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The Eagle Nebula from the Copernicus Observatory in SW Utah

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Posts Made By: Chuck Cunningham

April 21, 2009 08:29 PM Forum: Politics

Waterboarded 266 Times, Fruitful?

Posted By Chuck Cunningham

There appears to me to be some confusion for some of the respondees on this issue. I'm not clear whather they are claiming that waterboarding is not really torture, or that of course it is torture, but that's OK because we are only doing it to really bad guys. Which is it? Those are morally quite different positions.

I think the first claim is clearly absurd. If you were waterboarded by someone whom you regarded as extremely hostile to you, there is no question that you would regard it as torture. You know that as well as I do. The U.S. uses it in exercises to train our own people to withstand torture -- because, in fact, it IS an example of torture -- only in the training exercises it is understood that it will be stopped before permanent damage is done. Big difference, I think. I have talked with people who have been through that exercise, and they admit that that is basically how they were able to handle it.

As for the second claim, the US has entered into treaty agreements that stipulate that we do not torture, period -- because it is inhumane and ineffective, and to protect our own forces from that kind of treatment. It is a war crime. We don't do it even to "enemy combatants", even if they are "really bad guys". That's one of the things that is supposed to make us morally superior. We gave our word on it, if that means anything to you. Unfortunately, if you look at our history with treaties, maybe that doesn't mean as much as we would like to think.

April 22, 2009 03:06 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Bloated American optical equipement

Posted By Chuck Cunningham

"over priced"? Now that's an interesting concept, but one that needn't worry you. All you've got to do is find equipment of equal or better quality for less money and buy it instead, and you won't need to care what "Tel Vue" charges any more. When you look at AP's waiting list, how can you say they are "over priced"?

April 22, 2009 05:54 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Comparison between 1965 and 2009

Posted By Chuck Cunningham

That combination of dropping prices and rising income is basically what got me back into the hobby about 10 years ago after nearly 30 years away. I woke up one day and realized that I could easily afford a telescope that would have been beyond my wildest dreams earlier. There's never been a better time to be an amateur astronomer!

April 23, 2009 04:15 PM Forum: Equipment Talk


Posted By Chuck Cunningham

When I got into this hobby, I did a lot of reading here and observing people playing the upgrade game. As soon as I got far enough into the hobby to realize that it would stick, I figured out where I wanted to wind up and went straight there, and saved a lot of time and probably a lot of money. On the other hand, the upgrade game can be very exciting, always thinking about what you want to get next, reading and talking about gear, etc. It depends on the balance you want between evaluating and dreaming about and selecting and acquiring gear, and actually using it. That may depend on how big a bank account you have, and how much free time -- and how much cloudy weather.

April 28, 2009 09:21 PM Forum: Politics

Please do not feed trolls

Posted By Chuck Cunningham

Speaking of switching parties, you don't have to be too old to remember when those guys considered them selves to be die-hard Democrats. The liberal Democrats may have been a little relieved to see them go, but it took a long time for the Democrats to regain the White House. Like it or not, even KKK members are entitled to vote, and, things being as close as they are, one party or the other is likely to give them shelter. Right now it happens to be the Republicans, but they may be paying for that. It's hard to say what the "Conservative" core of the Republican party is right now. I think they are trying to sort that out. There are some interesting conflicts. Is it the financial conservatives? The anti-immigration conservatives? The business conservatives (who may pay lip-service to tighter immigration policies, but sure like the cheap labor)? The social conservatives? The world interventionists? The isolationists? The Homeland Security police state folks? The Libertarians? The Democratic party used to have this problem all the time. When the dust settles, I'd like to think that it won't be what you like to call KKKonservatives who have leverage over the Republican party, but I don't think anyone knows what the coalition will look like.

May 4, 2009 10:36 PM Forum: Politics

This is why we need term limits...

Posted By Chuck Cunningham

I don't see why Republicans would be upset with him "switching". I'm sure the Democrats won't find him any easier to get along with than the Republicans did. But he pulled this stunt before and it worked for him.

May 13, 2009 06:40 PM Forum: Global Warming - REAL or NOT

Poll concerning exaggeration

Posted By Chuck Cunningham

You know, I think that democracy is a fine thing, but it doesn't apply to everything. This business of polling the general public on objective, scientific questions that require a considerable amount of specific knowledge is really ludicrous. I mean, if 90% of the people voted that the world was flat and 6000 years old, that would not make it so. Gun control is a matter of opinion, for many reasons. A viable subject for an opinion poll. Global warming? I don't think any amount of wishing or believing that it were or were not happening is likely to influence it in the slightest, do you?

May 13, 2009 08:09 PM Forum: Sports

Mannygate etc.

Posted By Chuck Cunningham

Are the Mariners planning to pick up that relief pitcher?

May 14, 2009 05:42 PM Forum: Religion

A “not appropriate” Answer to Steve’s Question: “I

Posted By Chuck Cunningham

That does raise the point of why I should bother to "search for God", or discuss it with you or anyone else. He knows where to find me -- if He wants to. So do the aliens. Only I feel that there is more reason to believe that they actually exist, although there is no solid evidence there either -- yet.

May 15, 2009 06:14 PM Forum: Politics

The Republican Party is dead...

Posted By Chuck Cunningham

Of course the Republican Parrty is not dead. I remember 1964. If that didn't kill it, I doubt that anything ever will. Right now it needs to regain focus, and it is becoming clear that the critical issues will be the fiscal and foreign policy ones rather than the social ones. The way the other party manages things is always the biggest boost for either party. It will always be a yo-yo.