. Gasoline rationing was introduced earlier this year to reduce demand from imported refined fuel and to ease the fiscal strain caused by heavy government subsidies.

The rationing has reportedly reduced demand for gasoline by almost a third and may be eased from 100 litres per month to 120 litres per month soon.

Iran has a long term plan underway for massive use of natural gas vehicles, rising at the rate of 15,000 vehicles per month.

A quote I have never heard before....

"This use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. My own feeling was that in being the first to use it, we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. I was not taught to make wars in that fashion ..." - Admrial William D. Leahy Chief of Staff to The President 1942-1949

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Thomas Jefferson - The security of a Free Press.

The only security of all is in a free press.
The force of public opinion cannot be resisted
when permitted freely to be expressed.
The agitation it produces must be submitted to.
It is necessary, to keep the waters pure.

- - Thomas Jefferson

to Lafayette, 1823. ME 15:491

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Playing in the snow.

I got to play in the snow at the mall. Thank God I didn't have to shovel anything, but getting there was a challenge. My car barely made it out of the drive way. The God of Momentum really helped out there. I figured leaving an hour before work would be the best thing. Except, I needed gas and every fool was out Christmas shopping. What is it with fools and Christmas shopping. The crap will be in the stores tomorrow, give me a break. They should have stayed off the streets.

At night during the worst of it when I was on my way, everyone seemed very prudent in their driving, just too many idiots unwilling to cancel their plans because Mom Nature decided to show us what she is like on PMS. When I was starting out, it was kind of harrowing, because my park is built on hills. They are very steep hills. I am not going to be going down to the mail box for a few days that is fer sure. That's OK though. Nuttin but junk and bills in there anyway! After testing my car sliding reaction skills for a bit I finally got to the entrance in a relatively short time. The real process is to keep the momentum going, just don't go too fast, and for God's sake, keep that foot off that brake! I did a little sliding as I came up to the highway. The plows had been working all night, but so was MOM. She dumped a record 7 inches of snow on us. Needless to say, I wasn't having fun.

Then, the "low fuel" light came on. Oh yeah, I was going to do that but I was sick and desired the comfort and safety of my warm bed that morning and neglected it. So, I am going ot be late to work it is obivous. Pulled into my favorite Gas station. "Favorite" is a relative term when dealing with gas nowadays. What with the prices these days, feeding the insatible Victor-Victoria is getting to be a pain. So, I fill up and that's another $50 down the drain, and get back on the road.

I get on Highway 30 to 270 and discover to my dismay that some idiot had spun out or something. Anyway, the road was blocked and no one was getting by. My only alternative is to turn around and get back to 141 and head 5 miles out of my way to Interstate 44. There I can head back to St. Louis and then hit 270 and head on in to work.

The road feels like I am driving on gravel. Maybe I need to get my shocks fixed. Well, I get onto 270 and continue to drive in. I pass by a UPS truck on the side of the road, one of the double trailer ones. Now I knew it was really serious. They don't leave those things on the road, and its CHRISTMAS. I bet some dispatcher is going ape over this truck sitting there.

This stuff is still comming down and comming down. The roads suck. Anyway, I figure that now is a good time to fish out the scanner and listen to see what is going on. In Ladue, some idiot decides to commit suicide and the fire trucks are dispatched. Another Ladue fire trusk is stuck. I hear the police at Richmond Heights, (where the Galleria is located) talk about the exit ramp I have to go down. Apparently its getting a lot of spinouts and sure enough, when I ge there, lo and behold there is a Mitubishi Eclipse and a stretch limo (What insane fool would drive one of THOSE behemoths in weather like this) trying to negotiate the ramp with out hitting each other. Fortunately there was a curb between us and I didn't stay to see if God was blessin them, I was already half an hour late to work. Even though I was late, I decided to stop at the Shell station for supplies. Two liters of bottled water, some gum and a tube of cough drops later, I am heading to the mall across the street.

The Mall was a mad house. Nothing really bad, just the fact that all the snow was comming down. The Mall Operations Manager is here and hasn't left really since he arrived at 2 the previous morning. I don't want to find out what kind of mood he is in, so I want to stay out of hsi way all night if I can. A lot of the maintenance staf is there as well drivin our plow trucks in a somewhat vain attempt to keep the snow at bay.

Nothing much happened to me, as I settled into the nice warm camera room for a night of television viewing. Anyone who bitches and moans about what kind of crap is on TV orr if TV is boring, hasn't had to sit all night and watcha Closed Circuit Televisoin system. Apart from the ocasional bouts of mischief that people do in parked cars on dark nights when they think no one is looking, it is incredably boring.

I entertain myself I have a CD/WMA player and have copied my hard drive onto various disks. The disks fill a small bag which I carry around. Each CD has their own indivdual sleeve, plus a variety of 20 CD carrying cases. Its a mess that needs organization, but that is another day. I get the Player out and plug in the mini-speakers. (Whoever invented those needs to win the Nobel Prize cause I can listen to my tunes without headphones). I watch for people gettin frisky in the cars. Haven't caught one yet though. I am also watching for things like break-ins and things like that. Tonight is especially important as I need to watch out and make sure people aren't freezing to death trying to get their cars started or stuck.

We had one lady get into her car, start it up, then get out to clear the foot thick layer of snow that was on it. In the meantime, we have a smart car. They have computer brains you see. And they think, they're smart. They think "How can I screw up this poor lady's evening? Its been ages since you gave me an oil change. And that puppy has got to go, and if I hear Celene Dion on the stereo one more time, I am just gonna... WAIT, I got it!" So, the computer in infinate vengence, locks the doors. The lady went ape. We can't unlock the doors. The corporate lawyers won't let us. They have to call a tow service. OK, on a night like this, what do you think the wait time on that is going to be? Eventually she called the cops, and the cops came by and told her THEY couldn't get it open. They called the towing company, which bumped her up the priority list. They were there in an hour, but the car had its vengence with a snicker. Bet she won't forget that oil change next time....

The rest of the night was uneventful. Then comes the ride home.

I didn't see many spinouts, but the UPS truck stranded by the side of the road was gone when I returned there. In its place a Metro (the mass-transit system) "Call-a-ride" bus was in the ditch, upright and undamaged, thank God. Now these are for the severely handicapped and are equipped with wheelchair lifts and set up to handle handicapped. There was no ambulance, so no injuries, another good thing, but there was another bus. I have to wonder how they were going to transfer a wheelchair bound person from a bus slanted down in a ditch to the other sitting on the highway with just a police officer, Metro supervisor and two drivers. Normally an ambulance is called for that, but I suppose they had other priorities. I didn't see what happened there but I bet the TV crew caught it on the camera's they had set up on theoverpasses for the live shot they were doing. Vultures.

My park had been plowed in the night, but he can only do what he can do. Still, I have to complement him on his job. I got to my carport at least.

I love to play in the snow, as long as I don't have to shovel it.

God bless ya all and hope you are all well. Pics to follow in the photo log.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

How do our friends "Down Under" celebrate Christmas.

I have wondered how Australians celebrate Christmas. After all, its summer there. Snow is non existent. Reindeer would die in the heat. So what does Santa wear?

I decided to look up this on the net and found this...

There has been a suggestion that "Swag Man" take over Santa's franchise Down Under!!! There is a lot of concern about Santa Claus perhaps suffering heat stroke whilst Down Under. "Swag Man" wears a brown Akubra, a blue singlet and long baggy shorts. He spends all winter under Uluru with his merry dingoes and then at Christmas time, he gets in his huge four-wheel drive and sets off through the red dust to deliver his presents.

So much for our friends down under....

More Galleria Wonderland

Well, it Snowed last night. Sick as I was, I decided to go into work. Mainly I went because there just wasn't anyone else to take my place. Night shift is hard to fill, see. No one wants to play in the snow! :-)

The snow started with some flecks about oh dark thrity. By one it had stopped and I was wondering if the weather guessers had gotten it wrong. Listening to the radio though, it was coming. Just hadn't gotten here yet.

Went through blocking off the roof of the parking garage.

Not much yet then. Then it started really coming down.

It looked really nice before the snowplows got to it. Then we have about three contractor plows, plus our trucks clearing off the parking lot.

Our road crews did pretty good and got the roads clear. Still, I was expecting a horror getting home and it wasn't too bad. Got home quick and safe. They really tackled this thing. I think it helped that it was on the weekend too. If there had been a lot of traffic I think it would have been worse.

Still, more is coming. Tonight is going to be fun. Glad I get the cameras tonight. I don't feel as bad as I thought I did, but I still have this terrible head cold. I don't like to play in the snow unless I WANT to play in the snow.

Hope all of you are better.

What kind of a liberal am I?

How to Win a Fight With a Conservative is the ultimate survival guide for political arguments

My Liberal Identity:

You are a Reality-Based Intellectualist, also known as the liberal elite. You are a proud member of what’s known as the reality-based community, where science, reason, and non-Jesus-based thought reign supreme.

In reality, I thought this test was pretty biased. I couldn't think of a right answer! I am getting sick of all of them! The Christian elite, the GOPorate fat-cats, the freaking Southern "that's our heritage" people, the environmental despoilers, the Talk-radio hate mongers, and the War-mongering imperialists. Pretty much all of them suck.

Friday, December 14, 2007

The George Bush Presidential Library.

Of course you have to sample the latest video selections at CIA video across the street... Whoops, THERE AIN'T ANY....

Loosk like the excreetment is going to hit the fan here....

Huckabee Questions Mormons' Belief

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

(12-11) 19:23 PST WASHINGTON (AP) --

Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee, an ordained Southern Baptist minister, asks in an upcoming article, "Don't Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?"

The article, to be published in Sunday's New York Times Magazine, says Huckabee asked the question after saying he believes Mormonism is a religion but doesn't know much about it. His rival Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, is a member of the Mormon church, which is known officially as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The authoritative Encyclopedia of Mormonism, published in 1992, does not refer to Jesus and Satan as brothers. It speaks of Jesus as the son of God and of Satan as a fallen angel, which is a Biblical account.

A spokeswoman for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said Huckabee's question is usually raised by those who wish to smear the Mormon faith rather than clarify doctrine.

"We believe, as other Christians believe and as Paul wrote, that God is the father of all," said the spokeswoman, Kim Farah. "That means that all beings were created by God and are his spirit children. Christ, on the other hand, was the only begotten in the flesh and we worship him as the son of God and the savior of mankind. Satan is the exact opposite of who Christ is and what he stands for."

Romney spokesman Kevin Madden said Romney will not debate candidates on their faith or question their faith.

"For those who want to know how Governor Romney's faith informs his values, they can look at how he lives his life and how he has raised his family," Madden said.

Earlier this month in Iowa, Huckabee wouldn't say whether he thought Mormonism — rival Romney's religion — was a cult.

"I'm just not going to go off into evaluating other people's doctrines and faiths. I think that is absolutely not a role for a president," the former Arkansas governor said.

While he said he respects "anybody who practices his faith," Huckabee said that what other people believe — he named Republican rivals Romney, John McCain, Rudy Giuliani and Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton — "is theirs to explain, not mine, and I'm not going to."

He also resisted wading into theology when pressed to explain why some evangelicals don't view the Mormon faith as a Christian denomination.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Had to post this one to all our "Religious" friends out there.

Our Political candidates have been talking about religion a lot. I thought this was an appropiate cartoon:

This one is for Cal.....

Yes, its St. Louis now....

This sucks...

Well here I am, sick as a dog. Everyone at work has been passing around a cold and I finally got the gift that keeps on giving. My boss had it the other night and called in sick, the night supervisor it when I got to work the other day.

So, I got a dilemma here. Last week I got a call froma temp agency that I had signed up two years ago. Apparently they kept me on file and I have a real chance to get a good job away from Security and back in shipping where I would like to be. I want to take the interview, but I am not sure how I will feel when I get up in the morning. I hope I feel better.

I had to go out, in spite of me feeling sick, to get the information for the interview. Right next to the Temp agency is the Boeing store. Many years ago, Boeing bought out McDonnell-Douglas and so all those venerable Mac planes are now prefixed with Boeing. St. Louis is home to the first spaceships the Mercury and Gemini's. The Eagle will never be the Boeing Eagle. Just doesn't sound right.

Well, I went in and I was like a kid in a candy store. I got a toy for me Nephew for Christmas. Just to give it a balance I got me the same toy. Always a kid I am. They were models of the F-4 Phantom and then for good measure, there was a model of the F-15 and the Space Shuttle, so I got both. All of them are kinda like toys in a way, but they are accurate dimensions, good enough for the desk. I also found this DVD about Red Flag that was at the IMAX at the Science Center and OH I had to have that one. Ended up spending $70 all told for 5 models and the DVD. I found a Boeing Business Jet (Private 737) on the Clearance rack, usually about $35 for 9 bucks since it had the old BBJ livery on it.

Then I went home. Since it was rush hour I avoided the Interstates since they were parking lots anyway and I took Lindberg all the way home. Stopped at Target cause I just got sick of not having my cell phone. My brother is supposed to pay for my cell phone with me contributing the $20 of the family plan. Well he didn't keep up his part and I lost the phone. So I went to get a Go Phone and I just set that up. Its $20 bucks and I don't use it except for emergencies and that's what I really want it for. I like having that at work since if my radio goes out for some reason, I got the cell phone to back me up.

Right now, I should be in Bed, but here I am, addicted to the computer. Got to shut down for a bit, so Ia m gonna get in bed, take some more Nyquil and hope this thing isn't bad tomorrow morning. If it is, I will have to call them and tell them I can't take the interview. Right now my nose is so stuffed up I can't breathe and I try blowing my nose and it sounds like a 20MM cannon on that video. (If you have ever heard a 20mm the you know what I am talking about). Anyway, I am going to go to bed now. Take care all.

Atlantis STS-122 Status Update 17:00 EST, 2007-12-13

Posted: 5:00 PM, 12/13/07

By William Harwood
CBS News Space Analyst

Changes and additions:

SR-23 (12/13/07): Launch no earlier than Jan. 10; station spacewalk, tanking test on tap Dec. 18


5:00 PM, 12/13/07, Update: Launch no earlier than Jan. 10; station spacewalk, tanking test on tap Dec. 18

Launch of shuttle Atlantis on a critical space station assembly mission, delayed twice because of problems with troublesome low-level fuel sensors, will slip an additional week, from Jan. 2 to no earlier than Jan. 10, to give support personnel time off over the Christmas and New Year holidays, NASA managers said today.

"Moving the next launch attempt of Atlantis to Jan. 10 will allow as many people as possible to have time with family and friends at the time of year when it means the most," shuttle Program Manager Wayne Hale said in a statement late today. "A lot has been asked of them this year and a lot will be asked of them in 2008."

With test instrumentation spliced into the engine cutoff - ECO - sensor circuitry in the shuttle's aft engine compartment, engineers plan to pump supercold liquid hydrogen rocket fuel back into Atlantis' external tank Tuesday.

The goal of the test is to collect data that should help pinpoint the location of whatever problem caused multiple ECO sensors to malfunction during launch attempts Dec. 6 and 9 that grounded Atlantis and the European Space Agency's Columbus research module.

The Jan. 10 target date assumes whatever is wrong can be fixed at the launch pad without any major impact to normal processing.

The ECO sensors are part of a backup system intended to make sure the shuttle's main engines don't inadvertently suck a tank dry after some other problem - a leak, for example, or an improper hydrogen-oxygen mixture ratio - used up propellant at faster than normal rates. An engine running out of hydrogen during normal operation would have catastrophic consequences.

During fueling Dec. 6, ECO sensors Nos. 3 and 4 "failed wet" about 35 minutes after they were submerged in liquid hydrogen at minus 423 degrees Fahrenheit. After the launch was called off, another sensor that shows when the tank is 5 percent full failed wet. After the tank was drained, ECO sensor No. 1 failed wet.

During fueling Dec. 9, ECO sensor No. 3 failed wet 24 minutes after the others were submerged. In both cases, the sensors returned to normal operation after the tank was drained and temperatures rose.

Because of the timing of the malfunctions, engineers are hopeful the sensors themselves, located inside the huge external tank and not easily accessible at the launch pad, are healthy.

The problems could be due to broken or damaged wires, bent or recessed pins in critical connectors or even debris in a connector. Data collected during the tanking test Tuesday should help narrow down the location of the problem and help determine what might be needed to fix it.

If the Jan. 10 target holds up, liftoff would be scheduled for 2:26:10 a.m., setting up docking with the space station around 11:13 p.m. on Jan. 11. Three spacewalks are planned with the first two beginning around 9:15 p.m. on Jan. 12 and 14 and the third starting an hour earlier on Jan. 16. Landing back at the Kennedy Space Center would be expected around 10:24 p.m. on Jan. 20.

Depending on when Atlantis' actually flies, mission managers may extend the flight two days and add a fourth spacewalk to the mission.

While the tanking test is going on at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Tuesday, the crew of the international space station plans to carry out a 6.5-hour spacewalk to inspect a contaminated solar array rotary joint and another more recent power system glitch that could be the result of a micrometeoroid or debris impact.

The spacewalk, by Expedition 16 commander Peggy Whitson and flight engineer Dan Tani, is scheduled to begin at 6 a.m.

The station is equipped with two massive solar alpha rotary joints, one on each side of the lab's main power truss, designed to slowly turn outboard arrays like giant paddle wheels to keep them face on to the sun.

Each solar blanket also is equipped with a so-called beta gimbal joint to turn the arrays from side to side, like changing the pitch of a propeller, to maximize electrical output.

The port-side SARJ is operating normally as are the four beta gimbal assemblies on the four left-side solar wings. But the starboard SARJ is locked in place because of excessive vibration and recently discovered internal metallic contamination and bearing race ring damage.

In addition, one of the two beta gimbal joints on the right side is now locked in place because of circuit breaker trips last week that may have been caused by a space debris impact.

As for the starboard SARJ, engineers suspect one or more of the 12 trundle bearings that press against the 10-foot-wide race ring with 1,000 pounds of force could be causing the observed damage. Data from instrumentation shows vibrations are highest near bearing assembly No. 5.

During the spacewalk Tuesday, Whitson and Tani plan to remove up to 22 thermal covers around the race ring for a detailed inspection of all the bearings. They also plan to remove trundle bearing No. 5 for return to Earth aboard Atlantis.

"After we've inspected under as many panels as possible, we will bring in trundle bearing No. 5, unless we find one that we think was more of a problem," Whitson told reporters earlier today. "The ground has data that suggests that maybe that's where the problem is. But if we can visibly tell it's a different one, we'll bring in the one that we think is the troublemaker."

Whatever the problem might be, NASA needs to fix it and restore the right-side SARJ to normal operation as soon as possible to generate the electricity needed to support the Columbus module and two Japanese modules scheduled for launch in February and April.

The SARJ features two identical drive gears and two redundant drive motors. In a worst-case scenario, spacewalking astronauts could install fresh bearings on the undamaged race ring and reposition the drive lock assembly motors. The other option is to clean up the contamination that's present on the damaged race ring, fix whatever is causing the problem and resume normal operation.

"Once they have more data, they can make a better assessment of which of those approaches we should do, whether we should clean up the current race ring or just shift over," Whitson said. "Obviously, shifting over (to the other race ring) involves a lot more software changes and limits us on the timing. So the guys on the ground will have to make that decision. What we're providing (Tuesday) is additional data.

"I think either one's doable," she said. "To me, in my mind, I think it would be probably, from an astronaut's perspective, easier to just shift to the other race ring rather than trying to clean it up. But we don't know yet how easy that's going to be to clean up."

Kirk Shireman, deputy manager of the space station program at the Johnson Space Center, said no such decisions will be made until engineers have a better idea of what might be wrong.

"All options are still open," he said. "The big key question for us is what caused the issue, because we're hesitant to go to the only remaining ring we have on that side without understanding why this occurred. If you moved to the other ring and had the same problem, that's a really big issue for us. So we need to understand what's the root cause, what caused it to start and then propagate. We're working really hard to get that answer.

"There are some ideas, all kinds of ideas about how we could continue to use this ring for a while and then transition to the other ring," he said. "I don't think we've taken anything off the table at this point. I will tell you that most folks are thinking that we will go to the outboard ring at some point in time, it's just a matter of exactly when it makes sense to go and do that. It's not a very easy thing to do. It's a very EVA-intensive task and we do give up some redundancy."

A more immediate problem is fixing the S4-1A array's beta gimbal assembly, which is currently locked in place in an orientation that limits the panel's ability to generate electricity.

During routine operations Dec. 8, two circuit breakers tripped, possibly the result of a space debris impact that might have damaged the mechanism that allows power and data to flow through the rotary joint used to turn the array about its long axis. The trips also could be due to damage in critical cables.

Whitson and Tani plan to inspect the beta gimbal assembly and associated cables to look for signs of damage before moving onto the SARJ inspection.

"The idea is, we'll conduct the EVA right now, the SARJ inspection and the BGA inspection, and we'll learn what we need to learn," Shireman said. "Then we'll find the most opportune time to go fix it, not only the BGA but hopefully the SARJ. It really depends on how our analysis comes out. We'll be (working) to figure out exactly how long we can go with the BGA locked and the SARJ restrictions we have in place."


Granny D's Speech at Waterburg College in Iowa, 2007-11-07


Thank you. It's wonderful to be here today at Wartburg, which I have long
admired as one of America's great liberal arts colleges.

I would like to underline that word "liberal" in the context of liberal
arts. It does not, of course, refer to big government, or to left-of-center
politics. No, as I'm sure you know, it refers to the art of thinking
freely--training the mind to think for itself, free of the lies and
fantasies and prejudices that wrap around us from an early age. In this
time, the very idea of human life on the planet is at stake.

War and violence have taken new and decidedly more dangerous turns.

So you are doing well to be freeing your minds right now. That is a
difficult task, as there are so many forces around you, telling you what and
how to think, and selling you incredible lies. The War on Terrorism is a
good example. It is a term used to keep you from thinking freely and from
actually solving the world's problems relating to poverty and freedom. If
you solved those problems you would severely damage the profits of the
elite. The very idea that you can have war on terror is as silly as the idea
that you can have war on anger.

War itself is insane anger.

As the world's resources become stressed by global warming and
overpopulation, do we really think we can kill all the angry people? Can we
calm them down by dropping bombs on their villages and spraying their
families with machine gun bullets? Isn't that rather like dropping gasoline
and crumpled newspaper on forest fires instead of water? Do you think anyone
really thinks it will work? They don't even want it to work.

War is too profitable.

It is profitable for those who finance the careers of our politicians.
Islamo-fascism, as a label, is yet another fraud used to keep you from
thinking freely. Some people in the world are so desperate and angry that
they will blow themselves up just to hurt us, that is true. But it has to do
with the conditions of their lives, not with religion.

Religion is always the excuse for murder, but rarely the motive. If I tell
you that God wants us all to clean up the dining rooms tonight, to scrub
every seat and scrape-off every blob of gum, you will thank me for my
opinion and you will back out of the room en masse. If, however, I tell you
that God wants us all to storm the administration building tonight and
change our grades to straight A's, then how many of you will answer God's

In war, religion is a cover and an organizing convenience. That's all it has
ever been, going back to the Crusades, which were all about treasure and
rape. The "War on Terrorism," has very little to do with anyone's religious
beliefs. Terrorism, historically, is a term used to describe what
governments do to rule through fear--to overrule the rule of law. The term
originated after the French Revolution as a tool for suppressing dissent. If
we are to truly prosecute a War on Terrorism, it would inclue preventing
governments from using fear to shred the democratic rule of law.

If you want to stop insane anger in the world, you have to get at world
poverty and the injustices that people suffer as nations ruthlessly jockey
for resources.

"We don't negotiate with terrorists."

Anytime you hear tough language like that, you will do well to assume it
means the opposite.

If we actually don't negotiate with terrorists, you would have heard the
President make a speech proclaiming that: "Nothing our enemies do will
persuade us in the least to give up on our principles. We will hold fast to
our Bill of Rights and to the cherished Geneva Convention. All suspects will
be afforded a lawyer and a trial and humane treatment, no matter what. We
will not run like cowards away from the Constitution and the human values
that our people have fought and died to protect and improve. We will not
give any of that up to the terrorists in exchange for some hope of extra
safety. We will not negotiate."

THAT would be refusing to negotiate with terrorists. But that is not what
this government has done. In terms of giving up on things of value, this
government has knelt down and emptied its pockets after the first punch. It
was profitable for some people for this to happen.

Not only has our so-called government given away our basic human
rights--turned them over to the terrorists in exchange for worthless hopes
of safety--but they have subjected you and me to endless little indignities
unbecoming American citizens. Why do they harass you at the airports,
refusing to let you stop your car for a moment at the curb to pick-up your
friends? Do they think that, by harassing you in this way, that they are in
any way preventing a truck from driving up and exploding? They of course
know better.

It is not about that. it is about keeping you fearful, and reminding us
that We the People no longer have the power. Speak up at the airport and you
will be whisked away. What a wonderful place an airport is to teach us all
about the new country we are living in. So you take off your shoes because
one madman had an exploding shoe some years ago. I'm not sure which is
worse: one possible tragedy like that, or the smell of a hundred million
feet thereafter.

The point of this airport ceremony is to physically humiliate you into
subservience to the new state. Get used to it, because it is just getting
started--if you will let it. Any politician you hear talking seriously about
the War on Terror or about Islamo-Fascism is lying to you and trying to
prevent you from thinking freely. Call them on it. Tell them you think those
terms are really just a lot of BS meant to deflect attention from the real
issues of world poverty, the unsustainable exploitation of resources and
other issues that we, in fact, could address seriously with a fraction of
what we spend on counterproductive warfare--though we understand it is
highly profitable for some.

If you are a psych major or have taken some psych courses, you understand
that we often transfer to others the things we fear most within ourselves.
When some leaders label others with words like terrorist, let them look
first to what they are themselves doing in the world. Are they upholding the
human rights encoded in the U.S. Constitution, and in the Geneva Convention,
and in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? If they are not, then they
have forfeited their right to label other people in any disparaging way..

Do they understand that 90% of the people who die in war are civilians, and
that any pre-emptive, meaning non-provoked war, is by definition an act of

In the term "Islamo-fascist, let's look a little closer. The term "fascist"
was popularized by Mussolini to describe how corporate interests could be
combined with an authoritarian government. If some American leader has
assumed dictatorial powers by claiming the ability to disregard laws, and if
he has given no-bid contracts with billions of dollars to friendly
corporations that he has an actual family interest in, then he may indeed
want to transfer the word Fascist as far away from himself as possible, but
we see through this with our free minds. The historical shoe fits.

The fact of our condition is that we have two governments. We have a
faceless government that has secret prisons, its own rules, a suspension of
all our rights, and its own armies and budgets. It laughs at us when we
think we can tell it what to do. It has been around for some time -certainly
since the early 60s when we started losing the leaders who actually
represented our values. We do have another government. It is the one where
we have debates, campaigns, elections (more or less), and where the winners
play at a Congress. This government has fallen in power as the other has

I have lived long enough to see the dimming of lights in the Capitol

These people no longer much represent you and me. The mainstream news keeps
us from seeing the truth of this. We are expected to be happy with our
wonderful cars and your wonderful music players and our fancy phones that
can message back and forth. But we have been left without anything of our
own to say that is not a rewrite of a commercial. If you are not hearing the
truth from the mainstream media, it is because there is a game here, and one
of the main rules of the game is that you have to pretend we are still a
government of, by and for its people. If you cannot live in that fantasy,
you will be ostracized as a nut case, a fanatic, a fringe element.

That is part of the control mechanism that you have to understand if you
would be free to think for yourself.

If, to create an absurd example, the family of George Bush were investors
together in oil partnerships with the Bin Laden family, or if George Bush
Senior were a part of a company like the Carlyle Group that has profited
greatly from the Iraq War, would those stories be all over CNN and in the
front pages of newspapers, or would those stories violate the fantasy and
therefore be ignored? Well, those stories happen to be true, so judge for
yourself if we have a problem with the news media.

How, indeed, do we bring order into the chaos of our lives once we reject
the lies around us? What is the thing that is not a lie? Where is a fixed
star by which we can navigate our lives through the ever-warming waters

Somewhere, perhaps less than a mile from here, there is someone who didn't
come to this lecture. This person took time out of his or her day to go
tutor a kid or help an older person--maybe to help someone learn a needed
language. There is the star. That person out there has more to tell you than
I do, for Love is the only truth that can save us from lies and from anger
and sad living.

The real division of politics in the world is between truth and love on one
hand, which call for the happy development of every human's highest
potential, and the politics of fear and hate on the other hand, which are
known by exploitation and oppression. You know which kind of politics is at
the helm today. Maybe an election or two can make some improvements.

But, even so, we still have this little problem with the other government,
the one that thinks it is really in charge of our lives and our world--the
one the world knows very well.

When the storm destroyed New Orleans, the wealthy neighborhoods suddenly had
armed Blackwater guards at their gates. These machine-gun toting men were
from other nations and had no familiarity with our Bill of Rights. They
would have followed any order. In that storm, we saw the future, if we will
allow it. Race is more important in organizing political differences than
economic class. So now we see a rise in racial conflict in America, even in
places where we wouldn't have imagined it a few years ago. The uneasy peace
between the races in America made possible by the post World War II boom is
now moving into difficult times. It is aggravated by the immigration issue.

Can you see these issues freely?

You read the newspapers and the internet news sites, and you watch the Daily
Show, so you know just about everything. Or do you?

The U.S. Farm program, voted for by our elected representatives, subsidizes
the corn industry so heavily that American corporations sell corn in Mexico
for half of what Mexico's family farmers can sell it for. So half the farms
in Mexico have gone out of business. Farm families have migrated to Mexico's
big cities, where there is so much poverty that all one can do is plan to
sneak into America for decent wages. They die on our desert borders. If it
were easy to come and go, how could we oppress them so easily? We have come
to rely upon this oppression for the smooth operation of our communities.
But you will not hear about this story on the TV news, will you? It is
outside the accepted fantasy.

The lies that surround us drive emotions and they drive unkindness and
cruelty, which are the signposts of misinformation and misunderstanding.
People who are not free of mind are not kindly of mind. Kindness is
freedom's truest indicator. If you cannot stop to help someone who clearly
needs your help, you are not a free man or woman. Your chains may have the
glamorous attachments of Blackberries and credit cards, but you are not free
if your time is not your own to follow your heart. If you are looking for a
strategy to improve relations between the races, between straight and gay
people, between religions, you must understand that such peace is most
achievable when there is sufficient truth and prosperity to go around, and
when there is the kindness that is the product of those two.

To preserve prosperity in the world, agriculture and nature must be saved.

The coal plants must be shut down--all of them--within the next few years.

Gasoline-powered automobiles must be phased-out in the next ten years.

International trade must be largely curtailed in favor of local production.

These are the issues of a politics of love, and they cannot go forward
without some free thinking and some knocking-down of immense lies now in
place. Free thinking, prosperity and kindness, so intertwined, make
cooperative living easier to achieve, and push intolerance away. We have a
lot of work to do, but, can you see it? Do you have a glimpse of it? Can you
stand the idea of Google-ing a little more Noam Chomsky and a little less
USA Today? That would be a good beginning.

Churchill was correct when he said the empires of the future are the empires
of the mind. The big battle for the future is being fought right now in your
mind. Your freedoms are closing-in around you. Our present circumstances
seem to necessitate a new and democratic international compact between those
of you who are willing to do what is necessary to be free people living
sustainably, and to withdraw our support from systems outside the compact.

The compact can be first between individuals, and then communities. It can
later include regions and nations. How will this be brought forth? Will it
be enough? I don't know, but it's all we can do. Certainly the Internet, for
as long as we can keep it, can get us started. But don't rely on it
entirely, for it is no longer ours to trust. You have the power to save your
freedoms and your natural world.

Truth and Love, Courage and Energy, and a good organizing plan for
cooperative action are your great powers. Don't look for leaders to do it
for you, unless you are standing before a mirror. I'm 97, soon 98, so saying
'good luck' is about all I have left. I have filled my life with adventures
and good causes. They have not been enough for the world, and they have not
even been enough for me.

But I shudder to think of how bare my life would have been had I not
answered the call to action that you must now be feeling somewhere in your
hearts, as you have it felt before.

Thank you all very much. And good luck.

About Me

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I am interested in CNG vehicles because they are good for the environment and aren't powered by dead Marines. I still have a little hope for the world. Read the musings and enjoy.

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