Saturday, February 26, 2011

Racism and Worker Exploitation was at the Heart of Scott Walker's Punking

I was interested in how did the Reporter get past the gatekeeper.

Same as it ever was, a little racism and a little usury.

Here’s what the man said to gain credibility with Governor Walkers chief Keith Gilkes

I politely said hello, not knowing how friendly Gilkes and Koch may be. He was eager to help. "I was really hoping to talk directly to Scott," I said. He said that could be arranged and that I should just leave my number. I explained to Gilkes, "My goddamn maid, Maria, put my phone in the washer. I'd have her deported, but she works for next to nothing." Gilkes found this amusing. "I'm calling from the VOID--with the VOID, or whatever it's called. You know, the Snype!"
"Gotcha," Gilkes said. "Let me check the schedule here...OK, there's an opening at 2 o'clock Central Standard Time. Just call this same number and we'll put you through."
Huffpo link

Here is where I use salty language, but I’m trying to be saved so I won’t.
The reporter got his credibility validated because he stated he was using undocumented labor that he was exploiting, and what was the Governor’s lackey’s response?
Gotcha! We can tell (gooble goble) you’re one of us. You exploit people who work for you and as a billionaire the best thing you can say about her is she works for next to nothing. Talk to you again at 2:00.



The Koch Boys Statement to America

I shall now represent their message to us in picture form.


Koch Industries executive vice president Richard Fink says the Koch brothers will not "back off."

"With the Left trying to intimidate the Koch brothers to back off of their support for freedom and signaling to others that this is what happens if you oppose the administration and its allies, we have no choice but to continue to fight," Fink said. "We will not step back at all. We firmly believe that economic freedom has benefited the overwhelming majority of society, including workers, who earn higher wages when you have open and free markets. When government grows as it has with the Bush and Obama administrations, that is what destroys prosperity."


"This is not just left-wing bloggers," he said. "This is part of an orchestrated campaign that has been going on for many months. It involves the Obama administration, the Center for American Progress, aligned left-wing groups, and their friends in the media. This is just the latest salvo in their attacks on the Koch brothers and Koch Industries. But it is an escalation -- they're now bringing in some labor groups, which they have not done before. We expect this to be part of an ongoing effort against [Koch Industries] as the 2012 presidential campaign approaches."

TPM link

Well you billionaire pimps we aren’t going to back off either. We believe you already own enough we aren’t going to give you our publically financed infrastructure. We are not going to give up our ability to organize against you. We will not be your slaves.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sobering Video A Time Lapse of Nuclear Explosions from 1945-1998

Japanese artist Isao Hashimoto has produced this time line of every nuclear explosion from Trinity through Pakistan’s testing of their 2 devices in 1998.

2053 explosions, and when one considers 2 of them were for military purposes I have to think we could have explored our solar system, and sent every young adult to college with the money we wasted in Hashimoto’s tones. If you want just the down and dirty go to around 12:00 for the summary, however I found I couldn’t tear myself away from the presentation.

A haiku inspired by the artist

We hate Nevada
Clinton made the sound go down.
What is up with France?

Thom Hartman on Abraham Bolden W/video How a “Jackie Robinson” was Railroaded

If you haven't heard about Abraham Bolden during Black History month, it’s because after helping to prevent JFK's assassination in the weeks before Dallas, Bolden was arrested on the very day he went to Washington to tell the Warren Commission about those attempts. Caught in a maze of National Security concerns that only became clear after four million pages of JFK files were released in the 1990s, Bolden was sentenced to six years in prison, becoming America's first national security whistle blower.

Bolden went to Washington in the Spring of 1964 to tell Warren Commission staff about the Chicago and Tampa attempts, and other Secret Service laxity, such as late night drinking bouts by the agents. News reports of the late-night drinking of Secret Service agents the night before JFK's assassination were threatening to become a major scandal, but the Secret Service couldn't reveal that the agents were blowing off steam after the stress of the recent plots against JFK in Chicago and Tampa. While Warren Commission staff had heard vague rumors of the Chicago plot, they had been told nothing about the Tampa attempt (which would continued to be withheld from the later Congressional investigations into JFK's assassination). Bolden was arrested the day he arrived in Washington to talk to Warren Commission staff. Bolden himself had previously arrested both of his accusers, one of whom later admitted committing perjury against Bolden. But the Chicago judge told the jury he felt Bolden was guilty, and Bolden was convicted and sentenced to six years in jail.snip.
Common Dreams has the full story read it.

"">Please sign the petition for Agent Bolden . The petition does require you to be a member of Facebook however if you don’t want to sign there please copy and paste the text and e-mail the President directly.

Mr. Bolden has written a book, The Echo From Daley Plaza a very good read for those interested in the circumstances around the assassination of President Kennedy.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

A Trip to One of the Coolest Facilities on EARTH! UPDATED: Baby Made It!!

If you’ve ever heard of the Arroyo Seco in Pasadena chances are you associate it with the Rose Bowl host to several Super Bowls and home to the Tournament of Roses football game. When they give the wide shot at those games showing the “chamber of commerce days” Pasadena is so famous for if they would just pan out a little more they would reveal another facility just north past the Brookside Golf Course and the Devils Gate dam that is the coolest facility on earth the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.


I grew up a NASA kid able to mark periods of my life by the missions everyone was working on. I remember going to the public open houses, and if you live anywhere near I highly suggest you attend, but I never got the backstage tour, so when I got an e-mail last week from one of the ladies I consider one of my parents (My family is a little different have a read here if you're interested) asking if I’d like to check out the Mars Science Laboratory I couldn’t say yes please fast enough.

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory's history reaches back to the tumultuous years leading up to World War II. Rockets were perceived as devices of fantasy, seen only in movie serials and comic strips like Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon. Despite rocket pioneer Robert Goddard’s successful development of early rockets, he was publicly ridiculed for his work. But in the fall of 1936, a group of enterprising young men in Pasadena, Calif., decided to risk their reputations and give engineering substance to rocket fantasy

The "rocket boys" were an unusual bunch. Frank Malina was studying aerodynamics at Caltech's Guggenheim Aeronautical Laboratory, known as GALCIT. Jack Parsons was a self-taught chemist, and Ed Forman was an excellent mechanic. They scraped together cheap engine parts, and on Oct. 31, 1936, drove to an isolated area called the Arroyo Seco at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains.

Four times that day they tried to test fire their small rocket motor. On the last attempt, they accidentally set fire to their oxygen line, which whipped around shooting fire! These were the first rocket experiments in the history of JPL. They tried again on Nov. 15, 1936, and their experiment finally worked
JPL history link

Visitors are only allowed 2 hours on the lab’s campus now. Back in the day I understand that restriction didn’t exist so the tour my host gave included lunch and educational videos in her office, but since we were limited we were going to have to apparently hustle. The security was appropriate and fast so we were soon checked in and on our way. The museum was full of kids, and that gave me hope. The museum has either a mock up, or the actual test vehicle for every mission JPL has been involved in including Voyager which is just one big instrument 1592 pounds. It absolutely filled the center of the museum and considering when it was launched 1977 it still looks like a state of the art devise.

July 1957 marked the beginning of the International Geophysical Year, when scientists around the world planned to jointly observe various scientific phenomena. It was during this period of scientific cooperation that the Soviet Union stunned the world with the launch of Sputnik, the first satellite ever. On October 4, 1957, the USSR put into orbit a tiny sphere with a radio transmitter that beeped its way into history. The JPL community was surprised that the Soviets could have both a successful launch vehicle and the electronic technology to operate the satellite.
The United States needed an immediate response. The first attempt, the Naval Research Lab's Vanguard project, failed. Their rocket exploded in full view of the press, embarrassing the nation.
JPL and the U.S. Army's Ballistic Missile Agency in Huntsville, Alabama, then pooled resources and knowledge. In about 80 days a four-stage rocket was assembled. JPL's canister-shaped Explorer 1 satellite formed the nose of the rocket.
On January 31, 1958, Explorer 1 launched and became the first U.S. satellite, using its single instrument to send back data about the radiation environment high above Earth's surface.
This started the "space race" with the Soviet Union.
JPL history link

One of the things I noticed as we walked around JPL is I didn’t see one unhappy face. I saw people thinking, I saw people hurrying, but I didn’t see anyone sitting around the edges smoking a cigarette with the take this job and shove it look. That must be what it’s like to work on fascinating things you’ve studied your entire life to attain the skills for.
Our next stop was in the mission control center where technician and scientist ride herd on a continuous stream of data from the various active missions in space. I was told when we see the exciting footage of a successful encounter with the bouncing happy mission specialist there is where it is filmed, and the only thing I could think of was man is that space small for its importance. Those people are crammed in that area like sardines.
Outside the mission control center in a fairly long hallway there was a mural that I stared at for a good 5 minutes. It contained in essence art by the mission. When something was completed representatives would paint on the wall. That was killer and at some point that wall is going to need to be preserved.
Our next stop was the testing areas and if there was an area I think I’d have fun working in it was that one. The first stop was the 25ft space simulator. A massive building with the ability to produce a vacuum, and vary its temperature from -185 to +110 degrees C (-300 to +230F). They do this using these massive lightbulbs 25K watts and over 10,000 bucks a piece. It sort of broke my heart when the tech told me that when one fails they tend to do so kind of explosively causing a cascade of exploding 10,000 dollar lightbulbs. The room is huge with a monster crane that takes spacecraft into the capsule for testing. It has interesting mats all over the floor that is almost as sticky as fly paper for dust is the enemy. When I was there they were just completing cleaning the testing space. A piece of dust as small as 100 microns is unacceptable to them, but as they were finished cleaning I got to see the massive 8 ton door to the thing operates. That was something even my host hadn’t seen and it was slicker than snot.


We went by the labs where fine minds think of what will cause a craft to fail, and then set about seeing if it will happen. They shake the heck out of them using sound waves, they blast them with every form of radiation they can simulate, and for the craft that actually explore like the Mars rovers they have a big area they run them around in that simulates the environment.

Motivated by Explorer 1's success, JPL Director William Pickering wanted to move into space exploration. He thought the relatively small, non-profit JPL could never raise the money necessary to remain on the leading edge of rocket technology as much larger aviation companies entered the rocketry business. He convinced the Army and President Eisenhower to make JPL part of the nation's new space agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. In that role, JPL, with its links to Caltech's science community, could lead in the creation of the new realm of space science. In December 1958, the Army formally transferred JPL to NASA, although it remained under Caltech management.
JPL history link


Now I know why everyone I know who works at the lab is in good shape. The thing is basically situated against a hill and to walk about the facility like we did is a work out of hill climbing stairs. However, our next and last stop is what I’ve been waiting for the clean room, and the construction of the Mars Science Lab

The thing is big, way bigger than the previous Mars rovers, and the space it is being constructed in is very impressive. First of all it is CLEAN. Where 100 microns would make the people in the space simulators mad that room is angry at half that. Visitors aren’t allowed in there obviously because the workers have to go through a long series of cleaning and blowing before they are allowed in. I was surprised that the actual people who construct the craft are technicians and not engineers. We were lucky in that all the components of the Mars rover were in the room. She’s a complicated thing. They intend to land is using a combination of parachute and “sky crane”. That’s a device with 8 rocket motors that will actually retro rocket the thing down to the surface then when it touches down it will fly off and crash somewhere.

How cool was that! What a fantastic day. I would take an increase in my taxes any day that would assure that these people get to continue to work. I would rather drop billions on the things where they fail then all the money they’ve used to make war.

Update November 26, 2011 and baby is on her way!

Update August 5 2012

We are wheels down on Mars receiving thumbnail pictures!