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The Eagle Nebula from the Copernicus Observatory in SW Utah

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Posts Made By: J. Jeffrey Vickers

December 23, 2007 05:36 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Fifty Years of Progress

Posted By J. Jeffrey Vickers

Alan, if you would have predicted your 10 listed facts 50 years ago folks would have thought you were crazy. I wonder how crazy our next 50 years will be now that the power of the computer and internet are firmly entrenched world wide???? Scary or exciting? My fingers are crossed. grin


January 11, 2008 01:54 AM Forum: Pictures of Me and My Telescope and........

Pimpin' the new TEC200/9 ED

Posted By J. Jeffrey Vickers

Mike, you definately have that "you da man!" look next to your beautiful TEC on it's AP mount. 8"er! You should be ashamed showing it off to us mere mortals! 8)

Jeff V.

July 5, 2008 08:54 PM Forum: Polls

All cars built after 2015 should be powered by...

Posted By J. Jeffrey Vickers

There is one big issue not often spoken about in the media. The issue has been brought here to a degree. Yes, you need to use another fuel source to produce hydrogen. Coal is one of those sources but due to the amount of hydrogen we would need to produce the volume we would require and to keep us all driving the most acceptable source (cleanest) would be natural gas. Never the less the co2 produced as a byproduct, from either source, for the production of hydrogen would exceed that of simply burning gasoline. But we could all say: "oh look! Only water is coming out of my tail pipe" and feel green and fuzzy on the inside.

Oh yeah! Now what was that global warming thingy all about, I forgot? Gore would simply have a fit!

A second issue is batteries. For 20 years I sold electric lift trucks. They work excellent. Torque, acceleration, Very few moving parts, low maintenance, efficient, no exhaust. When your battery is low you simple charge it or drive up to a battery charging exchange station, takes 5 min's to swap out your low battery with a fresh one and away you go. Simple, yes.

But, anyone ever think about were we get the lead from and the thousands who have died from lead poisoning digging it out of the ground like coal only it is far more toxic. You say "but we recycle batteries". We do, have you seen what the recycling facilities in Asia where most of it is done looks like and the people it effects? Now where and how will the new lead batteries that would be required to replace many 100 millions gasoline vehicles come from? Our environment of course. Oh and by the way a lot of electricity is required to charge a large battery if we go full electric as apposed to hybred. Of course electricity is almost free and clean, right????

Our world population is multiplying too rapidly. Be prepared for big changes. All will be painful, none will be simple. Please do not solve one problem by creating an even larger one.

July 5, 2008 05:00 AM Forum: Polls

All cars built after 2015 should be powered by...

Posted By J. Jeffrey Vickers

Richard you get a big ditto from me. Drive less & conserve, yes, nuclear energy definitely, including Gore reducing his own electric bills and privet jet costs. I am sick of being fleeced by both parties.

It is appearent we American fools deserve them. After all we actually voted to put these ridiculous people in office and pay vast sums of money to do it! Afterwards we pay massive amounts of taxes so they can continue "business as usual". Come elections we repeat the process over & over again. Duh. When will we all wake up to reality?

Soon we may see ourselves as poor people. Do you ever think you will ever see poor politicians? Not in our life time for sure. And please realize the media is selling influence and advertising. It is a very effective and ruthless business empire 1st and foremost. Democratic Party, Republican party, the media. Good God we do not stand a chance. Turn on the TV and crank up the denial. Hear we go again.

Excuse me while I step out into my back yard and listen to the birds sing, they sound much better to me.

Jeff V.

July 8, 2008 11:33 PM Forum: Polls

All cars built after 2015 should be powered by...

Posted By J. Jeffrey Vickers

Richard, there is little we disagree on. But the human elements involved in any energy source can sometimes play a larger role than physics or logic. Below is a long article (sorry) but never the less it contains some interesting information relevant to us all. By the way your explanations about energy are excellent. We certainly have a mess to deal with. Thank you.

A side note: "A little over the top" many Americans do not realize that West Virginia citizens were bombed by our own US Air force in 1921 because the miners in southern W.Va. wanted to unionize themselves for higher wages, break their dependency on company stores, and corporate exploitation. The miners "were out of control". Their actions would have cut into corporate profits. The miners fought for their rights and lost, many (apx.400) were jailed for treason for several years there after.


Article posted May 14 2008, 11:55 PM Category: Commentary
Source: Sharon Smith

The Self-Righteous Rich: Rockefeller Family Fables

On April 30th, reporters flocked to the penthouse suite of a Midtown Manhattan hotel where fifteen representatives of the Rockefeller dynasty were holding court. There, the Rockefellers chastised oil giant Exxon-Mobil for failing to invest in “alternative energy” sources, invoking their own moral authority as Exxon-Mobil’s longest standing shareholders.

Family spokesperson Neva Rockefeller Goodwin sanctimoniously recalled the memory of her great-grandfather, John D. Rockefeller, founder of Standard Oil and originator of the family fortune. “Kerosene was the alternative energy of its day when he realized it could replace whale oil,” she argued. “Part of John D. Rockefeller’s genius was in recognizing early the need and opportunity for a transition to a better, cheaper and cleaner fuel.”

But the indignation of today’s generation of Rockefellers—who inherited their own exorbitant wealth from Standard Oil, Exxon-Mobil’s parent corporation—is aimed more at ensuring the continued financial health of the family’s trust funds than concern for the future of the world’s population. As Peter O'Neill, great-great-grandson of John D. Rockefeller, commented at the press conference, “I have a world of respect for what the company has done well. In fact, if the next 20 years of the energy business were just going to be about oil and gas, we probably wouldn't be here today.”

Nevertheless, the corporate media obediently described the Rockefellers as concerned environmentalists. The New York Times ran the headline, “Can Rockefeller Heirs Turn Exxon Greener?” News outlets quoted freely from the Rockefellers’ press release, which described John D. Rockefeller as “one of the first major philanthropists in the U.S. and the World” and the family’s Rockefeller Foundation’s mission as "promot[ing] the well-being of mankind throughout the world.”

The family fable concocted above warrants a rebuttal. Standard Oil was the world’s first oil monopoly, and Rockefeller’s greed was insatiable. Indeed, the Rockefeller family legacy is deeply entangled with the U.S.’ current reliance on oil—and automobiles. Moreover, the family’s “philanthropic” pursuits include a peculiar preoccupation with lowering the birth rates of the world’s black and brown populations throughout the twentieth century—highlighting the absurdity of their claim to be promoting the well being of humankind. Mainstream journalists could easily uncover these unsavory aspects of the family history but instead report the Rockefellers’ self-sanitized version, with all its glaring omissions.

* * *

Indeed, the family’s selective memory of its patriarch, John D. Rockefeller, as a saintly philanthropist stands in sharp contrast to his role as a nineteenth-century robber baron. “God gave me my money,” he said. “Having been endowed with the gift I possess, I believe it is my duty to make money and still more money and to use the money I make for the good of my fellow man according to the dictates of my conscience.”

Rockefeller’s conscience apparently did not dictate paying his employees more than a starvation wage. His admirers praise him for making gasoline affordable to average Americans, and he did indeed aim to produce large amounts of "cheap and good" gasoline for mass consumption, successfully lowering the price of gas from 58 cents to 8 cents a gallon. But he achieved this goal through ruthless union busting, hiring his own private militias to crush workers who dared to go on strike to demand higher wages.

The private armies of the Rockefeller-owned Colorado Fuel & Iron Rockefeller was a cutthroat capitalist who built his oil monopoly in the decades after the Civil War using methods more in keeping with the bribery, blackmail and back stabbing of a mafia family than an honest entrepreneur. As he once proclaimed, "I would rather earn 1 percent off a [sic] 100 people's efforts than 100 percent of my own efforts.” This credo made him the richest man in the world.

As he quietly bought up his smaller oil competitors with these methods, Rockefeller entered into secret—and illegal—agreements with railroad magnates that gave discounts as off-the books rebates to his growing oil monopoly, easily driving smaller refiners out of business. By 1879, Standard Oil controlled 90 percent of the oil refining business in the U.S. When the Supreme Court finally forced Rockefeller to formally disband Standard Oil as a monopoly trust in 1911, the damage was done. Indeed, the breakup doubled the value of his stock and gave birth to oil conglomerates Esso and Mobil (now Exxon-Mobil), Arco and Amoco (now BP), Pennzoil (now Shell), Chevron and Conoco. Rockefeller spent his remaining decades playing golf.

* * *

John D. Rockefeller’s descendents have happily carried on in the robber baron’s tradition, alongside a public relations machine that routinely airbrushes the family history. These heirs have never needed to work a day in their lives to afford the best of everything money could buy. The Rockefeller name ensures each generation a ten-figure trust fund and a guaranteed spot at an elite university, enabled by the Rockefeller family’s generous donations. The many chapels, libraries, museums and other buildings bearing the Rockefeller name on private campuses across the U.S. bear testament to the family’s self-serving approach to gift giving. Most recently, David M. Rockefeller, Sr., former chairman, president and CEO of Chase Manhattan Bank, and former chairman of the board of the Rockefeller Group, donated a record $100 million to Harvard University, citing his fond memories as part of the class of ’36.

By design, the Rockefellers have received no blame for their pivotal role in destroying the vast trolley car system that dominated U.S. cities before the 1940s, thereby increasing city dwellers’ dependency on automobiles and gas-fueled bus lines. Yet the Rockefellers’ Standard Oil of California joined General Motors, Firestone Tire, Standard Oil of California and Phillips Petroleum to form the National City Lines holding company, which bought out and dismantled more than 100 trolley systems in 45 cities (including New York, Detroit, Baltimore, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Salt Lake City, Tulsa, Minneapolis and Los Angeles) between 1936 and 1950.

In 1949, these corporate defendants were acquitted of conspiring to monopolize transportation services. Indeed, the corporations behind National City Lines were each fined just $5,000—while each of their directors paid a mere $1 fine—a small price to pay for the windfall in profits they all enjoyed in the decades that followed. Congress offered up tax dollars to build the enormous highway infrastructure that encouraged automobile travel in the 1950s, while federal investment in mass transit and train systems languished. As Noam Chomsky noted, “By the mid-1960s, one out of six business enterprises was directly dependent on the motor vehicle industry.”

* * *

No Rockefeller family history would be complete without highlighting their central role in shaping twentieth century population control policy, aimed explicitly at curbing birth rates among the non-Caucasian poor. Beginning in 1910, Rockefeller money flowed into organizations such as the Race Betterment Foundation and the Eugenics Section of the American Breeders Association, which spearheaded the eugenics movement—the “science” of “improving heredity.” These organizations, also funded by the upstanding Carnegie, Harriman and Kellogg families, sponsored academics claiming that those at the top of the social ladder had proven their racial superiority, while those at the bottom were biologically incapable of success. The eugenics movement encouraged the “superior” races to marry each other and have lots of children, while promoting forced sterilization, racial segregation and deportation of immigrants of those deemed “unfit” to reproduce.

The “superior” races so admired by the eugenics movement were “Nordic,” with blond hair and blue eyes, and the movement soon gained an admirer in Adolph Hitler. In 1924’s "Mein Kampf," Hitler noted, "There is today one state in which at least weak beginnings toward a better conception (of immigration) are noticeable. Of course, it is not our model German Republic, but the United States." By the 1920s, the Rockefeller Foundation was already providing hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund eugenics research in Germany; in 1929 alone, $317,000 of Rockefeller money went to the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Brain Research, according to Edwin Black, writing in the San Francisco Chronicle in 2003. Although the Rockefellers had withdrawn all funding to German research by the onset of the Second World War in 1939, Black argued, “[B]y that time, the die had been cast. The talented men Rockefeller and Carnegie financed, the great institutions they helped found, and the science they helped create took on a scientific momentum of their own.”

By the 1930s, the wheels for forced sterilization were also in motion inside the U.S. Laws were enacted in 27 states in 1932, calling for compulsory sterilization of the “feeble-minded, insane, criminal, and physically defective.” In 1939, the Birth Control Federation of America, as historian Dorothy E. Roberts described, “planned a ‘Negro Project’ designed to limit reproduction by blacks ‘who still breed carelessly and disastrously, with the result that the increase among Negroes, even more than among whites, is from that portion of the population least intelligent and fit, and least able to rear children properly.’” In 1974, an Alabama court found that between 100,000 and 150,000 poor black teenagers had been sterilized in that state alone.

After World War Two, population control agencies set their sights overseas. In the 1960s, the International Planned Parenthood Foundation, heavily funded by the Rockefellers alongside the U.S. government, played a key role in a coercive sterilization programs targeting Third World populations. By 1968, one-third of women of childbearing age in Puerto Rico—still a U.S. colony—had been permanently sterilized, often without their knowledge or consent. Rockefeller-funded programs sterilized 40,000 women in Colombia between 1963 and 1965, according to feminist author Bonnie Mass. These are just two examples among many.

The self-righteous claims of the current generation of Rockefellers must be viewed in this context. They have kept silent since the 1989 Exxon-Valdez Alaskan oil spill, even as Exxon-Mobil has refused to pay court-ordered compensation to the nearly 33,000 Alaskans who won a lawsuit against Exxon in 1994 for the company’s “reckless” behavior. Nor have they uttered a word of protest following news that growing numbers of employed workers across the U.S. are lining up at food pantries due to the skyrocketing price of food and gasoline. As Bill Bolling, founder of the Atlanta Community Food Bank, told CNN, "People are giving up buying groceries so that they can pay rent and put gas in the car."

Today’s Rockefellers praise Exxon-Mobil for its current status as the most profitable corporation in U.S. history, having raked in a record $40.6 billion in profits in 2007. They are merely watching out for their own parasitical futures.

Sharon Smith

August 8, 2009 10:06 PM Forum: Polls

Health care in the USA

Posted By J. Jeffrey Vickers

Robert, if only people really understood how right you are. Somehow how we should string the lawyers, insurance comapnies and government all up together, they deserve to prey on each other.