morning cartoons

by twit

http://img291.imageshack.us/img291/8564/churchsignlb6.jpg

Read more of this post

Iowa II: Hillary loses again

by lestro

Iowa climbed back into the national spotlight yesterday as a second caucus (Iowa II: Iowa Harder!) was held to try and figure out what to do with the delegates won by candidates no longer in the race. Remember, if you will, that just those few months ago there were about 27 Democrats in the race, including John Edwards, who gathered up 14 delegates during his second-place finish on January 3 , 2008 (Hillary came in third).

Yesterday, the county caucuses got back together to talk about those 14 delegates since in this every-delegate-counts race, Iowans wanted to make sure every delegate was counted.

The results? Iowans still like Barack Obama better than Hillary Clinton, awarding him nine of the Edwards delegates:

Obama originally had 20 Iowa delegates while Clinton, a New York senator, had 18. The numbers represent an estimate based on the percentage of support each candidate earned on caucus night and the number of superdelegates who have endorsed them.

But on Saturday, Obama’s Iowa total climbed by nine; Clinton’s shrank by one.

I guess like everywhere else, the more that voters get to know Obama, the more they like him better than Hillary Clinton.

Iowa wasn’t the only state to award some late delegates yesterday. In California, which is somehow still counting the votes from its Feb. 5 primary, Hillary picked up an additional two delegates. Unfortunately for her, she wasn’t the only one:

Also Saturday, California’s Democratic Party finalized the delegate counts from its Feb. 5 primary. Clinton picked up two more pledged delegates, raising her state total to 204; Obama gained five, raising his figure to 166.

So according to the AP, here’s where we stand:

Counting Saturday’s new figures from Iowa and California, an Associated Press delegate tally showed Obama with 1,617 delegates and Clinton with 1,498.

Read more of this post

a friendly reminder: Hillary can’t win

by twit

from Newsweek and the department of ‘math is tough,’ with emphasis added:

Hillary Clinton may be poised for a big night tonight, with wins in Ohio, Texas and Rhode Island. Clinton aides say this will be the beginning of her comeback against Barack Obama. There’s only one problem with this analysis: they can’t count.

http://images.starpulse.com/Photos/Previews/Wizard-of-Oz-w24.jpg

I’m no good at math either, but with the help of Slate’s Delegate Calculator I’ve scoped out the rest of the primaries, and even if you assume huge Hillary wins from here on out, the numbers don’t look good for Clinton. In order to show how deep a hole she’s in, I’ve given her the benefit of the doubt every week for the rest of the primaries.

Read more of this post

(UPDATED!)Spy satellite update: It’s raining metal, hallelujah!

by lestro

FEB. 21 UPDATE AND VIDEO BELOW!

Well, by now we all know that a US spy satellite is getting closer and closer to landing on our heads, but never fear, the Bush Administration is all over it.

Despite initial statements that it could not be shot down, it looks like either tonight or tomorrow a Navy ship will be firing off a couple of missile in an attempt to shoot this bad boy out of the sky, weather permitting:

The officer said that three Navy warships were in position in the Pacific Ocean to launch the interceptors, and that radar and other tracking equipment, both in space and on the ground, were being monitored at Vandenberg Air Force Base, in California, and at a space command headquarters in Colorado Springs.

The operation is being controlled from the Strategic Command headquarters in Omaha, Neb., with additional monitoring of information transmitted from the interceptor managed by the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency.

Visually speaking, via reuters:

Apparently despite circling the earth every 90 seconds or so, once the order is given, the Navy will have a window of “tens of seconds” in order to hit this thing, which weighs 5,000 pounds (including 1,000 pounds of toxic rocket fuel) and is the size of a school bus.

But not to worry, just in case they miss, FEMA is on top of it:

A United States satellite is falling back to earth and could potentially impact almost anywhere on the planet…

Perhaps trusting this to folks who couldn’t even feed flood victims in New Orleans is a bad idea, but no matter.

I am not worried though. I have seen the Simpsons episode where Bart discovers a comet aimed directly for Springfield. The military tries to shoot it down, but misses, destroying the only bridge out of town. Luckily, Homer’s prediction proves right and one can only assume we are destined for a similar result:

Homer: What’s everyone so worked up about? So there’s a comet – big deal. It’ll burn up in our atmosphere and whatever’s left will be no bigger than a chihuahua’s head.

Bart: Wow, Dad, maybe you’re right.

Homer: Of course I’m right. If I’m not, may we all be horribly crushed from above somehow.

Beyond all that, there better be footage of this. I want multiple angles, high def footage I can download and watch over and over again. Hell, if they run it live, i’ll even get up in the middle of the night to see this…

UPDATE:

At approximately 10:30 p.m. EST on Wednesday night, the Navy shot down the offending satellite in an explosion one paper described as “like the death star.” The military is also “80 – 90 percent confiden[t] the fuel tank was destroyed,” which was the part they were aiming for as it contained the toxic bits. From the New York Times:

“Completing a mission in which an interceptor designed for missile defense was used for the first time to attack a satellite, the Lake Erie, an Aegis-class cruiser, fired a single missile just before 10:30 p.m. Eastern time, and the missile hit the satellite as it traveled at more than 17,000 miles per hour, the Pentagon said in its official announcement.

“A network of land-, air-, sea- and spaced-based sensors confirms that the U.S. military intercepted a nonfunctioning National Reconnaissance Office satellite which was in its final orbits before entering the Earth’s atmosphere,” the statement said.”

USA! USA! USA!

The military will also continue to monitor the debris as it falls through the atmosphere at thousands of miles per hour, but the rest of it is expected to burn up to chunks no bigger than the aforementioned chihuahuas head.

The best news of all of this, however is that there is footage and you know, it does look a little like the Death Star explosion from the original Star Wars, though not as cool as the re-released Star Wars

US predicts 30-minute warning for satellite crash landing

by twit

LATEST UPDATE: Feb. 20, 2008: Lestro reports on new information about the plans to shoot the satellite down, including video of the satellite being shot down.

UPDATE: Via Reuters on Feb 15, 2008:

Ambassador Christina Rocca said that if efforts fail to strike the satellite with a missile while it is still in space, it was expected to make an “uncontrolled re-entry into the earth’s atmosphere on or about March 6″.

UPDATE: From MSNBC on Feb 14, 2008:

WASHINGTON – The Pentagon, under orders from President Bush, is planning to shoot down a broken spy satellite expected to hit the Earth in early March, the White House said Thursday.

U.S. officials said that the option preferred by the administration will be to fire a missile from a U.S. Navy cruiser, and shoot down the satellite before it enters Earth’s atmosphere.

… The military will have to choose a time and a location that will avoid to the greatest degree any damage to other satellites in the sky. Also, there is the possibility that large pieces could remain, and either stay in orbit where they can collide with other satellites or possibly fall to Earth.

… officials won’t have much detail on where or when it will crash until it begins to move through the atmosphere and break up.

Basically, if you see something like this in the sky during early March:

http://i.newsvine.com/_vine/images/ap/nws/50607ef3-9198-407e-9d3c-ad3388868d1d.jpg
(image via Newsvine)

You have about a half-hour to take cover.

Whether effective cover would be available if the US can’t destroy the fuel tank in advance of the crash seems like a reasonable question, at least based on this report from Boing Boing on Feb 14, 2008:

It contains 1,000 pounds of hydrazine fuel, which “could turn into a toxic gas capable of causing deaths and injuries if it crashed in a populated area.”

Read more of this post

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.