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Posts Made By: James McSheehy

November 5, 2009 07:05 AM Forum: Off Topic Discussions

Dealing with 40 years of "stuff"

Posted By James McSheehy

This year marks my 40th in amateur astronomy and the 54th ride around Sol. Along the way I've collected a lot of stuff related to the hobby, 90% of which is not used. Add to this the "stuff" from other hobbies, surplus from two businesses (obsolete equipment, dead-end projects, tools, etc.), and I figure with retirement looming it's time to get rid of most of it.

Many of the obvious solutions aren't available now -- the local schools don't want donated electronics components, and our local dump charges a hefty recycling fee for anything with wires and blinkin' lights. The auction sites are a PITA for small stuff. I suppose I could just throw it all in a dumpster, and now and then that option seems really attractive, until the wagging finger in my head tells me not to be wasteful.

So what would you do? Have any of you been through this? I saw good ol' Wayne Dyer on PBS a couple of years ago wearing silk pajamas and extolling the virtues of getting rid of "stuff". He made it sound easy.

November 5, 2009 07:40 AM Forum: Politics

Unbelievable -- Uncle Sam is your new landlord

Posted By James McSheehy

Here is something I had to read twice before I could believe it. Our two bankrupt GSEs, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, are going to become landlords. People who can't make their mortgage payment and who can't refi their loan now have the option of signing over the deed to Uncle Sam and paying rent! IOW even though they have defaulted on their mortgage loan, we will ignore that minor detail and pretend that everything is just fine. Taxpayers will take it in the shorts when this scheme eventually blows up.

November 5, 2009 10:10 AM Forum: Politics

The long arm of the TSA

Posted By James McSheehy

I don’t travel much but in the last month my wife and I took a two week trip to Chile and we also attended the AIC in San Jose, CA. The TSA was at its obnoxious best on our U.S. flights through Dallas and San Jose. We endured their Kabuki Theater of feigned security – the usual shoes off, no liquids, orange alert, blah blah. One poor fellow had a small bottle of Scope mouthwash, and the TSA screener actually told him he had the option to consume it, or discard it! In San jose, we witnessed the indignity of an elderly fellow in a wheelchair being forced to stand as a young TSA agent with a bad attitude wanded and patted him down.

Contrast this with the Chilean equivalent of the TSA. They have a screening procedure with a walk-through magnetometer and they also x-ray carry-on luggage. They do not make passengers remove their shoes, and they don’t care if you have a bottle of water (or mouthwash). As long as you aren’t carrying a gun or a big knife, they pass you through with almost no hassles. It’s necessary, common-sense security, and it works.

But apparently this level of screening doesn’t sit well with our TSA, and as we were boarding our plane for the flight from Chile to Dallas, and after we had passed through Chilean security, we were greeted in the jetway by security agents (TSA or American Airlines, I’m not sure which) for yet another screening. In the dimly-lit jetway they made passengers open their carry-on bags and they searched them by hand asking several times if we had any liquids. The fact that TSA could pull this nonsense in a foreign country makes me wonder, just how far they will they go to guarantee our “security”?.

November 10, 2009 07:53 AM Forum: Politics

Trial Lawyers and Democrats

Posted By James McSheehy

It's no secret that the Trail Lawyers donate big to Democrat candidates and causes, and they were rewarded in the recent health care reform legislation with a special sugar plum. States that receive any federal health care money cannot "limit attorneys' fees or impose caps on damages" (section 2531). IOW you can reform all you want, just don't even think of taking one penny out of a lawyer's pocket. Any hopes for tort reform are dead if Obama signs this bill into law.

As this health care reform tragedy unfolds, here is an apropos quote from a Democrat icon, Huey Long:

"Those who support me early will have my close attention when I win office. Those who support me late will have my attention when I win office. And those who oppose me --" and here he'd wink -- "they'll get good government."

Looks like most Americans are going to get "good government", delivered sans Vaseline, good and hard.

November 10, 2009 03:18 PM Forum: Politics

Re: Let's not jump to conclusions

Posted By James McSheehy

Who are you going to believe, Mr. Obama, or your lying eyes?

In a PC world, conclusions are only permitted for the elites. Yes they are both dressed in Muslim garb, but no one is allowed infer anything from that fact. We're just too stupid/bigoted/xenophobic to understand. 8)

November 12, 2009 06:54 AM Forum: Mounts

One-arm Nexstar alt-az in Equatorial mode

Posted By James McSheehy

This is a question about the inexpensive one-arm Nexstar goto mounts sold by Celestron. These mounts have an option on the hand controller to operate in equatorial mode, and I'd like to try and use one as a tracking mount for a DSLR for wide-field AP. But before I invest a bunch of time building a base wedge and brackets, here are a few questions some others might know answers to:

1) I've read that the controller in the cheap Nexstar alt-az mounts only approximates the sidereal rates, IOW the mount is still operating both axes and just interpolates the RA position every few seconds. Does this cause trailing on images?

2) If I ignore the equatorial mode and instead tilt the mount to the correct angle for my latitude (point the azimuth axis at the pole), can I do a 2-star alignment and track in alt-az mode without field rotation?

thanks in advance!

November 14, 2009 06:31 AM Forum: Politics

What will the excuse be this time?

Posted By James McSheehy

Obama in Japan:

November 14, 2009 09:33 AM Forum: Politics

Fact checking POTUS

Posted By James McSheehy

Since were all for citing political lapses, "misstatements", and faux pas from pols, here are few from the guy with his finger on the red button (and his thumb up his butt):

1) Despite promising to keep lobbyists out of his administration, Obama has broken his word again and again (making 17 exceptions to this promise in his first two weeks).

2. Obama promised to eliminate income taxation for seniors making less than $50,000 a year. He has broken this promise despite numerous opportunities to keep it, including the economic stimulus package and his administration's first budget proposal.

3. The President also boasted during his campaign that "During 2009 and 2010, existing businesses will receive a $3,000 refundable tax credit for each additional full-time employee hired," and has failed to keep his word.

4. Obama made it part of his agenda to "allow withdrawals of 15% up to $10,000 from retirement accounts without penalty (although subject to the normal taxes). This would apply to withdrawals in 2008 (including retroactively) and 2009," but didn't include this measure in the stimulus package or his budget proposal.

5. Obama did a shameless 180 degree turn on earmarks by sharply criticizing them (and bragging that he would pass legislation without a single one) and then signing a spending bill with literally thousands of them.

6. Obama promised a $4000 tax credit for college tuition, but backpedaled when he signed a much smaller $2,500 college tax credit into law.

7. Obama called presidential "signing statements" (letters of interpretation and recommendations attached to Congressional legislation) unconstitutional... then attached a signing statement of his own to a $410 billion spending bill.

8. Obama promised a different tone in Washington D.C. and a move past bitter, partisan rhetoric. It took him less than a week as president to berate Republicans and sully the dignity of his office by picking a very public rhetorical fight with a private citizen, Rush Limbaugh.

9. In his first private meeting with Congressional Republicans, instead of "reaching across the aisle" and seeking earnest dialogue, he smugly told them that he should have his way because "I won."

10. Despite the buzz surrounding Obama's closing of Gitmo, indefinite detainment and torture are alive and well under Obama's administration with his chilling executive order to continue the practice of "CIA renditions" -secret abductions and transfers of prisoners to other countries where they are detained indefinitely and their interrogations are outsourced to other governments.

11. After saying "We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times... and then just expect that every country is going to say okay," journalists discovered that Obama cranks the thermostat in the Oval Office.

12. The Obama Administration ended funding for Washington D.C.'s school voucher program, while suppressing a study that showed it delivered better results at a lower cost. Obama's daughters however, attend a private school in Washington D.C., enjoying the freedom of educational choice that the Obama administration has denied to poor children who live in Washington.

13. Obama’s stirring tale for a Selma AL audience about how he had been conceived by his parents, Barack Obama Sr. and Ann Dunham, because they had been inspired by the fervor following the “Bloody Sunday” voting rights demonstration that was commemorated March 4. “There was something stirring across the country because of what happened in Selma, Alabama,” he said, “because some folks are willing to march across a bridge. So they got together and Barack Obama Jr. was born. So don’t tell me I don’t have a claim on Selma, Alabama. Don’t tell me I’m not coming home to Selma, Alabama”Obama was born in 1961, and the Selma march occurred four years later, in 1965. The New York Times reported that when the senator was asked about the discrepancy later that day, he clarified: “I meant the whole civil rights movement.”

14. On December 22nd, 2007 Obama sat down to have a slice of pie with a small group of potential voters and an elderly woman asked him about being Muslim.
“I’ve always been a Christian,” the Illinois Democrat responded. “I have never practiced [Islam].”Note: The newspaper editors had to add the word, “Islam.” In his autobiography, “Dreams From My Father,” Obama mentions studying the Quran. He was enrolled in two Jakarta schools as a Muslim. His teacher Tine Hahiyary said that she remembered that he had studied “mengaji” (recitation of the Quran).” Classmate Rony Amiris described Obama as being a very devout Muslim, saying, “Barry was previously quite religious in Islam.” Another classmate, Emirsyah Satar, now the CEO of Garuda Indonesia, was quoted as saying, “He (Obama) was often in the prayer room wearing a ’sarong.’” (See Obama’s Education.)Yet, on his official campaign website, Obama has posted this statement, “Barack has never been a Muslim or practiced any other faith besides Christianity.”Obama’s grandfather was a Muslim. Obama’s father was a Muslim. Obama’s stepfather was a Muslim. His African relatives are Muslims.

Yes, we really should check up on the stories and claims made by some politicians...

November 17, 2009 07:59 AM Forum: Politics

Re: stimulus saving jobs in fictional parts of the

Posted By James McSheehy

I heard that Obama was truly inspired by what he saw during his recent visit to China. The Chinese stimulus program involves building empty cities, and the government there is buying cars from automobile manufacturers and then parking them in warehouses.

I'm sure when he returns he'll propose some of these good ideas for the next stimulus package. The first one is working so well... 8)

November 21, 2009 02:39 PM Forum: Politics

One third of Democrats think it's a lie

Posted By James McSheehy

President Obama famously pledged that his health care reforms will not add to the federal deficit. Does anyone actually believe this malarkey?

Apparently not, as a majority of the Democrats polled say it's not likely the plan will break even.

I love the part where some future Congress will have to vote to enact over $400 billion in cuts to Medicare and Medicaid -- as if that will ever happen! 8)