Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Let's open it to Witchcraft and Alchemy as well....

Texas scientists speak
out as education board
mulls curriculum standards
05:00 PM CDT on Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Associated Press
AUSTIN – Scientists from Texas universities on Tuesday denounced what they called supernatural and religious teaching in public school science classrooms and voiced opposition to attempts to water down evolution instruction.
The newly formed 21st Century Science Coalition said so far it has 800 members who have signed up online.
"Texas public schools should be preparing our kids to succeed in the 21st century, not promoting political and ideological agendas that are hostile to a sound science education," said David Hillis, a professor of integrative biology at the University of Texas at Austin.
The State Board of Education is considering new science curriculum standards. It is expected to vote next spring. Because Texas is such a large purchaser of textbooks, its ongoing science debate affects textbooks nationwide.
An academic work group proposed that Texas standards for biology courses eliminate the long-held language of teaching students the "strengths and weaknesses" of theories.
The science coalition supports that language change because it says talking of "weaknesses" of evolution allows for religion-based concepts like creationism and intelligent design to enter the instruction. The Texas Freedom Network, an Austin-based group that says it monitors the influence of the religious right, also praises the proposed language change.
But they say they fear State Board of Education members, led by chairman and creationist Don McLeroy, will switch the language back before the final vote.
Even at Baylor University in Waco, the world's largest Baptist university, professors don't teach creationism because it's not based on science, said Richard Duhrkopf, an associate professor of biology.
"We shouldn't be teaching the supernatural in science classrooms," Duhrkopf said. "It's time to keep religion and faith in the Sunday schools and not in the public schools."
McLeroy denies he is trying to force religion and the supernatural into Texas schools.
"I'm getting sick and tired or people saying we're interjecting religion," he said. "We're certainly not interjecting religion. Not at all."
McLeroy says he supports restoring the "strengths and weaknesses" language and said working groups left some form of that language in the proposed standards for chemistry and astronomy. He also said he supports the "testable explanations" approach advocated by the National Academy of Sciences.
"Texas students need to understand what science is and what its limitation are," McLeroy said Tuesday, repeating part of an opinion piece he wrote in August. "I look at evolution as still a hypothesis with weaknesses."
Federal courts have ruled against forcing the teaching of creationism and intelligent design. So teaching the strengths and weaknesses of theories such as evolution has become "code" for pushing those religion-based ideas in schools, said Dan Quinn, spokesman for the Texas Freedom Network.
"It's time for the State Board of Education to listen to experts instead of promoting their own personal and political agendas," Quinn said.

Someone sent me this item off...

Your daily Palin
First, the terrific news: You know that e-mail everyone's been sending around, encouraging people to donate to Planned Parenthood in the name of Sarah Palin? So far, it has yielded $802,678 in donations from over 31,000 people, from all 50 states, two-thirds of whom are first-time donors. Thank-you notes to Palin, care of the McCain campaign headquarters, will begin going out next week.
Next, the irresistible nonnews: If you missed Tina Fey and Amy Poehler on "Saturday Night Live" spoofing Katie Couric's recent interview with Palin, War Room's got it. It's as hilarious as the first one, but even more terrifying in its similarity to the source material.
Finally, the we-should-have-seen-it-coming (and maybe you did) news: Sarah Baxter, a Washington correspondent for the Times of London, speculates that this election's October surprise will be the wedding of Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston. An unnamed source inside the McCain campaign told Baxter, "It would be fantastic. You would have every TV camera there. The entire country would be watching. It would shut down the race for a week.”

Monday, September 29, 2008

Click on the TOP Button LEFT COLUMN for MORE PHOTOS from MARS

Interesting Title for a "Bail Out" Bill

FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 674(Democrats in roman; Republicans in italic; Independents underlined) H R 3997 RECORDED VOTE 29-Sep-2008 2:07 PM QUESTION: On Concurring in Senate Amendment With An Amendment

BILL TITLE: To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide earnings assistance andtax relief to members of the uniformed services, volunteer firefighters, and Peace Corps volunteers,and for other purposes

Time Magazine Article worth reading today...

DOW INDEX down - 777 or 7% today.
America's No. 1 Export: Debt
By Justin Fox
Japan and Germany make cars. Saudi Arabia pumps oil. China supplies the world with socks and toys and flat-screen TVs. What does the United States produce? Lots of stuff, but in recent years this country's No. 1 export--by far--has been debt.
When you look at things this way, it becomes clearer what the frenzy in New York City and Washington is all about. There are major quality issues with our nation's flagship product. The authorities have acknowledged the problem--"This is a humbling, humbling time for the United States of America" is how Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson put it in one TV interview. So now Paulson & Co. are recalling defective financial products en masse, slapping GUARANTEED BY THE U.S. GOVERNMENT labels on some of them and replacing others outright with U.S. treasuries.
It's textbook crisis management, similar to Johnson & Johnson's famously forthright and successful reaction to the Tylenol tampering scare of 1982. So far, so good. But while Johnson & Johnson was soon able to restore Tylenol's lost market share, the U.S. faces a different challenge.
Our quandary is that we are apparently not capable of safely manufacturing $700 billion in debt securities to sell to foreigners every year, as we've been doing since 2005. (That this is the same total as Treasury's bailout plan is just a coincidence.) If we keep trying to borrow that much from overseas--as you've probably gathered, selling debt means borrowing money--today's quality problems may soon seem petty. For now, we can still reassure buyers around the world by slapping that GUARANTEED label on our debt. But as financial crisis and economic slowdown cause government debts to burgeon, and as commitments to Social Security and Medicare loom closer as baby boomers retire, that confidence could easily fade.
So while today's crisis management makes a certain amount of sense, returning to the borrow-and-spend status quo afterward seems like a disastrous idea. If the U.S. is to have a future as an economic power, its long love affair with borrowed money has to end. Right? "I hesitate to say yes, because people--including me--have been saying that it had to come to an end now for years, and it hasn't," says R. Taggart Murphy, an expert on global capital flows who teaches at the University of Tsukuba's business school in Tokyo. Then he adds, "It looks pretty clearly like we're in the endgame right now."
This country's move into big-time debt exports began with the big-time government deficits of the early 1980s--which had to be financed by somebody. "The Reagan Revolution was essentially an experiment in seeing how much money America could borrow from overseas," says Murphy, who at the time was an investment banker in Tokyo. The answer was lots. Guided by Murphy and his ilk, Japan snapped up U.S. treasuries and other debt, keeping interest rates here from exploding as many had feared.
In the early 1990s, as the U.S. got its fiscal house in order, the capital inflows from overseas shrank. Late in the decade, they returned, with a twist: foreign investors and companies were buying into corporate America to get in on an economic boom. That boom ended in 2001. But the Bush Administration soon began running deficits, and foreigners discovered an American financial product to which they'd never paid much heed before: mortgage securities.
The result was a staggering increase in capital inflows. The inevitable flip side was a staggering rise in the current account deficit--basically, the trade deficit plus a few other things. It grew from $114 billion in 1995 to $417 billion in 2000 to a record $788 billion in 2006 before falling to $731 billion, or 5% of GDP, last year. Political discussion of this shortfall usually focuses on trade agreements and exchange rates. But if the U.S. simply stopped borrowing so much--that is, if Washington balanced its budget and restrained financial companies from loading U.S. households with ever more debt--the current account deficit would evaporate.
The housing crash and resulting credit crunch are already forcing U.S. households to retrench. Government--fearing disaster if everybody retrenches at the same time--has stepped into the breach. Again, that makes sense in a crisis. But once the panic has passed, the U.S. will simply be steering toward another, even bigger, crisis unless it finds something to replace debt as its No. 1 export.
Of course, less money borrowed means less money to spend. "Can you imagine McCain or Obama going around saying he wants to reduce your standard of living?" asks Murphy. Probably not. But maybe they could just sell it as, say, diversifying our product offering.
Extra Money To read Justin Fox's daily take on business and the economy, go to time.com/curiouscapitalist

I just got an email from my Congressman after he voted NO, AGAINST this "Bailout"

'Work Out' not Bailout
Every day in Washington people throw around the word “crisis,” but this week I’ve given it more weight than before. Last week, the Bush Administration requested $700 billion from Congress to bail out banks on Wall Street that held troubled mortgage-related assets. I am extremely concerned about the state of our economy, the status of our capital markets, and how the problems of Wall Street are being assumed by Main Street.

I remain skeptical of the Administration’s plan and am utterly unconvinced that this is the only alternative.

I have concerns about the ultimate cost to the Texas taxpayer. I am concerned that the federal government is becoming the lender and guarantor of last resort. I am concerned that the plan will put the taxpayer on the hook for a trillion dollars and still might not solve the problem. I am concerned that the plan could fundamentally change the role of government in the American free enterprise system. I am concerned with any taxpayer bailout for Wall Street that does not set strict limits for executive compensation. I am especially concerned for future generations who will have to pay to bail out Wall Street.

Fifth District residents have made it clear that they want a “work out,” not another bail out.

I am fighting for an alternative that reduces taxpayer exposure and does not reward the people who made bad decisions with other people’s money. We need to quell the panic and get some capital back into the market, but that capital ought to come from Wall Street, not the Texas taxpayer.

This problem on Wall Street can impact Main Street, but Wall Street has to pay for it.

This is a serious situation that needs to be resolved, so inaction is not an option, but it is always more important to do the right thing rather than the quick thing. The time has come for Congress to rationally debate alternatives – the consequences are too severe for us to rush to judgment, because we may have a taxpayer bankruptcy for the next generation.

It is essential to stop thinking only about today and start thinking about the next generation.

Wow! What a Wild Ride with McCain!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

They gave those new space suits a real workout this weekend...


FD: LOTS of Video of the flight:

China's first spacewalk attracts world attention
www.chinaview.cn 2008-09-28 00:11:45

BEIJING, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- Chinese taikonauts completed the country's first spacewalk Saturday, a feat that immediately became the focus of attention around the world.
Vladimir Soloviev, flight control director of the Russian space mission control center and a former cosmonaut who also performed spacewalks, called on Russia and China to enhance cooperation and share their experiences in space exploration.
"A spacewalk faces a series of complicated technological difficulties. China's first spacewalk contributes a lot to the country's space technology and is also a great achievement for the whole world," he said.
China is a country with growing industrial strength, a booming economy and great scientific potential, which have made it necessary for China and Russia to join hands in space exploration, the cosmonaut added.
Karl Bergquist, an expert with the European Space Agency (ESA),said the Chinese taikonauts' performance looked very impressive.
"I have just seen the first Chinese extra-vehicular activity (EVA) on the website of Xinhua, It looks very impressive. The Chinese astronauts have done a nice job. I am really happy for China," Bergquist said.
"The success of China's first EVA means now China has finished two challenging tasks during this mission and will of course push forward the development of China's space industries," he added.
British media also closely followed China's first spacewalk.
The Times online carried a story with the headline "China celebrates its first spacewalk," calling it "the latest milestone in an ambitious program."
A story in The Telegraph, headlined "China carries out first spacewalk," said "the main purpose of the flight was to prepare the technical skills, including the docking of two orbiters together, necessary for the development of a Chinese space station."
"The mission was also considered an essential step towards a manned mission to the moon," it added.
The Guardian said "Zhai Zhigang today became the first Chinese person to walk in space, marking the highlight of his country's third manned mission."
"The maneuver is a step towards China's long-term goal of assembling a space laboratory and station," said the newspaper.
French daily Le Monde said on its website that the successful spacewalk indicates China has become a member of "the club of the world's space powers."
A story in Japan's Kyodo news agency said the 20-minute spacewalk was a historic step in China's space program.
The ability to carry out spacewalks is essential for the success of future Chinese space missions, aimed at building an orbiting space laboratory and space station, it added.
The Shenzhou-7 spacecraft, carrying three taikonauts, was launched Thursday night from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwestern China.
On Saturday afternoon, taikonaut Zhai Zhigang floated out of Shenzhou-7, accomplishing China's first attempt at extra-vehicular activity in space.
Editor: Yan

NASA Agency faces crucial decisions about its future

New missions envisioned, but resources limited
By MARK CARREAUCopyright 2008 Houston Chronicle
Sept. 28, 2008, 9:18AM

Video and interactives courtesy The Associated Press, the White House and NASA.

After a fabled half century that featured the Apollo moon landings, spectacular images from the Hubble Space Telescope, and a space station, NASA faces a challenging new course as it commemorates its 50th anniversary this week.
And that direction, guided by a new president and Congress, takes different paths that could send the agency:•Reaching beyond the Apollo landings to establish a manned lunar base, a goal outlined by President Bush four years ago.
•Bypassing a moon base to press ahead with a mission to Mars, a planet that may have once nurtured some life forms.
•Extending the life of the space shuttle fleet past its 2010 currentretirement date. Both John McCain and Barack Obama have urged the White House and Congress to keep all options open for the shuttle.
•Settling into the international space station, the largest man-made object ever assembled in orbit, much longer than the Bush administration's planned departure date in 2015.
•Going out of existence, allowing the private sector to make the next strides in space exploration.Those are just some of the thoughts circulating through the minds of policymakers, scientists and former astronauts who admire the $17.3 billion-a-year space agency.
Better use for the money?The rest, and there are many, would prefer that NASA's funding instead help address the nation's growing economic ills.
"The situation looks dire to me," said Neal Lane , the White House science adviser to President Clinton who now assesses science and technology matters at Rice University's James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy.
Forged in the Cold War, NASA opened its doors 50 years ago this Wednesday. The agency was organized to respond to the Soviet Union, which had grabbed a worrisome lead in space exploration. Within 11 years of NASA's creation, the Soviets had wilted in a sprint to the moon.
Shuttle nearing endNASA starts its second half century poised for new triumphs: Bush's lunar initiative, the first stop on a pathway to Mars and more distant destinations. But it faces significant obstacles.
The shuttle, after 123 missions punctuated by a pair of in-flight explosions that killed 14 astronauts, will lift off for the final time in late 2010 unless the next president and Congress agree on an extension.
The fate of an underfunded replacement, the Orion moonship and a pair of Ares rocket launchers, rests with the new president and Congress as well.
At best, NASA faces a five-year gap between the last shuttle mission and the inaugural launching of the next spaceship.
During the hiatus, which some experts believe is likely to grow, NASA planned to buy seats on Russian vessels flying to the station. But many lawmakers seem hesitant to approve legislation enabling the payments, given Russia's recent invasion of neighboring Georgia.
So, the choices NASA faces include going to the next president and Congress for an additional $3 billion a year to keep the shuttle flying, cutting back on popular, unmanned science missions or draining funds from the development of the new spaceship.
Lane and others believe NASA's future political footing depends on more than human spaceflight.
And they believe it should build on the global partnerships that NASA established over the last 25 years with Europe, Japan, Canada and Russia to construct the space station.
"Some people are really excited about human spaceflight and some of them about science," said Lane, who supports Bush's lunar initiative but questions its urgency. "Balance is important. If (NASA) becomes a go-back-to-the-moon program, then you really have to have a good answer as to why, and that question has not been answered."
President Bush charted NASA on a course back to the moon in response to those who investigated the Columbia tragedy and concluded the agency lacked the goals worthy of the expense and risk of spaceflight.
His directive called on NASA to ground the shuttle and return to the moon by 2020. By retiring the shuttle and shuttering the space station five years later, NASA would free funds for Constellation, the program for the Orion crew ship, the Ares I and V launchers and a lunar lander.
Some see urgency in the lunar project. It's an echo of the Cold War, they believe, but this time their attention is focused on China's unsettling rise as a potential rival to the U.S. in military and space power.
Chinese gearing upLast week, the formative Chinese space program planned to launch its third orbital mission in five years. The flight was expected to include the country's first spacewalk.
NASA administrator Michael Griffin has warned Congress that China could reach the moon ahead of an America unsure of its future course.
Beijing is between five and 20 years from reaching the moon with astronauts, according to James Lewis, who tracks China's space efforts at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
"We don't want to underestimate the political effect of being a leader in space," Lewis said. "It's a symbol of America's power."
Others view NASA's plans to trump a lunar landing by staffing a permanent moon base as more than a symbolic projection of influence.
"We go back to the moon for a very different reason than we did before. When we went to the moon in the 1960s, it was primarily to show we could do it before the Russians did it," said Paul Spudis, a lunar scientist who served on the President's Commission on Moon, Mars and Beyond, an advisory panel formed in 2004 to advise the White House on space exploration.
"Fundamentally, the new mission is different," he said. "This time, it's to learn how to live and work on another world, how to extract resources."
Under the Bush initiative, NASA would establish a base near the moon's south or north pole. The sites under study rest on the rims of ancient impact craters, places where the sunlight is near constant and close to ice deposits left by comets that slammed into the moon.
Far from the Apollo landing sites of the early '70s, a polar base would enable a new generation of explorers to use some of the electricity generated by sunlight to convert ice into its chemical components, oxygen and hydrogen, as well as into drinking water.
Oxygen would fortify the breathing air, and oxygen and hydrogen could be used to fuel a transcontinental railroad between Earth and the moon.
"New missions will tell us if this is possible or not. If it is, it will fundamentally alter the calculus of spaceflight," Spudis said. "Right now, everything that we take into space, we have to lift up from the surface of the Earth. But we know there are materials and energy in space, not just on the moon, but on asteroids and other bodies. The question is, can you use what you find in space to create a new spacefaring capability? That is what we are trying to do."
But plans for a lunar base threaten to bog down achieving the more compelling goal of exploring Mars, which shares so many similarities with Earth it could be settled by humans, according to other experts.
Earlier this year, a gathering of space experts at Stanford University vowed to press the next president to reassess the Bush initiative, convinced that the expense of a moon base will siphon the resources for a more inspiring mission to Mars.
Mars mission beckons"Push will come to shove. The country is not awash in surplus money," said Louis Friedman, executive director of the Planetary Society, one of those who organized the invitation-only Stanford gathering of academics, aerospace executives and former astronauts.
"It's Mars that pulls us as a species to space," he said, "to wonder about the origin and evolution of life in the universe, whether we can live on other worlds.
"Mars is the only place we can reach where those questions get addressed."
After more than a decade at NASA that included participation in the Apollo 9 mission, former astronaut Rusty Schweickart founded the Association of Space Explorers, a professional group that counts 320 space travelers from more than 30 countries. He now chairs the association's Near Earth Objects Committee, a panel working with the United Nations to address the global threat posed by future asteroid impacts.
It's a threat NASA or some other federal agency should address, according to Schweickart. The task would include identifying the asteroids that pose a collision threat and developing robotic spacecraft that intercept and alter their course.
"We certainly need a space program as much as we ever did. But what you do with it is a different issue," Schweickart said.
"NASA to some extent has acted as if it's in an ivory tower," he said. "It does very interesting and imaginative things. But it's been largely independent of what anybody sees as a public need."

At 78, First Man on the Moon, speaks about the future of NASA

Transcript of a speech by Neil Armstrong, made at NASA's 50th anniversary celebration, hosted by the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC
"In the summer of 1958, the Congress wrote and the President signed the National Space Act establishing the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and I remember the time clearly, 50 years ago this week. I was high above the California desert piloting a B-29 carrier aircraft and launching the X-1E, the latest and most advanced of the fabled X-1 research airplane series.
NASA became an operating agency on October 1st, 1958. I found myself that Wednesday morning going to work at my same job, my same office, doing the same work that I'd been doing the previous day. It was a relatively easy transition. We were already riding on rockets and research aircraft. We already knew how to count backwards: "8, 7, 6, 5..."
We had merely to paint over the "C" in NACA and replace it with an "S" on our airplanes, our trucks and vans, as the other principal components of the new agency, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the California Institute of Technology, and the Army's Redstone Arsenal in Hunstville, Alabama, assumed they were deciding what the minimum amount of painting would be required at their installations and what new responsibilities they would face.
In any case, I suspect there are some number of people here tonight who remember the birth of NASA and were a part of those early days. So I would like to ask those here tonight who were founding members of NASA, those from NACA, those from JPL, those from Redstone, and those who came from various other places to join NASA in the year 1958 – I'd like those of you who are seated in that category to stand, and those of you who are standing to raise your hands and let me hear from you. Congratulations! You've being recognized as old fogies – old fogies that we are and of which we are exceedingly proud.
And here tonight, a half century later, we look back on what has been accomplished. Our knowledge of the universe around us has increased a thousand fold and more. We learned that Homo sapiens was not forever imprisoned by the gravitational field of Earth. Performance, efficiency, reliability and safety of aircraft have improved remarkably. We've sent probes throughout the solar system and beyond. We've seen deeply into our universe and looked backward nearly to the beginning of time.
We were a competitor in perhaps the greatest peacetime competition of all time: the space race – USA versus USSR. Like a war, it was expensive. Like a war, each side wanted intelligence on what the other side was doing. And I'll not assert that the space race was a diversion which prevented a war. Nevertheless, it was a diversion. It was intense. It did allow both sides to take the high road with the objectives of science and learning and exploration.
Eventually, it provided a mechanism for engendering cooperation between adversaries and then since, among others. It was an exceptional national investment for each side. I submit that one of the most important roles of government is to inspire and motivate its citizens, and particularly its young citizens – to love, to learn, to strive to participate in and contribute to societal progress. By that measure, NASA will without doubt rank in the top tier of government enterprises."
The goal is far more than just going faster and higher and further. Our goal – indeed our responsibility – is to develop new options for future generations: options in expanding human knowledge, exploration, human settlements and resource development, outside in the universe around us.
Our highest and most important hope is that the human race will improve its intelligence, its character, and its wisdom, so that we'll be able to properly evaluate and choose among those options, and the many others we will encounter in the years ahead. And I look forward to watching the progress and those exciting development and hearing the status report when we gather again for NASA's 100th anniversary."

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Hmmh. I think we might want to change the name... but I might be wrong. Compound 5 seems lilke you might "apply it directly.." It might show up in

the salad section at your local grocery store... next to the watermelon.

The soft green heart-shaped leaf of the horny goat weed could hold the key to a new drug for treating erectile dysfunction.

FD: It is herb... http://www.herbalremedies.com/horgoatweed6.html


Researchers say the Viagra alternative could be as effective as the famous blue pill, but have fewer side-effects.

Mario Dell'Agli of the University of Milan, Italy, and colleagues tested four plants which are used as natural aphrodisiacs in traditional cultures to establish their potential as alternatives to Viagra. Viagra's active compound, sildenafil, works by inhibiting an enzyme called phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE5). Because PDE5 helps control blood flow to the penis, inhibiting PDE5 promotes male erection.

Dell'Agli and his colleagues tested the four plants in vitro to see how efficient they were at inhibiting PDE5. Just one – Epimedium brevicornum, also known as horny goat weed and Bishop's Hat – had an effect. This confirmed previous studies showing that icariin, a compound found inside the horny goat weed, is a PDE5 inhibitor.

Sildenafil, however, is 80 times more effective at inhibiting PDE5 than icariin. Dell'Agli and his team extracted icariin from the plants, and produced six modified versions of it, which they also tested on PDE5. The most efficient of these, compound 5, "works as well as Viagra", says Dell'Agli. A drug made from compound 5 could also cause fewer side effects than Viagra.
In addition to PDE5, sildenafil affects other phosphodiesterases, including some that are essential to sight and heart function. As a result, people who have heart problems are not advised to take Viagra and patients who do take the drug sometimes suffer disturbances to their eyesight.

Preliminary tests suggest that compound 5 does not affect other phosphodiesterases, meaning it may not have the same side effects as Viagra. Compound 5 will now have to go through lengthy clinical trials before it can be approved as a drug. It could be 10 years before it reaches the market.

In the meantime, "if people eat horny goat weed, I think it can be beneficial because it contains icariin," says Dell'Agli. "But it will not be as effective as Viagra." Horny goat weed is found in the wild in China, Asia and Europe.

The research was supported by private funds, but Dell'Agli declined to provide details.
Journal reference: Journal of Natural Products, DOI: 10.1021/np800049y

Like it when a man ages well... love his products.

Legendary Actor Paul Newman Dies

WESTPORT, Conn. (Sept. 27) - Paul Newman, the Oscar-winning superstar who personified cool as the anti-hero of such films as "Hud," "Cool Hand Luke" and "The Color of Money" — followed by a second act as an activist, race car driver and popcorn impresario — has died. He was 83.
Newman died Friday at his farmhouse near Westport following a long battle with cancer, publicist Jeff Sanderson said. He was surrounded by his family and close friends.

Sounds like they debated. I was working late and recorded it on the DVR...

Mr. Obama sought to undercut his opponents’ extra decades on the world stage by painting him as dangerously hawkish, while Mr. McCain questioned the Democrat’s basic understanding of how and when to wield troops and diplomacy.

“The next president of the United States is not going to have to address the issue as to whether we went into Iraq or not,” Mr. McCain said. “The next president of the United States is going to have to decide how we leave, when we leave, and what we leave behind.”
Mr. Obama lauded the strides U.S. troops have made in Iraq since the surge Mr. McCain pushed for but said, “that was a tactic designed to contain the damage of the previous four years of mismanagement of this war. John, you like to pretend like the war started in 2007. …When the war started, you said it was going to be quick and easy.”
Mr. McCain retorted with condescension, saying, “I’m afraid that Sen. Obama doesn’t understand the difference between a tactic and a strategy.”
Foreign policy was the planned focus of the 90-minute debate at the University of Mississippi. But with Wall Street on the brink of meltdown, talk of nuclear proliferation, Russian aggression in Georgia, China’s growing clout, and threats from Iran and North Korea consumed only about half the time.
Moderator Jim Lehrer of PBS made sure of that, moving straight to the financial crisis that almost kept Mr. McCain from coming. He probed for specifics on how the candidates would bail out the markets, and prodded the senators to engage each other directly on that and other topics — yielding one of the livelier debates in years.
Mr. McCain shrugged off speculation that he might not vote for whatever bailout plan emerges from Congress, to prove his bona fides as a maverick and distance himself from President Bush.
“Sure,” he said, when asked if he’ll support the eventual plan.
Televised debates have been a fixture of presidential campaigns since John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon met in 1960.
Viewership for this debate could hit a record 100 million. But it almost didn’t happen. Mr. McCain dropped a bombshell Wednesday afternoon by threatening a boycott until Congress and White House hammered out a bailout for Wall Street. He didn’t relent until late Friday morning, after an extraordinary White House summit Thursday with Mr. Bush, Mr. Obama and congressional leaders ended without a deal.
Democrats accused him of injecting presidential politics into the talks and setting back progress. But after the debate, the campaign said Mr. McCain was returning to Washington to keep pushing for a breakthrough.
Mr. Obama tried to paint the Republican not as an agent of change but as a champion of policies that led to the crisis — “a theory that basically says that we can shred regulations and consumer protections and give more and more to the most, and somehow prosperity will trickle down. It hasn’t worked.”
Mr. McCain refused to take the blame. “A lot of us saw this train wreck coming,” he said.
Both agreed that the massive bailout will put a huge crimp on their budget priorities as president.
Mr. McCain proposed to freeze spending on everything other than defense, veterans and entitlement programs.
Mr. Obama derided that as simplistic. “The problem with a spending freeze is you’re using a hatchet where you need a scalpel,” he said.
As the relative newcomer, Mr. Obama’s challenge was to present himself as a plausible commander-in-chief. Mr. McCain missed few openings to undercut that effort, ticking off names of world leaders he’s met with and hotspots he’s visited.
He attacked Mr. Obama’s willingness to meet with Iran’s leaders, noting that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called Israel “stinking corpse.” Such a meeting, he said, “isn’t just naive; it’s dangerous.”
He also accused Mr. Obama of “naïveté” when Russia invaded Georgia, by calling on restraint from both sides when Russia was clearly the aggressor — loaded language clearly meant to cast doubt on the Democrat’s readiness to lead.
Mr. Obama responded with derision of his own, noting that former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger — a longtime McCain friend and sometime adviser — has agreed on the advisability of meeting with adversaries like Iran.
And he poked Mr. McCain for refusing recently to commit to a meeting with Spain’s new president — though Mr. Obama slipped and referred to the prime minister.
“I mean, Spain? Spain is a NATO ally,” Mr. Obama said. “If we can’t meet with our friends, I don’t know how we’re going to lead the world in terms of dealing with critical issues like terrorism.”
Mr. McCain slipped a few times himself, rushing through some of his stock lines so fast he mangled them.
His oft-told joke about $3 million spent studying the DNA of bears in Montana fell flat with a punch line about whether that was a criminal or “paternal” case (he meant paternity). His tough talk on pork-barrel spending came out as a threat to block every federal outlay. “I’ve got a pen,” he said, gesturing with his Sharpie, “and I’m going to veto every single spending bill that crosses my desk.”
The debate came as Mr. Obama has pulled into a slight lead in polls this week.
In one testy exchange, Mr. McCain called out his opponent as someone who can’t figure out how to act in a bipartisan way because “it’s hard to reach across the aisle from that far to the left.”
“John mentioned me being wildly liberal,” Mr. Obama shot back. “Mostly that’s just me opposing George Bush’s wrong headed policies since I’ve been in Congress.”

Gov. Bill Richardson, D-N.M., a former United Nations ambassador, predicted that the debate would leave more voters than ever comfortable with the idea of Mr. Obama as commander-in-chief.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a key McCain confidant, asserted that the Republican’s decades of experience provided an “ace in the hole”– and said the market turmoil made the stakes unusually high Friday.

Friday, September 26, 2008

It will be the first time Chinese yuhangyuan (astronauts) have ventured outside their spacecraft.

Three China astronauts braced for walk.

China's three astronauts have spent their first day in orbit preparing for the mission's spacewalk
A 42-year-old fighter pilot, Zhai Zhigang, is due to carry out the 20-minute manoeuvre at 1630 Beijing Time (0830 GMT) on Saturday.
It will be the first time Chinese yuhangyuan (astronauts) have ventured outside their spacecraft. Their Shenzhou VII capsule soared into orbit on a Long March II-F rocket from Jiuquan spaceport in north-west China. The rocket put the Shenzhou capsule in a near-circular orbit more than 300km above the Earth.

Mr Zhai is joined on the mission by two other "yuhangyuan" - Liu Boming and Jing Haipeng.
Zhang Jianqi, one of the chief engineers for China's space programme, said keeping three men in the spacecraft, and then sending one outside, would be a "big test".
"This is a big technological leap," he told state-run news agency Xinhua.
"The risks are quite high. Sending up three astronauts is a jump both in quantity and quality."
When Mr Zhai carries out his extra-vehicular activity (EVA), he is expected to wear a Chinese-made spacesuit thought to have cost between £5m and £20m ($10m-$40m).

China Space History Events
1958: Base for spaceflights built at Jiuquan, in Gobi desert
April 1970: China launches its first satellite into space
1990-2002: Shenzhou I-IV are launched to develop systems
Oct 2003: The first manned space mission launches on Shenzhou V
Oct 2005: The Shenzhou VI mission takes two men into space
Oct 2007: Chang'e-1 orbiter sent on unmanned mission to the Moon

The yuhanguan will be tethered to the capsule with a cable that provides him with life support and a communications link with the spacecraft.
His back-up, Mr Liu, will monitor the activity, presumably to reel the spacewalker back inside if there is an emergency.
Mr Zhai will retrieve an externally mounted experiment and oversee the release of a satellite.
At the end of the mission, the Shenzhou re-entry capsule will target a landing in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.
China became only the third nation after the United States and Russia to independently put a man in space when Yang Liwei, another fighter pilot, went into orbit on the Shenzhou V mission in October 2003.
Two years later, Fei Junlong and Nie Haisheng completed a five-day flight on Shenzhou VI.
According to the Associated Press, China's official news agency posted an article on its website prior to the lift-off that was written as if Shenzhou VII had already been launched into space.
Please turn on JavaScript. Media requires JavaScript to play.
China's Shenzhou VII rocket blasts off
The article reportedly carried a date of 27 September and came complete with a dialogue between the astronauts.
Chinese media report that this latest mission is the "most critical step" in the country's "three-step" space programme.
These stages are: sending a human into orbit, docking spacecraft together to form a small laboratory and, ultimately, building a large space station.
The Shenzhou VIII and IX missions are expected to help set up a space laboratory complex in 2010.
China launched an unmanned Moon probe last year about one month after rival Japan blasted its own lunar orbiter into space.
Story from BBC NEWS:http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/science/nature/7637818.stm

When China successfully launched its first manned space flight in October 2003, there were some differences of opinion in English-language reports about what to call the pilot, Colonel Yang Liwei.
Ever since the start of space travel we’ve had two words for a space traveller, cosmonaut from the old USSR and the more common US term astronaut. A third began to appear about 1999 in reference to the Chinese space programme: taikonaut, a cross-bred offspring of the Chinese term tai kong, space, with the -naut ending of the other terms (which derives from Greek nautes, a sailor). Taikonaut seems to have been invented by amateur space enthusiasts and taken up by journalists.
However, the usual Chinese term is yuhangyuan, which has been used for many years to refer to participants in the American and Russian space programmes. This has been borrowed by English-language newspapers in the last couple of months or so in reports of the Chinese project. It’s a transliteration of Chinese words that literally mean “universe travel worker”, an individual paid to go into space. Knowing that somehow takes the mystery out of it.
Since astronaut is available, why English-language writers are bothering with the Chinese word isn’t clear (especially when the China Daily and the South China Morning Post both use astronaut in their English-language reports). Perhaps it’s just the restless journalistic quest for novelty. If so, yuhangyuan is likely soon to vanish from English again.
[Many thanks to Martin Turner in Hong Kong for his help.]
As the countdown clock ticks away, best-guesses have set the Chinese launching of their first taikonaut, or yuhangyuan, into orbit on or around Oct. 15, 2003.
[International Herald Tribune, 10 Oct. 2003]
After the launch from the Jiuquan site in Gansu province, the Shenzhou is expected to make more than a dozen orbits of Earth, providing time for a possible spacewalk by the yuhangyuan who by then will not be feeling the weight of their 10kg spacesuits.
[The Guardian, 6 Oct. 2003]

Thursday, September 25, 2008

While the USa Presidential Campaign Gets Bogged Down in the Economy... We return to Spce this Week.

NASA’s Dirty Secret: Moon Dust
ScienceDaily (Sep. 24, 2008) — The Apollo Moon missions of 1969-1972 all share a dirty secret. “The major issue the Apollo astronauts pointed out was dust, dust, dust,” says Professor Larry Taylor, Director of the Planetary Geosciences Institute at the University of Tennessee. Fine as flour and rough as sandpaper, Moon dust caused ‘lunar hay fever,’ problems with space suits, and dust storms in the crew cabin upon returning to space.
Taylor and other scientists will present their research on lunar dust at the “Living on a Dusty Moon” session on Thursday, 9 October 2008, at the Joint Meeting of the Geological Society of America (GSA), Soil Science Society of America (SSSA), American Society of Agronomy (ASA), Crop Science Society of America (CSSA), and Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies (GCAGS) in Houston, Texas, USA.* NASA will use these findings to plan a safer manned mission to the Moon in 2018. Taylor will also deliver a Pardee Keynote Session talk on Sunday, 5 October 2008 entitled “Formation and Evolution of Lunar Soil from An Apollo Perspective.”
The trouble with moon dust stems from the strange properties of lunar soil. The powdery grey dirt is formed by micrometeorite impacts which pulverize local rocks into fine particles. The energy from these collisions melts the dirt into vapor that cools and condenses on soil particles, coating them in a glassy shell.
These particles can wreak havoc on space suits and other equipment. During the Apollo 17 mission, for example, crewmembers Harrison “Jack” Schmitt and Gene Cernan had trouble moving their arms during moonwalks because dust had gummed up the joints. “The dust was so abrasive that it actually wore through three layers of Kevlar-like material on Jack’s boot,” Taylor says.
To make matters worse, lunar dust suffers from a terrible case of static cling. UV rays drive electrons out of lunar dust by day, while the solar wind bombards it with electrons by night.
Cleaning the resulting charged particles with wet-wipes only makes them cling harder to camera lenses and helmet visors. Mian Abbas of the National Space Science and Technology Center in Huntsville, Alabama, will discuss electrostatic charging on the moon and how dust circulates in lunar skies.
Luckily, lunar dust is also susceptible to magnets. Tiny specks of metallic iron (Fe0) are embedded in each dust particle’s glassy shell. Taylor has designed a magnetic filter to pull dust from the air, as well as a “dust sucker” that uses magnets in place of a vacuum.
He has also discovered that microwaves melt lunar soil in less time than it takes to boil a cup of tea. He envisions a vehicle that could microwave lunar surfaces into roads and landing pads as it drives, and a device to melt soil over lunar modules to provide insulation against space radiation. The heating process can also produce oxygen for breathing.
But the same specks of iron that could make moon dust manageable also pose a potential threat to human health, according to Bonnie Cooper at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. “Those tiny blebs of pure iron we see on the surface of lunar grains are likely to be released from the outside edges of the particle in the lungs and enter the bloodstream,” she says. Preliminary studies suggest that the inhalation of lunar dust may pose a health hazard, possibly including iron toxicity. Members of NASA’s Lunar Airborne Dust Toxicity Advisory Group, Cooper, Taylor, and colleagues are studying how moon dust affects the respiratory system. They plan to set a lunar dust exposure standard by 2010, in time for NASA engineers to design a safer and cleaner trip to the Moon.
*On 9 October, the following abstracts will be presented in the George R. Brown Convention Center, Room 310AD at the Joint Meeting:
Abstracts, Session 345: “Living on a Dusty Moon”
Abstract 345-1 (Taylor): “Formation of Lunar Dust: Unique Properties for a Human Outpost”
Abstract 345-9 (Cooper): “Physical and Biological Hazards of Lunar Dust and Their Impact on Habitat and Space Suit Design”

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Japan and China Continue the Space Race without USA

Space Elevator: Most of a rocket’s fuel is spent blasting through Earth’s thick atmosphere and out of the planetâ€s strong gravitational field. But here’s an alternate strategy for getting payloads up to space: Construct a 62,000-mile-long cable jutting straight out from the equator, hold it in place with centripetal force, then lift satellites and spacecraft out of the atmosphere with a giant freight elevator.

One major hang-up: Cable strong enough to support the system does not yet exist, though it could be made from carbon nanotubes.

Shown above is “The Climber” which sill carry the payload. Photo by John Macneill

Japanese scientists are also attempting stepping into space - planning a lift that will take passengers 100,000 kilometres high. The project could see the realisation of a science fiction vision.The lift's carriages, which will themselves require new feats of engineering, would move up and down cables stronger and lighter than any material ever woven. They would be anchored to the ground and disappear into the sky, eventually reaching a satellite docking station orbiting above the Earth.Scientists hope that as well as carrying human passengers, the carriages could also haul huge, solar-powered generators that could power homes and businesses back on Earth. It could also remove barrels of nuclear waste, dumping them into space."Just like travelling abroad, anyone will be able to ride the elevator into space," Shuichi Ono, chairman of the Japan Space Elevator Association, told The Times.The project has sparked swift reaction from other quarters: several competing space lift projects are now believed to be under way, with NASA among those involved.An international conference is to be held in Japan in November, aiming to draw up a detailed timetable for the machine's production.It is thought the concept of the lift was first envisioned by the sci-fi writer Arthur C. Clarke, in his 1979 book The Fountains of Paradise.

Another great leap forward for China
Jon Swaine, London
September 24, 2008

Chinese astronaut Nie Haisheng is helped out of the re-entry capsule of China's second manned spacecraft, Shenzhou VI, in 2005. Photo: Reuters
CHINA'S ambitious space program is to take a giant leap this week when three astronauts blast off on a mission to take the nation's first space walk.
The Long March rocket, in position at the north-western Jiuquan launch centre, will lift the Shenzhou VII capsule into orbit late on Thursday for China's third manned flight.
According to government websites, Air Force Colonel Zhai Zhigang, 42, will make history when he steps out of the capsule on Friday or Saturday.
The 68-hour mission will bring China closer to its goal of building a small space laboratory, and later a space station, and will ramp up national pride after the Olympics and before National Day on October 1.
"My impression is that everything is going well in the final days before the launch," said Morris Jones, an Australian analyst who has closely studied China's space efforts.
"/>China became the third nation after the US and Russia to independently put a man in space when Yang Liwei, a fighter pilot, flew aboard the Shenzhou V in October 2003. In 2005, two astronauts manned the five-day Shenzhou VI mission.

Phoenix is turning over every rock, looking for water on Mars...

NASA's Phoenix Lander Might Peek Under A Rock
September 22, 2008 --- If the robotic arm on NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander can nudge a rock aside today, scientists on the Phoenix team would like to see what's underneath.
Engineers who develop commands for the robotic arm have prepared a plan to try displacing a rock on the north side of the lander. This rock, roughly the size and shape of a VHS videotape, is informally named "Headless."
"We don't know whether we can do this until we try," said Ashitey Trebi Ollennu, a robotics engineer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "The idea is to move the rock with minimum disturbance to the surface beneath it. You have to get under it enough to lift it as you push it and it doesn't just slip off the scoop."
The lander receives commands for the whole day in the morning, so there's no way to adjust in mid-move if the rock starts slipping. Phoenix took stereo-pair images of Headless to provide a detailed three-dimensional map of it for planning the arm's motions.
On Saturday, Sept. 20, the arm enlarged a trench close to Headless. Commands sent to Phoenix Sunday evening, Sept. 21, included a sequence of arm motions for today, intended to slide the rock into the trench.

There might be a Sucker Punch behind this move...

McCain Makes Request to delay debate due to economy
06:02 PM CDT on Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) -- The economic crisis and raw politics threatened to derail the first presidential debate as John McCain challenged Barack Obama to delay the Friday forum and join forces to help Washington fix the financial mess.

Obama rebuffed his GOP rival, saying the next president needs to "deal with more than one thing at once." The White House rivals maneuvered to claim the leadership role in resolving the economic turmoil that has overshadowed their campaign six weeks before Election Day.

Obama said he would proceed with his debate preparations while consulting with bailout negotiators and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. McCain said he would stop all advertising, fundraising and other campaign events to return to Washington and work for a bipartisan solution. "It's my belief that this is exactly the time when the American people need to hear from the person who, in approximately 40 days, will be responsible for dealing with this mess," Obama said at a news conference in Clearwater, Fla. "It's going to be part of the president's job to deal with more than one thing at once."

But McCain said they must focus on a bipartisan solution to the nation's financial woes as the Bush administration's $700 billion bailout proposal seemed headed for defeat. If not, McCain said ominously, credit will dry up, people will no longer be able to buy homes, life savings will be at stake and businesses will not have enough money to pay workers. "It has become clear that no consensus has developed to support the administration's proposal," McCain said. "I do not believe that the plan on the table will pass as it currently stands, and we are running out of time." Sen. Lindsey Graham, McCain's representative in debate negotiations, said McCain will not attend the debate "unless there is an agreement that would provide a solution" to the financial crisis. Graham, R-S.C., told The Associated Press that the agreement would have to be publicly endorsed by Obama, McCain, the White House and congressional leaders, but not necessarily given final passage by the House and Senate.

Asked whether the debate could go forward if McCain doesn't show, Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs replied, "My sense is there's going to be a stage, a moderator, an audience and at least one presidential candidate." Their competing positions came after the two senators spoke privately, each trying to portray himself as the bipartisan leader in a time of crisis. McCain beat Obama to the punch with the first public statement. He said he had spoken to President Bush and asked him to convene a leadership meeting in Washington that would include him and Obama.

Even as McCain said he was putting the good of the country ahead of politics, his surprise announcement was clearly political.

It was an attempt to try to outmaneuver Obama on an issue in which he's trailing, the economy, as the Democrat gains in polls. He quickly went before TV cameras minutes after speaking with Obama and before the two campaigns had hammered out a joint statement expressing that Congress should act urgently on the bailout.

And while McCain's campaign said he would "suspend" his campaign, it simply will move to Washington knowing the spotlight will remain on him no matter where he is.

Obama, too, made a political calculation by rejecting McCain's challenge while trying to still appear on top of the problem.

Obama repeatedly stressed at his news conference that he called McCain first to propose that they issue a joint statement in support of a package to help fix the economy as soon as possible. He said McCain called back several hours later, as Obama was leaving a rally in Florida, and agreed to the idea of a statement but also said he wanted to postpone the debate and hold joint meetings in Washington. Obama said he suggested they first issue a joint statement showing bipartisanship. "When I got back to the hotel, he had gone on television to announce what he was going to do," Obama said. McCain said he would return to Washington after addressing former President Clinton's Global Initiative session in New York Thursday. He canceled his planned appearance Wednesday on CBS' "Late Show With David Letterman" program and a meeting with the prime minister of India. McCain called Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to propose that joint meetings with Obama and congressional leadership be held quickly, according to leadership aides. Reid spokesman Jim Manley said Reid responded by reading McCain his public statement, in which he said it would not be helpful to have the candidates come back during negotiations and inject presidential politics. The Commission on Presidential Debates and the University of Mississippi, the site of the forum, said they were moving forward with plans for the debate. McCain's running mate, Sarah Palin, was canceling her limited campaign events.

Palin said in an interview with CBS Evening News Wednesday that the country could be headed for another Great Depression if Congress doesn't reach a solution.

McCain adviser Steve Schmidt would not say how long the suspension would last but indicated it would go through the weekend, in order to reach agreement on a deal before the markets open on Monday. McCain has struggled with how to handle the financial situation, which he might escape with modest political damage if he and Obama could reach some type of accord on the matter. Scores of congressional Republicans have hinted this week they may oppose the proposed $700 billion bailout even though it is Bush's priority. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., pointedly suggested that Democratic lawmakers could not be expected to back it if McCain did not publicly do so. That leaves McCain with two unpalatable choices. He can oppose a major Republican initiative that the administration says is essential to preventing a full-blown recession, and risk heavy blame if the prediction comes true. Or he can vote for an extraordinarily costly bailout, which many Americans seem to resent, just when polls show him falling farther behind Obama. Several GOP lawmakers and strategists said they see no way that McCain can oppose the main elements of the bailout plan and present himself as a bold leader. He must say, "we need to get this done for the future of our country," said John Feehery, a former aide to top Republican lawmakers. "Country first," Feehery said, noting McCain's campaign slogan. But McCain might reap few political rewards for such a move. Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., said he has not found any Republican colleagues who say the proposed bailout "is popular in their district."

Of course, Obama also risks angry voter reactions if he supports the bailout plan. But he could frame his stand as bipartisan statesmanship, whereas McCain's vote could be spun as another example of his siding with Bush, a major impediment to his campaign.

OK. What is wrong with this picture? Does it look like a good use of YOUR MONEY?

Why does this come up during the final round of our political election campaign?
See an earlier post on this topic.

Fort Worth officials look to join pants-raising effort

FORT WORTH — City officials want to continue to, ahem, get behind a public education drive aimed at convincing young men to give up their saggy pants.
City Councilman Frank Moss said Tuesday he wants to make sure the "Pull ’Em Up" campaign reaches parents, not just teenagers and young men.
"We’re going to continue to encourage parental involvement," Moss said in a briefing on the campaign at the City Council meeting Tuesday. "They don’t know it’s hampering their [children’s] opportunities."

The problem The sagging style — oversized pants worn low, often revealing a pair of boxer shorts — is widely believed to have its roots in prison culture.

Prisoners in some states weren’t issued belts. Rap artists picked up the style, and it became popular among young people of all stripes.
By the late 1990s, it could be found in schools and on street corners around the country. Moss and other organizers are worried that young men who wear saggy pants may be hurting their chances of getting jobs.
"This is prison," Moss said. "That’s what it is. They just brought it to the outside."
The campaign so far
Dallas City Councilman Dwaine Caraway pushed for an ordinance banning saggy pants in 2007 but backed off when warned that a ban would be unconstitutional.
Instead, he began enlisting support for a public education drive. That grew into the "Pull ’Em Up" campaign.
Fort Worth council members approved a resolution in January supporting the campaign. Clear Channel Outdoor donated billboard space, and an artist drew up a poster. Businesses and a law firm donated cash.
Umoja, a volunteer group that mentors young men, has sponsored a "pull ’em up" basketball tournament, a dance and other events. Umoja volunteers passed out more than 3,500 pushcards at the Fort Worth school district’s annual Cowtown Roundup, which distributes school supplies and clothes to children.
The future

One big question about the program is whether it’s working.

Moss said he wants to assess the results and make adjustments if necessary.
Umoja plans more events, including another basketball tournament, football-watching parties, a father-son football game and possibly a rap concert.
Mayor Mike Moncrief said the city could encourage amusement parks, sports venues and the Fort Worth Zoo to put up posters for the program. He also suggested putting bumper stickers on the city’s cars and trucks.
"So wherever they go with their pants down around their ankles, they’re going to see signs that say 'Don’t do that,’ " Moncrief said.
MIKE LEE, 817-390-7539
Gasoline supplies are tight in
Dallas-Fort Worth Area
09:29 AM CDT on Wednesday, September 24, 2008
By ZACHARY WARMBRODT / The Dallas Morning News zwarmbrodt@dallasnews.com
Hurricane Ike is hitting North Texas gasoline stations hard this week – causing delays in fuel shipments and spot shortages.

Drivers should expect more frequent shortages in the next two weeks as the Texas Gulf Coast's refining capacity continues to come back online, fuel distributors said Tuesday. But after that, supplies should be back to normal, distributors said.
And prices should remain stable, as the major brands of oil locked in their prices before Ike made landfall.
Retail stations said shortages arose at the end of the last workweek. And some gas station owners are desperate. John Benda, owner of Fuel City stations in Dallas, said he expected to run out of regular gasoline by Tuesday evening. "I've been calling all day and begging," Mr. Benda said. "It's been a big problem for the past five days."
Some stations said they were out of gas by Saturday or Sunday. And some Dallas, Richardson and Mansfield stations reported shortages over the last few days.
"You'll drive around and you'll see a lot of bagged pumps," said Rick Canady, president of Fort Worth's Lucky Lady Oil Co.

Distributors and service station operators said drivers should keep a full tank until shortages subside.

Don't panic

But Jim Ervin, AAA Texas area district manager, cautioned that a run on the pumps could make matters worse. He advised consumers not to panic.
"If we look over history from 9/11 to hurricanes, we have never run out as long as we don't panic buy," he said. "If we panic buy because we think it's going to run out, we'll definitely have shortages."

Hurricane Ike, which swept through the state almost two weeks ago, forced the shutdown of Gulf Coast gasoline pipelines and oil refineries.
They are in varying stages of restarting, which is putting the squeeze on supply in North Texas and across the Southeast.
Louisiana, Tennessee and Georgia were all reporting sporadic shortages this week.
"It's largely a function of how the distribution system is working right now," said Bruce Bullock, director of Southern Methodist University's Maguire Energy Institute.
"If you look up to, say, the mid-South region – Atlanta, Nashville, up in the Carolinas and so forth – most of their gasoline comes from the Colonial Pipeline. The gasoline that actually feeds that comes from the Houston refineries."
Until those refineries are up and running, he said, they're not able to feed that pipeline.
Most of North Texas' gasoline supply comes from refineries along the Texas Gulf Coast, which account for about 20 percent of the country's refining capacity.
"There have been a lot of refineries that aren't fully restarted and back at full rates yet," said Bill Day, spokesman for San Antonio-based Valero Energy Corp.
"It has been a lengthy process coming back up from Hurricane Ike, mostly because of power issues – and in our case, things like utilities and fresh water supply."
Local terminals
John Clark, a dispatcher for PM Fuel Services Inc., takes requests from gas stations and passes them along to the company's truck drivers, who pick up the fuel from local terminals attached to pipelines coming from the Gulf Coast.
He said the terminals have started to ration the amount of gasoline they let trucks pick up, so station owners are getting less fuel than usual and less frequently.
Suppliers set prices at 6 p.m. and allow trucks to pick up the fuel at midnight.
"Usually around 7 or 8 in the morning, the product's done," Mr. Clark said. "You can't get [any] more."
Mr. Clark said PM Fuel Services is 10 to 12 loads of fuel behind in orders per day.
Two weeks after Hurricane Rita made landfall, he said, the company was behind up to 50 loads a day.
Normally a station would get an entire truckload of gasoline – about 9,000 gallons. Now, the company splits one truck between four or five stores.
"We've been called everything you can imagine," he said. "They think we're just being mean to them by not bringing them gas. It's because we can't get none."

Just pulled this out of the email box... too many this week. I need to set my DVR for this one.

Freddallas --

This Friday, we'll reach another milestone in this campaign -- the first debate of the general election, on September 26th at 9:00 p.m. Eastern time.

Millions of Americans will tune in to watch Barack debate John McCain about America's foreign policy and our role in the world. Barack will share his plan to bring the change we need -- to restore our place in the world, ensure security at home and abroad, and reestablish the United States as the world's economic leader. This is a great opportunity for you to learn more about the issues. And it's also a great opportunity for you to share Barack's message of change with your friends, family, and neighbors by attending or hosting a Debate Watch Party. Watch the debate with friends and supporters, and talk about how you can get involved in this movement. I recorded a brief message about these parties. Please take a moment to watch the video and sign up to attend or host a Debate Watch Party in your community.
Many Americans are still learning about Barack and this movement for change. They don't know about his plan to restore the middle class, cut taxes for 95 percent of American families, provide health care for every American, achieve energy independence, improve our schools, and responsibly end the war in Iraq.

Many people also don't know that John McCain has voted with George Bush more than 90 percent of the time -- including to continue Bush's failed Iraq policies, not investigating the government response to Katrina, not supporting children's health care, not supporting college benefits for returning veterans, and passing tax cuts for the rich at the expense of the middle class.

This debate is a chance for Americans to hear directly from Barack. And with just a few weeks left before Election Day, it's more important than ever that we bring people together and talk about the issues that matter in our communities.

I hope you'll watch my short message and sign up to attend or even host a Debate Watch Party: http://my.barackobama.com/debate

Thank you for all that you're doing,

If only I had gotten mine for this election... with five dogs, we could have gotten through the candidates quickly!

CHEWY: A petfood company has created rubber chew toys in the likeness of Helen Clark and John Key for the KIWI election campaign.

New Zealand's top politicians are going to the dogs this election.
Petfood company Masterpet has launched its own election campaign, in a bid to predict which party leader is going to be "dog tucker" come November 8.
The company has created rubber chew toys in the likeness of Helen Clark and John Key for the campaign.
Masterpet will monitor sales of the toys, holding their own mini-election to see which toy is most preferred by pet owners. The sales results will be posted online as 'political polls' on the political blog kiwiblog.co.nz.
Masterpet North Island sales manager Peter Couchman urged people to get in quick, saying that like politicians, the toy's shelf life might be limited.
"Early data in our reverse poll (the "dog tucker" poll) suggests a preference for Helen Clark. But this is one poll she may not want to be ahead in!”
The figures had the Clark toy cornering 59 per cent of the market, with Key trailing with 26 per cent of sales.
Masterpet have also released rubber toys of popular current affairs show hosts Mark Sainsbury and John Campbell.
Campbell is currently leading early sales with 9 per cent of all toys sold, with Sainsbury on 6 per cent.
The toys are available at specialty pet stores, vet clinics and selected supermarkets.
1. Remember your purchase is part of a political poll - your vote counts
2. Wear suitable ear protection when supervising your dog's playtime with the toy. As with real politicians, the squealing can become quite deafening.
3. Keep dog on a leash if around real politicians. Masterpet does not accept any liability for dog toy mistaken identity.
4. When choosing a toy, take your dog along with you. Man's best friend doesn't like political ideologies thrust upon him/her more than the next person.
5.If your dog destroys the politician in the first five minutes don't hold this against your dog - the media do it every week.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Bin Laden: Goal is to bankrupt U.S. How well did he do?

Osama said he would bankrupt the United States and cause the loss of a huge number of jobs. You read and decide if he is more successful than Bush.
Al-Jazeera releases full transcript of al Qaeda leader's tapeMonday, November 1, 2004

Posted: 8:07 PM EST (0107 GMT) (CNN) -- The Arabic-language network Al-Jazeera released a full transcript Monday of the most recent videotape from Osama bin Laden in which the head of al Qaeda said his group's goal is to force America into bankruptcy.Al-Jazeera aired portions of the videotape Friday but released the full transcript of the entire tape on its Web site Monday."We are continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy. Allah willing, and nothing is too great for Allah," bin Laden said in the transcript.He said the mujahedeen fighters did the same thing to the Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the 1980s, "using guerrilla warfare and the war of attrition to fight tyrannical superpowers.""We, alongside the mujahedeen, bled Russia for 10 years until it went bankrupt and was forced to withdraw in defeat," bin Laden said.He also said al Qaeda has found it "easy for us to provoke and bait this administration.""All that we have to do is to send two mujahedeen to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written al Qaeda, in order to make generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic and political losses without their achieving anything of note other than some benefits for their private corporations," bin Laden said.Al-Jazeera executives said they decided to post the entire speech because rumors were circulating that the network omitted parts that "had direct threats toward specific states, which was totally untrue.""We chose the most newsworthy parts of the address and aired them. The rest was used in lower thirds in graphics format," said one official.U.S. intelligence officials Monday confirmed that the transcript made public Monday by Al-Jazeera was a complete one.As part of the "bleed-until-bankruptcy plan," bin Laden cited a British estimate that it cost al Qaeda about $500,000 to carry out the attacks of September 11, 2001, an amount that he said paled in comparison with the costs incurred by the United States."Every dollar of al Qaeda defeated a million dollars, by the permission of Allah, besides the loss of a huge number of jobs," he said. "As for the economic deficit, it has reached record astronomical numbers estimated to total more than a trillion dollars.The total U.S. national debt is more than $7 trillion. The U.S. federal deficit was $413 billion in 2004, according to the Treasury Department."It is true that this shows that al Qaeda has gained, but on the other hand it shows that the Bush administration has also gained, something that anyone who looks at the size of the contracts acquired by the shady Bush administration-linked mega-corporations, like Halliburton and its kind, will be convinced."And it all shows that the real loser is you," he said. "It is the American people and their economy."As for President Bush's Iraq policy, Bin Laden said, "the darkness of black gold blurred his vision and insight, and he gave priority to private interests over the public interests of America."So the war went ahead, the death toll rose, the American economy bled, and Bush became embroiled in the swamps of Iraq that threaten his future," bin Laden said.U.S. government officials said Friday that the tape appeared to be authentic and recently made. It was the first videotaped message from the al Qaeda leader in nearly three years.http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/meast/11/01/binladen.tape/

Just and Update: Twenty is just not as mature as it used to be...

Hunt for Palin hacker shaping up to be simple case
By LARA JAKES JORDAN – 6 hours ago
WASHINGTON (AP) — The hunt for the hacker who broke into Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's personal e-mail account is shaping up to be a remarkably simple investigation, by the standards of major cybersecurity whodunits.
U.S. investigators figure the hacker claimed responsibility in a detailed accounting that included his own personal e-mail address and that he tried to cover his trail using a U.S. Internet anonymity service that has been surprisingly cooperative with the FBI in efforts to peel away that anonymity.
Not exactly the plot of a Hollywood thriller.
In what may be a significant break in the case, the FBI searched the residence of the son of a Democratic state lawmaker in Tennessee over the weekend looking for evidence linking the young man to the break-in, two law enforcement officials told The Associated Press. The apartment the FBI searched is in a complex about five blocks from the University of Tennessee campus, in a neighborhood popular with students.
David Kernell, 20, has not returned repeated phone calls or e-mails from the AP since last week. His lawyer said Monday the family is going through a difficult period. Kernell is an economics major at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.
"The Kernell family wants to do the right thing, and they want what is best for their son," said attorney Wade V. Davies of Knoxville. "We are confident that the truth will emerge as we go through the process. David is a decent and intelligent young man, and I look forward to assisting him during this difficult period."
Kernell is the son of state Rep. Mike Kernell, a Memphis Democrat and chairman of Tennessee's House Government Operations Committee. The father declined last week to discuss the possibility his son might be involved in the case.
"I had nothing to do with it, I had no knowledge or anything," Mike Kernell told the AP last week.
"I was not a party to anything of this nature at all," he added. "I wasn't in on this — and I wouldn't know how to do anything like that."
No one answered the door at Mike Kernell's home in Memphis on Monday, and he did not return repeated phone calls Monday from the AP.
Palin's e-mail account with Yahoo Inc. was compromised last week by a hacker who revealed as evidence a few inconsequential personal messages she has received since John McCain selected her as his running mate. The McCain campaign confirmed the break-in and called it a "shocking invasion of the governor's privacy and a violation of law."
Palin used "gov.sarah" in one of her Yahoo e-mail addresses she sometimes uses to conduct state business. The hacker targeted her separate "gov.palin" account.
During the break-in, the hacker used an Internet address that traced to David Kernell's apartment complex in Knoxville. The FBI obtained logs Saturday establishing the connection from Gabriel Ramuglia of Athens, Ga., who operates an Internet anonymity service used by the hacker.
Ramuglia told the AP the FBI asked him to confirm that the address appeared in his records. Ramuglia said his logs showed the hacker visiting Yahoo's mail service, resetting Palin's password and announcing results of the break-in on a Web site where the hacking was first disclosed.
"I think he just didn't realize the severity of what he was doing until afterwards," Ramuglia said.
After the break-in, a person claiming responsibility published a detailed chronology of the hacking on the same Web site. That person identified his e-mail address as one that has been linked publicly to David Kernell.
Kernell's father, Mike Kernell, has a strait-laced reputation among his colleagues.
"Mike Kernell is your quintessential Boy Scout," said state Rep. John Deberry, another Democrat. "Mike follows the rules. He will almost get on your nerve as far as making sure things are done by the book."
"If Mike had known anything about this, he would have had a fit on his son," Deberry said. "When I saw his reaction when he first heard about it, the absolute fear and shock that was on his face, I realized then he had absolutely nothing to do with it."
Experts said the hacker apparently left an easy trail for investigators.
"He might as well have taken a picture of his house and uploaded it," said Ken Pfeil, an Internet security expert. "He should have just set up a big beacon that said, 'Here's my house,' or confessed. If they can't catch this guy based on all the information posted on the Web then all bets are off."
Associated Press writers Ted Bridis in Washington, Erik Schelzig and Lucas L. Johnson II in Nashville, Tenn., and Beth Rucker in Knoxville contributed to this report.


Palin hacker's IP address linked to Tennessee college dorm
By Sam Gustin, Portfolio.com Published: September 22, 2008 - 10:00AM CT
Related Stories
Alleged 1st-person tale of Palin e-mail hack comes and goes
Hack of Palin e-mail makes case for sticking with .gov account
Palin comes under fire for using Yahoo e-mail for state biz
The hacker who broke into GOP vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin's e-mail account used the internet service provider of a Knoxville, Tennessee student housing complex under federal investigation.
Federal agents executed a search warrant early Sunday morning at the apartment of a University of Tennessee student in connection with the probe.
In the days since news of the Palin hack broke, Web sleuths have focused on the 20-year-old student, whose father is a Democratic state representative in Tennessee.
But Portfolio.com has learned that the IP address used by the Palin hacker originated from an Illinois-based ISP called Pavlov Media, which provides internet service to The Commons at Knoxville, a University of Tennessee student housing complex.
In an interview with Portfolio.com, Gabriel Ramuglia, who runs Ctunnel.com, a proxy service used by the hacker to try to disguise his identity, said federal investigators asked him about a single IP address which has become the focus of the government's probe into the hacking of Palin's Yahoo e-mail account.
Ramuglia quickly matched the IP address to one found in his logs, which he said displayed Web activity "consistent with what web sites the hacker was expected to have visited through my service."
"The person visited Yahoo Mail, 4chan.org, and the Web addresses that were visible in the posted screenshots," Ramuglia told Portfolio.com Sunday night.
Ramuglia declined to provide the user's full IP address, but Portfolio.com has learned that the address falls within the range operated by Pavlov Media, formerly known as Fusion Broadband, which was created through a 2004 merger between Noment Networks and Distributed Management Information Systems, Inc. (DMISI).
Pavlov Media operates the internet service for The Commons at Knoxville apartment complex, which has become the center of attention in the Palin hack probe. The FBI showed up early Sunday morning at the apartment of the student, the son of a Democratic state representative from Memphis.
The student was apparently hosting a party at his apartment when the feds arrived.
WBIR of Knoxville reported that a Justice Department spokesperson confirmed "investigatory activity" in Knoxville related to the Palin case, and a separate law enforcement source confirmed that a search warrant was served. As of Sunday evening, no charges had been filed in the case.
News of the search warrant came just days after someone named "rubico" posted a mea culpa on 4chan.org, an online bulletin board frequented by individuals associated with "Anonymous," an amorphous, largely unorganized movement of hackers who gained notoriety after some adherents targeted the Church of Scientology.
Internet sleuths have compiled a list of evidence pointing to the student as the culprit, but again, no charges have been filed.
Meanwhile, legal experts say they expect the hacker, if found guilty, to receive a light sentence, according to Wired.com, not least of all because of ambiguity in the Justice Department's own policy regarding the legal status of e-mail that has been read, but not discarded.