Saturday, February 16, 2013

Asteroid DA14. Russian Meteor. China's Power Plays. French Legion of Honor. Ron Paul. North Korea. Chopin. Silver Dollars.


For “Summary Saturday”, News, Some New, Some Old:

Catch asteroid 2012 DA14's flyby on video, and see it fade out online

NASA looks at the flyby of asteroid 2012 DA14 from several amateur observatories across Australia.

“Though asteroid 2012 DA14 has already made its closest pass of Earth, just a scant 17,200 miles from our surface, you can still watch it recede harmlessly into the cosmos. Fire up your Web browser and hit the links at the bottom of this story to see coverage from around the globe.”


Meteor Streaks Across Russian Urals, Leaves Nearly 1000 Injured


Russian Meteor

A circular hole in the ice of Chebarkul Lake where a meteor reportedly struck the lake near Chelyabinsk, about 1500 kilometers (930 miles) east of Moscow, Russia, Friday, Feb. 15, 2013.

“With a blinding flash and a booming shock wave, a meteor blazed across the western Siberian sky Friday and exploded with the force of 20 atomic bombs, injuring more than 1,000 people as it blasted out windows and spread panic in a city of 1 million.

While NASA estimated the meteor was only about the size of a bus and weighed an estimated 7,000 tons, the fireball it produced was dramatic. Video shot by startled residents of the city of Chelyabinsk showed its streaming contrails as it arced toward the horizon just after sunrise, looking like something from a world-ending science-fiction movie.”


China's power plays in the Middle East

“Is China’s thirst for oil creating new opportunities for peace in the Middle East? "OPEC is about to collapse," says expert.

Power playsPhoto by: Reuters

“The Chinese New Year – the Year of the Snake – began auspiciously for the People’s Republic this week with China eclipsing the US as the world’s biggest trading nation. Its combined imports and exports reached $3.87 trillion in 2012, edging past the US’s $3.82 trillion in goods.

The American economy remains twice the size of that of China, but as the latter hurtles toward parity, its thirst for energy knows no limits. While the US is still by far the world’s largest consumer and net importer of energy, China is catching up fast. At the same time, developments in the international energy market, in particular new technologies and the discovery of huge shale oil and gas reserves in the US, mean that the America is moving toward energy independence, while China is becoming ever more dependent on Middle East oil. Within the next 20 years its consumption of Middle East oil is expected to dwarf that of the US.”    More at:


Honoring Members of our Greatest Generation

“Last week in Houston, the French Government presented the French Legion of Honor Medal to World War II veterans who served in France during the war. Among the group of honorees were 15 Texas veterans.

imagesCAYGJGDT The medal, France’s highest distinction, was originally established by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802 to recognize French citizens who had demonstrated significant merit in both civilian and military life. Prior to the Legion of Honor, similar awards in France were reserved exclusively for military officers or members of nobility. The award was extended to include foreign nationals who had demonstrated exemplary service to France along with allies who had served on French soil.

One Texas veteran honored in the recent ceremony was Bob Bearden of Belton, Texas, who served in World War II as a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division’s H Company, 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment. Bearden, who fought on D-Day, was captured by the Germans and underwent seven months in captivity. In a recent interview with the Killeen Daily Herald, Bearden recalled his experience as a German POW, including five days spent in a 20-by-8-foot boxcar with 50 other prisoners, during which they were denied water, food, sunlight and the use of a latrine. During their transport from Germany to Paris, the train came under fire by British and American forces who were unaware it was carrying American POWs.

"It was a real harrowing experience to know that you're alive by the grace of God, no other way," Bearden said.

Once they arrived in Paris, Bearden and roughly 5,000 fellow prisoners were marched along the Arc de Triomphe. Bearden recalls the march as “his lowest emotional stage” and remembers looking up to see a man watching the procession from behind a door.

"He was looking at us prisoners being herded along, and I just kept looking at him; and all of a sudden, he was looking around to see that no German was looking at him and (he put his fingers up to spell) V for victory," Bearden told the Killeen Daily Herald. "It's like he had given me a shot of some kind of juice or something. Boy, I just all of a sudden felt rejuvenated completely and like, 'Hey, it ain't over yet.'"

After being liberated by the Russians on January 31, 1945, Bearden spent the next several months wandering, following Russian supply lines and eventually making his way to Italy, where he was finally given passage back to the U.S. on a ship destined for Boston.

Each year, Bearden marks his personal “Liberation Day,” January 31, in remembrance of fellow soldiers who did not return home: "That's the one thing I remember every year," he said. "I try to eat a special steak or drink a special beer or something and think about those guys who didn't have that pleasure."

The ceremony honoring Bearden and 14 fellow Texas veterans took place at Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base on February 1st. Sadly, three of the Texas honorees were not present to receive their award: Stephen Bodnar and Bruce Davis could not attend because of illness, and Douglas Grogan had passed away only three days prior to the ceremony. On hand was Texas’ Consul General of France Monsieur Frederic Bontems as well family members, friends, and soldiers from the Army Reserve's 75th Training Command.

With a declining population of World War II veterans, the recent ceremony at Ellington Field was one of the largest of its kind in many years. I know many Texans join me in expressing our humble gratitude to these brave individuals who made great sacrifices to preserve our freedom. Let us do all we can to cherish these members of our Greatest Generation who remain with us today and always strive to honor the legacy of those who have gone before them.”    From:


Ron Paul asks UN to strip domain ownership away from supporters

ron paul

“Ron Paul wants ownership of his namesake domain, and he's not willing to pay for the privilege. Instead, the former Congressman and presidential candidate has forged a complaint with the UN's World Intellectual Property Organization asking the agency to grant him ownership of both and "Ron Paul's name and his associated Ron Paul mark have become synonymous with the Complainant and his books, articles, public appearances, and political commentary," reads the complaint. "Ron Paul has no relationship with the Respondents and has not authorized the Respondents to use the Ron Paul name."

Currently both URLs are owned by Paul supporters; has gained over 100,000 Likes on Facebook since it launched in 2008. The site's operators have offered to give to the former politician at no cost, but are asking Paul to lay down $250,000 for the more popular .com domain. That price tag would bring with it a mailing list of 170,000 members, according to the site. Considering Paul has bowed out of Washington, however, it's unclear what value such an email list would offer over his existing contact database(s).”  From:


North Korea Defiantly Detonates Nuclear Weapon

Despite repeated warnings of more sanctions, North Korea tested a third nuclear bomb. What does this mean for Iran and others who want nuclear weapons?

“…. What Kim Jong Eun has done will surely encourage Iran to further its nuclear program.  Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak reportedly said over a year ago that North Korea is like an icebreaker that clears the way for Iran’s nuclear ship.

But it’s not just Iran. North Korea is believed to have sold its nuclear knowledge to Bashar al-Assad in Syria. A nuclear reactor built for him was destroyed by Israel in 2007.  So what happens when nuclear weapons fall into terrorists hands? How much human carnage will be scattered across this planet then? As Leonid Petrov said, “The world is now a much more dangerous place. It’s very sad.”

Unless these days are shortened

Nearly 2,000 years ago Jesus Christ foretold what the world would be like before His return. He said, “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars” (Matthew 24:6). The real fears of nuclear proliferation today are definitely “rumors of wars.” It’s not if nuclear weapons will end up in the hands of dangerous individuals, but when they will be used.  Christ continued, “Unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved [alive]” (verse 22).

There are enough nuclear weapons today to destroy all human life on earth many times over. Perhaps the only reason humanity hasn’t come to the point of full-scale nuclear warfare already is because God has prevented it.”    More at:


On This Day:

Chopin plays his final Paris concert, Feb 16, 1848:

"Bach is like an astronomer who, with the help of ciphers, finds the most wonderful stars....Beethoven embraced the universe with the power of his spirit....I do not climb so high. A long time ago I decided that my universe will be the soul and heart of man." This was the assessment Frédéric Chopin offered of his own place in the pantheon of great Classical composers. It is an assessment that neatly captures the emotional expressiveness not only of his quintessentially Romantic compositions, but of his quintessentially Romantic personality. After fleeing his native Poland amid the political unrest of the 1830s, he spent the rest of his life amid the high society of France. Eighteen months before his death from tuberculosis at the age of 39, he gave his final public performance in his adopted city of Paris on February 16, 1848.”


Silver dollars made legal, Feb 16, 1878:

“Strongly supported by western mining interests and farmers, the Bland-Allison Act—which provided for a return to the minting of silver coins—becomes the law of the land.

The strife and controversy surrounding the coinage of silver is difficult for most modern Americans to understand, but in the late 19th century it was a topic of keen political and economic interest. Today, the value of American money is essentially secured by faith in the stability of the government, but during the 19th century, money was generally backed by actual deposits of silver and gold, the so-called "bimetallic standard." The U.S. also minted both gold and silver coins.

In 1873, Congress decided to follow the lead of many European nations and cease buying silver and minting silver coins, because silver was relatively scarce and to simplify the monetary system. Exacerbated by a variety of other factors, this led to a financial panic. When the government stopped buying silver, prices naturally dropped, and many owners of primarily western silver mines were hurt. Likewise, farmers and others who carried substantial debt loads attacked the so-called "Crime of '73." They believed, somewhat simplistically, that it caused a tighter supply of money, which in turn made it more difficult for them to pay off their debts.

A nationwide drive to return to the bimetallic standard gripped the nation, and many Americans came to place a near mystical faith in the ability of silver to solve their economic difficulties. The leader of the fight to remonetize silver was the Missouri Congressman Richard Bland. Having worked in mining and having witnessed the struggles of small farmers, Bland became a fervent believer in the silver cause, earning him the nickname "Silver Dick."

With the backing of powerful western mining interests, Bland secured passage of the Bland-Allison Act, which became law on this day in 1878. Although the act did not provide for a return to the old policy of unlimited silver coinage, it did require the U.S. Treasury to resume purchasing silver and minting silver dollars as legal tender. Americans could once again use silver coins as legal tender, and this helped some struggling western mining operations. However, the act had little economic impact, and it failed to satisfy the more radical desires and dreams of the silver backers. The battle over the use of silver and gold continued to occupy Americans well into the 20th century.”



Misty and I went down to pick up Jay, and Misty and Maddie and I had a nice walk, but with our coats on, as it was a bit chilly.

Jay started to vacuum the poor old Puddle Jumper.  It was grubby as it gets used for hauling so much stuff, then his boss called and wanted to pick him up.   I was busy inside writing some info about Miss Priss, for her web page.

So Jay left in a hurry, the Puddle Jumper was only half done, and we still didn’t get any of the stuff back on the workshop shelves.

Later, Jay called me to tell me that someone was at a Class B in a parking lot with a For Sale sign on it, and he thought I might want to look at it.  I picked him up at his house, and we went into town looking for it.  Mostly because Jay couldn’t remember exactly where it was. The owner wasn’t there any more, but I called the # and they came from the nearby Whataburger, and unlocked it for me to see.   I should have known that if the outside is banged up and very muddy, the inside wouldn’t be any better.  It wasn’t.  They had taken out the shower and toilet, and used that area as a dump for the spare tire and anything else.  The owner said it only had 21,000 miles on it, but both front seats were worn out, and the engine sounded like a boat going up the river, glug, glug, like it had swallowed a valve.  So we just came home, as I wasn’t interested.

SAM_1903 Satchmo is quite content to stay in my bathroom during the day, it is his safety area.  I have to keep him in there, as I let Miss Priss have the run of the living room in the afternoons.  I am still keeping them apart.  But once Prissy is back in the Grooming Room for the night, Satchmo comes into my bedroom and sleeps at the end of my bed on Bobbiecat’s blankie.

Once the sun came out, it was a lovely day.

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