Picture of the Day

Astronomy Picture of the Day Blackholestorm_chandra_big_2

In the center of a swirling whirlpool of hot gas is likely a beast that has never been seen directly: a black hole. Studies of the bright light emitted by the swirling gas frequently indicate not only that a black hole is present, but also likely attributes. The gas surrounding GRO J1655-40, for example, has been found to display an unusual flickering at a rate of 450 times a second. Given a previous mass estimate for the central object of seven times the mass of our Sun, the rate of the fast flickering can be explained by a black hole that is rotating very rapidly. What physical mechanisms actually cause the flickering — and a slower quasi-periodic oscillation (QPO) — in accretion disks surrounding black holes and neutron stars remains a topic of much research.

Be sure and check the APOD every day…..see the left sidebar for Favorites.  Be the most knowledgeable at your next social event, and learn a little something about our universe.

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Another Post on Immigration

Agricolae says enough already with the posts on immigration…..why doesn’t Agricola post on the pending nuptials of Vince and Jennifer, or maybe something on Katie’s last day?  Agricola is the Decider, and he decides what subjects will be covered.  Agricola also acknowledges he may lose one reader from the legion of fans, but that’s the price of Deciding.

Samuelson on the real numbers behind the immigration debate.

You decide what’s more important.

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Civil Discourse in Politics

Politics stops at the water’s edge.  Isn’t that what our American politicos have always said?  Even if not widely practiced, lately the outsiders in the halls of power have taken their discontent to a new, lower level of rhetoric.  Today’s evidence supporting the allegation can be found in Al Gore’s comments to The Guardian (UK)

Taking a page from his old boss, the potentially ground-breaking First Man, Gore has honored our concept of democracy by calling our elected government a renegade band of right-wing extremists who get hold of power.  Renegades who got hold of power?  How can we expect a civil discourse on matters of great importance when national leaders make these kinds of irresponsible statements?

To refresh Gore’s database, President Bush won in electoral votes 286 – 252, total votes 51% – 48%, with a total margin of more than 3.5 million votes  out of 117.8 million votes cast, winning 32 states out of 50. Not a landslide, but a clear majority.

We’re not asking Gore to give up his principles, but we do think it’s right to ask him to support the process of democracy in our country.  He can disagree with all his might, but in making irresponsible statements he further inflames the partisans, and makes it more difficult for the middle (dare we say the Silent Majority?) to consider his party’s positions.

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Congressional Hubris II

Today, the Wall Street Journal has an editorial criticizing the search of Rep. Jefferson’s office on Capitol Hill.  Says the editorial:

Congress’s right to legislate without being intimidated by the executive is a core element of the Constitution, and bullying prosecutors shouldn’t be allowed to violate it.

Fair enough, if soliciting for and acceptance of bribe money is considered legislating.  But we don’t think that is what the authors of the Constitution meant; in fact, they specifically listed felony as an exclusion under the shield and debate clause being used to "protect" members of Congress from investigation for criminal activity.

Andrew McCarthy of the National Review, a former federal prosecutor, debunks the faulty analysis of the WSJ editorial board, and the other critics of the FBI’s attempt to prosecute a federal crime.  His article is here.

Over the weekend, two arch-enemies, Sens. Frist and Durbin, both made statements supporting the Justice Department’s search, and stated, clearly, that no member of Congress should be "above the law".  That the two agree should be a warning to the critics of the inherent right to prosecute criminal acts, wherever found.

H/T Michelle Malkin

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The Senate and Immigration

Watching the debate in the Senate via C-SPAN on the Immigration Bill (senate version) illustrates, again, the astonishing level of mediocrity that characterizes the so-called "World’s Greatest Deliberative Body". Along with the art of rhetoric, common sense and effective  legislation are symbols of a departed skill set not seen in the Senate in many years.  We are not watching sausage being made, we are watching a pot luck supper run amok.  The Senate is poised to spend at $100 Billion Dollars on illegal immigrants, through tax credits, tax forgiveness, and increased costs, at the state and local level, in health care and education.  No significant legislation is included to secure the border.  The pandering and vote buying is stunning.  And yet, speaker after speaker arise to commend their body for its hard work and clarity of vision.  I am completely at a loss, and thus post a link to an article that hopefully expresses my disgust in a more articulate manner:

Read this.

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Making Sausage – The Senate and Immigration

It has often been said that the production of sausage and legislation are two things that the public really shoudn’t see, for fear of being completely appalled at the process and the product.  Well, thanks to the Blogosphere, we have been allowed a partial view of the crafting of legislation on immigration in the Sentate, and it sure ain’t pretty.  In fact, we’re not sure the public is going to be able to swallow the legislation likely to be approved by the Senate when it votes today.  Chuck Grassley, R-IA, has issued a press release indicating his disapproval with much of the Senate’s bill and points out just a few of his concerns.

Says Grassley:

"I was burned once in 1986 when I voted for amnesty believing that it would solve our problems.  Now, we have a 12 million illegal immigrant problem.  I’m not getting burned again.  Not only do we have a glide path to citizenship, but it’s a glidepath with plenty of loopholes that don’t meet the common sense test."

When did common sense become a requirement in legislation crafted in Washington?  It certainly is not a requirement when it relates to the Judicial and Executive Branches being able to enforce a subpoena and warrant against a sitting member of Congress.

For a partial list of his concerns, follow this link.

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