Saturday, June 07, 2008

Obama to Gut Defense Spending as President

Photo: Two interceptor missiles launched from the USS Lake Erie June 5, 2008.

Obama's Defense Policy was enunciated in a video message to the Caucus4Priorities (watch video.) He made his pledge in 2007 and also offered he does not change his mind on such promises.

"I'm the only major candidate who opposed this war from the beginning; and as president, I will end it.

"Second, I will cut tens of billions of dollars in wasteful spending. I will cut investments in unproven missile defense systems. I will not weaponize space. I will slow our development of future combat systems.

"I will institute an independent defense priorities board to ensure that the Quadrennial Review is not used to justify unnecessary defense spending.

"Third, I will set a goal for a world without nuclear weapons. To seek that goal, I will not develop nuclear weapons; I will seek a global ban on the production of fissile material; and I will negotiate with Russia to take our ICBMs off hair-trigger alert, and to achieve deep cuts in our nuclear arsenal."
Caucus4Priorities, and apparently Obama, wants to move 15% of Pentagon discretionary spending from "obsolete Cold War weapons towards education, health care, job training, alternative energy development, world hunger and deficit-reduction."

Other sacrificial programs are "the F-22 Raptor, the V-22 Osprey, the Virginia-class sub, the DDG-1,000 destroyer and the Army's Future Combat System." Obama also intends to gut the missile defence system that just days ago successfully shot down an untagged incoming test ballistic missile. Obama claims the system is "unproven". when, in fact, the missile test have have succeeded more often than failed. Here is a video of the February 2008 test. Alas, facts will not dissuade Obama and his liberal backers.

The last time we heard such program cuts, Bill Clinton led us into an ill-advised denuclearization program and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Then he opened our nuclear test labs for looting by Chinese military nuke scientists.

Obama's opponent, John McCain, made this promise out in the open, "We must continue to deploy a safe and reliable nuclear deterrent, robust missile defenses and superior conventional forces that are capable of defending the United States and our allies." But he would say that. He's an American patriot.

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Baghdad Terror Dogs Flee

Flights of United Airline passengers are down so much the airline is now known as Ted. U 'n' I have been cut out. In Iraq, the flight of Shi'ite bad guys is way up.

BAGHDAD — The U.S. military has reported the flight of Iraqi Shi'ite insurgents to Iran.

Officials said Iranian-sponsored insurgents in Iraq have left their country and relocated to Teheran amid counter-insurgency operations by the U.S. and Iraqi militaries. They said many of the insurgents who left were members of the Iranian-sponsored Special Groups, Middle East Newsline reported.

"We also know many Special Groups criminals that we target have recently fled to Iran as well," U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Jeffery Hammond, commander of Multinational Division Baghdad, said.

Hammond, who also commands the U.S. Army's 4th Infantry Division, said Special Groups fighters have been hampered by Iraq Army operations in Baghdad and Basra. The two-star general said Iraqi security forces have discovered more than 83 caches of mostly Iranian weapons in Baghdad's Sadr City since May 20.

"We've killed or detained 455 Special Groups operatives in the last six months," Hammond told a briefing on Monday. "Now, intelligence reports indicate that these criminals receive support from elements in Iran."

Despite its denials, Hammond said, Iran continues to supply Iraqi Shi'ite insurgents with weapons and training. He said Iraqi and U.S. units have confiscated weapons manufactured in Iran in 2008.

"I can tell you some weapons recovered in Baghdad were identified as being produced in Iran," Hammond said. "The most recent data production [mark] was February 2008."

Hammond said the Special Groups, believed to consist of defectors from the Mahdi Army, has sustained heavy losses over the last month. In Sadr City, Iraqi security forces killed 163 Special Groups members.

Iraqi and U.S. troops also found 175 improvised explosive devices, 76 of them deemed explosively-formed projectiles, designed to pierce Western-origin main battle tanks and armored personnel carriers. The weapons caches also contained rocket-propelled grenades and rifles as well as more than 320 mortar rounds. Hammond said the Iraq Army, with U.S. air support, destroyed 61 enemy mortar teams in Sadr City.

"There are still challenges ahead," Hammond said.
Any day now, a Shi'ite insurgent comedian will scrawl on a Baghdad wall somewhere, "The last al -Qaida thug to leave Iraq, please turn off the lights."

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

She Said She Was a Virgin, French Judge Agreed

There are virgins in France?!

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Bitter Gun Owner Angelina Jolie

No one can call Angelina Jolie a typical Hollywood liberal group-think follower, nor a shrinking violet. Where she once wore a small vile of Billy Bob Thornton's blood around her neck, she now wears a machine gun pendant. Her companion, Brad Pitt, had it crafted after a drawing made by her son, Maddox, as a Mother's Day gift.

Jolie has done her share of do-gooder philanthropy and has won praise from all quarters. She has been a UN goodwill ambassador and has been to many countries with the world's worst human rights violations records and some of the most dangerous places on Earth. After her visit to Iraq, she wrote an editorial in the WaPo, she wrote of her meeting with Gen. David Petraeus , that the surge was working, and for the need to stay in Iraq, "My visit left me even more deeply convinced that we not only have a moral obligation to help displaced Iraqi families, but also a serious, long-term, national security interest in ending this crisis."

Charlton Heston challenged that his gun be pried from his cold, dead hands. In another surprise reversal, it seems that Angelina Jolie has picked up that gun. In a recent interview, she revealed to the Daily Mail, she and Pitt are gun owners, keeping the weapons in their homes. "I bought original, real guns of the type we used in Tomb Raider for security. Brad and I are not against having a gun in the house, and we do have one. And yes, I'd be able to use it if I had to. I could handle myself. I think there are certain combat skills that would come out. I tend to want to throw an elbow. I don't know why. I've learned all the punches, head butts and kicks – yet getting someone with my elbow is my first instinct.

"I think it's good for anybody to learn a skill when it comes to fight training – be it kung fu, boxing or kick-boxing – because self-defence is important. Brad and I want our kids to learn it. They're going to get into a fight some day, so they might as well learn how to take care of themselves."

To drive the point home, "If anybody comes into my home and tries to hurt my kids, I've no problem shooting them."

Jolie's children are growing up knowing there is good and evil in the world and how to tell the difference. She says, "It's just not a reality in this day and age to say, 'I'm never going to let my kids watch a movie that has a gun in it.' It's important to know that this exists... But I'm very clear with my children about who's a good guy and who's bad. If they're watching a movie at home and they say, 'Is that a bad guy, Mummy?,' I say, 'Well, is he trying to hurt somebody? If you see somebody picking on a person or starting the fight, that's the bad guy.'"

Angelina Jolie may still be viewed as bit of an oddball, but I'd say her children are in damn fine care.

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Hillary Clinton - Quitter

Nobody likes a quitter. Hillary Clinton will quit the Democrat presidential campaign Friday.

It's over.

Sen. Hillary Clinton will drop out of the presidential race on Friday, ending her historic bid for the White House and ceding the Democratic nomination to Barack Obama, ABC News has learned.
I am so disappointed. I knew there was a good reason I didn't like her.

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Barack Obama - Speech as Democrat Presumptive Nominee

Senator Barack Hussein Obama, declares himself the Democrat Party's nominee for President of the United States of America tonight. Senator Hillary Clinton has ceded the delegate count and super delegates to Obama putting him over the number required for nomination. So, barring any unforeseen event - embarrassing tapes, foreign bribes, liberals coming to their senses - Barack Obama wins.

In St. Paul, Minnesota, Senator Barack Obama will deliver the following prepared remarks that were just dashed off in the last few hours without any forethought or expectation.

Tonight, after fifty-four hard-fought contests, our primary season has finally come to an end.

Sixteen months have passed since we first stood together on the steps of the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois. Thousands of miles have been traveled. Millions of voices have been heard. And because of what you said -- because you decided that change must come to Washington; because you believed that this year must be different than all the rest; because you chose to listen not to your doubts or your fears but to your greatest hopes and highest aspirations, tonight we mark the end of one historic journey with the beginning of another -- a journey that will bring a new and better day to America. Tonight, I can stand before you and say that I will be the Democratic nominee for President of the United States.

I want to thank every American who stood with us over the course of this campaign -- through the good days and the bad; from the snows of Cedar Rapids to the sunshine of Sioux Falls. And tonight I also want to thank the men and woman who took this journey with me as fellow candidates for President.

At this defining moment for our nation, we should be proud that our party put forth one of the most talented, qualified field of individuals ever to run for this office. I have not just competed with them as rivals, I have learned from them as friends, as public servants, and as patriots who love America and are willing to work tirelessly to make this country better. They are leaders of this party, and leaders that America will turn to for years to come.

That is particularly true for the candidate who has traveled further on this journey than anyone else. Senator Hillary Clinton has made history in this campaign not just because she's a woman who has done what no woman has done before, but because she's a leader who inspires millions of Americans with her strength, her courage, and her commitment to the causes that brought us here tonight.

We've certainly had our differences over the last sixteen months. But as someone who's shared a stage with her many times, I can tell you that what gets Hillary Clinton up in the morning -- even in the face of tough odds -- is exactly what sent her and Bill Clinton to sign up for their first campaign in Texas all those years ago; what sent her to work at the Children's Defense Fund and made her fight for health care as First Lady; what led her to the United States Senate and fueled her barrier-breaking campaign for the presidency -- an unyielding desire to improve the lives of ordinary Americans, no matter how difficult the fight may be. And you can rest assured that when we finally win the battle for universal health care in this country, she will be central to that victory. When we transform our energy policy and lift our children out of poverty, it will be because she worked to help make it happen. Our party and our country are better off because of her, and I am a better candidate for having had the honor to compete with Hillary Rodham Clinton.

There are those who say that this primary has somehow left us weaker and more divided. Well I say that because of this primary, there are millions of Americans who have cast their ballot for the very first time. There are Independents and Republicans who understand that this election isn't just about the party in charge of Washington, it's about the need to change Washington.Ê There are young people, and African-Americans, and Latinos, and women of all ages who have voted in numbers that have broken records and inspired a nation.

All of you chose to support a candidate you believe in deeply. But at the end of the day, we aren't the reason you came out and waited in lines that stretched block after block to make your voice heard. You didn't do that because of me or Senator Clinton or anyone else. You did it because you know in your hearts that at this moment -- a moment that will define a generation -- we cannot afford to keep doing what we've been doing. We owe our children a better future. We owe our country a better future. And for all those who dream of that future tonight, I say -- let us begin the work together. Let us unite in common effort to chart a new course for America.

In just a few short months, the Republican Party will arrive in St. Paul with a very different agenda. They will come here to nominate John McCain, a man who has served this country heroically. I honor that service, and I respect his many accomplishments, even if he chooses to deny mine. My differences with him are not personal; they are with the policies he has proposed in this campaign.

Because while John McCain can legitimately tout moments of independence from his party in the past, such independence has not been the hallmark of his presidential campaign.

It's not change when John McCain decided to stand with George Bush ninety-five percent of the time, as he did in the Senate last year.

It's not change when he offers four more years of Bush economic policies that have failed to create well-paying jobs, or insure our workers, or help Americans afford the skyrocketing cost of college -- policies that have lowered the real incomes of the average American family, widened the gap between Wall Street and Main Street, and left our children with a mountain of debt.

And it's not change when he promises to continue a policy in Iraq that asks everything of our brave men and women in uniform and nothing of Iraqi politicians -- a policy where all we look for are reasons to stay in Iraq, while we spend billions of dollars a month on a war that isn't making the American people any safer.

So I'll say this -- there are many words to describe John McCain's attempt to pass off his embrace of George Bush's policies as bipartisan and new. But change is not one of them.

Change is a foreign policy that doesn't begin and end with a war that should've never been authorized and never been waged. I won't stand here and pretend that there are many good options left in Iraq, but what's not an option is leaving our troops in that country for the next hundred years -- especially at a time when our military is overstretched, our nation is isolated, and nearly every other threat to America is being ignored.

We must be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in - but start leaving we must. It's time for Iraqis to take responsibility for their future. It's time to rebuild our military and give our veterans the care they need and the benefits they deserve when they come home. It's time to refocus our efforts on al Qaeda's leadership and Afghanistan, and rally the world against the common threats of the 21st century -- terrorism and nuclear weapons; climate change and poverty; genocide and disease. That's what change is.

Change is realizing that meeting today's threats requires not just our firepower, but the power of our diplomacy -- tough, direct diplomacy where the President of the United States isn't afraid to let any petty dictator know where America stands and what we stand for. We must once again have the courage and conviction to lead the free world. That is the legacy of Roosevelt, and Truman, and Kennedy. That's what the American people want. That's what change is.

Change is building an economy that rewards not just wealth, but the work and workers who created it. It's understanding that the struggles facing working families can't be solved by spending billions of dollars on more tax breaks for big corporations and wealthy CEOs, but by giving a the middle-class a tax break, and investing in our crumbling infrastructure, and transforming how we use energy, and improving our schools, and renewing our commitment to science and innovation. It's understanding that fiscal responsibility and shared prosperity can go hand-in-hand, as they did when Bill Clinton was President.

John McCain has spent a lot of time talking about trips to Iraq in the last few weeks, but maybe if he spent some time taking trips to the cities and towns that have been hardest hit by this economy -- cities in Michigan, and Ohio, and right here in Minnesota -- he'd understand the kind of change that people are looking for.

Maybe if he went to Iowa and met the student who works the night shift after a full day of class and still can't pay the medical bills for a sister who's ill, he'd understand that she can't afford four more years of a health care plan that only takes care of the healthy and wealthy. She needs us to pass health care plan that guarantees insurance to every American who wants it and brings down premiums for every family who needs it. That's the change we need.
Maybe if he went to Pennsylvania and met the man who lost his job but can't even afford the gas to drive around and look for a new one, he'd understand that we can't afford four more years of our addiction to oil from dictators. That man needs us to pass an energy policy that works with automakers to raise fuel standards, and makes corporations pay for their pollution, and oil companies invest their record profits in a clean energy future -- an energy policy that will create millions of new jobs that pay well and can't be outsourced. That's the change we need.

And maybe if he spent some time in the schools of South Carolina or St. Paul or where he spoke tonight in New Orleans, he'd understand that we can't afford to leave the money behind for No Child Left Behind; that we owe it to our children to invest in early childhood education; to recruit an army of new teachers and give them better pay and more support; to finally decide that in this global economy, the chance to get a college education should not be a privilege for the wealthy few, but the birthright of every American. That's the change we need in America. That's why I'm running for President.

The other side will come here in September and offer a very different set of policies and positions, and that is a debate I look forward to. It is a debate the American people deserve. But what you don't deserve is another election that's governed by fear, and innuendo, and division. What you won't hear from this campaign or this party is the kind of politics that uses religion as a wedge, and patriotism as a bludgeon -- that sees our opponents not as competitors to challenge, but enemies to demonize. Because we may call ourselves Democrats and Republicans, but we are Americans first. We are always Americans first.

Despite what the good Senator from Arizona said tonight, I have seen people of differing views and opinions find common cause many times during my two decades in public life, and I have brought many together myself. I've walked arm-in-arm with community leaders on the South Side of Chicago and watched tensions fade as black, white, and Latino fought together for good jobs and good schools. I've sat across the table from law enforcement and civil rights advocates to reform a criminal justice system that sent thirteen innocent people to death row. And I've worked with friends in the other party to provide more children with health insurance and more working families with a tax break; to curb the spread of nuclear weapons and ensure that the American people know where their tax dollars are being spent; and to reduce the influence of lobbyists who have all too often set the agenda in Washington.

In our country, I have found that this cooperation happens not because we agree on everything, but because behind all the labels and false divisions and categories that define us; beyond all the petty bickering and point-scoring in Washington, Americans are a decent, generous, compassionate people, united by common challenges and common hopes. And every so often, there are moments which call on that fundamental goodness to make this country great again.

So it was for that band of patriots who declared in a Philadelphia hall the formation of a more perfect union; and for all those who gave on the fields of Gettysburg and Antietam their last full measure of devotion to save that same union.

So it was for the Greatest Generation that conquered fear itself, and liberated a continent from tyranny, and made this country home to untold opportunity and prosperity.

So it was for the workers who stood out on the picket lines; the women who shattered glass ceilings; the children who braved a Selma bridge for freedom's cause.

So it has been for every generation that faced down the greatest challenges and the most improbable odds to leave their children a world that's better, and kinder, and more just.

And so it must be for us.

America, this is our moment. This is our time. Our time to turn the page on the policies of the past. Our time to bring new energy and new ideas to the challenges we face. Our time to offer a new direction for the country we love.

The journey will be difficult. The road will be long. I face this challenge with profound humility, and knowledge of my own limitations. But I also face it with limitless faith in the capacity of the American people. Because if we are willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it, then I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on Earth. This was the moment -- this was the time -- when we came together to remake this great nation so that it may always reflect our very best selves, and our highest ideals. Thank you, God Bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.

Consecration of the Emperor Napoleon I and Coronation of the Empress Josephine in the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris on 2 Dec 1804, Jacque-Louis David

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Global Warming, Solar Radiation Linked Say NASA Eggheads

While attempting to understand why the solar corona is so much hotter than Sol's surface, NASA scientists have also confirmed the origins of the global warming phenomenon on Earth. It has long been known that the temperature at the Sun's surface is around 6000 Celsius, while the outer most layer, the corona, is a staggering 2,000,000 Celsius. At those temps, SPF gazillion isn't going to prevent skin damage.

The smart guys at the National Space and Aeronautics Administration have proposed two explanations:

ScienceDaily (Jun. 2, 2008)

"It has become clear in recent years that coronal heating is a highly dynamic process, but inconsistencies between observations and theoretical models have been a major source of heartburn. We have now discovered two possible solutions to this dilemma: energy is released impulsively with the right mix of particle acceleration and direct heating, or energy is released gradually very close to the solar surface," says James Klimchuk, an astrophysicist at the Goddard Space Flight Center's Solar Physics Laboratory in Greenbelt, Md.

X-rays and ultraviolet radiation from the solar corona affect Earth and its atmosphere. For satellites, this can be a real drag--literally. As Earth's atmosphere gets hotter, it expands and becomes denser at high altitudes. When this happens, satellites experience more drag, which changes their orbits...
So there you have it. Jolly old Sol actually heats the Earth's atmosphere with X-rays and ultraviolet radiation. Huh! Who woulda thunk it? And upon closer reading, it may also be a major cause of heartburn.

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Gasoline - Yesterday and Today

Fuel costs 1930

Fuel costs 2007

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Toilet to Tang - Space Station and Earth Have Limited Water Supply

Space shuttle Discovery launched from Cape Canaveral today and will dock with the International Space Station (ISS) on Monday. Discovery is bringing Hope and relief. And none too soon.

The Japanese made Kibo (Hope) lab is the size of a school bus and is the largest section of the ISS to date. The plan is for Kibo to allow experiments that last several months to be conducted, rather than the days to weeks allowed now. Kibo will increase the number of experiments which will eventually hold ten racks of equipment.

The relief is the delivery of the toilet vacuum pump to replace the solid waste pump that broke while in use and the replacement that barely works. For days, the three occupants have had to manually flush the toilet with extra water several times a day, a time-consuming, water-wasting job. The whole waste elimination thing is quite complex compared to the Earth bound process. The equipment designed into the ISS by Russia and installed 7 years ago on the ISS is similar to that of the space shuttles. Until the spare parts arrive on Monday, the cosmonauts will have to use baggies or the Soyuz head which has limited capacity.

Since there is no gravity to either hold a toilet bowl full of water in place or pull human wastes down, designing a toilet for zero-gravity was not an easy task. NASA had to develop a way to use air flow to make the urine or feces go where they wanted.

There is a toilet on each space shuttle which can be used by men or women. Although it is designed to be as much as possible like those on Earth, there are a number of changes. Straps are in place to hold feet against the floor. Pivoting bars swing across the thighs, ensuring the user remains seated. Since the system operates on a vacuum, a tight seal is essential.

Besides the main toilet bowl, there is a hose, which is utilized as a urinal by men and women. It can be used in a standing position or can be attached to the commode by a pivoting mounting bracket for use in a sitting position. A separate receptacle allows for disposal of wipes. All three units use flowing air instead of water to move waste through the system.

The human waste is separated and solid wastes are compressed and stored on-board, and then removed after landing. Waste water is vented to space, although future systems may recycle it. The air is filtered to remove odor and bacteria and then returned to the cabin.

Hopefully, there is sufficient reading material aboard for the task.
Discovery is also bringing water which, as noted, is necessarily being wasted on waste. Right now, there is no water recovery/recycling system aboard. NASA recently unveiled a $250mil urine recycling system that is scheduled for ISS installation this fall before the station crew doubles next year.

The Waste Recovery System is the second part of the station's Regenerative Environmental Control and Life Support System, NASA said. The first part, the Oxygen Generation System, went up last year. The WRS will distill waste, remove solid particles such as lint or hair, and then take the water through a series of filtration beds followed by a high-temperature catalytic reaction to remove any other contaminants and micro-organisms.

The result, officials said, will be cleaner than tap water, officials said. Faint praise, perhaps, but NASA's biggest concern isn't the quality of the water as much as the psychological barrier posed by the water's source.
Much of what happens in space does not stay in space. The waste water recycling system is also being tried here on the ground. Here in Orange County, California, waste water has been purified and pumped into the aquifer since 1976 with no ill effects. A new plant is on line pumping recycled water into the drinking water supply.

The finished product, which district managers say exceeds drinking water standards, will not flow directly into kitchen and bathroom taps; state regulations forbid that.

Instead it will be injected underground, with half of it helping to form a barrier against seawater intruding on groundwater sources and the other half gradually filtering into aquifers that supply 2.3 million people, about three-quarters of the county. The recycling project will produce much more potable water and at a higher quality than did the mid-1970s-era plant it replaces.
A nice cold glass of Tang, anyone?

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.