Saturday, May 31, 2008

Ice on Mars

It appears that the Mars lander Phoenix may have landed on a patch of ice blown clear of soil by the descent thrusters. Where there is ice there could well be life. Very exciting.

Plum Island Animal Disease Center

How many people have ever heard of the Plum Island Animal Disease Center operated by the United States Department of Agriculture? This is a government research facility located on Plum Island, NY off the tip of Long Island. Some of the world's most deadly and contagious animal diseases are studied there diseases such as hoof and mouth disease, vesicular stomitis virus, African swine fever, and hog cholera. That's why the facility is located on an island. Unfortunately the facilities are outdated and do not include Biosafety Level 4 facilities. Also, no research on human disease is done at Plum Island.

So what to do with such a facility? The Department of Homeland Security has proposed building a new Biosafety Class 4 facility.....wait for it......on the mainland. The possible locations are Georgia, Kansas, Mississippi, Texas or North Carolina. Build a new updated facility is a good idea. The Plum Island facility is old having been built over 50 years ago. True, local Long Island residents protested upgrading the facility to BSL-4 several years ago. I wonder what the local residents of the new proposed sites are going to say.

But what galls me is that New York is going to lose a government lab that employs about 200 people, seemingly without a word of protest.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Gillibrand vs McHugh

Why does a Democratic freshman congressperson have a higher power ranking than a Republican congressman who has served for 15 years? Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand (NY-20) is ranked 255 in the House of Representative while Rep. John McHugh (NY-23) is ranked 347. Part of this can be explained that Democrats took over the House in 2006. If that is the explanation, however, it makes even more sense to get rid of John McHugh and vote Mike Oot into power. If bringing home the bacon is important, Rep. Gillibrand, in her first term, brought home significantly more bacon ($23.8 million) to the 20th district than did John McHugh to the 23rd ($18.9 million). Democrats are going to be in the majority for the next session of Congress and it will pay to have a Democrat congressman in the 23rd District.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Essex County Democrats Endorse Mike Oot

I'm pleased to say that the Essex County Democratic Committee endorsed Mike Oot for Congress this evening. Mike is an impressive, humble guy who will serve our congressional district much more seriously than it has been served for the last several years.

Keffiyehs and Terrorists

Have you heard about the Dunkin Donuts-Rachel Ray-Keffiyeh blowup? Michel Malkin catches Rachel Ray wearing a keffiyeh scarf in a Dunkin Donuts commercial. Since, according to Malkin, almost everyone knows that if you wear a keffiyeh you have got to be a terrorist....Dunkin Donuts pulls the ad.

I'm sure all sorts of people wear scarves like that.....people who are likely not terrorists.

Meghan McCain for instance. I wonder if she is a terrorist sympathizer? Naturally, Malkin says McCain should "know better". It's funny the media shows terrorist loving Rachel Ray wearing the scarf but not Ms. McCain wearing the same type of scarf.

I think we should all go out an purchase some of these scarves. You can buy one here.

The U.S. Armed Forces, coalition partners and our customers in the First Gulf War and now in OEF- Afghanistan, and OIF- Iraq, have found them a necessity for protection from the misery of the desert.
Or just stop by your local terrorist supporting Urban Outfitter store.

Go here for instructions on how to wrap your new kaffeyeh.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Lake Champlain at Grand Isle Ferry Crossing

Scott McClellan Tells All

Former White House press secretary Scott McClellan is publishing his memoir next week. He is less than complementary about the Bush administration.

Here is a real surprise:
The longtime Bush loyalist also suggests that two top aides held a secret West Wing meeting to get their story straight about the CIA leak case at a time when federal prosecutors were after them — and McClellan was continuing to defend them despite mounting evidence they had not given him all the facts.

McClellan asserts that the aides — Karl Rove, the president’s senior adviser, and I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, the vice president’s chief of staff — “had at best misled” him about their role in the disclosure of former CIA operative Valerie Plame’s identity.