Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Space Between

In this image provided by the US Navy a single modified tactical Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) launches from the U.S. Navy AEGIS cruiser USS Lake Erie Wednesday Feb. 20 2008 successfully impacting a non-functioning National Reconnaissance Office satellit ...
In this image provided by the US Navy a single modified tactical Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) launches from the U.S. Navy AEGIS cruiser USS Lake Erie Wednesday Feb. 20, 2008, successfully impacting a non-functioning National Reconnaissance Office satellite approximately 247 kilometers (133 nautical miles) over the Pacific Ocean, as it traveled in space at more than 17,000 mph. President George W. Bush decided to bring down the satellite because of the likelihood that the satellite could release hydrazine fuel upon impact, possibly in populated areas. (AP Photo/US Navy)

(AP) -- A U.S. Navy cruiser blasted a disabled spy satellite with a pinpoint missile strike that achieved the main mission of exploding a tank of toxic fuel 130 miles above the Pacific Ocean, defense officials said.

Destroying the satellite's onboard tank of about 1,000 pounds of hydrazine fuel was the primary goal, and a senior defense official close to the mission said Thursday that it appears the tank was destroyed, and the strike with a specially designed missile was a complete success.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates ordered the shootdown, which came late Wednesday as he began an eight-day, around-the-world trip on which he likely will face questions about the mission.

The elaborate intercept may trigger worries from some international leaders, who could see it as a thinly disguised attempt to test an anti-satellite weapon - one that could take out other nation's orbiting communications and spy spacecraft.

Within hours of the reported success, China said it was on the alert for possible harmful fallout from the shootdown and urged Washington to promptly release data on the action.

"China is continuously following closely the possible harm caused by the U.S. action to outer space security and relevant countries," Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said at news conference in Beijing. "China requests the U.S. to fulfill its international obligations in real earnest and provide to the international community necessary information and relevant data in a timely and prompt way so that relevant countries can take precautions."

While Pentagon officials stressed that the satellite strike was a one-time incident, it certainly will spin off massive amounts of data and research that can be studied by the military as it works to improve its missile defense technologies.

Officials had expressed cautious optimism that the missile would hit the bus-sized satellite, but they were less certain of hitting the smaller, more worrisome fuel tank.

In a statement released after the satellite was shot, the Pentagon said, "Confirmation that the fuel tank has been fragmented should be available within 24 hours." But a short time later, several defense officials close to the situation said it appeared the fuel tank was hit. One said observers saw what appeared to be an explosion. Those officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the results had not been formally documented at the time they spoke.

Because the satellite was orbiting at a relatively low altitude at the time it was hit by the missile, debris will begin to re-enter the Earth's atmosphere immediately, the Pentagon statement said.

"Nearly all of the debris will burn up on re-entry within 24-48 hours and the remaining debris should re-enter within 40 days," it said.



A bit of science reality to counter the McNobrain blather currently occupying all of the blogosphere news this AM.

The Lunar Eclipse also was here and there around cloud cover while KO was prattling for a complete hour over and over, ad-nauseum, about certain indiscretions of a certain Senator and a certain K-Street marm. Looks to me like someone just got their butt shoved in front of the campaign bus. With the numerous favors granted to lobbyists by Mc it is no wonder they want to drop him like a hot potato.

War hero one minute, tabloid star the next, what a country!



DEN said...

Note: their wil be no speling or gramer errs aloud hear at DWF.


DEN said...

6.0 quake in Nevada.

DEN said...

Just in case you missed the Lunar Eclipse, here are some pics.

Saladin said...

Clinton, Obama bank major donations from Abramoff's former law firm

Jack Abramoff has been the specter haunting Republican politicians for a few years now. The disgraced GOP lobbyist, who pled guilty in 2006 on fraud and corruption charges, burrowed his way deep into Washington, DC's political elite, leading to the convictions of top Bush administration officials and contributing to 2006's electoral calamity for the Republican Party. Abramoff's fall also encouraged Democrats to reposition themselves as the party of clean government.

But in 2008, it might be harder for the Democratic presidential nominee to make the same case that his or her Congressional counterparts successfully built in 2006. Facing off against likely Republican nominee John McCain, who as a senator led early investigations into Abramoff's corrupt lobbying, either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama could find themselves linked to Abramoff and his former law firm, the Miami-based giant Greenberg Traurig.

A RAW STORY review of Federal Election Commission records shows that Clinton and Obama both received hundreds of thousands of dollars of donations from Greenberg Traurig staff. Moreover, each candidate has particularly benefited from the largesse of the firm's top management and its registered lobbyists.

The Clinton and Obama campaigns were both contacted on Monday and Wednesday for comment regarding donations to their candidates from Abramoff-linked donors. Neither responded to RAW STORY's queries.
Giant firm takes out checkbook for Democratic candidates

Greenberg Traurig has offices all over the United States and is one of the largest law firms in the country. It hired Jack Abramoff and his lobbying team in 2001, and fired him in 2004 when knowledge of a federal investigation of his practices became public.

Greenberg Traurig attorneys have actively donated to this season's presidential campaigns. A Feb. 12 article from the Huffington Post noted that McCain, the senator whose Indian Affairs Committee investigations helped bring down Abramoff and embroiled Greenberg Traurig in years of legal trouble, took in more than $100,000 from the firm's employees.

But McCain was not alone among the likely presidential candidates in receiving big money from Greenberg Traurig attorneys. According to FEC records, Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, along with her earlier senate campaign and political committees, received just under $200,000 in donations from Greenberg Traurig employees. And Barack Obama, who has not been operating a national political campaign as long as Clinton, is halfway there, banking just over $100,000 from the firm's attorneys.

But beyond merely earning donations from the firm's attorneys, Clinton and Obama have both benefited heavily from the firm's registered lobbyists and management.

In all, Senator Clinton received just under $50,000 in donations from Greenberg Traurig's registered lobbyists who represent interests ranging from health insurance company Humana to New Balance Shoes to Dole Food. But Clinton also received about $18,000 in donations from lobbyists who worked directly on accounts with Abramoff himself.

Both Joe Reeder and Alan Slomowitz, who worked alongside Abramoff for various clients, have donated to Clinton's presidential campaign. Reeder worked with Abramoff on an account with Voor Huisen Project Management, which appeared to be a shell corporation and paid Abramoff $2.1 million in fees. Slomowitz was a registered lobbyist for the American International Center, a money laundering front organization established by Abramoff and run by a lifeguard in Delaware, as well as many of his other accounts.

The other two Clinton donors, Ronald Platt and Michael D. Smith, both left Greenberg in the aftermath of the Abramoff controversy, and only made donations to Clinton's pre-presidential political committee "Friends of Hillary." Smith, along with three other former Greenberg employees, was asked to resign from Greenberg after improperly taking payments from a firm run by Michael Scanlon, an Abramoff associate who pled guilty to a conspiracy charge in 2005.

None of these four lobbyists have been charged with breaking any laws.

Obama, on the other hand, appears to have remained mostly true to his frequent pledges to not take money from lobbyists. But recently, one appears to have made it through the firewall.

Richard Edlin, a registered Greenberg Traurig lobbyist with SPI Spirits, gave the senator $1,500 in the 4th Quarter of 2007. While Edlin was not a member of Abramoff's team, he was implicated in one of the convicted lobbyists' money laundering schemes, according to a June 2006 report in The Hill. However, as the article points out, "It is unclear...whether Edlin knew the true purpose," of the phony donation he was asked to process, and Edlin was not charged with any wrongdoing.

While Obama has not received as much as Clinton did from Greenberg Traurig lobbyists, the firm's top executives, who made the decisions to initially hire and eventually fire Abramoff, have given heavily to the Illinois Democrat. Firm founders Larry Hoffman and Robert Traurig, along with current executive director Cesar Alvarez were all included in $14,500 from the firm's executive leadership to Obama.

Clinton also received $7,600 from the firm's general counsel and the chair of its New York office, who appear to have hedged their bets and given to Obama as well.
GOP could launch attacks on Abramoff connections

While Congressional Democrats have made the most hay out of links between their Republican opponents and Abramoff, the GOP has demonstrated its willingness to attack Democrats on the same charges.

In Dec. 2005, the National Republican Senatorial Committee circulated a document entitled "Democrats don't know Jack?" which identified 40 Democratic senators who had received donations from Abramoff and his partners.

In specific '06 campaigns, the very Abramoff-tied lobbyists who gave to Clinton and Obama were highlighted by Republican candidates and their organizations.

For instance, Republican Bob Corker, who defeated Harold Ford, Jr. in a tight Tennessee Senate race in 2006, slammed his opponent for receiving money from Greenberg Traurig attorneys, including Michael Smith and Alan Slomowitz.

"Congressman Ford needs to explain all his dealings with Team Abramoff and acknowledge that his recent denials were completely false and misleading. Tennesseans have the right to the truth about the Congressman's connection to these lobbyists,'" read a Jan. 2006 statement from Corker's campaign after Ford denied receiving money from Abramoff-connected lobbyists.

And even at the local level, Republicans have brought up Abramoff's attorneys' donations to Democratic candidates. In a 2007 race for the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in Virginia, Republican Gary Blaise charged Democratic incumbent Gerald Connolly with taking money from Joe Reeder, who also gave to Clinton's campaign. Unlike Corker, Blaise did not succeed in defeating his Democratic opponent.

Whether or not Republicans will actually confront the eventual Democratic candidate on donations from lobbyists tied to Abramoff is anybody's guess. McCain's receipt of donations from the firm and its lobbyists might at least cancel out any effort by the GOP to make that move. But if they do, the charge might stick better to Senator Obama, who has declared strongly on the campaign trail that he wants to get lobbyists out of federal elections.

"In terms of how we've been running this campaign, we have seen that I have not taken money from federal registered lobbyists. We are not taking money from PACs," Obama argued in the very first Democratic presidential debate in South Carolina last April.

Obama also has gone a step further, arguing that he has a record of promoting government ethics initiatives within the Senate.

"I'm the only person on this stage who has worked actively just last year passing -- along with Russ Feingold -- some of the toughest ethics reforms since Watergate -- making sure that lobbyists could not provide gifts and meals to congressmen, making sure the bundling of monies by lobbyists was disclosed," he argued in an October 2007 debate in Philadelphia.

Clinton, on the other hand, has stood by her general willingness to accept money from lobbyists.

"A lot of those lobbyists whether you like it not, represent real Americans," Clinton declared at the YearlyKos convention last August, shaking off some jeers from the audience. "They represent nurses, they represent, you know, social workers...and yes, they represent corporations and they employ a lot of people....the idea that somehow a contribution is going to influence you, I just ask you to look at my record, I have been fighting for the same things, my core principles have not changed."

And Clinton's willingness to take money from lobbyists has paid off. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Clinton took in just under a million dollars from political action committees in 2007.
So many scandals, so little time. When you vote for the lesser of the evils, evil is what you get, every time.

DEN said...

So you think THAT is bad??

This is worse:

February 14, 2008 | (Figures in this story have been adjusted to reflect Sen. Ted Kennedy's contributions from the two candidates, which were overlooked in the original posting. Changes are in bold.) At this summer's Democratic National Convention, nearly 800 members of Congress, state governors and Democratic Party leaders could be the tiebreakers in the intense contest between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. If neither candidate can earn the support of at least 2,025 delegates in the primary voting process, the decision of who will represent the Democrats in November's presidential election will fall not to the will of the people but to these "superdelegates"—the candidates' friends, colleagues and even financial beneficiaries. Both contenders will be calling in favors.

And while it would be unseemly for the candidates to hand out thousands of dollars to primary voters, or to the delegates pledged to represent the will of those voters, elected officials who are superdelegates have received at least $904,200 from Obama and Clinton in the form of campaign contributions over the last three years, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

Obama, who narrowly leads in the count of pledged, "non-super" delegates, has doled out more than $698,200 to superdelegates from his political action committee, Hope Fund, or campaign committee since 2005. Of the 82 elected officials who had announced as of Feb. 12 that their superdelegate votes would go to the Illinois senator, 35, or 43 percent of this group, have received campaign contributions from him in the 2006 or 2008 election cycles, totaling $232,200. In addition, Obama has been endorsed by 52 superdelegates who haven't held elected office recently and, therefore, didn't receive campaign contributions from him.

Clinton does not appear to have been as openhanded. Her PAC, HILLPAC, and campaign committee appear to have distributed $205,500 to superdelegates. Only 12 percent of her elected superdelegates, or 13 of 109 who have said they will back her, have received campaign contributions, totaling about $95,000 since 2005. An additional 128 unelected superdelegates support Clinton, according to a blog tracking superdelegates and their endorsements, 2008 Democratic Convention Watch.

Because superdelegates will make up around 20 percent of 4,000 delegates to the Democratic convention in August--Republicans don't have superdelegates—Clinton and Obama are aggressively wooing the more than 400 superdelegates who haven't yet made up their minds. Since 2005 Obama has given 52 of the undecided superdelegates a total of at least $363,900, while Clinton has given a total of $88,000 to 15 of them. Anticipating that their intense competition for votes in state primaries and caucuses will result in a near-tie going into the nominating convention, the two candidates are making personal calls to superdelegates now, or are recruiting other big names to do so on their behalf. With no specific rules about what can and can't be done to court these delegates, just about anything goes.

"Only the limits of human creativity could restrict the ways in which Obama and Clinton will try to be helpful to superdelegates," said Larry Sabato, a political scientist at the University of Virginia. "My guess is that if the nomination actually depends on superdelegates, the unwritten rule may be, 'ask and ye shall receive.' "

Make Abramoffs bunch look like choirboys!

David B. Benson said...

Saladin and Den --- Yawn.

Too cloudy last night to catch more than a glimpse of 1/4 eclipse. So thanks for the pics.

Alan said...

haha Dr. B!
Yesterday Den called D/D (Debbie Downer) on her loooooong BULLSHIT article and what does she do? She agreed with him that it was bullshit. ?? Why spam the thread with a looooong article she didn't even believe herself?? Actually, I think she believed whole-heartedly in what she sent until someone smarter pointed out how silly it was. So what's more stupid... believing in that bullshit, or spamming the thread with something you don't EVEN believe yourself?
So yeah, she gets a demerit in "works and plays well with others".

Alan said...

a "whale" of a problem

lol watch this clip

Anonymous said...

More from the lunatics: International Climate Science Coalition that will act as an alternative voice to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

DEN said...

The global warming debate that the public and policymakers usually see is one-sided, dominated by government scientists and government organizations agenda-driven to find data that suggest a human impact on climate and to call for immediate government action, if only to fund their own continued research, but often to achieve political agendas entirely unrelated to the science of climate change. There is another side, but in recent years it has been denied a platform from which to speak.

Thats because you are full of shyt!

Damn those scientists!!

Let the crackpots speak!!

DEN said...

An Israeli MP has blamed parliament's tolerance of gays for earthquakes that have rocked the Holy Land recently.

How do you explain the Nevada quake moron??

David B. Benson said...

Isn't prostitution legal in most Nevada counties?

DEN said...

Idiots-O-Plenty on the planet with nothing else to do but make shyt up!

DEN said...

Doc, You bet! Luckily the bordello in Wells had no customers, just the gnarly wenches. They are used to shaking and quaking and mounted on springs, bed-springs that is.

Saladin said...

I see that Alan is just as pleasant as he ever was, and as clueless. If he actually read my response he would understand that I agreed only that carrying out such a plan would present problems, not that I believed they didn't have such plans in place, which they certainly do. The San Francisco Chronicle printed an article by Lewis Seiler and Dan Hamburg on February 4, it appeared on page B-7. Govt's do not create such contingency plans without reason, they do fail to take into consideration the fight they may well encounter.
I read about the "Super Delegates" yesterday, I don't understand why the people allow this shit to occur. The majority want an end to these wars yet all we get are war mongers as a choice. How did this happen? Contrary to Mr. Benson's opinion I do not find these issues boring, they are the foundation of a corrupt process that needs to be effectively dealt with if we are to have any hope. I may be a downer but what is in store if the people don't pull their heads out will be far worse. We still have a chance, but not for much longer.

David B. Benson said...

Saladin --- Maybe I just didn't have enough sleep last night, what with trying to see the eclipse and all...


DEN said...

Carey sez she is doing well after cataract surgery and asked me to let you all know that. One eye down and one to go.

David B. Benson said...

Don't buy bottom-trawled fish:

Trawling devastation visible from space

DEN said...

Doc, thats bad, real bad. More senseless misuse of our life giving planet. Scars that will take thousands of years to heal.

Makes me feel sick thinking about it.

One question lingers though, are they that unable to fish the waters above? Or have we exhausted that too?

DEN said...

Can you believe this??

DALLAS -- Security details at Barack Obama's rally Wednesday stopped screening people for weapons at the front gates more than an hour before the Democratic presidential candidate took the stage at Reunion Arena.

The order to put down the metal detectors and stop checking purses and laptop bags came as a surprise to several Dallas police officers who said they believed it was a lapse in security.

Dallas Deputy Police Chief T.W. Lawrence, head of the Police Department's homeland security and special operations divisions, said the order -- apparently made by the U.S. Secret Service -- was meant to speed up the long lines outside and fill the arena's vacant seats before Obama came on.

"Sure," said Lawrence, when asked if he was concerned by the great number of people who had gotten into the building without being checked. But, he added, the turnout of more than 17,000 people seemed to be a "friendly crowd."

The Secret Service did not return a call from the Star-Telegram seeking comment.

Doors opened to the public at 10 a.m., and for the first hour security officers scanned each person who came in and checked their belongings in a process that kept movement of the long lines at a crawl. Then, about 11 a.m., an order came down to allow the people in without being checked.

Several Dallas police officers said it worried them that the arena was packed with people who got in without even a cursory inspection.

They spoke on condition of anonymity because, they said, the order was made by federal officials who were in charge of security at the event.

"How can you not be concerned in this day and age," said one policeman.
JACK DOUGLAS Jr., 817-390-7700



This does not look good here.

Alan said...

'Twas a good debate. Both sides scored some points. The end was kinda weird, and I'm not sure yet what it means.

ºCºarol said...

Was someone hoping a loose cannon would get in and shoot Obama? Sounds mighty weird to me. You can't go into anything like that anymore w/o getting frisked. VERY strange.

Alan said...

You can't go into anything like that anymore w/o getting frisked. VERY strange.

And it was in DALLAS. And he's the 'black jfk'.
weird indeed!

º¿carol said...

I was watching the going's on in Belgrade this afternoon. It was beautiful to me. To actually see people rise up because they felt strongly about something.

That will NEVER happen here. Nothing riles the people here because they ignore everything going on except the things that entertain them. Lord knows I certainly have my entertainments, but I can afford them.

Almost time for bed. Jon Stewart is in reruns. Wouldn't you know it. They just get their writers back then they take a break. I hope they're writing lots of good stuff for when they start up again.

So, since that is out I think I'll play a game. I do love my games.

Alan said...

Google to begin storing patients' medical records

Testing of new health service likely to raise privacy concerns

SAN FRANCISCO — Google Inc. will begin storing the medical records of a few thousand people as it tests a long-awaited health service that's likely to raise more concerns about the volume of sensitive information entrusted to the Internet search leader.