Spy satellite could fall on North America


The U.S. military is developing contingency plans to deal with the possibility that a large spy satellite expected to fall to Earth in late February or early March could hit North America.

Woo hoo!! Wouldn’t that be cool. Zooniverse pool anyone?

Air Force Gen. Gene Renuart sez:

“We’re aware that this satellite is out there,” Renuart said. “We’re aware it is a fairly substantial size. And we know there is at least some percentage that it could land on ground as opposed to in the water.”

At least they’re aware of it. Whew…

A U.S. official confirmed that the spy satellite, which lost power and no longer can be controlled, was launched in December 2006 and could weigh as much as 10,000 pounds. It carried a sophisticated and secret imaging sensor but the satellite’s central computer failed shortly after launch.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the information is classified as secret, said the satellite is designated by the military as US 193, but it never reached its final orbit and the Pentagon declared it a total loss in early 2007.

These “officials” are a leaky bunch aren’t they? I guess it would be good to know what falls on our heads in a month or so.

Satellite watchers — a worldwide network of hobbyists who track satellites for fun — have been plotting the satellite’s degradation for a year. They estimate it is now at an altitude of about 173 miles, and [John Locker, a British amateur satellite watcher] believes it is dropping about 1,640 feet a day.

Where it lands will be difficult to predict until the satellite falls to about 59 miles above the Earth and enters the atmosphere. It will then begin to burn up, with flares visible from the ground, said Ted Molczan, a Canadian satellite tracker. From that point on, he said, it will take about 30 minutes to fall.

Sorry, y’all…. If that baby hits a snowbank in Idaho, you won’t find it until April. :)

Happy Days Are Here Again!

Looks like Rotten Rudy is going down in flames in the Florida Primary… Yay!!
Maybe now he can go home and crawl back under his rock.

Yesterday Rudy was quoted saying that the winner of the Florida Primary would be the GOP Nominee.. Does that mean he’s going home?

The LA Times‘s political blog catches an odd moment in which Rudy seems to be laying the groundwork to exit the race if and when he loses tomorrow:

In a meeting in the back of his chartered plane en route to St. Petersburg, Fla., a short while ago, the onetime, longtime GOP front-runner told a small group of reporters, including The Times’ Louise Roug: “The winner of Florida will win the nomination.”

Rudy’s spokesperson quickly noted that Rudy was expressing confidence about winning tomorrow. Still, Rudy’s in third or fourth in Florida in most polls — and Rudy himself thinks that whoever wins tomorrow will “win the nomination.”

So, given his own remarks, if he loses tomorrow there will be no point in continuing, and he’ll drop out, right?

UPDATE: MSNBC reports Giuliani is dropping out tomorrow! He will be endorsing John McCain.

Lyrics (with a twist..)

So long Rudy
Go long Judy
We are rid of you at last
Howdy old guys
Bought and sold guys
You are now a thing of the past

Rudy’s Days of Fear are gone
The country can now move along
And we’ll sing this happy little song
Rudy’s Days of Fear are gone!

Altogether shout him out
There’s no one who wants him about
So lets tell the world we dumped the lout
Rudy’s Days of Fear are gone!

Your cares and troubles are gone
There’ll be no more from now on
From now on…

Happy days are here again
The skies above are here again
So, lets sing a song of cheer again
Happy times
Happy nights
Happy days
Are here again!

(Additional lyrics thanks to Wayne A. Schneider)

(Photo from FreakingNews)

Federal Agency Says Justice Dept. Blocking Probe of US Attorneys’ Firing

via: Raw Story

The head of a federal inquiry into the firings of eight U.S. attorneys claims the Justice Department has impeded his investigation.

Specifically, Office of Special Counsel chief Scott J. Bloch sent Attorney General Michael Mukasey a letter last week saying the department’s inspector general and office of legal counsel asked him to step aside until internal investigations are finished.

But that could take months, Bloch wrote, effectively pushing his agency’s role “into the very last months of the administration when there is little hope of any corrective measures or discipline possible.”

There’s more at TPM Muckraker: “Bloch: I Don’t Get No Respect“.

Consider this dust-up between the Office of Special Counsel and the Justice Department. In one corner, you have Special Counsel Scott Bloch, who heads an obscure little office that is charged with investigating whistleblower complaints, Hatch Act violations, and the like — but who is himself being investigated for retaliating against whistleblowers and politicizing his office. Oh, and he used a tech service called Geeks on Call to scrub his hard drive at work (he says all the info was personal). In the other corner, you have the Justice Department, and well, you know all about that.

So, if they can stall long enough, nothing will ever be investigated? Can any of this still be investigated after Bush and Cheney leave office? It seems to me that would be a very important question to be put to the candidates for President:

  • Will you investigate actions taken by the current administration when you are president?
  • And will you hold them accountable for laws that have been broken after they have left office?

Rep. Conyers: Impeachment Is Not Off the Table

Interesting.. So what does THAT mean..? Anything? Nothing..?
Transcript here.

via: Alternet

Today at the Progressive Media Summit I managed to catch a conversation between Rob Kall of OpedEdNews and House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers on the potential impeachment of both Bush and Cheney. The video starts in the middle of a sentence, but other than that, it’s pretty clear cut. It’s an interesting dialogue in which Conyers goes back and forth on his own authority and ability to bring impeachment charges, his political arguments against it, and finally, his firm statement that Bush could do plenty to justify impeachment and that the option is not ‘off the table’. You get to see a fascinating and very human interaction between a highly intelligent activist and a sitting Congressman with immense power who is vaguely irritated at having to answer questions, but also intensely interested in answering them.

(Okay, I couldn’t get this to work here, so click on the graphic to go to view the video).

Army Strong, until you’re hurt

Here is where they tell you all the great stuff about joining the US Army.

What they don’t talk about, of course, is what happens if you get hurt while you’re serving. In a truly appalling story run this morning on NPR, it was made clear that the US Army isn’t particularly concerned about supporting you when you leave. Having exactly the right paperwork with exactly the right language is critical for disabled soldiers to ensure they earn their full benefits. They have a 10-day period to review the paperwork.

At Fort Drum, in upstate New York, the local Veterans Administration was apparently offering advice that was just too good. Although the Army’s policy is that anyone can offer this advice, a “tiger team” apparently sent to Fort Drum to investigate their higher-than-normal disability ratings told the VA to knock it off. And they did.

The official said the VA used to help soldiers with the paperwork, but Army officials saw soldiers from Fort Drum getting higher disability ratings with the VA’s help than soldiers from other bases. The Army told the VA to stop helping Fort Drum soldiers describe their army injuries, and the VA did as it was told.

The NPR link is to a synopsis of the story, but it’s well worth the 7-minute investment to listen to the audio file, which includes an interview with a disabled soldier, and details on the run-around given to the NPR journalist.

The US Army, saving money one disabled soldier at a time.

Pioneering Blackwater Protesters Given Secret Trial and Criminal Conviction

by Jeremy Scahill
via: AlterNet

Last week in Currituck County, N.C., Superior Court Judge Russell Duke presided over the final step in securing the first criminal conviction stemming from the deadly actions of Blackwater Worldwide, the Bush administration’s favorite mercenary company. Lest you think you missed some earth-shifting, breaking news, hold on a moment. The “criminals” in question were not the armed thugs who gunned down 17 Iraqi civilians and wounded more than 20 others in Baghdad’s Nisour Square last September. They were seven nonviolent activists who had the audacity to stage a demonstration at the gates of Blackwater’s 7,000-acre private military base in North Carolina to protest the actions of mercenaries acting with impunity — and apparent immunity — in their names and those of every American.

The symbolism was stark: Re-enact a Blackwater massacre, go to jail. Commit a massacre, walk around freely and perhaps never go to jail. All seven were charged with criminal trespassing, six of them with an additional charge of resisting arrest and one with another charge of injury to real property. “We feel like Blackwater is trespassing in Iraq,” Baggarly later said. “And as for injuring property, they injure men, women and children every day.” The activists were jailed for five days and eventually released pending trial.

Read entire article… (3 pages)