Saturday, May 30, 2009


The crew of the International Space Station doubled on Friday, with the arrival of the latest Russian Soyuz capsule carrying three new astronauts.
In the past, the three crew members on board would immediately head home on the Soyuz. But now, with a full complement of solar panels, ample room and a working water-recycling system, the station is finally ready to be a full-time home for six.
The Soyuz, carrying Roman Romanenko of Russia, Frank De Winne of Belgium and Robert Thirsk of Canada, was launched Wednesday from Kazakhstan. It docked at 8:34 a.m. Eastern time Friday, and after checks for leaks, the hatches between the Soyuz and the station opened at 10:14 a.m.
The current crew — Gennady Padalka of Russia, the station commander, Michael Barratt of NASA and Koichi Wakata of JAXA, the Japanese space agency — greeted the newcomers.

Now I can go to bed earlier ...

LOS ANGELES — Jay Leno ended his final “Tonight Show” on Friday not with a surprise guest or a selection of his vintage comedy bits, but with what he called “the greatest thing we’ve ever done.” What followed was an onstage parade of the children — 68 in all — who had been born to people who had met because they worked on the program.

MORE Fun in my email box ... I yelled at a homeless guy on a motorcycle, because I'm cool like that...


Don't spoil the fun, and keep it going...
Type out the sentence you end up with
in the subject line and forward to your friends...
Also, send it back to the person that sent it to you

Pick the month you were born:
January-------I kicked
February------I loved
March--------I karate chopped
April----------I licked
May----------I jumped on
June---------- I danced with
July-----------I did the Macarena With
August--------I had lunch with
September---- I sang to
October-------I smelled
November-----I yelled at
December-----I ran over

Pick the day (number) you were born on:
1-------a birdbath
2-------a monster
3-------a phone
4-------a fork
5-------a snowman
6-------a nun
7-------my mobile phone
8------- a homeless guy
9-------my best friend
10-------my neighbor
11-------my science teacher
12-------a banana
13-------a baseball bat
14-------a stuffed animal
15-------a goat
16-------a pickle
17-------your mom
18-------a spoon
19-------a Smurf
20-------a fireman
21-------a ninja
22-------Chuck Norris
23-------a noodle
24-------a squirrel
25-------a troll
26-------my sister
27-------my boss
28-------my dog
29-------a surfer
30-------a football player
31-------a llama

What is the last number of the year you were born:
1--------- in my car
2 -------- on a motorcycle
3 -------- in a hole
4 -------- under your bed
5 -------- on your car
6 -------- on a roof
7 -------- in an elevator
8---------at the dinner table
9 -------- in line at the bank
0 -------- in your bathroom

Pick the color of shirt you are wearing:
White--------because I'm cool like that
Black--------because I was drinking tequila, again.
Pink----------because I'm only in it for the good times.
Red----------because the voices told me to.
Blue---------because I'm sexy and I do what I want.
Green-------because I awesome!
Purple------- because I can't control myself!
Gray---------because Big Bird said to and he's my leader.
Yellow-------because someone offered me 20 dollars.
Orange -----because I saw it on the Internet.
Brown-------because I can.
Other--------because it sounded like a good idea!
None-------- because I think I need some serious help.

Now type out the sentence you made,
in the subject line and forward to your friends
and the person who sent it to you.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday Political Fix - National Healthcare - IT IS NOW!


*** Conservative vs. Conservative: After Rush, Newt, and Tancredo called Sonia Sotomayor a racist, a bigot, and an "angry woman," Charles Krauthammer today fires off this warning to his fellow conservatives: stop the personal attacks. "What should a principled conservative do? Use the upcoming hearings not to deny her the seat, but to illuminate her views. No magazine gossip from anonymous court clerks. No 'temperament' insinuations. Nothing ad hominem. The argument should be elevated, respectful and entirely about judicial philosophy." In today's Wall Street Journal, Peggy Noonan offers similar advice. Republicans, she says, should act like grown-ups. The Krauthammer/Noonan message to Republicans is this: fight Sotomayor respectively and then confirm her. Of course, that advice is easier said than done. Just asking, but did Rush really hurt himself among Republicans and conservatives this week? John Cornyn -- nobody's liberal Republican in the Senate -- seemed to very coherently send a message to the unelected conservatives when he also chimed in and said the tone wasn't helpful. Could this week actually help the GOP if it means it gets the elected establishment to unite against the unelected leaders? Or will this week divide the party even further? It may be in Rush's court now. and

*** A Successful Rollout So Far: Given this conservative divide over Sotomayor, could this week have gone any better for the Obama White House? Yesterday, we couldn't find a single elected Republican serving in Washington issuing any press release on Sotomayor. (Sure, Pat Roberts went on the record against her, but he's not the household name that should fire up the troops.) Instead, all of their focus was on debating the Obama stimulus package. (That stimulus debate is one the White House wants, and yet we'd argue they were better off that it was overshadowed by Sotomayor. The reason: The economic numbers don't look good, and the White House doesn't easily have anything to point to -- yet -- when it comes to the stimulus package and whether it's definitely helped soften the economic blows many are still feeling. But we digress...)
The Sotomayor pick has just devastated the Republicans, split them worse than anything so far the Obama White House has done.

*** Obama's Day: At 10:55 am ET from the White House, Obama delivers remarks on cyber security and announces the creation of a "cyber czar" to protect the nation's computer networks. Then, at 2:30 pm, he attends a hurricane preparedness meeting at FEMA. But this relatively slow Friday appears to be the quiet before the storm that's brewing for this summer. Indeed, consider all that will be happening in the coming weeks. Obama's Cairo speech and Europe trip. The Sotomayor confirmation hearings. The battle over health care. The fight over the energy bill. And those are just the things we already know about.

*** Two Questions On Health Care: Speaking of health care, Obama told his supporters over the phone yesterday that it's now or never on the issue.
"If we don't get it done this year, we're not going to get it done," he said. That is a HUGE drop of the gauntlet. There are two big policy debates about health care right now: Will the reform offer a public insurance option? And how will you pay for it? On the first question, liberal MoveOn is airing radio ads targeting Sens. Kent Conrad, Maria Cantwell, Bill Nelson, Tom Carper, Olympia Snowe, and Ron Wyden that urges them to support a public option. And on the second question, the Wall Street Journal's editorial page issues this reminder at Democrats who may be thinking about taxing employer-based health care benefits to finance reform: "Last year liberals mauled John McCain for daring to touch the employer-based exclusion to finance more coverage for the individually uninsured. He was proposing 'a multitrillion-dollar tax hike -- the largest middle-class tax hike in history,' said Barack Obama, whose TV ads were brutal."

Meanwhile, don't miss the leak of Sen. Ted Kennedy's health-care reform outline (apparently based a lot on the Massachusetts model, mandate everyone to have it etc.). Senate watchers will want to know, are Kennedy and Senate Finance Cmte Chair Max Baucus working together yet or not?, and

*** Gitmo Politics: Here's another issue that the Obama White House will have to be working on this summer: what to do about those Gitmo detainees.
The Washington Post reports that European leaders are saying that if the U.S. won't take Gitmo prisoners, then they won't either. "Rising opposition in the U.S. Congress to allowing Guantanamo prisoners on American soil has not gone over well in Europe. Officials from countries that previously indicated they were willing to accept inmates now say it may be politically impossible for them to do so if the United States does not reciprocate. Interior ministers from the 27-member European Union are pressing the Obama administration to agree to a joint declaration that would commit the United States to accept some prisoners, something Congress has been highly reluctant to do." Isn't this the argument some Republicans have been making on GITMO -- that no amount of kind words in Europe will help change their minds?

*** Bush Speaks: The former president did an impromptu Q&A last night after a speech in Michigan, and he spoke about the interrogation debate. Despite some speculation to the contrary, Bush ended up, sort of, siding with Cheney. Then again, he couches things to a point that it seems as if he's defending his policy AT THAT MOMENT IN TIME, and then leaves himself some wiggle room for how he changed the policy later. "I made the decision within the law to keep the American people safe," the 43rd president told a large crowd in Benton Harbor, according to WSBT TV. "The information we gained saved lives. And, as for Saddam Hussein--the world is better without that man in power." But Bush also made clear, "Nothing I'm saying is meant to criticize my successor. I wish him all the best." Meanwhile, Bush and Bill Clinton today appear together in Canada.

*** Elsewhere Today: Education Secretary Arne Duncan speaks at the National Press Club; HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan speaks to the National Association of Homebuilders; First Lady Michelle Obama visits an elementary school in DC; and
Howard Dean announces the publication of his new book on health-care reform, "Howard Dean's Prescription for Real Healthcare Reform."

Countdown to NJ GOP primary: 4 days
Countdown to VA Dem primary: 11 days
Countdown to Election Day 2009: 158 days
Countdown to Election Day 2010: 522 days

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L-A-O-D-I-C-E-A-N Laodicean


Definitions of A Laodicean on the Web:
A Laodicean is a novel by Thomas Hardy, published in 1881. Set in the more modern age of that time, the plot exhibits devices uncommon for Hardy, such as falsified telegrams and faked
pertaining to Laodicea; lukewarm, neither hot nor cold (with reference to Revelation 3:16)
Laodiceans - An Epistle to the Laodiceans, purportedly written by Paul of Tarsus to the Laodicean Church, is mentioned in the canonical Epistle to the
Laodicea (Λαοδίκεια), also transliterated as Laodiceia or Laodikeia was the name for at least seven Hellenistic cities, which were named
one who is indifferent to
laodicea - The city of this name mentioned in Scripture lay on the confines "of Phrygia and Lydia, about 40 miles east of Ephesus (Rev.

It must be Summer... "Drag Me to Hell" gets reviewed in the WSJ....

‘Hell’ Is No Drag, but Horror-Flick Heaven
O, joy, a horror flick that’s smart and funny, as well as cringeworthy for all the right reasons. And up to speed on the mortgage crisis too. “Drag Me to Hell” was directed by Sam Raimi, who has revisited his horror roots after devoting more than half of the current decade to directing the adventures of Spider-Man. (He wrote the script with his brother, Ivan Raimi.) The heroine, played to sly perfection by Alison Lohman, is Christine Brown, an ambitious young loan officer bucking for a promotion to assistant branch manager. When an elderly, impoverished and majestically repulsive customer named Mrs. Ganush comes in to beg for yet another extension on her home loan, Christine hesitates only briefly before turning her down. Given what we now know about the perils of permissive lending practices, that decision should have sealed the deal for managerial status. Instead, Mrs. Ganush retaliates with an ancient gypsy curse, and Christine spends the rest of the movie trying to avoid eternal damnation. ... the rest is a bit of a spoiler review:

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Update: Retired W in Dallas

Flying on Air Force One, eating meals prepared by the White House kitchen staff and drawing inspiration from his encounters with U.S. military personnel were among things former President George W. Bush missed since leaving office, he said Thursday.

The often-tearful meetings he had with relatives of fallen soldiers were "in some ways... very hard and in some ways, it was very uplifting," the Texas Republican said in a speech to The Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan at Lake Michigan College. About eight people protested Bush's appearance outside the venue, carrying signs that called him a murderer and a traitor. The speech Thursday was one of the first made by the former president since leaving office in January.
Bush, the nation's 43rd president, spoke to 2,500 people about "the fog of war" that followed the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the economic downturn and his return to life as a regular citizen.

The New Yorker: The Sixth Mass Extinction should not come as a Big Surprise to anyone... it is you and me... as Pogo said "it's us"

FD: To read anything in The New Yorker online requires a $5 annual registration...on that note

Read the full text of this article. (Registration required.)

ABSTRACT: A REPORTER AT LARGE about the sixth mass extinction. Describes how graduate student Karen Lips observed the mysterious disappearance of large numbers of local golden frogs, in the nineteen-nineties, at several locations in Panama and Costa Rica. Whatever was killing Lips’s frogs moved east, like a wave, across Panama. Of the many species that have existed on earth, more than ninety-nine per cent have disappeared. Yet extinction has been a much contested concept. Throughout the eighteenth century, the prevailing view was that species were fixed. Charles Darwin believed extinction happened only slowly, but he was wrong. Over the past half billion years, there have been at least twenty mass extinctions. Five of these—the so-called Big Five—were so devastating that they’re usually put in their own category. The fifth, the end-Cretaceous event, which occurred sixty-five million years ago, exterminated not just the dinosaurs but seventy-five per cent of all species on earth. Once a mass extinction occurs, it takes millions of years for life to recover, and when it does it’s generally with a new cast of characters.

In this way, mass extinctions have played a determining role in evolution’s course.

It’s now generally agreed among biologists that another mass extinction is under way. If current trends continue, by the end of this century as many as half of earth’s species will be gone.

The writer went frog collecting in Chagres National Park with Edgardo Griffith, the director of EVACC (the El Valle Amphibian Conservation Center). About two decades ago, researchers first noticed something odd was happening to amphibians. It’s difficult to say when the current extinction event—sometimes called the sixth extinction— began. Its opening phase appears to have started about fifty thousand years ago, when the first humans migrated across Australia and America. The main culprit in the wavelike series of amphibian crashes is a chytrid fungus, known as Bd. At this point, Bd appears to be unstoppable. Mentions Don Nichols, Allan Pessier, Joyce Longcore, and Rick Speare. In the fossil record, mass extinctions stand out. Mentions Walter Alvarez and the Alvarez hypothesis, which wreaked havoc with the uniformitarian idea of extinction. In 2007, biologist Al Hicks, of the New York State D.E.C., and the National Wildlife Health Center started investigating a series of mysterious bat deaths. Many of the dead bats were discovered with a white substance on their nose, which was cultured and found to be an unidentified fungus. Mentions White-Nose Syndrome (W.N.S.). The writer visited an abandoned mine to study bats with Hicks. One of the puzzles of mass extinction is why, at certain junctures, the resourcefulness of life seems to falter. Just in the last century, carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have changed by as much as they normally do in a hundred-thousand-year glacial cycle. In the end, the most deadly aspect of human activity may simply be the pace itself.


An extremely valuable letter by Abraham Lincoln dated November 14, 1863 -- missing from public records for maybe 100 years -- has been donated today by a private collector to the National Archives, NBC's Carl Sears reports.

Russian Space Gun TP-82 – an abbreviation is of the Russian name ‘three-barreled pistol’ – is more a hunting shotgun than a handgun.

TP-82 detachable stock doubles as machete sheath

(photo from

The TP-82 – an abbreviation is of the Russian name ‘three-barreled pistol’ – is more a hunting shotgun than a handgun. As its name suggests, it has two larger 32 gauge (12.5 mm) smoothbore barrels located side by side and a smaller 5.45 mm calibre rifled barrel under them. The combination gives the weapon a futuristic look, and Russian survival trainers recall some people asking them to show ‘the blaster’ when speaking about the TP-82.
The three barrels are used to shoot rifle bullets, shotgun shells and flares. The standard Soyuz survival kit includes 20 rifle rounds, 20 flares and 10 shotgun shells. The cartridges are reloaded manually from the breach side, which can be done with one hand.
The pistol has a detachable plastic stock that doubles as a machete sheath. The loaded gun weighs about 1.8 kg on its own or 2.6 kg with the butt stock attached. It has a range of 40 metres for shells and 200 metres for rifle rounds. Overall it’s a small and light weapon as befits something to be taken into orbit, which in itself implies strict weight and size allowances.As its name suggests, it has two larger 32 gauge (12.5 mm) smoothbore barrels located side by side and a smaller 5.45 mm calibre rifled barrel under them. The combination gives the weapon a futuristic look, and Russian survival trainers recall some people asking them to show ‘the blaster’ when speaking about the TP-82.
The three barrels are used to shoot rifle bullets, shotgun shells and flares. The standard Soyuz survival kit includes 20 rifle rounds, 20 flares and 10 shotgun shells. The cartridges are reloaded manually from the breach side, which can be done with one hand.
The pistol has a detachable plastic stock that doubles as a machete sheath. The loaded gun weighs about 1.8 kg on its own or 2.6 kg with the butt stock attached. It has a range of 40 metres for shells and 200 metres for rifle rounds. Overall it’s a small and light weapon as befits something to be taken into orbit, which in itself implies strict weight and size allowances.

jTP-82 Cosmonaut Survival Gun - Three Barrel Pistol ... Arms race in space?

Among the training regimes that Russian cosmonauts pass before being admitted into orbit is the shooting range. The reason is that they must learn how to use a special three-barreled gun found on every Soyuz spacecraft.

Unlike the Star Wars universe, however, real-life spacemen don’t fire sparkling blasts of energy at charging stormtroopers. The TP-82 gun is part of the survival kit and is meant to be used on terra firma if cosmonauts land in the wilderness.

A gun in orbit is a controversial issue. NASA traditionally keeps a ‘no firearms on board’ policy, and their astronauts’ survival kit has had a machete-like knife as its only weapon for decades. When the International Space Station project was launched, the status of a pistol on Russian ships became one of the tricky legal questions.

Some people like astronaut James Oberg called for discarding the gun, saying the country calling for a ban of weapons in space should show a good example and citing concerns over the enlargement of the ISS crews and the likely rise of tension between members. The Russian Space Agency held its ground and the TP-82 kept its place.

The third space-faring nation China apparently sided with Russia in its attitude towards firearms in space. The Chinese media reported that the Shenzhou-6 expedition in 2005 was armed with pistols for self-defence, but no detail on the model or the number of the weapons was disclosed. Russian space experts believe that China may have borrowed the concept of the TP-82 and developed their own version.

The blaster
TP-82 detachable stock doubles as machete sheath (photo from

The TP-82 – an abbreviation is of the Russian name ‘three-barreled pistol’ – is more a hunting shotgun than a handgun. As its name suggests, it has two larger 32 gauge (12.5 mm) smoothbore barrels located side by side and a smaller 5.45 mm calibre rifled barrel under them.

The combination gives the weapon a futuristic look, and Russian survival trainers recall some people asking them to show ‘the blaster’ when speaking about the TP-82.

The three barrels are used to shoot rifle bullets, shotgun shells and flares. The standard Soyuz survival kit includes 20 rifle rounds, 20 flares and 10 shotgun shells. The cartridges are reloaded manually from the breach side, which can be done with one hand.

The pistol has a detachable plastic stock that doubles as a machete sheath. The loaded gun weighs about 1.8 kg on its own or 2.6 kg with the butt stock attached. It has a range of 40 metres for shells and 200 metres for rifle rounds. Overall it’s a small and light weapon as befits something to be taken into orbit, which in itself implies strict weight and size allowances.

Not meant for space
Cosmonaut lore suggests that space legend Aleksey Leonov, who experienced an off-course landing, and together with his fellow spaceman Pavel Belyaev spent more then a day in the wild Taiga fending off hungry wolves before rescuers could pick them up. The dramatic episode happened in 1965. The TP-82 was given the green light in 1982, which casts some doubt on the direct connection between the two events, but Leonov did visit the gun workshop in Tula which produced the firearm and he may have given some ideas to the developers.
Aleksey Leonov, the living legend of space exploration,is rumoured to be behind the ‘space pistol’ project.

The gun made the headlines in 2007, when the Russian Space Agency announced that ISS Expedition 16 will not take the TP-82 with them. The media reported that all the remaining ammunition for the weapon was outdated and unsafe, and a replacement is not expected to be produced. The story received international attention, with several major newspapers, including the British newspaper Daily Telegraph, vividly describing the “fearsome triple-barreled space pistol”. Almost two years later the firearm is still part of the Soyuz survival kit, stowed away in a metal case in between two of the capsule’s three seats.

As a weapon for space combat the TP-82 is hardly worth criticism. Its recoil is strong, so a possible attacker would be sent banging around the walls of the space station of the space ship after firing off a shot. In addition, the rifle rounds are extremely dangerous, since they can pierce the spaceship’s hull, leading to a rapid loss of pressure and the subsequent death of everyone onboard.

The Soviet space programme has tested one space weapon. The Almaz station, launched in 1974, was fitted with an aviation cannon. There are no reports on whether the station was manned or not during the trial.

Yep. It is Friday! I have discovered a portal into someone else's universe of sight gags... venture there at your own risk!

OK. We can produce GM Malaria-Resistant Mosquitos that glow in the dark... it is still not a monkey!

A genetically modified (GM) strain of malaria-resistant mosquito has been created that is better able to survive than disease-carrying insects. [It also glows in the dark..]
It gives new impetus to one strategy for controlling the disease: introduce the GM insects into wild populations in the hope that they will take over. The insect carries a gene that prevents infection by the malaria parasite.

Details of the work by a US team appear in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal. The researchers caution that their studies are still at an early stage, and that it could be 10 years or more before engineered insects are released into the environment.

"What we did was a laboratory, proof-of-principle experiment; we're not anywhere close to releasing them into the wild right now," co-author Dr Jason Rasgon from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, told BBC News.
The approach exploits the fact that the health of infected mosquitoes is itself compromised by the parasite they spread. Insects that cannot be invaded by the parasite are therefore likely to be fitter and out-compete their disease-carrying counterparts.

Kei and Kou of Japan. Living Proof that Amerika is falling behind in the Genetic Race for the Future of Agriculture, Science and Medicine...

Genetically modified primates that glow green and pass the trait on to their offspring could aid the fight against human disease.

Though primates that make a glowing protein have been created before, these are the first to keep the change in their bloodlines.

Future modifications could lead to treatments for a range of diseases. The "transgenic" marmosets, created by a Japanese team, have been described in the journal Nature. The work raises a number of ethical questions about deliberately exposing a bloodline of animals to such diseases.

Scientists have managed to modify the genes of many living organisms in recent years, ranging from bacteria to mice. Mice have been particularly useful experimental models for studying a wide range of human diseases as modified genes are passed on from parents to progeny.

However, mice are not useful for some human diseases because they are not sufficiently similar to produce effects that are meaningful to human disease. Studies of mice with Alzheimer's disease, for example, were stymied simply because their brains were too small to scan at sufficient resolution.


Green fluorescent protein (GFP) in their tissues.
The protein is so-called because it glows green in a process known as fluorescence.

From 91 embryos, a total of five GFP-enabled transgenic marmosets were born, including twins Kei and Kou ("keikou" is Japanese for "fluorescence").

GFP was originally isolated from the jellyfish Aequorea victoria, which glows green when exposed to blue light. The protein has become a standard in biology and genetic engineering, and its discovery even warranted a Nobel prize.
'Glowing' jellyfish grabs Nobel

BBC's Ethical Man in Amerika... He dropped into Texas and spoke with T. Boone and wandered about Sweet Water's Wind Mills....


About this blog
I'm Justin Rowlatt and I am the BBC's Ethical Man. My family and I spent a year trying to cut our carbon emissions. Now I'm back and travelling across America with a bigger challenge - to save the world! You'll be able to see my reports on Newsnight and World News America. Follow me on Twitter, or join our Facebook group.

We travel to Texas to see the low-carbon America Obama envisioned, a forest of wind turbines growing up among the pump jacks and pipelines of the oil state.

The idea was his cap-and-trade system would turbo-charge America's transition to this new clean energy world. And, just last week, the cap-and-trade bill President Obama asked Congress for passed the committee stage in Congress and now looks set to be made law. But it is nothing like the radical legislation Obama spoke about in San Francisco.

Instead of the aggressive cap Obama promised, carbon emissions will be reduced by just 17% from 2005 levels by 2020. Europe (whose carbon trading system has been widely criticised as ineffectual and weak) has set a far more stringent standard: cuts of 20% from the much lower start point of 1990 by 2020.

And where is the auction that was going to ensure that polluters pay for every unit of greenhouse gases emitted? It's gone, struck out from the bill.

Now just 15% of permits will be auctioned, the rest will be given away free. Thirty-five percent of all permits are being handed to electricity companies, the guys who own those coal plants Obama said could be bankrupted.

What is more, a ceiling has been set on how far carbon prices can go. The carbon price - the engine that was supposed to drive the change in the economy - has been capped at $28 a tonne.
If you need evidence of the effect that will have, look no further than our film. In Sweetwater, Texas we meet David Fiorelli who's company, Tenaska, wants to invest $3.5bn on the world's first full scale Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) coal plant.

Many greens say industrial scale CCS is unproven. Mr Fiorelli says that is plain wrong. He says the problem with large scale CCS is that it is very expensive. As a result his company plans a plant that will draw in a range of revenues to make it pay.

It will sell the 600 megawatts the plant will produce (200 megawatts are needed to strip out the carbon dioxide (CO2) from the coal). It will sell on the CO2 it captures to oil companies which will use it to pump out 10 million extra barrels of oil a year (Tenaska says the CO2 will stay underground). But to make the plant viable it also needs a carbon price of $40-$50 a tonne.
At a stroke the new bill has threatened the viability of the great hope for clean fossil fuel plants, CCS. Not what Obama imagined his legislation would do when he was talking about it back in San Francisco.

Now, I understand that democratic politics is about compromise. I understand that the architects of this bill needed to make concessions to the power companies and to congressmen and women from coal states. But did the compromise really need to be on this colossal scale?
In the run up to the crucial climate change conference in Copenhagen in December the world is looking to America for leadership on the climate issue. It is clear President Obama, his Energy Secretary Stephen Chu and his climate team understand the degree of danger climate change represents.

So, this is what I want to know: why didn't President Obama use some of his extraordinary political capital to force through truly transformative cap-and-trade legislation?
Ultimately the question I really want answered is this: has Obama, as we say in Britain, lost his bottle? What do you think? Leave your comment below or get with the new social media revolution and tweet me right here, right now.

It seems like Friday:

We are about to enter the BBQ season.

Therefore it isimportant to refresh your memory on the etiquette of this sublimeoutdoor cooking activity . When a man volunteers to do the BBQ thefollowing chain of events are put into motion:

(1) The woman buys the food.
(2) The woman makes the salad, prepares the vegetables, and makesdessert.
(3) The woman prepares the meat for cooking, places it on a tray alongwith the necessary cooking utensils and sauces, and takes it to the manwho is lounging beside the grill - beer in hand.
(4) The woman remains outside the compulsory three meter exclusion zonewhere the exuberance of testosterone and other manly bonding activitiescan take place without the interference of the woman.

Here comes the important part:
(6) The woman goes inside to organize the plates and cutlery.
(7) The woman comes out to tell the man that the meat is looking great.
He thanks her and asks if she will bring another beer while he flipsthe meat

Important again:
(9) The woman prepares the plates, salad, bread, utensils, napkins,sauces, and brings them to the table.
(10) After eating, the woman clears the table and does the dishes.

And most important of all:
(11) Everyone PRAISES the MAN and THANKS HIM for his cooking efforts.
(12) The man asks the woman how she enjoyed ' her night off ', and,upon seeing her annoyed reaction, concludes that there's just nopleasing some women.

The Roulette Wheels sort of under-cut their conclusions a either case, the world get hotter.

To illustrate the findings of their model, MIT researchers created a pair of 'roulette wheels.' The wheel on the right depicts their estimate of the range of probability of potential global temperature change over the next 100 years if no policy change is enacted on curbing greenhouse gas emissions. The wheel on the left assumes that aggressive policy is enacted. Image courtesy / MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change

Climate change odds much worse than thought
New analysis shows warming could be double previous estimates

David Chandler, MIT News OfficeMay 19, 2009
The most comprehensive modeling yet carried out on the likelihood of how much hotter the Earth's climate will get in this century shows that without rapid and massive action, the problem will be about twice as severe as previously estimated six years ago - and could be even worse than that. READ THE REST AT

This summer thousands of public pools will be closed, because the granddaughter of Sec James Baker died in the drain of a hot tub at home.

FD: Heard about this on NPR radio...

Swimming Pool and Spa Safety Starts with You!
Recreational time at public and residential swimming pools and spas is a favorite activity for children and adults all over the country. Whether enjoying pool time with family and friends, exercising, playing water sports, or learning to swim, everyone needs to be mindful of the potential for incidents and drownings in pools and spas.

Each year, nearly 300 children under the age of five drown in residential and public pools and spas. Submersion incidents requiring emergency-room treatment or hospitalization number in the thousands and many victims experience permanent disability, including brain damage.

Few people know of the hidden dangers from drain or suction entrapments. Drains with broken, missing, or faulty covers can entrap hair, the body, limbs, jewelry and clothing, or cause disembowelment/evisceration.

On December 17, 2007, the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act (P&SSAct) was signed into law.

This important child safety law became effective in December 2008 and strives to:

Enhance the safety of public and private pools and spas
Encourage the use of layers of protection
Reduce child drownings in pools and spas (295 each year involving children younger than 5)
Reduce the number of suction entrapment incidents, injuries and deaths
Educate the public on the importance of constant supervision of children in and around water

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is the lead agency in implementing and enforcing the P&SSAct. CPSC is working with other safety groups in the pool and spa safety community to encourage the use of layers of protection--such as fencing around pools, constant supervision, and requiring anti-entrapment drain covers and other safety devices.
Join the Pool/Spa information e-mail list to receive periodic updates from CPSC.

Wading pools closed
Letters editor
Strict law deprives kids of summer play
The Virginia Graham Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act was enacted to prevent drowning by body/hair entrapment from the suction of recirculating water through main drains. It will possibly save a few lives.
But it was politically backed (who could vote against it?, tightly worded (no allowance for common-sense solutions) and the cost of compliance is not addressed, except for the hint of federal-assistance funds from a presently unfunded source.

Now city kids will be deprived from the pleasure of wading pools because city parks personnel find it easier and prudent not to challenge the King County Health Department storm troopers and their rigid interpretations and enforcement of the law ["Around the Northwest: 11 wading pools closed over safety," NWThursday, May 21].

Permitting fees amount to at least $346 and $173.39 per hour for extended plan reviews and inspections. Costs for a plumber, electrician and an engineer add up to several thousand dollars per pool. And the hassle cost to other owners and operators of pools, including our condominium association, aren't included.

Simpler methods to avoid entrapment could be implemented at almost no cost.Pumps and fountains could be turned off during operating hours and the filtration done separately. Any sort of construction that reduced the velocity of the water and separated drain openings would do.
Boulders around the drain, a circle of side-placed concrete blocks, an oversized additional drain cover or other American-ingenuity-inspired methods could allow the kids to safely play.

There needs to be some way for common sense to be exercised to meet the intent of the law without the outlandish costs.
The federal law and King County Health Department's enforcement tenacity are not improving my quality of life, nor that of the neighborhood kids.
-- Terry Slaton, Federal Way, WA


New Safety Requirementsat Local Pools
Updated: Friday, 22 May 2009, 5:57 PM EDTPublished : Friday, 22 May 2009, 5:05 PM EDT
Beth Parker
By BETH PARKER/myfoxdc
FAIRFAX, Va. - 'Pool open.' They're the two words folks love to hear this time of year.
For years, inspectors have been working to prevent accidents by securing things like railings and making sure the depth of the water is clearly marked. This year, they are dealing with a new law.

The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act is named for the granddaughter of former Secretary of State James Baker. The 7-year-old girl drowned in 2002 when the suction from a drain held her under water.

The new law says you have to have anti-entrapment covers and a back-up safety system, so just about every public pool in the nation had some work to do to comply. New 'Ts' in the underground pipes mean you'll now see two drains instead of one, so there are two suction points.

Matt Behl of NVpools says if you look closely, you'll notice new grates over the drains. One is called 'the wave.' The contour of the plastic means there's always space for water to flow in so a person cannot be pulled down flat against the grate.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission says there have been 83 fatal pool drain entrapments in recent years, including the one that killed Virginia Graeme Baker.

This new law took effect this past December. That means indoor pools have already been dealing with it. The law does not apply to backyard pools-- only those considered public pools.
It was 35 down and 17 to go Thursday as Caroline Calderone Baisley counted down to Memorial Day. The unofficial start of summer is this weekend, and according to the director of health, more than a dozen outdoor public pools will not be allowed to open to swimmers. That includes pools at country clubs and condominium associations that receive licenses from the town’s Department of Health.

“This is a safety issue,” Ms. Baisley told the Board of Health Tuesday.

The subject of the concern is the pools’ compliance (or lack thereof) with the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act. Signed into law in December 2007, the act mandates that pool drain covers conform to certain standards so as to avoid suction entrapment. A Greenwich child drowned after his arm got caught in a suction drain of his private home in July, 2007. Ms. Baisley said the federal act was not a response to that incident, but was a response to a fatal accident.

It went into effect Dec. 19 of last year, and while indoor pools under the town health department’s purview have all complied, about 14 or so of the 52 outdoor pools will be noncompliant come Saturday.

On Thursday, Ms. Baisley told the Post that about three pools were in the process of becoming compliant. Those that are not compliant were to receive notices of violation this week, ordering them not to open.

“Some of those [noncompliant] pools won’t be opening this weekend anyway,” Ms. Baisley said. “Some are condos that have pool drains taken care of and all the building department is waiting for is certification paperwork.”

The paperwork is a necessary part of compliance with the law. Certification must be made by a nationally recognized testing laboratory. Public pools and spas built before Dec. 19, 2007, are not compliant with the law unless they were built without submerged suction outlets, or the suction system has since been modified to comply.

Ms. Baisley said the equipment and parts needed to make drains compliant under the Baker act is readily available, it’s just a matter of the pool facility managers making the updates as pool maintenance workers become busy during the summer season.

“We work really hard to get everybody knowledgable about what they need to do,” Ms. Baisley said Thursday. Information about the new law was sent out last fall, she said.
This week, Ms. Baisley said, she or a member of her staff has talked to almost all the noncompliant pool managers personally to urge them to become compliant.

“The drain covers they’re supposed to have in pools eliminate the risk of becoming entrapped,” she said. “The history of the act does involve a tragic accident where a child did drown and got sucked in,” she added.

Ms. Baisley said the notices of violation to the noncompliant pools were to be posted at each facility, each of which can still open this weekend, just not for swimming.
“We want everybody to open, we want everyone to be able to enjoy the pool this year, but we certainly dont’ want any tragic events,” Ms. Baisley said Tuesday.
She added that the town-run pool at Byram Park is compliant with the standards of the new law.
More about the Baker act is available

The Eudora Aquatic Center likely will open this weekend unless Mayor Scott Hopson and member of the Eudora City Council decides otherwise.
The pool was scheduled to open for Memorial Day Weekend but did not
Because of a new federal law that required all public pools to be retrofitted with suction entrapment detection devices to prevent the number of suction entrapment incidents that lead to injuries and deaths.
Parks and Recreation Director Tammy Hodges said an anti-vortex fitting likely would be installed on the main drain this week, and other various grates will be installed that would conform the pool to the standards of the law.

The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act was enacted in December after 5-year-old Virginia Graeme Baker drowned when she became stuck in the suction drain of a spa.

Hodges said she and former Eudora city administrator Cheryl Beatty were aware of the law and called engineering firm BG Consultants, who oversaw construction of the pool in 2007. BG said the pool was up to code.
However, Hodges said Richard Ziesenis, environmental health director for Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department, told her last week the pool would need to be brought up to code.
If the city were to have suction entrapment detectors installed, the pool would be in line with the law, Ziesenis told Hodges. The devices would cost about $1,500.
Despite the recommendation of Ziesenis, Brian Kinsgley of BG Consultants, proposed a $35,000 project that also would install grates over suction drains in the pool.
Mayor Scott Hopson said he would like “all the information the city can get from all of the experts in the field.”

Since it was announced about two weeks ago that the pool would open late, vandals spray-painted graffiti in the empty pool and staff at the aquatic center have been receiving a large volume of complaints regarding the closure of the pool.

PANAMA CITY — Some people think the story of the little girl who had her intestines pulled out by a pool drain is an urban legend. It isn’t.
Abigail Taylor was 6 when she died of injuries suffered in a pool at a Minneapolis golf club in 2007. Valerie Lakey was 5 when a drain in a North Carolina pool essentially disemboweled her in 1993, requiring her to live with a feeding tube.
Their injuries and others were the impetus for the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act, named after the granddaughter of former Secretary of State James Baker, who died when a drain trapped her in a hot tub in 2002.
Signed into law in December 2007, the act mandates safer public pool drains. The Decembers 2008 deadline to meet new standards has passed, but many owners of public pools across the country still are struggling to get safer drains.
“We’re talking about direct-suction drains,” said Ralph Miller, environmental health director for the Bay County Health Department. “Those are the ones where the drain is pulling straight through the bottom of the pool, and there’s no way to stop it.”
Direct-suction drains were outlawed in Florida pools in 1977, and the law was expanded to include spas in 1993. That helped the Sunshine State get ahead of the curve, because, while getting up to par with the new drain law will hold up some Memorial Day pool openings in places such as Maryland and Kansas, it will not close any pools here.
“It’s going to be difficult,” Rick Medeiros, in Cox Pools management, said of the change for direct suction pools. “The size of the plumbing is the big thing. ... Typically you’ll have a 2-inch line on direct suction, and that probably has to be changed to a 6-inch line. So you literally have to bust out the bottom of the pool to make the changes.”
That is an expensive process that can run into the thousands of dollars. Pools without direct suction just need to install safe drain covers, which are domed or bow out so swimmers cannot lay flat against them. Availability has been an issue; manufacturers did not make enough of the drains in time for pools to meet the deadline.

FD: I remember getting my hand stuck on a pool drain when I was little. Since then I don't play with pool drains and have told my children and grandchildren to NOT play with pool drain grids at the bottom of pools

This Federal Law does not regulate the residental pool or hot tub when Baker's grandchild died.

Billions of dollars to fix a problem, but not in the location where the actual problem exists.

We are too risk averse in this country.

We are losing the edge that makes us competitive.

Education would have been more meaningful, less expensive and I think more effective.

Hey, wake up! Take care of your kids!

Go play in the pool and the hot tub with them... teach them to swim.

Aquatic Injury Facts
Drowning & Near Drowning Accidents
The death rate from drowning among children ages 14 and under declined 35 percent from 1987 to 1996. However, drowning remains the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death in this age group and the leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among children ages 1 to 4.

The majority of drowning and near-drowning occurs in residential swimming pools.

However, children can drown in as little as one inch of water and are therefore at risk of drowning in wading pools, bathtubs, buckets, diaper pails, toilets, spas and hot tubs. Additionally, older children are more likely to drown in open water sites, such as lakes, rivers and oceans.

Drowning usually occurs quickly and silently. Childhood drowning and near-drowning can happen in a matter of seconds and typically occur when a child is left unattended or during a brief lapse in supervision. Two minutes following submersion, a child will lose consciousness. Irreversible brain damage occurs after four to six minutes and determines the immediate and long-term survival of a child. The majority of children who survive are discovered within two minutes following submersion (92 percent), and most children who die are found after 10 minutes (86 percent). Nearly all who require cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) die or are left with severe brain injury.

In 1996, nearly 1,000 children ages 14 and under drowned. Children ages 4 and under accounted for nearly half of these deaths.
Each year, an estimated 5,000 children ages 14 and under are hospitalized due to near-drowning.

Near-drowning have high case fatality rates. Fifteen percent of children admitted for near-drowning die in the hospital. As many as 20 percent of near-drowning survivors suffer severe, permanent neurological disability.

For every child who drowns, an additional four are hospitalized for near-drowning; and for every hospital admission, approximately four children are treated in hospital emergency rooms.

A swimming pool is 14 times more likely than a motor vehicle to be involved in the death of a child age 4 and under.

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More than half of drowning among infants (under age 1) occur in bathtubs. Drowning in this age group also occur in toilets and buckets.
More than 85 percent of drowning among children ages 1 to 4 are pool related. Children ages 5 to 14 most often drown in swimming pools and open water sites.

More than 320 children, 88 percent between the ages of 7 and 15 months, have drowned in buckets containing water or other liquids used for mopping floors and other household chores since 1984.

Approximately 10 percent of childhood drowning occur in bathtubs; and the majority of these occur in the absence of adult supervision.
Among children ages 4 and under, there are approximately 375 residential swimming pool drowning and 2,900 near-drowning requiring hospital emergency room treatment each year.

More than half of these drowning occur in the child's home pool and one-third at the homes of friends, neighbors or relatives.

The majority of children who drown in swimming pools were last seen in the home, had been missing from sight for less than five minutes, and were in the care of one or both parents at the time of the drowning.
In-ground swimming pools without complete four-sided isolation fencing are 60 percent more likely to be involved in drowning than those with four-sided isolation fencing.
Since 1980, approximately 230 children ages 4 and under have drowned in spas and hot tubs.
In 1997, 31 children ages 14 and under died in boating-related incidents. Nearly 60 percent of these children drowned; the remaining deaths were associated with other injuries such as falls, burns and propeller-related injuries.
In 1997, more than 200 children ages 14 and under suffered personal watercraft-related injuries while on the water.
Drowning and near-drowning tend to occur on Saturdays and Sundays (40 percent) and between the months of May and August (66 percent).
Drowning fatality rates are higher in southern and western states than in other regions of the United States. Rural areas have higher death rates than urban or suburban areas, in part due to decreased access to emergency medical care.

Children ages 4 and under have the highest drowning death rate, a rate two to three times greater than other age groups, and account for more than 40 percent of home drowning. These drowning typically occur in swimming pools and bathtubs.

Male children have a drowning rate two to four times that of female children. However, females have a bathtub drowning rate twice the rate of males.
Black children ages 14 and under have a drowning death rate that is two times greater than white children, in general and six times greater for drowning involving buckets. However, white children ages 1 to 4 have a drowning death rate that is twice that of black children, primarily from residential swimming pool drowning.
Low-income children are at greater risk from non-swimming pool drowning.
Among children hospitalized for near-drowning, prolonged submersion and time until resuscitative efforts are initiated, as well as hypothermia, are strongly associated with poor outcomes.
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Typical medical costs for a near-drowning victim can range from $75,000 for initial emergency room treatment to $180,000 a year for long-term care. The cost of a near-drowning that results in brain damage can be more than $4.5 million.

The total annual cost of drowning and near-drowning among children ages 14 and under is approximately $6.2 billion.

Children ages 4 and under account for $3.8 billion, or 61 percent, of these costs.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

It looks almost like corn-starch packing material...

NEW Product; Snack Chester's Puffcorn... melts in your mouth... must be in a test market phase.

$2 Only

Oven Baked

Unlike popcorn, No Hulls or Hard Kernels

3 cups = 160 calories (five servings in the bag)

Corn Meal, Vegtable Oil, Artificial Butter Flavor, and Salt

New Element Joke: The new element, Governmentium (Gv), has one neutron, 25 assistant neutrons, 88 deputy neutrons, and 198 assistant deputy neutrons

Just found it in the email inbox...
I don't usually send these, but found this to be clever:
Lawrence Livermore Laboratories has discovered the heaviest element yet known to science.
The new element, Governmentium (Gv), has one neutron, 25 assistant neutrons, 88 deputy neutrons, and 198 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312.
These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons.
Since Governmentium has no electrons, it is inert; however, it can be detected, because it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. A tiny amount of Governmentium can cause a reaction that would normally take less than a second, to take from four days to four years to complete.
Governmentium has a normal half-life of 2- 6 years; It does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places.
In fact, Governmentium's mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganization will cause more morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes.
This characteristic of moron promotion leads some scientists to believe that Governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a critical concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as critical morass. When catalyzed with money, Governmentium becomes Administratium, an element that radiates just as much energy as Governmentium since it has half as many peons but twice as many morons.

Sotomayor is a Baseball Fan? What were her rulings as a Judge?


*** To Fight Or Retreat? While Washington gears up for a Supreme Court fight, do remember this: Sonia Sotomayor wouldn't change the court's ideological make up. After all, swapping a reliably liberal vote in Souter for an apparently liberal vote in Sotomayor is a wash. Perhaps realizing that -- as well as looking at the polls and the selection's historic nature -- Republican senators were very measured with their statements yesterday. Their response was essentially the same: Sotomayor deserves a fair hearing where they can scrutinize her record. In fact, Mitch McConnell's office this morning sent an email to reporters hitting President Obama on job creation, not Sotomayor. That may be the most telling response. But the reaction coming from the conservative base is MUCH different. The National Republican Trust PAC, for instance, called Sotomayor a "radical nominee," adding: "Republican senators should strongly oppose her nomination. The NRT PAC and their constituents will hold them accountable if they do not." Also, Rush said she was a "reverse racist," and Mitt Romney called her nomination "troubling." This divide between the base and the senatorial establishment presents a potential quandary for Republicans: The GOP base wants a fight, while their elected officials want to hold off -- for now.

*** A 2012 Litmus Test? Also remember that John Roberts and Samuel Alito became Democratic presidential primary litmus tests -- explaining why anyone with White House ambitions (Obama, Hillary Clinton) voted against them.
The Sotomayor vote for Republicans thinking about 2012 might play out similarly. If you are wondering who is pondering a presidential run in 2012 among GOP senators, our guess is that the "no" vote roll call will be a good starting place.

*** Roll Out The Barrel, We'll Have A Barrel Of Fun: For Supreme Court nominations, Rollout Day is always important. And -- to borrow a metaphor from Sotomayor's favorite sport -- yesterday was a homerun for the Obama White House.

In fact, it was as good as the Roberts rollout. A misty-eyed mom? Check. Multiple references to Sotomayor's humble background? Check. Adding that she saved Major League Baseball? Check. The only thing that seemed to be missing was the apple pie. Also, the Democratic responses yesterday were measured, as were the GOP ones (it probably helped that Obama waited until Congress was on recess to unveil his pick). In short, with 60 Senate Democratic votes in reach, Sotomayor's odds of being confirmed are extraordinarily high. Then again, as we learned with Tom Daschle's HHS nomination, nothing is ever a sure thing in American politics.

First Read with NBC News Political Director Chuck Todd, every weekday on MSNBC-TV at 9 a.m. ET.
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Previous rulings:

1994 baseball strike
On March 30, 1995, as a district judge, Sotomayor issued the preliminary injunction against Major League Baseball, preventing MLB from unilaterally implementing a new Collective Bargaining Agreement and using replacement players. Her ruling ended the 1994 baseball strike after 232 days, the day before the new season was scheduled to begin. The Second Circuit upheld Sotomayor's decision and denied the owners' request to stay the ruling.[9][32][47]

In New York Times Co. v. Tasini, freelance journalists sued the New York Times Company for copyright infringement for the New York Times' inclusion in an electronic archival database (LexisNexis) the work of freelancers it had published. Sotomayor (who was then a District Judge) ruled that the publisher had the right to license the freelancer's work. This decision was reversed on appeal, and the Supreme Court upheld the reversal; two dissenters (John Paul Stevens and Stephen Breyer) took Sotomayor's position.[48]
In Castle Rock Entertainment, Inc. v. Carol Publishing Group, Sotomayor ruled as a district judge that a book of trivia from the television program Seinfeld infringed on the copyright of the show's producer and did not constitute legal fair use. The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld Sotomayor's ruling.

In Center for Reproductive Law and Policy v. Bush,[49] Sotomayor upheld the Bush administration's implementation of the Mexico City Policy which requires foreign organizations receiving U.S. funds to "neither perform nor actively promote abortion as a method of family planning in other nations". Sotomayor held that the policy did not constitute a violation of equal protection, as the government "is free to favor the anti-abortion position over the pro-choice position, and can do so with public funds".[50]

First Amendment rights
In Pappas v. Giuliani,[51] Sotomayor dissented from her colleagues’ ruling that the NYPD could terminate an employee from his desk job who sent racist materials through the mail. Sotomayor argued that the First Amendment protected speech by the employee “away from the office, on [his] own time,” even if that speech was “offensive, hateful, and insulting," and that therefore the employee's First Amendment claim should have gone to trial rather than being dismissed on summary judgment.
In Dow Jones v. Department of Justice,[52] Sotomayor sided with the Wall Street Journal in its efforts to obtain and publish a photocopy of the suicide note of former White House Counsel Vince Foster. Sotomayor ruled that the public had "a substantial interest" in viewing the note and enjoined the Justice Department from blocking its release.

Second Amendment rights
Sotomayor was part of the three-judge Second Circuit panel that affirmed the district court's ruling in Maloney v. Cuomo.[53] Maloney was arrested for possession of nunchakus, which are illegal in New York; Maloney argued that this law violated his Second Amendment right to bear arms. The Second Circuit's per curiam opinion noted that the Supreme Court has not, so far, ever held that the Second Amendment is binding against state governments. On the contrary, in Presser v. Illinois, a Supreme Court case from 1886, the Supreme Court held that the Second Amendment "is a limitation only upon the power of Congress and the national government, and not upon that of the state." With respect to the Presser v. Illinois precedent, the panel stated that the recent Supreme Court case of District of Columbia v. Heller (which struck down the district's gun ban as unconstitutional) "does not invalidate this longstanding principle." Thus, the Second Circuit panel upheld the lower court's decision dismissing Maloney's complaint.[54]

Fourth Amendment rights
In N.G. ex rel. S.G. v. Connecticut,[55] Sotomayor dissented from her colleagues’ decision to uphold a series of strip searches of “troubled adolescent girls” in juvenile detention centers. While Sotomayor agreed that some of the strip searches at issue in the case were lawful, she would have held that due to the “the severely intrusive nature of strip searches,” they should not be allowed “in the absence of individualized suspicion, of adolescents who have never been charged with a crime.” She argued that an "individualized suspicion" rule was more consistent with Second Circuit precedent than the majority's rule.
In Leventhal v. Knapek[56], Sotomayor rejected a Fourth Amendment challenge by a Department of Transportation employee whose employer searched his office computer. She held that “[e]ven though [the employee] had some expectation of privacy in the contents of his office computer, the investigatory searches by the DOT did not violate his Fourth Amendment rights” because here “there were reasonable grounds for suspecting” the search would reveal evidence of “work-related misconduct.”

Employment discrimination
Sotomayor was a member of a Second Circuit panel in a high-profile case that upheld without significant comment a lower court decision backing the right of the City of New Haven to throw out its promotional test for firefighters and start over with a new test, because the City believed the test had a "disparate impact" on minority firefighters and it might therefore be subject to a lawsuit from minority firefighters under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 if it certified the test results. (No black firefighters qualified for promotion under the test, whereas some had qualified under tests used in previous years.) Several white firefighters who had passed the test, including the lead plaintiff who has dyslexia and had put much extra effort into studying, sued the City of New Haven, claiming that their rights were violated because the test was thrown out. The case was recently heard by the U.S. Supreme Court as Ricci v. DeStefano,[57][58][59] and a ruling has not yet been issued.

In Clarett v. National Football League[60] Sotomayor upheld the NFL's eligibility rules requiring players to wait three full seasons after high school graduation before entering the NFL draft. Maurice Clarett challenged these rules, which were part of the collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and its players, on antitrust grounds. Sotomayor held that Clarett's claim would upset the established "federal labor law favoring and governing the collective bargaining process." She wrote: "We follow the Supreme Court's lead in declining to 'fashion an antitrust exemption [so as to give] additional advantages to professional football players . . . that transport workers, coal miners, or meat packers would not enjoy.'"

Civil Rights
In Malesko v. Correctional Services Corp.[61], Sotomayor, writing for the court, supported the right of an individual to sue a private corporation working on behalf of the federal government for alleged violations of that individual's constitutional rights. Reversing a lower court decision, Sotomayor found that an existing Supreme Court doctrine, known as "Bivens" — which allows suits against individuals working for the federal government for constitutional rights violations — could be applied to the case of a former prisoner seeking to sue the private company operating the federal halfway house facility in which he resided. The Supreme Court reversed Sotomayor's ruling in a 5-4 decision, saying that the Bivens doctrine could not be expanded to cover private entities working on behalf of the federal government. Justices Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg, and Breyer dissented, siding with Sotomayor's original ruling.

Property Rights
In Krimstock v. Kelly,[62], Sotomayor wrote an opinion halting New York City's practice of seizing the motor vehicles of drivers accused of driving while intoxicated and some other crimes and holding those vehicles for "months or even years" during criminal proceedings. Noting the importance of cars to many individuals' livelihoods or daily activities, she held that it violated individuals' due process rights to hold the vehicles without permitting the owners to challenge the City's continued possession of their property.
In Brody v. Village of Port Chester, [63], a takings case, Sotomayor wrote an opinion remanding the case to the district court for further proceedings on whether Brody had adequate notice of the Village's condemnation proceedings against his property. (A related proceeding in the lower court was called Didden v. Village of Port Chester. The case has drawn attention from conservative commentators.[64][65])

Update: Sotomayor is considered by WSJ as within the Liberal Mainstream...

Record Shows Rulings Within Liberal Mainstream
Despite Democratic Bent, Judge Has Sided With Corporate Defendants; Court's Frequent 5-4 Split Likely to Remain
WASHINGTON -- Judge Sonia Sotomayor has built a record on such issues as civil rights and employment law that puts her within the mainstream of Democratic judicial appointees.
Among the cases she has heard during her 15 years on the federal bench -- and one that will be examined closely through her confirmation process -- is one now pending before the Supreme Court. Judge Sotomayor was on a three-judge panel at the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that upheld a decision by the city of New Haven, Conn., to invalidate a firefighter promotional exam after no black applicants scored high enough to qualify. Those who aced the exam said it was unfair to penalize them because others didn't do as well.