|August 26, 2012||Doggone Funny.||1 comments|
|August 21, 2012||Democracy Under Attack.||6 comments|
|August 21, 2012||New GOP Convention Keynote Speaker?||2 comments|
|August 21, 2012||Wiggling The Toes.||2 comments|
|August 20, 2012||Beer beats out wine as Americans' booze of choice.||1 comments|
|August 19, 2012||Science Corner.||2 comments|
|August 19, 2012||Eulogy.||3 comments|
|August 19, 2012||Setting Sail.||1 comments|
|August 19, 2012||Laser Tag (Martian Style).||3 comments|
|August 19, 2012||More Tea Party Intelligentsia (Or Foot-In-Mouth Disease).||3 comments|
Missouri election law gave Akin until 5 p.m. local time (6 p.m. EDT) to take himself off the Nov. 6 ballot in the Senate race against Democrat Claire McCaskill.
Party leaders including Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell had strongly urged him to step down.
But the Republican has vowed to stay in the contest, saying he represents a conservative movement that must be heard.
A staunch opponent of abortion rights, Akin claimed in a television interview on Sunday that women could not get pregnant from "legitimate rape" when asked about his opposition to abortion even in cases of rape and incest.
MIAMI (AP) — Forecasters cast a wary eye Tuesday on Tropical Storm Isaac, which was looming in the Atlantic Ocean and poses a potential threat to Florida during next week’s Republican National Convention in Tampa.
It’s much too early to say with any certainty whether it will gain hurricane strength or make a beeline for Tampa, on Florida’s west coast. But it’s the type of weather that convention organizers knew was a possibility during the peak of hurricane season — and they have backup plans in place in a worst-case scenario.
It’s been 90 years since a major hurricane made a direct hit on Tampa. The last to strike Florida’s west coast was Hurricane Charley, a Category 4 packing 150 mph winds. The Aug. 13, 2004, storm was small yet powerful — and was initially forecast to strike the Tampa Bay area before it turned and slammed Port Charlotte, about 100 miles south.
National Hurricane Center computer models predicted Isaac would become a hurricane over the next few days, meaning maximum winds must be at least 74 mph (120 kph). Some models had the storm striking Florida, including the Tampa Bay area, after moving across Cuba or the Bahamas as early as Sunday morning.
Jeff Masters, director of meteorology at Weatherunderground.com, said long-range storm track predictions five days in advance are notoriously inaccurate, often off an average of 260 miles. But Masters said the climate situation has improved chances that Florida could be in the system’s sights during the GOP event that runs Monday through Thursday.
“It would take a perfect storm of a scenario where a bunch of factors all conspire together,” Masters said. “But we definitely have to watch this one.”
At 5 p.m. Tuesday, Isaac had maximum sustained winds near 40 mph (64 kph) but was expected to strengthen. The storm was about 500 miles (804 kilometers) east of Guadeloupe and was moving west near 17 mph (28 kph). A hurricane hunter plane confirmed the storm had strengthened.
GOP and state officials have contingency plans in place if the storm makes its way to Tampa, including an evacuation in a worst-case scenario. About 70,000 delegates, party officials, journalists, protesters and others are expected for the convention that culminates in the nomination of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for president and Wisconsin U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan for vice president.
“We’re monitoring it,” said James Davis, communications director for the Republican National Convention. “We’re in close touch with all the federal, state and local agencies. We’re focused on preparing still and having a great event starting on Monday.”
A f o u r-day mock hurricane drill was held in May featuring a pretend major storm striking the Tampa area during the second day of the convention. Under that scenario, planners canceled. A major hurricane is a Category 3 or above with winds at least 111 mph (170 kph) and devastating damage can occur.
“At this point, we’re prepared for everything,” said Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor on Tuesday. “We’ve certainly factored that into our plans.”
Forecasters say that fortunately for Tampa, most Gulf storms emerge earlier or later in the hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.
Florida, historically the nation’s top target for tropical systems, has not been hit by a major hurricane since Wilma in 2005. The new storm’s potential threat comes just as South Floridians are marking the 20th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew, a Category 5 monster that resulted in 26 direct deaths and caused some $26.5 billion in damage when it came ashore south of Miami on Aug. 24, 1992.
(CNN) -- The USS Constitution, or "Old Ironsides," sailed under her own power Sunday for just the second time in some 130 years.
The Constitution set out on Boston Harbor in Massachusetts to commemorate the 200th anniversary of her victory over a British frigate during the War of 1812. The battle earned Constitution her "Old Ironsides" nickname.
"I cannot think of a better way to honor those who fought in the war as well as celebrate Constitution's successes during the War of 1812 than for the ship to be under sail," said Cmdr. Matt Bonner, Constitution's 72nd commanding officer.
Some 285 people were on board the ship, which sailed under her own power for 17 minutes, traveling a distance of 1,100 yards.
Tugs were then reattached to Constitution's sides and she returned to her pier by early afternoon. The ship, which doubles as a museum, receives more than half a million visitors each year.
Sunday's sail marked the first time Constitution sailed on her own since 1997. Before that, the last time she sailed on her own was in 1881.
The ship, which is considered the world's oldest commissioned warship afloat, is tugged into the harbor several times a year.
Constitution defended sea lanes from when she was first launched in 1797 to 1855.
A small, flat rock known as Coronation suffered the wrath of Curiosity’s laser when the Mars rover finally fired up its ChemCam instrument and delivered 30 pulses of energy at the rock over a 10-second period.
The laser pulses, each delivering more than 1 million watts of power for around 5 one-billionths of a second, turn some of the rock’s atoms into a glowing, ionized plasma. By analyzing the light from the plasma, the ChemCam’s three spectrometers can determine what elements are in the rock.
“We got a great spectrum of Coronation — lots of signal,” Roger Wiens of Los Alamos National Laboratory, leader of the ChemCam scientific team, said in a press release today. “Our team is both thrilled and working hard, looking at the results. After eight years building the instrument, it’s payoff time!”
The rock formerly known as N165 was selected as a good target for Curiosity to test its laser on. Scientists are using the data to learn how ChemCam is working, but they were impressed with the quality of the data, which are even better than the data acquired during testing on Earth, and they may learn something about the rock as well.
“It’s surprising that the data are even better than we ever had during tests on Earth, in signal-to-noise ratio,” ChemCam scientist Sylvestre Maurice of the Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planétologie (IRAP) in Toulouse, France, said in the press release. “It’s so rich, we can expect great science from investigating what might be thousands of targets with ChemCam in the next two years.”
From Wired Science By Betsy Mason
Rep. Todd Akin, the newly-christened GOP (Tea Party) Senate nominee in Missouri, said in an interview airing Sunday that “legitimate rape” rarely causes pregnancy.
Explaining his no-exceptions policy on abortions, Akin was asked why he opposes abortion even when the pregnancy is the result of rape.
“First of all, from what I understand from doctors, (pregnancy from rape) is really rare,” Akin told KTVI-TV in a clip posted to YouTube by the Democratic super PAC American Bridge. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
Akin added: “But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something. I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.”
Akin’s statement threatens to recast a Senate race in which he starts as the favorite, but national Republicans are concerned about his ability to execute a winning strategy. Akin won the GOP nomination two weeks ago — a result that Democrats hailed as a potential game-changer in a tough race for them.
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and national Democrats actually spent money in the GOP primary to help get Akin through it. That strategy, at least in this case, appears to be paying dividends.
McCaskill said she was outraged by Akin’s claim.
“As a woman & former prosecutor who handled 100s of rape cases,I’m stunned by Rep Akin’s comments about victims this AM,” she tweeted. Within an hour, her tweet had been re-tweeted more than 1,000 times.
Akin’s claim is one that pops up occasionally in social conservative circles. A federal judge nominated by President Bush in the early 2000s had said similar things, as have state lawmakers in North Carolina and Pennsylvania.
Politicians and activists who espouse this view often suggest that women who haven’t been raped will claim to have been raped in order to obtain an abortion. An Idaho state lawmaker apologized earlier this year after urging doctors to make sure women who claimed they had been raped were sure of that fact.
Needless to say, this is territory that GOP leaders would rather not have Akin wander into. Getting into the particulars of “legitimate rape” (as opposed to what?) and the female reproductive system has the potential to make this a headache for the GOP and take the focus off of McCaskill and President Obama, who is unpopular in Missouri.
According to a 1996 study, approximately 32,000 pregnancies result from rape annually in the United States, and about 5 percent of rape victims are impregnated.
Akin is also staking out some of the most socially conservative territory possible on this issue. Missouri is pretty socially conservative, but even many Republicans believe in abortion exceptions for rape and incest. A recent Gallup poll showed just 20 percent of Americans believe in no exceptions for abortion.
From The Washington Post Posted by Aaron Blake