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Photo Courtesy of Wallops Island
Most people are unaware there are more NASA launch sites other than Cape Carnaveral. But listed as the newest one is the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS), Delmarva Peninsula, Virginia which is located on Wallops Island in conjunction with NASA’s Goddard Space Center. (Most of you know, Wallops Island is just south of Chincoteague)..
Wallops Island was our nations first space launch site. It was established in 1945 by the Langley Research Center as a pilotless aircraft research station. It was incorporated by NASA in 1959. It has always been the small boy of the three launch sites. In the initial days, is was in hot contestation against Cape Canaveral for the becoming the main launch site. The difference in winter temperatures decided the issue.
As an aside Delawareans should be interested to note, that the first seven Nazi rocket technicians of arrived in the United States at New Castle Army Air Field, just south of Wilmington, Delaware, on September 20, 1945. They were then flown to Boston and taken by boat to the Army Intelligence Service post at Fort Strong in Boston Harbor. Later, with the exception of von Braun, the men were transferred to Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland to sort out the Peenemünde (the Nazi Rocket base) documents, enabling the scientists to continue their rocketry experiments.
In 1998, the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority, later joined by Maryland, built the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at Wallops on land leased from NASA. In December 2006, the facility made its first launch. It was from here yesterday’s successful launch occurred…. The launch sets the stage for a second company to begin resupply missions to the International Space Station.
California-based SpaceX became the first private firm to officially resupply the ISS last October. Its Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral in Florida carrying a Dragon capsule filled with cargo and science experiments. Today, Antares, built by spaceflight company Orbital Sciences of Dulles, Virginia, lifted off from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops Island, Virginia, at 22.00 GMT (Sunday, April 21, 5 pm)..
This was just a test carrying a dummy payload corresponding to the weight and proportions of its Cygnus payload. But while Dragon can return from its missions loaded with cargo, no Cygnus craft will ever make it back to Earth. These craft will leave the ISS filled with trash and will burn up in Earth’s atmosphere.
Unfortunately even though it is only 130 miles south, it cannot be seen from Delaware during the day, nor heard. However 21 minutes after launch a very low level rumbling of distant sonic booms were alleged to have been heard here in Northern Delaware.
But, of all places… Sleepy Delmarva. How cool is that?
Top secret footage smuggled out of a recent DOE meeting showing what corporate education has planned and is planning for this year’s tests.
(Teachers, if you have similar experiences, send your stories under untraceable names to any of these addresses… Just drop the story in the comment tray at the bottom of any article and share your story….. This is not time to be vindictive or name names; we’re just trying to channel the information past those on top who are damming the natural flow….)
In alphabetic order:
Send us your stories and we’ll mainstream them…. Looking forward to some good writing! …
This will make you sick. (So before you read any further, get a small trash can, put a impermeable trash bag in it, and set it right next to you…. )
Knowing that the gun bills are starting to come onto the floor of Congress, the NRA is attempting to amendmentize the revenue bills….
One sponsored amendment that was attached today, … would prohibit the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives from requiring gun dealers to conduct annual inventories to ensure that they have not lost guns or had them stolen… What precisely is to be gained by not requiring a gun dealer to check to see if weapons have been stolen, perhaps by store employees and sold privately to people prohibited from owning firearms? Like violent felons or individuals with serious mental illnesses that make it too dangerous for them to own guns.
Another amendment would prevent the A.T.F. from refusing to renew a dealer’s license for lack of business. Allowing one’s spouse to remain a “dealer” for years, and able to illegally sell guns to people not able to pass background checks.
Another measure would widen the definition of antique guns, which can be imported into the United States outside of normal regulations.
And the final one, would require the bureau to attach a disclaimer to data about guns to indicate that it “cannot be used to draw broad conclusions about firearms-related crimes.” what purpose is served by a provision that requires the ATF to ignore evidence that, say, a certain kind of firearm or certain region of the nation is conducive to more gun-related crimes? “If as many people were dying of a mysterious disease as innocent bystanders are dying from firearms, a cure would be our top priority,” Elizabeth Warren said. “But we don’t even have good data on gun violence. Why? Because the NRA and the gun industry lobby made it their goal to prevent any serious effort to document the violence.”
Clearly there is only one purpose the NRA is doing this… To make putting guns into the hands of criminals easier and more profitable for gun dealers…..
You get shot, so they can sell to criminals and not get in trouble for it…..
I just laid down a stinging rebuke over at Delaware Politics of the Right’s assertion that Obama caused the Sequester. The aim of their article was to blame President Obama for coming up with the sequester about to floor us on March 1st.. Nothing could be further from the truth… For in negotiations, it is not who comes up with an idea that matters, but who provides that idea with enough support, that it becomes so.
It appears that the sequester idea when it first appeared was nothing more than a leaf falling off a tree.
The sequester began in the budget crises of 2011. Here are the facts.
- For the first time in history, the Tea Party forces Republicans to put limitations upon the raising of the debt ceiling.
- On May 16 the US goes into technical default, but weaseling can extend the money until August 1.
- April 2011: Obama says debt limit must not be tied to any other deals.
- May 11th; Obama’s chief economic advisor writes that hobbling the debt limit would be “insane”.
- May 31st; 2011; Obama’s request for a clean debt limit is voted down in the House; All 236 Republicans vote no.
- Up thru August, Republicans were screaming “it’s gotta’ have catastrophic budget cuts” and Obama said “no”.
- Republicans caused Standard and Poors to collapse our rating. Republicans insisted they didn’t care and would still default.
- The White House asked: if we could “guarantee that cuts would occur in the future” would Republicans climb on board?
- They said” yes”; as long as it was solid law that the sequestration would eventually take effect, they would raise the ceiling
- Finally, when the Budget Control Act was passed, it was the Republicans who passed it. 218 voted yes for sequestration. It could not have passed without their support.
Bottom line, no matter who brought up the idea or where it came from, if Republicans had acted rational at any point along the way, we would not be on the edge of losing 700,000 jobs this March, 2013.
John Boehnor, and Delaware Politics spent much time saying that Obama is the author of sequestration….
Here is their quote…
“Republicans act as if the sequester is a natural disaster. They make no mention of the fact that they caused it and voted for it knowing that the sequester would take effect.... So why did they vote for it? None of them ever connect the dots and apologize for voting for it. The reality is that John Boehner said that he got 98% of what he wanted from the deal…..”
There you have it. If Red State proudly stands up and takes credit for engineering and forcing the sequester to tighten the vice grips upon the American economy, I certainly not going to stand in their way.
For Delaware Politics to go against Red State, and point their finger at Obama as originator of the “sequester”, can only show Delaware Politics doesn’t have the balls to be anything close to a real Conservative… They are Faux Conservatives at their best… or Ostrich Conservatives the rest of times, when they are not even close to being at their best.
Despite any words otherwise, Republicans own this sequester; good or bad.
Today Governor Scott, Florida Tea Party who rode into the statehouse itself upon the promise he was going to abolish the abomination of Obamacare in the state of Florida.
He threw in the towel and now supports it. His state is joining the Federal exchange. His reason? He saw with his mother that it was a really super great plan full or wonderfulness, and that not buying in, would be very bad for Florida.
Republican Governors have thrown in the towels one by one. It is such a great plan, they can’t refuse… Without it, balancing a state budget is impossible. Ironically Republicans who supposedly hate bigger government, are all lining up for the Federal exchange.
It is the best and will be the closest best thing to single payer.
Furthermore, more great Obama care news.
Because of Obamacare, the Medicare expense projected for the rest of this decade, has just in this past year alone, fallen half a trillion dollars. $511 billion dollars to be exact! Obamacare is cutting the deficit right in the entitlement belt….
Half a trillion dollars.
This is not new news. It was out there when the bill first got passed. It has been out there ever since. But for some reason the American media chose to focus on those who were against it, long before they understood it… Once understanding, everybody is coming aboard.
Where was the communication breakdown? Why wasn’t this positive news rolled out int he beginning? Just think, it could have save a lot of drama had these facts been picked up and extolled by the media, and had the right wing been excoriated for their stupidity.
Good things win out in the end, and Obamacare, as one can see by the Republican Governors coming aboard one by one, is a good thing.
Just think how horrible it would have been if on day one, Romney had signed a bill to abolish Obamacare?
Fortunately for all of us, America always knows best.
In the House, 78 percent of Republicans voted against emergency aid for Hurricane Sandy. In the Senate, those 36 voting against Hurricane Sandy aid, represent 80 percent of Republicans.
Some had districts repaired by Federal Aid after Katrina. Some, had the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers flood their front yards… One, Roy Blunt of Missouri, even angrily insisted that 100% of the Joplin tornado repair be done with Federal Money. Whereas 75% was already approved and covered …. Roy put it bluntly: “I think they have to come to a better number than that, and the right number, I think, would be 100 percent.”
This caused me to think.
Over the history of man, has there ever been a more hypocritical group than this? Ones who simply deny reality and make so many statements so absolutely contrary to truth?
yes.. there have been.
Calling a conservative “hypocrite” is like calling a progressive “liberal”: It stings, but they don’t actually understand why it’s supposed to be offensive. Using the word “hypocrite” should really be stopped altogether. It’s become a meaningless insult like “Nazi,” “bias,” or “environmentalist.” It actually has some spray back onto its user anyway. Basically pointing out someone is a hypocrite makes you sound like an angsty emo tween. It’s a word we learn in junior high to apply to grownups.
Instead of “hypocrite” I recommend the word “fraud.” It sounds bad. Fraud is illegal. Fraud is immoral. And it’s an accurate way of describing hypocrisy without sounding like an irate Justin Bieber fan.
As someone who has given and taken myriads of academic tests, there is a standard rule. Don’t concentrate on the topic; concentrate on the tester. Meaning that if you know how a test is graded, you can outsmart it.
Here are some examples… First , math.
There are many reasons why students equipped with all the necessary math knowledge don’t always score well on the SAT math section, but the main one is unfamiliarity with the exam. Just like any teacher, the Collegeboard employs several tricks to throw students off and reward those who have studied more and have paid closer attention to the details of the exam.
Questions that may not actually be that tough, but a scary graph or new technique will have several students saying “I’ll skip this one and come back to it later…”. If there is a very tricky or intimidating problem towards the beginning or middle, odds are that the question itself is pretty simple, but Collegeboard is attempting to frighten you away from the question.
Since often the underlying math concepts aren’t too challenging in and of themselves, Collegeboard often employs confusing / tricky language to get students to solve for the wrong variable, pick a related (but incorrect) answer choice, or miss out on a crucial piece of information…
The impulse is to start “doing math” as quickly as you can in this timed environment, but unfortunately the Collegeboard knows this and they will trick you if you don’t manage your time to thoroughly read the question and understand what is being asked.
“Use “plethora”, and “myriad” and 5 other big words.. Don’t be concerned if you are using them incorrectly.
Add a quotation in the fifth paragraph. Don’t worry if it doesn’t fit.
Fill both pages, content doesn’t matter, length does.”
Why? The readers grading these essays have to grade 30-40 test per hour. They are given one and a half to two minutes to appraise and grade your two page 5 paragraph article.
MIT did a test. They wrote the best essay ever…. Highest score, .. .. Now read it. It makes no sense.
This, my friends and fellow countrymen, is what testing is doing to our educational system….
The profit return on testing is close to 85% … The costs are minimal, some paper, some ink, some graders, and you charge $100 per test.
And let’s not even get into the part where the tests are graded wrong, AND WHEN EXPOSED ARE NOT CORRECTED.
That is why it is being force fed. If you give a school a failing grade, they will buy more tests to test themselves out of their hole…..
Education is not about student achievement anymore.
The NRA opened a rat’s nest when it bragged it’s membership soared by 100,000 immediately after Sandy Hook took place. Something about that didn’t ring true. If Gangbanger’s Anonymous commits a terrible crime, do you go sign up? No, you pull back away…. as in… ewww, creeper…..
How can something that goes against the grain of human nature be true? Well, a lot of people looked into just that, and found (we are dealing with Wayne LaPierre here) … surprise! surprise!
The NRA’s membership is faked…
Two years ago, David Gross, then an NRA board member, confided that a substantial number of the group’s 1 million Life Members are, well, dead. “There just isn’t that much incentive to go find out when someone passes away,” Gross explained. “Not when the cost of maintaining (a dead member) is minimal and when they add to your membership list.”
Another way that the NRA fudges its numbers is by requiring someone to become a member in order to practice shooting at their local range,.. Grandma Moses may have just wanted to see what firing hubby’s gun was like. She abhors the NRA, but she is one listed as one of their fire breathing members.
The other way that the NRA adds fake members is through membership drives. Like any organization that is trying to increase membership, it acquires junk mail lists that containing people’s names and addresses. It sends postcards to people on the list, and if they send it back non deliverable, their name gets added to the membership rolls. In fact, there’s a case where someone received one of those postcards and sent it back with comments that they did not want to belong. They got a membership card and request for money.
If the NRA is willing to lie about something as simple as how many people have joined the organization, it brings up whether they are lying when they say machine guns in schools make schools safer (they don’t.); when you outlaw guns only criminals have guns (no, law enforcement does too); if you ban ammo that can go through three brick walls and still have killing power, you destroy the Consititution (baloney, the Constitution is still there the day after the ban goes into effect).
It is estimated there are less then two million actual members of the NRA/
Privatization occurs when a state entity can no longer afford the upkeep of its infrastructure. It sells off its assets the same way a cash strapped family puts something on Craigslist… Let’s get a little cash, now.
Often privatization is short sighted. There is little literature comparing communities that once had state run ports who switched to private management. We really do not know what to expect.
Although it is apples to oranges comparison, there is literature that abounds on the problems that occur when short sighted politicians sell off a toll road to an investor. That happened in the red state of Indiana.
Just like the apples to oranges comparison, there are still some similarities that apply. Apples and Oranges are both fruit.
In Indiana, back in 2006, under the orchestration of Gov. Mitch Daniels (R), the state struck a deal to lease the road for a period of 75 years to Australia-based Macquarie Group and Spain-based Cintra. The investors paid the state $3.8 billion upfront in exchange for the right to collect tolls. The investors are required to maintain and upgrade the road for the duration of the lease.
Theoretically, the state just got a year’s budget in cash, and no longer has to fund money for the upkeep of the road. Sounds good so far.
The most recent toll hike of twenty cents for cars, or $1.00 for trucks, may not seem so painful, until you consider that those tolls were about half of their soon-to-be rates only five years ago — and that they hadn’t risen for two decades prior to that. Even harder to swallow for some drivers, truckers in particular, is the fact that their growing contributions go not to the State of Indiana but to overseas investors who’ve leased the toll road from the state.
In 2016 those paying discounts with transponders, will be required to pay full price.
Now, just 7 years into the 75 year contract, the owners of the road are struggling. By next year the reserves will be tapped out, and the foreign owners may miss their debt payments. The project had net losses in excess of $260 million last year, according to Macquarie’s financials. They need 11 million trucks to cross. They are getting only half that amount.
This came out of investors pockets. So then, who repairs the road? It appears no one. Here is one trucker’s take.
“I recently made a trip across the Midwest back to Pennsylvania. Something that really pissed me off were the toll roads. I mean, are these jokers serious? Make me stop every 30 miles to pay a toll? For what? To drive on the shitty roads? To go a speed limit? Get real. I find it hard to believe that roads I have to pay to drive on are in worse shape than the backroads I drive on in good ol’ PA. I would understand if the roads were getting fixed up but I saw no construction, not even a warning of future construction. Here’s looking at you Indiana, get with the program. At least when I drive on the PA turnpike I have solid roads to cruise on and don’t have to dodge potholes or look out for “speed bumps” formed by a deformed highway.”
And here is the problem with all privatization scenarios. The cost to the state are the initial loan payments for the building, plus the cost of upkeep. The cost for a private owner, also include loan payments for the purchase, plus the cost of the upkeep, plus a return in profit. Privatization by it’s very definition has to cost more than public to those using the facility. it also tends to be more dangerous and deadly from lack of safety constraints…. One of the major ramps of the Indiana toll road has been closed for quite some time due to safety concerns.
The problem with investing in toll roads, which will also occur in our Wilmington’s port scenario, is the imprecise science behind predicting future traffic. If costs get raised, how high can they rise before traffic decides to go elsewhere? That is partial to Indiana’s toll road investor’s problem. They neglected to factor in that it only takes 30 minutes longer to go to Indianapolis and shoot up I 65…. and avoid the whole mess….
In San Diego, the South Bay Expressway tollway flipped back to the San Diego Regional Planning Authority, because the private owner (same as in Indiana) went bankrupt. So the state gave the road to a private concern, and now has to buy it back.. It is like selling your house and moving out, then buying it back, paying the people who you sold it to, to keep it out of sheriff sale….
The one bright spot, the Chicago Skyway, often touted as the shining example of privatization because revenues are up….. is so, simply because it is highly leveraged. It is living off the ARM lower levels for right now. It has a $439 million in debt maturing in 2017. The ability to refinance that debt will depend on continued traffic and revenue growth. Right now, traffic is down 5%….
Possible solutions? One is in place in South Korea. Tongue in cheek here, we will call it the gangum style partnership. In what seems to be working well, the contracts between private entities and their governments, have both a floor and a ceiling to protect both parties. If traffic falls below that level, the government will step in and assist the contractor with a portion of that lost revenue. If traffic rises above a threshold, the investor would share a portion of those profits with the government.
Another option soon to be tried in Florida, is that the government’s payment subsidizing the corporation, are tied to the quality of the service being provided, not the actual amount of traffic. But then, the government is simply indirectly paying for the maintenance upkeep, so why bother?
Wilmington’s port is functioning well at the moment. It is costing the state between 1 and 2 million a year right now. But we are in the middle of a recession. If these costs had occurred in year 32 or year 33 of the contract, no one would pay too much attention. It is that we are looking at them now through the prism of today’s recession.
Making a huge mistake for a measly million dollars this year, could be very costly to all Delawareans in the future…..