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Posts Made By: Rod Kaufman

November 2, 2005 06:58 PM Forum: Politics

Bush's Approval Rating

Posted By Rod Kaufman

Overheard on KNX news radio during the evening commute: George Bush has the lowest approval rating of any of the last five two term presidents with the exception of...Richard(I am not a crook)Nixon.
Virtually every one of the last ten to twelve polls I've seen has Bush's approval rating at or around 39% which is about as bad as it gets.
Two recent polls also had the vast majority of those surveyed disapproving of the direction the country is headed in.
Perhaps the pendulum will swing back to a more moderate democratic controlled congress and presidency in '08.
One thing's for sure, the Bush administration can't be pleased with approval ratings as low as these.
In California, governor Arnold is said to refrain from any public appearances with Bush because he considers him a political liability although that's probably true for both of them.
I hope the democrats continue to pour it on Bush and his dwindling base of support...

November 4, 2005 08:30 AM Forum: Politics

2000 Miles of Light Pollution

Posted By Rod Kaufman

From the mind of Republican congressman Duncan Hunter comes one of the most lame-brained ideas on the planet: construct a 2000 mile barrier-fence along the entire US/Mexico border replete with ultra-high intensity lighting designed to turn night into day at a projected cost of 8 billion dollars. The fence would course through some of the most pristine dark sky areas in the country.
Critics have already claimed it won't work to keep out illegal aliens as we already have such barriers in place in critical areas and they don't work either.
This proposal is being considered by congress as part of a package on dealing with illegal immigration.
At a time when Republicans are cutting student loans and medicare in a feeble effort to reduce the stupendous deficits created by the Bush administration, we get this glowing gem from the republicans.
If this idiotic fence passes congress, how much do you want to bet a Haliburton subsiduary gets to build it?

November 6, 2005 09:36 AM Forum: Eyepieces

Brief Eyepiece Reviews At Pinos

Posted By Rod Kaufman

I finally got the chance to test my celestron 2.3mm ED eyepiece on Mars at Pinos on 11-05. The seeing permitted it after midnight in my 16" F 4.5 dob.
In general, I don't recommend the eyepiece. While it has ample eye relief and a large eye lens and lacks lateral color, it also lacks contrast and was no match for a 4mm vixen eyepiece paired with a 2X barlow.
A sleeper of an eyepiece is the 2" 32mm astrola eyepiece that accompanied my 10" hardin dob. It's apparently a GSO derived unit with about 55 degrees AFOV with a marginal amount of coma around the edges. Nice eye relief, no blackouts, and it did very well on the Veil nebula with an 0111 filter in my 16". Decent contrast and, for what it is, it's a sweet eyepiece.
Conditions at Pinos were very good with minimal temperature drops to about 50 degrees with intermittent clouds throughout the night. I had the best view ever of m33 with a crystalline presentation in my dob as well as in my former 12.5" discovery truss dob. I used a 15 mm ultima wideangle (forerunner to the axiom) and the galaxy appeared to explode in the eyepiece. My ex 12.5 Discovery did very well with it, too.
Very little traffic at Pinos with about 20 amateurs with several large APO refractors and a new 20" starmaster at first light: very impressive!

November 14, 2005 10:09 AM Forum: Politics

Hadley's Defense of Bush

Posted By Rod Kaufman

Stephen Hadley, Bush's national security adviser, denied the president misled the country when he led us into war. There's no surprises in his denials. What surprised me was his statement on the intelligence used to take the country to war: "was roughly the same intelligence that the Clinton administration saw."
But the world of difference is the fact that the Clinton administration did not take us to war over the intelligence they saw. They saw no imminent threat to our national security.
Hadley doesn't get it and he's our national security adviser...

November 19, 2005 02:30 PM Forum: Politics

Bush: Amazing Progress In Iraq!

Posted By Rod Kaufman

Bush gave an amazing speech extolling the amazing progress occuring in Iraq.
It's so amazing that our republican controlled congress demands progress reports in order to be further amazed by the amazing progress.
Hmm, where to begin?
It's truly amazing when suicide bombers break through bomb-proof walls and demolish hotels at will not to mention the daily runs of carnage by lone bombers, but whose counting dead Iraqis these days anyway?
Only 160 or so Sunnis were tortured by their new government but, remember, they were NOT beheaded! Now that's amazing!
Shiite death squads now patrol Baghdad streets to keep the peace. Hey Buster, how's that for some pretty amazing security!
The number of Iraqi army units capable of functioning on their own without US support has actually dropped but we have increased the number of US forces in spite of all of the opposition to the war in Iraq. Now that's amazing!
US forces are preparing their lives around an anticipated third or fourth deployment in Iraq. They're still amazed to be there!
It's truly amazing parts of Iraq actually have water and power for more than one day. It will be even more amazing when they have it for more than two! Now that's amazing progress!
So only 80% of the Iraqi population hates the US and wants America out. But that means 20% want us there. Now that's amazing...

November 20, 2005 02:54 PM Forum: Politics

Examining Bush's Lies

Posted By Rod Kaufman

The lead front page story on Sunday's(11-20) LA Times is that of "curveball", the Iraqi operative who was the source Bush and Powell relied upon for their claims of WMDs in Iraq.
According to German intelligence, who were responsible for debriefing the most important source for US claims of mobile germ warfare labs, Bush "mischaracterized" curveball's information when he when he warned before the war that Iraq had at least seven moblie factoriesbrewing biological poisons.
According to the Germans,"we made clear we could not verify the things he said."
The conressional committee's investigation into the Bush administration's handling of pre-war intelligence considers the case of curveball to be a key part of it's deliberations.
The LA Times reports the Bush administrations bungling of the curveball intelligence source was even worse than previously thought.
The White House ignored the reports before the war showing that the information from curveball was disproven. The CIA embraced curveball's account and punished in- house critics who provided proof he had lied and refused to admit their errors until 14 months after the invasion.
According to the Germans, "we were shocked" and stated "MEIN GOTT" , "we had always told them the information wasn't proven." But Bush and his aides issued increasingly dire reports of the threat of Iraq's biological weapons based upon the faulty information reported from curveball.
Acording Powell," the case has totally blown up in our faces".
Ahmad Chalabi, the exiled Iraqi leader, had three sources collaborate curveball's story of WMDs. All of the sources turned out to be frauds...
So Bush and his staff were warned about the so-called intelligence fro curveball and knew there was no new intelligence to back-up the tales from curveball for two years. Did they correct the problem? To the contrary, they exacerbated it by issuing dire reports of WMDs embellished by Bush and his staff.
Did Bush accurately and honestly portray the intelligence to the American people? No way!
But not to worry, Bush's fall guys will again turn out to be the CIA and neither he or his staff will have ever done anything wrong. When pigs fly...

November 21, 2005 09:07 AM Forum: Politics

Re: Cheney & chimp cartoon for your Monday

Posted By Rod Kaufman

I do this one better but on Sunday and it's reality:
Here's what I do: I live in solid Bush country in Santa Clarita/Castaic, California.
On Sunday, I take my family to breakfast at a popular restaurant. It's frequented by the Sunday morning religious-right crowd. They're easily identifiable with their "W 04"/"Support the Troops"/American flags on their vehicles and are always dressed in their Sunday morning best. The restaurant serves complimentary coffee and cakes from an isle in the middle of the waiting room.
I enter and remain the at popular free-coffee/cakes isle and I adorn myself in my "Meet The Fockers" T-shirt with the pictures of George Bush, Dick Cheney, Condy Rice and Donald Rumsfeld prominently displayed across my chest. You should see the looks of distain I get from the average Santa Clarita Bush voter who normally reads only two things on Sunday: the bible and the menu! To that I've added a third component: a gag newspaper designed to appear as a major newspaper which I mix in with complimentary copies of other papers provided by the restaurant. The "newspaper" has the following headlines: "UN Declares Bush Threat to World Peace", "US forces Disavow Allegiance To Bush", "Bush Twins Lead Anti-War Protests".
I can't tell you how many times I've nearly choked on my coffee watching the Bush crowd freaking-out on a Sunday morning reading this stuff...

November 22, 2005 08:20 PM Forum: Politics

Commanding Officer on Iraqi Troops!

Posted By Rod Kaufman

Lt Col Ross Brown on how the training is going for the Iraqi troops:
"They didn't do too much work yesterday." "They didn't do too much work the day before." "They haven't done too much work since they've been here"...

November 26, 2005 10:31 AM Forum: Politics

Bush's New Lies On Iraq

Posted By Rod Kaufman

In a front page lead story in today's LA Times(11-26), Bush will give a major speech at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis on Wednesday extolling improved readiness of Iraqi troops which he has identified as a key condition for pulling out US forces.
The Times notes "the administration's pivot on the issue comes as the White House is seeking to relieve enormous pressure by war opponents."
The Times also notes,"As recently as late September, senior US miltary commanders said during a congressional hearing that just ONE Iraqi battalion, about 700 hundred soldiers, was considered capable of undertaking combat operations fully independent of US support."
Bush administration officials now dismiss that level of readiness, according to the Times.
Whom to believe? Our senior US military commanders testifying in front of congress or George W Bush?

November 26, 2005 02:05 PM Forum: Politics

An Officer's Death In Iraq

Posted By Rod Kaufman

Col Ted Weshusing "apparently" committed suicide with a gunshot to his head from his service pistol.
Or so the Army thought.
He is described by the LA Times as "one of the Army's leading scholars of military ethics, a full professor at West Point who volunteered to serve in Iraq to be able to better teach his students. He had a doctorate in philosophy; his dissertation was an extended meditation on the meaning of honor."
The officer was "especially upset by one conclusion he had reached: that traditional miltary values such as duty, honor and country had ben replaced by profit motives in Iraq..."
Contractors he supervised were accused of not only overcharging the government but also of killing innocent Iraqis. Contactors are forbidden to conduct offensive operations in Iraq. The accusations are being investigated by the army.
A letter from the colonel stated, "I cannot support a mission that leads to corruption, human rights abuse and liars." "I am sullied." I came to serve honorably and feel dishonored."
The colonel's family wonder why the contractor who found his body and picked up his gun was not himself tested for gunpowder residue.
I guess we won't know, the army has closed the case...