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Posts Made By: Mark Costello III

May 4, 2015 06:04 AM Forum: Politics

Terror Attack In Texas

Posted By Mark Costello III


It's looking like a "homegrown" terror attack.

July 6, 2015 06:37 AM Forum: Politics

July 23, 2015 05:52 AM Forum: Beginning Astronomy?

Way Overboard... and tackled everything wrong.

Posted By Mark Costello III

Hello, Matthew. I just took you up on your suggestion. 8) Although my children are adults, I'm still in your boat since I'm supporting the two younger ones as they make their way through college. And my experience pretty much bears out what Andy wrote in his response. I have a 5" achro refractor and at some point I'd like to get a "complementary" telescope for it, maybe a 10" class Dob or a 7-9" Cassegrain type reflector (Mak-Cass or Schmidt-Cass). But family comes first. The good thing is that although I've been back in the hobby for 10 years (I started back with a 4" achro and replaced it with my current 5" achro five years ago), I haven't come near observing all of the wonders my 5" refractor can show me. It's the same way with your line-up. Between your C90, 4SE, the binoculars, and the refractor (what type is it?), there're plenty of different type deep sky objects within your reach. The "cats" (C90 and 4SE) and maybe refractor can be used on the moon, planets, and smaller deep sky objects (like the Wild Duck open cluster now on its way to prime time viewing) while the binoculars and again maybe the refractor can be used for larger objects (star fields now at their best and large clusters like M39 and the Seven Sisters. If you do decide to replace your gear, you could get a 6" Dob as Ron mentioned or perhaps even an 8" Dob (in this case you might want to hold on to the 20X80 binoculars or maybe the refractor). Meanwhile you might have the joy of seeing your new child wanting to spend time with his or her Daddy looking at the stars. It didn't quite work out that way with my children, but some of my nieces and nephews have been enchanted at what they saw at the occasional informal star parties I have thrown for them. I still can see the face of a niece and her friend as they stepped up to the eypiece of a 4" refractor and took in Jupiter at 220X.

Hope this helps. Best regards....

August 27, 2015 06:23 AM Forum: Politics

He's Suspended For This?

Posted By Mark Costello III

Getting called on the carpet for equating extreme Muslims to Nazis? It looks like Political Correctness gone wild....

October 12, 2015 10:56 AM Forum: Politics

Separation of church and State....

Posted By Mark Costello III

From many of the same Americans lies a different view.

First, from George Washington's Farewell Address

"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice ? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

It is substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who that is a sincere friend to it can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric?"


"Observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all. Religion and morality enjoin this conduct; and can it be, that good policy does not equally enjoin it - It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and at no distant period, a great nation, to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a people always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence. Who can doubt that, in the course of time and things, the fruits of such a plan would richly repay any temporary advantages which might be lost by a steady adherence to it ? Can it be that Providence has not connected the permanent felicity of a nation with its virtue ? The experiment, at least, is recommended by every sentiment which ennobles human nature. Alas! is it rendered impossible by its vices?"

From John Jay writing as Publius in Federalist 2

"With equal pleasure I have as often taken notice that Providence has been pleased to give this one connected country to one united people -- a people descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles of government, very similar in their manners and customs, and who, by their joint counsels, arms, and efforts, fighting side by side throughout a long and bloody war, have nobly established general liberty and independence."

John Adams at the time of the writing of the Constitution

"Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."

A letter from John Adams to his son, 1811

""My dear Son:
In your letter of the 18th January to your mother, you mentioned that you read to your aunt a chapter of the Bible or a section of Doddridge's Annotations every evening.
This information gave me real pleasure; for so great is my veneration for the Bible, and so strong my belief, that when duly read and meditated on, it is of all books in the world, that which contributes most to make men good, wise, and happy - that the earlier my children begin to read it, the more steadily they pursue the practice of reading it throughout their lives, the more lively and confident will be my hopes that they will prove useful citizens of their country, respectable members of society, and a real blessing to their parents...
I have myself, for many years, made it a practice to read through the Bible once every year...
My custom is to read four to five chapters every morning immediately after rising from my bed. It employs about an hour of my time...
It is essential, my son, in order that you may go through life with comfort to yourself, and usefulness to your fellow-creatures, that you should form and adopt certain rules or principles, for the government of your own conduct and temper...
It is in the Bible, you must learn them, and from the Bible how to practice them. Those duties are to God, your fellow-creatures, and to yourself. ïThou shalt love the Lord thy God, with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength, and thy neighbor as thy self.' On these two commandments, Jesus Christ expressly says, ïhang all the law and the prophets'; that is to say, the whole purpose of the Divine Revelation is to inculcate them efficaciously upon the minds of men...
Let us, then, search the Scriptures...The Bible contains the revelation of the will of God. It contains the history of the creation of the world, and of mankind; and afterward the history of one peculiar nation, certainly the most extraordinary nation that has ever appeared upon the earth.
It contains a system of religion, and of morality, which we may examine upon its own merits, independent of the sanction it receives from being the Word of God...
I shall number separately those letters that I mean to write you upon the subject of the Bible...I wish that hereafter they may be useful to your brothers and sisters, as well as to you..." [2]
In a letter of December 24, 1814: "You ask me what Bible I take as the standard of my faith - the Hebrew, the Samaritan, the old English translation, or what? I answer the Bible containing the Sermon on the Mount - any Bible that I can...understand. The New Testament I have repeatedly read in the original Greek, in the Latin, in the Geneva Protestant, in Sacy's Catholic French translations, in Luther's German translation, in the common English Protestant, and in the Douay Catholic translations.
I take any one of them for my standard of faith...But the Sermon on the Mount commands me to lay up for myself treasures, not upon earth, but upon Heaven. My hopes of a future life are all founded upon the Gospel of Christ..." [3]
"I speak as a man of the world to men of the world; and I say to you, Search the Scriptures! The Bible is the book of all others, to be read to all ages, and in all conditions of human life; not to be read once or twice or thrice through, and then laid aside, but to be read in small portions of one or two chapters every day, and never to be intermitted, unless by some overruling necessity." [4]
"In what light soever we regard the Bible, whether with reference to revelation, to history, or to morality, it is an invaluable and inexhaustible mine of knowledge and virtue." [5]"

Abraham Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address

"At this second appearing to take the oath of the Presidential office there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first. Then a statement somewhat in detail of a course to be pursued seemed fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of four years, during which public declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the nation, little that is new could be presented. The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as to myself, and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured.

On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it, all sought to avert it. While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war—seeking to dissolve the Union and divide effects by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came.

One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war, while the Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. "Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh." If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgements of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations."

[At first, Lincoln was not religious and may have been an atheist. But starting with the death of his son Willie in 1862, he went into reflection from which he became a Christian by the time of the Gettysburg Address. At the time of his death, Lincoln was applying for membership in a Presbyterian church.]

There's more where these came from. Interested people are referred to "Glorious Cause" from the Oxford history of the American people (it has two chapters called "Children of the Twice Born"), and "How the Scots Invented the Modern World." A balance approach that looks at the Christian and non Christian aspects of a young America may be read in "Empire of Liberty," also from the Oxford history of the American people.

October 21, 2015 02:14 PM Forum: Politics

Obamacare must way or another

Posted By Mark Costello III

Ta-ta and toodle-loo.

On a serious note, assuming that the thrust of the article is true (the writer disclosed that he is an advisor for Senator and GOP Candidate Rubio), you can be sure that the President along with his advisors will attempt to rescue the program launched by a law that is supposed to be one of his "signature" achievements. What form could the rescue take?

November 13, 2015 06:06 AM Forum: Politics

"Jihadi John" Taken Out!

Posted By Mark Costello III

Here's another article.

It may be hard to get positive confirmation of Jihadi John's death when it was by "evaporation" but if so, congratulations and thanks to everyone in the military and administration involved. Maybe he's meeting his 72 Virginians,...

... or is it virgins?

December 15, 2015 06:03 AM Forum: Mounts

Good go-to mount on a budget

Posted By Mark Costello III

There're a couple of GOTO German equatorial mounts over on the 'Mart Classifieds that are not much over your budget limit, an AVX for $635 and an Optron IEQ25 for $525. Either one should be able to hold your Newtonian nicely. Also, maybe an Optron MiniCube (alt-az) could give your Newtonian a good ride? They are under $500 but don't have a very high load limit. Maybe an ATWB technician could advise you on this....

All success in picking out a winner....

January 22, 2016 06:33 AM Forum: Politics

Dummy endorses Trump

Posted By Mark Costello III

Here you go, a little counter-balance...

Too little too late, I hope not.

January 26, 2016 07:38 AM Forum: Politics

Go Get 'Em Texas!

Posted By Mark Costello III

And the slaughter goes on.