Posted by Michael Swickard on Sunday, January 23, 2011
From KOAT-TV.com - The Albuquerque police union showed up in force to a city council meeting on Wednesday night to express the displeasure of a new rule that forbids officers from taking their cars home if they live more than 11 miles away from the Big-I interchange. "I currently feel like I'm being forced not be a cop," Lt. Jan Olstad said. On Wednesday, several officers wore shirts that said "A Berry Bad Mistake," referring to Mayor Richard Berry. "I drive to work and directly to work. I do not stop and I don’t take any enforcement action. If something happens to my vehicle, State Farm has me down as a non-state vehicle, and I'm not covered," Olstad said. Union members said the new policy makes it more difficult to do police work on their way to and from their shifts. Keeping those police cars in house could help the city save at least $600,000. The savings come from reduced maintenance and fuel. Read more
Posted by Michael Swickard
Labels: This Day In New Mexico History
This day in New Mexico History: January 24, 1930 - While a young researcher working for the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, Clyde Tombaugh was given the job to perform a systematic search for Planet X predicted by Percival Lowell. It was hard work. Tombaugh used the observatory's 13-inch astrograph to take photographs of the same section of sky several nights apart. It was an unheated observatory in the dead of winter. He then used a blink comparator to compare the different images. He went grid by grid looking at every point of light. When he shifted between the two images, a moving object, such as a planet, would appear to jump from one position to another, while the more distant objects such as stars would appear stationary. Tombaugh noticed such a moving object in his search, near the place predicted by Lowell, and subsequent observations showed it to have an orbit beyond that of Neptune. This ruled out classification as an asteroid, and they decided this was the ninth planet that Lowell had predicted. The official discovery was made on Tuesday, February 18, 1930, using images taken this day in 1930. The name "Pluto" won out over numerous other names suggestions partly because it was named after the Roman god of the underworld because he was able to render himself invisible and partly because Percival Lowell's initials PL formed the first 2 letters. Lowell had died 14 years earlier. The name Pluto was officially adopted on May 1, 1930. On August 24, 2006 the International Astronomical Union reclassified Pluto, grouping it with two similarly sized "dwarf planets" rather than with the eight "classical planets". Tombaugh Elementary in Las Cruces is named in his honor. I still call Pluto a planet and you can, too.
From weaselzippers.us -In related news I just filed a class-action lawsuit against the Tooth Fairy. (AFP)— From being a marginal and even mocked issue, climate-change litigation is fast emerging as a new frontier of law where some believe hundreds of billions of dollars are at stake. Compensation for losses inflicted by man-made global warming would be jaw-dropping, a payout that would make tobacco and asbestos damages look like pocket money. Imagine: a country or an individual could get redress for a drought that destroyed farmland, for floods and storms that created an army of refugees, for rising seas that wiped a small island state off the map. In the past three years, the number of climate-related lawsuits has ballooned, filling the void of political efforts in tackling greenhouse-gas emissions. Eyeing the money-spinning potential, some major commercial law firms now place climate-change litigation in their Internet shop window. Seminars on climate law are often thickly attended by corporations that could be in the firing line — and by the companies that insure them.
From sfgate.com - The Obama administration has become so concerned about the slowing pace of new drugs coming out of the pharmaceutical industry that officials have decided to start a billion-dollar government drug development center to help create medicines. The National Institutes of Health has traditionally focused on basic research. But the drug industry's research productivity has been declining for 15 years, "and it certainly doesn't show any signs of turning upward," said Dr. Francis Collins, director of the institutes. The job of the new center, to be called the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, is akin to that of a home seller who spruces up properties to attract buyers in a down market. In this case, the center will do as much research as it needs to do so that it can attract drug company investment. "None if this intended to be competitive with the private sector," Collins said. "The hope would be that any project that reaches the point of commercial appeal would be moved out of the academic support line and into the private sector." More here
Posted by Jim Spence
From thehill.com -The Obama administration hit back at House Republicans’ plans to investigate implementation of the healthcare reform law. Republicans on the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee on Thursday asked the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to provide detailed information about groups requesting and receiving one-year waivers for the reform law’s ban on annual coverage limits. More than 200 groups, unions and businesses have so far received waivers from the requirement. Republicans say the waivers are proof of the reform law’s flaws and are Democratic gifts to union allies who supported the law.
Northlands News Center - Temperatures have been reported as low as -46 degrees for International Falls, Minnesota beating the previous record set in 1954 of -41F. A Extreme Cold Warning, Wind Chill Warning and Advisory expire today at 10am. Frostbite times in Duluth have been hovering around 10-15 minutes today with the cold snap.Temperatures this afternoon will be in the negative single digits for Highs. Here are some of this morning's lows collected from the National Weather Service in Duluth, MN: -46 INTERNATIONAL FALLS , -43 EMBARRASS, -43 BIGFORK, -43 ASHLAKE, -43 EFFIE, -40 BIRCHDALE, -38 CRANE LAKE, -37 MINONG, -37 HILL CITY, -36 LONGVILLE, -36 PINE RIVER, -36 SEAGULL LAKE, -36 ELY, -36 WRIGHT, -33 GRAND RAPIDS, -24 DULUTH.
Posted by Rachel Pulaski
Posted by Jim Spence
Labels: Swickard Columns
|Michael and Conrad|
wsj.com -President Barack Obama will call for new government spending on infrastructure, education and research in his State of the Union address Tuesday, sharpening his response to Republicans in Congress who are demanding deep budget cuts, people familiar with the speech said. Mr. Obama will argue that the U.S., even while trying to reduce its budget deficit, must make targeted investments to foster job growth and boost U.S. competitiveness in the world economy. The new spending could include initiatives aimed at building the renewable-energy sector—which received billions of dollars in stimulus funding—and rebuilding roads to improve transportation, people familiar with the matter said. Money to restructure the No Child Left Behind law's testing mandates and institute more competitive grants also could be included. While proposing new spending, Mr. Obama also will lay out significant budget cuts elsewhere, people familiar with the plans say, though they will likely fall short of what Republican lawmakers have requested. More here
Posted by Rachel Pulaski
Labels: U.S. Politics
dailycaller.com -MIT professor of linguistics Noam Chomsky warned the end is near. In an interview with the Nation magazine and On The Earth Productions earlier this month, Chomsky, known for his distinct left-of-center philosophy, commented on the emotion in the electorate.“There’s other factors like the anger, and the fear and hostility in the country about everything carries over to this,” Chomsky said. “So if you look at polls, everyone hates Congress. They hate the Democrats. They hate the Republicans even more. They hate big business. They hate banks and they distrust scientists. So why should we believe what these pointy-head elitist are telling? We don’t trust anything else. We don’t trust them.”He explained those feelings led to November’s election results, and would have serious repercussions for civilization. “All of this combines the latest election a couple of days ago,” he continued. “You could almost interpret it a kind of a death knell for the species. There was an article in Bloomberg BusinessWeek, you know – not a radical rag exactly. They’re running through the new Republicans coming to Congress and they’re worried about them.” Video here
Posted by Jim Spence