Sunday, September 28, 2008

Space Captains Of Industry In The World Of Today.

Good news from Elon Musk. SpaceX, his space launch company, has finally succeeded in launching a rocket to orbit. Here is Musk's email announcement.
"Wow, this is a great day for SpaceX and the culmination of an enormous amount of work by a great team. The data shows we achieved a super precise orbit insertion — middle of the bullseye — and then went on to coast and restart the second stage, which was icing on the cake.

"I will have a more complete post launch statement tomorrow, as right now I'm in a bit of a daze and need to go celebrate :)

—Elon— "
Visit the SpaceX website for cool pictures and more information. (Here.) Press release is here.

UPDATE: Edited highlight video of launch and flight is here. Longer video is at here.



Friday, September 26, 2008

McCain v. Obama --- First Impressions

Watching John McCain debate Barack Obama is maddeningly frustrating. McCain doesn't seem to understand that his job in the debate is to take down his opponent. So far, only Obama seems willing to strike blows against his opponent. Obama interrupts McCain and contradicts him when McCain says something critical. McCain sits back smiling when Obama says something about McCain and doesn't respond during his own time. Obama looks ready to fight. McCain doesn't.

When asked how each candidate would reduce spending because of the money needed to be spent for the current bailout. Obama answered the question by listing all the priorities he wanted to spend money on and then said he'd get rid of programs that don't work. Whatever. McCain said nothing.

When moderator Jim Lehrer pressed both candidates to answer his question, McCain said he'd be in favor of a freeze on most federal spending. Obama quickly criticized that as using a hatchet when a scalpel is needed. McCain again made no response. What he could have said is something like this: "Senator Obama has been given several opportunities now to tell us what spending he'd cut or put off. Instead, he's told us what he'd spend more money on. He criticizes a freeze as using a hatchet when a scalpel is needed. With all due respect, Barack, you're not even willing to pick up a pocketknife."


Labels: , ,

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Wild In The Urbs.

To be honest the only reason for this post is to bump the gruesome dead possum post down from the top. So, here's a picture of a passel of Lesser Goldfinches feeding from a nyjer seed sock. Aren't they cuuuute? I've replaced the sock with a metal mesh feeder. Much cleaner.

Now here's a shot of Kimba sitting behind the Lemonade Berry Bush. The old sock feeder is devoid of birds. Hmmm, I wonder why. The Lemonade Berry Bush is a California native that will get to about 6-8 feet tall and thicker. It's still small because it's a juvenile that hasn't gone through a rainy season yet. Birds love the bush for the small sour berries it produces. I've been told that mixing the berries with water and sugar produces a passable lemonade. (Here.) We'll see.


Republished once to add link for making lemonade berry lemonade.

Labels: , , , , ,

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Wild In The Urbs.

Went birding again this weekend. This time to Old Mission Dam at Mission Trails Regional Park in a suburban neighborhood of the City of San Diego. The park is at the end of a large nature corridor that stretches from the mountains east of the city. These nature corridors are one of the reasons why rural brush fires in San Diego County can find there way into the city and nearly all the way to the coast. But that's another topic.

There wasn't a whole lot of activity when I went. All good birders are supposed to list what they saw. I'm not too keen on being shoulded on, but here's my list anyway.

Common Yellow Throat (first time for me)
House Finch
Cooper's Hawk
Black Phoebe
California Thrasher
California Towhee
Bewick's Wren (first time)
Mourning Doves

There's another consequence of the nature corridors in San Diego: wild four legged critters can be seen in backyards and on streets. My house is on a street that dead ends at an undeveloped canyon. As you may remember, a possum has been living in my backyard off and on for about a year now. Well, no longer. The other day, I found the little guy dead and partially eaten on my front walk. It looked very much like it had been killed by a coyote. Coyotes apparently often consume only part of their kill.

I didn't want the possum's carcass to lure the coyote back for more. So, I buried the possum in my backyard. No such luck. The coyote came back again the other night and came right up to my front porch where it made some scary wild noises. I turned up the TV really loud. It was Keith Olbermann bombasting away. The coyote ran off and I haven't heard it since. I've read before that coyotes are pretty smart. Seems right to me.

Not to be ghoulish, but here's a picture of the dead possum. Okay, I guess that was ghoulish. Sorry about that.

Not to be maudlin, but here's the possum's grave in my backyard. Rest in peace, little guy. Yeah, that's a fake Mt. Rushmore in the background. So?


Labels: , , ,

Friday, September 05, 2008

"See What You've Made Me Do, Sarah?"

This morning Howard Gutman was on Laura Ingraham's show. Gutman's bio on the Huffington Post website, where he occasionally blogs, describes him as "a partner in a Washington D.C. law firm and an original member of the Obama National Finance Committee. He is a frequent commentator on the 2008 Campaign on both television and radio." (Here.)

Gutman was on the show to criticize Sarah Palin for being a bad parent by putting her daughter's crisis pregnancy in the public eye. He criticized Governor Palin for deciding to run for Vice-President rather than putting "family first." He said that Governor Palin should have stayed out of the race in order to keep her daughter's pregnancy a private matter, within her family and with the involvement of only a few friends. He also kept saying that his criticism was not about her being a bad mother but about being a bad parent. According to him, any parent, father or mother, deserves criticism for what Governor Palin chose to do.

First off, it is, of course, absurd to believe that his criticism is not about her being a bad mother. Governor Palin is a woman. Perhaps you've noticed. She's not an androgynous or sexless parent. Gutman might think he can take this issue up one level of abstraction but he can't. No matter what he says, the fact remains, Palin is a woman, and when he criticizes her, he criticizes her choice as a woman.

It is, of course, stunningly hypocritical for a liberal Democrat to make the scurrilous charge he makes. Democrats claim to be all about opening up opportunities for women without regard to stereotypical gender roles. Governor Palin's nomination is instructive because it reveals the sexism that lurks below the surface of liberalism's alleged enlightenment.

Gutman's argument about privacy is nonsensical because it presents a false choice. I know the Democratic line is that Sarah Palin is just a former small-town mayor. Well, here's a reminder: Sarah Palin is the Governor of Alaska. Yes, even now. What that means is Bristol Palin's pregnancy was never going to be merely a private affair. It might not have gotten the same kind of national attention it's now getting but it would have gotten attention back in Alaska. For Bristol and her family, it never would have been just a private affair.

What Gutman really is arguing is that Alaskan media and Palin's Alaskan political opponents would not have made an issue of Bristol Palin's pregnancy in the same way that the national media and national Democrats are. Gutman is acknowledging that national Democrats and national media are merciless sharks who will stoop to anything. He is also shifting the blame to the victims of this slanderous invasion of privacy.

Which brings me to my final point. The national media and national Democrats have a choice. The pregnancy has been noted and now they can move on, ignore the pregnancy, and give the Palin family its privacy on this matter. They've chosen not to give the Palin family any privacy and they blame Governor Palin for it. They are in the same position as spousal abusers, who with every physical blow, shout, "see, what you're making me do." They are despicable.


Labels: , ,

Thursday, September 04, 2008

John McCain: Great American. Great Speaker? Not So Much.

So, McCain's speech is a bit of a letdown. His rhythym is disrupted by the crowd's cheering. It's clear that he's thrown a bit off his stride by the interruptions. It's hard to blame him. His speech is not a rabble rouser. It's not really filled with applause lines. The audience doesn't seem to have caught on to that. McCain's speaking style seems more suited to addressing an audience intent on listening rather than reacting. Oh well.

Also it sure looks like a major teleprompter problem occurred again tonight. McCain was speaking of cutting payments to countries that don't like us much and the crowd went wild cutting him off in midsentence. He appeared he was trying to say something about spending the money here at home. When the crowd finally stopped yelling, instead, of finishing what seemed to be that line, McCain returned with a line about drilling. It sure seemed to me that the teleprompter just kept going during the applause lines.* If true, the same thing reportedly happened to Sarah Palin last night. The teleprompting gig at the Republican Convention must have gone to the lowest bidder. Or maybe it went to an MSNBC teleprompter. Anyway, Palin handled the glitch smoother. She does the big public speeches better than McCain.

It's too bad McCain's delivery is off tonight. He's a great American. Unfortunately, it's not coming through in this speech as much as it ought to.


*Update: Well, apparently not. The full text of McCain's speech is here. The teleprompter did not run on. Here's the portion I wrote about. "My fellow Americans, when I’m President, we’re going to embark on the most ambitious national project in decades. We are going to stop sending $700 billion a year to countries that don’t like us very much. We will attack the problem on every front. We will produce more energy at home. We will drill new wells offshore, and we’ll drill them now." I still don't think that paragraph flows well in the first three lines. But, whatever.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Who Needs Margaret Thatcher?

America was introduced to its own Iron Lady tonight in Sarah Palin. She is one dynamic speaker. (Speech text here.) I am so looking forward to watching her campaign, and hopefully, her Vice-Presidency and, eventually, her Presidency. What a tough gal.


Republished once to add speech text link.

Labels: , ,

I Love Rudy!

I'm watching Rudy speak tonight. I love that guy. He knows how to dish it out. His attacks on Obama tonight are spot on. Give 'em hell!


Labels: , ,

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?