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Posts Made By: Timothy Iafolla

December 15, 2005 09:06 PM Forum: Politics

Will we be in Iran next year?

Posted By Timothy Iafolla

I haven't seen this scenario discussed but it seems fairly plausible. Here it is, what do you think?

The Iraqi elections are successful, and over the course of the next 6 to 12 months we get our wish and Iraq starts to quiet down...fewer insurgent attacks, enough Iraqi police and militia become trained to start keeping the peace between the various factions, and a viable civil government starts to assert itself. So we pull out the bulk of our troops and send them home, leaving in place a few hundred military advisers and a few thousand civilian contractors.

A month later Iran, seeing its neighbor barely controlled by a weak Western proxy government, rumbles over the border with a few thousand tanks, an air force, and a half million or so infantry. Remember that we have left Iraq with no military command structure, and no tanks, artillery, air force, or arms industry.

So Iran successfully invades. Some of our citizens are killed during the invasion, the bulk are held hostage.

What happens next? Do we have the will to act militarily, and if so, do we have the military strength immediately available to repel the invasion and dismantle Iran's army? Keep in mind that Iran has LOTS of chemical weapons and possibly nukes.

I'm just thinking about yet another set of consequences that Bush may have set in motion when he chose to invade Iraq. Or am I all wet that this is a plausible scenario?

Tim Iafolla

December 19, 2005 08:42 AM Forum: Politics

Opinion of Murtha's position

Posted By Timothy Iafolla

I'm interested in the opinions of the group regarding Rep. John Murtha's position on how Iraq should be handled. He is by no means a liberal in the traditional sense, and has a personal history of long and distinguished service as a Marine.

His position is that we should pull the bulk of our troops back to Iraq's borders, guarding against the entry of insurgents, terrorists, weapons, etc., and supporting and protecting Iraq's cross-border trade. He's saying we should produce an environment where the Iraqis can reach their own internal equilibrium, without putting our troops in the position of constant targets of opportunity, and as lightning rods for Muslim extremist propaganda. Our troops would enter into combat only if a major insurgent attack took place, then withdraw to the borders again.


Tim Iafolla

January 7, 2006 08:03 AM Forum: Religion

Re: Praise The Lord!

Posted By Timothy Iafolla


Obviously, having absolute faith that God is with you has helped you, enriched your life, and sustained you through some harrowing personal experiences. If so, that's probably the most positive aspect of religion I can think of, and to me represents the ideal of the role religion should play in a free country.

But I'm also reminded of a scene from a Civil War novel I read where a northern regiment has bowed their heads in prayer before a battle, confident that the Lord was with them, would protect them, and would strengthen their arms as they fought the enemy. The next chapter starts with a Confederate regiment doing the same thing. What's a God to do?

The problem starts when people who have the same strength of faith that you do are in positions of power and authority. Often they use their assuredness as a means to justify throwing their weight around, and brooking no argument or opposition because of the source of their absolute knowledge. Example: the religious right, as a result of their religious beliefs, have essentially crippled stem cell research. They aren't amenable to compromise (the cornerstone of a representative, 2-party government) because the source of their knowledge is their God, not their intellect. They have forced their beliefs down the throats of the whole country, to the detriment of us all. In not standing up to them, Congress has shown cowardice and hypocrisy.

In my opinion the politically active religious right are different from the Taliban only in degree, not method or mindset.

Tim Iafolla

January 29, 2006 08:25 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Celestron ED80 focal length question

Posted By Timothy Iafolla

I just received Celestron's version of the ED80, which they call a spotting scope (in fact it comes with a 1.25 inch erecting prism). I can replace the erecting prism with a standard 1.25" mirror diagonal with no problem. If I use a 2" diagonal with a 2" eyepiece, I need to run the focuser almost to the limit of its inward travel to reach focus. And if I add a 1.25" adapter and EP to the 2" diagonal, I can't reach focus at all (even with a Barlow)...the optical path is just too long for the focuser to compensate.

So I have to do a lot of futzing around in order to switch between 2" and 1.25" EP's. Pretty seems like a scope having a 2" focuser should have enough in-travel to handle 2" accessories.

Couple of questions: is this also a problem with the Orion version of the scope? And, is there something I'm missing in the design of the scope that might help me out here? I'm ready to slice an inch or so off the main tube but wanted to ask before I do violence to the thing.

The good news is the optics are superb. On Saturn, I saw no image breakdown even with a 2.5mm EP, and stellar diffraction rings were close to perfect.


Tim Iafolla

February 8, 2006 08:38 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

OT - You may be an engineer if....

Posted By Timothy Iafolla

This list is from the EAD Motors web site...thought it might give a chuckle. Please add more.

You might be an Engineer if:

you know vector calculus but you can’t remember how to do long division

you’ve actually used every single function on your graphing calculator

you hesitate to look at something because you don’t want to break down its wave function

you know the glass is neither half full nor half empty; it's simply twice as big as it needs to be

you chuckle whenever anyone says “centrifugal force.

Tim Iafolla

February 15, 2006 08:15 AM Forum: CCD Imaging and Processing/Deep Sky

AIP4WIN opinions?

Posted By Timothy Iafolla

Hi all,

I have the usual suite of image processing software (PhotoShop, Registax, Registar, Noiseware, Image Analyzer, K3CCDTools, etc).

I'm reading the excellent Handbook of Astronomical Image Processing, but I'm having trouble figuring out how its AIP4Win software compares to the other processing software out there. Better, worse, redundant....? Thanks for your opinions,

Tim Iafolla

February 19, 2006 08:31 AM Forum: Politics

What's the End Point?

Posted By Timothy Iafolla

This cartoon thing just seems to be a forest fire that keeps flaring up, partly because of high wind, and partly because people keep tossing cigarette butts in the brush. Just when things seem to quiet down a little, something happens to stir it up again.

Apologies have been offered, to no avail.

What's the group consensus on how (or if) this will finally end? Will it slowly die down over the next several weeks? Or will a group of protestors do something so egregious (more egregious than serious property damage and getting a few of themselves killed) that a serious escalation is required? Or are we seeing the flash point of a worldwide jihad?

As my 9-year-old niece says: "It's just so STUPID!"

Tim Iafolla

February 23, 2006 09:39 AM Forum: Politics

Mosque bombing and aftermath

Posted By Timothy Iafolla

Well, it looks like Iraq had its own version of 9-11 yesterday, with the destruction of one of the most important Shiite symbols. Here's how the population is reacting: Huge demonstrations, with men weeping, wailing, and of course firing automatic weapons into the air. Civil unrest is rampant, with members of each tribe screaming God is Great, death to everyone else. The president of Iran is blaming America and Israel (of course). Shiites are indiscriminately killing other groups: 48 Sunni workers dragged from a bus and killed, execution style. Dozens of executed bodies found dumped on city streets. Men entering a prison and killing, in their cells, all the Sunnis held there.

Iraq's big cheese, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, called on Shiites to take to the streets. Iraq's police and military forces (so carefully trained by virtue of our thousands of lives and billions of dollars) are discarding their uniforms and doing just that.

The contrast with America's reaction to 9-11 is a clear ilustration of the irreconcilable differences between our societies. I'm feeling pretty pessmistic about our chances of success in Iraq. When are we going to get the hell out of there?

Tim Iafolla

February 27, 2006 03:33 PM Forum: Politics

Republicans speak out

Posted By Timothy Iafolla

These are quotes from a Boston Globe columnist (Scott Lehigh). He's on the liberal side, but most of his column is comprised of direct quotes from the Repub side of the aisle. It's getting verrrry sticky for Bush:

It's been a long time coming, but more Republicans are waking up to the realization that the Bush administration is an inept exercise in ideological excess.

Then there's Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel, a principled conservative now mulling a presidential candidacy of his own. Hagel, a pointed critic of the Bush administration, was the cover story of the Sunday New York Times Magazine. As Hagel makes clear, what's important to him is not loyalty to the Bush administration but rather telling the truth as he sees it.

Although he voted for the resolution authorizing force in Iraq, Hagel has become a sharp critic of the administration's policy there. ''When I think of issues like Iraq, of how we went into it -- no planning, no preparation, no sense of consequences, of where we were going, how we were going to get out, went in without enough men, no exit strategy . . . I'll speak out, I'll go against my party," he said.

In Sunday talk-show appearances, the magazine reports, Hagel can be this blunt in his critique: ''This party that sometimes I don't recognize anymore has presided over the largest growth of government in the history of this country and maybe even the history of man."

{Rick, that could have been written by you several weeks ago!}

Bruce Bartlett, a conservative analyst, has been making a similar case for some time. A Reagan policy adviser and a deputy assistant treasurer in George H. W. Bush's administration, Bartlett is iconoclastic enough to acknowledge that Bill Clinton's fiscal and economic approach produced results conservatives should have hailed.

''At least on economic policy, there is much to praise and little to criticize in terms of what was actually done (or not done) on his watch," he wrote in July 2004.

Still, the title of his new book will surely make the White House squirm: ''Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy." (Given the huge deficits Reagan's own policy occasioned, one could argue that Bush is Reagan's fiscal heir.)

The book also castigates the White House for ''an anti- intellectual distrust of facts and analysis" and an obsession with secrecy, according to yesterday's Times.

Even on the issue of warrantless eavesdropping, we're starting to see some real resistance from the president's own party. Displaying no regard for legitimate constitutional concerns, the White House has signaled that it may make the surveillance program a campaign issue in the midterm elections.

But at least some Republicans are refusing to give the administration political cover. In last week's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, several GOP senators made it clear they wouldn't countenance the administration's flimsy legal justifications.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, for one, was dismissive of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales's assertion that the resolution authorizing force in Iraq had conferred wiretapping authority on the president.

''This statutory force resolution argument that you're making is very dangerous in terms of its application for the future," Graham warned. ''When I voted for it, I never envisioned that I was giving to this president or any other the ability to go around FISA carte blanche," he said, referring to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Since then, Republican Representative Heather Wilson of New Mexico, a member of the House Intelligence Committee and a National Security Council aide in George H. W. Bush's administration, has gone so far as to call for a congressional inquiry into the matter.

Then there's the congressional probe of the government's response to the New Orleans flooding. Despite fears that a Republican-led investigation would be a whitewash, the report, to be released tomorrow, is expected to be harshly critical of the administration's performance.

It's easy for a White House skilled at the art of the permanent campaign to dismiss Democratic criticism as politics as usual. It's far harder, however, to discount the increasingly vocal concerns of those on the president's own side of the aisle.


Tim Iafolla

February 28, 2006 08:09 AM Forum: CCD Imaging and Processing/Deep Sky

Link to Hubble images slideshow

Posted By Timothy Iafolla

Hi all,

This is a Hubble image slide show, with some shots of DSO's that I hadn't seen. Some of the common ones are in there too. Enjoy,

Tim Iafolla